Cycling computers have come a long way since the rudimentary devices that just measured speed, distance and calculated a few averages for you. Now, it seems there’s an arms race to see who can offer the most data collection and integration with training apps or software.
Last September we previewed the Polar V650, one of Polar’s newest offerings. Now that it’s hit the market, here’s an updated look at the full feature set and promo video…
The unit’s 2.8” color touch screen uses side-swipes to take you from one view to the next. With just two physical buttons on the computer, (the big one being the main start/stop button) your fingertips do most of the talking with the V650. The integrated safety light located on the device’s backside can be switched to a convenient light-sensing auto on/off mode.
Using Polar’s web-based Flow training software, ProTrainer 5 or the computer itself the V650’s displays can be configured to show what stats and how many you wish to see. While training, the device uses audio alerts to communicate with the rider.
Other features include Polar’s Smart Calorie counter, which calculates calories burned based on your personal weight, height, age, gender and the intensity of your workout. Paired with a heart rate sensor the device shows your basic heart rate, plus maximum heart rate and customizable heart rate zones. The Zone Pointer display and Zone Lock feature help you select and stay within optimal output levels during your ride.
The V650’s integrated GPS allows for an auto-recording mode that starts and stops the computer based on your bike’s movement. It also has a clever Back to Start feature that directs you back to wherever you began your ride, taking the shortest possible distance. Riders can preset a chosen speed and distance using the Race Pace feature, and the V650 shows you if you’re keeping up or falling behind on the display. The device is capable of storing settings for up to three different bikes, and its onboard storage saves up to 30 hours of ride data.
Immediately after finishing your ride, the V650’s Training Benefit feature provides a quick overview of your key ride data. Once you’re back at home, upload your ride to Polar’s Flow software for a more in-depth analysis and visual graph displays of your speed, heart rate, power output and more.
The V650 comes with the computer, USB cable, adjustable bike mount and startup guide, and is available with Polar’s heart rate sensor for $292.00 USD, or $238.00 without.