Polar's CS600 HRM is a stunning piece of kit for the serious cyclist who loves a bit of number-crunching to keep their training on track, and it’s really pretty simple to use.
What does it do? Geez, where do you start? Aside from brewing a post-ride cup of tea and giving you a massage, there’s not a lot the CS600X doesn’t do.
You get all your common or garden bike computer functions: speed (current, average, max), distance, duration, stopwatch… all the usual stuff. Then there are a bunch of less expected features like temperature, altitude, gradient, cumulative ascent/descent, calorie consumption… You get the idea. Go to www.polar.fi for the full list: it’s massive. You can measure cadence (crank rpm) too, although you have to buy an extra sensor for that.
Plus, as you’d expect from Polar, the CS600X delivers your all heart rate information. You can set the zones you want to hit and have visual and audible alarms alert you if your intensity drifts, and you can even have your heart rate displayed as a graph to show you how it’s progressing.
If you want to get even more technical, you can use this with Polar’s G3 GPS Sensor WIND to track and record your routes on mapping software like Google Earth. Or you can match it with Polar’s Power Output Sensor WIND which measures left/right leg balance as well as a reasonable power reading – although, in our experience, it’s nowhere near as accurate as a PowerTap hub or SRM cranks.
All of this data is saved so you can scroll through it when you get home or, much more convenient, transfer the files via infrared communication to your PC. There you can analyse away on Polar’s ProTrainer 5 software which comes as part of the package (you need Windows 2000/XP/Vista; sadly, it’s not Mac compatible). This acts as a training diary but also puts all the data into easy-to-understand charts and graphs so you can see exactly how your fitness is developing.
It might sound intimidating but this computer is actually very intuitive to use and all the info is easy to understand. You get used to it quickly and will soon wonder how you ever managed without.
A complete training management system in a user-friendly package
road.cc test report
Make and model: Polar CS600 Wireless HRM Cycle Computer
Size tested: 1 size fits all?
Did you enjoy using the product? Love it
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, it's our favourite bike computer/HRM/software package
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 184cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.