So much more than simply a heart rate monitor, Cat-Eye’s MRC H220 does pretty much everything bar make the tea while remaining relevant and user friendly for novice and seasoned riders alike.
Described as a multi sports computer, opening the box it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the manual but you can calibrate the unit start to finish in five pages and twenty minutes flat. Aside from being an attractive timepiece, functions include current, maximum and average heart rate (Based upon body mass, height, weight and gender), programmable exercise programmes (up to 44 laps), calories burned, back light and low battery indicator. Thirty-metre water resistance takes care of dips and extends the use to triathlon and other disciplines.
Once calibrated with the chest sensor, performance and operating range seem pretty generous and it unlike some, it seems unaffected by wireless computers and even relatively strong electrical fields failed to induce erratic readings. Beeps and chirps complement the visual data, advising of a drop in pace without being overly obtrusive-great if worn on the wrist and during racing, allowing you to concentrate on maintaining the pace.
Cat-eye recommend sprinkling a few drops of water or medical gel on the transponder to ensure good connectivity although this proved unnecessary over the spring test period, might be advisable during the colder months. Those looking to download and analyse training data on their PC will need to look elsewhere but the H220 sets a very high standard and will prove an invaluable training aid for all but the most elite of riders without overloading those simply seeking to improve their fitness.
Sophisticated, yet remarkably user-friendly training aid and keenly priced to boot.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cateye MSC-HR20 Heart rate monitor
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Cat-eye's MSC HR20 is a twenty function "multi sports computer" designed to provide accurate and informative performance monitoring. Multi-sports-computer might sound like marketing speak but is a very accurate description of a training tool far more versetile than a heart rate monitor.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Thirty metre water resistance of both unit and chest-strap, current, average and maximum heart rate, three programmable, up to 44 laps and data review, 12/24 hr clock, backleight, low battery indicator.
Well made with sturdy construction, stainless steel back should resist most accidental damage.
Provides a wealth of information while still very, very easy to use
Very good value given the specification.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Probably the most user friendly training aid of thisd genre I have used given the levels of performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of use, subtle, attractive styling.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)