I am looking around now trying to educate myself with the watches out there. Timex Triathalon does not seem to feature a GPS system so I'm not sure if it measures for bikes.
Suggestions or reviews?
I have the Polar Running Specific and I also have the Garmin Forerunner 305. For tri training I love the Garmin because it has everything you want and more! I highly recommend this watch.
hey thanks! How is it in the water? It's really the only point that I'm curious on. They say they are water resistant but are they safe to wear in the pool? Do they have a swim mode?
There is a multi-sport mode but not water specific (that I am aware of). They work just fine in the water, they are a bit bulky but if you like the data (average speed, distance, etc) its great! Just like any other watch you can't push the buttons under water but work fine in between sets. You can keep an eye out and catch it on special and usually get a good deal.
The unit is "water resistant" but the instructions clearly state that you should not use it in the pool. I read this fact AFTER I flooded the unit. Fairly expensive lesson.
We bought the Polar S625X last spring for my wife to train for her first Ironman. We got the optional cadence and speed sensors for her bike and it has a foot pod for running. Good points are the feedback that the unit gives when the files are downloaded are great. Once you get used to all the button pushing it is not too hard to get going, switch from bike to run, download to the computer etc. I don't think there is a specific swim mode but it will record heart rate and elapsed time when ever you want it to. We never put it in the pool but a few friends have them and get them wet all the time with no problems. The Chest Strap is much more comfortable than the old Polar units and the battery is user replaceable. The foot pod is light and you will never feel it. Once calibrated on a running track at the High School, it was very accurate for distance and reads out run pace real time (vs our old Garmin which was pace averaged over a long time which does not allow to see if any change made an improvement). When I called the Polar help line numerous times while I was figuring it out, there was little time spent on hold and everyone I talked to answered my questions and really seemed to know the product and how it worked (and the help desk is in America). They also have an email for Q&A. I did have problems with the speed sensor dropping out and initially got the "send it in and we will check it out and return it in 2 weeks" routine which was not acceptable 6 weeks before Ironman. Once I got to a Manager at Polar he was a big help and did back up the product and was willing to do what it took to back up the product. I turns out that I needed to move the sensor closer to the wrist unit and it has not had any more problems. I had read a lot of horror stories about Polar not supporting the product but other than the one glitch, they did pretty well.
Bad points: This is not a unit that you can use to quickly transition from swim to bike to run. If you tried to take data during an event the time spent stopping the current file, switching modes, and starting a new file would drive you nuts and take a lot of time. The speed sensor has to be closer to the watch unit than the 18" advertised which means that you probably need to strap the watch to the handlebars for the bike portion. There is a good holder with the Polar unit that tie wraps easily on the bike. Another pain is that when you are starting in bike mode and want to see MPH and Cadence, it takes about 7 button pushes to get to that mode. It will display a number of items of your choosing but it takes a lot of scrolling through menus and selecting items. It does not have the ability to remember your favorite setting so this needs to be done each ride or run. We still run a separate wired computer on the bike for races. Beware that other wireless computers such as Cateye double wireless may interfere and both units will give goofy readings.
Suggestion: I wish that I had spent a little more money and bought the top end run-specific Polar wrist unit and the top end bike-specific computer. With the two units we could record performance on the swim, bike and run. (Swim would be Heart Rate and elapsed time only.) Having a specific bike computer that has bigger digits, more real time display feedback and less button pushing would be a big plus. I may still by the separate bike computer to simplify things for next year.
As far as the high end Garmin unit, one triathlete friend has one and loves it. I don't know much more about it than that.
Hope this helps,
A bit off topic, but my Polar HRM I'm a little disappointed in. I don't recall the model but it has the T31 (?) encoding, bought at Sports Authority.
A couple things have disappointed me:
1. There doesn't appear to be a way to replace the battery in the heart rate transmitter.
2. The battery is monumentally hard to replace. The Radio Shack guy essentially destroyed the watch trying to get the battery out and then back in. It still works now but there are some non-working elements in the LED screen now.
3. The buttons and process flow on the watch just don't feel right/intuitive. I've used it for a while now and the buttons/functions still feel misplaced. Can't really put my finger on it.
I am majorly disappointed in this Polar watch. Any recommendations on other brands that are top of the line and just work without me needing to become a watch specialist?
The Garmin Forerunner 305 is great. It has an auto multi-sport mode. All you have to do is press the lap button to switch between sports. I don't swim in mine because I don't want to risk it. When training I just put it on the side of the pool and grab it as I climb out and to run to my bike. In races, I have my wife or a friend start it for me at the beginning of the swim and then hand it to me as I run from the swim exit to the transition area. I highly recommend the Forerunner 305.