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Polar M400 Fitness Watch

Polar M400 Fitness Watch, is a fairly new device that has an integrated Heart Rate Monitor and GPS system. As well as a device that recognises when the wearer is moving. Therefore it works out during each day how much exercise you have been doing. It can be used in three modes.

1. Just wear the watch and the device recognises movement, therefore exercise

2. Turn on the GPS, walk the dog and it will track your walk and recognise your efforts

3. Wear the heart rate chest strap do the same walk and it will work out more precisely your effort.

Polar M400 Fitness Watch

For example take the dog for a 3KM walk, which just wearing the Polar M400 Fitness Watch works out to 33 %. As does wearing the watch and turning on the GPS 33% . Or use the HRM and GPS and the same walk works out to 50% of your daily needs.

The watch is quite clever and needs to know your height, weight, age and gender to work these things out. Also via the polar website you can hook up your watch and tell it more information such as your BMI and how much exercise you would expect to do in a week..

I bought the Polar M400 Fitness Watch as I do a bit of cycling, obviously there are cycling specific devices that attach to the handle bars which is what I could have gone for, the reason I went for the watch is that I also do a fair bit of walking on the roads or in the hills and want to be able to use the device to calculate my efforts and fitness. So I use a piece of foam to thicken the bar and strap the watch to the bars, it is easy to read (even for my old eyes) and I don’t need to remove my hands from the bars.

A short video showing some of the screens

There are four built in sport settings for the watch including cycling so the device is good for cycling too. If you use the polar website app you can configure extra activities too, however I have not done this.

If you have never used a HRM before it will work out your training zones. There are two main options for working out zones and the polar uses the simple percentage of maximum system. It creates five zones. I won’t go too much into detail but basically most training should be done in the zones 1 – 3, Zone 1 is very easy and is a recovery zone that is also good for burning fat, where as zone 3 is a reasonably hard zone that you should be able to keep up for a few hours, mainly burning carbohydrates. Zone 2 is in the middle. Zone 4 and 5 are fairly flat out and on the limit and would mainly be used during races etc. The other main system has six zones which are worked out of percentages of your working zone (Max minus Minimum HRM) The problem as far as cycling is concerned is that most riders train to hard, the Zone 2 is a perfect place to be to increase endurance and train the heart to do be more efficient. What happens to most riders is as soon as a hill comes they go over zone 3 into 4 or beyond which actually is not so good for the training. This is my number one reason to buy the HRM as I need to slow down on the hills to stay in my good zone. Also, and good to know for lots of people, if your main goal is to lose weight you don’t have to go hard, you need to stick to zone 1. But it is all about time, so you need to do TITS…. time in the saddle… Obviously it is not just about cycling and power walking in Zone 1 is better for losing weight than power walking in zone 3. Without going over the top. Two hours in Zone 1 is better for burning fat than 2 hours in Zone 3. But two hours in Zone 3 is a better work out for your body, it all depends what your objective is.

Back to the watch I have been using it for a few weeks now, on the bike I rarely scroll through the different screens, there are multiple screens per activity. But distance time and heart rate are what I want to know. It also works out average speeds, times in different zones, altitude etc. Oh and altitude is the watches biggest problem, way out and if I started syncing the watch with strava I would not get any where near the climbing in meters that I actually do. So polar could do with fixing that.

Polar M400 Fitness Watch

The Polar data from a ride, the height gain is noted as 450 Meters Where as in the Strava data from the same ride coming from an Android device it is 587 Meters (below), that is a big loss of climbing and can be checked using a OS map at the high points. The distance difference is due to my method of standby being different on the two devices.

Polar M400 Fitness Watch

The battery is charged using an android type smart phone charger and the watch will go for days on end no problem. However with the GPS and HRM turned on I doubt that it would do the 8 hours Polar say it will. If I was going for a long 160KM cycle I would make sure it was fully charged before I set off. Maybe this will improve with time.

Would I recommend the Polar M400 fitness watch to others, yes and no. Yes if you have never used a HRM GPS before and want somewhere fairly easy to start. No, if you have a good idea how it all works, in that case maybe spend a bit more and get something a bit better. Or forget the GPS and just buy a HRM for about 60€. Also if it is your only device and altitude is important, No… I do like it though and am happy enough, especially at the price.

The Polar M400 Fitness Watch website page for the Polar M400

This post follows on from November No Drinker if you like this post please use the Social Media Buttons Below, cheers

November no Drinker

November no Drinker, As a drinking man who does a fair bit of cycling, or a cyclist who does a fair bit of drinking… I decided to give up drink altogether for the month of November. I did not know if it would be easy or hard, given that I consistently drink a bottle of wine a day and in the weekends would top that up with a few pints as well. Over drinking some would say, but I have no problem getting up every day at 8AM and doing long cycle rides with good average speeds and height gains.
36 hours in and I already knew that I was sleeping more soundly and on the second morning I had a resting heart rate of 60BPM which for me is quite good. I needed to find some scales to weigh myself.
Two nights on and the sleeping is very good, off to bed around 11PM feeling the need for sleep and sleeping through the night no problem. Resting heart beat of 58 BPM and a weight of 92KG which puts me 6.5KG over the BMI, which is a bit of a joke in any case. Cycling well and doing some good times on the climbs. I do feel the need for chocolate so I guess I am finding a replacement for the drink, this should wear off…
A week in and heart beat at rest is down to 56BPM just goes to show the effort the body uses to eliminate the toxins in alcohol. On day 9 went for a cycle with the Katurk cycling lads and did three hours at 30KMH, it is very flat around Kanturk though. The heart rate keeps going down and is now 53BPM. Day 10 and I have covered 300 KM and 2000 meters of climbing, I still weigh 92KG I do feel slimmer and fitter though and that is as important.
The days are passing by without much to mention, there is no difficulty in not drinking. Went to a party where most people were drinking away and it made zero difference, apart from going home at 12:30 as I was so tired. Sleep is much better without drink. Oh and now on day 16 my resting heart rate is down to 51BPM, I have lost 1KG and so far this month I have cycled 422 KM and climbed 4500 Meters.
Day 18, now I’ve cycled 471 KM and Climbed 5100 Meters.
So after three weeks I have treated myself to a fitness watch (read review here)  that calculates my Heart Rate and speed whilst cycling or walking etc, apparently it tells me I have a V02 Max of 48 which is very good for my age. So after three weeks and a day I have now cycled 642 KM with 7000 Meters.
Day 24 another short cycle and weight down to 90KG when I went to bed I had a slow heart beat so counted it for three minutes it was down to 45BPM. This morning (day25) when I awoke I counted again to 48, strange. I also did a V02 test and was up to 60 which amazes me. I wonder how good the test is… (Tested using https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/ and that gave me 58)

November no Drinker

November no Drinker
Day 30 last day resting heart rate consistently around the 48BPM, 750 KM on the bike and a height gain of 9000 meters. I weigh 89.5KG
Oh and by the way:
I have not snored all month…
I sleep really well
I have lost a bit of weight
I feel good
In conclusion, I found it very easy to not drink, and in fact now two days into December and I think I will go another few days. Give it a go.

November No Drinker

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Cannondale lifetime guarantee

Cannondale lifetime guarantee is it a good reason to buy a new Cannondale bicycle, with the knowledge that your bike is guaranteed for a lifetime. Obviously many believe so, and on top of that Cannondale make such nice light bikes it is easy to want to buy one of their very nice machines. Twelve years ago I bought a Cannondale R900SI and rode it about 500 miles a year for the next ten years, not a great deal but enough for me to be happy in my ownership of a nice road bike. After having owned at least a dozen bikes previously. The last two years saw me increasing my mileage and I was then getting up to 2000 – 2500 miles a year for the last two seasons on the bike. Unfortunately I noticed a funny noise coming from the frame and realised that it had cracked near the saddle pin along the end of the top tube. In all honesty I was ready to throw the bike away as it had twelve years and about 10000 miles on it.

However I remembered the lifetime guarantee and sent it off to my local bike shop. Who were very helpful. Unfortunately I have since been told Cannondale have a policy on what lifetime means, it is in fact the lifetime of what a high quality Aluminium product should be and not at all the lifetime of me, the purchaser. This post is simply to put it out there, maybe Cannondale should just give a limited frame guarantee of five years as obviously very rarely would they need to supply a frame on the “lifetime guarantee”. Indeed I wonder what the lifetime of a carbon fibre frame should be…. Below a part of my correspondence coming back from Cannondale. Thanks for reading.

Our ‘Lifetime Warranty’ like anyone else’s, covers issues arising from manufacturing defects and faults only. Generally such issues rear their head very quickly (usually unless unused within first 1-4 years of ownership). Aluminium, like all other frame materials has a finite lifespan and is heavily affected by ‘fatigue’ (structural weakening through usage). Due to its nature, at some point in their life all alloy frames will fail unless unused. High use =high fatigue = shorter lifespan (WILL fail sooner). The exact lifespan of a frame is dictated by the amount and type of use and maintenance that a bike receives and, as such, can vary massively.

Any metallurgist will tell you that the life expectancy of a faultless alloy frame which receives normal use and regular maintenance is around 5-7 years as dictated by the natural qualities of the construction material. This however takes no account of specific usage. One person can use their bike as much in one year as another does in 10. As such, each case is individual and is COMPLETELY dictated by individual personal circumstances (unless there is a known design fault / issue). This is the reason for a ‘Lifetime’ Warranty. The statement is open ended to allow for timescales dictated by personal circumstance. We will not and do not abuse that. It does not mean however (as stated in our manual) that a bike made of finite lifespan construction materials can or will last forever but, it likewise doesn’t mean that all users are penalised with a set timescale of cover. i.e the customer who has a 15 year old bike that he has only ridden 5 times and it has broken would not get warranty when really, if it hasn’t been crashed, he should. On the flipside it is quite possible if an alloy 5yr old Cannondale bike has broken, but has clearly been well used and covered a lot of miles that it has failed as a result of being ‘worn out’ (fatigued) as opposed to a warrantable issue. A ‘Lifetime’ Warranty rather than a specific timescale warranty gives us the chance to judge every case individually and does not unduly penalise anyone. It should mean that every one of our customers ends up getting their monies worth from their bike.

Cannondale lifetime guarantee

Cannondale lifetime guarantee Cannondale lifetime guarantee

I think the frame broke due to the steel cap that inserts into the boss of the frame, it reacted to the Aluminium and oxidised therefore weakening the frame. But hey what do I know? I know that I wanted to keep the bike as I was happy with it and was going for a respray this winter, now however I need to find a frame which is a pain in the backside. I would almost like to buy another Cannondale, however with their Cannondale Lifetime Guarantee appearing to be nothing other than  a marketing ploy, why would I.

Thanks for reading.

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