Polar has been in close partnership with top pro cycling teams for more than ten years and are celebrating the 98th Tour de France by launching a limited edition of the CS500 cycling computer.
Polar have aimed this unit at the Cycling market, but I was keen to try it out as a multisport athlete. I have been using the Polar RS800CX product for a while, and while this has served as my cycling computer it does have the down side that I will not attach it to my bike during competitions as I want to use the unit for the other legs as well. Glancing at your wrist regularly to check speed and cadence during a race is possible, but probably not that safe, and consequently I felt I would benefit from a permanently mounted bike computer as well.
When you open the box you are immediately struck by the size of the unit, the unique diamond design, and the stylish Tour de France logo and yellow colouring on the back of the unit. While it is obvious that the size of the unit is going to make the display very easy to read while on the move, I did have concern as a triathlete as to whether the unit would fit comfortably onto the front stem of the bike, where it has to compete for space with aerobars. However this turned out not to be an issue at all, with the unit fitting very comfortably between the aerobar mounts. I also wondered whether it would squeeze my fingers when I held onto the arm rest portion of the aerobars on long uphill sections, but again no problem at all.
One of the stand out features of this unit is I believe just how easy it is to set up and attach to the bike. I dread the fitting of these units and often spend the best part of an evening getting the unit set up, however to my surprise and delight I had the unit out of the box, mounted and ready to use in less than 10 minutes. I did have the advantage of already having the cadence and speed sensors attached to the bike which I use with my current unit, but was impressed with how easy it was to attach the main unit and enter all the required information about the user (wheel size, personal data etc.)
The unit is supplied with a heart rate strap, speed and cadence sensors, all of which have been aligned with the unit so you do not need to do any set up. I already had all of these accessories and so had to ‘teach’ the unit to recognise my existing devices, but again this was super easy and only took a few seconds per accessory.
So after a few minutes I was ready to test the unit on the road. Once on the road again the theme was ‘ease of use’. The display is huge and easy to read. You scroll between different functions just by rocking the unit to the right, and it shows everything you could want to know about your ride: speed, distance, heart rate, temperature, cadence, ascent, descent (all in averages and maximum) calories, training load (which gives an indication of over/under training). All of this you can then download to your computer wirelessly after the ride so you can analyse performance and progress.
Of particular interest is that Polar have teamed up with Look to develop the Polar Look Keo Power system. Training with data on power output as well as heart rate information has long been proven to enable athletes to make step improvements in their performance (see this sites articles on training with power), but cost of the power meters has been a prohibitive factor for amatuer athletes until now.
The Polar Look Keo Power system will be the first pedal based power meter to the market place and will be compatible with CS500 and CS600. Cofidis and Quickstep have both conducted extensive field testing of the new power system with good reports, and claim it is as accurate as SRM power meters. While price is yet to be confirmed it is expected to be significantly cheaper than other power meters options on the market, and it can be fitted, calibrated and moved between bikes in seconds. This accessory was not available to be tested by me yet, but it is hoped that it will be available in December/January. They are running a competition during the Tour to be able to win the system.
The Limited Edition Polar CS500 looks great, it helps you get in the spirit of le Tour, and above all is easy: easy to fit, easy to use, and easy to get all of the data you can possibly need. The addition of the Polar Look Keo Power system has the potential make this a category killer, but even without this it is a great unit for cyclists and triathletes to get now and get on board with le Tour!
Extended Memory Capacity
CS500 Tour de France comes with extended memory capacity which has been
doubled compared to the previous version of the CS500. If the product is used with
a Polar Power Output Sensor W.I.N.D. or Polar LOOK KÃ©o Power pedals, the memory
recording rate is automatically set to 1 second to ensure adequate accuracy of the
The oversized display guarantees visibility of your training data in all conditions,
improving your safety. Bigger size allows more data on the screen and ensures better
display readability while the fl at lens minimizes disturbing refl ections in direct
With a 2-way rocker switch, it’s quick and safe to control your cycling computer even
at high speeds. You can operate your cycling computer simply by gently touching the
left or right side of the handlebar unit. The advanced double pivot gives an extremely
light and sensible button feel.
The reliable 2.4 GHz W.I.N.D. technology guarantees disturbance-free data
communication. Its coded heart rate transmission prevents cross-talk between cycling
computers, so you can be sure you’ll get your heart rate and not your training buddy’s.
W.I.N.D. technology also gives longer range for the cycling computer and its sensors,
making it the ideal solution for cycling.
Add something extra to your ride by recording your training online. There’s a range of
training programs designed to guide and motivate you to a better workout.
- Create personalized training programs
- Follow your improvement with the training diary
- Transfer your training data wirelessly
- Challenge and get advice from other members
Training Load and Recovery Time
Training Load tells the user conveniently at a glance on polarpersonaltrainer.com
the cumulative training load for every day with color codes in the weekday headers.
In addition, the cumulative training load can now be viewed as a graph, illustrating
the time needed to recover to a certain level. The graph will also predict how the
cumulative training load will develop based on the user’s training plan, helping the
user optimize timing for training sessions.
Dual Lock Bike Mount
The Dual Lock Bike Mount is the most advanced bike mount on the market. It’s easy
to install and can be mounted on the stem or handlebar. Bike mount’s precise metal
parts guarantee firm attachment for the cycling computer, allowing even cross-country