10 Best Heart Rate Monitors For Cycling In 2024

Heart rate monitors have been a valuable tool for cyclists since the early days of cycling when people were still looked at as 'sporting' rather than just a leisure activity. Nowadays, heart rate monitors are a must-have in every cyclist's gear bag. But which is the best one?

The guide will cover 10 of the best heart rate monitors for cycling that you can buy today. Let's get started.

What is a heart rate monitor?

For starters, a heart rate monitor is a small electronic device worn by the user and sends signals to the bicycle computer or watch. The idea is to give the biker information about their heart rate and overall performance.

The primary purpose of a heart rate monitor is to inform the cyclist about how well they are doing during their ride so that they can adjust training and equipment. For example, if your speed decreases as your heart rate rises, you know you need to reduce your effort on climbs.

What Types of Heart Rate Monitors?

Heart rate monitors are available in two primary forms. The user wears some, and others are attached to the bike frame.

1. Worn monitors

Most heart rate monitors are worn on the chest. If worn on the arm, they tend to be more accurate as they are not plagued by errors caused by interference with clothing. There are also chest straps that connect to sensors either on the wheels or at the bike's handlebars. These provide direct feedback to cyclists on how hard they work and can effectively improve performance.

Worn heart rate monitors are typically clipped onto the person's belt, waistband or arm. These tend to be less accurate than those attached to the bike, as they have a more significant number of leads and sensors. The accuracy of these devices is usually measured in percentage points (ppts), although some claim accuracy down to one second depending on their design and manufacturing processes.

Sensor accuracy is also affected by how often you change position during your ride, so it is essential to make sure that you wear it in a constant place for all your rides.

2. Monitors on the bike

The other primary type of heart rate monitor connects directly to your bike, usually via a sensor mounted onto one of your wheels. While these devices will not be as accurate as those worn on the chest strap, they are far more compact, which is an important consideration for cyclists who must transport their gear around the country.

The performance of the monitor is important to consider too. If a monitor has a poor design, you may end up with more errors in your readings caused by the limitations of its sensor.

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How do we test the best heart rate monitors?

Testing the best heart rate monitors for cycling is not an exact science. Many factors can affect the monitor's performance, such as the user's arm size and shape and how they sit on their bike.

However, there are some tests you can use to judge which heart rate monitor will be more helpful. For example, if you wear a chest strap that is tight enough, then your readings will be accurate because the item will slip up and down the arm.

Or if you get sweaty hands when riding, you might find that your readings do not match those in a dry environment.

How to choose a heart rate monitor?

Picking the right heart rate monitor for cycling has several factors to consider.

Listed below are some of the main factors that will determine how well-suited a heart rate monitor is for cycling:

1. Accuracy
Accuracy is one of the most important factors when choosing a heart rate monitor. If you use a monitor that is not accurate, then you will miss out on valuable data about your training effort.

2. Battery Life
The battery life of a heart rate monitor varies from one device to the next (and from brand to brand). For example, you should expect a used Polar watch to last for 20 hours of training. The good news is that many devices will last an average of 20 hours if you charge them fully before each ride. So check how long the device's battery lasts and ensure it matches your training schedule.

3. Sensors
The sensors that measure your heart rate and pulse vary from device to device. Some use a single sensor, while others are more complex with multiple sensors.

4. Display
The display – also known as the screen – on the heart rate monitor will give you information about your training efforts and overall performance. The size, design and colour can significantly affect how well you can read what is displayed. You should also be aware that some displays may not be suited to cycling if they are too bright or too dim, and they may affect how well your monitor works in poor weather conditions such as rain or snow when it is hard to see the display clearly or at night.

5. GPS
Some heart rate monitors have GPS receivers built-in. The merit of this is that you can use it to navigate and plan your ride and conveniently monitor your performance during training.
There are several things to consider about GPS heart rate monitors. For example, they tend to be more expensive than those regulated by your heart rate, so check out the price difference before buying one.
Also, not all GPS monitors perform as well as dedicated cycling computers. If you have a specific plan of action for your training, then you may be better off selecting a non-GPS monitor.

6. Water Proof
Being able to wear a heart rate monitor in wet conditions can be very useful to cyclists as they do not need to stop their ongoing training program just because it has started raining or snowing outside.

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How can cyclists use heart rate monitors?

There are many ways in which cyclists can benefit from heart rate monitors.

1. Speed and Distance
Heart rate monitors can help track the intensity of your training efforts by ensuring that you are pedalling fast enough. It also helps to ensure that you have enough energy left in the tank for the next part of your training schedule.

2. Tracking Progress
Heart rate monitors with a memory function can record many rides so that you can chart the progress over time. It is essential to improve your performance because it allows you to see your milestones since your first ride and shows how much fitter you have become.

3. Training Plan
Heart rate monitors that store training information can be beneficial in planning your training sessions. It allows you to see how your progress is progressing over several weeks or months, which helps you continue to improve.

4. Recovery
It is not just the intensity of your efforts that determines how your body responds, but the recovery phase follows. Heart rate monitors can help ensure you have a decent amount of time between sessions because they can help you know exactly how long it will take to recover.

5. Motivational Tool
A heart rate monitor on your bike will bring home how hard you work at any given time, so it can be a great motivational tool to help improve your cycling skills.

10 Best Heart Rate Monitor For Cycling

Here are the top 10 Best Heart Rate Monitors for Cycling:

1. Polar H10

This heart rate monitor from Polar is one of the most sophisticated pieces of cycle-related technology currently on the market. Thanks to its extensive range of features, it lets you keep a close eye on your performance and recovery. The Polar H10 is compatible with several devices, including a chest strap, bike computer, GPS and a heart rate belt, so the device can use alongside whichever sensors you already use. The heart rate monitor synchronizes with various devices wirelessly and has a USB slot that allows you to charge it when necessary.

The Polar H10 uses an optical sensor to collect heart rate data, so there is no chest strap or belt. You place a finger under the optical sensor, which can track your heart rate in real-time and store all your training data for future reference.

The Polar H10 has a large display that allows you to see what is going on, and it will also alert you if you need to work hard for long enough to meet your target goals. It has a built-in stopwatch and can show average and maximum heart rates from previous sessions.

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2. Garmin Edge 20

Garmin is one of the most well-known names in GPS technology, and the Garmin Edge 20 is one of their best GPS monitors for cyclists. It can be easily mounted onto your bike, so it stays in your way as you cycle. The screen on the Garmin Edge 20 can be tough to see in bright sunlight, but it is still easy to read once it gets dark outside.

The Garmin Edge 20 has a long battery life of 16 hours when using a heart rate monitor and 12 hours without one. It also automatically synchronises with a computer when you connect it with the USB cable that comes with the heart rate monitor.

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3. Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR

The heart rate monitor from Suunto is an excellent product for serious cyclists. It has all the features you will need to monitor your progress and properly plan training sessions. It is ideal if you plan serious cycling events such as a triathlon because it is compatible with computers, GPS and GPS-enabled wireless chest straps.

The high-resolution screen on the Suunto Trainer Wrist HR makes it extremely easy to read what is going on during your exercise sessions to accurately monitor your distance or speed. It can also be linked to a PC or smartphone to upload your information into a spreadsheet.

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4. Garmin Forerunner 35

The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a great heart rate monitor for beginners or casual cyclists. It is because it comes with a free smartphone app, which makes the heart rate monitor very useful in adequately planning training sessions. The app allows you to personalise your training plan, and it will enable you to keep track of your progress and performance over time.

The Garmin Forerunner 35 also has all the features you would expect from a traditional GPS heart rate monitor, including distance, speed, and lap times.

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5.  Apple Watch Series 4

The new Apple Watch Series 4 is just like the Apple Watch Series 3, except that it has a bigger screen and a built-in heart rate monitor. It might seem like a pointless upgrade to some people, but if you are an avid cyclist, you will appreciate having your training data available at all times. The larger screen makes the Apple Watch Series 4 easy to read in any condition, so you can still keep an eye on your heart rate at night or in bad weather.

The Apple Watch Series 4 uses an optical sensor to collect heart rate data, so you don't need to wear anything around your chest while exercising.

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6. Huawei Band 6

The Huawei Band 6 has an LED display of 240 x 240 pixels. It also has a built-in GPS sensor. It makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking to get a GPS-enabled heart rate monitor with their heart rate monitor and keep track of their performance over time.

It has significant functions you expect from a regular heart rate monitor, including distance, speed and lap times.

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7. Polar V800

The Polar V800 is one of the top cycling heart rate monitors. Like other Polar products, it comes with all the functions you would expect from any other type of heart rate monitor, like distance, speed, and lap times.

It is also compatible with all conventional bike computers and connects to them wirelessly via Bluetooth.

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8. Polar M430 

The Polar M430 is a great heart rate monitor for cyclists because it has all the functions you would expect from a typical heart rate monitor and GPS tracking. You can track your performance and how far you have travelled on your bike. It is ideal if you plan to participate in triathlons or open water swims over long distances because it allows you to decide how far into a training session you can push yourself before stopping and resting.

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9. Garmin Forerunner 235

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is a fantastic cycling heart rate monitor because it has GPS tracking. It tracks performance over time, as well as distance and speed. It also has all the functions you would expect from a conventional heart rate monitor, including lap times and burned calories.

The Garmin Forerunner 235 is only compatible with ANT+ third-party devices, though. You need to ensure that your bike computer is also an ANT+ device for them to work together correctly. Fortunately, most GPS computers from brands like Garmin and Magellan are all ANT+ compatible, so it should not be too much of an issue for most cyclists.

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10. Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge 2 is a great heart rate monitor for any exercise because it has all the same functions as other wireless heart rate monitors. It also has a large display screen and is waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower or swimming in the pool.

The Fitbit Charge 2 is another great heart rate monitor for cycling because it comes with an accelerometer to keep track of your performance over time. You can also set goals for yourself and have them on the screen, so they are handy to motivate you to stay physically active throughout the day.

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A heart rate monitor can be an invaluable tool if you are a cyclist, as it allows you to keep track of your performance over time. Using one of the top 10 best cycling heart rate monitors will mean that you will not have to worry about using the right equipment because you will know that it is accurate and reliable.

If you plan to participate in triathlons or any other distance events, a heart rate monitor will easily track training sessions. It also lets you track how far and fast you ride throughout the day.

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