Polar RCX5

We review the latest heart-rate monitor and GPS running speed monitor from Polar

Polar RCX5



This is the latest training computer to recognise the needs of triathletes. There are different packages available for run, bike or both, or you can buy the basic unit (£297) and add on accessories as you need them. We tested the GPS package, good for all three disciplines (though the GPS won’t work in water). The new, tiny G5 GPS sensor is a huge improvement on previous, heavy Polar GPS units, and though you still have to wear it on a separate armband while running, it stays put much better than the old version.

It took two minutes to find a signal when we first switched it on, then you have to ‘pair’ it with the computer, which takes a few seconds. Improved software on www.polarpersonaltrainer.com lets you view your routes as maps and share with friends, but really this piece of kit is more about in-depth training analysis than geography. The HRM works in the pool (though we had a few false starts waiting for our signal to pick up from the chest strap) and there are separate settings for swim, bike, run and ‘other sports’. The watch itself is easy to get the hang of. The big, flat display is always simple to read – even in the pool – and the buttons take a firm push so you won’t knock them easily. As with most Polar units you can set different zones, use a test to set your zones and race pace, and upload the data to the website to analyse it. A smart new feature is that it reads your training load each day and tells you how hard to train (by heart rate) based on this. If you are taking things to the next level then you can invest in cadence and stride sensors to fine-tune your riding and running. The only thing it’s lacking is powermeter compatibility.

Bells and whistles training system for the committed triathlete.

Value 4/5

Performance 4/5

Overall 4/5

This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine – click here to subscribe

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