Suunto t3c heart rate monitor £100 (Cadence Pod: £35)
Before technology came along, cyclists had to make do with gauging their effort by the level of searing pain in the legs and the amount of sweat being produced. Today though, most cyclists can afford to invest in a heart rate monitor so you can see exactly how hard you’re really working when out on a training run.
Now, the latest t3c from Suunto is not only an exquisitely stylish device but it also packs in some impressive technological features to help you train more effectively. The second model in the Suunto training range blends the right degree of technical wizardry with a decent price.
For training using your heart rate, zones can be programmed to help you stay on target, but the Suunto gets cleverer than this. Training Effect, Suunto’s interpretation of how much effect your current training is having on your body, is represented in real time, so you can gauge your effort and prevent yourself from overtraining.
The t3 has enough memory capacity for 15 sessions and up to 50 laps, which RCUK found to be more than enough. An optional PC POD can download these workouts to your computer, saving the memory on the t3 from becoming full too quickly.
Various so called ‘Pods’ are available wto extend the capability of the t3, including speed, GPS and one to connect to your PC. Launched just recently, the new Cadence Pod is the latest addition and enables your pedalling speed to be tracked accurately via a small and lightweight unit attached to the chainstays.
Using the t3 is fairly straightforward, but we’d hesitate heading straight out onto the bike without a good read of the chunky manual first. The display is clear though, with all the necessary information well presented and a backlight for dim lighting conditions. The available space on the sharp screen is used efficiently, and there’s a multitude of displays which can be navigated between using the side-mounted buttons. The function of each button is printed on the watch’s bezel, but the small typeface could be larger. Once you’re familiar with what each button does it’s no longer a problem.
The supplied chest strap has been changed since RCUK last tested a Suunto, and is all the better for it, being very comfortable in place. The t3c is light and the slim design makes us want to wear it not only on the bike, but off the bike too. Rarely does a HRM monitor manage to exude such cool and stylish looks as the t3.