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Reviewed: Timex Road Trainer Digital Heart Rate Monitor by Tawnee Prazak

Posted Apr 02 2009 12:18pm
Spring09 002 Product Review: Timex Road Trainer Digital Heart Rate Monitor
TimexIronman.com
Everyman Latte Rating: 2.5
Retail Price: $110

Every day I slap a Timex around my wrist. I sometimes even get heckled for not wearing a more “designer-style” watch. But I don’t care; my Timex fits my on-the-go lifestyle. And like any brand you love and trust, you’re going to want more of the products. Right? So I was stoked to try out the Timex Ironman Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch. I’ve trained with heart rate monitors for years now, but haven’t yet used one by Timex.


For a mid-range/mid-price HR monitor among those available, the Road Trainer is reliable and practical—it does more than bare minimum but isn’t too high-tech. Plus, for HRM first-timers, Timex includes a guide that explains using heart rate as a workout tool with info on finding your max heart rate, testing your fitness, calculating training zones and more.

Road Trainer in Action:

The watch: As part of the Timex Ironman line, the watch caters to athletes who need down-to-the-millisecond timing, lap/split-tracking and an easy-to-use product, including big buttons that aren’t hard to manipulate mid-workout. The watch’s face is also easy to read; numbers are big and aren’t washed out on a sunny day with lots of glare. Plus the watch and chest strap are water resistant, so it can be used in the pool.

The heart rate monitor: Most workouts obviously vary in intensity, so Timex allows you to keep track your intensity with five heart-rate zones based on your max heart rate. Even better, you can set a personal target HR zone—and be notified with sound when you’re not in it. During workouts “beats per minute” aka BPM (or your % of MHR if you choose) is always flashing. Also, I’m a big fan of recording laps as my pace changes or based on time, and the Road Trainer will give you HR readings specific to each lap/split you set—it has a 50-lap max.

Spring09 001 Perks:

--Something that can be frustrating with HRMs is losing a connection between the watch and chest strap, thus no HR reading. This hasn’t happened with the Timex; there’s always a reliable HR flashing.

--“Review” mode: After the workout see your average HR, peak HR, minimum HR, time in target zone and calories burned (enter your weight to better estimate cal burn).

--“Recovery” mode: The watch records HR immediately after your workout then records it again a couple minutes later to find your recovery rate; a good tool to gauge your fitness level.

Downfalls:

--For women, the watch may be a bit on the large side. This will not be an issue for most men, but I found it to be kind of clunky on my wrist.

Editor' s Note: The Road Trainer also comes in a smaller size specifically for women.

--It only stores the data of your most recent workout; once you restart the timer that info is lost. If you’re concerned about logging your data, be sure to record everything right after your session.

--You can’t enter more personal data such as gender or height, which may affect the calorie reading. My calorie burn on the Timex seemed much higher than what my Polar HRM says for a workout of the same duration and intensity. Still, no calorie reading is likely 100 percent accurate.

EveryMan “Gotta Have” Latte Rating Scale: Rating Scale (based on the amount of lattes per day you’ll give up to buy this product)

• 4 Lattes: A must have product that will make your friends jealous and your competitors cower in undisguised fear and trepidation.

• 3 Lattes: A very good investment that is well worth forgoing a year or two of your children’s college fund.

• 2 Lattes: One of those products that actually does what it says it does, but with the same pizazz as a Q-Tip.

• 1 Latte: The best thing said about this product is that I wouldn’t send it back if I got it for free.

• No Latte: So excruciatingly lame that you would get more value by crossing the street for some discarded and well chewed gum before buying this product.

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