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The Polar Soft Strap restarts my Garmin’s Heart (Rate Monitor)

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For many male cyclists there comes a point in the evolution of his cycling wardrobe when he will quite reasonably say to himself, “D’you know what? I just don’t wear enough hot pink.”

It happened to me recently and, it being a difficult itch to scratch, I spent a good few hours obsessing over a variety of visually vivacious apparel choices.

Rapha’s hot pink Backpack Rain Cover; the Bontrager 2016 Velocis shoe (which might yet find its way in to my wardrobe); Morvelo’s Half Tone Jersey: all were considered in my quest to inject a little pink into my palette.

But being a ‘dip your toe in the water’ rather than a full swan-dive and subsequent drowning kind of chap, I opted for a more subtle entry into the world of pink kit and chose the Polar Soft Heart Rate Strap.

Conveniently, this urge to ‘think pink’ coincided with what I initially thought were the final death throes of my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor.

It had started producing strange readings with unusual spikes and troughs, eventually indicating that my heart rate never went above 100bpm even on tough rides. I’m fit – but not that fit.

For those looking to inject a risqué frisson of colour into their cycling wardrobe I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Polar Soft Strap.

Having read a range of forum posts and articles I initially replaced the CR2032 battery, to no avail. It was only when I stumbled across an article by the ever-useful DC Rainmaker (be sure to check his blog out – it’s an invaluable resource) that a solution presented itself.

The article explained that the connections in my original Garmin strap had either corroded or had otherwise stopped working and that by replacing the strap with the Garmin-compatible Polar strap I could breathe new life into the heart rate monitor.

After the briefest of reconnaissance missions I ordered the strap directly from Polar’s site.

Polar Soft Strap
Polar offer a range of colour options for their Garmin compatible heart rate monitor soft strap, most notably HOT PINK

They offer the strap in a variety of colours: blue, white, orange, black and, most importantly for this reviewer, HOT PINK. You pay a small excess for a colour other than black – £15.40 as opposed to £14.00 – but this is a small price to pay to satisfy my lust for pink. (I’m aware that this review is treading a fine line…)

Polar also offer a bundle including a new CR2032 battery to completely clear the slate and refresh your heart rate monitor – this adds another £5.40 to the cost.

A couple of months in, I can attest to the quality of the Polar Soft Strap: it is comfortable to wear, and easily adjustable.

The active contact area is much larger than on the original Garmin strap, providing a surer connection with the monitor itself – I’ve had no instances of dubious readings when there is little moisture between the strap and my skin… (err…)

The black metal hooked clasp which connects to the fabric retaining loop provides a strong and firm closure and the materials used in the strap are high quality.

No-one can see it, but you know it’s there – like a politician with fishnet stockings under his suit

To summarise: for those of you suffering with HR monitor troubles and who think a new strap may present a solution, or for those looking to inject a risqué frisson of colour into their cycling wardrobe (sure, no-one can see it, but you know it’s there – like a politician with fishnet stockings under his suit) I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Polar Soft Strap.

It’s a good price and is well manufactured with better contact area connections than the original Garmin strap.

It makes perfect sense when considering matters of the heart (rate monitor)…