Polar M450
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The Polar M450 computer has landed at La Velocita. We’ve put it to the test in one of Melbourne’s hottest summers in recent history.

Words and Images - Brendan Edwards


ABOUT

Polar has nearly 40 years of experience in the market. If you’re shopping for a bike computer and heart rate monitor bundle the M450 computer is what we'd describe as mid-level unit for cyclists looking at spending around the A$249 mark and getting a good volume of training data.

The unit uses a quarter-turn-mount, and offers a 3.5 cm black and white screen and weighs 51 grams.  Whilst the unit isn’t overly large, it has a clear display which is easy to follow whilst riding.

The handlebar mount included works well and fitted on out stem and handlebars in seconds. The M450 mount is different to Garmin mounts.

The handlebar mount included works well and fitted on out stem and handlebars in seconds. The M450 mount is different to Garmin mounts.

FUNCTION

The M450 is USB rechargeable and will get you around 18 hours of ride time, and lets you save up to 35 hours of ride time. I found setting-up the unit and online account was very user friendly and didn’t take very long to do.  Pairing the heart rate monitor was just as easy.

When it came time to test the unit a i had to play around with the unit a little to figure how to use several of the features but overall it is quite easy to use. The instruction manual is online so you can refer to if you get stuck.

The unit is controlled by five buttons and is easy to navigate between the different screens.  The unit has 5 screens that you can scroll through by using the side buttons and can be customised to show the data you want to see during your ride.  The standard screens provide the following data. 

  1. Main 1 (Speed, Distance & Average Speed)
  2. Main 2 (Distance, Speed, Lap & Heart rate)
  3. Altitude (Total elevation, Elevation & Total time)
  4. Heart rate (Heart rate & Total time)
  5. Lap 1 & Lap 2

RIDE

I was able to log about 1,000km on the unit during my testing and one thing that was consistent throughout testing was the heat.  I was able to test the unit over a number of days around 40 degrees and the unit held up perfectly in the extreme heat.

The screen has a fairly basic resolution compared to some other computers available but it’s easy to read and does the job.  The heart rate monitor was great to use and gave very comprehensive data which helped pace me through my ride.

This computer is rated “splash proof”.  We tested this unit in extreme heat, and the unit handled the downpour of simulated rain very well.

It can be challenging to take your hands off the handlebars in general on some climbs, and found toggling the screen menus could be difficult whilst battling a hard climb.  I found that I would more often or not rely on the one screen when climbing. 

Uploading your ride file is via USB cable, and at this point in time Polar does not have the facility to upload directly to Strava.  After downloading the file, you will then need to manually save the file to a GPX, TCX or FIT format and then manually upload it in order to save the file to Strava.

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WHERE TO BUY

Visit Polar Australia here to find your closest retailer

OVERALL

I found that the Polar M450 was designed specifically for performance training and is great value if you are in the market for a mid-range computer/heart rate monitor bundle and don't want to destroy your credit card.  It's also worth a look if you want a computer that's not too big, and in an environment of ever increasing computer and phone sizes we like the small computers. 

If you’re into endurance training or climbing or after something a bit more tech orientated we would suggest you take a look at the Polar V650 instead. Then there's the issue of tempting people away from the might of Garmin.... We'd like to see Polar work on a solution to make it simple to get your ride on Strava to, we're big strava fans and the extra steps to get your ride up is time wasted.

There's a small 'safety' light on the front of the M450 just like the V640. It will turn on automatically when the ambient light reaches a certain level. A nice touch, but do't rely on it as a headlight.

There's a small 'safety' light on the front of the M450 just like the V640. It will turn on automatically when the ambient light reaches a certain level. A nice touch, but do't rely on it as a headlight.

SPECIFICATIONS

Measurements

  • Weight - 51g
  • Thickness - 14,0 mm (with mount19,4 mm)
  • Display size - 3.5cm x 3.5cm
  • Splash proof (IPX7)

Technical Features

  • High precision barometer
  • Sensitive and accurate GPS
  • 64Mb flash memory
  • 35 hours of recording time with HR, GPS and power sensors on
  • Rechargeable 385mAh battery
  • Battery duration up to 16 hours of training with heart rate and GPS on

Connectivity

  • Easy wireless sync via Polar Flow app with Bluetooth Smart
  • Micro-USB connectivity for charging and data sync with PC or Mac via Polar FlowSync
  • Splash proof (IPX7)
  • Polar Flow web service compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6 or later and PC Windows XP, 7, 8.
  • GPS satellite pre-loading
  • Updatable software
  • UI languages English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, German, Italian, Finnish, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese
Sponsored.

Sponsored.

Rides.