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Gear Review: Polar RCX5

  • By Paul Moore
  • Published November 1, 2011

Polar’s multisport RCX5 is aimed at multisport athletes and designed to provide you with detailed information about all three sports and includes a GPS.

Firstly, we were impressed with the new sleek wrist unit with large easy to read information, but the trade-off is the GPS unit is separate and needs to be worn on an arm band, which felt a little antiquated. While the RXC5 doesn’t count strokes in the water but we were impressed at how well the heart rate monitor worked, and the large face made life easy when checking

data on the fly. We did find we had to wear the strap quite tight to avoid slippage on faster sets or when tumble turning.

Once on the bike you need to change the sport with the push of a button and you’re away. The RCX5 provides all the information needed including speed, distance and route tracking, and the GPS accuracy was on par with other units we tested alongside. The only time we had a problem with dropout was when put the G5 GPS pod in our pocket rather than on the arm band. You can also set up separate data fields for different bikes which is neat, but to get the most on the bike you will need to purchase the extra speed and cadence sensors.

Where this unit really excels is on the run. All data fields are completely customisable, easy to use and can display four fields at once including speed, distance and pace. Laps can be set automatically based on distance or time, or manually pressed depending on your session. If you want to know cadence then there is an aftermarket footpod.

Cool features for both cycling and running include the Zone Optimiser which adjusts your five heart rate zones for every training session based on your current physiological condition. There’s also race pace setting to dial in target training/race paces which also tells you what speed/pace is needed to meet that target for the session. Polar also offer their Endurance Programme which allows you to use their online Personal Trainer software to create you own sessions for the bike and run. Using the Polar Personal Trainer software online means it works with Apple computers–which has been a problem in the past–as well PCs. The RCX5 is a complete training and racing tool which allows you to set you own sessions, and is simple to use, but once you add on all the extras it does bump up the price.

Performance: 8
Value: 7

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Paul Moore

Paul Moore

Paul Moore is the Online Editor for Triathlete Europe. When not glued to a computer he can be found writing books - most recently Ultra Performance: The Psychology of Endurance Sports and The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges. Both are available on Amazon. Paul has also written Ultimate Triathlon: A complete training guide for long-distance triathletes which is also available on Amazon.