What's Cool In Road Cycling

Product Review: Ciclosport HAC4 Monitor+

After getting a few Emails about the Polar S-710, most asking about an alternative to a $700+/- training tool, the new unit from Ciclosport hits the test bench at just the right time!

Ciclosport of Germany has been around for a while (better than 20 years) and are extremely popular as a European brand. In the last few months, domestic interest has ballooned due to the US Postal service coming to terms with them and having them on the bikes for 2003. The best they have to offer for cyclists is the HAC 4 and its metal faced partner (same guts I believe) the HAC 4 TI, distributed by the extremely reputable Veltec sports (www.veltecsports.com). Our test is of the HAC 4 Titanium.

At first glance, when the package is laid out, I was thinking “what’s missing here?”. For a unit boasting 57 functions covering the gamut of Heart monitor, cycling computer, altimeter and sports watch, this thing lacked a whole lot of wires, zip ties and instructions!

Upon further review, I realized that it did lack the Cadence function, but found one at a local retailer and away we went. Installation took all of 10 minutes and entry of initial data was a pretty quick deal, but no easier than the competitive model from Polar (get used to the comparisons, as the Polar units are the benchmark of all heart monitor devices for good reason).

The head unit is simple and a little more gloved finger friendly than the Polar s series units (although they are not difficult to use). One plus (in my opinion) is the very adjustable large velcro strap that allows you to mount this easily on the bike, but also to just about anything else. That’s a big bonus given the fact that this unit can be used for lots of different things besides cycling!

The display is simple, large and easy to navigate. You have options of info displayed and can focus on what you want for in-workout feedback. The altimeter function is a standout giving rate of ascent and descent as well as simple elevation. The cycling functions are all here as are Heart measuring functions, including workout zones, alarms, recovery etc. The features are all here and then some in the HAC 4 and that also includes a power measurement.

Probably the most hyped (and deservedly so) training info today is power measurement, and that is the one area on the HAC 4 that needs some clarification. This unit is a power estimating device and does not have an actual direct measurement of power production. It takes into account your user settings as well as several measurements from heart rate, cycling, and altimeter (I believe) functions to produce a power estimate (current, avg and max). But this measurement varied widely in comparison to either a Powertap or the Polar S510 when used simultaneously with the Computrainer.

The HAC 4 falls somewhere between cycling super tool (Polar 710 / Powertap / SRM) and basic tool (any combination of heart monitors and other bike only computers). It fits in the gap nicely in that it is about half the cost of a full blown S710 (with Power function) or a Powertap unit, while giving far more and better information that just about anything else on the market. It is also super flexible for today’s multi-sport lifestyle and would probably be the top of the line choice for multi-sport use. It is also very easy to install (and uninstall) and can be swapped around pretty quick should the need arise.

All in all, if you are not super serious about power measuring, but need a do it all computer and do more than just ride a bike, you would be extremely hard pressed to find a better choice than the HAC 4 TI.

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Get more info on Ciclosport at their website
www.ciclosport.de

Get More info on Veltec and their lines of cycling products at their website:
www.veltecsports.com

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