The best heart rate monitors for motocross riding should be easy to use, have a great battery life, be comfortable, have good customer support and should provide you with accurate data to your chosen compatible device.
My Favorite Heart Rate Monitor for Motocross on a Budget.
The Polar OH1 Band.
I’m a big fan of the Polar brand of heart rate monitors. They are easy to use, cheap to buy and the data is really accurate.
What I never really liked though was having to use a chest strap.
The monitor strap around the chest is a popular option for motocross riders and it works really well. But it was just annoying for me. I could never get used to it.
It also used to slip off my chest constantly after I started to sweat.. so annoying.
Enter the Polar OH1 arm band!
The OH1 is only about $80 bucks and fits snugly around either your upper arm or forearm and records your vital stats from a comfortable position.
I also use it for boxing training so it can take a lot of impact and it stays on my arm nice and tight.
The Polar OH1 arm band uses a new optical light technology that is different from the chest band that records data from the electrical impulses in your body.
The arm band sends light into your skin and reads the light that gets sent back.
This light data will then show you accurate heart rate data. Don’t ask me how that works because it’s a bit over my head, but science tells us that it is slightly more accurate than electrical pulse data.
Data Transfer Options.
What I also like about the Polar Heart Rate Monitor is that it can store a whole heap of data on the arm band device for download.
So this means that after my ride, I can download all my heart rate data onto the free Polar app on my phone so I can look at it when I get home.
I have downloaded about 20 hours of data in total, but Polar have told me that I can save up to 200 hours!!! of riding data which is way more than I will ever need.
Personally, I won’t use a ‘real-time’ tracking device to see my heart rate data in real time while I ride. Why? It’s just too distracting. I like to enjoy my rides, not check my heart rate every minute.
Polar OH1 with the M460.
If you wanted a real-time view of what your heart is doing during a ride though, use the Polar M460 monitor with the OH1 and mount it to your handlebars.
The Polar M460 heart monitor is waterproof and is filled with hundreds of heart rate performance features that will track and improve your endurance.
It will also automatically sync all your data into your Polar Flow app and web service.
The M460 and OH1 kit comes in at around $180 bucks which is great value!
Polar Flow Phone App Features.
The Polar phone app (Flow) is where all the data gets downloaded to.
The Flow app acts like a personal coach in that you can build a training plan that tracks all your essential data and then tracks your progress and fitness as you download more data from riding.
It will then optimize your data and show you where you are improving in your endurance and will alert you of areas where you still need to improve. Very cool.
The data can also be shared to other devices as well as a club option, so your data can be seen by a coach as long with other athletes.
The Other Benefits of the Polar OH1 & M460.
- When it gets dirty from sweat, just throw it in the washing machine.
- Both devices are water proof up to 30 meters.
- The arm band is comfortable.
- 12 hour battery time that is rechargeable with a USB cable.
- Download your data to pretty much any fitness app via bluetooth and USB.
- Excellent customer service.
- The free phone app is excellent and can be used on IPhone and Android.
- Regular firmware updates available.
Not Great for Tracking Laps.
Polar heart rate monitors are not really good for tracking laps for motocross riding. Why? Because dirt bikes move too fast for standard GPS systems.
The problem is that standard GPS systems collect data once every second. And how far can you travel in 1 second? Well on a motocross track at speed it is about 50 feet!
That is 50 feet of riding that was completely missed! With this lost data, the picture becomes inaccurate.
The Polar M460 is designed for a top speed of cycling at pace and can track laps just fine on a bicycle, but not so well on a dirt bike.
It still works okay though if you don’t need super accurate track data.
As a heart rate monitor data service though, Polar just can’t be beat in my opinion.
If you want accurate track data as well as heart rate data, I recommend adding the LitPro service to your Polar OH1 arm band.
There is plenty to talk about with LitPro so I have written another article about LitPro here.
What I do not Recommend.
I don’t recommend using a stand alone watch (like Fitbit or Apple watch) to use as a heart rate monitor when riding a dirt bike.
Why? Well they just aren’t built for accurate use. They are more of a general use device for the public that want a general idea of how many calories they are burning from their daily activities.
In short, the GPS and heart rate data is inaccurate, they have a short battery life and they just don’t work that well.
In fact, any device that is trying to get your heart rate data from your wrist won’t be any good.
If you do want to give your Apple watch a try though, I recommend syncing it with the Polar chest band or arm band and collecting the data that way. This is a far better option.
Do you use a heart rate monitor for motocross? What is your favorite model and why? Let me know in the comments below and if you liked this article, please give it a share on social media.