Big-screen Polar CS500 cycling computer offers a first: rocker-switch operation


April 15, 2010

The Polar CS500 cycling computer features a large screen and rocker switch operation

The Polar CS500 cycling computer features a large screen and rocker switch operation

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If you’re a racing cyclist, barreling down the side of the highway at 30mph, what do you not want to be doing? Stabbing at your bike computer's little buttons, or squinting at its little displays, that’s what! Or at least, that’s what the folks over at Polar think. That’s why they’ve designed their latest cycling computer, the CS500, with a couple of unique features – an oversized LCD display, and for the first time on a cycling computer, a rocker switch.

What’s a rocker switch? It’s one of those switches that rocks to one side or the other when pressed, like a rocking horse. Your computer’s power bar probably has one. The CS500 is mounted on top of its rocker, so the whole computer acts as the switch. To change data displays on its screen, you just tap down on either side of the computer with your thumb. According to Polar, this means you can switch screens without taking your hands off the bars, although it looks like that would really only be the case if you had your hands up on the flats.

The “extra-large” screen displays data such as speed, distance, heart rate, calories burned, incline, altitude, ascent/descent and temperature. One of the optional extras is the DataLink, a wireless communication device that lets you upload your ride data to the Polar Personal Trainer online training journal. There, you can set training goals, track your progress, and even calculate your post-ride recovery time. Other extras include cadence and power output sensors.

The basic CS500 package has a suggested retail price of $US319.95.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Getting the latest/greatest is fun but the neatest thing about bicycle computers (for me) is the fact that you can buy a 12-function wired unit for under $10 at Wally World! I used it on a home-made 3-wheeled motorcycle (2F1R) to very accurately measure speed, average speed, odometer, 24hr clock, etc. Accuratizing the unit was real simple after 10 minute install. Did a rolling measurement to come up with the circumference of front tire then plugged that measurement into the unit, that\'s it! I took the motorcycle out and briefly sped up to 70mph. This means ANY vehicle with rolling wheels can use one with (I believe) no speed limits, not just bicycles! Now if the odometer on that old junker quits, you can be back in business for under $10 !!!

Will, the tink

A lot of motorcyclists use these when building / rebuilding. I know Polar are supposed to be \"real good\" but the Sigma does a fantastic job AND I can buy the wireless version for $AUS 75.00 or thereabouts.

So for $75 I get a complete trip computer and speedo whereas a replacement unit (after the silly old bastard tee-boned me) would cost me AUS$400.00 for one from the wreckers!.


Nigel Allen
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