AT A GLANCE: QUICK RATINGS
Heart Rate Functionality
Ease of Use
Where To Get It
A Deep Dive Into Polar M460
The Polar M460 was released in May 2017. I was,and still am, a HUGE fan of the Polar M450 and this new model builds on the strengths of that great GPS bike computer. Just like the M450, this new Polar M460 is aimed at cyclists of ALL levels. Equally suited to tracking your daily commute as it is to monitoring your training progression. This review of the Polar M460 has been brought to you by Tristan Haskins aka CardioCritic
Who Is It For?
The Polar M460 is for cyclists of all levels, just like the M450 before it. Perfect for everyone from daily commuters to elite racers. With Bluetooth power meter, heart rate, cadence and speed sensor support it tracks all the metrics you’d expect from a performance monitor. An advantage of Polar over other training monitors is the BRILLIANT Polar Flow website and app. Get in-depth training feedback with regard to recovery, training load and much more – all FREE.
The 460 does everything the Polar M450 did with the addition of LIVE Strava Segments …
Main Features and Functions
Strava Segment Integration
Includes two months free Strava PREMIUM membership. If you cycle, you will probably know what Strava is. Strava have (through the help of their members) segmented the world in to little sections. Every time a rider rides on of the “segments” their time is recorded and ranked with all the other Strava members who have ridden it. The aim, apart from a little fun and competition among friends, is to get the KOM – King of the Mountain. CardioCritic’s Tristan Haskins is a great fan of Strava.
To benefit from the LIVE Strava Segements you must be a premium member of Strava (only about $7.99, €7.99, £5.99, etc). I think it’s worth it as you also get a load of other enhanced features like “Strava Suffer Score” based on heart rate intensity. If you opt for the FREE membership, you still get to see segments on the Strava website/app (after upload) but NOT live in your M460
Detailed Power Feedback
There are several standout “advanced” features that reinforce the M460 as a technical GPS bike computer for elite athletes. It features a built-in barometer that is also utilised as an inclinometer (something the M450 did not have – inclinometer).
The M450 did support power meters, CardioCritic has tested it with the 4iiii Power Meter crank. However, the list of advanced power monitoring metrics measured on the M460 has grown to include Training Peaks’ Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF) and Training Stress Score (TSS).
What is Normalised Power?
Take the following 3 different cycle training rides in to consideration.
All rides are 1.5 hours. All rides have an AVG Power Output of 150 Watts
- During the ride aim to keep the avg 10s power @ 150W. Use your gears, cadence and effort to maintain 150 Watts throughout
- Cycle for 30 mins easy @ 125 Watts – then 30 mins harder @ 200W and finish with 30 mins easy @ 125W
- Cycle for 15 mins easy @ 75 Watts – then 15 mins hard @ 225W … repeat x 3 (easy 75W + hard 225W)
Ride 1) for most riders this would be quite easy. Pushing 150 watts throughout. Lowest NP
Ride 2) is more challenging, but at least there is only 1 x harder effort in the middle. Moderate NP
Ride 3) is harder again. Yes, the 75 Watt recoveries are easy, but the 225W for 15 mins is far harder. Greatest NP
All rides are of the same duration and the same average power. However, the Normalised Power attributed to each would be quite different with Ride 1 being lowest NP, Ride 2 moderate NP and ride 3 the highest NP.
Normalised Power compared to Average Power
The figures below have been taken from my Garmin (not yet built up enough data on the Polar M460…) It is clear from the data below that some rides yield a normalised power in excess of 50% of the average power. These rides are generally interval sessions or, in my case, short power assaults on Strava segments. The normalised power figure is useful when comparing different rides e.g. weather, terrain, solo or group etc.
Bluetooth Power Meter Support
Supports Bluetooth Power Meters from all leading brands including 4iiii, Powertap, Rotor, Stages etc….
- Powertap C1
- Powertap G3
- Powertap P1
- Powertap P1S
- Stages cycling
- 4iii PRECISION PRO (dual-side)
- 4iii PRECISION (left-side)
- Rotor 2INpower
- Quarq DZero
- Quarq DFour
- Power2Max NG
- Polar LOOK Kéo Power
For latest compatibility list and detailed functionality support please refer to Polar M460 Power Compatibility Chart (ext link)
More information on Power Meters can be found at – Power-Pedals.com – our sister site
What you see on your Polar M460 while riding is your choice. Polar have set some fairly sensible default training pages with the data fields you’d expect. If however you want more or less data per page that’s not a problem.
With Polar Flow website it is possible to configure each training page to be anything from 1 to 4 lines of data per page. Which training metric you put in each data field is your choice. The only thing you can’t do, something you can on the Edge 820, is change the data fields LIVE on the unit while riding. That’s a shame but not a deal breaker.
Next Model UP
The closest competitor’s GPS bike computer has to be the Garmin Edge 520. The Edge 520 is a brilliant device and it’s hard, if not almost impossible, to find fault in it.
For me, I prefer BUTTONS to a touch screen. The 5 x buttons of the M460 make navigating the features and functions simple, even when wearing gloves and in the rain. Another attraction of the M460 over the Edge 520 is PRICE. It’s about £50/$70 cheaper ..
Next Model DOWN
The model directly below this M460 is the Polar M450. If you’re not interested in the live Strava segments then the M450 is still a HIGHLY recommended GPS bike computer.
Pro Team Sponsorship
Just to prove how seriously good the new Polar m460 is, Polar have sponsored the Canyon Bike Channel Pro team, as seen below. Britain’s newest professional cycling team has been equipped with the Polar M460 for the 2017 season.
Naturally, the team at Bike Channel love this new bike computer as is clear in their review of the M460 here (ext link)
If anyone has read my review of the Polar M450 they will know that I hold it in the highest regard. The Polar M460 has everything I was looking for with regard to improvements over the M450 (not that there was much to improve!). Equipped with integrated GPS, additional power meter compatibility, advanced power metrics and smart coaching. A significant new feature is the addition of Strava Live Segments.
This puts the M460 right up there with the Garmin Edge 520 / Edge 820 as a performance monitoring GPS bike computer for the masses. The M460 includes smartphone (iOs and Android) notifications for all the normal annoyances eg. incoming calls, texts, calendar alerts and (anti)social media updates. In short, the Polar M460 is ready and capable of giving the Garmin Edge range a run (or is that ride) for their money. CardioCritic has awarded the Polar M460 a 5/5 Star Review.
Polar have been leading innovation in heart rate monitors since 1976 – we have loads more reviews of Polar heart rate monitors here.
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