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Home > Polar > CS500

Polar CS500 Heart Rate Monitor Cycling Computer

Polar CS500 Cycling Heart Rate Monitor

The Polar CS500 is an intermediate cycling heart rate monitor specially designed for cycling training. It is the next model after the CS400 in the Polar's CS series. Note that the CS500 is NOT a more advanced cycling computer than the CS400, although the CS500 uses Polar W.I.N.D. technology and can be used with an (optional) Polar power output sensor W.I.N.D.

The Polar CS500 package includes the following parts: Cycling computer, Polar dual lock bike mount, Polar CS speed sensor W.I.N.D., Polar WearLink transmitter+ W.I.N.D. The use of Polar's 2.4 GHz W.I.N.D. technology eliminates interference. The cycling computer has an oversized display. It is easier and safer to use as it employs a rocker switch mechanism. To navigate the training data, the cyclist simply touches the left or the right side of the unit. The Polar CS500 can also be used with the optional Polar CS cadence sensor W.I.N.D.

Note: In the list below BPM stands for Beats per Minute and % of Max HR stands for Percentage of Maximum Heart Rate.

The main features of the Polar CS500 heart rate monitor are:

  • Continuous heart rate monitoring from the wireless chest strap using Polar 2.4 GHz W.I.N.D. wireless transmission
  • You can set heart rate limits during your training if required. You can do so manually or via OwnZone.
  • Polar CS500 can perform a determination of your heart rate training zone using the OwnZone feature. This is based on how fit you are on the day of your exercise.
  • The heart rate can be displayed as BPM or % of Max HR
  • It alerts you when you train above or below your heart rate limits
  • Stop watch: Use it to start and stop exercise recording/session. Alternatively you can use AutoStart when you are cycling.
  • AutoStart: If this feature is switched on, exercise recording will start and stop when you start and stop cycling.
  • The Polar CS500 can record lap. The display will show lap time, heart rate, lap number, split time, average heart rate.
  • AutoLap: If this feature is switched on, the cycling computer automatically records laps when you reach a set distance e.g. 1 km or 1 mile.
  • The following information may be viewed while cycling: distance, lap distance, speed, heart rate, cadence*, average speed, speed, average heart rate, stop watch (exercise duration), arrival time, time of day, heart rate limits, time in target zone, calories, calorie expenditure per hour, altitude, inclinometer, temperature, trip distance, power**. The information is displayed on 3 lines and spread over several screens. You can move from screen to screen by pressing a button or it can be autoscrolled.
  • The estimated time of arrival feature requires that you first set the distance you are going to ride. The cycling computer then estimates the time you are going to arrive according to your riding speed.
  • When the session is paused, you can view a summary of training information: exercise time, heart rate limits, time in zone, calories burnt and fat percentage, average speed, average cadence*, ridden distance, ride time, average power**, ascent, average altitude.
  • It can store up to 14 Files (exercise summaries)
  • Each File contains a lot of information. Basic information includes: Date and time of exercise, number of file, exercise duration, average heart rate, maximum heart rate, target zone limits , time in, above, below each target zone, calories burnt and fat percentage, distance, maximum speed, average speed, maximum cadence*, average cadence*, maximum power**, average power**, ride time, maximum altitude, temperature, max incline, max decline, minimum altitude, ascent, descent, number of saved laps, best lap, average lap. If you take laps, then detailed lap information (see next bullet point) will also be available.
  • You can review total number of laps, best lap time and number, average lap. For each lap, you see the lap number, speed, cadence*, distance, power**, altitude, temperature, ascent, descent, incline, decline.
  • You can view various Total Values since the last reset: cumulative trip distance, bike 1 distance, bike 2 distance, bike 3 distance, total cumulative distance of all 3 bikes, odometer, total cumulative ride time, total duration, total calories, cumulative ascent and cumulative descent. Note: You can set up the computer for 3 bikes. The numbers 1, 2, 3 above indicate to which bike the quantity refers.
  • Two alternating timers are provided.
  • Basic time keeping: Time and date
  • You need to enter personal settings such as weight, height, date of birth, maximum heart rate (if known), sitting heart rate and sex to help ensure accurate feedback on your performance e.g. calorie consumption. You also have to input the wheel size for your bike(s).
  • You can set up reminders to help you remember things like when to drink or eat during your training.
  • The Bike mount is used to attach the cycling computer securely on to the bike. It can be installed on the stem or on the handlebar.
  • The Polar CS speed sensor W.I.N.D. measures speed and distance while you are cycling.
  • The Polar WearLink+ transmitter W.I.N.D. is included.
  • The Polar CS cadence sensor W.I.N.D. (optional) measures your real time and average cadence i.e. the speed at which you turn the pedals of your bicycle.
  • The Polar power output sensor W.I.N.D. (optional) measures power output in watts and cadence.
  • Polar DataLink is a small USB communication device for transferring data between the cycling computer and your computer (and onwards to polarpersonaltrainer.com). Once it is plugged in it detects the cycling computer with W.I.N.D. technology.
  • The use of polarpersonaltrainer.com allows you to analyse and structure your training. In particular you can use the training load feature to analyse training intensity and needed recovery time.

* = available only when the optional Polar cadence sensor W.I.N.D. is used

** = available only when the optional Polar power output sensor W.I.N.D. is used

The differences between the models Polar CS500 and CS400 are highlighted in bold in the list above. Bold in black means those features are found in CS500 but not in CS400. However there are many features dropped in the CS500 that are available in the CS400.

Despite what one would normally expect, in this instance Polar CS500 does not have more features than the CS400. Here are some of the features that are NOT available in CS500 (compared to the CS400): cadence limits, different exercise types, multi-zone (heart rate or cadence) exercises, distance-based timers, Polar Fitness Test, weekly summaries, recording rate, Polar ProTrainer 5 software and a few other minor ones. In addition the reporting of data is also less comprehensive. For example there is no graphical view of data such as heart rate or altitude.

However, having said that, there are a few features that are more advanced (or better) in Polar CS500 compared to Polar CS400. First the CS500 uses W.I.N.D. technology to communicate between the cycling computer and the various separate sensors (including the chest belt). That reduces the risk of interference. Second, it can be used with the optional Polar power output sensor W.I.N.D. to measure power output. Third, it uses a rocker switch mechanism, making it easier and safer to operate while cycling. Fourth, it has a large display for easier, clearer view of data while riding.


The Polar CS500 heart rate monitor is an intermediate model in Polar's CS series for cyclists. It measures heart rate, cycling speed, distance, cadence (optional) and power (optional). It has a large display and employs an easy to use rocker switch mechanism as controls. The use of Polar W.I.N.D. technology means it is less interference prone. Overall, the Polar CS500 is a less advanced heart rate monitor than the CS400, though it has its own advantages.

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Useful Information
Reviews: This page has a concise summary of Polar heart rate monitor reviews.
Further information: Visit Polar's official web site.

The next one up in Polar's CS series is the Polar CS600 heart rate monitor.

Not sure which heart rate monitor is right for you? Take a look at the Which Heart Rate Monitor page.

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