Complete with a stopwatch and chronograph, the Timex Road Trainer is a powerful tool for any user. Efficient feature navigation requires some practice, but the advanced extras and customizable screen make up for any learning curve.
Welcome extras, but no coaching feature. The Ironman Road Trainer contains a stopwatch and chronograph, features that are sometimes missing from even some high-end heart-rate monitors. The chronograph allows users to record splits and laps for interval training, and stopwatch mode has an alarm setting and a countdown feature effective for warm-ups.
The Road Trainer receives a heart-rate reading from the included chest strap, which owners say is accurate and consistent. Its six training zones include one custom and five that are preset according to the user's profile data of age, weight, etc. These zones are optimal heart-rate ranges in which the wearer can receive the most cardiovascular benefit. The watch can be programmed to beep when beats per minute are too high or low in a specific zone.
After a workout the Road Trainer provides calories burned, high and low heart rates, time within zones and other important training data. However, the monitor doesn't include a coaching feature that comes with other models like the Polar FT60 (*Est. $150) , which tracks user progress to create future workout plans.
The only major difference between this heart-rate monitor and our Best Reviewed Timex Ironman Race Trainer (*Est. $100) is that the Road Trainer can't upload data to a computer or TrainingPeaks.com, an online portal and user community for training enthusiasts. However, taking advantage of that feature in the Race Trainer requires an optional Race Trainer upload kit (*Est. $50).
Somewhat complicated setup. Those new to Timex heart-rate monitors have some difficulty setting up the wrist unit, but once that hurdle is cleared, the Road Trainer's user interface is intuitive, reviewers say. The LCD screen is clear and can be read easily during a workout.
The battery on both the monitor and chest strap is user-replaceable, but the wristband isn't and the heart-rate monitor must be returned to Timex if it breaks. This incurs a charge if the one-year warranty has expired. The chest strap isn't the best, but it's mostly cloth and comfortable. One Amazon.com reviewer says, "You know it's there, but it doesn't pinch or annoy me like I thought it would." Versions of the Ironman Road Trainer sized for men or women are available.
It outlasts the warranty. The Timex Ironman Road Trainer is covered by a one-year limited warranty. Users say the heart-rate monitor generally lasts longer -- about two years -- before it's done in, most often due to a broken wristband. The chest strap isn't included in the coverage, although one owner received a replacement from Timex when he experienced repeated battery issues. Few user reviews mention needing to return the monitor.
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Review Credibility: Very Good The Ironman Road Trainer receives praise from most owners at Amazon.com, earning 3.9 stars out of 5 after more than 200 reviews. While the majority is happy, a sizable number are less pleased. Complaints are varied, but the failure of the non-user-replaceable wristband gets lots of mentions.
Review: Timex Ironman Men's Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor Watch, Contributors to Amazon.com, March 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good This About.com guide picks the Timex Road Trainer as the best heart-rate monitor for less than $100. She finds the unit easy to use and navigate, although she's already familiar with how Timex products work. She also likes its stopwatch functions, but is disappointed that data can't be uploaded to a computer.
Review: Timex Road Trainer Heart Rate Monitor, Wendy Bumgardner, June 29, 2012
3. The New York Times
Review Credibility: Very Good Personal trainer Pete McCall tests five heart-rate monitors, including the Timex Ironman Road Trainer, for this article. He finds the unit "very easy to learn," with an easy-to-read display and the best user manual of the bunch, but says its myriad buttons and heart-rate zones could be confusing.
Review: Gear Test, Heart Monitors, Jennifer Bleyer, March 23, 2010
Review Credibility: Fair This retail site's founder provides a brief review of the Timex Ironman Road Trainer. He recommends the monitor to runners, although the basis for his recommendation isn't clear.
Review: Timex Ironman Road Trainer, Rusty Squire, Not dated