By Sam Aplin
Riders looking for simplicity and convenience over technical wizardry to view their heart rate, The Mio Velo Heart has to be one of the most user-friendly and comfortable options out there. No need for a bulky chest strap with the Mio Velo, just wear it like a watch and glance down as your life-blood flashes back at you.
Unlike the traditional chest strap, the Mio Velo is extremely easy to wear and the soft, rubberised material causes no irritation as your heart rate increases and the sweat starts to drip. And with a water resistance of up to 30cm, the heart rate monitor can be used in all weathers, so that’s no excuse to avoid that wet and windy ride!
The silicone strap is also extremely pliable and the band, accompanied by a flexible clip fastener to fit any sized wrist, conforms to the contours of your arm creating a firm but comfortable grip, unlike other devices which are often uncomfortably large or bulky - a refreshing change for the petite female cyclist.
The Mio Velo is a convenient option for those who simply wish to record their heart rate data alone, or for those who want to avoid getting in a mess with complicated technology. The actual heart rate monitor itself simply slips inside the strap and can be easily removed to clean on a regular basis. Less of a chore than the maintenance of a chest strap which needs time to dry out after use.
Re-charging the Mio Velo is as easy as plugging it into the provided USB cable which is attached to a charging ‘pod’ to case the monitor itself; however, it is not even necessary to take the monitor out of the strap to charge it up so the device can stay in one piece.
However, the optical sensing means that the battery life lasts only eight hours, which is not ideal and may cause some inconvenience, especially if you’re a keen endurance or multi-day event rider. But for a typical weekend ride or day-to-day use, as long as you remember to charge it when it is not in use, the short battery life is not too much of an issue.
As with a chest strap, there is no screen, but paired with a bike computer, the data is immediately and constantly accessible during a ride. Rather, there is a subtle on/off button that’s so subtle, you wouldn’t know it was there that’s integrated unobtrusively into the strap over the top of an LED light.
This is the LED that flashes according to the heart rate zone you are working in and indicates that it’s picking up your pulse. As the sensor sits so close to the skin due to the Velo’s flexible fit, you can rest assured (but don’t rest for too long!) that the sensor is highly accurate.
Although it may seem simple with just one push button and a single flashing light, for those technical enthusiasts out there, the Mio Velo does not disappoint.
Acting as an ANT+ bridge between existing ANT+ sensors and Bluetooth SMART means that the Velo can track all of your data in one place: heart rate, speed and cadence. Not only can you avoid having to invest in another expensive bike computer just to record your heart rate, but you only have one device to focus on as your eyes divert from the road!
The data on the Mio Velo is transferable to Smartphone apps too, such as Strava (a feature that will attract most cyclists!) as well as Mio’s own Go app where you can set your own heart rate zones to ensure immediate and accurate feedback during your ride.
Although the LED light is designed to change colour depending on your current heart rate zone, the strap may not always be visible underneath clothing, during the winter months particularly, so for practicality purposes it is ideally suited to warmer temperatures where the wrist is more likely to be exposed, or for indoor cycling where is it safer to take your eyes off the road and catch a glimpse of the intermittent flash. Be careful to consider what type of cycling glasses you are wearing though - tinted lenses will change the colour of the flash! This is assuming however, that every rider requires immediate feedback - the data could alternatively be reviewed in the comfort and warmth of your own home!
Additionally, if the strap is covered up, it may just be worth re-checking that the monitor is still paired and working with your device following its first outing - Just because you paired it up once, does not mean it will be automatically paired up for subsequent rides once it’s switched back on! However, the Mio Velo is quick and easy to pair so this did not seem to be a major issue.
In summary: the Mio Velo heart rate monitor is an extremely comfortable alternative to the typical chest strap design, particularly for the petite female cyclist. It may look like a simple accessory, but it is a highly functional device which, providing the flash is easily visible, provides immediate and accurate feedback whilst on the move.