Today I am going to review the popular Polar M460 bicycle monitor. In this review, I am going to cover it’s usefulness, specialty, why i think it’s a good bike monitors and my personal opinion. Let’s dive into it.
The Polar M460 is a nifty GPS cycling computer with plenty of advanced features.
This device brings tons of super-cool and performance-oriented features on the table including Strava Live segments, enhanced smart training features and more.
I’m a Polar enthusiast, and in general, I have to admit that I’m a little bit of a fan of the Finnish electronic products since Nokia.
For close to two years, I have been using the M450, and in truth, it has been one of my favorite bike computers.
Having cycled for more than 1000 miles with the Polar M450, I was indeed happy with the performance of this device, and I couldn’t ask for more having in mind what I paid for.
But with the introduction of an upgrade, the M460, I thought, why not give it a try.
The Polar M460 was released in May 2017 and is a step up to the M450. It builds on the strengths of its predecessor to deliver the perfect GPS bike computer.
The M460 is seen as a refreshed and extended version of the older M450.
Polar M460 Review: What’s New?
The new Polar M460 GPS cycling computer brings a few functional and aesthetic improvements.
But let’s be blunt. Strava Integration is what the Polar M460 is all about. The three striking differences between M450 and M460 are:
- Strava integration
- Smart notification capability
- Advanced power metrics of Training peaks
Who is it for?
Like the M450, the Polar M460 is aimed for cyclists of all levels. The M460 is perfect for everyone from daily commutes to elite racers.
Featuring a host of performance features, the M460 will track all the metrics you would expect from a performance monitor.
Equally, this new model is suited to tracking your daily commute as it is to monitor your training progression.
A major highlight, and probably a distinctive feature that separates the M460 from the rest of the other training monitors is the brilliant Polar Flow website and app.
Main Features and Functions
Polar M460 Design
As we had mentioned earlier, the M460 is a nifty and compact GPS cycling computer.
A major highlight to the M460 design is the nicely sized screen. I particularly love the excellent contrast that allows me to use the device in bright sunlight.
Below the screen, on the bottom right of the face is a white optical sensor that you can use for triggering both the screen light as well as the front-mounted LED.
A major hardware change on the M460 is the positioning of the buttons on the device, a huge setback we witnessed in the M450.
And while the appearance and shape of the M460 have not been changed, Polar has altered the buttons to give them a firmer stance as well as provide a better tactile response.
Performance of the M460 is further bolstered by its IPX7 rating, and this feature extends to the micro USB port.
With such a rating, you can immerse the GPS in water for a maximum of 30 minutes at a depth of one meter.
So, you will not have to worry about getting wet while cycling as the Polar M460 should be able to shrug off the rain and even sweat without an issue.
Ride Further, Longer
Geared for your most epic rides, whether solo or a group ride, the M460 will provide you with a whopping 16 hours of heart rate and advanced GPS power monitoring.
Polar M460 Specifications
Strava Segment Integration
Strava Live Segments is an awesome feature that allows you to sync your device to receive alerts about nearby segments.
Every time you ride one of the “segments” your time is recorded and ranked with other Strava members who have ridden it.
This feature allows you to see your real-time performance data during a segment and check your results right after you finish.
The benefit of the Strava Integration, aside from having a little fun and competition among friends, it offers you all your real-time performance metrics.
However, to benefit from this feature, you must be a premium member of Strava.
Detailed Power Feedback
The M460 is a power beast with several standout “advanced” features that will reinforce this technical GPS bike computer for elite athletes.
Capture Every Beat-Heart Rate
Heart Rate (HR) is an excellent measure of exercise and training intensity.
Heart rate offers an effective and accurate way to monitor your fitness level and helps you to plan your exercise and training intensity.
Now, remember that your heart rate is regulated to match the demands of your body, and so the harder you exercise, the higher your heart rate because of the increased rate of energy expenditure as well as oxygen uptake.
The M460, in using and recording your heart rate, will show you more accurately than other non-HR monitoring fitness devices your general fitness.
Beyond the heart rate, M460 will calculate your HRmax, which refers to the highest number of heart beats per minute that your body delivers during physical exertion.
And based on both the HR and HRmax metrics, the M460 will then guide you on how to train effectively and improve your general fitness.
M460 orthostatic and fitness test and an easy and reliable way of determining your baseline and finding the critical balance. This is vital for developing a training and recovery approach for the season.
The Orthostatic test will analyze how you recover from intensive, frequent training, and allow you to optimize your training.
This test will prevent you from overstretching yourself, and it’s meant for long-term follow-up, based on regular tests.
You can use Polar’s Fitness Test to determine your current fitness level as well as to measure your progress over time.
What I like most about the orthostatic test is that it is based beyond training-induced fatigue, but goes ahead to factors other factors such as sleep, latent illness, stress, environmental changes, and others.
The wireless cadence with Bluetooth will measure both your real time and average cadence of your entire cycling session.
Additionally, the cadence sensors on this device are instrumental at measuring your pedaling rate as revolutions per minute, and this is quite handy, especially if you are looking to compare the effectiveness of your ride against previous rides.
Most importantly, cadence will help to improve your cycling technique and allow you to identify your optimal cadence.
On the software side, I love the smartphone notification feature that allows me to get all my notifications on the display unit.
Another awesome software update is the data export feature that allows you to manually export your training data from your training computer to third-party apps and services.
And given that the unit is compatible with a variety of platforms ranging from Windows 7 and later, Mac OS X 10.6, Polar Web flow, Polar Mobile flow, and others, the M460 is super handy and convenient to use.
Like all the Polar’s old unit, the M460 does not come with ANT + Connectivity, but rather Smart Bluetooth.
While almost all third-party manufacturers of accessories and power meters use ANT+ Protocol, the good news is that almost all new power meter models now support Smart Bluetooth.
However, it’s prudent that you check on the compatibility of your power meters before purchasing the Polar M460.
According to the manufacturer, the Polar m460 will provide you with a runtime of 16 hours, when using all functionality.
If this is to go by, I would say that the battery time on this unit is pretty incredible, and better than a majority of its competitors.
Speaking of competitors, the Polar M460 is not without competitors;
A step up to the Polar M460 is the Garmin Edge 520. A GPS bike computer, the Garmin is an awesome device, and it’s hard, if not almost impossible, to find a fault in it.
However, if you are anything like me, I prefer button over the screen, thanks to the practicality of the push button. The 5X button on the Polar M460 make navigation and function simple, even when you are on gloves.
Another distinct feature I like the Polar M460 over the Garmin is the price. The Polar M460 is a budget option that is within reach of many.
On the lower side, a rung low than the Polar M460 is its predecessor the Polar M450. The M450 is an ideal choice, especially to those who are not interested in Strava segments.
Power Meter Features
The software update on the M460 comes with additional power meter features such as Training Peaks Normalized Power (NP), Intensity Factor (IF) and Training Stress Score (TSS).
These are quite advanced metrics that could be quite handy, especially if you are a competitive cyclist, as they allow you to get a lot of data directly on your screen.
For the ultimate convenience, Polar is trying to support an increasing number of power meters made by 3rd party manufacturers, which is great for us. For instance, the M460 supports Stages, Wahoo Kickr, Rotor 2INpower, Keo Power among others.
Unlike the M450 which did not support power meter, the M460 has a huge array of advanced power monitoring metrics, including Training Stress score, intensity factor, and Training Peaks’ normalized power (NP).
What is Normalized Power?
What’s the best way of measuring how hard a ride is? Should it be a matter of looking at the distance and time, or should you analyze your average power?
Lucky for you if you have a power meter, as the average power will help to paint a rough idea of your ride. However, the best way of understanding how hard your ride was through normalized power.
Normalized power is a power averaging method, measured in watts, and it used to compensate for changes in ride conditions for a more accurate depiction of your power expenditure.
Unlike the conventional power measurement, which is based off a steady resistance, Normalized power will allow you to measure the changing resistance to provide a more accurate output data.
Let’s Look at an Example
Assuming that you take two different rides of 1 hour. For the first ride, you take on a steady ride with little to no variation at an average of 200w.
For the second ride, you take your ride on a hilly course, where you will need to insert 10-15 short intervals for 15 seconds (putting 300-400w), followed by easier pedaling below 200 watts.
In the end, with all the higher highs and lower lows, you are likely to find the 2ndathlete averaging at 200w, similar to that of the first athlete.
But does that mean that both had the same energy expenditure? Based on the power measurements, it would be right to say that they both worked equally.
However, from the “feel” perspective, the variable ride, or rather the second rider is left more fatigued and in need of recovery.
Though the steady ride on the variable ride might be easy enough to be considered as recovery, still the second ride is a much harder ride physiologically depending on the particulars of the variance.
As the above example illustrates, average power is not sophisticated to cover all the above nuances.
Normalized power, on the other hand, will take into account all the challenging and changing resistance to provide a more accurate power output data.
Bluetooth Power Meter Support
When it comes to compatibility, the Polar M460 is synonymous with versatility.
This is because it supports a huge array of devices, including Bluetooth Power Meters from all leading brands such as 4iii, Powertap, Stages, and more.
For a more comprehensive list on all the supported devices, check on this link from Polar.
Versatility on the Polar M460 does not stop on compatibility, but it also extends to the display.
Expectedly, this device comes with some fair default training pages and data fields.
However, if you are looking to add more oomph to the display, this device will allow you to do that.
The Polar Flow website makes it possible or you to customize your training page. Customization can include deciding on which training metric to include and aesthetics of the page.
On the downside, however, though the Polar will allow easy customization, it will not allow you to change the data fields LIVE on the unit when riding, a common feature we have seen with the Edge 820.
For such a premium gadget, it’s quite a shame, but not a deal breaker.
Firmware, Software, Configuration/Pairing, and Sharing
Using the Polar Flow-an online platform on M460, you can now synchronize all your information, either using the app or desktop-based flow sync software.
Either way, the Flow will allow you to choose and customize from a plethora of existing sports profiles.
The Smart Coaching feature is a great resource that will help to optimize your training.
This feature will monitor the effectiveness of what you are doing, monitor how hard you are training, and even monitor your recovery process.
Some of the major highlights that I really like on the smart coaching feature is the miles and minutes feature that will display the miles you have already covered and the time take to cover those miles.
The pace interval is yet another awesome aspect of Smart Coaching.
What is Still Good?
For starters, the battery on the Polar M460 is still one of the best in its class with a duration of 16 hours using GPS and heart rate monitor.
Weighing at 50g, the M460 is a lightweight GPS and will not bother even the most weight, sensitive cyclists.
The integration between Polar low and Strava platforms allow you to upload your ride to Strava within seconds easily. And given that at times Polar Flow works like a charm, you will not even need checking your rides on Strava.
Finally, all the software features like Orthostatic Test, Fitness Test, Recovery Status and Training load are still present in the M460.
Also See : My Polar V650 Review
I’ve grown fond of the Training Load as it tells me exactly how my training will affect my body and compares loads of different rides.
The Recovery status is yet another awesome software feature that paints a picture of how long my body will require to recover after a big ride.
There you go.. My Polar M460 Review & what i honestly think. Sure, the M460 doesn’t provide as many upgrades as we would have expected, but the good news is that it’s now a better and more useful product for the average cyclist.
To sum things up, if you need a device that can deliver powerful features, really compete with other high-priced model but with a solid budget, this M460 model is for you. Their newly added Strava Live Segments feature takes this model to the next level. From my testing, I can give it a 5 out of 5 start easily as I found it super easy to use and have already meet all my expectations.
Q) Do you need a speed sensor with it?
A: You only need a sensor if you want your cadence output on the device. GPS takes care of displaying speed, mileage, etc. So In short, NO. You don’t necessarily need.
Q) How about multiple user profile? Do they support?
Q ) What’s the battery Life?
A: As I already mentioned, you would get typically 16 hours of battery life
Q) Will I get a Mount as well?
A: No. I bought a different one separately and I would recommend you the same.
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