Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Cateye MSC-HR20 Heart rate monitor



Sophisticated, yet remarkably user-friendly training aid and well priced to boot

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

So much more than simply a heart rate monitor, Cat-Eye’s MRC H220 does pretty much everything bar make the tea while remaining relevant and user friendly for novice and seasoned riders alike.

Described as a multi sports computer, opening the box it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the manual but you can calibrate the unit start to finish in five pages and twenty minutes flat. Aside from being an attractive timepiece, functions include current, maximum and average heart rate (Based upon body mass, height, weight and gender), programmable exercise programmes (up to 44 laps), calories burned, back light and low battery indicator. Thirty-metre water resistance takes care of dips and extends the use to triathlon and other disciplines.

Once calibrated with the chest sensor, performance and operating range seem pretty generous and it unlike some, it seems unaffected by wireless computers and even relatively strong electrical fields failed to induce erratic readings. Beeps and chirps complement the visual data, advising of a drop in pace without being overly obtrusive-great if worn on the wrist and during racing, allowing you to concentrate on maintaining the pace.

Cat-eye recommend sprinkling a few drops of water or medical gel on the transponder to ensure good connectivity although this proved unnecessary over the spring test period, might be advisable during the colder months. Those looking to download and analyse training data on their PC will need to look elsewhere but the H220 sets a very high standard and will prove an invaluable training aid for all but the most elite of riders without overloading those simply seeking to improve their fitness.

Shaun Audane


Sophisticated, yet remarkably user-friendly training aid and keenly priced to boot. test report

Make and model: Cateye MSC-HR20 Heart rate monitor

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Cat-eye's MSC HR20 is a twenty function "multi sports computer" designed to provide accurate and informative performance monitoring. Multi-sports-computer might sound like marketing speak but is a very accurate description of a training tool far more versetile than a heart rate monitor.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Thirty metre water resistance of both unit and chest-strap, current, average and maximum heart rate, three programmable, up to 44 laps and data review, 12/24 hr clock, backleight, low battery indicator.

Rate the product for quality of construction:

Well made with sturdy construction, stainless steel back should resist most accidental damage.

Rate the product for performance:

Provides a wealth of information while still very, very easy to use

Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Very good value given the specification.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Probably the most user friendly training aid of thisd genre I have used given the levels of performance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Ease of use, subtle, attractive styling.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product


Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

Latest Comments

  • Simon E 1 hour 18 min ago

    This afternoon the local paper reported 4 miles of tailbacks and a 60-minute delay after a car fire closed a lane on the M54. There had been a less...

  • C3a 1 hour 15 min ago

    Carbon monoxide "binds" to haemoglobin with an affinity 200x to 240x that of oxygen - and the half-life of the unfortunately quite stable complex...

  • C3a 1 hour 37 min ago

    I think it would be fun to see whether you could persuade a friendly TdF rider to join you for a little race - where you get an amazeballs bike and...

  • andystow 1 hour 59 min ago

    I made that work once... well, walking, not running.

  • NoOneSpecial 3 hours 16 min ago

    The frames are made in the same factory as Squish, distributed by the Tandem Group, formally Dawes....

  • Krislord 3 hours 18 min ago

    I got a nearly new Ribble on the used market last year and I love it, I can see one of these being my next bike if and when I decide an upgrade is...

  • Robert Hardy 3 hours 23 min ago

    In recent months it has probably been a bit of swamp, though I do notice the same on my park, some sort of deep seated fear of the wild!

  • 11waterloo 3 hours 37 min ago

    I had to decide between Cort & Matthews this morning. Naturally I got the wrong one! At least Matthews didn't win but those intermediate sprint...

  • Rendel Harris 6 hours 11 min ago

    The converse of that is that if you tell them they're on camera and being reported and the police take no action at least a) they might consider...

  • mark1a 6 hours 13 min ago

    I think it's due to an "undocumented feature not available in the next release"* introduced by a recent update of the Garmin Connect Mobile app....