Light At The End Of The Tunnel

systems administration meanderings

Polar V650 cycle computer

Initial thoughts

I recently received a Polar V650  as a gift.  It looks great, the touch screen works well even when riding.  The GPS seems to work well, and integrates nicely with Strava.  Installation was a breeze, although I think the rubber bands that hold the bracket on the bike will stretch.

My Software Experience

To get the units data in to Strava you have to perform the following:-

  1. Connect the [Polar V650]( via it's [micro-usb]( port to a computer.
  2. The [FlowSync]( software from [Polar]( is supposed to recognise the  [Polar V650]( and start syncing the device to the [Polar Flow]( web site.
  3. [Polar]( then syncs the data to [Strava](
  4. [Strava]( then allows you to edit the ride before saving it into your dashboard.


  1. My [Polar V650]( unit turned up with old firmware. That shouldn't be a problem, the [FlowSync]( software is supposed to recognise out of date firmware and offer to upgrade the unit.  I run [Linux]( and [Mac OS X El Capitan]( at home, unfortunately the former is not supported by [Polar]( and the latter had a fairly major bug, where it didn't recognise the [Polar V650]( at all on that OS. The local support said a new later version of [FlowSync]( would fix the problem, to my knowledge that never occurred. In the end I borrowed a Windows laptop and upgraded my [Polar V650](  In the new firmware you tell it that you are connecting to [Mac OS X El Capitan]( ( I wonder why?).
  2. Using [Mac OS X El Capitan]( on the [MacBook Air]( I have to force run [FlowSync]( for the synchronising to work, note I use the actual onboard [USB]( ports for this.
  3. Using [Mac OS X El Capitan]( on the [iMac]( I plug the [Polar V650]( into a [USB]( hub. The hub has two external hard drives connected, they are immediately ejected, but do come back! I again have to force run [FlowSync]( but it never sees the [Polar V650]( unit.

Feature Requests

  1. The Routes feature only shows you your favourite routes, i.e. ones you have already ridden, it would be nice to be able to upload GPX files with a route that you are about to do.  There are work arounds mentioned in the [Polar]( forums.
  2. It we be nice if it handles running. Instead f having the ability to have 4 bike profiles, one of them could be running. I wouldn't need to take my phone on a run then.
  3. In Australia it is the law that all cyclists have to ride with a [bell]( It would be good if this was available from the pull down menu or a new pull up menu.

On the whole I like the unit, the software around the Polar V650 let it down. Some of the bugs related to USB shouldn’t exist, it’s been around a while now.  I’m hoping  Polar fix the bugs and include some of the features requests, using it would be a much better experience.