Wattbike Review and Overview
Last year we discovered a new wattage indoor cycling trainer called the Wattbike (https://www.wattbike/us). In my quest for the ultimate indoor trainer, this one seems to stand out.
The Wattbike was created in conjunction with British Cycling, to provide an indoor bike for training and testing. The goal was to have a trainer that would be suitable for anyone from school children to Olympic Gold Medalists. Within seconds of pedaling, you can be accurately measuring your power output, your pedaling technique and heart rate.
The indoor trainer has a mean accuracy of 2% across the whole power range.
The Wattbike comes with a Performance Computer. The computer is designed to be simple and intuitive to use. It records a total of 39 parameters and records them 100 times every second. Key information is displayed through seven different views. The rider has the option of viewing their data in Power (Watts), Energy (Joules), Speed (km/h) and Pace (time per km). The Performance Computer natively supports ANT+ SPORT chest heart rate belts including Suunto and Garmin. Polar uncoded belts can also be used with an adaptor.
The Wattbike’s Expert Software allows you to link your Performance Computer directly to your PC, providing you with even more information.
The Wattbike comes in two flavors, Pro and Trainer. Both retail for $2995.00, so the trainer is quite expensive compared to many trainers out there.
- The Pro has a resistance range of 0-3,760 Watts and broadly has five endurance levels (Air Brake 1-5) and five sprint levels (Air Brake 6-10). The magnetic brake extends the resistance range and is useful for specific training of top sprinters. The Pro is suited for Category 4 (male) and Category 2 (female) endurance cyclists and triathletes.
- The Trainer is designed for coaches and scientists to replicate the sensation of ‘real’ cycling and be one of the first factory calibrated static bikes to deliver accurate, consistent performance data and technical feedback.
The trainer that is most comparable to the Wattbike would be the Computrainer by RacerMate. The Computrainer retails for about half as much $1549, but does require you to mount your own bike to it. The Computrainer does offer advantages to the Wattbike, including automatically adjusting tension based a course profile, being able to race against a previous workout and transportability. Where the Wattbike excels is in creating a more road like feel, the ease at making slight position adjustments and the ability to adjust the trainer to multiple users. The other advantage to the Wattbike vs Computrainer is the fact that most people don’t have a dedicated bike for the trainer, so they end up using their only bike. It is often a pain to be constantly hooking up the bike to the trainer. With the Wattbike you simply get on it and go.
Both the Computrainer and the Wattbike offer a wide range of feedback, which can then be analyzed post workout. One thing I really do like about the Wattbike is the great graphics and good looks. The Computrainer hasn’t really changed in as many years as I can remember. The trainer itself is dated and could use a makeover.
Wattbikes were originally only available in Europe, but they are now available in the U.S. In fact, they recently partnered with CrossFit Endurance, so I expect to see these in many gyms, workout studios and cycling stores. I am sure we will be seeing races pop up with these units where a number of Wattbikes will be tethered together for a virtual race.
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