JUMP TO:

Wattbike Atom In-Depth Review

DSC_4869

It’s been just shy of three months since Wattbike announced their new Atom unit, which was designed to compete with higher end smart trainers like the Tacx Neo and Wahoo KICKR.  Up till now, Wattbike’s indoor bikes have been rather pricey – upwards of £2,250.  But the Atom significantly dropped that price down to £1,499, and more importantly added a flotilla of features not even found in their higher end unit.

Since then I’ve been using a near-final unit, and then more recently a final shipping production unit.  Additionally, the company has started shipping our orders to customers (albeit a bit delayed).  At this time it should be noted that the company is only shipping units to customers in the UK, though they plan to expand into the remainder of Europe in 2018, and other regions (notably the US) by Fall 2018.  Though, the company will actually do a quote to ship you a unit now if you want, but support is then limited (and, you’ll spend a boatload, literally, on shipping costs).

In any case, I’ve now got a number of miles (or kilometers) under my seat on both units and figured it’s time to release my full in-depth review.  Note that as always, this unit will go back to them soon – whenever they send someone over to pick it up.  Just the way I roll.

With that – let’s get started!

Unboxing & Setup:

One of the core reasons why Wattbike was able to so dramatically reduce the cost of the Atom compared to their previous units is by effectively cutting out the middle-man (distributors and such).  In doing so, they likely get about about 30% of the cost of the time.  Additionally, they also cut out setup and installation type services, meaning that you’re just going to get a large box delivered from a big-ass truck or at least a big van:

When I first saw the box, I had visions of sitting on the floor of my Cave for hours putting tiny little pieces together – figuring Wattbike had saved money by deferring assembly to you.  Turns out (thankfully), I couldn’t have been more wrong. Here’s what the box looks like sitting outside my front door:

2017-10-13 18.02.25

I’ve done this unboxing twice now (for two different bikes), for the second iteration I decided to just do a unique outside unboxing.

2017-10-13 18.02.52

Once you lift the lid off, you’ll see the bulk of the bike just sitting there:

2017-10-13 18.03.07

In fact, to my disbelief, almost everything is actually already installed.  I’ve spent more time putting together regular trainers than this thing.  You’ll notice the seat post is in there already:

2017-10-13 18.04.59

As are the handlebars, already attached.

In fact, the only things not attached live in a few boxes/parts bags floating around the box.  They are:

A) Aerobars/Aerobar Pads (as well as the tablet stand that’s part of the aerobars)
B) Pedals
C) Power cable
D) Some Allen wrenches to adjust things

That’s it.

Of course, most of you won’t be using the pedals, which are flats – but in the event you’re more of a cycling studio you might. With all the parts on the street looking like a city yard sale, I brought them inside and then got them down the itty bitty staircase into the Cave.  I needed some help to get the bike down the stairs.  It’s not super heavy, and I could have done it myself.  But in doing so I also ran a reasonably high risk things would go horribly wrong and The Girl would find me squished under a Wattbike at the bottom of the stairs.

Once in the Cave, I added my own pedals to the bike.  You can add any type you’d like:

DSC_4876

Then I installed the aerobars/pads, which forms the basis for the tablet holder too:

DSC_4885

And finally, I plugged it in.

DSC_4862

At this point, I was technically done – save any adjustments for fit, which I’ll cover in the next section. Seriously, you can set up the Atom in under 5 minutes.  3 minutes if you know what you’re doing.

The Basics:

DSC_4898

Now that we’ve got the thing all installed, let’s talk about some basic specs.  These specs make the Wattbike Atom unique compared to the previous generation Wattbike’s, in particular on the tech side of things.  See, unlike those previous units, the Atom is actually controllable in terms of resistance.  It has a legit ERG mode, whereas previous units didn’t.  Meaning, you can set an interval at 275w, which you couldn’t previously do.  More importantly, you can do that via industry standards like ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth Smart FTMS, which again, you couldn’t do before.  As for the all the differences, scroll down a boatload and I list them all out in a big table.

In the meantime, here’s the top-line specs on the Atom:

Resistance Type: Magnetic control
Wattage Range & Accuracy: 2,000+ watts at +/- 2%
Gradient Simulation: 0-25%
Connectivity Control: ANT+ FE-C Control, Bluetooth FTMS Control (so apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, soon The Sufferfest and more)
Connectivity Broadcasting: ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart Speed, Power, Cadence
Heart Rate Data: Compatibility and pass-through of ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart to Wattbike’s own app
Total bike weight: 44KG
Handlebar controls: Electronic shifting built in, supported in Zwift and other apps.
Flywheel: Dual 4.64KG (10.2 lbs) flywheels, thus, total of 9.28KG/20.4lbs
Power required: Yes (but battery pack coming)

All of the above are more the technical trainer-focused specs, but it’s important not to overlook the bike fit side of the house.  For example, you can adjust all of the following:

Handlebars: Vertical and horizontal micro-adjustment, or, put your own 26mm and soon 31.8mm handlebars on there
Saddle: Vertical and horizontal micro-adjustment.
Pedals: Swap out your own, comes with flats
Display holder: Increase size to fit anything from phone to full tablet

Note that the crank arms are set for 170mm, so that piece isn’t so swappable, but that shouldn’t be a huge issue for most.  What’s most interesting about this is that some of these bike fit things aren’t even available on the higher end bike they have (Pro/Trainer).  In fact, almost none of the tech pieces listed in the first section are.  There’s no FE-C control or similar, nor is there any Bluetooth Smart support of any type.  Lacking both of which you basically wipe out 3rd party app support.

For adjustability aspects, you’ve got a slew of options as noted above.  On the back of the bike you’ve got a simple lever to loosen the seat post, which can slide up/down and has markings on it, so you can easily remember what setting you’re at.

DSC_0556

I will say that on the second unit I received (a final production model) I had issues with the seat post staying up.  It would slide down over time (a few minutes).  After discussing it with Wattbike, they noted they’ve seen a few cases of this on other people’s units and have made some minor production changes to address it.  The cause appeared to be the lever not holding enough grip against the seat post.  As such, it would actually tear into the material, as seen below:

DSC_6204

Wattbike sent me a new seat post that seems to resolve the issue, and are doing the same for anyone else that runs into it.

DSC_6201

In addition to going up and down, the seat can be adjusted forwards/back, as well as an additional layer within the saddle rails itself as normal.  The one caveat I’ve found here though is that I wish I could slide the seat-post forward more (or inversely, pull the handlebars in closer than I have them currently).  I get that I’m an abnormally tall guy with really long legs, but I can’t quite get my fit perfect here since when you raise the handlebars, it angles forward – thus making the gap bigger and bigger (since the seat post angles backwards as it rises).

DSC_0607

On the front portion of the bike, you’ve got the same quick-release style lever for overall height:

DSC_0614

And then you’ve got a further pile of adjustability with the loosening of a single hex bolt in that red square.  That includes forward and back, and then with another bit of loosening, you can slide the aerobars inwards/outwards.  The display stand is actually built into the front portion of the aerobars.

DSC_0611

The entire handlebar system can be swapped out for your own 26mm handlebars (though they’re working towards 31.8mm compatibility too).  That, in turn, means you could also swap for your own aerobar setup as well.

I will note that on both units I’ve had, the holes were drilled just ever so slightly off on the aerobar pad holders, making them tilt slightly inwards/outwards, driving my brain nuts (it has no tangible effect on fit or stability – just straight lines).  It’s a simple drilling issue, and I’m kinda surprised it hasn’t been resolved yet. [Update: Wattbike says this is on purpose, so the aerobars tilt slightly inwards, but honestly, that’s not the way it works on real aerobars/bikes, so it’s kinda odd.]

In any event, probably one of the most interesting things for most folks coming from the trainer realm is the addition of shifters to the end of the handlebars.  This allows you to actually shift within the game.  The two black nubs to the right of the word ‘Wattbike’ are the shifters.  The red portion is just cosmetic.  There are shifters on both sides.

DSC_0612

While these shifters are proprietary, the company notes they actually looked at both SRAM RED eTAP and Shimano Di2 initially (and started building out on eTAP at first), but eventually went with this method as including handlebars equipped with either of those would have increased the cost of the ATOM.

Now, while the inclusion of shifters are cool in theory, after almost three months of using them, I’m not super convinced of how awesome they actually are, due to a variety of reasons.  However, rather than hash those out here, I talk about them at excessive length down below in the ‘Apps’ section in relation to Zwift – where the challenges become most apparent.

Oh, and before we wrap-up on the basics, the unit does require power.  But that shouldn’t be too much of an issue for indoor use.  They’re planning on introducing a battery pack down the road, enabling you to bring it camping with you atop your Mini.

DSC_0638

And it’s also got nifty little rollerblade style wheels that make it easy to roll around.  I show this in the video a bit.

DSC_0631

Before we talk about apps and such, a brief word about road-like feel.  Everyone always asks about road feel, but the reality is that road feel is subjective.  Objectively it’s driven by things like the flywheel weight (real or simulated), but realistically that’s not always the case.  You can put half a dozen very experienced and respected cycling journalists in the same room blindfolded and I will guarantee you that they’ll all have differing opinions on which trainer feels the most road-like.

In general, I often note that I fall into the camp that road-feel only goes so far for me, since my brain still knows I’m inside staring at a wall.  So while I like an element of road-like feel, and know when a trainer feels like crap – as long as it gets to an acceptable level, I’m pretty happy.

With the Atom, to me it feels roughly on par with an upper-mid range trainer.  Meaning, not quite as clean as a Wahoo KICKR, but better than a KICKR SNAP.  Sorta on-par with an Elite Direto.  Again though, that’s subjective, and I’d probably change my mind in a nuanced manner depending on the given day you asked me and what exact app and course I was riding.  Just like everyone else in that same virtual 50 Shades of Grey blindfolded room would.

Looking for a quick recap of all of this?  Check out my video I put together:

With that, let’s talk apps.

Wattbike App:

DSC_4847

Before we talk about the 3rd party apps that everyone knows and loves, let’s take a brief aside to talk about the included Wattbike app.  This app is basically split into two chunks: The ability to update firmware and check settings, and then some structured workouts they’ve provided for free.  In my case, I was using the iOS variant of this app on my iPad.

Starting with the config/settings piece, the most important thing the app can do is update the Wattbike Atom’s firmware.  On average since August this has been roughly every two weeks.  That’s pretty normal for a just-released product, and it is good to see them quickly iterating.  Wattbike has handily made the firmware update a portion of the app update.  So that way you can see the firmware update listed as the iOS app update description in the App Store updater.  Handy, no?

Once you connect to your Atom using Bluetooth Smart (which it’ll do automatically), you’ll get prompted any time there’s an update:

2017-11-21 13.35.04 2017-11-21 13.41.09

The upgrade process takes less than a minute – and is super simple.  Just let it do its thing, once it’s done simply restart the Atom by powering it off and on.

2017-11-21 13.41.15

In addition, within the app, you can check settings – and validate things like whether the left and right handlebar transmitters are working correctly, and a boatload of other nifty geek settings.

2017-11-21 13.43.29 2017-11-21 13.43.53

One really interestingly cool feature of the Atom is the ability to pair to ANT+ heart rate straps and then funnel them into the Wattbike app as Bluetooth Smart straps.  This is useful because iOS doesn’t natively support ANT+, and thus if you have a Garmin strap lying around you wouldn’t be able to use it otherwise.  You can see below how I can search for ANT+ (or Bluetooth Smart) straps, which is leveraging the bike itself.  Pretty cool.

2017-11-21 13.44.53

Then once paired to an ANT+ strap it’ll show up in the app as any other strap.

2017-11-21 13.45.01

Which then gets to the other purpose of the app – structured workouts.  Wattbike has a host of workouts in there divided up into the sections seen on the left.  Each section has 3-8 different free workouts in it.

2017-11-21 18.22.06 2017-11-21 18.22.15

In addition, they have three plans you can pick from – which include a boatload of workouts over the course of 17 weeks.

2017-11-21 18.22.27

The majority of the workouts are based on FTP, so do ensure you’ve got that updated correctly.  If you’re not sure about your FTP, you can take one of the tests included, allowing you to consider throwing up to minimize Thanksgiving Dinner weight gains.

2017-11-21 13.48.27

Once you’ve started a workout it’ll iterate through each of the different sections for you, automatically adjusting the resistance.  This is known as ERG mode.  You can adjust the intensity of ERG mode (basically increasing or decreasing resistance) using the right buttons.  This is useful if you’re having a bad day.

2017-11-21 13.58.26

One thing that I’ve seen some confusion on with people online is non-ideally using ERG mode.  Traditionally speaking (as in, for the last 20 years), ERG mode means the trainer is automatically controlled and set to a given resistance.  Your actual gearing has no impact on ERG mode.  If you try and sprint, a good trainer will quickly reel you back in to the preset wattage (and that’s true here).  It’s like a heavy-duty rubber band, there’s a bit of give, but not much.

Where the confusion comes in is that Wattbike has the option in the lower right corner to go into gear modes within a workout.  In this mode, it’s like being on a flat road, and you have to adjust your gearing to hit various wattages.  Traditionally speaking this isn’t called ERG mode by most companies (and in fact Wattbike doesn’t call it that either, as the very button indicates).  If you’re in this mode, then you’re reliant on the shifting buttons and all their glory.

image

ERG mode nuances aside, the workout portion has four data pages you can cycle through. Each of these pages can actually be accessed by using the left shifter buttons – so you don’t have to touch your tablet.  Pretty nifty.  Hopefully 3rd party apps can access this soon too – as it’d be great to be able to assign these buttons in TrainerRoad or Zwift to do similar functions.  Here’s the four pages to check out:

The structured workout piece works well for me, though I will say that the ERG resistance change isn’t quite as fast as TrainerRoad is.  For a ~150w jump on an interval (175w to 325w), it took about 4-5 seconds to complete.  Whereas in TrainerRoad on the Atom, it’s able to do about 300w in 2 seconds (I prefer that).  This is really an app finesse thing, and something Wattbike could certainly tweak (just as TrainerRoad has).  Here’s a screenshot of that.

image

Once you’re done, you’ll get a summary of the workout on the app:

2017-11-21 14.50.39 2017-11-21 14.50.56

Additionally, the workout is uploaded into your Wattbike online cloud account thing.  It’s here you can easily share the link with others.  For example, here’s the link to my workout from earlier today (if you want to poke around).

2017-11-21-16-09-hub.wattbike.com

In addition, on the platform you can also add friends to follow their workouts, as well as connect it to both Strava and TrainingPeaks.  I lack any such friends, so…I haven’t tried that out.

Still, for those that aren’t sure what training platform they want, this is definitely a good place to start, given it’s free.

App Compatibility (3rd party):

DSC_4866

The Atom is compatible with most 3rd party apps today via a variety of industry standards.  It transmits dual ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart, enabling it to be seen as an interactive smart trainer across both standards (ANT+ FE-C & Bluetooth Smart FTMS).  Additionally, it also broadcasts itself as a traditional power meter on both ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart too – enabling more simplistic pickup of data streams, such as pairing it to your watch to capture power/cadence/speed data.

Now on the ANT+ FE-C trainer control side things are pretty clean, since that standard is over two years old and most companies know how to adopt it properly.  While Wattbike did have some minor quirks with it, and compatibility with certain devices, when they first started shipping, firmware updates have since solved that.  So all’s good there as far as I can see.

On the Bluetooth FTMS front, that’s a far newer standard that’s really only started to see adoption this past summer (it’s basically the Bluetooth equivalent of ANT+ FE-C).  As such things are a bit wobbly there, to no fault of Wattbike’s specifically.  It’s just that collectively the industry is trying to figure it out together.  So it’s a lot of iterating.  As of right now it appears to work just fine for me on TrainerRoad and Zwift, but I expect other apps will take some time to get it implemented right.  This is the same problem though that Elite, Tacx, and others are facing as well as they transition to this Bluetooth Smart trainer control standard from their existing proprietary Bluetooth Smart trainer implementations.

2017-11-21 18.19.32 2017-11-21 18.19.37

Insofar as figuring out which apps support the Atom, simply refer to the list of standards a few paragraphs up.  As long as your app supports one of those standards, you’re good to go.

Let’s talk about some of the big apps though, notably TrainerRoad and Zwift.  Starting with TrainerRoad because that’s quicker, it simply works these days.  TrainerRoad has done a really good job at leading the FTMS efforts in terms of app implementation across the industry, being basically the first major app to support it.  And my experience with it on the Atom (using the TrainerRoad iPad app as the controller) is great:

2017-11-21 18.19.47

It responds very quickly in ERG mode, and you can see those 300w+ shifts in power, taking only a second or two.  You don’t really want them to take under a second, as then it’s like hitting a brick wall.

So not to cut the TrainerRoad portion short – but all is good there for me.  In ERG mode there’s no reason to shift of course, since the trainer changes your resistance for you.  So you just pedal away and all is well.  Happy Panda.

Instead, I want to focus on the tricky one: Zwift.

2017-11-21 18.18.15

From a basics standpoint, Zwift ‘works’ just fine in terms of the ability to control the Atom such that it replicates the grade as you ride through Zwift normally.  And that works all well.  Where it gets complicated though is shifting.  As noted earlier, within Zwift you need a way to shift (even in workout mode) to be able to adjust to the grade of the terrain.  If you go up a steep incline, you need to be able to adjust your gearing for that.  Similarly, if you want to sprint, you need to go into a ‘bigger gear’ to throw down more power.  All of which is done via those two buttons up front on the right side (there’s also the red front buttons):

DSC_4893

The challenge here though with Zwift specifically is the lag.  See, each shift takes about 1-2 seconds to complete on the Wattbike Atom.  Some might say it takes 3-5 seconds, but that’s only when Zwift shows the power values on the screen, because those are smoothed.  Don’t believe me?  Close your eyes, press the buttons, and count how long it takes to feel the power adjust (Hint: it’s 1-2 seconds).  If you’re seeing 3-5 seconds, then your firmware is old – update it using the Wattbike app.

If it were 1-2 seconds, that’s not as ideal is sub-second shifting, but it’d be satisfactory for most.  Except here’s the catch: That’s just to shift one gear.  If you’re just rolling along on easy hills or heading up a longer climb, then shifting one gear at a time is probably just fine.  But what if you want to sprint or attack?  That might be 3-5 gear shifts.  That means that entire interaction may now take 5-8 seconds.  You can certainly press the button 3-5 times quickly and that’ll speed up the overall shift speed.  But the problem is you don’t have a specific idea on where that shift will land you.  It’s like shifting if you’re both blind and deaf –  since there’s no tactile feedback and no sounds made.  Not to mention that some of the gear shifts are about 20-30w as a jump – which is massive.

2017-11-09 14.02.43

So how bad is it?  Well, it depends.  If you mostly just ride in circles on Zwift and aren’t attacking in a race, it’s not a deal breaker.  For me, I don’t tend to do Zwift races, but I do occasionally make a half-assed effort for a sprint PR.  In that case, I know the line is coming and I can get my gears in order.  But if I were racing?  No way.

So what’s the fix here?  Well, I think a few things would help, some software, and probably some hardware:

A) Zwift: Adding a virtual gear box on the screen would be immensely helpful. That way I could see where I am.  Realistically Zwift needs to ‘deal’ with this issue by next fall anyway, with the rash of indoor bikes coming out (like the Tacx Neo Smart Bike, among others planned).  And I totally get that this isn’t really Zwift’s problem in total, it’s more of an industry problem. But since Zwift has semi-self selected/declared themselves as the indoor trainer industry leader, they get to deal with the issue first.

B) Zwift: Make some noise when I shift gears.  Again, not entirely a Zwift problem, but they get to deal with it first.  It’s challenging because this has to be handled out of band of the existing FTMS/FE-C standards somehow and then ideally agreed upon by everyone. But a virtual click would go a long way to knowing that the gear has actually shifted.

C) Wattbike: Making the shifters provide tactile feedback.  Right now when you press them, it’s like pressing a piece of dough, it doesn’t click nor is there any feedback like the click of a keyboard. It’s just silence.  So you don’t know if something happened.

D) Wattbike: Going with actual shifters.  I get why Wattbike went with the two little buttons (+ red front buttons) – it appeals to a larger crowd beyond Zwifters.  But ultimately, I just want real shift levers on this.  I think that’d solve almost all my issues because I’d have tactile feedback, clear ways to shift from big to small ring in front (thus a big jump), and so on.  I think that’d probably resolve responsiveness as well, but that’s just a guess.  Wattbike says the platform was designed with this in mind (and leveraging something like eTAP shifters), but that it would increase the cost. Personally, I’d pay a bit more (as an option) to have this capability.

E) Wattbike: Allow customization of the gearing.  Right now the jumps in some cases are just far too big between gears, well beyond what my regular cassette does.  Wattbike says they’re working on something like this though – so hopefully that won’t take too long.

Finally, I know I’ve focused on Zwift here, because again, Zwift.  But everything I say about Zwift and shifting is largely applicable to other virtual and real-world (I.e. outside riding style) apps like Kinomap and so on.  All of them depend on the shifting piece.

However, inversely, none of this applies to ERG mode in other apps.  None.  ERG mode in Zwift is different because Zwift is wonky in their ERG mode in that they don’t actually hard-set a wattage value, but let you float (which makes this whole problem far worse actually).  The rest of the world works just fine, because remember, in ERG mode, there should be no reason to shift.  Just keep it in whatever gear you like and just keep rockin’.  That’s the way it’s worked for almost two decades in the trainer world (despite what one app thinks).

Oh – and lastly, I should point out that I’ve had lots of conversations with both Zwift and Wattbike about this.  Both companies understand the issues, and both companies are looking at solutions.  Zwift recently received an Atom to test with, and Wattbike has been making tweaks for the past two months, chipping away at improvements.

Phew, got all that? Good. Let’s talk accuracy.

Power Accuracy Analysis:

DSC_4889

I’ve long said that if your power meter isn’t accurate, then there’s no point in spending money on one.  As always, I set out to figure out of the Wattbike Atom is accurate or not.  Generally speaking, indoor conditions are pretty easy to handle, but I still I test there nonetheless.  It allows me to dig into areas like low and high cadence, as well as just how clean numbers are at steady-state power outputs.  For reference, the Wattbike Atom has a claimed accuracy rate of +/- 2% (the same as the existing Wattbike units).

In my testing, I generally use between 2-4 other power meters on the bike at once.  I find this is the best way to validate power meters in real-world conditions.  However, that’s a lot trickier on the Wattbike Atom because I can’t swap out the crank arms or put a rear wheel hub on there.  So I was essentially limited to only one other power meter.  I thus used three different units: Garmin Vector 3, Favero Assioma, and PowerTap P1 pedals.

Again, the downside here is that I can only do two units on this – and thus if there’s any major disagreements, I’d have no way of knowing which is right.

When it comes to data collection, I use a blend of the NPE WASP data collection devices, and a fleet of Garmin head units (mostly Edge 520/820/1000/1030 units).  These just make data analysis quick since I can easily offload the .FIT files and it records the ANT+ ID’s of the various power meters automatically for my tools to analyze.  In this case, I use the DCR Analyzer, which you can also use now too.

Let’s dive right into the first set, which is from today.  It’s a workout that I did using Wattbike’s app, and is a slew of intervals, getting shorter and shorter over time.  Descending intervals since the wattage amount reduces over the course of the workout.  Here’s the Atom and Vector 3 overlaid atop each other (and here’s the set if you’d like to look at it):

image

Captain Obvious would point out these are virtually identical.  Incredibly close to each other.  Let’s zoom in on those 600w+ 10-second long sprints:

image

Check that baby out.  Look at that last interval – the units are a mere 3.75w different at the peak on that one.  That’s increda-awesome.  And also, incredibly difficult to see in almost all testing I do.  Seriously, it’s not easy to get that close on any short-duration test.

One interesting thing you may be asking is why there’s a tiny little blip at one point where Vector 3 goes above the Wattbike for a second or so:

image

For fun I actually pushed a bit hard for about 3 seconds randomly while in ERG mode.  The Wattbike barely responded to this, but Vector 3 seemed to pick it up.  To see this more clearly, I’ve removed the 3-second smoothing I applied:

image

So it seems there’s a tiny bit of smoothing (1-3 seconds is my guess) within the Wattbike data in ERG mode (not in other modes), which is actually kinda normal for most trainers.  One can nitpick about it, but that’s a personal thing.

As for cadence, I didn’t have a ton of variation on this particular ride, so things don’t look too exciting.  But the units are generally within 1RPM of each other:

image

Let’s now shift to a non-ERG mode workout, just a general Zwift ride around the island.  Here’s the link to the DCR Analyzer sets.

image

Note, you’ll see some drops of the purple line on Vector 3.  That’s because I stupidly placed the Edge 1030 atop my laptop with WiFi, and you can see it dropping connectivity there.  My bad.  When I don’t put it on my laptop, I don’t see any issues.  I need more spots for Garmin mounts on the Wattbike!

In any event, with a regular ride I’m most interested in the sprints, since it’s not ERG mode and thus there’s no knowledge of what I’m about to do.  Let’s look at that 700w or so (it’s actually more than 800w, but on these graphs I enabled 3-second smoothing so you can more easily see what’s going on).

image

Again here, the two track very closely.  You see a tiny bit of difference between the two as I virtually shift the wrong way briefly and then shift again properly (that dip around 29:45).  That’s pretty normal to see slight variations on sprinting – mostly due to recording rates.  But at the peak, the two units are a .33 watts different.  Yes, one third of one watt.

In this set of rolling hill section you see a bit more variance between the units – but we’re talking a couple watts in most cases, and at worst 10w on nearly 300w (or 3% for a second or two). Again, slight differences in recording rates typically account for this.

image

While I won’t dig through it here, for those that want, here’s another Zwift file – this one a structured workout (Jon’s Mix).

Finally, we’ll take a look at a workout in TrainerRoad.  This workout was full of quick changes in intensity – in some cases upwards of 300w between intervals.  It’s these sorts of rapid paced changes that I’m interested in seeing how things perform.  Here’s the files.

image

As you can see, things are pretty darn clean.  You see a tiny bit more variation in terms of how the ERG mode holds it steady (not comparing the units, just how it holds a given wattage).  This gets to the nuances of how every app handles ERG mode slightly differently, and how each trainer reacts slightly differently.

Picking one of the sets above, we’ll zoom in a bit. You can see that it doesn’t hold it super-tight, but allows a bit of flux for each wattage level.  Thus why it’s not perfectly flat.  But the two power meters track very closely, despite the sometimes oscillating nature of my ability to go back and forth between 300w and 440w or so.

image

You’ll also notice at the end there that drop from 425w to 125w: It does it in two seconds.  Super quick.

At this point, I could keep showing the same thing all day – but there’s nothing I’m seeing of concern here on accuracy.  I’ve done both higher cadence work as well as lower cadence work in various workouts, and all of it is showing virtually identical results between the power meter values.  Same goes for cadence values too.

I’d have no issues trusting the power values coming off of this unit.  Oh, and best of all?  Like the Tacx Neo, it needs no calibration, just get on and ride.

Difference to the existing Wattbike:

I put this chart in my initial preview post, but I think it’s important enough to display it again here.  The chart is from Wattbike themselves, though I’ve revalidated and tweaked a few minor items to make it more accurate from what I’d consider certain things to be.  Think of me as vetting it a bit as a 3rd party.

Wattbike Model Comparison

Sale/DeliveryWattbike AtomWattbike Pro/Trainer
Cost£,1499 inc. VAT£2,250 inc.VAT
Boxed and assembled delivery available?Yes - Nb - the Atom is pre-assembles with only the tablet mount and pedals that require fittingYes
Availability RegionsUK (warranty supported)Global (via distributors for warranty)
Sales RouteE-commerse (direct to consumer model)e-commerse and regional distributors
Warranty2 years / 6 moths on wear and tyre items2 years / 6 moths on wear and tyre items
Fuction/Feature
Uses phone/tablet as control unit 'Device used to 'control' bike'?Yes - Android/iOS with Wattbike App/Third Party AppModel B Monitor - connects to iOS / Adriod device via Bluetooth for App use N.b not via FEC
Polar viewYesYes
Left/Right leg balanceYesYes
Pedalling Effectiveness ScoreYesYes (via app)
Electronic ShiftersControl app and bike. 3 button controls on each shifterNo
Gears1 - 22. Across Power CurveAir (1 - 10) and magnetic resistnace (1 - 7). Across Power Curve
Gradient0 - 25%None
Ergo ModeYesNo
Climb modeClimbs available in Wattbike App ( developed with velo viewer)Virtual climbs not compatible
Ability to replicate road bike & TT set upYesYes
Sound70 decibels at 70 cadenceAt 70 cadence in gear 5 pro & trainer are 79 decibels
Ability to update firmwareYes (via app)Yes (via USB cable & laptop)
Training contentYes - tests, workouts and plans (via app)Yes - tests, workouts and plans (via B monitor & app)
In built testingYesYes
Resistance
Resistance typeStep motor driving natrual magnets to replicate the Wattbike power curveAir & Magnet
Wattage range40 - 2000+ wattsTrainer 0 - 2000 watts Pro: 0 - 3760 watts
Accuracy+/- 2% - across the full power range+/- 2% - across the full power range
Electronics systemSmart control wireless electronics.N/A
Connectivity
ANT +YesYes
FECYesNo
BLE fitness machineYesNo
BluetoothYesYes
Heart rateBLE, ANT+ANT, ANT + & Polar
PowerYesYes
Speed & CadenceYesYes
Wattbike HubSave, share and analyse your dataSave, share and analyse your data
Third party appsYes - Any ANT+/ANT+ FEC/BLE enabled app. Custom BLE control via Zwift. BLE Exercise Machine Control support to follow after launch. Zwift, Sufferfest, Trainer RoadYes - via ANT +/BLE Zwift, TrainerRoad and Sufferfest. Manual adjustment of resistance required
Data analysis abilityWattbike Hub and connecting to Strava, TrainingPeaks and TCX exportWattbike Hub and connecting to Strava, TrainingPeak and TCX export
Trainer control
Supports ANT+ FECYesNo
Supports Bluetooth ControlCustom integration with zwift, BLE Exercise Machine Control support to follow after launchNo
BLE fitness machineYesNo
Technical Specifications
Power requiredMains adaptor OR battery pack (functionality coming in October) (5 volt 1.6amps)External power not needed, internal generator
Ability to moveYes, 2 Coaster WheelsYes, 2 Coaster Wheels
Max rider weight135KG150KG
Rider size5' - 6'55'1 - 6'4 (7'1 with extra long stems)
Bike weight44KG55KG
Footprint100cm (length) x 50cm (width) x 80cm (height to road bars) or 100cm (height with tri-bar & tablet holder)125 x 66 x 130cm
Handlebar adjustability (micro adjustment)Yes - vertical and horizontalYes - vertical and horizontal
Ability to fit own handlebarsYes (currently 26mm, working towards 31.8mm)Factory fitted drop handlebars (not interchangeable)
Saddle adjustability (micro adjustment)Yes - vertical & horizontalYes - vertical & horizontal
SaddleLow profile saddleLow profile saddle
Ability to fit own saddleYesYes
Crank length170mm170mm
Q factor160mm173mm
PedalsChangable for user + Combination pedals - flat for trainersChangable for user +E148 Wellgo (MTB SPD, Look Keo & toe cage for trainers)
Ability to fit own pedalsYesYes
Tablet holderCan accomodate from 70mm - 240mm in heightComing soon
Power measurememt measuring the chain tension over a load cell. The Wattbike measures angular velocity twice per crank revolution measuring the chain tension over a load cell. The Wattbike measures angular velocity twice per crank revolution
Number of water bottle holders21
Flywheel2x4.64Kg flywheelsMagnetic- 7.5kg & Fan- 5.6Kg (13.1Kg)
Drive trainChain & timing beltChain to Drive Belt
Needs calibration?Factory setFactory set

As for road-feel like nuances between them, the vast majority of my riding on the existing Wattbike products has been within races (indoor tri’s), and honestly, that was about the least important thing I was worried about at those moments.  Obviously, the larger (especially wind-driven) flywheel means you’re going to get more inertia though than on the Atom.  And thus, more road-like feel than the Atom.  If you came from an existing Wattbike, you’d definitely say the Atom has less road-feel.  But if you’re coming from another trainer, you probably won’t notice it.

Note that I *may* look at adding indoor bikes into the product comparison database down the road, we’ll see.  At present, I might just stick it in as a trainer and note some differences.  I wouldn’t want to enter units into the product comparison tool until they’re close to shipping or locked in spec.  For example, the Tacx Neo Smart Bike I noted previously, that’s still about a year away from shipping, and as such I see too much variability there to make purchasing decisions on – so I feel like including it in the product comparison tool is a bit premature.  Just my two cents.

Trainer Comparisons:

Trainer2017-2018Recommendations_thumb

Trying to compare the Wattbike to a traditional trainer?  I’ll be honest, it’s tough.  I’ve actually come to really like the idea of just jumping on the bike – something I thought I’d never say.  But it’s a tougher battle when comparing it against higher end trainers, especially the Tacx Neo and Wahoo KICKR + CLIMB combo.

In many ways I don’t have an easy answer for you.  If the shifting on the Atom was flawless, then it’d be easy to be honest.  And, I’d even pay a few hundred bucks more for a crispier solution.  But without that, it’s going to depend on what you do.

If you’re primarily a Zwifter, I think you’re probably better served by a traditional trainer.  Whereas, if you’re an ERG mode person and looking for accuracy – it looks beautiful on the Atom.  Really beautiful.

I’d suggest you check out my full trainer guide here, which dives into all the nuances of trainers.

Wrap-up:

DSC_4890

In many ways Wattbike did what no one else dared to do: Make an incredibly tech-laden indoor bike that’s on the cutting edge of indoor trainer standards, and most importantly: Make it actually well priced.  They’re doing all of this essentially a year before the plethora of indoor bikes hits next fall, from companies like Tacx and others that you know and love in the segment.

Of course, in being the pioneer on this – they’re also having to go thru some growing pains of that.  Nobody has a virtual shifting standard, the concept simply doesn’t exist in the standardized trainer app world today (or didn’t until three months ago).  Thus, they’re having to blaze some trails that aren’t super well defined.  As part of that, the experience for virtual shifting isn’t ideal today, especially for apps that heavily depend upon it – like Zwift.  Will it get better? Of course – both companies commit to that.  Can they make it as seamless as a regular bike?  In my opinion, not on the current handlebars, though the design of Atom is to allow handlebar swapping.  How that plays out specifically, it’s not yet clear.

Probably a bigger question is: Will I buy one?

Yes, but not quite yet.

As Wattbike themselves can attest – I was more than skeptical of their indoor bike plans in general, in large part because up till now the tech in most bikes on the market has sucked.  Like bad gym treadmills from decades ago sucked.  But that’s not what happened with the Atom.  They nailed the underlying tech – really nailed it.  And surprisingly, I actually like jumping on it.  It has a really high ‘just works’ factor in terms of always being ready.

Except for me, I keep going back to shifting and Zwift.  If the companies can sort that out, then I’m definitely a customer and my credit card is ready.  In one word, I want it to be ‘crispy’. Make it crispy, and you can have my credit card number.

With that – thanks for reading!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

 Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

119 Comments

  1. Paul Twardowski

    Been waiting not-so-patiently for this in-depth review. Thanks for the good work Ray. I currently have a Neo at home and I’m debating getting a new bike/trainer combo vs an Atom for a vacation home and this helps clarify my options. Given I’m in the US, it sounds like the shipping cost/time issue as well as the shifting ‘bugs’ push me toward doing the tradition bike/trainer approach for now. Too bad, because I’d really rather have an all-in-one solution. If they (Wattbike, Tacx, et al) can get the all-in-one smart bike figured out (and it sounds like Wattbike is very close) then this is going to be a game changer for the industry.

  2. fisao

    I am also a Neo user and was also eagerly waiting for Ray’s review. Sounds like I will also wait a little bit before buying one.

    But from what I read, even a Wattbike v1.5 might solve all the little niggles that are in this 1.0 version. the solutions seem easy and cheap.

    Something else that really bothers me though: Why are not ALL positions adjustable with a lever? Why mix the use of Allen keys in there? it is beyond stupid as it precludes me from sharing my bike with my family members.

    Now I am waiting for the competition’s answer to this :)

    • Tommy

      Do I share with my wife who is a foot shorter than me. Seat.down, bars up with quick release. Allen key with handle makes it easy to whip the bars forward. Not ideal but hardly worth stressing about

    • Tim Grose

      I presume this is because the Atom is designed for home/personal use not for rapid changes in gyms although often I have to move onto the next Wattbike at my gym as sometimes a lever is so tight I can’t shift it.

      Is an Allen key adjustment really difficult though? As long as you can access it easily and don’t over tighten it then should be OK? Bit like pedals – they come out easily with the right tool if have put some grease in the threads and again not over tightened it.

    • While I looked at the allen key stuff too and rolled my eyes, it’s surprisingly quick the way they’ve done it.

      Plus, the two main ones (seatpost and handlebars) are levers. I suspect the challenge with doing levers for both seat fore/aft and handlebars fore/aft is the lever is pretty beefy.

    • Dan G

      I’m just surprised at the number of *different* Allen keys required. Didn’t they try to make them all the same at all?

  3. Ryan M.

    The review was exactly what I was hoping to read. The one killer is fall of 2018 for the US…damn, was hoping for this winter/spring to get one.

  4. Ruediger Weitz

    It is not exactly true that nobody has virtual shifting yet.

    Kettler has implemented this in their proprietary solution (Kettler World Tours) since some years which works very well.
    But it is a closed world and can be connected to Zwift and others only with some tweaks

  5. Troels Jakobsen

    Hi Ray
    Thanks for the review! At work (I’m a high-school PE-teacher) we have a Kettler Racer 9.
    It seems to me it does some of the same tricks, unfortunately only within their own software realm – Kettler World Tours. Do you have any experience with Kettler ergo-bikes? I haven’t been able to find any independent reviews…
    Best Regards
    Troels

    • Yup, I played with one or two at a trade show this past winter. I think they’re headed in the right direction. I haven’t dug super deep into the lay of their land in terms of consumer offerings that are also open-standard.

      That’s roughly where I’m going to draw the line going forward on these types of units as to whether I might review them. I think my ‘minimum requirements’ will be:

      A) Must support ANT+ FE-C and/or Bluetooth FTMS (so apps can control them)
      B) Must be reasonably priced

      I’m not sure too many (any?) other units fit that bill today…though I suspect many will by next fall. Good thing I’m working on Cave V2! Gonna need more space!

    • Troels Jakobsen

      Thats a reasonable choice. It is a major annoyance that it isn’t open platform! Otherwise it works very well. Only I would like to see a validation of the power data. Too bad you are not going to help me out on that one ;-)

    • Anders Majland

      Hi

      The last year i’ve been using a Kettler X7 with link to rouvy.com (Virtual Cycling) on a PC,after using kettler world tours for years.

      Earlier today i’ve been made aware that it is also possible to interface it to Zwift trough an android APP that acts as a gateway.

      I’ve not tried it yet, but just received the testing version of the APP. Have a look at link to ergo.ub-online.de

    • JTH

      I’m using the Kettler Racer 9 (2018 version) with ergo.ub app. Currently for this bike it works with a USB-cable only, although it has BT, seems it’s for classic 2.0 BT connections only.

      Using BT Rouvy for example works only as Windows desktop version. It also has the KTW desktop app, which works fine for simulation needs if I want to ride my home routes. There is also a slight delay with gear switching, at least with BT, have not tried the cable as I currently reserve it for the android ANT+ app.

      As for FE-C control through the android app, this allows me to send the data to my Garmin watch and apps that support it. Gear control doesn’t seem to work currently, so I have to choose between ERG for workouts or non FE-C mode where it just sends the watts to the app. This way I can switch on the bike but loose the terrain resistance control. Without gears it’s not really possible to use Zwift for example in FE-C mode, for workouts it would work fine though.

      Another limitation is that in ERG mode the bike is limited to 600W. This is a shame in Sufferfest for example as I’d have to shift manually to hit some of the high wattage for the sprints. The upper limit is 1000W even in manual mode. The downside for manual shifting also is that for example exercises like Violator some of the intervals are very fast and I’d like to focus just spinning and not shifting which could mess up my pace. I tried it on the first set with longer rest intervals and even there I could barely manage it, with a bit of practice, perhaps… :)

      Looking forward to Wattbike atom or other similar options in the future, I could’ve waited but I kind of needed a solution right now. So the Kettler was the only option I could find that was readily available.

  6. Tim Grose

    From one “abnormally tall guy” to another (I am 1.95m) how close to the max seat pin height are you? As I use a “normal” Wattbike quite a bit, I invested in their extra long seat pin as the standard one was not quite high enough. This works fine with an 85.5 cm saddle tip to centre of BB measurement I now use on road bikes. I actually have 5cm higher I could go. Trouble is, as you note, you also go back so even with saddle as far forward as it can go I am very laid back even for a road position. Sounds like same issue here.

  7. Tommy Haywood

    I own one of these. You are spot on about the shifting in zwift. I did a race the other day and it was so frustrating. Otherwise it’s an incredible bit of kit

  8. Mark Liversedge

    Velotron has virtual shifting

  9. Rich

    Hi Ray, Like many others I was eagerly waiting for your review. Thanks!

    Just a point re the shifters, the red tops are buttons. They let you switch between the various screens on the Wattbike Hub app whilst in a workout and I think they can also let you switch from Ergo to Gear mode and back. Quite useful.
    Also, on the gear buttons, I do get a quiet click when I use them. To be honest though I use ERG mode most of the time.

    For me the Atom was a no brainer for the accuracy I guessed it would have (based on the quality of the previous Wattbikes) and the fact it makes multi-user so easy. My wife and I like to train 2-3 times a week and swapping bikes between a normal turbo trainer was a pain and she wasn’t keen to do it, which meant I did all the time. She just wants to get on with a workout and the Atom lets that happen. First world problem I know but the Atom is the fix.

  10. Hayley Winder

    Does the Wattbike Hub allow you to create your own workouts, similar to TR and Zwift?

  11. Paul Neureiter

    How about noise level? Does the air element add a lot of noise? Thanks

  12. Kai

    That is a remarkably aero seatpost!

  13. JTH

    Question about gearshifts, is this currently even supported by FE-C? I guess traditional trainers don’t need it as they only need to control the resistance and shifting is done through mechanical gears.

    Spinning bike like the atom, which uses magnetic resistance, needs to simulate the gears through resistance, so when hill profile changes and modifies resistance then the gear resistance has to be calculated accordingly, sum up by the app then sent back to the bike to control the total resistance. I believe this is what adds up to the delay?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Probably not intended for gym use, unless Wattbike wants the gyms to pony up for the proper multi-way pedals (Look/SPD/cage.)

    Will be interesting to see how the Wattbike Atom compares to the next Stages Cycling Bike with FE-C / FTMS control (if such a thing will even exist.)

  15. Geoffrey

    ROFL….make it crispy….I love that…great review..I am not in the market for one of these but interesting read for the future.

  16. Boyd

    With all the recent Zwift-centric posts my mind drifted to the alternative universe where the Atom is launched as the Zwiftbike with all the noted quirks and bugs ironed out. Bundled with 12 months access to a tweaked Zwift platform and marketed to the general gym-goer or spin class devotee. Zwift get the extra users and annuity income the investors seek, Wattbike gets a winning product and the users get a simple gamified fitness experience with real “wow factor”. (Boy, that coffee this morning must have been strong…)

  17. Phil

    About the Wattbike Hub Ride you posted
    I see that the power line is not very smooth… take the interval starting at 23:39, it goes from 321W to 265W to 375W when it should be steady. same the others intervals.
    were you in ERG mode? If I look my ride on ERG with trainerroad the intervals are almost flat lines, why this difference?

    thanks

  18. Stephen Evans

    Is there an ideal smoothing value that needs to be set up in trainerroad? Ive just come across this feature in the settings. Also how does the bike perform in ftp test when it switches from erg mode to manual?

  19. Mike Richie

    For shifting, why can’t Wattbike support the existing Ant+ Profile used by SRAM by modifying the firmware. This would give Zwift a standard to support, so bikes with electronic shifting used on a trainer could display as well (at least with a dongle), plus for now you could just use a Garmin head unit to display your “virtual gear”. Since I believe it is all just software, that could even be used for control of the gears (although not sure you would need that).

    • Anonymous Coward

      While it would be cool, implementing the ANT+ Shifting Device Profile is probably overkill. Is the bike a 1x or 2x set-up? What cassette is installed? Is the cassette user-configurable? If so, how does “changing” the cassette affect the ERG curve? Is shifting reflected in the reported speed?

    • Mike Richie

      For this purpose, those things wouldn’t really matter (although would need to be ‘virtualized’ or determined) since the only real purpose is to get it to display your current gear on your head unit or ultimately Swift (or other app). Since it is already supported on head units, why not use it.

    • JTH

      Probably because that would need more complex firmware and there might already be limitations with the console processor / memory, so would not possible to add or configure virtual gears (which would now be stored on the bike). This is because the gears would have to be applied to the ERG curve on the bike and then send back to the app to minimize latency.

      It’s much simpler to deal everything on the app side and just get the gearshifts from the bike, then just tell the bike to produce as much resistance. But then there is the delay to get that resistance on the bike.

      Anyway that’s just my thoughts with limited information. Would be good if someone with real information could shed some light on this.

  20. Mike

    Great to see a company finally executing this. Hopefully this will change the way current companies like Schwinn, Spinning, Kaiser, Matrix, Stages, Peloton etc do manual magnetic or pad resistance with weighted flywheels and inconsistent power for group indoor cycling classes.

    There was a smart guy with a good piece of technology called Powerbahn who had most of this figured out a few years ago (including the shifting) I had a demo bike for a while and it was pretty amazing. Too bad he couldn’t get out of his own way to bring this product to market.

  21. Ben Werth

    I was lucky enough to get one of the first Atoms and have had it now for 8 weeks. Here is a brief description of my set up and how i have found the bike so far;

    Initially i viewed my ride data on the Wattbike app as mentioned in the article it allows you to ride in normal mode (up to 22 gears) or ergo mode. It shows you all the usual data, power, heart rate, cadence etc and it still has the infamous Wattbike peanut only this time it has converted this into a numerical figure called the PES (Pedal efficiency score) therefore allowing you to view and in turn practice your pedal stroke in real time in an effort to ensure that you are peddling most effectively. I believe the sweet-spot is a PES score of about 70-75.

    The app also has a selection of tests, workouts and famous climbs. This is when the bike really does become a smart bike as in the workout mode it will switch into full ergo mode dependent on the effort required (All calculated from your FTP which you have previously inputted into the app). The climbs are a great feature as you really suffer as you would out on the road as the resistance automatically changes according to the gradient of the climb. You track your progress of the climb on the app as it provides you with the change in gradient and how far to go etc. The app is great but i’ve found that the bike has led to me becoming a convert to the world of Zwift!

    Zwift
    Initially i accessed Zwift via my ipad/iphone with the device being held up at jus the right height within the TT bar/holder. Very cool. I then wanted to see it on a bigger screen so put one up on my wall and upgraded to Apple TV (generation 3) and mirrored Zwift from my iphone/pad to the TV. This was great but noticed than unless i had my phone/pad charging at the same time it was eating the battery life and anything over an hour ran the risk of the phone dying during the ride. So with the Apple Tv Zwift app being launched i upgraded to a generation 4 Apple TV and now all i do is simply connect to Zwift via Apple TV (Generation 4 as a minimum). It collects all ride data via bluetooth and Ray has done a great video to show how simple this really is.

    So in summary my equipment is;

    Wattbike Atom
    Apple TV Generation 4
    Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor (The Wattbike is clever enough to read Ant+ and bluetooth but Zwift only currently recognises bluetooth (i believe) hence my reason for getting a wahoo tickr)

    +ve
    Easy setup (Out of box and riding it within less than 10 mins)
    Very interchangeable. My wife can change it from my settings to her in less than a minute and me vice versa.
    Very straight forward connection to Wattbike app, Zwift, Road Grand Tours etc
    Responds brillianty to changes in gradient/workout efforts
    Great Ergo mode
    Looks cool
    Wattbike aftersales are outstanding

    -ve
    Lag when changing gear* – Improving!!
    Feel/Durability of shifters** – Early models only.

    *When using the wattbike through its own Wattbike app this isnt noticeable, it only really becomes and issue when ‘racing’ on Zwift. The first 3 weeks were a really ‘pull your hair out’ experience as you were either ripping your thighs out as you hit a climb as wattage output went from say 220 watts to 550 watts as you waited for the bike to pick up that you had changed to an easier gear by which time more often than not you were by then cresting the hill and spinning out as you went back down you gears trying to put your power back down. However after 2 updates (completed via the Wattbike app, very simple) this is noticeably better, and the lag which i think originally was about 3-4 secs is now about 1 second. 1 second doesn’t sound a lot but in comparison to a standard bike on a smart trainer it is still definitely noticeable/slower. Am getting used to it and if i was 9 out of 10 on the frustration charts when it was a 3-4 second lag then am about a 3 out of 10 after the updates. Still room for improvement but they are nearly there now and i reckon they will be within a couple more updates.

    **Feel/Durability of shifters
    I thought id put this on as this is something that is touched upon in the article but also because i had an issue that although wattbike sorted for me immediately may be one that other users end up suffering from.

    I agree with the article in that when you select a gear it would be better to hear/feel a more audible/tangible click. To give you an idea its a bit like pressing your buttons on your computer mouse but not hearing or feeling anything click or for those of us that are old enough to remember pre-iphone the change from pressing an actual button to type something to an iphone which is touch screen, they both do the same thing but at first the touch screen takes some getting used to. there is definitely a feel of something when you press the button when you change gear but sometimes (generally when your working really hard on an effort) your not sure if its registered or not. If they could make this a bit more definitive/louder then this would alleviate the occasional problem of double changing when you are not sure if the bike has changed gear or not. If Zwift are working with Wattbike on integrating the gears into their display this would also also be a game changer.

    Failure of Shifters
    During a race on Zwift i kept experiencing the Wattbike locking itself into a gear. It would happen intermittently and after lots of pressing up and down on my shifters it would then pick up what gear i was in and away we would go again. Some times it would take 5 clicks/changes sometime 25-30, sometimes not at all. So i would be climbing a hill at say 350 watts go over the top start the descent and nothing. No gears, no power output just me spinning at about 125+ rpm. I took a video and sent it to Wattbike who were absolutely brilliant. They took me through various scenarios on what could be causing it they asked me to carry out a diagnostic check via their app (very simple) to make sure everything was connected and talking to each other etc. After going through various possibilities they asked me to remove the rubber mounted cover from my right shifter and then press the buttons. The top button clicked (more audible without the rubber cover) the bottom one…….didnt!, it was stuck in. Hence the reason why when i was pressing (or thought i was pressing in the case of the bottom button) the buttons to change gear it wasn’t allowing me to as the bottom button was stuck. After a little bit of tweaking it came unstuck. Tt was an issue that Wattbike were aware of and believe it has only effected their first few units as they informed me they had modified the shifter on newer models. They have sent me a new shifter to fit (simple, two screws and one clip) and i’ve sent my old one back.

    When you have an issue all you want is a back up service that gets you sorted asap and in this instance Wattbike were outstanding. The whole thing was resolved within 15 minutes and a replacement part arrived latter that week. Brilliant.

    So in summary, they are about 99% there with this product. Overall i am very very happy with it and if/when they have sorted the lagging issue out then that’s it. Done! This will be the go to smartbike for the market.

    • CHB

      Ben, very many thanks for posting such a detailed write-up of your experience. And if you have further useful feedback in the months head, please post about it.

      A quick question: have you given the Winnats climb a go on the Atom? I’m a steep hill addict – handy as I live close to Winnats myself – and am interested in how good a job the Atom does in simulating the really steep stuff (obvious limitations aside of you remaining horizontal on an Atom…).

      Cheers.

    • Ben Werth

      Yes i have had a go and am afraid to say its as brutal as the real thing (minus the cattle grid) I’ve also done Sa Colobra which was quickly great/painful.

      Glad you mentioned Winnats though as i meant to mention this in my previous post. Having linked my Wattbike App to my strava account. I’ve done it a couple of times and after one of the efforts it logged me on Strava as being the 4th fasted of all time (deleted it immediately). Now the effort was a hard one but their is no way i could go that fast on the real road. So am guessing there may be some work to do with regard the calculation of power/weight/speed or lack of wind resistance etc. Am not clever enough to work out what happened but i do know am not that quick at climbing Winnats. Still great simulation of the climb though.

    • CHB

      Maybe they’ve not factored in the semi-stationary cars and wandering sheep you often need to weave your way around!

    • Andy Kerr

      Cracking write up Ben.

      Mine is due week 50/51. As a long term Wattbike user I’m looking forward to the leap into the 21st century of Erg mode etc.

  22. Matt

    I don’t get it.. These people who designed this clearly aren’t stupid, and are clearly aware of Zwift and the shifting issues. Why would they release this in such a state? Unless they have a solid upgrade solution already in the can, they seriously jeopardize the credibility of it for the prime market and give the competitors a juicy target.

    • Ben

      Matt i know what your saying and i understand the argument for saying that at £1500 it should be perfect straight out of the box but they really aren’t far away now and every update is improving it. When it is seamless it will be perfect. Like i said in my post nirvana will having instant changes in gear and seeing what gear you are in on the Zwift screen as you do your power, heart rate and cadence. Again i believe thay are working on this at the moment.

    • Perfection is the enemy of progress, or, shipping in this case.

      Which doesn’t mean you should ship a crap product (and I don’t think they did). It just means that eventually you have to ship something. With the Zwift aspect, it’s likely that only until they can start shipping can they get even attention/weight to start driving changes.

    • Matt

      I agree, but 8 seconds to downshift is really a fundamental flaw. I’ve been burnt too many times by products that were released too early and couldn’t be corrected due to some fundamental design limitation, only to be fixed in version 2 and a completely new purchase and you end up feeling like you were bankrolling their product development.

      I too would buy this today if this wasn’t an issue. For now, I’ll let Ben be my beta tester ;).

    • Nate

      I have to agree with Matt. The shifter is a core component of the trainer experience just as it is on a real bike. It can’t take seconds to shift in a real bike and it can’t take 8 seconds to shift on a trainer. The current culture of ship now fix later has run its course with this buyer.

  23. Great article! I’m still waiting for my Atom, but it should be delivered in the next few weeks.
    Can I ask for some clarification on something though…..
    Can you connect an ANT+ HR monitor, which the Atom will then re-transmit as blue tooth?

    For example, connecting to my laptop to run Zwift would require a BT HR monitor. But can I use my ANT+ Garmin monitor? Does the Atom re-transmit the Garmin monitor to the laptop? Or would I have to buy a BT HR monitor for it to work?
    Thank you

    • Ben

      Am pretty sure that initially i tried to use my Garmin Ant+ heart rate monitor thinking the Wattbike would work some magic and convert it into bluetooth but it didn’t happen (Think its something to do with a maximum number of bluetooth signals being sent/received Power, cadence, speed). So i bought the Wahoo Tickr which works each and every time perfectly!

      Hope this helps, am sure Ray has covered this previously as well.

    • Matt

      That’s why I like this blog. Ray gives an real, honest review. – saves a lot people a lot of headaches. I’m sure the Wattbike people might have a different opinion…..

      keep up the nice work!

    • Dan/Ben – Yeah, I tried this evening briefly with three ANT+ straps, and couldn’t seem to get it to re-pass after the app is shut down (which is what’s required to get Zwift to see it). I might be doing something wrong there, so I’ll double-check with Wattbike. I suspect it wouldn’t be that difficult to implement to be honest….but then, neither again was it when Wahoo said they’d do it 4 years ago in their HR straps.

      Thanks Matt!

    • Finn Dorney

      Hi Ray, if I am using the Atom with The Sufferfest on my Windows PC with an ANT+ dongle, will I be able to transmit my HR if using the Garmin Tri HR strap, as well as having all other data transmitted etc?

    • No, it doesn’t appear so at this point.

    • Finn Dorney

      Thanks Ray. That seems crazy to me, hopefully they can fix this as I am not going to bother buying another HR strap, I will just have to go without.

    • Finn Dorney

      Hi Dan/Ben/Ray,

      I received my Atom yesterday and have just connected to Sufferfest via Ant+ to my Windows app, and managed to get the Garmin Tri HR to connect first time. Happy about that.

      My wife has been using a Stages SC3 bike at the gym and when riding the Atom last night, could not get used the the varying nature of the resistance, especially the dead spots when riding out of the saddle. It was very frustrating for her and for me to watch. I am not yet sure if this is just an Atom thing, or that she is just used to how the resistance works on those spin bikes. I will do some more rides on this over the coming days and report back.

    • Andy Kerr

      Remember the Stages bike is a “fixed flywheel” bike so the Wattbike will feel very different.

      Atom is a completely different approach to the Stages bike which is very much designed with RPM/Spin type classes in mind, not focussed sessions like TrainerRoad etc.

      I’ve done sufferfest on the Stages. Don’t think you could do a proper Zwift ride on Stages.

    • Finn Dorney

      Thanks Andy. I think you are right. I bought the bike so my wife could do her workouts at home and practice spin (she is a spin instructor) and so I could do my training (as I had an old Jet Black Fluid trainer). Tried to kill two birds with one stone, but in this case I don’t think she will get used to the Atom. Might end up with. Stages bike as well 😥

    • Jon

      Finn

      Do you mean she doesn’t like the way the power number bounces around, even when you are in ERG mode? For example, an interval is meant to be holding you at 250watts … but the reading seems to vary between 235 and 270, and your natural tendency to compensate with more or less effort makes things worse.

      It frustrates me too.

      I’m used to a Computrainer and PerfPro set up at the gym where you essentially get locked into a wattage, with the very smallest variances if you change cadence, as it brings you back to the right output. And if you can’t hold the power, you can’t turn the pedals.

      I believe this is about what is shown on the screen, and not a fundamental difference in the software. I.e. my actual wattage is jumping about just as much with PerfPro, it just doesn’t show it.

      But I agree it is somewhat frustrating and I wish I could have it smoothed out in some way.

      Essentially, I just want the set up I have in the gym at home

      Jon

    • Andy Kerr

      With the original Wattbike, I pair my Garmin and set the Power reading to 30sec average.

      =no bouncing about Power reading.

    • Finn Dorney

      Not so much the power number, but out of ERG mode and just trying to ride a consistent power, the resistance seems to get harder and easier quite often. This is exaggerated when attempting a short stint out of the saddle. I seem to be able to adjust relatively easily, but it is very off-putting for my wife. Does that make sense?

  24. Cliff Gibson

    I ordered mine on the day of release, went through a couple of firmware updates and ended up sending it back and replaced it with the new KICKR.

    For me that gearshift lag was a killer to use in Zwift, where I do most of my indoor riding. Excellent build quality, and great bit of kit, and if they can resolve the gear shift I’ll certainly go back and try again.

  25. Matthew King

    26mm handlebars? Honestly. Has anyone used that standard in the last decade?

  26. Ariel

    Are you going to do a review for Technogym My cycling?

    • No, not at present. The price point is nuts. It’s just so far out of line of what it should be given the components (about 600-700EUR too high compared to something like a KICKR or Hammer). It lacks any of the extra goods that the Tacx Neo has, which justifies it’s slightly higher price.

      Simply put, it’s not at all competitive – despite how many darn Facebook and Instagram ads I keep getting for it.

  27. FletcherReilly

    Hi Ray – as you mention the plethora of indoor bikes coming soon, any chance of a review/thoughts on the recently released Concept2 BikeErg? Have heard good things about it, has ANT/BT support, sub 1k price. Would love to hear your thoughts on it!

    • So, I guess I’m confused. The name ‘BikeErg’, implies ERG functionality, but no part of the specs seem to support that assumption. Meaning, it doesn’t have ANT+ FE-C or Bluetooth Smart FTMS. Also, it doesn’t allow you to set a resistance point best I can tell. Meaning, for apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad, it’s no different than a $150 trainer with no control. :-/

    • FletcherReilly

      Interesting – I saw Zwift and TrainerRoad listed under their 3rd party apps page so I was hopeful there might have been something I’m missing! I think it’s targeted more at the crossfit world than the cycling world (C2 being a rowing machine / equipment company at its core). Quite odd that it doesn’t allow for setting a resistance point when accurately and easily showing wattages is sort of the fundamental pitch of the company, though…

    • Yeah, they’re compatible – but only from a transmission standpoint. Meaning, it’ll transmit power/cadence/speed, but not actually control it.

  28. James

    Ray,

    Another cracking review!

    One area you havn’t covered, which in my experience can be a “deal breaker” is that the current lead time for purchase is 15 weeks!!!
    I completely understand this is better than the current availability for all outside the UK, however in terms of customer demand, I would have thought it would be at it’s highest over the winter period and the inability to purchase “off-the-shelf” certainly would lead me to chose a different product – maybe just a point worth making for all those UK people sold on making a purchase after your review!

    Thanks,
    James

    • Colin

      Yes – if it were available I’d be buying but as not available until the spring I’ll be getting a KickR Snap as a Christmas present. Great product and hopefully there will be lots of competing products in due course.

    • Yeah, the lead-time has definitely been growing, which hasn’t been helped by some of the delays in them getting started (about 3-5 weeks there alone).

      I totally agree that once a company can’t deliver by Christmas, it pretty much loses the revenue for the year. We saw many trainers suffer this fate last year, most notably Tacx with the Flux and CycleOps with the Hammer. But there have been many others in the trainer history books.

  29. Peter Baldwin

    Is it possible to get real distance covered using the Wattbike Hub and Atom?

  30. Peter Baldwin

    Thanks for your expert review Ray. Great as always.

    I’ve recently taken delivery of my Atom, which was unfortunately damaged when I unpacked it! Not a good start.

    My initial feelings were…….. a bit underwhelmed. I don’t feel the build quality is as good as the other Wattbike models. I was expecting a new version to do all the things that the Trainer/Pro could do plus some more. Although there is the added advantage of being controllable, I feel that there are several key features missing; there is no ability to create custom workouts and store them, plus, while riding in the Just Ride mode there is display in real time of the distance covered. The app needs A LOT of work, and quickly.

    I’ve never ridden a smart trainer on Zwift before. I was disappointed in the reaction of the Atom to changes (or no changes in gradient). For instance, while riding at a 0% gradient I was experiencing sudden surges in resistance even though I wasn’t changing gear no inclination. It just wasn’t realistic. I agree with everyone else that the gear changes on the Atom are poor, being far too slow and unpredictable.

    The Atom……hopefully a work in progress

    • Just to validate – you did update the firmware I assume? Not that it solves all shifting aspects (it certainly doesn’t), but it does make it better.

      As for the build quality, I think it’s reasonable to assume it’d be of slightly lesser quality than the Pro Model – since obviously it’s substantially cheaper. That said, I found the build quality really solid for the most part (save the rear seatpost lever as discussed in the post).

      Wattbike today noted that my concerns about the aeropad drilling being offset is by design to angle you towards the aerobars, but frankly, that’s the most nuts excuse I’ve heard. I’ve never seen that on a triathlon bike as ‘crooked by design’.

      As for custom workouts, I think the goal with making it FE-C is that you do that via any number of countless apps today. Some of them totally free, like Golden Cheetah, which allows you to build and load workouts easily.

    • Peter Baldwin

      Hi Ray, yes I’ve done the recent update. This improved the speed of the shifting noticeably. I think my reservations regarding the Wattbike app is that I expected to have all the abilities on the Trainer monitor plus a little bit more

  31. Ben Werth

    Update:

    Been doing a few more races on Zwift and it is noticeable that the latest Wattbike update has improved the shifting, able to go with any attacks, no problem to respond to counters etc. They are obviously getting on top of this now and further updates will no doubt eradicate it entirely.

    With regards to the heart rate monitor issue when using Zwift, you need a bluetooth enabled heart rate strap and the Wattbike wont convert an Ant+ into bluetooth. As is said in my earlier post i switched to a Wahoo Tickr, it obviously also pairs to my Garmin 520 so i now also use it on the road. Plus the flashing lights make you feel like Iron Man every time you put it on!!

    Having now used the Atom for 2 months and read other comments with regards to the shifters being buttons (clicking like a mouse control on a computer) i think going forward people would be prepared to pay a premium (within reason) for proper shifters to be fitted, e.g Sram Etap/Shimano Di2 style. I understand that Wattbike are aiming to hit a price point and produce a machine that is ‘mass market’ and easy to use for less experienced riders but in all reality the majority of folk that are prepared to invest £1500 in a smart bike will also have a bike (generally a road one) that they ride and are therefore familiar with how to change gear. Having taken a look at the shifters and how they work i don’t think it would be too hard for this to be modified going forward and its something i think Wattbike should consider redesigning and offering as an upgrade. If they did i know i would go for one.

    • Matt

      Ben,
      Can you shift multiple gears quickly (how long is the lag between clicking and feeling the increased resistance)?

      I’m just so used to being able to drop the entire range on my Campy gear in one shifting action, I’m probably spoiled. I like the idea of not having my bike mounted all the time, but I don’t really want any compromises. I have an Elite Drivo and it works flawlessly with Zwift. Very natural feeling.

      matt

  32. Chris

    If i’m understanding you correctly, you note that ERG Mode in Zwift is wonky because it allows you to float around the target wattage, and still need to shift for grade changes in workout and ERG mode.

    I don’t argue that this is not true, but i’d like to better my understanding of what is going on in Zwift workouts with ERG enabled. When i’m doing a work out, and it asks for, in example 300 watts, the resistance changes and i don’t need to shift. In fact, if i did shift and my cadence changed, it would continue to adjust the resistance.

    What am I missing? Thanks!

    • It’s actually something I’m working with Zwift on, as they’re saying the behavior I’m seeing isn’t expected (though, I can demonstrate it on multiple different vendor units).

      The problem is that it’s neither fast, nor steady. For example, I was in Zwift ERG mode two days ago and doing 420w 1-minute sets. It would float the wattage between about 305w and 470w, without holding it, even if my cadence was exactly the same.

  33. Chris

    So this issue isn’t unique to particular trainers? Also, i expect that on the zwift software it’s displaying steady watt output in erg mode, but your power meters show the wild fluctuation? Thanks for the reply. Your site is invaluable to me getting into and understanding all this.

  34. Andreas

    After watching your first video I wanted to have this thing – however it turned out they don‘t want to sell it outside U.K. – they even stopped answering my request. Well if service already sucks pre-sales… maybe a turbo trainer is still the better choice.

  35. Steve Hurley

    I took delivery of an Atom a few weeks ago and have used it for about twenty hours so I thought I would share a few observations to complement Ray’s in depth review above. I also have a Wattbike Pro/Trainer so have experience of using both. I bought the Atom because I specially wanted ERG mode which the Pro/trainer doesn’t offer.

    Initially building of the Atom is very straightforward. Connecting the smart device is relatively simple but I did have some problems connecting a garmin HR strap via an ant+ usb dongle particularly using the Wattbike Hub, on Trainerroad the connection is faultless.

    The Wattbike Hub offers tests, climbs, speed workouts etc. My first ride using the Atom was to use the Alpe D Huez climb workout. This worked really well with the resistance dictated by the gradient with me changing gears as the gradient increased or decreased. Perfect.

    This brings me to a major disappointment with the Atom (for me at least), the gradient feature is only available in the climb workouts. If I wanted to just ride and then increase the gradient it doesn’t allow me to do this. Obviously the Atom has the functionality to allow this but this hasn’t been made available to the user yet. Also the user guide (downloadable from Wattbike) on page 10 mentions there are three action modes with the right red button :- gear mode, gradient mode mode and erg mode with the up/down buttons moving up/down the gears/gradient/erg power (5W increments). The user guide says “To switch between the modes, press the red action button on the right shifter”, this is plain wrong. In fact the whole page 10 is misleading. This may not be a problem in itself but one of the differences listed between the Atom and the Pro/Trainer is the gradient mode between 0% and 25% listed for the Atom. This may influence prospective buyers, it did with me. I contacted Wattbike about the three action modes and the gradient mode and this was their reply:- “The Gradient mode you aren’t seeing is for when you are in one of the climb sessions on the App. In a normal Just ride session you won’t see or experience that.” So it is not available to users.

    A second observation concerns using the Atom on Trainerroad. Nearly all of my wattbike sessions use trainerroad. Integration is easy, however I realised that I can only use erg mode. Resistance mode is “ available” but doesn’t actually work any where near effectively to the point of being useless. I contacted trainerroad, this was their reply:- ” I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately Wattbike has not implemented resistance mode for the Atom, and has not yet decided if they will actually do so. Shifting gears on the Wattbike does increase resistance, but it does not use the same standard resistance mode protocols that other electronic trainers use, which is why it does not work within our app the same way Resistance mode does for other smart trainers.
    Hopefully Wattbike implements some changes to this protocol via a firmware update, but we will have to wait and see on that one.”

    A potential problem related to this for potential users is the FTP tests which should automatically switch to resistance mode for the 20 minute interval to allow the user to find their best average power.

    I think perspective buyers need to be made aware of what I consider disappointments and slightly misleading marketing on the Atom. In summary I would still buy one because having erg mode was my overriding required functionality but the two disappointments could be deal breakers for others.

    Firmware version – 1.01.58
    Hub version – 3.2.4

    Steve Hurley

    • CHB

      Thanks for those comments, Steve. My takeaway is that Wattbike are pretty sloppy on the software compared to what I’d like to see and have under-delivered compared to expectations.

      I’m discouraged by their email response to you, stating ““The Gradient mode you aren’t seeing is for when you are in one of the climb sessions on the App””, as it suggests a lack of ambition on their behalf with regards software.

      I’d assumed it worked the way you did, not how Wattbike state, so this is a let down. That they aren’t apparently working to implement this cements my view re lack of software ambition and that they’re not *yet* sufficiently software-centric – this may well change, and hopefully will, but if it doesn’t they’ll eventually suffer because someone (else) will eventually nail all this stuff.

      I plan to buy a high-end smart trainer setup next year, so will keep on watching. At present, the Atom isn’t buyable by my own yardstick.

  36. Chris

    Hi Ray,
    thank you for this review! The noise is 70 db – is the tacx neo louder than the atom? What would be the most silent smart trainer in your opinion?

    Thanks for a response, keep up the great work!
    Best, Chris

  37. Colin

    Hi
    I have a connection problem. Atom works via BT and the Wattbike app fine. However when on zwift it links up via BT seemingly fine but I don’t get any changes in resistance (feedback) from the course for instance when going up zwift mountain. And no gears can be used. I’m simply sitting and spinning at 100w at 100rpm.
    Any ideas?

    • It sounds like in Zwift you have it paired as a power meter, but not also as a controllable trainer.

    • Colin

      Hi yeah I think it is, it automatically highlights power, cadence and controllable trainer with the serial no of my atom. but nothing happens. Should I turn off one of them?

    • Colin

      Yeah it does. Thanks for the tip. I’ll turn off the PM and go with trainer only.
      Your review has been amazingly helpful.

    • Good deal. Also, as a general tip for others that might get into a similar situation – be sure your Wattbike app is closed in the background – since that’ll hold the connection. if it’s still not showing up after closing said app, flipping the power switch for a second or two will quick things up. :)

    • So you can’t connect the Atom to the Wattbike app AND Zwift etc?

      That’s a shame if so, as I would normally ride on Zwift for the miles, then have a look at my data on the Wattbike app at the end to see info about pedalling etc….

      If that’s the case, I presume you can’t import any data into the app afterwards?

    • Sorta. Wattbike has the same Bluetooth Smart limitation as any other device/trainer/sensor: Max one sustained connection.

      However, the way you can get around that is to simply have Zwift use ANT+ instead. For example, on some rides above I’d connect to TrainerRoad with BLE, and then Zwift with ANT+ – thus effectively recording mileage in Zwift while doing a workout in TrainerRoad.

  38. Andy K

    I’m now in my two week delivery window.

    Will I get any advanced notice of delivery?

  39. Colin

    Yeah it all happens pretty seamlessly if in the uk seems to be Panther deliveries.
    You get an email and then can select a day.

  40. Jon

    Is anybody using Sufferfest with an Atom?
    I seem to connect ok … my cadence, power and heat rate are accurate. But I’m not getting the right level of resistance when the intervals kick in.
    I don’t think it is as simple as the time lag everyone has commented on. I’m waiting. But nothing much happens.
    Do I need to open the WattBike app first to check I am in erg mode? Do I need to make sure the Wattbike app is closed? To be fair, I think I have tried both and a fair bit more.
    Meanwhile, it works great in gear mode on Zwift … and build quality, feel an ease of use are just great.

    • Colin

      Hi
      Are you Bluetooth or ant+ Cos I can’t get the thing to do anything through BT resistance wise on anything other than the Wattbike app.

    • Jon

      I’m using an IPad without a dongle, and a Wahoo tickr … so all Bluetooth.
      Do I need to go Ant+?
      And if so, how do I can sort my set up? I have a dongle for the iPad that I used to use for virtual power on trainer road. Will that do? Where do I make the choice?
      And do 8 stay with the BT heart strap.?
      Thnx

    • Colin

      Hi
      If it’s working with zwift your ahead of me. I don’t get why I mine won’t work with Zwift. I use Bluetooth through an iPad. But can’t get it to offer any resistance or make the gears work!? Don’t understand why the variability from person to person. Some are saying ant+ works better I was going to try that.

    • RE: Sufferfest – They can only control Wahoo KICKR trainers at this point unfortunately…end of story. :( They’re saying sometime this winter they’ll support other trainer platforms.

      RE: Zwift/TrainerRoad/others

      These do work just fine over Bluetooth Smart only. In general, when I see Bluetooth Smart issues on trainers (any of them), it’s almost always because another app has taken control of it. Remember, only one concurrent Bluetooth Smart connection is allowed to the trainer (Atom in this case). Be it the Wattbike app, or another app. Validate all those apps are closed, and also try switching on and off Bluetooth on your tablet/phone/whatever, as well as flick that red power button for a second on the Wattbike to ensure it’s killed the connection.

    • You *can* control your Atom via The Sufferfest App using ANT+.

      We’re working on Bluetooth control now.

    • Ahh, good point, should have clarified that I was referring to the iOS/BT.

    • Jon

      Dave / Ray
      That’s great. Thanks so much for the replies
      Just to be absolutely clear. It WILL work today with ANT+
      So I simply use the dongle on the iPad and turn on ant+.
      But do I also leave bluetooth turned on for the HR strap, or am I best to use an ANT+ strap and turn off Bluetoot?
      Thanks

      Jon

  41. Joe

    I’m interested in the Wattbike – as a HIIT platform… Not so much as training for performance cycling.

    I essentially am looking for an indoor exercise bike with an open platform.

    One concern I have is that the comment about raising the handlebars shifts them forward. As a 6’1″ person with some lumbar spine issues…

    The (much) more expensive indoor exercise bikes I’ve looked at in the past allow a more upright “spine-friendly” posture from what I can tell.

    Am I over-thinking the Wattbike design? As much as I’d like to have the lumbar health to train like a real cyclist, that ship has sailed on my lumbar discs.

    Thanks!

  42. Ash

    Really nice review, Ray, and I’m impressed with it’s features. Two things are putting me off:

    The sound is a bit too whiney. How would it compare to my Kickr?

    There’s currently a 15 week wait and they want the full payment now!