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The Wattbike App: good, but some areas need work.
The WattbikeAtom Indoor trainer is a next-generation machine designed for the on-line world. There is much to be recommended in regard to performance precision, construction workmanship and adjustment. Electronic resistor has gone through a series of update circuits in the software and is now quicker in response, making driving on Zwift more real than before, although it still wouldn't be my first option for Zwifting.
It is a high value machine with some benefits over a bicycle-based coach set-up, and it will prove to be an inexpensive capital expenditure if you are serious about your in-door workouts. While there are some specifics in the way it works, overall it is definitely rewarding to expand your schedule if you are going to be spending a considerable amount of home exercise especially if you are investing in more structural workouts or if your budget contains more than one competitor.
In recent years, the interior design trainings industry has developed rapidly. Whereas you used to stand in front of the TV with an old tour platform on the recorder (okay, that was a few years ago), in the contemporary environment you can use your tray or your notebook to get direct acces to textured workout, multiple player environment and actual music.
This has resulted in an explosion in the number of different intelligent coaches available to plug in your bicycle. They can get an intelligent coach - which connects to a workout application and varies the roll drag according to what happens on your application of your choosing - for less than 400 pounds, but the flesh of the intelligent coach industry is in the order of 700 to 1,200 pounds, with large companies like Elite, Wahoo and Tacx providing various choices.
Functions, available drag and riding style differ from coach to coach, but there is generally one constant: you need to include your bicycle. In the case where the coach uses a pulley, the tire life has to be taken into account and whether it is a pulley or a power pack, you carry your gearbox.
An atom is a self-contained engine, more like a stationary gymnastics bicycle. Really, you must have a special place for the atom in your home/garage/shelter. When you spend 1,600 on a piece of exercise equipment, you will want to know that it does a good job assessing your performance.
But the good thing here is that I have no doubt at all that the atom provides exact, reproducible numbers. First, I chose Zwift on the iPad, using Bluetooth from atom to Zwift compared to Vector 2 on Garmin. The two tracks follow each other very closely and are slightly within the +/- 2% precision required by Wattbike for the Atom.
But the only exceptions is a 700-800W track along the mall, where the Atom recorded a higher top performance than the footballs. but the atom would probably get my voice. They are both credible: My FTP was a 320W max and a 290W min, while I trained with performance, so they are both well within that area.
Since I didn't do much high-intensity work in the summers, I expected the test to give me about 300W, so I'm more likely to believe the atom in this case. Before this test I didn't zero the stompboxes; following poweplots that compare the atom and the stompboxes - where I zero each case - are much nearer to each other.
This atom has a steerable resistor device that can provide up to 2,000 W of resistor power. There are two mechanism of the atom to vary the resistivity. It is a controlled, intelligent coach on the one side, so if you ride on Zwift and up a hill, or if you try one of the slopes of the Wattbike application, the drag will rise with the slope.
Wherever the Wattbike Atom works best, I've found is in a textured workout area. At the other end, the atom has virtually no tooths. If, for example, you use Zwift and there is hilly ground, you can change up a few speeds for a descent, but the change may not end until you have reached another descent, so you are in the wrong speed.
Things have certainly changed with the upgrade during the trial phase, and the gears are more powerful than they were, but they still aren't the same as throwing a few gears onto your cartridge on a genuine bicycle on an overhead instructor, and I'm not sure they will ever be.
Wattbike will tell you what your device is in, but you won't get this information in any other application, so all you have to do is guess. That point was pounded home as I replaced the atom with the next smartcoach I tested, a £349 Bkool Go. It' s about as simple as intelligent coaches, but the ability to hit a few speeds as soon as you get the feeling that the incline is changing makes for a more real driving sensation.
Experiencing the Atom on Zwift isn't too hard, but it doesn't really make you think you can ride outside like other intelligent instructors. Wattbike has a few uniquely designed functions that you won't find in third-party applications. This is the "sausage" that you may or may not know from the Wattbike bike.
Wattbike gave you the graphics and let you find out if what you were doing was right or not. The Wattbike has also joined forces with VeloViewer to provide a range of classical climbing tours. With VeloViewer information in the application you can test your courage on Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux and the like.
Wattbike Atom is currently being upgraded quite often, as are the applications that will ( and will ) do it. It may or may not be prepared for you according to what you want to do with the atom. The Atom is currently not quite connected to the best when it comes to offering an immersive as well as real driving adventure in Zwift.
You should buy the atom? When you are mainly looking for a textured exercise device and/or there is more than one of you who is likely to ride regularly, it looks like a tempting suggestion. Workmanship is good, numbers are precise and the fact that it can readily be set for more than one driving posture is a big plus.
When you are more about fooling around in the twin multivers, the judges are out for the time being, especially if you are in a position where only you are likely to do any workouts. While the Atom gets better with every upgrade, which is a good thing, I'm far from telling you how much floor it's going to catch up in regards to experiencing other workout out there.
At the moment I wouldn't suggest it on something like the Wahoo Kickr or Cycleops Hammer for Zwift. One has to put one's own bicycle on these two, and they are not inexpensive at first, but it is a more real life ride, and the positive features of an all-in-one instructor will not currently offset the drawbacks of the Atom for many people.
The Wattbike has certainly gotten better since I did this writing. Wattbike: ATOMIUM is the most intelligently designed in-door bicycle in the world. No matter if you want to go on twins with your buddies, if you want to load individual workout schedules from TrainingPeaks, if you want to load up your Garmin files or if you want to test your courage with a bufferfest test, ATOMIN makes it easy and smooth.
With Strava Global Positioning System and simulation from the VeloViewer, Wattbike Atom is pre-installed with awesome ascents like Ventoux and Alpe d'Huez. Climbing mode changes Atom's drag to access the exact slope of your bike exactly, so taking on a legend ascent is as hard as it should be.
Focused, efficient exercise demands concise and exact information. Atom's horsepower measurements are more accurate than any other intelligent instructor, and the new Wattbike Hub also makes them more visual and useful. Every Wattbike Hub page uploads 1000's of points from every meeting you drive, where you can rate your performances and keep up with your bike racing objectives.
Evaluate the value of the product: 1,599 is less than a Driving Coach and a Bicycle, finally..... It' s different: it's very good for some kinds of on-line trainings, less good for others. Presumably not over a 1k pound drop Coach. The way it is, it can work for you, depend on your workout program.
However, currently other coaches are working better for some on-line rides, especially Zwift.