The Wattbike Atom is a neat and tidy exercise bike that’s capable of lung-crushing, calorie-busting workouts at will – but compare it to the Peloton Bike at your peril.
Both machines are included in our summary of the best exercise bike (opens in new tab) But after putting the two to the test, we feel their audiences are worlds apart. Where the Peloton Bike (opens in new tab) Aimed at those looking to increase their activity levels with accessible, follow-up studio sessions, the Wattbike Atom is more focused on performance.
Dimensions – 100cm/39″ (L) x 50cm/20″ (W) x 112cm/44″ (H)
weight – 40kg
Smart features – No
training sessions – WattBike Hub App (other apps applicable, such as Zwift and Peloton)
warranty – 2 years
To illustrate this point, instead of resistance settings, the Wattbike Atom has 22 gears that are designed to replicate the feel of riding a real bike.
This approach still has the ability to help with health goals like weight loss (if you’re wondering, “Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?”, this article shows why they’re such an effective body recomposition tool). But the Wattbike Atom can also help cyclists to increase their speed and sport-specific fitness. So if you can get on your road bike, you can watch your previous personal bests fall by the wayside.
price and release date
The Wattbike Atom was first launched in July 2020. It costs £1,999 in the UK and is set to be available in the US soon. Available for free, the Wattbike Hub app features interval sessions programmed in partnership with top athletes and sports teams like the All Blacks. It’s also a certified Zwift trainer (a popular virtual bike and run app available for £12 or $14.99/month) and can also be used with other training software (including the Peloton app).
setup and usability
Setting up the Wattbike Atom is a refreshingly simple experience. Except for the power cord, it was delivered to us in one piece. So all we had to do was plug it in, turn it on and put the handlebars and saddle in the right position (there’s a handy video tutorial that says “How to set up your Wattbike Atom‘ on the brand’s YouTube channel) and we were ready to ride.
Adjusting our riding position was straightforward thanks to the lever systems on the seat and handlebars. Similar to equipment you may have used at the gym, the lever can be twisted in one direction to loosen and change height, then tightened to secure the seat or handlebars in your new, chosen position . There are helpful millimeter markings so you can also note the exact setting that’s best for you. Moving the seat back and forth is a bit trickier and requires an allen wrench, but that probably won’t cause too many problems.
You can also use the bike without the app if you want, working through the 22 different gears to adjust the difficulty of your ride. There’s no screen, though, so you won’t get any metrics or feedback on your performance that way.
We chose to download the Wattbike Hub app, which offers unlimited free use, unlike the subscription-based platforms of many of their competitors. Our phone quickly connected to the bike via Bluetooth, and securing the screen in the holster over the handlebars was a simple affair – simply place your phone on the bottom bar and press down on the top of the mount to secure .
design and presentation
One of the main advantages of exercise bikes over the best treadmills (opens in new tab) and best rowing machines (opens in new tab) is their relatively small footprint, and the Wattbike Atom is no different. It covers an area of just 100cm long and 50cm wide so while not foldable it can easily be tucked away discreetly in a corner.
We also liked the addition of a rounded metal base and the rubber legs (see below) as these helped keep the bike from wobbling or moving on the ground when we picked up the pace.
The black and red color scheme, along with the matte finish and streamlined shape, give it a premium feel, and the only knobs on the machine are on the front of the grips – much like the gears and brakes on a road bike – meaning you’re out of sight and yet easy to reach. The up and down buttons on each handle control gear settings, while the action buttons above them can be used to choose your workout mode on the app.
With a lever to loosen and tighten, it was easy to adjust the height of the handlebars and seat. However, we found that on harder rides where you might have to get out of the saddle to generate a bit more power, the handlebars can slip down slightly if you don’t make sure they’re fully tightened.
Unlike the Bowflex C7 and Peloton Bike, there is no built-in touchscreen, instead the Wattbike Atom syncs with your smart device to show sessions and metrics. A handy holster over the handlebars can be adjusted to hold your phone or tablet and we found this offered a secure fit during intense training sessions.
The Wattbike’s lack of a screen means you’ll need to connect to an app via a phone or tablet if you want on-demand workouts.
Our phone connected quickly – all you have to do is select the Quick Ride option in the app and follow a few simple steps to pair the two tech devices – giving us access to a healthy selection of workouts. While the iFit or Peloton apps didn’t have the abundance of resources, this is a free resource and still offers bike-based workout plans, warm-ups, cooldowns, HIIT sessions, interval training, climbs, exams, and more.
It’s also worth noting that it can send power, cadence and speed stats to the Peloton app, and also works with Zwift if you’re looking for a more interactive training experience, although we haven’t tested it with those platforms.
During the workout you can see the usual stats like distance traveled, cadence (rpm), watts (power) and total elapsed time. However, the Wattbike goes into more detail than most exercise machines when it comes to real-time feedback (37 metrics deep, to be precise), giving you a pedaling effectiveness score, power per kilo and a graph showing the balance between you right and left leg. We found this additional information to provide an interesting insight into our ride, and these metrics can be used by cyclists to improve their future performance.
The Wattbike Atom has everything you need to test your fitness and enjoy a thorough workout. The adjustable saddle, seat and handlebar height along with the gears, road bike-like handlebars and resistance system all combine to provide a more realistic riding experience than other exercise bikes on the market – something that experienced cyclists will appreciate. However, beginners may struggle with the data-driven, performance-oriented nature of the Wattbike.
The app connects quickly to the bike and provides detailed, real-time feedback on your performance, including metrics like your maximum minute effort and pedal effectiveness score. These are represented by on-screen graphs, while the workouts themselves (usually interval training sessions at different levels of resistance and speed) are represented as bar graphs with increased periods of exertion or power represented by taller bars.
Similar to the sleek design, this no-fuss approach will give a breath of fresh air to experienced cyclists looking for an effective, no-frills session. Case in point: The All Blacks-inspired session we tested provided one of the most sweaty workouts of any stationary bike we tried.
However, beginners or those who just want to fit some fun at-home exercises into their weekly routine may prefer something more appealing, like the bright lights and enthusiastic instructors offered by its rival, the Peloton Bike. We found the lack of visuals made the workouts harder to engage with and would recommend audio-tracking your session with a pair of the best running headphones (opens in new tab).
In action, the Wattbike Atom’s pedals move smoothly with increasing gears, successfully simulating progressively steeper inclines. Don’t take the top gears lightly as a sustained climb is sure to set your quads on fire.
The bike makes a high-pitched whirr when the front flywheel spins, and that’s louder than the whisper-quiet Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike (opens in new tab)it is not catastrophically noisy and does not disturb neighbors or roommates.
The Wattbike’s £1,999 price tag is by no means a bargain. However, the fact that the brand offers a free app helps make this exercise bike more wallet-friendly than other devices that require a monthly subscription fee to use.
It’s still compatible with the Zwift and Peloton apps, among others, if you’re looking for a more interactive training experience, but the Wattbike Hub app offers challenging workouts that will test even the most experienced lifter.
For beginners who want more direction in their workouts, a more interactive smart trainer like the Peloton Bike or Echelon EX-3 might be a better option. But for serious cyclists looking for an indoor or inclement weather training option to improve their fitness, the Wattbike Atom is a worthwhile investment.
With workouts fit for the All Blacks – New Zealand’s national rugby team – the Wattbike Atom is a sleek and compact exercise bike designed for the avid cyclist looking for a challenge. The lack of a touchscreen or engaging live courses means it’s not as beginner-friendly as the Peloton Bike or Season EX3 (opens in new tab)but regular riders looking to improve their performance will appreciate the intense sessions and detailed readings.
If that’s not for you
If you are looking for a one-stop shop for at-home workouts and programs that has an exercise bike at its heart, then the Peloton Bike is for you (opens in new tab) (above) must be a top candidate. In the meantime, if you want something that’s a little easier on the wallet, we’d point you to the impressive (and affordable) Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike (opens in new tab).
https://www.livescience.com/wattbike-atom-review Wattbike Atom review | Live Science