How does Wattbike works and What Makes it Different?

How does Wattbike work cover image

If you have been to a gym to try and get fit, you must be familiar with the common pieces of equipment in there. The mandatory treadmill that is always occupied by someone who instead of running, keeps leisurely walking on it for hours. Then there’s the cross-fit section and a few other types of equipment. There’s also an indoor bike there to punish your glutes and legs. So how come the Wattbike is so expensive and different from it? And how does Wattbike works?
The question comes from the experience the Wattbike gives. It is unlike any other indoor bike experience. How does this Wattbike give such a realistic feeling of riding a bike outside, whilst being inside the house?

What is the Wattbike?

Wattbike is the registered name for a proprietary indoor bike that analyses and computes your cycling performance. It was founded way back in the year 2000 and has been one of the favorite indoor bikes for professional athletes and cyclists.

People can’t go out and practice cycling in every weather condition such as heavy snow or rain. But indoor bikes aren’t that great. All they do is create resistance for the sake of it. Riding a bike outside on the road and using an indoor bike is very different. 

So how does Wattbike works and what makes it feel so similar to riding a bike out of the road? The secret is how you pedal it and how the bike gives resistance. The resistance is offered in air and magnetic way. Let’s look into it in detail. 

How does Wattbike works?

A Wattbike
Image: Wattbike

The feeling of riding an actual bike on the road and climbing hills is achieved by air and magnetic resistance. The air resistance is used to simulate road cycling and the magnetic resistance is used to simulate hill climbing. 

The air resistance mode gives a gear to adjust the levels of intensity of the resistance on offer. Ranging from 1 to 10, 1 is for the lightest air resistance and 10 is for the strongest. This gear lever regulates the air inflow through the holes, just like riding on the roads. 

To simulate an uphill climb, the wattbike uses magnetic resistance in the wheels which works similarly like a low-powered brake. The magnetic gear lever ranges from 1 to 7, 1 offering the lowest resistance, and 7 the strongest. So as you cycle through the resistance, it gives a feeling of riding uphill, against gravity. This is how Wattbike works. But there’s more to it. 

Wattbike analysis data.

Wattbike is not just a great outdoor cycling simulator, but it is a meticulous data organizer as well. The name Wattbike is attributed to the way your power input is measured. This input is cycling performance, technique, duration of the workout, heart rate, etc. This power input is measured in watts (hence the name Wattbike). 

The Wattbike measures over 40 variables of your exercise patterns. This includes time-to-force peak, heart rate, power peak, angle-of-force peak, even right-left-leg balance. This puts a huge advantage for professional athletes and cyclists who are looking to improve and get into competitive sports.

The abundant and detailed data shown let people analyze and visualize their performance. This allows them to get a picture of their performance and improve upon their weaknesses. What makes it even great is how quickly it can detect the changes and give the results. Here’s an example;

How does Wattbike work information cluster

Suppose you are dissatisfied with your performance and want to change your strategy. The amount of data analyzed by the bike is massive and hence it can detect changes in your exercising and training pattern. Once you change, let’s say your peak power output, it can be seen in the data and the app calculates the change in overall performance. This enables you to know whether the change you just did is beneficial or not.

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The data hub.

It won’t be complete to just know how does Wattbike works. It is also necessary to understand how the data is transferred and interpreted. The processor in the Wattbike measures your foot-progression a whopping 100 times in one pedal revolution.

The data also offers some valuable insights to increase the maximum efficiency for riding. One example is it tells to apply power only in half-cycle of the peddling, instead of the full cycle. All these tips are great for both professional and amateurs. The data can be shown and stored in phones and tablets with the Wattbike hub app.

A person riding a bike

Is the data accurate?

With every data analysis, there is always a window of inaccuracies. It is impossible to completely remove the scope of inaccuracies when a large amount of data is analyzed. There is also some margin of data error and it ranges from 1% to 6% depending upon the amount of power output. Here’s the range;

  • Less than 100 Watts – up to 6% (6 Watts)
  • 100-200 Watts – below 2% (2 to 4 Watts)
  • 200 – 500 Watts – below 1.5% (3 to 7.5 Watts)
  • More than 500 Watts – below 1% (5 Watts)

Wattbike vs Spin bike 

The differences between wattbike and spin bikes are immense. From reading about how does wattbike works, it is fair to assume that the technology behind wattbike is pretty advanced. But does that justify the $1000+ price tag of it? And what makes it different from the regular spin bikes that come at a fraction of the price for Wattbike? 

A spin bike has a flywheel attached to the peddles and can offer stationary cycling. Some advanced spin bikes also offer magnetic resistance to simulate an uphill climbing experience. So what makes Wattbike special and expensive? It isn’t about the exercising and cycling offered from the Wattbike that makes it special. It is a meticulous data analysis. 

A gym with spin bikes

For professionals and people trying to get into professional cycling, the pattern of their cycling, the power output, etc matters the most. It isn’t about just sweating and getting a great workout, it is how the person can improve their cycling performance. This is what makes the Wattbike different. But the Wattbike being better than the spin bike is completely subjective. 

The bottom line is, if you are someone who wants to work on their legs and glutes and get a proper exercise, the spin bike is sufficient and there is no point in spending so much money on Wattbike. But if you want to get into professional cycling or even improve your cycling skills, the Wattbike is far better than the spin bike at all facets. 

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