Wattbike has updated its Atom smart bike, offering higher resistance levels, less lag with Zwift and other third-party simulations, and crisper gear changes.
All that, Wattbike claims, should lead to a more immersive and more realistic indoor riding experience. Other upgrades include beefed up electronics for more precise data sampling.
Dedicated indoor training bikes are becoming a thing, replacing the turbo trainer when you don’t want to venture out of the house. New smart bikes were announced last year by the likes of Wahoo, Stages and (for those with deep pockets) SRM.
The Atom has been around since 2017 so it’s already got the pedigree (we awarded the original Atom four stars in our review), and the new features aim to bring the ride feel bang up to date.
According to Richard Baker, CEO of Wattbike: “Three years on, the next-generation Atom represents another huge step forward for Wattbike. These major upgrades have fundamentally changed and improved its performance and further enhanced user experience.”
Updated electromagnetic resistance unit
The new Wattbike Atom. Lasers not included. Wattbike
At the heart of the Atom’s updates is a new electromagnetic resistance unit that varies the current to change resistance level instantly, Wattbike claims.
That lets the upgraded Atom handle gradient changes faster in Zwift and other indoor training apps such as RGT Cycling and Rouvy, and drives crisper changes through the bike’s 22 simulated gears.
Wattbike calls its tech “real ride feel”, and says the resistance and sensation replicates the experience of riding outdoors.
Crank it up
For the sprinters among you, there’s now a maximum resistance of 2,500 watts at 130rpm, and, for the climbers, a maximum gradient simulation of 25 per cent to trouble the legs.
New cadence and crank angle sensors also help with gradient simulations in Zwift, as well as upgrading the data granularity.
The crank angle sensor, for example, now captures data 48 times per turn of the pedals, up from two times in the outgoing model.
There’s Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity if you want to wire yourself up to extra sensors for your indoor training sessions.
New Wattbike Atom pricing and availability
The Atom has a tablet holder for at-your-fingertips access to Zwift or, as pictured here, the Wattbike app (you’ll need your own tablet). Wattbike
The new Wattbike Atom will go on sale on 1 July and you can pre-register on the Wattbike website.
You can buy it outright for £1,899 or Wattbike offers finance to spread the cost.
Wattbike Atom 2020 specs
Weight: 44kg / 97lb
Max rider weight: 135kg / 21st 3lb / 297lb
Power requirements: Mains powered – 12V 7A DC power supply
Resistance type: Electromagnet
Wireless technologies: Bluetooth, ANT+ (FE-C; power, speed and cadence, heart rate), ANT (heart rate only), Polar (heart rate only)
Footprint: 100cm (L) x 50cm (W) x 150cm (H) tri-bar and tablet holder fully extended
Handlebar diameter: 26mm
Gears: 22 virtual
Maximum simulated gradient: 25 per cent
Maximum power: 2,500 watts
Claimed power accuracy: +/- one per cent