For many years riding inside was the considered the last resort to get in a bit of training when the weather outside was crummy. But, with the advent of smart trainers and smart bikes, like the Next Generation Wattbike Atom, and the training apps we all know and love, more riders are beginning to understand the value year-round indoor sessions can offer.
Whether you’re on a time crunch or just looking to move up a few places in your local criterium or time trial series, integrating indoor sessions year-round allows you to complete highly targeted intervals to improve your fitness, and harness advanced metrics improve your efficiency.
High quality work without the interruptions
Whenever we try to do intervals outside, it seems like every stoplight light is red, there is always traffic and someone is always in the middle of a pedestrian crossing. Take that same session inside and ride it on a smart bike and you can get the work done without any interruptions. The Next Generation Wattbike Atom can simulate up to 2500-watts within +/- 1-per cent accuracy, so if your session calls for 15 minutes at 300-watts or five seconds at 850-watts, the new electromagnetic resistance system will not only make you do the work, but keep on top of quick changes in pace.
With the foundations of interval training built upon hitting specific targets to stress particular systems of the body, accuracy and repeatability is critical. While some brands are just dipping their toe into smart bikes, Wattbike has 20 years experience in this space and is the choice of British Cycling and the UCI for talent ID and training since the year 2000. Aboard the Next Generation Atom, you can be sure you’re getting every possible benefit from your session.
Make the most of the time you have
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority of us were already on tight time budgets. Now with many young ones doing distance learning in the living room, finding time to ride between jobs, dog walks, and grocery shopping, in addition to running homeschool is a steep task.
Training inside using an app like the TrainerRoad, the Sufferfest or the Wattbike Hub will all help make the most of that hour, or even 45-min you may have to ride. While most have a monthly subscription cost, the Wattbike Hub is completely free and offers a deep catalogue of everything from HIIT workouts like Under/Over Thresholds and VO2 Max decliners, to speed work designed to help cover moves and develop technique, and endurance sessions too. If you’re simply looking to get your heart rate up, the Wattbike Hub also offers real-world climb simulations of the likes of Mount Grappa, or Mount Evans, or you can sign up for one of the Wattbike challenges to see how you stack up over one, five or 25km.
With a smart bike like the Atom, you can save even more time because there is no faffing with removing the rear wheel for a direct drive smart trainer or dialling in the roller tension and tyre pressure on a wheel-on the trainer. If there is more than one rider in your household looking to incorporate year-round indoor training, every touchpoint on the Atom can be adjusted without the need for tools, and each component has its own graduated ruler to ensure millimetre perfect adjustment.
Keeping your road bike away from the indoor trainer also means you won’t be grinding away at your drivetrain parts, so they will stay fresh and crisp for race day.
The Next Generation Atom comes factory calibrated to +/- 1-per cent accuracy, so there is also no need to conduct a spindown, meaning you can literally just jump on and ride. For the Next Generation Atom, Wattbike has worked to improve the ride feel so when the resistance system puts the hammer down; it doesn’t feel like you’re trying to pedal through a sandpit.
Weather and darkness be damned
With winter well and truly here for many, it’s dark when you arrive at your computer in the morning, and it’s still dark when you log off in the evening. We do love a night time ride lit up like a Christmas tree, but between remembering to charge your lights and all the layers required to stave off the after-dark Arctic air, there is no shortage of opportunities for excuses to stay in and watch Netflix. With a Wattbike Atom in your pain cave, you can get a high-quality training ride without the fuss – or having to brave the cold or dark – plus you can watch Netflix as you train.
The same also goes for the heat. We’ve all been caught out on those 40-degree celsius days where the heat radiating off the tarmac makes you feel like you’re a Sunday roast cooking in the oven. Training on a day like this, you’re likely to experience an elevated heart rate and sweat rate, as well as reduced blood flow, and decreased oxygen availability. All of these factors together slap a governor on your internal horsepower because so many resources are being devoted to keeping your core temperature in check.
When you sweat, your blood volume decreases, reducing the amount that returns to your heart, making less oxygen-rich blood available to your muscles and reducing your aerobic potential. When it’s hot and humid, a larger portion of your already-reduced blood volume is diverted to the skin to dump heat, leaving even less available to your muscles. If you’re trying to complete structured workouts in these conditions, you will probably struggle to hit your power targets, meaning you aren’t getting the most out of your session. With the Atom being indoors, you can crank up the AC and point a big fan at your body to regulate temperature and ensure you can hit the right intensity.
Efficiency means speed
It’s all well and good to have a big engine, but if you’re pedalling squares, that power isn’t being used to its full potential. Developing a fluid pedal stroke will help you translate fewer watts into more forward motion. Incorporating cadence drills into your training will help you refine your pedal stroke, and doing them indoors allows practising proper technique to be given your full attention.
With the static nature of indoor training, the roughness in your pedal stroke will be easier to spot as any bouncing or rocking on the saddle is amplified. You can also train in front of a mirror so you can watch what your hips are doing as you pedal.
The Next Generation Wattbike takes improving your technique a step further, allowing you to harness the power of the flywheel and crank angle sensors that take 1000-readings-per-second to pinpoint your pedal effectiveness score (PES) in real-time. Your PES is a quantification on what those sensors are reading and updating with every pedal stroke. You’re chasing the elusive PES of 75, meaning you are pushing and pulling efficiently as the cranks go around, but with time, the Atom will help you hit that target.
The Wattbike Hub also has Polar View which is a visual interpretation of your PES. The goal is to pedal an oval shape instead of a peanut, Polar view shows you exactly where you are applying force to the cranks and the precise moment in each rotation where you’re losing watts. With both of these together, riders can see precisely where there is room to improve and hone in on how different techniques and drills improve certain aspects of their PES.
This live feedback can not only help riders to improve their mechanical efficiency, but the Atom can also identify Atom can help you to identify and work to fix left-right asymmetry, insufficient pushdown or transition, or even if your saddle is a bit too far forward on the rails.
Training apps will make you faster, faster
With the advent of training apps, riding inside is no longer a mental torture session where you’re left to stare at your basement wall as you suffer. Now you can ride your favourite routes, explore virtual worlds or complete high-quality training sessions to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders come race day.
From Zwift to FulGaz, and TrainerRoad to the Sufferfest you can ride and explore virtual worlds, emulate real rides, test yourself with a bit of eRacing or take advantage of ERG mode and complete meticulously defined interval sessions. For the Next Generation Atom, Wattbike has further refined the electromagnetic resistance system to improve the ride feel and facilitate faster reaction speed. Now gear changes are instant so no one will get the jump on you in a Zwift race, and the resistance comes on fast when you’re doing short sharp intervals so you can improve that leg shattering acceleration.
The Wattbike Hub app offers a full catalogue of workouts and training plans developed by world-class coaches and sports scientists. There is everything from long steady-state endurance, HIIT and speed sessions, to workouts designed by pro riders like Will Perrett, Kyle Gordon and Chloe Dygert.
Should you want to test your climbing chops, the Wattbike Hub comes preloaded with simulations of world-famous climbs like Alpe D’ Huez, Mont Ventoux, Box Hill, Mount Baldy, Pikes peak and so many more. When combined with the Atom you can take full advantage of the advanced pedalling dynamics to help improve your technique so you can ride faster with less effort. The best part, however, is that the Wattbike Hub is completely free; that means no monthly subscription fee or a basic and premium version.
20-years’ experience is tough to beat
Wattbike envisioned the indoor training bike all the way back in 2000 working with British Cycling to provide a granular level of data so the fastest riders in the world could get faster. Fast forward to 2017 and the British outfit launched the first-ever interactive smart bike, the Atom, and Wattbikes are not only used by British Cycling and the UCI for talent ID and training but the NFL, NBA and World Cup rugby too.
Priced at £1,899 the Next Generation Wattbike Atom is a powerful training tool that allows you to copy and paste your bike fit with little to no faff for both drop bar and TT bikes, so you don’t have to wear out or potentially damage your road bike.
Plus it looks fantastic, is quiet enough not to wake a sleeping baby and can be yours from as little as £90 per month. You can also opt to take out 0% finance with £0 deposit.