Verdict: 
Well-built and well-connected smart trainer that's well set up for structured training
Weight: 
44,000g
Contact: 

This review was updated on 08/10/2018

Wattbike's Atom indoor trainer is very much a next-generation device, aimed at the online training community. It has a lot to recommend it in terms of its power accuracy, build quality and adjustability. The electronically-controlled resistance has been through a number of upgrade cycles in the firmware, and is now faster to respond making riding on Zwift more realistic than before, although it still wouldn't be my first choice for Zwifting. Where it really excels is in ERG mode on structured training plans such as TrainerRoad; for that sort of indoor work it's hard to beat, although clearly there's a cost for that, which is higher than it originally was.

  • Pros: Great build quality, accurate power measurement, easily adjustable, great in ERG mode
  • Cons: Virtual gear changes are sluggish, app support is a still a bit patchy, expensive

The Atom is quite a radical diversion from the company's previous bikes, and it's very much designed for the online training market epitomised by the likes of Zwift and TrainerRoad. It's a high quality device with some advantages over a bike-based trainer setup, and it'll work out as a good value investment if you're serious about your indoor training.

> Buy this online here

There are some idiosyncrasies in the way it works, but overall it's definitely worth adding to your list if you're planning to spend a significant amount of time training indoors, especially if you're into more structured training, or if your household contains more than one athlete.

The indoor training market has moved on apace in the last few years. Where once you'd be on your rollers in front of the telly with an old Tour stage playing on the VCR (okay, that's a few years ago now), in the modern world you can get access to structured training, multiplayer environments and real-life video via your tablet or laptop. That's led to an explosion in the number of different smart trainers that are available to hook your bike up to. You can get a smart trainer – that will connect to a training app and vary the resistance at the roller according to what's happening on your app of choice – for less than £400, but the meat of the smart trainer market is in the £700-£1,200 range, with big players such as Elite, Wahoo and Tacx offering various options.

The functionality, available resistance and method of drive vary from trainer to trainer, but there's generally one constant: you need to add your bike. If the trainer uses a roller, then there's tyre wear to consider, and whether it's a roller or a direct drive unit, you'll be wearing your transmission. And sweating all over your bike.

The Atom is a self-contained machine, more in the manner of a static gym bike. It's designed to cope with getting sweaty, and everything that moves is kept out of the way inside the case. Because it's designed to fit all riders, it's very adjustable: the bar and seatpost can be moved up and down over a wide range, and there's plenty of fore-aft adjustment for the saddle and bar too. You should be able to set up the Atom to replicate your road bike easily enough, and of course the added bonus is that if there are two (or more) of you using the trainer in your family, it's more trivial to move the bits around than it is to take one bike off and replace it with another. All of the movable parts have graduated markings so it's easy to reset the bike to your exact preference.

It's a heavy unit, at 44kg, and it needs to be plugged into the mains, so it's not something you can easily pack away or move about. Really, you need to have dedicated space for the Atom in your home/garage/shed. The weight means it's very stable in use: the whole thing feels extremely solid, even when sprinting.

Wattbike Atom -5.jpg

Because it's designed to be used with an iPad or tablet, it comes with aero extensions that end in an adjustable tablet holder. The device holder is very good and holds your iPad securely, but the position of the screen means that when you stand up on a climb it can be a bit difficult to see what's going on; you can remedy this by pointing the aero extensions down a bit if you're not actually using them as a hand position.

Power measurement: spot on

If you're spending £1,600 on a training device then you're going to want to know that it's doing a good job of measuring your power. The good news here is that I don't have any doubts at all that the Atom is giving accurate, repeatable numbers.

First comparative test:

Wattbike comparison 1.png

To begin with, I picked Zwift on the iPad, using Bluetooth data from the Atom on Zwift versus Vector 2 pedals on Garmin. Both power traces track each other very accurately, and they're easily within the +/- 2% accuracy that Wattbike claims for the Atom. The only exception is a sprint section along the Mall (700-800W) where the Atom registered a higher peak power than the pedals. The difference was about 7% at that point.

Second comparative test

Wattbike comparison 2.png

This was a one-hour FTP session on TrainerRoad, using ANT+ FE-C data from the Atom and comparing to Vector 2 pedal data collected on the Garmin. This time there was a discrepancy between the two power traces, with the pedal reading averaging a higher power across the whole hour by about 4%. In the end the TrainerRoad session gave a suggested FTP of 297W, while doing the same calculation from the Garmin data gave 311W, so about a 5% discrepancy.

Which of those two figures is more likely to be correct? Well, it's difficult to say, but the Atom would probably get my vote. Both are believable: my FTP has been a maximum of 320W and a minimum of 290W while I've been training with power, so they're both well within that range. Given that I haven't done much high-intensity work over the summer I was expecting the test to give me a figure of about 300W, so I'm more inclined to believe the Atom in this instance.

I didn't zero the pedals before this test; subsequent power plots comparing the Atom and the pedals – where I did zero the pedals each time – are much closer together. So my conclusion is that the pedals were reading a bit high.

Resistance: works better in some situations than others

The Atom has a controllable resistance unit that's capable of up to 2,000W of resistance. Unless you're planning to take on any world-class track sprinters in the near future, that should see you right.

The Atom has two mechanisms for varying the resistance. On the one hand it's a controllable smart trainer, so if you're riding on Zwift and you head up a mountain, or you try one of the Wattbike app's climbs, the resistance will increase as the gradient does. Similarly, if you're using the Atom in ERG mode in Wattbike's app or TrainerRoad, the app can increase or decrease the resistance as you work through your intervals.

In general that system works pretty well. Resistance changes are controlled by the firmware, and they have been improved in the time since this review was first published. Where the Wattbike Atom works best, I've found, is in a structured training  environment. I've been using TrainerRoad over the last few months on the Atom, in a bid to be fit enough to stay in the winter series crit races in Bath (it probably won't work, but I can hope...) and running through an hour session in ERG mode the Atom is excellent. Resistance changes are quick enough that even really short intervals of five or ten seconds are meaningful, and the connection is stable over either ANT+ or Bluetooth.

On the other hand, the Atom has virtual gears. There's a hood on each side of the bar, and on the underside there are two buttons which allow you to move the resistance up and down, so you can elect to spin up a climb or stand up and give it the beans, independent of what's going on with the gradient, as you would with the gears on your bike.

Wattbike Atom -1.jpg

The up and down buttons work pretty well and they're easy to use but there's a lag between the press and the resistance change. That can be a problem. For example, if you're using Zwift and there's rolling terrain, you might shift up a couple of gears for a downhill but the shift might not finish until you've hit another uphill section, so you find yourself in the wrong gear.

The firmware updates over the testing period have certainly improved things, and the gear changes are punchier than they were, but they're still not the equivalent of dropping a couple of cogs on your cassette on a real bike on an indoor trainer, and I'm not sure they ever can be. The Wattbike app will tell you what virtual gear you're in, but you don't get that information in any other app so you're left guessing. 

This point was hammered home when I swapped out the Atom for the next smart trainer I was testing, a £349 Bkool Go. It's about as basic as smart trainers get, but being able to slam a few gears as soon as you feel the gradient change makes for a more realistic ride experience. The experience with the Atom on Zwift isn't bad, but doesn't feel as much like riding outdoors as other smart trainers. It's certainly not up to the standard of units like the Wahoo Kickr or the Cycleops Hammer.

 

Wattbike Atom -2.jpg

Wattbike app: good, but some areas need work

The Wattbike app has some unique features that you won't find in third-party apps. One of the big selling points is the pedal smoothness graph: this is the 'sausage' that you may or may not be familiar with from the original Wattbike. Basically it's a radial plot of your power, and you can see from the shape of the plot where and when you're putting down the power. If you stand up and mash the pedals all the power will be concentrated in one phase of the stroke, whereas if you try to pedal more smoothly – adopting the 'kick and pull' method that TrainerRoad like to go on about – you'll see the shape of the plot change.

Wattbike Atom -6.jpg

The original Wattbike gave you the graph and left it up to you to work out whether what you were doing was right or not. The app adds a smoothness indicator, a needle you have to try to keep in the green section as you pedal. The green section seems to correlate pretty well with the pedal action that TrainerRoad has been trying to drill into me for the last year.

Wattbike has also teamed up with VeloViewer to offer a bunch of classic climbs. Using VeloViewer's data in the app, you can test your mettle on Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux and the like. This is a worthy addition, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Basically the app presents you with a two-dimensional representation of the gradients in the climb and you work your way from the bottom to the top. As accurate as this may be, it doesn't really give you any kind of feel for the climb. VeloViewer offers both mapping and 3D representations of every climb on its website (see Mont Ventoux as an example) and it's a shame none of this information has made it into the app.

Overall: already good for some types of training but will need to catch up in others

It's not the first time I've had a connected product arriving for testing feeling a little bit like I was part of the development cycle. The Wattbike Atom is still being updated pretty frequently at the moment, as are the apps that do (and will) support it.

Depending on what you want to do with the Atom, it may or may not be ready for you. If your indoor training is on TrainerRoad then it's definitely a recommended trainer. You get the stability of a gym bike and you're not wearing out your race bike or asking the frame to cope with sprint forces while it's effectively bolted to the floor. The resistance changes work effectively and repeatably. Now that TrainerRoad has moved over to using a ramp test to measure FTP – which you can complete in ERG mode – there really isn't anything not to like about the Atom.

At the moment, the Atom isn't quite hanging with the best when it comes to delivering an immersive and realistic ride experience in Zwift. The gear changes are still too sluggish and there's no communication of the current gear between the bike and the app. You could argue that the latter isn't Wattbike's fault but it's released it into production before making sure the app implementations are right, rather than the other way round. And there will be a limit to how quick the gear changes can be, which is likely to be a fair bit slower than a manual shift on your bike. Firmware updates have improved it, but there's a way to go.

> Buyer's Guide: 10 of the best smart trainers

Should you buy the Atom? If you're mostly looking for an structured training tool, and/or there's more than one of you likely to be riding the bike on a regular basis, it looks like an enticing proposition. The build quality is good, the numbers are accurate and the fact that it can be adjusted easily for more than one riding position is a big plus.

If you're more about mucking about in the Zwift multiverse then the jury's out for now, especially if you're in a situation where it's only you likely to be doing any training. The Atom is getting better with each firmware update, which is a good sign, but it's beyond me to tell you how much ground it's going to make up in terms of the experience over other training options out there. For now, I wouldn't recommend it over something like the Wahoo Kickr or Cycleops Hammer for Zwift. You have to add your own bike to those two, and they're not cheap to begin with, but it's a more realistic experience and the positives of having an all-in-one trainer won't currently outweigh the disadvantages of the Atom for many riders.

Since I originally wrote this review the Wattbike Atom has certainly improved. However, it's also got more expensive: it's £100 more than when originally tested. So overall, the score remains the same. It's difficult to give it a blanket score when it does some things so much better than others. It's excellent when paired with TrainerRoad, and it's decent enough on Zwift but still a fair distance behind what I'd consider to be the best trainers if Zwift is your thing.

Verdict

Well-built and well-connected smart trainer that's well set up for structured training

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Wattbike Atom

Size tested: One

Tell us what the product is for

Wattbike says:

Ultimate realism. Unrivalled connectivity.

Cutting-edge accuracy and analysis.

Wattbike Atom is the most realistic, intelligent and effective smart trainer on Earth.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Wattbike:

Real Ride Feel technology replicates the resistance and sensation of riding on the road. Perfected over 10 years working alongside British Cycling, Olympic Cyclists and world-leading sports scientists, it's the most authentic ride feel in the world. So all the pain you put yourself through indoors translates directly to performance improvement where it really matters.

Atom is the smartest indoor bike on the planet. Whether you want to ride with friends on Zwift, download custom training plans from TrainingPeaks, upload your Garmin data or test your mettle with a Sufferfest challenge, Atom makes it simple and seamless.

Improving technique radically improves your pedal efficiency and power output. Our innovative analysis tools, Polar View and Pedalling Effectiveness Score, visualise how you apply force through each stroke so you can optimise your technique. Even the most experienced cyclists can make minor adjustments that can have a major impact on overall speed, endurance and performance.

Tackle bucket-list climbs without leaving your house. Using Strava GPS and simulations from VeloViewer, Wattbike Atom comes pre-loaded with epic climbs including Ventoux and Alpe d'Huez. In Climb Mode Atom's resistance changes automatically to map precisely to the gradient on your virtual ride, so taking on a legendary climb is exactly as tough as it should be.

Targeted, effective training requires precise, accurate data. Atom's power measurement is more accurate than any other smart trainer and the new Wattbike Hub makes it more visible and useful too. Thousands of data points from every session you ride are uploaded to your personal Wattbike Hub page - where you can evaluate your performance and track your cycling goals.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Solid, well crafted.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Depending on what you're doing, it varies. But overall it's decent rather than stellar.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

All the moving parts are enclosed, all the external parts are nicely made. Should last for a long time.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
10/10

Heavier is better, right?

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Easy to get your position dialled.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

£1,599 is less than a direct drive trainer and a bike, after all...

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It varies: for some types of online training it's very good, and for others it's less good.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Really well built, easily adjustable, very accurate power measurement.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Sluggish virtual gears, resistance problems with sprint efforts, both native and third party apps not quite there with functionality.

Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly, but the niggles can be annoying.

Would you consider buying the product? Not at the moment.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not over a £1k direct drive trainer.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a hard one to score, but overall the Atom's performance is good. As it is, it may work for you depending on your training regime. But currently other trainers work better for some online riding, especially Zwift.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Kinesis Aithein

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

23 comments

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jhsmith87 [48 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

I've placed an order. There is still the 15 week delay so that gives them plenty of time to decrease shifting lag/fix issues. Fingers crossed! 

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bendertherobot [1529 posts] 10 months ago
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It does seem rather pointless having a slightly dumb smart trainer. That firmware sounds like it needs some work very urgently.

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mylesrants [415 posts] 10 months ago
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I have a watt bike and tried the Atom.

The stability and the build quality of both are fantastic.

The Atom wins for me in the seat adjustment and looks.

BUT it is no Wattbike, if you are used to the adjustments and resistance settings and get on a go nature.

If you dont needif for high end intervals or specific targeted intervals, Go with the atom.

 

Both are super tools thou

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Cresser [18 posts] 10 months ago
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About a fortnight into my ownership of the Atom, and the above's a fair review. Overall I'm very happy with it, I agree that the gear changes need to be quicker, I'm hopeful that between Zwift and Wattbike, they'll manage that, and firmware upgrades are over wi-fi and very quick.

Wattbike's detailed session reports that you receive after each effort are much better than anything else I've seen with the possible exception of the full Training Peaks system, and as Wattbike can throw in the polar view as a unique analysis of your pedalling style, they can offer something extra. Seriously depressing as an (I hope) average 3rd cat rider to see how far from the ideal pedal stroke I am. Still, room for improvement.

A big buying point for me is the ease of switching the set up, not just for another user, but to swap between a road and TT session. It is a couple of minutes at worst to make the necessary changes without damaging your beloved bikes; a bike is not designed to be locked into a fixed position at the dropouts while you give it beans in a HIIT session.

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macrophotofly [321 posts] 10 months ago
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Cresser wrote:

. It is a couple of minutes at worst to make the necessary changes without damaging your beloved bikes; a bike is not designed to be locked into a fixed position at the dropouts while you give it beans in a HIIT session.

A good point having eventually snapped a 9mth old Carbon frame, in a trainer that replaced the back wheel. Can't say any more about it because the replacement frame came only after I signed a document to (i) not mention the frame (ii) committed to never use the replacement  frame in a trainer

All I would say is if you are locking a carbon bike in a trainer make sure the frame has metal inserts in the drop outs (which survive fatigue cycles a lot better than frames without them)

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fukawitribe [2573 posts] 10 months ago
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Cresser wrote:

... as Wattbike can throw in the polar view as a unique analysis of your pedalling style, they can offer something extra.

Thankfully this is becoming much more common, with a number of companies offering pedal stroke analysis, including the polar view from the likes of Elite and Rotor. Looking forward to seeing just exactly how wonky mine is when my brother gets his Atom; given the grief my left leg has had it should be hilarious....

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scmsh [1 post] 10 months ago
2 likes

I took delivery of an Atom a few weeks ago and have used it for about twenty hours so I thought I would share a few observations to complement the review above. I also have a Wattbike Pro/Trainer so have experience of using both. I bought the Atom because I specially wanted ERG mode which the Pro/trainer doesn’t offer.
Initially building of the Atom is very straightforward. Connecting the smart device is relatively simple but I did have some problems connecting a garmin HR strap via an ant+ usb dongle particularly using the Wattbike Hub, on Trainerroad the connection is faultless.
The Wattbike Hub offers tests, climbs, speed workouts etc. My first ride using the Atom was to use the Alpe D Huez climb workout. This worked really well with the resistance dictated by the gradient with me changing gears as the gradient increased or decreased. Perfect.
This brings me to a major disappointment with the Atom (for me at least), the gradient feature is only available in the climb workouts. If I wanted to just ride and then increase the gradient it doesn’t allow me to do this. Obviously the Atom has the functionality to allow this but this hasn’t been made available to the user yet. Also the user guide (downloadable from Wattbike) on page 10 mentions there are three action modes with the right red button :- gear mode, gradient mode mode and erg mode with the up/down buttons moving up/down the gears/gradient/erg power (5W increments). The user guide says “To switch between the modes, press the red action button on the right shifter”, this is plain wrong. In fact the whole page 10 is misleading. This may not be a problem in itself but one of the differences listed between the Atom and the Pro/Trainer is the gradient mode between 0% and 25% listed for the Atom. This may influence prospective buyers, it did with me. I contacted Wattbike about the three action modes and the gradient mode and this was their reply:- "The Gradient mode you aren't seeing is for when you are in one of the climb sessions on the App. In a normal Just ride session you won't see or experience that.” So it is not available to users.
A second observation concerns using the Atom on Trainerroad. Nearly all of my wattbike sessions use trainerroad. Integration is easy, however I realised that I can only use erg mode. Resistance mode is “ available” but doesn’t actually work any where near effectively to the point of being useless. I contacted trainerroad, this was their reply:- " I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately Wattbike has not implemented resistance mode for the Atom, and has not yet decided if they will actually do so. Shifting gears on the Wattbike does increase resistance, but it does not use the same standard resistance mode protocols that other electronic trainers use, which is why it does not work within our app the same way Resistance mode does for other smart trainers.
Hopefully Wattbike implements some changes to this protocol via a firmware update, but we will have to wait and see on that one.” 
A potential problem related to this for potential users is the FTP tests which should automatically switch to resistance mode for the 20 minute interval to allow the user to find their best average power.
I think perspective buyers need to be made aware of what I consider disappointments and slightly misleading marketing on the Atom. In summary I would still buy one because having erg mode was my overriding required functionality but the two disappointments could be deal breakers for others.   

Firmware version - 1.01.58
Hub version -  3.2.4
 

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RWB86 [3 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

I took delivery of my Wattbike atom a couple of weeks ago, I pretty much with scmsh's review above. One MAJOR disappointment for me was the inaccurate power measurement, compared to my Garmin Vector-2's. There is a 10% difference, Wattbike Atom being 10% higher. I have crossed checked the Wattbike Atom with another set of Vectots and again got a 10% difference - Wattbike being higher. I have crossed checked my Vectors in the past with a Stages PM and found them to be within a 2% tolerance. 

I'm pretty disappointed with this to be honest, having read all the review, I expected the Wattbike atom to provide an accurate power reading (as per reviews!!) and avoid the hassle of having to use my Vector pedals to allow me to train accurately.

 

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2old2mould [84 posts] 9 months ago
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RWB86 wrote:

I took delivery of my Wattbike atom a couple of weeks ago, I pretty much with scmsh's review above. One MAJOR disappointment for me was the inaccurate power measurement, compared to my Garmin Vector-2's. There is a 10% difference, Wattbike Atom being 10% higher. I have crossed checked the Wattbike Atom with another set of Vectots and again got a 10% difference - Wattbike being higher. I have crossed checked my Vectors in the past with a Stages PM and found them to be within a 2% tolerance. 

I'm pretty disappointed with this to be honest, having read all the review, I expected the Wattbike atom to provide an accurate power reading (as per reviews!!) and avoid the hassle of having to use my Vector pedals to allow me to train accurately.

 

You don't mention whether your vectors are single or double sided. I suspect single? The Atom will take power readings from the crank and will capture both sides for higher accuracy. Stages and Vector S take your left side which for many is their weaker leg, and double the reading. This may explain some of the difference. Different systems produce different results. I have Vector 2S, Stages and Powertap G3 and a 10% variance is not uncommon. If your structured testing and training is all on your Atom then I'd use their figures and bask in your new found FTP increase!

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RWB86 [3 posts] 9 months ago
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Hi - My Vectors are double sided (2S), as are my wife's Vectors (also 2S), as above both sets of our Vectors track my single sided stages PM within 2%, based in this it would appear the discrepancy is with the Atom.

I'll use the Atom for controlling resistance and train to the power reading from the Vectors, obviously I train/race with these outside so I want to maintain accurate and consistent zones. I am disappointed that there is such a power discrepancy.

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RWB86 [3 posts] 9 months ago
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Hi - My Vectors are double sided (2S), as are my wife's Vectors (also 2S), as above both sets of our Vectors track my single sided stages PM within 2%, based in this it would appear the discrepancy is with the Atom.

I'll use the Atom for controlling resistance and train to the power reading from the Vectors, obviously I train/race with these outside so I want to maintain accurate and consistent zones. I am disappointed that there is such a power discrepancy.

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CXR94Di2 [2243 posts] 9 months ago
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" I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately Wattbike has not implemented resistance mode for the Atom, and has not yet decided if they will actually do so. Shifting gears on the Wattbike does increase resistance, but it does not use the same standard resistance mode protocols that other electronic trainers use, which is why it does not work within our app the same way Resistance mode does for other smart trainers.
Hopefully Wattbike implements some changes to this protocol via a firmware update, but we will have to wait and see on that one.”

 

 

That alone would make me wary of the Wattbike, they are not engaging with the established training platforms by adopting the open protocols that all the others use. 

 

Bkool are the same, deliberabely puts all other trainers at an disadvantaged on their platform. Saying that, with Bkool, it could be just crap design because they dont work properly on other platforms unless you reset the trainer everytime and then its haphazard.

 

I think some manufacturers are trying to create a platform for thier own devices, they see profits in monthly subscriptions!  Nothing wrong in that except the customer gets pissed off with a trainer if it doesnt work properly on a variety of simulators.  

 

So glad I bought the Kickr  1

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Imagetruth [1 post] 9 months ago
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I've had an Atom for around 3 months now.  Overall I'm pleased with it as it has met the needs I had. I needed a one trainer solution that would work for my partner and me.  As we are different sizes, one bike wasn't going to go, and having 2 trainers in the room was getting messy and brigning into question my n+1 argument.

The downside to the Atom, in my experience, is the sluggish gear changing, and difficulty in maintain a constant resistance.  I think this has been explained in the above article and proceeding comments. This lag can be a bit annoying and takes some getting used to.

 

I use the Atom in both Wattbike app and Zwift.  Both work reasonalby well, in fact, I would say i have less problem with Zwift than I have had with the proprietry app. Zwift works great with the exception of sluggish shifting causing big turns for a second or so. The Wattbike app is a bit tempermental and sometimes doesn't connect to the heart rate monitor. or works in 'Just Ride' but not in programme option.

A hardware issue I have is with the levers.  i really do feel that I have once again fallen into the 'never again' guinea pig trap in this respect.  The switches are very numb underneath the brakelever hoods and some times the hood fouls the switch making it impossible to change up or down.  I complained to Wattbike, and after some weeks of me chasing them (customer service isn't their strong point) they sent me a new hood.  The problem of being numb is still there and I have an added problem of the mode switch situated on the top of the hood being hard to activate.  I'm sure that Wattbike will sort this hardware problem out, but I fear it will be at my expense!

The other thing that they could change, is the allen bolt to adjust the fwd/aft movment of the bars. It's a pain and doesn't make sense as the bike is designed/sold as multiple person trainer.

Overall it is a good trainer and a lot more relaible than my aged Tacx Fortius which has given me many years of albeit tempremental engaged indoor training. The power and pedal dynamics feedback is good, although I have never thought to compare it with my Vector 2s or Powertap. I see it as a seperate entity as you can nver replicate outdoors, indoors.  There's just too many variables.

 

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rjfrussell [491 posts] 9 months ago
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Another angle to the issue, is that Zwift shouldn't have so many changes of gradient-  do you really want to be adding to the wear to the transmission when training indoors?

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fukawitribe [2573 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
rjfrussell wrote:

Another angle to the issue, is that Zwift shouldn't have so many changes of gradient-  do you really want to be adding to the wear to the transmission when training indoors?

Please tell me this is some odd style of humour i've failed to pick up on...

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CXR94Di2 [2243 posts] 1 week ago
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My mate bought one of these Atoms.  He has sold it now, he couldnt get it to work with Zwift or BigRingVr.  The gear shifting was terrible.

I believe that a static trainer is the wrong way to go.  Biased view, but movement is the key, that is why rocker boards are becoming extremely popular with those who are wanting quality long training/racing sessions.  Coupled to this Wahoo's Climb is another great piece of kit which adds gradient movement of the bike.  

Personally, Ive now built my second and full length rocker and are using the latest Kickr plus Climb.  Together it makes for a very realistic indoor simulation of riding outdoors.  Multi hour rides are common place now for me  3

 

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DaSy [841 posts] 1 week ago
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I bought an Atom about 3 or 4 weeks ago and am really pleased with it. 

I had a Tacx Fortius for about 10 years, and put many hundreds of hours on it. I loved it despite the fact that it had to become a bit of a hobby just to keep it running and bug free. The Real LIfe Videos were my main pleasure, along with the Catalyst structured intervals application.

The Fortius was very long in the tooth and relied on a PC that was off my network (to avoid having any AV software that often caused it to crash) and I stuck with the old Fortius software which needed to stay on XP, so was a crash waiting to happen. Once the PC died I decided it was time for an upgrade.

The Atom worked on paper for me as it was great for structured workouts and easy to adjust, as the missus was threatening to get into cycling and wanted to be able to use it.

So far it has been really good; it's ready to use straight away, with no setup (once the initial fitting and replicating my bike setup was done) each time. The plans are very good and Pedal Efficiency Score is a real revelation (considering I've been turning pedals for about 30+ years). 

I like interval training, not much into the virtual cycling (the Fortius used to have a VR environment which I rarely used), so Zwift etc are not for me, but would love it to be able to run Real Life Video like the Tacx used to. It has all the hardware to do it, so don't see why it won't come in the future.

All in all, I have been very happy with the Atom, it's unobtrusive, clean and easy to use and has been a real motivation to step up my training, which has been languishing in the doldrums for too long now.

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rtw [46 posts] 1 week ago
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Can you summarise what the updates to this review are? What has improved, what still needs work? Thanks

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Stueys [26 posts] 1 week ago
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rtw wrote:

Can you summarise what the updates to this review are? What has improved, what still needs work? Thanks

 

ditto, skimmed it but couldn’t see any real differences from the review several months ago.  What’s changed?

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CXR94Di2 [2243 posts] 5 days ago
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What needs work

1 To improve vastly the shifting to replicate a real bike with derailleurs, its woefully slow to shift.

2 Have open protocols with the likes of Zwift, BigringVR.  The power is difficult to get correct.  Some have had to adjust resistance down to 10% to just make it work within Zwift

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2old2mould [84 posts] 1 day ago
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There are some positives to the Atom but having lived with it now for a year I wouldn't have bought one if I'd known then what I know now.

Zwifting is poor.
The shifters are cheap plasticky affairs with dead feeling actions to them.
FTP tests... Forget them, at least on Trainerroad. No way to move into Resistance mode.
Bad lag when doing quick sprints and a tendency to 'overrun' the target then drop down to compensate so your chasing the power.
Adjustment Bolts are made of cheese. We've shredded a set already (I share with my missus). To be fair WB sent spares out quickly, no questions asked.
The handlebar set up has been designed by someone who has never seen a bike. Try adjusting the rake of the bars... Schedule in an hour or so at least. The bars are also very low quality and an odd sizes (25.6 I think) so cannot be swapped (despite WB saying at launch they were working on it).
It creaks! The shoddy retaining bolt on the saddle post isn't up to the job.

The firmware is leagues ahead of where it was at launch which is good as it was a Beta at best.

Overall a bit of a disappointment for £1600 but if you do Sweetspot Intervals all season/never Zwift/don't do sprints then you probably can't buy a better trainer...

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CXR94Di2 [2243 posts] 16 hours ago
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Overall a bit of a disappointment for £1600 but if you do Sweetspot Intervals all season/never Zwift/don't do sprints then you probably can't buy a better trainer...no

 

Its nearly as bad as Wahoo's latest Kickr cockup 

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DaSy [841 posts] 14 hours ago
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2old2mould wrote:

Adjustment Bolts are made of cheese. We've shredded a set already (I share with my missus). To be fair WB sent spares out quickly, no questions asked. The handlebar set up has been designed by someone who has never seen a bike. Try adjusting the rake of the bars... Schedule in an hour or so at least. The bars are also very low quality and an odd sizes (25.6 I think) so cannot be swapped (despite WB saying at launch they were working on it). It creaks! The shoddy retaining bolt on the saddle post isn't up to the job. The firmware is leagues ahead of where it was at launch which is good as it was a Beta at best.

 

I don't know if they have upped the quality of the hardware over the last year, but mine is very solid, with no creaks at all. I agree about the handlebar rake adjustment, that is pure crazyness!

As far as FTP tests go, I use the one on the Wattbike Hub application, which allows you to use Ergo (quite how that is supposed to work I don't know) or Gears, which is good and worked perfectly well for me.

I'm currently doing one of their plans, which I've been really motivated by and has been fairly tough but do-able.

As I don't use the likes of Zwift at all, I may well be the ideal user for the Atom, as I am having none of the difficulties described by others. Also, having used a Tacx Fortius for years, I was very used to building up power smoothly when doing large power jumps, as the Fortius would really fight you if you attacked it with a big power surge and you'd end up in some feedback loop with it, so the same seems to apply with the Atom when in Ergo mode.

All-in-all, for me it is a really good piece of kit.