Wattbike reaches U.S. shores
The Wattbike, a stationary bicycle training that measures and displays its rider's power output in watts, is now available in the U.S. (Photo: Wattbike)
Stationary bicycle trainers are an invaluable tool for cyclists who wish to stay in shape over the winter, or who even just want to work on their technique on rainy days. There are a variety of options available, including old school exercise bikes, rollers/resistance trainers that the cyclist's existing bike can be mounted on, or ... things like the Wattbike. Essentially a high-end indoor bike that is set up to replicate the feeling of riding a road bike as accurately as possible, one of the Wattbike's unique features is the fact that it measures and displays its rider's power output in watts - hence the name. Although it's been around in the UK since 2008, it is only now becoming available in the U.S.
The story began in 2000, when the founders of the company approached British Cycling (the governing body for British bicycle racing) about creating a trainer that "accurately measures a range of high-performance parameters." After six years, British Cycling was satisfied that the Wattbike met their standards, and agreed to endorse it. The trainer has since become popular with elite athletes around the UK and Europe.
Along with seeing how many watts they're producing, riders can also use the Wattbike's performance computer to view their output in terms of energy (joules), speed (kph) and pace (time per kilometer). This and other data is gathered via 39 parameters that are recorded 100 times per second, and then condensed into seven different screen views. If riders want more information, however, the computer can be hooked up to a nearby PC that's running Wattbike Expert Software. Multiple trainers can even be linked into one PC, so they can race one another.
A heart rate monitor can also be added, as can the saddle and pedals of the user's regular bicycle. The device utilizes both wind and magnetic resistance.
The Wattbike is available in a basic Trainer version, and a more advanced Pro model. The Pro features a wider resistance level, and is intended for top athletes. Both versions sell for US$2,995, and can be purchased through the Wattbike US website.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
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I thought from the title that this Wattbike would have a built-in electric generator that would convert rider effort into, well, watts that could be used to charge a laptop or smart phone instead of just dissipating the power as heat. How disappointing.
I am not 100% what the big deal is. I am used to training on bikes that even adjust the strain in Watts. So that I would always have the same Watt output (gets harder to push when slower and easier when faster, so wattage stays the same).
How is this a big improvement?
\"I thought from the title that this Wattbike would have a built-in electric generator that would convert rider effort into, well, watts that could be used to charge a laptop or smart phone instead of just dissipating the power as heat.\"
Like this you mean? ;-)
I use mine to power the DVD/TV, so I get my exercise while I being entertained.
It should generate Watts.
Don\'t call it a watt bike unless I can generate electrical power from it. Just a great name for marketing an otherwise regular stationary exercise bike.
Whilst reading this report, I thought I\'d build one to generate and store electricity using 12 volt batteries to power my house downlighters, and get me fit at the same time. Why waste the effort just to increase the resistance?
Good to see everyone thinking along the same lines! There are some great magnets available from my tool catalogue, should be an interesting project.
Looks like a typical exercise bike to me, with regular bike seat. It doesn\'t even have real bicycle handlebars.
To \"replicate the feeling of riding a road bike as accurately as possible\" it should be able to accept any handlebars, seat, pedals and cranks the owner wants to install. It should have brake levers and gear shifters. May as well have some type of 2-axis tilt system too - hook it up to a computer with programmed routes that display on a monitor so the rider can virtually experience a ride.
Then it would be replicating a road bike as accurately as possible, skipping the crashes, bugs and bad weather.
This bike is just an exercise bike with a bit of telemetry sensing and a nuclear hazard warning symbol.
Hi @Gadgeteer, that\'s a great idea! The Wattbike does however charge the monitor while you are riding, so if you use the bike regularly you hardly ever have to charge it up.
@Slowburn @nostarme the reason it\'s called a Wattbike is because it measures your force in watts. Most spin bikes don\'t have this technology. Measuring watts enables the user to view many different paramaters and graphics like Polar View which shows the efficiency of a riders stroke on a graph.
@Gregg Eshelman The picture above it actually a picture of the old model, the new model does have drop bars with moulds to simulate where the brakes are on a normal road bike. The software is a great idea but not something Wattbike offers at the moment.
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