The Wattbike Atom is a neat and tidy exercise bike able to deliver lung-busting, calorie-crushing workouts at will – but compare it to the Peloton Bike at your peril.
Both machines feature on our roundup of the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) but, having put the two to the test, we feel their target audiences are worlds apart. Where the Peloton Bike (opens in new tab) caters to those looking to up their activity levels with accessible, follow-along studio sessions, the Wattbike Atom has more of a performance focus.
Dimensions - 100cm/39” (L) x 50cm/20” (W) x 112cm/44” (H)
Weight - 40kg
Smart features - No
Workouts - WattBike Hub App (other apps applicable, such as Zwift and Peloton)
Warranty - Two years
To illustrate this point, rather than resistance settings, the Wattbike Atom has 22 gears designed to replicate the feeling of riding a real bike.
This approach still has the ability to help with health goals such as weight loss (if you’re wondering, ‘Are exercise bikes good for weight loss?’, this article reveals why they’re such an effective body recomposition tool). However, the Wattbike Atom can also help cyclists up their speed and sport-specific fitness levels. So, when you’re able to head out on your road bike, you can watch your previous personal bests fall by the wayside.
Price and release date
The Wattbike Atom was first released in July 2020. It retails for £1,999 in the UK and is set to be made available in the US shortly. The Wattbike Hub app is available for free and provides interval sessions programmed in conjunction with elite athletes and sports teams such as the All Blacks. It is also a certified Zwift (a popular virtual cycling and running app available for £12 or $14.99/month) trainer, and can be used with other training software (including the Peloton app) too.
Set-up and usability
Setting up the Wattbike Atom is a refreshingly simple experience. Aside from the power cord, it was delivered to us in one piece. So, all we had to do was plug it in, switch it on and adjust the handlebars and saddle to the correct position (there is a handy video tutorial detailing “How to set up your Wattbike Atom” on the brand’s YouTube channel) and we were ready to ride.
Adjusting our seating position was straightforward thanks to the lever systems on the seat and handlebars. Much like machines you may have used at the gym, the lever can be twisted one way to loosen it and change the height, then tightened to secure the seat or handlebars into your new, chosen position. There are helpful millimeter markers so you can record the exact setting that’s best for you too. Moving the seat forwards and backwards is slightly more tricky, requiring an allen key, but this is unlikely to cause too much trouble.
You can use the bike without an app if you prefer, working through the 22 different gears to adjust the difficulty of your ride. However, there is no screen, so you will not receive any metrics or feedback on your performance this way.
We chose to download the Wattbike Hub app which, unlike the subscription-based platforms of many of its competitors, offers unlimited use free of charge. Our phone quickly connected to the bike via Bluetooth, and securing the screen in the holster above the handlebars was a simple affair - just place your phone on the bottom ledge and push the top part of the holder down to secure it.
Design and display
One of the main advantages of exercise bikes over the best treadmills (opens in new tab) and best rowing machines (opens in new tab) is their relatively small footprint, and the Wattbike Atom is no different. It covers an area just 100cm long and 50cm wide so, while it’s not foldable, it’s easy to discreetly store in a corner.
We liked the addition of a rounded metal base and rubber legs (seen below) too, as these helped stop the bike wobbling or moving around on the floor when we upped the pace.
The black and red color scheme, along with the matte finish and streamlined shape, gives it a premium feel, and the only buttons on the machine are located on the front of the handles – similar to the gears and brakes on a road bike – meaning they’re out of sight yet still easy to reach. Up and down buttons on each handle control the gear settings, while action buttons above them can be used for selecting your training mode on the app.
Using a lever to loosen and tighten them, it was easy to adjust the height of the handlebars and seat. However we did find that, during harder rides where you might need to rise out of the saddle to generate some more force, the handlebar could slip down slightly unless you made sure it was tightened fully.
Unlike the Bowflex C7 and Peloton Bike there is no in-built touchscreen, with the Wattbike Atom instead syncing with your smart device to display sessions and metrics. A handy holster above the handlebars can be adjusted to hold your phone or tablet, and we found this offered a secure fit throughout intense workouts.
The Wattbike’s lack of screen means you’ll need to connect to an app via a phone or tablet if you want on-demand workouts.
Our phone connected quickly – you just need to select the Quick Ride option on the app and follow a couple of simple steps to pair the two pieces of tech – giving us access to a healthy selection of workouts. While there wasn’t the wealth of resources available on the likes of the iFit or Peloton apps, this is a free resource and still offers bike-based training plans, warm-ups, cool-downs, HIIT sessions, interval workouts, climbs, tests and more.
During workouts, you can see the usual stats such as your distance covered, cadence (rpm), wattage (power) and the total time elapsed. However, the Wattbike goes into further detail than most exercise machines when it comes to real-time feedback (37 metrics deep, to be precise), providing you with a pedaling effectiveness score, power per kilo measure and a graphic showing the balance between your right and left legs. We found this extra information provided an interesting insight into our ride, and these metrics can be used by competitive cyclists to improve their future performances.
The Wattbike Atom has everything you need to test your fitness levels and enjoy a thorough workout. The adjustable saddle, seat and handle height, alongside the gears, road bike-like handlebars and resistance system, all combine to provide a more realistic riding experience than other exercise bikes on the market – something that will be appreciated by seasoned cyclists. However, beginners may struggle with the data-driven, performance-oriented nature of the Wattbike.
The app connects quickly to the bike and provides detailed real-time feedback on your performance, including metrics such as your maximum minute power and pedaling effectiveness score. These are shown through on-screen graphics, while the workouts themselves (usually interval workouts with varying resistances and RPMs) are displayed as bar graphs with increased periods of effort or output displayed through higher bars.
Similarly to the sleek design, this no-fuss approach will be a breath of fresh air to experienced cyclists looking for an effective, no-frills session. Case in point: the All Blacks inspired session we tested provided one of the most sweat-drenching workouts of any exercise bike we tried. So, for anyone wondering what causes muscle fatigue, we can say with confidence the Wattbike Atom definitely contributed to ours.
However, beginners or those just looking to add some fun at-home exercise into their weekly routine may prefer something more engaging, like the bright lights and enthusiastic instructors offered by its rival, the Peloton Bike. We found it was harder to become engaged with the workouts due to the lack of visuals, and would recommend soundtracking your session through a pair of the best running headphones (opens in new tab).
In action, the Wattbike Atom’s pedals move smoothly with the increasing gears successfully simulating ever-steeper gradients. Don’t take the highest gears lightly, with a sustained climb sure to torch your quads.
The bike does make a high pitched whirring sound as the front flywheel spins and, though this is noisier than the likes of the whisper quiet Yosuda Indoor Stationary Cycling Bike (opens in new tab), it’s not disastrously loud and is unlikely to annoy neighbors or flatmates.
Value for money
The Wattbike’s £1,999 price is by no means a bargain. However, the fact the brand provides an app free of charge helps make this exercise bike more wallet-friendly than other machines that require a monthly subscription fee to use.
For beginners who might want more direction in their training, a more interactive smart exercise machine like the Peloton Bike or Echelon EX-3 might be a better option. But, for serious cyclists looking for an indoor or foul-weather training option to improve their fitness, the Wattbike Atom will make a worthy investment.
With workouts fit for the All Blacks – New Zealand’s national rugby team – the Wattbike Atom is a sleek and compact exercise bike designed for keen cyclists looking for a challenge. The lack of a touchscreen or engaging live classes means it isn’t as beginner-friendly as the likes of the Peloton Bike or Echelon EX3 (opens in new tab), but regular riders looking to improve their performance will appreciate its intense sessions and in-depth metrics.
If this isn't for you
If you want a one-stop shop for at-home workouts and programs, centering around an exercise bike, then the Peloton Bike (opens in new tab) (above) has to be a top contender. Meanwhile, if you want something that’s a little easier on the purse strings, we would point you in the direction of the impressive (and affordable) Yosuda Indoor Cycling Bike (opens in new tab).