One of the most popular ergs out there at the moment and one which the makers tell us will be a perfect complement to our winter training is the Wattbike. With winter upon us we decided to give one a try out for a month and see what all the fuss is about.
We wanted to find out how nice a ride a Wattbike is, what it will do for us that a good old turbo won’t and whether at the end of the day it is worth buying or hiring one as an additional weapon in your road cycling portfolio of goodies.
Let’s start with the set up and ride quality. The Wattbike set up is based on a road bike so I didn’t take too long to figure out what the best riding position for me was. And as the bike is easily adjustable, as long as you make a note of the settings, the better half or the kids could also use it without issue. We’d heard about the Polar display and the left vs right leg power split but it was quite fascinating watching it and how it responded to any change in individual riding technique. Legs cannot match electric motors for consistency of power and torque so the Wattbike Polar display always shows our inherent ‘dead spots’ at the top and bottom of each pedal stroke and this is what gives it the peanut sort of shape.
If you want a bit more adventure in your winter training the Wattbike is compatible with all of the major third party on line applications like Sufferfest and Zwift and Wattbike’s own Hub – an app literally packed with training programmes suitable for any type of pre-event. It will give different views of the data, give you a PES level (Pedal Efficiency Score) to try and improve and store all workouts. We ran the Hub on Just Ride mode to see what our data looked like using the Bluetooth pairing and because the bike broadcasts data in ANT+ too, we used an ANT+ receiver on our lap top to ride simultaneously in Zwift. And it all ran seamlessly.
Another interesting inclusion on the bike is the Test area on the monitor. Here you can select from a number of pre-loaded tests or create your own distance, time or intervals. What we were interested in, however, was the UCI endorsed Power Profile Test. The Power Profile Test (PPT) is a standard test which is used around the world at the UCI/WCC Satellite Test Centres to identify talent for all cycling disciplines. It consists of 2 x 6” peak power tests, a 30” Sprint test and a 4’ aerobic test. The test is continuous and set up as an interval workout. There is 234” active recovery between the two 6” test and before the 30” test. There is 330” recovery between the 30” test and the 4’ test.
Tough as it was, the data and the feedback were great and it’s easy to see why the UCI are so enthusiastic about the test and how it could help unearth tomorrow’s champions, provide a benchmark for athletes to know where they are ‘at’ and also how it might help identify disciplines in the sport where a particular athlete might excel.
Did it work for us? Definitely. And so you can consider sharing in the experience, we’ve harassed Wattbike and they have agreed that anyone hiring a Wattbike for Winter training for six months can have a seventh month entirely free of charge.
For more information on all things Wattbike in New Zealand click here.