Exercise bikes have been popular for years, although they often get used a few times and then consigned to a cupboard or stuck in the garage where they gather dust and go mouldy. However, the Watt Bike is designed to make indoor, static riding much more fun. It is designed for everyone from amateur cyclists and fitness fanatics to Olympic champions and it aims to replicate the experience of riding on the road without the inconvenience of actually having to face the British weather.
The credentials of the Watt Bike are fairly impeccable given that it was developed in partnership with British Cycling. It accommodates a number of different seated positions in order to replicate different types of bikes and setups, but one of the best things it does is monitor your performance and help you improve pedalling technique, fitness and so much more.
The Watt Bike comes with its own specially designed performance computer. This device keeps tabs on 39 different areas of your cycling and updates 100 times each second, giving you instant feedback via the integrated LCD display. You can see the amount of power you are outputting in watts, hence the name of the bike, as well as checking up on how much energy you have burned and your current speed in kilometres per hour. You can also find out your average time over each kilometre of your virtual session.
The Watt Bike comes with the option to add in a heart monitor from the ANT+ SPORT range as well as devices created by other manufactures including Garmin and Suunto. This degree of cross-platform interaction is rare and means you can bring your own favourite bit of kit to the table if you so choose.
As well as displaying your performance on the fly, the onboard computer can record every detail of your training sessions and then transfer this over to your PC to be analysed and examined using the Watt Bike Expert Software. This may be something of a feature for specialists and professionals, but its availability is open to anyone with an interest in seeing how their cycling changes over time.
The Watt Bike’s technology extends right to the feel of riding the bike itself. Even though it is locked in one position, a combination of both magnetic and pneumatic braking means that the bike appears to replicate the experience of riding on the road. Fully adjustable resistance means that you can pick the intensity of your experience and whether you are going for a light run or a resistive slog it is going to feel like no other exercise bike you have ridden in the past.
For the keen Watt Bike enthusiast there is the option to hook up your cycle to a computer with up to 20 other riders in order to compete in virtual races which can be as taxing and useful as the real thing. In short this is the most complete indoor package for people who are committed to improving their cycling capabilities.