A few weeks ago Wattbike finally asked for their review bike back after a very generous long term test. I’d had the Wattbike for over two years and according to Strava, I’ve ridden just under 6,000kms on it. To be honest, I haven’t had many bikes I’ve ridden that far on.
I was absolutely gutted to give it back as it’s been the core of my training regime for the last two years. I’ve written various posts about it, but the one that stands out as the best and fullest summation of the transformational aspect of it is this one here.
Put simply, the Wattbike has been the best and most effective training tool, I’ve used to date for my cycling. I’ve trained more efficiently and more successfully with it than any other training I’ve done in all of my cycling over the last decade or so.
It’s been particularly brilliant for fitting training time around my work and young family. Finding an hour to pop out to the garage to spend on it, can be done any time of the day or evening with minimal disruption to family life. When I was training on the Wattbike, I was still “there” with the family in a way that I’m obviously not when I’m 40 miles away riding down the lanes.
I never realised how many “junk” miles I did on my bike before the Wattbike. That’s fine if you have the time to go out and simply ride but for the last 3 years, I haven’t had enough time to be as fit as I’d like just by riding. The Wattbike has helped me be fit on a surprisingly small time commitment.
It’s also helped me understand how useful training with both power and heart rate can be.
In following even the basic and free Wattbike training plans, I got faster and stronger than I’d ever been before. When I caught a cold or got too busy to ride, I knew that I could get back to where I needed to be within a few weeks using a handful of quite simple training rides.
This year has been another year where I’ve found it difficult to find time to ride as my workload has picked up (and this blog has suffered as a result too) but having the Wattbike there as the central platform of training gave me a clear path to fitness as soon as I could find the time.
When I have been fit, the Wattbike has enabled me to stay there during the week as I’ve focused on getting my training done before each weekend. This has allowed me to simply enjoy my weekend riding knowing I don’t have any obligation to get any training value.
If you have the space and obviously the finances to afford a Wattbike, I think they make tremendous sense. The Wattbike is a machine that’s accurate, strong, stable, well-proven at the highest levels as being fit for purpose and a tremendous tool. If everyone from Olympians to All Blacks swear by them – they’ll work for you too. Given that I’ve spent a lot more time on the one I’ve had than any winter bike, the value aspect shifts a little in my mind.
The question mark in my head is that since the Wattbike launched, there have been other new entrants like the Wahoo Kickr that also have power and heart rate training but with some other smarts built in (like automatically adjusting resistance). The Wattbike doesn’t offer those “tricks” but it’s an accurate, proven power platform that’ll take anything you can throw at it. It also records around 40 data points per second, so a coach who can use this data can get a lot from it.
Having it go back has shown me how little I feel the urge to use a traditional turbo trainer now. I miss the simplicity of having the Wattbike there to just get on and pedal. I miss the accuracy of power training. I miss the Wattbike.
There are of course other ways of achieving some or all of these things – I’ll now be wrestling with that and looking to clear at least one bike out of my fleet …. Just in case I decide I need to buy a Wattbike of my own for next winter. I’m certainly going to look at using my own turbo or maybe trying a smart trainer in the interim, but I can’t rule out buying my own Wattbike before too long. I worry that Wattbiking may have become a part of my cycling life I don’t want to be without.
If you’d like to read more, you can check out the archive of my Wattbike posts here: https://girodilento.com/tag/wattbike/
If you’d like to buy one you can do so at the Wattbike site here: https://wattbike.com/gb/product/wattbike