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Hi

Im a bit of a newbie. Got a Croix de Fer for occasional commuting and short weekend rides. Decided this year to get a bit more serious so hired a Wattbike Trainer. Its been great so far doing Sufferfest videos indoors in the snow!

Anyway I only hired the Wattbike in January so missed September to December and want to get set up for later this year as the weather in Scotland in the winter is pretty lousy!

So yesterday I went to my mates workplace as they have bought a Wattbike Atom for their little work gym.
Had a very brief go on it and found a weird thing. In "gear" mode the resistance still seems to vary. I would have thought it would be constant a bit like the older Wattbike that I have.

I messaged Wattbike support and they messaged back saying you had to keep to a steady cadence.

Can anyone explain if this is right? It seems a bit odd. I was contemplating buying an Atom when my Wattbike goes back. However if I don't understand how it works I might buy the Wattbike Trainer that I already have!

11 comments

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roblpm [5 posts] 3 months ago
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And this is the explanation. "The resistance is applied via a set of magnets on the end of the step motor work against a flywheel to provide a sense of resistance, due to the sense of inertia being a very difficult sensation to replicate through magnetic resistance the resistance needs to change to give the feeling of the same gear when applying different efforts."

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CXR94Di2 [2080 posts] 3 months ago
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The Atom has lots of teething problems currently. It would be wise to wait until lots of positive reviews appear when used with Zwift, Trainer Road etc. I understand correctly it works fine on Wattbike own Simulator, but lots of others use the above simulator aswell.

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Yrcm [44 posts] 3 months ago
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roblpm wrote:

And this is the explanation. "The resistance is applied via a set of magnets on the end of the step motor work against a flywheel to provide a sense of resistance, due to the sense of inertia being a very difficult sensation to replicate through magnetic resistance the resistance needs to change to give the feeling of the same gear when applying different efforts."

Strange, must be something specific to the way the atom works, because I've got a static trainer with magnetic resistance and while it probably isn't as sophisticated seems to deal with this in a pretty convincing way. Suspect it's their programming that's the issue and needs refining.

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StoopidUserName [437 posts] 3 months ago
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Isn't this just 'ERG Mode' as found on other smart trainers? You need to pedal a very narrow cadence range for it to not increase or decrease resistance/change gear.

Great for zwift etc to simulate gradients and so on, drives me mad on workouts when you're trying to stick to a set power only for the resistance to jump up and down. You do get used to it eventually...sort of.

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roblpm [5 posts] 3 months ago
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StoopidUserName wrote:

Isn't this just 'ERG Mode' as found on other smart trainers? You need to pedal a very narrow cadence range for it to not increase or decrease resistance/change gear.

Great for zwift etc to simulate gradients and so on, drives me mad on workouts when you're trying to stick to a set power only for the resistance to jump up and down. You do get used to it eventually...sort of.

Nope. Thats the point. (Well I know nothing so please tell me if I'm wrong).

The Atom has two modes. "Erg" and "Gear".

This is in "Gear" mode. Ie you don't seem to be able to fix the resistance.

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StoopidUserName [437 posts] 3 months ago
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Ah fair enough, sounds like a similar issue though

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roblpm [5 posts] 3 months ago
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StoopidUserName wrote:

Ah fair enough, sounds like a similar issue though

Yes which seems weird to me. I have the original wattbike on hire. Can just set the resistance and pedal away!

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CXR94Di2 [2080 posts] 3 months ago
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roblpm wrote:
StoopidUserName wrote:

Ah fair enough, sounds like a similar issue though

Yes which seems weird to me. I have the original wattbike on hire. Can just set the resistance and pedal away!

The original Wattbike is not a variable smart trainer. it's a manual power meter trainer

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roblpm [5 posts] 3 months ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:
roblpm wrote:
StoopidUserName wrote:

Ah fair enough, sounds like a similar issue though

Yes which seems weird to me. I have the original wattbike on hire. Can just set the resistance and pedal away!

The original Wattbike is not a variable smart trainer. it's a manual power meter trainer

Sure. But maybe someone could comment on the comparison to tacx neo or similar. On the wattbike it has "gear" mode which implies the resistance is constant. Is there a constant resistance mode on other trainers?

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CXR94Di2 [2080 posts] 3 months ago
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Smart trainers have (decent) Erg mode and slope mode.
Erg is where the trainer has been set by the software simulator to a fixed power(no necessity to alter gears). the rider then has to maintain that power in several ways. You either use higher cadence which lowers the resistance or slow cadence and lots of leg strength. you can also vary cadence, resistance will alter so you maintain the set power. I, when doing HIT intervals might do several intervals at 100+rpm and some at 80rpm for leg strength training.

slope mode is where the trainer is controlled by the simulator and will vary resistance according to gradient of the course. Power figure is dependent on the rider pedalling faster or changing to another gear and pressing harder on the pedals.

I suspect that Gear mode on the Wattbike is slope mode and tries to create the sensation of changing gear.

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roblpm [5 posts] 3 months ago
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CXR94Di2 wrote:

Smart trainers have (decent) Erg mode and slope mode.
Erg is where the trainer has been set by the software simulator to a fixed power(no necessity to alter gears). the rider then has to maintain that power in several ways. You either use higher cadence which lowers the resistance or slow cadence and lots of leg strength. you can also vary cadence, resistance will alter so you maintain the set power. I, when doing HIT intervals might do several intervals at 100+rpm and some at 80rpm for leg strength training.

slope mode is where the trainer is controlled by the simulator and will vary resistance according to gradient of the course. Power figure is dependent on the rider pedalling faster or changing to another gear and pressing harder on the pedals.

I suspect that Gear mode on the Wattbike is slope mode and tries to create the sensation of changing gear.

Thanks. But surely in slope mode the resistance is constant? That was what was weird on the atom. The resistance changes.