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We've got a Wattbike and we're gonna use it

Mat gets a new training aid to see him through the winter

So, I have a Wattbike to train on for the next three months. Cool. Now I just need to get down to some hard work in the saddle.

Do you know much about the Wattbike? The clues are in the name, really. It’s a static bike that accurately measures your power output. Those are the essentials. I spent half an hour or so going through the key features with Wattbike’s Steve Marshall and now the plan is for me to use it regularly between now and March. The weather has been bad lately; I’m glad it’s here.

Here are the top five things I took from that initial meeting:

1. You get a ton of information on your performance displayed on the readout in front of you. It records 39 parameters 100 times per second. See, I was listening. It looks pretty straightforward to understand though.

2. You get a graphical breakdown of your power through your complete pedal stroke, so you can work on your pedalling technique as well as your output.

3. You can hook it up to a PC and display various different measurements on the screen. You can also store and analyse the data on your computer. This is all going to take some investigation. And I’m going to need to borrow a PC because the software isn’t Mac compatible.

4. Wattbike reckon it’s accurate to within 1.5% when you’re riding at 200-500 Watts, which is where you’ll probably be spending most of your time. It’ll remain that accurate forever.

5. It feels realistic; it’s like pedalling your bike out on the road.

I’m looking forward to it… and I don’t often say that about indoor training. It usually has to be raining really hard for a really long time for me to think about doing a session in the garage, but I like numbers, I like structured workouts, I’m up for giving it a good go.

Speaking of workouts, Wattbike have various training plans for different sorts of riders and different abilities. I’m not yet sure what I’ll do here because I need to cycle outside too; it’s my job as technical editor of I can’t test winter bike clothing in the garage. I’ll need to have a think about that one as I read through the Training Guide.

Whatever Wattbike training I end up doing, I need to start by setting some benchmarks and that means going through some tests. One of these is going to be a ramp test, where you go to your max. Oh no! I’ve done this a few times before and it hurts. I’ll let you know how I get on.

For all the info you need on Wattbike go to

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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