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Wattbike Atom Next Generation review

Though it's pricey, the Wattbike Atom Next Generation exercise bike offers a realistic cycling experience with customization to fit all riders

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review
(Image: © Wattbike)

Our Verdict

Though lacking a few Peloton-famous features, the Wattbike Atom Next Generation is a fantastic, high-end exercise bike.

For

  • Electromagnetic resistance system
  • Easy assembly
  • Fits riders of all levels

Against

  • Not compatible with smartwatches
  • No charging for tablets or smartphones
  • Expensive
Wattbike Atom Next Generation: Specs

Height: 150 cm (with fully extended tablet holder)
Width: 50 cm inches
Length: 100 cm
Weight: 44 kg (97 lbs)
Frame: Aluminium
Resistance type: Electromagnet
Gears: 22 virtual
Power requirements: 12V 7A DC power supply
Handlebar diameter: 26 mm, 1.02"
Gradient range: 0-25%
Max rider weight: 135 kg (297 lbs)
Power required: Yes
Wheels: 2 (front)
Connectivity: ANT+ FEC/ANT/Bluetooth Smart Control

Before the rollercoaster of a year we experienced in 2020, home exercise bikes seemed like a luxury. In 2021, they’re basically a necessity if you want to stay fit within the comfort of your own home.  

Even compared to the expensive Peloton, the Wattbike Atom Next Generation is on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. Still, the Wattbike is a great exercise bike for beginners and advanced riders alike. There’s a good reason why it’s considered one of the best exercise bikes on the market.

The new Wattbike Atom is available in the UK, with a US launch expected sometime in Q4 2021. It features upgraded internals such as an improved electromagnetic resistance system. While this exercise bike lacks the interactive display found on Peloton’s popular machine, with seamless connectivity to your mobile devices you won’t miss it much. 

Read the rest of our Wattbike Atom Next Generation review below, particularly what we thought of its design and features, as well as how it compares to our original Wattbike Atom review

Wattbike Atom Next Generation: Price and availability

We won’t sugar-coat it, the second-generation Wattbike Atom is an expensive piece of equipment. At the moment, it’s only available for purchase on the Wattbike website in the UK for a hefty £1,899. In case the Atom’s upfront cost scares you off, there are several finance options starting at £89.70 per month. Another thing to note is deliveries can take anywhere between 10-12 weeks. 

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Those keen to buy the newest model of the Atom in the US need to be even more patient. According to a Wattbike spokesperson, the US launch is now forecast for launch in Fall 2021 and is expected to cost around $3,000. 

For comparison, the entry-level Peloton package costs £1,750 but includes a tablet. You need your own tablet to take advantage of Wattbike’s advanced features. But, if you take into account Peloton’s £39 monthly All-Access membership fee, the Wattbike presents better value long-term. Plus, you can always purchase a subscription for the Peloton Digital Membership for £12.99 to access live classes, though you won’t be able to sync the app to the Wattbike.

If you’re not sure whether the Atom Next Generation is right for you, Wattbike offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as a two-year warranty should you run into any issues.

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review: Design and setup

The Wattbike Atom arrives at your doorstep almost fully assembled, with the exception of its seat and handlebar. After attaching both parts and adjusting each to a preferred height, I was ready to exercise.

Compared to the last-generation Wattbike Atom, the newer model boasts a custom electromagnetic resistance system that creates near-instant gear changes. The refresh also includes an increased power range of 0-2500 Watts, up from 0-2000 Watts on the previous model.

In addition to improved internals, the latest Wattbike Atom has an improved racing seat with an adjustable height (range 57cm-83cm) and sensors calibrated to provide a more realistic riding experience. Wattbike also moved the power port to the underside of the bike to better protect it against sweat. Smart. 

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Unlike the Peloton, the Atom bike doesn’t include a built-in touchscreen display. While you can sync it to your smartphone, we recommend making use of the extendable tablet holder with an iPad or other device. Make sure your tablet is fully charged though since the Wattbike doesn’t feature a USB port to keep your device juiced while you exercise.   

Sturdiness is one of the Wattbike’s best qualities. The Atom Next Generation weighs 97 pounds, which is almost 40 pounds lighter than the Peloton. However, when I put it through rigorous tests (which included my best impression of a Tour de France cyclist), the Wattbike’s lightweight frame never came close to tipping over. With a slim aluminum chassis, the Wattbike Atom doesn’t take up too much space.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Atom’s handlebar system is flexible enough to accommodate any riding style. Depending on the intensity of your ride (or just personal preference), you can choose how to position yourself on the bike. This includes leaning forward on the padded armrests like a professional cyclist or by sitting back and holding on to the bars as you would on a casual ride through the park. The Atom bike’s flat pedals are fitted with toe cages, which are useful for difficult uphill climbs. You can also order pedals designed for clip-in cycling shoes from Wattbike's website.

To adjust the weight of your wheel, the Wattbike features gear shift buttons on the back of both handlebars, allowing you to switch between 22 levels of resistance. I found this a bit clunky, particularly when I had to sacrifice my grip position to shift gears, but I guess that would be the case with any bike.

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review: App 

The Wattbike is capable of operating as a standalone exercise bike out of the box. But pairing your tablet and installing the Wattbike Hub app (Android and iOS) will let you take advantage of everything the exercise bike has to offer. 

Once you fire up the native Wattbike app, kickstarting your fitness journey is as easy as setting up an account. From there, you’re free to start with a Quick Ride. You can also choose from a series of warm-ups, cool-downs, challenges, and endurance tests. On a separate tab, you’ll find several long-term fitness plans. This includes an Army A3 Fitness Plan if you’re brave enough.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The biggest difference between Wattbike’s app and Peloton’s is that the former doesn’t include live training sessions for cycling, yoga, strength training and more; however, Peloton’s service costs $39 per month, whereas Wattbike doesn’t have any recurring charges. 

This makes Wattbike Atom a better option for athletes who are more focused on perfecting their cycling technique and stamina, rather than those who want or require more hands-on training. However, the Wattbike app doesn’t offer music for your riding sessions like Peloton, so be ready to provide your own soundtrack.

During exercise, the Wattbike Hub presents an abundance of information to help you improve your overall performance. This includes your power output and pedalling cadence to help maintain a consistent rhythm. If you purchase a dual-mode heart rate strap from Wattbike for £40 you can take advantage of the heart rate monitor on the app too. Although the Atom isn’t compatible with Apple Watch like the Peloton, iPhone users can connect the Wattbike Hub app to Apple Health as a workaround to store info on workouts.

Wattbike Atom Next Generation Review

(Image credit: Future)

When you purchase the Wattbike Atom, you’ll get free trials and discounts for third-party apps such as Zwift, Trainerroad, TrainingPeaks and Fulgaz. As a beginner, I enjoyed Zwift — something about watching myself ride throughout an interactive environment alongside other people took my mind off the exercise. 

Since Zwift is completely compatible with the Atom, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the app’s automatic resistance changing feature throughout your interactive rides. Just make sure you don’t make the same mistake as I did; I accidentally chose the 2015 UCI Worlds Course for my first round of exercise and I’m still sore from the 150m incline.

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review: Performance

Steering, weather conditions and angry car drivers aside, I found the experience of using the improved Wattbike Atom remarkably similar to riding a regular bike outdoors, with the addition of data you wouldn’t be seeing on a real bike. However, although the Wattbike Hub app is useful at first, with time I started to find staring at data somewhat stressful. 

Once I got into the rhythm, each workout felt more natural than the last. With fluid pedalling, instant resistance changes and subtle gear shifts, I almost forgot I was using an indoor exercise bike. 

(Image credit: Wattbike)

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review: Features and connectivity 

Similar to the previous model, the Wattbike Atom uses both Bluetooth and ANT+ to connect to apps and heart rate monitors such as Polar. As a result, syncing the Atom with the native Wattbike Hub app and third-party apps such as Zwift and The Sufferfest takes seconds. 

As mentioned above, the only connectivity feature I would like to see is the ability to connect my Apple Watch to the Atom for monitoring my heart rate without purchasing a separate accessory. 

(Image credit: Wattbike )

Wattbike Atom Next Generation review: Verdict 

Overall, the Wattbike Atom Next Generation is an improvement over the previous model. Despite its high price and lack of interactive display, the Atom offers a realistic cycling experience thanks to an updated electromagnetic resistance system and additional flywheel speed and crank angle sensors.

While the Peloton is targeted more towards less experienced riders with its interactive live training sessions, the Wattbike Atom caters to the needs of more advanced cyclists, or people who would rather ride without a class or coach. And for those who are new to exercise bikes, the Wattbike Hub and third-party apps like Zwift will help you find your rhythm.

The Wattbike Atom Next Generation could use some bigger quality-of-life improvements such as Apple Watch compatibility and included USB ports to charge your tablet. The price is hard to swallow, too. But if you can afford it, the overall quality of this exercise bike outshines its shortcomings. Trust me, I have the sweat stains to prove it.