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Complete Guide to Indoor Cycling Machines

March 16, 2023 6 min read

Cycling machines offer a convenient way to cycle indoors, no matter the conditions outside. From starting your fitness journey, adding cardio to your training, or improving your pedalling performance, indoor cycling machines can push you to your peak. Our complete guide steers you through the different types of home cycle machines on offer, the benefits of each type, and why Wattbike should be your first choice.

Table of Contents:

Types of Cycling Machines

Whether you’re looking for cycling machines to improve your fitness, or to get in a round of at-home cardio, you need to choose the indoor bike trainer that suits your needs. If you’re new to the world of cycling machines, they allow you to unlock your training goals and workout in your own home, no matter the weather.

Smart Bikes

The Wattbike Atom smart bike offers a static bike option to get you started on your indoor training journey. See all the benefits of indoor cycling with unparalleled data that shows you where you can improve, and helps you track your improvements with every single session.

Cycling machines are a great way to start indoor cycling for beginners, and smart bikes offer the most advanced technology to help you improve your cycling and chase your targets.

Turbo Trainers

Turbo trainers are a type of cycling machine that require a road bike, and come in two forms:

  • Wheel-on - Your rear wheel stays intact, and rests on a platform with a rotating cylinder under the tyre.
  • Direct-drive - You remove your rear wheel, and connect the chain system up to the sprockets on the turbo trainer.

When comparing turbo trainers to a smart bike, you’ll find they’ll let you down where a smart bike excels.

Bike Rollers

These types of cycling machines require you to place your road bike on top of a network of cylinders which rotate under the wheels as you pedal. They require you to balance on your two wheels as you would on the road. When comparing bike rollers to a smart bike, you’ll find that these cycling machines can’t compete with the data, interactivity, and technology of a smart bike.

Exercise Bikes

As with a smart bike, this is a cycling machine with its own permanent, built-in bike structure. Unlike a smart bike though, they’re not as advanced when it comes to recording your data and supporting your cycling performance. When comparing an exercise bike to a smart bike, there are many reasons why you’ll choose a smart bike.

Why the Atom is the Smartest Indoor Bike Trainer

The best indoor bike trainers are the ones which keep you motivated and in touch with your training. A Wattbike smart bike is so much more than a cycling machine:

Improving Your Performance

  • Track your progress with every ride - Our own free cycling app, the Wattbike Hub offers real-time insight into your ride. Not only can that, you see your pedalling technique with our Polar View and Pedal Effectiveness Score (PES). Wattbike records your watts/kg, FTP, calories burned, max heart rate.
  • Test your performance - With a number of performance tests available, using the Hub can mean you’re on top of your game when it matters most.

Curated Workouts for Every Aspect of Your Training

  • Have a trainer in your pocket - The Wattbike Hub, our free cycling app is like having a personal coach in your pocket.
  • Have access to hundreds of workouts - Our Hub app offers cycling workouts that cater to every aspect of your cycling performance. Including endurance sessions, workouts for sportive riders, and workouts for sports conditioning.
  • Complete training plans for every one of your goals - With our training plans virtual routes curated by world class athletes and coaches, you can work towards goals and stay consistent in your training.

Don’t Lose Your Love of Cycling

  • Keep access to your road bike - Unlike turbos or rollers, your road bike is free for use whenever you want - you don’t have to dismantle a cycling machine to go outdoor cycling.
  • Experience a real-road feel - The Atom is designed to feel as much like your road bike as possible, so you can still experience the real-road buzz you get from an outdoor ride. You can even add an indoor cycling fan to recreate that refreshing, wind-in-your-face feeling!

The Best for Home Fitness

  • Be in control of the resistance - The Atom uses electromagnetic resistance to change how hard you have to pedal. You can either control it manually, or let the bike adjust automatically to the elevations in your workout or virtual cycle route.
  • Discover an easy set-up - Wattbikes come almost fully set up. Four quick and easy adjustments mean you can start pedalling in minutes. It’s also easy to adjust for multiple users.
  • Experience minimal noise - The Atom stays quiet, so you can train at any time, without disturbing anyone or getting distracted while you workout.

6 Reasons You’d Upgrade from a Turbo

Turbos adapt your road bike into an indoor cycling machine, which means they can be a great solution for beginners. However, they can’t compete with a smart bike, which means many of those who use a turbo trainer upgrade to a smart bike. Here’s why:

  1. Limited access to your road bike- Using a turbo trainer as an indoor cycle machine means you have to connect and disconnect your road bike each time you want to get out for a pedal. This can be a hassle, especially if you have a direct-drive turbo which requires you to replace the rear wheel before making it out of the house.
  2. Potentially damaging your bike - Connecting and disconnecting your bike from the turbo cycling machine means you may accidentally cause damage to your road bike, especially if you’re in a hurry to get pedalling!
  3. Seeing less accurate power readings - While a direct-drive cycling machine may record data more accurately than a wheel-on turbo, your rear tyre can slip against the rotating cylinder, which means any power readings may not be a true reflection of your exertion and output.
  4. Cleaning your bike before each use - Avoiding dragging your muddy road bike indoors means painstakingly cleaning it each time you want a spin on your cycling machine.
  5. Swapping the bike over for multiple users - If you’re looking for an at-home cardio machine for the whole household, you’ll find a turbo can be quite limiting: you have to swap out the road bike for each user to train.
  6. Suffering through noise - These cycling machines have a habit of being noisy. You’ll have to time your session when the noise won’t be an issue for others. It can be hard to focus on your technique with such a racket going on.

4 Reasons You’d Upgrade from Rollers

Choosing bike rollers as your cycling machine can help you improve your confidence cycling on the road, because they’re notoriously tricky to balance on. However, they can’t compete with a smarter cycling machine, let’s find out why:

  1. Struggling to stay balanced - When using this kind of cycling machine, the bike weaves and sways beneath you, which can be tricky to correct whilst concentrating on every other aspect of your training.
  2. Suffering through noise - With three or more rotating cylinders underneath your bike, it’s no surprise these cycling machines can be notoriously loud. This can be a real distraction while you pedal, as well as an annoyance for the rest of your household!
  3. Damaging your road bike - Rollers put strain on your tyres and cause the rubber to wear out more quickly, making them unsuitable for riding out on the road.
  4. Bringing your road bike inside - As with turbos, rollers require use of your road bike, which means you’ll have to ensure it’s in a suitable condition to wheel through the house. That means cleaning your bike every time you want to use your cycling machine.

Smart Training from Wattbike

Whether you’re choosing between a treadmill or a stationary bike, or improving your VO2 max, trust the professionals who trust Wattbike.

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