How to Choose the Best Resistance Trainer for your Workouts

A resistance trainer offers a tailored, convenient way to train towards your cycling targets. Whether you want to improve your fitness, test yourself against the clock, or tackle a sportive. No matter your goals, training with resistance is the start of your performance journey. Our export guide explains different types of resistance trainer bikes, and how each is catered to pushing you to your goals. 

Table of Contents:

Types of Indoor Resistance Bike Trainers

Resistance trainers are a form of indoor bike trainers designed to replicate your outdoor bike riding experiences. There are various ways resistance can be applied during your training and each has their own advantages. And, comparing them, such as electromagnetic vs air resistance, can help you narrow down the interactive static bike for your at home workouts. 

The main types of resistance trainers use:

  • Electromagnetic resistance
  • Air resistance
  • Magnetic resistance
  • Contact resistance

Electromagnetic Resistance

This type of resistance trainer is one of the most technically sophisticated. Electromagnetic resistance is harnessed by creating a magnetic field and controlling this by electronics. The more resistance created, the harder you have to pedal. The Wattbike Atom smart bike is our award-winning example of this type of resistance trainer. 

The electrically controlled magnets mean you can alter how hard you have to pedal easily, allowing for a seamless session of indoor cycling. Not only that, the flywheel is electronically controlled, making your indoor bike quiet. Therefore, you can train at any time without making a racket. 

Why Choose an Electromagnetic Resistance Trainer

With our electromagnetic resistance trainer, the Wattbike Atom, we’ve created an incredible indoor cycling experience. Whether you’re completing time trials, or improving your cycling performance, our resistance trainer is the way to do it.

The Atom features unparalleled data accuracy to transform your indoor training to push you to your targets. Thanks to 3 sensors which track your pedal angle, force and speed, you can harness the most realistic indoor ride.

  • The Wattbike Hub - You can harness the power of our Wattbike Hub, our free app showcasing over 100 workouts, training plans, and performance tests. Connect your resistance trainer, and see your real-time cycling data appear in front of you. You’ll be able to work on your pedalling technique, speed, and cadence.  
  • Ergo Mode - The Atom has ‘ergo mode’, which means the resistance can be increased or reduced automatically by an indoor cycling training app. The elevations within the virtual route you have selected will transfer to the resistance on your smart bike, so you’ll feel like you’re really there. 
  • Virtual Gears - Not only that, you can use a customisable gearset at the touch of a button, if you prefer a gears-based style of training session. This is how we bring that real-road feel, you change gears or resistance exactly how you would on a real climb.

Air Resistance

Air resistance bikes use a fan to provide resistance against your cycling effort. Controlling the resistance requires the user to either pedal harder, or move a damper lever to control the amount of air able to reach the fan. The more air you allow to reach the fan, the more resistance you have to play with. The Wattbike Pro/Trainer air bike is a leading example of this type of cycling resistance trainer. 

Why Choose an Air Resistance Trainer

Selecting an air bike resistance trainer comes with a host of benefits. The air bike helps to support the load to your muscles, and support your sports training off the pitch. Whether you opt for the Pro/Trainer or Wattbike Nucleus, you can enjoy a tailored cycling workout

You can alter the resistance with our air resistance trainers, which means you can adapt each session to your needs. Whether you’re making the most of off-feet conditioning, wanting to have a lighter session, or get your fitness back after an injury. There is no end to the ways you can harness this type of resistance trainer. 

Our air bikes are trusted by professionals. Wattbike are the official suppliers to theAll Blacks and Black Ferns. They use the resistance trainer to improve fitness, rehabilitate injured players, and improve performance during pre-season rugby training.

Magnetic Resistance

A magnetic resistance trainer is a more simplified version of electromagnetic resistance. The resistance is altered depending on how close or far the magnet is from the flywheel. The magnet doesn’t actually make contact with the flywheel, but the closer it gets, the more difficult it becomes to pedal. 

This type of resistance trainer may require you to manually adjust the magnet via a knob or lever. However, some may have an electronic screen which allows you to adjust it at the touch of a button. Magnets create a very strong force, and therefore this may be a challenging method of resistance training for those looking for a lighter ride or to regain their fitness after an injury. 

Contact Resistance

A contact resistance trainer consists of a pad pressing into the flywheel, which applies varying amounts of pressure depending on the resistance required. This pad is usually made of leather or felt. The more the pad is pressing on the flywheel, the harder it is to pedal. 

The resistance can be adjusted by knobs which will adjust how much pressure the pads apply. Because of this, this type of resistance trainer provides a fairly quiet form of training, but you will naturally hear the sound of the flywheel working against the pad. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this form of resistance trainer, the felt or leather pad will need replacing after continued use, as the pad will begin to wear away from the friction. 

Why is Resistance Important?

Resistance training is so integral to cycling performance because it adapts your workout to provide a real-road feel if you’re a cyclist or transferable gains to your primary sport. Just as you would expect climbs whilst outdoor cycling, altering the resistance trainer to make you work harder can provide this feeling. Not only does it feel like you’re riding a real route, but it will have the same effect on your muscles as riding up a hill. 

More than that, riding on an indoor bike may be more effective than on your road bike. Coach Matt Rowe, of Rowe & King, suggests that an hour indoors “is worth at least 1.5 hours, if not more on the road”. 

Resistance training provides a full-body workout. You’re engaging your core, your arms, your legs in order to pedal through the resistance provided. Not only that, but by connecting your resistance trainer to the Wattbike Hub app, you can make the most of all aspects of cycling training. From improving your endurance, to dedicated leg workouts, to improving your training over winter. That way, you’ll be ready when the cycling season kickstarts, and try your hand at real-road events.

Train Your Way with Wattbike

At Wattbike, we’re passionate about providing the best ways of improving your cycling. From sportswear, to our product guides, you’ll have everything you need to reach your targets with us by your side.