What Bike? A Wattbike


What Bike?
A Wattbike

Cycling is a growing trend amongst London’s fitsters. Whether you’re commuting to work or training for one of the myriad events on offer around the UK, chances are you’re into cycling in one way or another. To address this growing trend, Third Space Marleybone has created a new Wattbike area that will revolutionise the way you approach this sport. We chat to master trainer and PT Will Downing about the concept and how it can dramatically improve technique as well as fitness.


First things first. What is Wattbike?

The Wattbike is an indoor cycling machine that can be used to improve your fitness. Initially, it was requested by British Cycling in 2008: they wanted a bike that could record extensive data for the pros. They wanted it to feel like a road bike without the hassle of a turbo trainer.

Is it for me?

Not everyone is a pro, but that doesn’t mean you can’t train like one. A Wattbike can look intimidating with a big fan on the front, several set up options and a computer that reads off numbers and data. However if you want to get fit and become more accomplished at cycling, then our Wattbike Classes are definitely something you should try.

What is ‘Power Based’ Training?

The Wattbike is a power based training machine that is unique to individuals’ fitness levels. It takes the guesswork out of training and generates stats that allow you to gauge your fitness levels. It records your speed, cadence and your pedalling technique. Did you know that you can save an enormous amount of energy just by pedalling correctly?

What if I’m not a cyclist: would I still benefit from the class?

Wattbike classes vary between HIIT, Tour Rides and Hills. Each class will give you slightly different stimulus but with a focus on working on your aerobic capacity, or endurance. Endurance capacity is a major factor for the success of many events, from cycling to rowing to running. Having strong endurance capacity helps maintain a high level of intensity and delays the effect of fatigue. So yes, this class would benefit you even if you’re not a cyclist. It will help you perform better and keep up the intensity in other classes and sports.

How does the Wattbike help with my fitness?

A Wattbike gives you an actual fitness score that you can use to compare yourself to others and to pros. You can also track your progress throughout the year to see if you are getting fitter with the quick (but brutal!) three-minute test. It is humbling to know that Sir Bradley Wiggins averages over 400 watts of power during a 50 minute time trial ride. I can just about do this for three minutes!

What if I already cycle a lot. Do I need to use a Wattbike?

If you are a cyclist, you might gauge your fitness by the number of miles you cycle. You may ride 10 miles one day and 10 miles the day after, but travelling the same distance does not guarantee your efforts on both days were equivalent. Power training is where the Wattbike trumps all other methods. Just because you cover 15 miles one day and 10 miles the next day, it does not guarantee you made more of an effort on the day you rode 15 miles. When you measure fitness, using power instead of mileage, you get higher quality workouts with quantifiable progress. Training smarter with your time means more bang for your buck. Working hard will only get you so far, working smart will lead to the increases in performance and the fitness you seek.

What’s the difference between the Wattbike class and a Spin class?

Unlike any other indoor bike, the Wattbike is calibrated to the individual, ensuring that when you are working in a certain training zone the amount of effort you put in is relative to your fitness levels. Working at the right effort level is what gets you fitter. Also, as well as measuring your speed and power output, the Wattbike analyses your pedalling technique. Each rotation is stored in the bike’s software, illustrating where and when you apply power through your legs. This means that a session on the Wattbike is hugely efficient.

What are the cleats for?

The cleats are essentially the clips on your shoes that attach to the pedals. This makes your pedalling technique more efficient because your legs are engaged continuously on the rotation, not just on the push of the down stroke. This works more muscle groups in your legs.

Will Downing is a personal trainer and master trainer for the Wattbike class at Third Space Marylebone. He has previously worked with the London Wasps RFU, Charlton Athletic Football Club, British Fencing World Class Program and various Olympic/Paralympic athletes in strength and conditioning role. He then switched to private training and applies his experience to individuals in their own fitness pursuits. Join him for a Wattbike class on Monday, Thursday or Friday.

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