Newbie : Best Indoor Bike for experiencing Zwift on a Static Indoor Bike

Hi Zwifters!

Just about starting my cycling journey on Zwift (virtually and otherwise).

Looking for a solution that will enable my family to make indoor cycling fun.

Searched the web for a stationary bike compatible with Zwift but got confused with Zwift controlled bikes Vs. bikes that allow you to relay stats to Zwift.
I understand that with ANT+ I can relay data to Zwift but not sure if the experience will be considerably better with Zwift controlled bikes.

Looking to buy an indoor stationary bike that can be used by my wife, my daughter and myself (1 bike between all 3 of us) and we want to use Zwift as our training partner.

I have yet to make my bike investment but don’t want to be spending on the bells and whistles with no real value addition. At the same time want to buy a bike that I can use for long term, hence short term bike upgrades are out of question, though can keep adding to my ‘kit’ to keep interest going.

I plan to hook up the bike to a TV screen via a mobile device.

Looking for answers to the following questions:

  1. Will Zwift controlled bike give a considerable upgrade to riding & racing experience. We are a fairly competitive family so race ranking etc. would really matter to us.
  2. Depending on the answer above, which Stationary bike would you recommend along with the accessories to get started.

Thanks guys, see you on the rides soon!

The only stationary bike that I could find that support controllable resistance is the Wattbike Atom.

https://zwift.com/hardware?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shift_nam_us_search_cycling_sitelink_whatdoineed_ecomm_mar19&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrPztrIvk4gIV3o2zCh1ToASsEAAYASABEgJP5_D_BwE

So Controllable vs not controllable. what is the big difference, with a controllable trainer Zwift will increase the resistance when you go uphill, with a non controllable you have to do it your self. Yes you can race and be very competitive on either , in fact most top racers set their trainers so that it does not simulate hills during races (trainer difficulty to almost Zero)

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Thanks Gerrie!

Reviews on atom bike are mixed at best… not sure if anything new is in the pipeline.

Correct me, if I manually set the resistance on my bike (assuming that I buy a dumb bike) the ranking on the races would then depend on my watts? And I would be able to control my Watts by resistance and/or cadence?

Also, do I hear you say that you are cool with a dumb trainer with just the added job of manually adjusting the resistance?

Apologies if this is amateurish but just want to be sure.

Cheers!

All race ranking will be based on your watts it will just be a different user experience.

Yes if the Stationary bike does transmit power data to zwift you will increase power by turning the resistance knob.

This might be a bit different, a dumb trainer is usually attached to a normal bicycle and it does not broadcast power data, Zwift use a formula to calculate power based on wheel speed ant a set resistance value, Dumb trainers stay in one resistance value as specified by zwift.

No need to apologise, the more questions you ask the better decision you can make before spending lots of money.

I assume you want a one size fits all solution so you don’t have to swap bicycles on one trainer all the time?

If Tacx ever actually sell their Neo bike, that could be an option for the whole family.

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I use Concept2’s BikeErg, which uses the same air-resisted flywheel and performance monitor as their long-selling rowing machine. I’m not a cyclist in real-life, but was just looking for some cross-training options, with indoor rowing my main focus.

Fitting in with the Concept2 ecosystem was a priority for me, so I accepted that I would need to adjust resistance manually if I wanted to make things feel a little closer to reality when hitting hills. I’m generally lazy, so I don’t normally bother, but still find the combination of the BikeErg and Zwift has helped a lot with sticking to a regular training programme.

Dave

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It’s true that the reviews on the Wattbike Atom have been mixed, but that is mainly because I think it was because they originally promised more than the product was able to deliver - it was aimed (and priced) at the same level as very high-end trainers, but didn’t quite reach up to those standards. There were certainly problems with the early releases of the bike with gear changes taking a long time to take effect - these have been made better (but not resolved completely) with firmware releases since and the support has certainly been improved.

Now I do have an Atom and enjoy using it very much, but I’m not someone who needed it to be perfect in the first place (don’t do a lot of racing on Zwift for example, so immediate gear changes I can live without). In fact my reason for getting one was similar to you in that there are two of us in the house who want to use Zwift and it’s easier just to adjust the saddle and handlebar height when the other one wants on it, rather than having to change our bikes over every time if we had used a standard smart trainer (especially as our bikes aren’t usually kept in the same room as the trainer).

So don’t rule out the Atom yet, as it might still be a reasonable option if you can afford the initial outlay.

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Dave,

I’m going to be doing the same thing as you. I have had a rower for two seasons and decided to do some cross-training staying in the Concept2 family. I hope to enjoy Zwift with the BikeErg!

Thanks,

Alex

I think you will. I doubt I would have used the BikeErg as much as I have, without Zwift. I’m sometimes prioritising my Zwift sessions over my rowing training, and have to make a conscious effort to get back to the rower!

Dave

I Have been standing ready with my creditcard to buy the Tacx Bike since it first started to appear in different prototype/early versions… but for some unknown reasons it seems that Tacx is not able to put it up for sale ?

I can’t be the only one waiting for this one to appear ?

BooX

Power meter pedals can be used on any indoor bike. I use Favero power meter pedals on a Life Fitness upright bike with super results!

I’m in the Concept2 camp and have the rower, skierg and bike just to keep everything together and I’ve done 5.5 million metres on the bike and zwift and it has been brilliant. As Dave and others have mentioned you change the resistance yourself and I haven’t found that an issue with that.

That said I am looking at adding a smart bike to the gym at home and I am considering the Atom, Virtupro and Neo Smart bike. I’m also waiting to see what is launched at Eurobike in September before making any decisions.

If you do go down the concept route you won’t get better customer support anywhere.