Turbo Trainer Comparison

Turbo trainers and smart bikes bring your cycling training indoors. With workouts from the comfort of your own home, no matter the weather, you can improve your fitness any day of the week. Use our turbo trainer comparison to discover the key differences between the different types of indoor training, and find the right one for you.

Turbo Trainer vs Smart Trainer Comparison

Compare the features of indoor smart trainers vs turbo trainers. Learn the differences in performance, and how you can improve your fitness and meet your goals with the benefits of a smart bike. Here are the key elements in this turbo trainer comparison:

Smart Trainer

thanks to tailored data capture a smart bike can improve your cycling
  • For a fully connected, immersive cycling experience, an indoor smart bike features an electromagnetic resistance unit, simulated gearing, instant power and pedalling analysis.
  • Replicate your road bike set up with simple, precise multipoint adjustments, quiet riding and real-ride feel technology.
  • Connects seamlessly to third party apps so you can train in the virtual worlds, plus with Wattbike you can access 100s of workouts and plans on the free Wattbike Hub app.
  • Ideal for those who want a permanent, hassle-free training set up in the home, with a footprint that’s smaller than a turbo.

Turbo Trainer

learn the key elements of a turbo trainer to improve your fitness
  • With the choice of wheel-on or direct mount styles, you take your regular bike and either drop the rear wheel onto the turbo’s drum or remove it and bolt the bike directly onto the device.
  • Consists of an electromagnetic resistance unit that creates the sensation of riding. Simulates the feeling of riding gradients of over 20% and sensation of freewheeling downhill.
  • Connects to third party apps so you can train in the virtual worlds of Zwift, or ride real routes in Rouvy.
  • Ideal for users who want to train on their road bike - however, your drivetrain and tyres will wear down as you pedal and the state of your bike can affect the level of noise they generate.

Feature comparison

Wattbike Atom Smart trainer

Turbo trainer

Set upPlug & Play.Requires a road bike, 5-10 mins to attach.
ConnectivityBluetooth, ANT+, and FE-C.Bluetooth, ANT+ (model dependant).
Data accuracy±1% accuracy across the full power range of 0-2500w.±1-2% accuracy across a power range between 0-2500w (model dependant).
Metrics measuredPower, speed and cadence.Power, speed and cadence (model dependant).
Additional metrics measuredConnect to the Wattbike Hub to capture 40+ additional metrics on your 3rd party session.None.
Resistance typeAutomatic magnetic resistance with Real Ride Feel technology.Various resistant mechanics for turbos with smart, magnetic and direct drive being the most common. Resistance usually needs to be applied manually.
Gear shiftersUsing the Wattbike Hub - Choose from 5 different groupsets: compact, semi-compact, climbing, 11 speed or 22 speed.Campagnolo/Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11 speed (model dependant).
3rd-party app compatibilityYes.Yes. Limited functionality.
Bike requiredNo.Yes.

Upgrading from A Turbo Trainer

Turbo trainers can come with a little hassle before you even get round to your workout. You need to bring your road bike in, connect it up, and then begin your indoor session. Here are some of the restrictions of a turbo trainer, which may make you consider upgrading:
avoid the hassle of a turbo trainer by upgrading to a smart trainer
Restricted use of your bike
A turbo trainer will leave your road or mountain bike out-of-action - you need to connect and disconnect it between off and on-road cycling. Changing your bike over, resetting the gears, and keeping it clean for indoor use can discourage you from training.
Limited usability
Turbo trainers restrict you when it comes to adaptability. You need to swap out the bike for each person who wants to train indoors. Smart bikes can adjust for multiple users - with just four simple adjustmentscan easily change the pedals, handlebar, and saddle position for everyone in the house. 
Potential bike damage
Another reason to upgrade is the potential to damage your bike while using the turbo trainer. Connecting the tyre and chain to the turbo trainer could cause you to unintentionally damage your bike, making it unfit for riding out on the road.
Unwelcome noise
Turbo trainers also have a habit of being noisy, meaning you’ll have to time your session when the noise won’t be an issue for others

Upgrade to a Wattbike Atom

The Wattbike Atom’s unparalleled performance and ease of use combined gives you more than a turbo trainer. Forget the hassle of connecting your road bike for an indoor session, and upgrade to a smart bike. Start your workout and get pedalling in no time! 
Never lose a watt
Within a ±1% range, the Wattbike Atom delivers a new level of data accuracy to make it ideal for improving your fitness through indoor training.
Automatic resistance
With built-in electromagnetic resistance, the Atom automatically adjusts to elevations on your indoor training app course. Or switch to ergo mode and the smart resistance unit is adjusted to correspond with the power output required for each interval.
Built-in Shifters
Personalise your ride experience through a range of preset groupsets and shifter configurations to offer enhanced realism
Real Ride Feel Technology
Replicate the feeling of riding your outdoor bike, indoors with real ride feel technology built into the mechanical drive.
Quiet training
Commit to your training without waking up the neighbours. Using precision magnetic resistance, Atom stays quiet, so you can train on your smart bike at any time.
train with electromagnetic resistance on the wattbike atom smart bike
 thanks to compatible cycling apps you can enhance your smart bike training

Wattbike Atom

The Atom smart bike provides the ultimate indoor cycling experience. Connect to a range of smart bike compatible cycling apps to aid your training and help you reach your goals. The Atom automatically simulates the gradients of your virtual route, helping you establish that real-road feel.

Ergo mode allows the smart bike to control the electromagnetic resistance, so you can focus on pedalling and beating your targets. Connect to the Wattbike Hub to track your performance gains.

Discover Unrivalled Performance with Wattbike

At Wattbike, we help you get the most out of your training. With our dedicated cycling data, you can track your progress and improve with every ride. Thanks to our dedicated training programmes and performance tests, you have everything you need to take your cycling to the next level.