I have had a Neo bike for 10 months now (still have my N2T as backup) and love it. The bike itself is quiet with only the normal Neo sound. The tray, tablet holder and display are very useful along with the fans. Yes the fans don’t replace a normal one but at least they are there. Also, Tacx just released a firmware that smoothed out the shifting and gradient changes in Zwift fyi.
I don’t think anyone can go wrong with Neo, wahoo or stages. They all have differences that people like and nice to have the option out there to have a choice.
You are probably going to get lots of responses from people saying they like what they have…so I may as well start us off
I recently looked at all the major players (Wattbike Atom, Stages SB20, Tacx Neo Bike and Kickr Bike) and ended up with the Stages SB20. The substantial discount (currently still available in the UK I think) aside, one of the main reasons I ended up with the SB20 is the ability within TR to flip between ERG and Resistance mode - not something you can do with the others I believe from the research I did.
So thoughts on the bike (in no particular order…):
Its rock solid - seriously is not going anywhere - great for sprints but some people may find it too stiff (there are rocker plate options available)
The ability to change set up to reflect different users and replicate a wide range of bike fits is excellent
Dual sided power meters from Stages (tired and tested brand) albeit they use batteries in each arm
PowerMatch works well with my Assioma Duo pedals
Its virtually silent - fans are louder than the bike itself
Easy to clean and no maintenance
Excellent built in stand for laptop and phone etc and USB charging points (again rock solid)
Buttons for changing gears are not the best (and the app that is needed to see the gear change visually) but is a minor inconvenience
ERG mode is good but can take about 15secs to settle in - has not affected me on steady state intervals and would swap to Resistance model for VO2 type stuff
Very anecdotal but ref the Wattbike Atom a few club mates have them and have had some problems with the accuracy of the power readings but again I have no direct experience.
I’ve had a Neo Bike since September 2019 (that one was serial # 317). There have been consistent issues with the crank/“bottom bracket” on the Neo Bikes.
–First one worked great until March 2020, then completely froze. Replacement
–That worked great until December 2020, needed replacement belt
–No issues until 3 months ago, left crank arm completely failed
–Got replacement refurb, that worked until 2 weeks ago, developed a rattle, just got brand new bike
So now I’m on #4. On the plus side
–Very quiet, newest firmware is major step up for both Erg and resistance
–Fans are nice
–Tacx/Garmin support has been great
My use case at the time of purchase was 4 riders (now 3) ranging in height from 5’11 to 6’7", the latter of whom is a very competitive high school MTB/CX racer, and the time/hassle of continuously swapping bikes was not worth it. Tacx was first out of the gate with a smart bike, so went with that. The mechanical issues have been a pain, but everything has been under warranty, so as long as Garmin will keep replacing under warranty I’ll keep it. If I were purchasing now I’d look at Wahoo and Stages.
Any thoughts on difference in space taken up by the Stages SB20 and WB Atom? I’m looking for something to use in the house (no garage or shed). My bike + KK Road Machine take up quite a bit of space and are awkward to move. My wife is “tolerating” it but…
I suspect the WB footprint (124 x 50cm) means it is a lot more compact overall and easier to slot in somewhere. The SB20 spec gives a foot print of 158 x 56cm.
Would really appreciate thoughts from anybody who has seen both bikes IRL!
I had an ATOM (hated it, sent it back) and have an SB20 now. TBH, by the time you put towels on the floor, your laptop/monitor/whatever nearby, bottles, gels, fans, and assorted other junk, it’s absolutely zero net difference. Seriously, buy the best smart bike that works.
Size (in my very humble opinion) is a metric that should not matter in this category.
I’m patiently waiting for my SB20 to get shipped - what do I need as far as additional hardware for a decent entertainment setup?
Right now I use a laptop stand and MBP for running TR and watching YouTube or GCN+ or Netflix while riding. Should I grab a tablet for entertainment and run TR on my iPhone to control the SB20? Or do I need a different combo for the Stages app or whatever?
Id be tempted to go for the wattbike Atom simply because they (Wattbike) have been in the game longer. I know a friend had one the first week they were launched and sent it back as he didn’t like how it done ERG or something but I am pretty sure Wattbike will have sorted that.
Stages has been in the game and sold a ton of units. The SB20 is built on a platform developed from their indoor studio bikes that are designed to do 5-8 classes every day for years on end. We had a Stages SC3, grabbed it because we could not get a Peloton for my wife. I argued for the SB20, but my wife did not want a “road bike” like indoor bike, she wanted a spin bike. The Bike+ came out and we pulled the trigger in the first hours of release and sold the SC3. It was a tank and the SB20 is too, built to last and take a proper beating for years on end with daily use.
Have stages been making Smart bikes since 2007? My only direct experience of Stages is their HR monitor it was useless, failed in the 1st month and the replacement only lasted a few weeks also. Hopefully their bikes are put together better. I think from anecdotal evidence that the 3rd version of their power meters are quite good but the first gen is terrible its just an evolution thing there. Down the line if I was in the fortunate position to get a smart bike they would be considered by me but hypothetically at the moment I would dismiss them.
Your current setup will work well as it is but of course there are always quality of life improvements
You don’t really actually need to use the stages app much other than when you want to set/select specific gearing setups and actually see the gear you are in. Of course it is also used for updating firmware and calibrating the power meters.
In terms of my setups I generally have 3…
Daily training - comprises of a surface pro on the SB20 main screen stand for using TR (via ANT+) and watching stuff. Alongside this I use my iPad on the smaller SB20 stand and run Zwift also (via BT). I run TR in both ERG and Resistance mode depending on workouts I am doing
Zwift racing - comprises of surface pro on the SB20 main screen stand for running Zwift (via ANT+) and then my iPhone on the smaller stand for running the SB20 app (via BT) for gear selection etc as mentioned above.
Long Zwift group rides - as above apart from back to IPad to watch stuff this time.
Where did you see 124 x 50cm? The specs I found say 100cm x 50cm.
If you can use it without a “bike desk” or other stand, just a mat with the bike on top and a fan (and the fan is easy to pack away), then the Wattbike Atom might be a good compromise for living areas. On the other hand, all these smart bikes have casters (either front or back) to make it easy to wheel out of the way when not in use.