Home
Indoor training has been given a new lease of life, we compare the two main training apps

Indoor cycle training was once the preserve of the seriously dedicated racing cyclist but with the advent of smart trainers and interactive services like Zwift and TrainerRoad, indoor cycling has been given a new lease of life and more people are hitting the trainer than ever before.

Two online training services, Zwift and TrainerRoad, attempt to make indoor cycle training an attractive and useful option to ride outdoors when the weather is bad or you want to add more structured training to your riding. The work particularly well with the new breed of smart trainers as the resistance can be controlled by the software and the riding experience is reasonably realistic to actually riding along the road.

- 6 reasons why using a home trainer is the best way to get fit over the winter — and how to make it fun too

Both Zwift and TrainerRoad are popular at the moment, but both serve their objectives with different approaches. Zwift turns cycling into a game while TrainerRoad offers a very serious and structured view on training. They are both paid subscription services; Zwift gives you a seven-day free trial so you can try it out, while TrainerRoad lets you reclaim your money within 30 days if you’re not happy with it, and both work on a plethora of devices, computers and smartphones. If you’re deciding between the two, we’re here to help with a guide to both and the pros and cons.

- Guide to getting started with Zwift 

Zwift

$10 / month with no contract

Pros: Immersive, fun, engaging, free trial, works on most devices

Cons: Workouts and training plans not as extensive as TrainerRoad, can't switch between just riding and workouts

wat_group_3.png

wat_group_3.png

Zwift’s biggest feature and its unique selling point is the ability to ride in a virtual world against or alongside other people from across the world. It’s totally immersive. It makes indoor cycling a game and the result is that it makes turbo training fun and engaging. If you use Zwift with a smart trainer, the level of resistance adjusts to match the terrain so when you're going up a climb, it really does feel like it. 

You propel your avatar, dressed up in any cycling kit (even road.cc colours), bike and wheels of your choice, and cycle around one of three virtual locations, from the original Watopia (a fictional place) to a remarkably accurate replica of London and Richmond in the US, home of the World Champs a few years ago. 

wat_group (2).jpg

wat_group (2).jpg

It’s a massive multiplayer game in essence, and you can race people from all over the world. There are many organised events, from training rides to races, so you can ride with people of a similar fitness and get a really good workout. The races are particularly realistic and can push you really hard, because it’s always motivating to chase someone, even in the virtual world.

If you want more structured training, Zwift also offers a wide range of workout modes and there’s everything from sprint intervals to sweet spot sessions. You can conduct an FTP test and follow one of the 12-week plans if you want to enjoy the benefits of a virtual coach to get you fit for a big sportive or race. You can also customise the workouts and make your own, too. 

zwift world8.png

zwift world8.png

You can use the companion smartphone app to communicate with other cyclists and send messages to people you’re cycling with. You can also high-five people with a Ride On real-time encouragement. The app also lets you browse the many events on offer and sign up to one get a reminder before it's about to kick off. 

- Buyer's guide to smart trainers + seven of the best

The Zwift convert: John Stevenson

"I tried Zwift because I was interested in the idea of turning turbo training into a game, but didn’t expect to take to it. Two months later, I’m addicted.
I’ve always had a turbo trainer kicking around but never used it at all seriously. I made the excuse that it was boring — which standard turbo training unarguably is — and said I’d far rather ride outside. But then I didn’t ride outside in the dark, cold and wet either.

"Zwift was a revelation, for three reasons. For a start, there’s something to look at aside from a bare wall, and unlike watching TV, what you’re seeing is relevant. More importantly for me, being told when to go hard and when to ease off in a training session, and getting constant information about your power output makes training much easier and — dare I say it? — fun.

'Then there’s the community. Getting Ride Ons from friends and strangers alike is enormously motivating, and I get a kick out of spotting other riders in road.cc kit. As my fitness improves after 2016 largely spent on my lazy arse, I’m looking forward to joining group rides and races too.

"It’s not perfect of course. In particular, having to quit the whole application to restart a workout, or to switch from just messing around to doing a workout is quite annoying. And Zwift really needs to do something about the utterly implausible power output some riders display, though when someone comes past you at 22w/kg all you can really do is laugh!

"On the whole, though, Zwift’s been a game-changer for me. It’s made indoor training fun, and that’s something I never thought I’d say."

TrainerRoad

$12 / month or $99 / year (if you’re not 100% satisfied, get a full refund within the first 30 days)

Pros: Extensive training plans and workouts, Virtual Power, structured training

Cons: No free trial, more expensive than Zwift, not as immersive

TrainerRoad-Lifestyle-PC-Ride.jpg

TrainerRoad-Lifestyle-PC-Ride.jpg

TrainerRoad has been around for quite a few years and it’s a good alternative to Zwift if you want really well structured training plans and workouts to improve your fitness in a measurable way. TrainerRoad works best with a power meter but if you don’t have one, it can use a speed sensor to provide a Virtual Power. If you have a smart trainer it'll control the resistance for you.

TrainerRoad uses a simple and clean graphical interface that provides all the metrics you need to track your efforts, from speed, any connected sensors like heart rate, cadence and power. A workout is displayed as a simple graph representing your intervals and a line moves across this graph identifying your progress. Motivational and instructional text is provided on-screen to help you stay focused and provide useful tips. It’s not as immersive as Zwift’s virtual world but it gives you clear and simple focus, and that’s a good thing when doing hard workouts.

TrainerRoad-Android-Ride.jpg

TrainerRoad-Android-Ride.jpg

But by far TrainerRoad’s biggest appeal is the vast number of workouts and training plans it provides. There are a staggering 1,000+ workouts so there’ll be something for all tastes and requirements. You can also follow a training plan (there are 100+) with plans for every type of cyclist, covering early season base work to race preparation. Following a plan is the optimum way of improving your fitness, and it removes the guesswork so all you have to do is concentrate on following the plan.

Use TrainerRoad for the first time and you’ll need to complete an FTP test (unless you know it already) to find your benchmark which all workouts are based on. You can choose an 8 or 20-minute test, but TrainerRoad will recommend the best one for you based on your experience and fitness level based on a short survey.

TrainerRoad-Mac-Workout-List.jpg

TrainerRoad-Mac-Workout-List.jpg

While Zwift is immersive and fun, it’s far too easy to just amble around the virtual roads roads without any real purpose, and if purpose of training is what you want, TrainerRoad is a good choice with its vast collection of workouts and training plans. 

The TrainerRoad convert: Dave Atkinson

Dave is one of the founders of road.cc and has been racing for the past couple of years. He's been using TrainerRoad since November.

"I've moved all of my training indoors over the past twelve weeks or so: that means doing three or four sessions a week on the turbo. There are three main reasons for this. Firstly, it's more time efficient. If you have to do four hours of training a week, then save for faffing around with your heart rate strap beforehand and a quick shower afterwards, four hours is all you need. Going out and getting a comparable amount of hard effort on the road takes a lot longer. Secondly, it's much easier to work at the level you need to: when you ride with other people they're either ripping your legs off or you're easing up to stay as a group. When it's just you and a wiggly line, there's no distraction. Thirdly, it makes the outdoor rides more fun. You're not having to think about working at a certain level: you can just be out enjoying yourself, knowing that you've done your chores.

"TrainerRoad I've found to be excellent for training. Zwift is more fun, but if you're riding indoors with a goal in mind then the focus on structure and the progressive nature of the plans makes a lot more sense to me. I used to struggle to complete 45 minutes on the turbo but now I can manage double that. Partly that's because the session is laid out before you and you can see what you're getting; partly it's because the on-screen commentary helps you to focus on why you're doing what you're doing, and what the rewards will be.

"It works, too. I started the base training plan with an FTP of 300W. Now I'm almost at the end of the build plan and I've managed to nudge that up to 317W, and got lighter in the process too. After this plan is finished I'll need to choose another one which is more specialised; although my main goal events this year are endurance-based I'm still not ready for the 3-hour sessions indoors that I'd have to do on the endurance plans, so instead I'll probably opt for a crit racing one to hone my top-end power for the summer races and trust in the fact that I've always been okay chugging along over long distances, and the extra racing fitness will help."

How to use Zwift or TrainerRoad

Getting started on Zwift or TrainerRoad is fairly straightforward. Both are compatible with Windows PC and MacOS; TrainerRoad works on iOS and Android and Zwift only works on iOS currently. Both apps offer extensive compatibility with many of the popular turbo trainers available. If you’re using a computer you’ll need an ANT+ dongle but the apps can use Bluetooth provided the sensors also use the wireless protocol. 

- Turbo training tips — get the most from your home trainer

elite-drivo-trainer-4.jpg

elite-drivo-trainer-4.jpg

You don’t even need an expensive smart trainer. The minimum you’ll need is a basic turbo trainer and a speed sensor, as both apps can calculate power. The more sensors like cadence, heart rate and power you can add the better the experience will be.  The big advantage of a smart trainer for both systems is ERG mode, where the program controls the resistance so you only have to concentrate on pedalling, you don't even need to change gears, it'll set teh resistance based on your cadence.

A smart trainer is an ideal setup but they are very expensive, and the market has exploded with choice in recent years. Though expensive, we know people that are investing in them instead of a winter bike for doing the bulk of their training on during the winter months. Another option could be to invest in a basic turbo trainer and a power meter that you can use both indoors and outdoors, especially useful if you want to also track your performance on the real roads.

Conclusion

It’s clear there are some key differences between the two services, but the outcome is that they both make indoor training a viable alternative to riding outdoors when you don't want to ride in the dark, wet and cold. And there's nothing wrong with that. You can rule five all you want but sometimes indoor training provides a more structured session, if it's training for a race or sportive that you want to undertake. Structured training, however you do it, is the best way to improve your fitness, and Zwift and TrainerRoad make it easy and accessible. 

They’re both have their advantages, so which you choose comes down to personal preference. In our experience, each one suits difference people and their objectives differently, so our tip is to try them both before deciding which works for you. 


There are plenty of alternative training services and we’ve listed 10 of the more popular ones in the article below.

10 personal training and coaching apps
 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

46 comments

Avatar
macrophotofly [260 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

Loving the Sufferfest App myself. Enough training vids and stimulation to keep me coming back.

Zwift forces you to run your bike in the highest gears (unless going up hill) so makes too much noise for the neighbours (I live in an apartment) - no offset adjustment for powered trainers. Also the top of leader boards are filled with people on non-powered trainers whose "calculated" times are unbeatable - got fed up in the end and left recently (after being a Beta tester and requesting these two things to be changed for over a year without any response)

Trainer Road I used for a year before Zwift and it's the best for technical/structured training, however I found I got bored using it and needed some more stimulation. Yes you can run DVDs and TV with it but that didn't float my boat - for others I am sure it is fine

I also use Velo Trainer which I find is excellent for when I just want to do a longer indoor ride (weekend totally snowed out, etc) - long ride videos in HD with the powered trainer accurately simulating the road conditions

Avatar
turboprannet [265 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

I struggled with indoor training due to the noise of a traditional turbo and the lack of flexiblity of rollers until I got a direct drive (Muin) and have been amazed with it. I've tried Zwift and found it a bit dull to be honest. Elite's own app is ok at capturing data. Trainerroad I've used before and will probably try again as the workout selection is incredible but for me the Sufferfest app has been a great intro back into indoor training. The only thing missing is the ability to customise their Open workouts or build a playlist (unless I'm missing something) to incorporate two shorter workouts or put the Extra Shot in automatically.

 

Avatar
MrB123 [58 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Does Zwift really work "on all devices"?

I was under the impression they hadn't yet released a version for Android phones and tablets.

Avatar
mrchrispy [488 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

tried both and settled on zwift, TR is better if you are serious about training but Zwift just a better valued package.  Saying that, there is nothing stopping you swapping between the 2, if I really wanted to train for something specific I'd just restart my TR subscription and complete a 2month training block. 

Avatar
beardyjim [50 posts] 6 months ago
1 like
MrB123 wrote:

Does Zwift really work "on all devices"?

I was under the impression they hadn't yet released a version for Android phones and tablets.

Not available on Linux either which is what is stopping me at the moment!

Avatar
TheLonelyOne [350 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

I'm in the pre-smart era when it comes to indoor training. Can anyone please offer guidance on how I might be able to integrate with Zwift / TrainerRoad (or something else) with my current setup, that gives me something more immersive or engaging than a handwritten schedule?

  • Traditional 'dumb' rollers
  • ANT+ cadence/speed sensor supplied with Garmin Edge
  • ANT+ enabled mobile phone - Android
  • ANT+ / Bluetooth tablet - Android
  • Bluetooth enabled Mac

tia....

 

Avatar
davel [1499 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

I'm on Trainerroad with the odd sufferfest thrown in, on the Kickr.

I think this is my 3rd winter on trainerroad: I keep thinking I'll go over to zwift or bkool, but I keep surprising myself with my capacity to zone out and follow bars moving across a screen with the occasional text-based pep talk and drill.

Its structure and plans are really effective. I fear I'd lose that to just smashing out virtual races with zwift/bkool.

 

Avatar
IHateSummer [15 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

 In particular, having to quit the whole application to restart a workout, or to switch from just messing around to doing a workout is quite annoying

Haven't tried for a while, but pressing 'E' whilst just messing around should take you to the workout selection screen.

http://zwiftblog.com/keyboard-shortcuts/

 

Avatar
riotgibbon [226 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
beardyjim wrote:
MrB123 wrote:

Does Zwift really work "on all devices"?

I was under the impression they hadn't yet released a version for Android phones and tablets.

Not available on Linux either which is what is stopping me at the moment!

 

cor, times have changed. When I used both these apps, just over a year ago after I broke my wrist falling off, any article like this was mainly dominated by "eeh, this new fangled nonsense will never catch on, what's wrong with going out, riding your second bike in a sleet-storm like my grandfather did" comments

 

now we're at the "why doesn't it run on the technology I prefer?" stage, just like the iPlayer was before it really got popular. The boring answer is that you target the technology you can get the optimal mix of being able to write a reliable app with the maximum reach, then work outwards. Like the iPlayer, that means starting with Windows, then Apple, then out from there. 

Dunno if you'll get Zwift on Linux though, probably Android, but the problem there is the sheer variety of devices, screen sizes etc. Can't you just do some kind of dual-boot thing?

 

 

Avatar
davel [1499 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
TheLonelyOne wrote:

I'm in the pre-smart era when it comes to indoor training. Can anyone please offer guidance on how I might be able to integrate with Zwift / TrainerRoad (or something else) with my current setup, that gives me something more immersive or engaging than a handwritten schedule?

  • Traditional 'dumb' rollers
  • ANT+ cadence/speed sensor supplied with Garmin Edge
  • ANT+ enabled mobile phone - Android
  • ANT+ / Bluetooth tablet - Android
  • Bluetooth enabled Mac

tia....

Trainerroad needs power, so you either have a smarttrainer (built-in power measurement), a separate power meter, or it can estimate power based on some 'curves' it has set up for various dumb trainers.

What make/model are your rollers?

Avatar
TheLonelyOne [350 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

What make/model are your rollers?

JetBlack R1 rollers - reviewed on road.cc a while back. A 100% analogue device! 

http://road.cc/content/review/183158-jet-black-r1-training-rollers-app

 

Avatar
davel [1499 posts] 6 months ago
1 like
TheLonelyOne wrote:
davel wrote:

What make/model are your rollers?

JetBlack R1 rollers - reviewed on road.cc a while back. A 100% analogue device! 

http://road.cc/content/review/183158-jet-black-r1-training-rollers-app

So you're into what they call 'virtual power'... estimated power, which is supposed to be reasonable and only needs to be consistent with itself. But it is critical - power is the basis of the workouts, and if it can't read power, it needs to be able to estimate it from data it has on how the dumb trainer's resistance works.

I can't see JetBlack R1 here https://www.trainerroad.com/equipment-checker

but they list JetBlack as a manufacturer, and I know they do other rollers' (eg Tacx) power curves.

Could be worth pinging them an email or tweet to see if they have R1 data or whether you can use data for another set of rollers - they're normally responsive, so it'd be a shame if that was a dead-end. https://www.trainerroad.com/contact 

As far as other stuff goes - it works with Android, your cadence/speed sensor should be fine... the only gap I can see is virtual power.

I've not used Zwift, but it looks like you need a power meter for dumb trainers for it.

I *think* bkool might do things differently (ie. use heart rate, speed, cadence) if you haven't got a power meter, so that could be worth checking out.

Good luck: well worth perservering - it'll take your rollers sessions to another level.

Avatar
mbrads72 [211 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Have they fixed the typos in the TR on-screen instructions and 'encouragement'?

Avatar
PeterM [28 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

 

Veloreality is a good option for just training sessions/graphs. You can make your own and no cost. You can also subscribe and get video. Golden Cheetah is another option.

Avatar
Woodsman [29 posts] 6 months ago
1 like
TheLonelyOne wrote:

I'm in the pre-smart era when it comes to indoor training. Can anyone please offer guidance on how I might be able to integrate with Zwift / TrainerRoad (or something else) with my current setup, that gives me something more immersive or engaging than a handwritten schedule?

  • Traditional 'dumb' rollers
  • ANT+ cadence/speed sensor supplied with Garmin Edge
  • ANT+ enabled mobile phone - Android
  • ANT+ / Bluetooth tablet - Android
  • Bluetooth enabled Mac

tia....

 

Not sure about TrainerRoad - but given this set up all you need to add is an Ant+ dongle plugged into your Mac (and a heart rate monitor if you wish) to get going with Zwift.

Avatar
Stueys [12 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

I run both, been a TR subscriber for about 3 years now and was a Zwift beta tester.  IMHO TR is unbeatable for structured training, I tend to use it and follow a plan, it works really well.  I sit there with either music or netflix runinng and it makes indoor training both highly effective and time efficient.

Zwift is great for racing, for anything else I think it gets a bit dull quickly.  I sometimes swap  a structured workout for a zwift race and will normally bag a higher intensity workout than I would have achieved by myself.  Nothing motivates you more to bury yourself than chasing a breakaway..

 

So both have their place, for optimising training time it's TR every time.  For adding variation and a bit of competitive spice than Zwift is great.

Avatar
davel [1499 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
Woodsman wrote:
TheLonelyOne wrote:

I'm in the pre-smart era when it comes to indoor training. Can anyone please offer guidance on how I might be able to integrate with Zwift / TrainerRoad (or something else) with my current setup, that gives me something more immersive or engaging than a handwritten schedule?

  • Traditional 'dumb' rollers
  • ANT+ cadence/speed sensor supplied with Garmin Edge
  • ANT+ enabled mobile phone - Android
  • ANT+ / Bluetooth tablet - Android
  • Bluetooth enabled Mac

tia....

 

Not sure about TrainerRoad - but given this set up all you need to add is an Ant+ dongle plugged into your Mac (and a heart rate monitor if you wish) to get going with Zwift.

"Rollers are a great way to work on your bike handling skills. You can use any classic rollers to Zwift on a bike equipped with a supported power meter. For an immersive experience, try out smart rollers that have resistance control."

http://zwift.com/en/get-started/

Needs a power meter, no?

Avatar
TheLonelyOne [350 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Thanks Davel - I did try JetBlack but they have no power curves for the rollers.

Re your "Needs a power meter, no?" reply, that's basically where I end up on this each time I look at it.

Bottom line, if I had the £400+ that a power meter costs, I'd buy some deep-section wheels first. I just don't have the budget.

Paper schedules and bloody-minded determination it is then for me then, for now.

Thanks all.

Avatar
davel [1499 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Have a look at bkool - http://www.bkool.com/simulator/simulator2hEN

no idea how, but they reckon they can build workouts from speed and cadence sensors...?

Avatar
Nick Kanwetz [3 posts] 6 months ago
4 likes
TheLonelyOne wrote:

Thanks Davel - I did try JetBlack but they have no power curves for the rollers.

Re your "Needs a power meter, no?" reply, that's basically where I end up on this each time I look at it.

Bottom line, if I had the £400+ that a power meter costs, I'd buy some deep-section wheels first. I just don't have the budget.

Paper schedules and bloody-minded determination it is then for me then, for now.

Thanks all.

 

Unfortunately, we don't have a VirtualPower profile for the JetBlack R1 rollers. Since JetBlack doesn't have a power profile for the rollers, the only other way to get a power curve into TR is to get your hands on a power meter temporarily to measure the power in 5 watt increments. If you could somehow get that, we'd gladly create a profile for it within TR. We have a workout you can do this test with.  1

Though, that doesn't mean you're completely out of luck! Considering consistency is the most important variable with VirtualPower, it's likely you could use a different VP profile for your rollers and still achieve the intended benefits of training.

Even if your VirtualPower readings aren't 100% road representative of your power outdoors, maintaining consistency means your results are comparable and you'll know when you're getting stronger. 

Since you have ANT+ enabled mobile devices, you'll be able to get started right away. If you'd like to train on your Mac, you'll need an ANT+ USB dongle to connect your sensors. Feel free to give things a shot risk-free in your first 30-days. If you don't love training with us, we'll get you a 100% refund, no questions-asked.

Please don't hesitate to shoot us any other questions or concerns at support [at] trainerroad.com. We'd be happy to help.

Cheers,

Community Manager at TrainerRoad — Cycling's Most Effective Training System

 

Avatar
Nick Kanwetz [3 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes
mbrads72 wrote:

Have they fixed the typos in the TR on-screen instructions and 'encouragement'?

 

We try to stay ontop of those typos as best we can! Always open to a little heads-up/criticism if you find one.  3

Cheers,

Community Manager at TrainerRoad — Cycling's Most Effective Training System

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [1695 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

I have been a major user of Bkool with originally, my Kickr, then used a Bkool pro. The reason for this is that Bkool gives a power/speed and time advantage over any other trainer- so you can't compete in races. I then decided to use trainer-road for more structured work outs on my kickr-love it. At the same time I started the Winter cup league on Bkool, but had to drop out because my borrowed bkool Pro trainer had to be returned. I have just recently tried Zwift again, the power is spot on with my kickr. So I have decided to drop Bkool when my annual subscription ends in 2 months. I will use Zwift and TR mainly and use the free version of Bkool to pick particular courses if I need to train for something specific.

Avatar
pedalpowerDC [362 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Thanks for this comparison. I just finished a trial of TrainerRoad that came with my Stages power meter. I'd used Zwift previously, but felt like it lacked the structure that I'm used to since I have previously worked with a coach.

I'd been trying to decide whether I should go back to Zwift to try the more sructured options, but I think I may stick with TR for the remainder of the winter.

One TR feature that I have tried in addition to the workout plans is Sufferfest integration (which some commenters might find interesting). Basically, TR puts together the specific Wattage targets of the Sufferfest workouts (based on your FTP), and you get to watch the videos in addition to using the TR application. You do need to already own the Sufferfest videos, though.

Avatar
TheSufferfest [4 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
pedalpowerDC wrote:

One TR feature that I have tried in addition to the workout plans is Sufferfest integration (which some commenters might find interesting). Basically, TR puts together the specific Wattage targets of the Sufferfest workouts (based on your FTP), and you get to watch the videos in addition to using the TR application. You do need to already own the Sufferfest videos, though.

Hey PedalPowerDC - So glad you like the 'fest videos. You might be interested to know that our own Sufferfest app provides access to the entire Sufferfest library, device connection and  workout targets set as our coaches intended them to be set.

Avatar
pablo [188 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Used both but if your serious about structured training TR is the best and if you have time to look at a screen for more than a few seconds your not training hard enough!

 I don't love TR road I hate! it most workouts take you near the edge but on the other hand I've seen some good gains and now have a much better base. Would only recommend though if your committed don't see the point of dipping in and out. 

The android app works well and their weekly podcast on iTunes is entertaining and info really helpful.

 

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Doing the 12 week winter plan on Zwift at the moment and really like it. Going to move from there to the 12 week race prep after that and hopefully that should get me where I want for my goals this summer. Not sure what the difference is from that to Trainerroad - trainer basically goes on ERG mode, and makes you work relative to your FTP, max sprint power etc, which it's always tracking, and when the workout's over it automatically reverts to normal resistance and you can keep riding if you want extra punishment. 

GCN added a series of over 30 interval type workouts to the Zwift workout mode in January too. Look nice and punishing. Like Trainerroad you can also do custom workouts.

Zwift races are where it's at for me though. You can never punish yourself as much as when you're competing against other people. Bkool sounds good for this too. Have to trial that soon.

Anyway, will be interesting to see how long anything else can survive once Zwift deepens its training plans and courses. What will happen if Zwift adds Ventoux, the spring Classics etc? Really, who isn't going to move to Zwift to do those. If you look at a lot of criticisms about Zwifts lack of workouts on Google, you'll see they're mostly from people trying it in early to mid 2016. It's better now.

I'd love to see Sufferfest throw a real curve-ball at the market now and get some big investment. Make a less 'PC' version of Zwift. Same deal, just more stylized graphically, very race focused, with heavy RPG elements to keep people hooked like levelling for gear by completing interval sessions on training plans. Really heavy customization - looking to the lairyness of crit racing for mad, trendy colour schemes. Darker, broodier, drop the elevator music. I'd love that.

Zwift's on top of the game right now, but stylistically it does feel like something my gran would do on Sunday afternoons. I'd jump ship if something similar but cooler came along.

Avatar
davel [1499 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Yeah I need custom workouts... Can't find a HIIT one? No problem... takes 3 mins to rattle one up based on your FTP. You can't do stuff like that on the road (at least I can't do 20sec all-out sprints without hitting lights/traffic/falling off).

Sounds like Zwift does more than I've given it credit for... but I do also like the sufferfest drag and drop in TR that pedalpowerDC ^ referred to.

Avatar
fustuarium [215 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Something not mentioned is support. No coincidence the companies are replying in this thread. I think they all take it seriously.

TrainerRoad support is outstanding. I use TR as I can catch up on TV and podcasts. Sufferfest were always really good as well (although since app only this is first time I've not done the Sufferlandria Tour so still feeling grumpy with them for that!). Zwift I've not heard friends complain about support. Same isn't true of smaller ones like Tacx and Bkool.

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

And family plans. Sufferfest and Zwift definitely don't have anything like that yet. So if you've got two or three, or even four people in your family.. that's a lot of money going out per month. 

Avatar
Guanajuato [81 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
TheLonelyOne wrote:

I'm in the pre-smart era when it comes to indoor training. Can anyone please offer guidance on how I might be able to integrate with Zwift / TrainerRoad (or something else) with my current setup, that gives me something more immersive or engaging than a handwritten schedule?

  • Traditional 'dumb' rollers
  • ANT+ cadence/speed sensor supplied with Garmin Edge
  • ANT+ enabled mobile phone - Android
  • ANT+ / Bluetooth tablet - Android
  • Bluetooth enabled Mac

tia....

 

That's pretty much my setup, but a proper computer rather than Mac  3

Ant+ dongle + Zwift + cadence/speed is all you need to get going.  Zwift has a whole list of 'dumb' trainers that have a power curve defined.  If yours isn't specfically listed, just pick a close one (I've got an Elite Speed Mag, which is listed but previously had a £25 ebay special and just set it as a jet black something or other - as long as it was consistent I don't care whether the actual made up number is accurate.  Use your gears & cadence to change the power output.  Obviously, it means you can 'cheat' by setting up a high resistance level and using a lower one. But who are you cheating other than yourself?

Another thing to try, not as imersive as zwift, is turbotraining.co.uk.  Again speed/cadence + ANT+ dongle, pick trainer from the list and go.  In fact, you can use it just for a 'by feel' training session. For free you can 'ride' several mapped courses, or sign up and there's loads of structured training sessions.

Pages