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First ride review: Wahoo’s new SYSTM indoor training platform

Here’s what you can expect from Wahoo’s brand-new ‘A Week With’, ‘Inspiration’ and ‘On Location’ channels on its training app

Wahoo says it has built SYSTM to be “the best training platform in the world”, but what are these unique video-based sessions like to ride? Can it compete with Zwift? Here’s my experience of riding some of the all-new workouts across the new channel categories: ‘A Week With’, ‘Inspiration’ and ‘On Location’.

> 14 of the best home trainers for 2021 — get fit indoors

A Week With

Now this channel is where you get to go behind the scenes with some pretty famous names, doing their workouts with them, as well as getting to know them off the bike.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM A Week With.JPG

Wahoo have currently got a mini-series of six workouts with both the former Team Sky WorldTour and current pro gravel racer, Ian Boswell, and Wahoo’s very own Neal Henderson—he’s Wahoo’s Head of Sports Science.

I skipped straight ahead to workout 4 of Boswell’s week, as the title ‘Race Winning Efforts’ really intrigued me. Try not to get excited like I did – if you go to the ‘Plans’ section you can apply the ‘A Week With Ian Boswell’ plan so you can follow the sessions in the intended order and spacing (for appropriate recovery in between).

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Boswell Race Winning Efforts.JPG

As you might have guessed from the name of this one, it’s a high intensity session—be prepared to push hard.

Boswell talks you through the workout, why he does it, why he likes doing it and how to get the most out of it. The whole workout is filled with lots of snippets of advice as you’re going along, such as how best to replicate this workout effectively on the road.

He’s also doing the session with you, on his local gravel terrain, riding through ‘Mosquito-ville’ as he likes to call it.

After a warm-up, the session consists of a series of intervals which each begin with a full sprint for 15 seconds before knocking it back to threshold for three minutes, and then they’re all rounded off with another max 15 second dig. It’s tough stuff for sure, especially as you’ve got to repeat this three more times.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Boswell Race Winning Efforts session screen.JPG

You do the efforts as Boswell does them, you’re in it together basically, and that dynamic really helps you push through I found.

He tells you that he visualises these efforts as one kilometre to go in a race, that you’re attacking off the front of the bunch, holding that gap and then making that final push to the line. I found this way of approaching the efforts did genuinely help me get a lot out of it.

There’s then four minutes of recovery between each interval, which is some quality downtime for catching your breath back and finding out more about Boswell and his life outside of cycling.

He takes you to his favourite fishing spot, a hidden swimming hole, and it’s all wrapped up with him ‘buying you’ a questionable ice cream flavour that he loves once you’ve completed the intervals. As you are just spinning out your legs I found it easy to listen to and enjoy these clips.

Overall it’s quite a holistic experience; you’ve packed in a quality training session, you’ve gotten to know a very interesting person, and also picked up some useful training insight along the way. I’m looking forward to doing the full week with Boswell and seeing who Wahoo do ‘a week with’ next!


In the past I’ve attempted watching movies while trying to pack in some endurance miles while it’s raining outside, but to be honest it turns out I’m pretty bad at multitasking. Even at an endurance pace, something about trying to stay at the intended power output or heart rate, and keeping up with what’s going on in the storyline... well I can’t, I lose track. What doesn’t help is that my data is displayed on my cycle computer at bar height and lifting up to look at the laptop screen to watch, well it’s a lot of back-and-forth.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Inspiration.JPG

With Wahoo’s Inspiration sessions you’re following an endurance- or recovery- level ride with your data displayed on the laptop screen, with a cycling themed documentary or short film playing in the background. Your head can stay fixed in the same place which makes for a much easier viewing experience.

You’re watching a guy driving a truck, that’s how Changement de Roux begins. It’s a slow start I must say, but you’re stuck on the turbo so you’re forced into finding out that it does get better.

The gist is you eventually discover this straw delivery man is Laurent Roux, a Grand Tour stage winner and wearer of the pink jersey at the 1998 Giro d’Italia, now living his life post testing positive for amphetamines in the early 2000s. He became an outcast in the cycling world. You find out his story and his perspective on the events of his era – it’s a honest recount, that presents an incredibly interesting point of view.

It’s a French documentary with English subtitles. The pace of the one I was watching was slower than most movies and so even with having to read the subtitles, I found I kept up with no trouble while riding.  

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Changement de Roux.JPG

The intensity of the session matched to this documentary varied between 60 to 75% of FTP which is mostly endurance work, but nudges into low tempo. I found it was a good amount of variation to keep things interesting, without it being unmanageably complicated while trying to enjoy the documentary.

There’s 52 of these in Wahoo’s catalogue right now. I didn’t realise there were so many cycling-focused documentaries and shorts films out there, so it’s great to have these all collated in one place and even better that there’s interesting workouts attached to them too. It was certainly an enjoyable way of getting some lower zone work in on the turbo.

On Location

I was transported to the French Pyrenees when I selected the Cirque de Gavarnie video. This workout is all about immersing you in the location you’re riding; and yep I’m convinced, I want to go ride this climb, really climb it. The scenery is stunning.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM On Location.JPG

There’s no music soundtrack, instead you’ve got your tour guide Michael Cotty guiding you up the climb that starts in Luz-Saint-Sauveur. He takes you both through the workout and through history and culture surrounding the location, with plenty of interesting story snippets and facts.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Cirque de Gavarnie workout.JPG

You get to discover a beautiful landscape from the comfort of home and learn about the Bridge of Napolean III, the famous regional spit cakes, and more.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Cirque de Gavarnie.JPG

The workout itself was split into three sections with some low cadence strength work to begin with, followed by a threshold block and finished off with some overs and unders. It’s quite a satisfying one to complete as you packed lots in and it finishes off with a sweaty effort.

Other workouts

There’s also one other new category called ‘Pro Rides’ which I’ve not had a chance to ride yet. It sounds pretty exciting though. Basically, Wahoo has attempted to create “the most immersive, realistic race simulation available” by pairing on-board camera footage from real professional races with real power data the pro rider was putting out in that race. Don’t worry though, it’s scaled to your 4DP profile so it’ll be as intense as it was for the pro rider but at your fitness level.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM ProRides.JPG

With this format you’ll get to experience different actual racing scenarios, which sounds a load of fun, even if it is proper hard too. Looking at the workout profile, it fluctuates a lot more than usual sessions!

As well as these new categories there’s plenty of old favourites you can mix in.

2021 Wahoo SYSTM Library.JPG

Sufferfest’s infamous workouts can be found on SYSTM. If you haven’t tried one before these are basically incredibly tough workouts with random clips of professional race footage from the archives. There’s also plenty of humour chucked in.

Then there’s an indoor cycling class-style session, with GCN presenters guiding you through the workout as they complete it themselves.

Yoga videos developed with Abi Carver at are also there for building core strength and flexibility, as well as reducing the chance of injury.

If you've had the chance to try out SYSTM, let us know in the comments below how you’ve found these new video workout formats.

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Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
1 like

Looks like they have terminated the "soul" of Sufferfest during the transition.  Like it or loath it SUF had a unique take on computer aided training that appears it may have gone missing during the Wahoo corporate borging.  Possibly being unkind.  I havent SUF'd for 12+ months.

jaymack replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago

I used Sufferfest vidoes many moons ago and always 'enjoyed' the experience. I've used Trainer Road more recently and to my surprise liked the option to watch something completely different while keeping half an eye on the line moving all too slowly accross the screen of my 'phone. I bought a new trainer which came with a free Sufferfest trial that I finally got around to using when my Trainer Road sub' expired. In the spring it had some, but by no means all, of the latest features. I must confess that I was underwhelmed. I rather like dipping my toe into yoga from a class, a book or (heaven forbid)'s collection of videos. Having everything 'under one roof' as it were just seemed...well...boring. Still we're all different and if you're looking for something to keep you motivated and working well as the darker months approach I'd certainly say it's worth taking advantage of their free trial

mogrim replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
1 like

The Sufferfest videos are all still there - in fact there's a new one they've included in the new app, but you're right in that they're no longer the focus of their offering. I think any new user would find it quite easy to skip over them, they're just one entry in a secondary navigation menu. Which to a certain extent is a pity, but at the same time I have to admit the new videos are a unique offering (that I know of) at the moment, and are very professionally put together. And they're definitely listening to user feedback over on the SUF forums, and presumably they'll be tweaking the layout over the next few months.

Systm is a shite name, though. And I think we're stuck with that one  2

stomec replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
1 like

I was a beta tester for SYSTM having long been a fan of Suf, got the knighthood and T shirt etc. I think the soul is still in there, there is just a lot of extra stuff too. Nine Hammers is still present and correct, and I still firmly believe if you can complete it at the recommended intensity you need to retest your ftp. Even the slightly easier original Suf videos were too hardcore to be the only elements of any kind of structured training plan, to the extent that some of the training plans previously had you riding videos at 50-60% efforts. 

The newer additions mean that the plans are better designed with more variety which is good on a 10-12 week schedule. Changing workout dates is a whole lot easier too. 

Other features like the pro rides are very good and immersive imho but I appreciate this is very much down to personal taste. 

I do worry that eventually Wahoo will come to dominate - it took the team months to fix a bug affecting Tacx trainers for instance - but at the moment I still think it is worth it, because I like the videos, music, commentary and variations in the workouts.

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