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FulGaz training app

6
£9.99

VERDICT:

6
10
Potentially useful but doesn't feel like quite the finished article yet, with several areas that need improvement
Genuine real-world gradient feel
Huge and expanding content library
ANT+ only on Windows
Content slow to load
Instability
Competition element not accurate
Speed of playback when faster/slower than capture speed
Weight: 
0g
Contact: 

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FulGaz is an indoor training app that uses rider-generated video content captured alongside power data that attempts to give a more accurate real-world feel than other apps and software. While it succeeds in some areas, in others the software still feels unfinished.

> Download FulGaz here

Fulgaz is not the first software to use captured video, but it does stand out with the footage coming from riders all around the world. That has resulted in a huge content library with many climbs, roads or event routes all online and ready to be followed.

Requirements

The Fulgaz app is available on Apple, Windows and Android, with specific compatible operating systems including more recent versions of Apple TV running iOS, MacOS (Big Sur and newer), Windows 10 and 11, and Android, with version 11 onwards being recommended.

2022 Fulgaz Intro.png

A smart trainer is required to fully integrate with the software, with all major brands and models supported. That's assuming the device has the ability to transmit using Bluetooth, as there is no ANT+ support on some operating systems.

I used Fulgaz with MacOS, the same system I have used for Zwift as well as testing Wahoo Systm. While the Tacx Neo2 smart trainer and power meters I used support Bluetooth, the heart rate straps I have are ANT+, so I had no HR data when using FulGaz. FulGaz has stated it may be compatible one day, but it's not a feature likely to be added in the near future.

Set up

The software has a vast settings range, and while not all need to be used or checked, if you want to really dive into the details you have the option to alter elements that other software does not feature, from the rolling resistance to wind speed and aerodynamic drag. You also get more common options, such as ERG and trainer difficulty.

The range of settings is vast and, I suspect for many people, far too in-depth and potentially confusing. I would prefer to see a simpler single menu, with perhaps the option to view advanced settings.

Ride modes

Fulgaz has three main ride modes:

Steady – You ride at the speed the footage was taken. If the person took 90 minutes to climb Alpe d'Huez, then so will you, regardless of your power output.

Reactive – The speed of the footage will change depending on your power output. Taking the same example up Alpe d'Huez, if you are capable of climbing it in an hour, the footage will appear faster. FulGaz suggests this is the most popular option for riders to use.

Challenge – With this mode you choose a previous time to beat based on all previous attempts. You can choose the original rider, the fastest set time, or a time that you feel might be best suited to your ability. If you complete a ride multiple times, you can also select your PB, giving you the option to race against yourself; with this, you will see how you are progressing, with the time chosen to compete against visible as a dot on the gradient display, as well as your effective +/- current time.

As a competitive rider and one who enjoys having a target to aim for, I found the Challenge mode my go-to option.

The first ride I chose was Gospel Pass, a climb reasonably close to home and one I have climbed several times so would be able to directly compare the footage against the actual climb.

While the quality of the content is dependent on what has been submitted, this particular video and all others I have ridden since are very good.

2022 Fulgaz Scenic1.png

While I have never ridden up Gospel Pass fresh, or flat out, as I chose to do while testing this app, the resulting time made me question the reality of the standard game settings. The time set was a virtual KOM and one that was 3.5 minutes faster than my real-life segment time up the pass, which is quite substantial for a short effort.

There are many reasons why this could happen, with wind, or lack of, being a factor but also potentially the rolling resistance on our roads versus the standard game settings. Both wind and rolling resistance are adjustable within the settings for anyone who might wish to, though this would require you to have a firm grasp on the rolling resistance coefficient to make any meaningful and accurate changes. Another element you are able to edit within the advanced settings is your aerodynamic drag, or CDA, but I suspect most people will stick with the standard measurement of 0.33.

Even if the virtual element is not perfectly accurate, it is significantly more accurate than other apps, with Zwift, in my experience, the most unrealistic for real-world speed.

One element that did feel very true was the gradient simulation; the steeper lower slopes on Gospel Pass are up to around 12-13% in places, and it felt every bit as steep as it does on the road. As standard, FulGaz has 100% gradient simulation – or trainer difficulty as it is called in some apps (so a 10% incline actually feels like a 10% incline). It is possible to change the setting, and if you are used to Zwift, for example, the standard option there is 50% (so a 10% incline would make it feel like 5%). Because of the bike I use indoors and its limited gearing, I found 70% to be a good balance of being realistic while actually allowing me to get up steeper gradients.

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With both Reactive and Challenge modes, because of the relative change in speed of your ride compared with the speed it was filmed at, it can create some visual problems. If your riding speed is very different to the speed of whoever submitted the video, it can look slowed down or speeded up. This is most noticeable going downhill, where you can simply keep pedalling through all the corners without worrying about braking, but also on flat or uphill sections. Passing cars, people, or other riders can look odd; one particular video I had issues with was of Alpe d'Huez, following a rider who seemed to have a cadence of 140rpm, with trucks whizzing by at scary speeds.

The Challenge mode can be quite motivating, and I found myself trying to beat my Alpe d'Huez fastest time and putting 100 per cent effort into the ride, with likely training stimulus that would have followed. It is far from perfect, though, and on several videos the times listed to compete against are simply not realistic.

Take the Alpe d'Huez 2020 route as an example: the fastest completed time is 7 minutes 26 seconds, with 21 other times set being faster than Nairo Quintana's 39 minutes and 22 seconds – the fastest, to date, by a rider who has not tested positive for a banned substance.

FulGaz is aware of the problem, but several weeks on and the problems are still evident. It may not be possible to completely fix, and whether the issue is down to riders cheating, power meter inaccuracy, smart trainer calibrations, or software issues, I am unsure how it can be completely resolved. For riders who enjoy challenging themselves against others, it leaves the constant query of what times are genuine. FulGaz is by no means the only software app that has this issue, it has to be said.

2022 Fulgaz Incorrecttimes.png

Most of the FulGaz videos are submitted by the users, and there's a quality checklist for those wishing to do so, with 4K being the minimum resolution. During testing I submitted a ride, which is now available online to follow (search for Black Mountain OC-95), and learnt that the recommendations go far further than just the resolution. Camera angle and positioning is crucial, as is camera stability. If you climb out of the saddle, as I do, that isn't what is wanted and you must capture the footage while staying seated. I was also requested to keep the effort level low, between 75-85% of a normal climb speed, which seems a shame if you want the time to be a challenging one.

2022 Fulgaz BlackMountain1.png

After submitting the footage, I completed the Black Mountain OC-95 route on FulGaz to test real life versus the virtual ride. Using FulGaz I was 55 seconds faster, despite averaging 50 watts less power, which is a significant amount. There are some differences that impact speed, such as the weight of the bike and rider input on FulGaz, but the time is within the realms of possibility. The Black Mountain is my local climb, and I have 171 climbs logged. The virtual time would have been my top 10th fastest, with similar real-life times logged at similar power outputs.

2022 Fulgaz BlackMountain2.png

Choosing rides

Once the software loads, and you have chosen your settings, you can select the ride or route to follow. The options are vast, with over 1,000 to choose from. You can change the search order based on several factors including A-Z, date added, distance, elevation gain or toughness. It is also possible to select rides using the map if you know exactly where in the world you want to go.

2022 Fulgaz ridesview.png

Whether because of servers being based overseas (perhaps in Australia, where FulGaz is based) or, more likely, the sheer number of rides available, I found the list incredibly slow to load, and combined with the display and inability to filter rides, I spent far longer than would seem necessary choosing a location and ride.

Depending on your device, the display is also very small, with no option to zoom in and make it easier to read or see. Given this will likely be viewed by many while sat on a bike a metre or so away, it was frustrating having to get off and go close to be able to read. There were also issues with decreasing text size when going from a full-size screen to viewing it in a smaller window.

It would be useful to have the option to filter the rides on view; given the sheer number, it's a bit overwhelming, and the ability to filter by country, style of ride, or duration would simplify the process.

Real Road Feel

For added realism, some videos have 'RRF' showing on the thumbnail, which stands for 'Real Road Feel'. On compatible trainers, including the Tacx Neo2 that I used to test the app, the feeling of the road will change depending on the surface, such as gravel, or going over elements such as a cattle grid. Turning on RRF in the settings will also adjust the rolling resistance, with gravel tracks feeling slower to ride.

I didn't find the feature that immersive, but it does add a little something extra to help give a slightly more engaging ride when indoors.

Event preparation

A key element that FulGaz promotes is the ability to ride on an event course, and there are many included in the software. They can be tricky to find, and again some form of filter would be very useful here.

2022 Fulgaz Filter.png

Examples currently available include some overseas Ironman events, a section of the Long Course Weekend Wales & Ironman Wales bike course, plus the ability to ride the vast majority of major Alpine climbs, which could be useful if you are entering the L'Etape du Tour, for example.

How useful it might be to virtually pre-ride a course will depend on each individual, and I think for some who have a very visual memory, learning key factors on a climb or course could be useful. If there is a particular visual signal before a road ramps up, for example, or a sharp corner to be aware of – or to simply let you ride with a reasonably realistic feel of what it will be like on the day.

Training

Within FulGaz you can either select specific training session videos, which have a training workout attached to them, or you can upload your own session to perform on the route of your choice.

There are currently 32 ready-to-go sessions and these cover all the likely training sessions or test options you might expect, with long internals, short sprints and an FTP (functional threshold power) test. While the number of sessions is nowhere near the number of routes on offer, you cannot re-order or filter the training sessions either.

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If you want to follow your own session, FulGaz gives you the option to import a .zwo workout file and follow it on the video of your choice. You can also sync FulGaz with TrainingPeaks or Today's Plan and upload any scheduled workout.

Within the settings, ERG mode (which automatically sets the resistance for you) can be switched on or off, and you can also adjust your FTP during the ride, which might be useful if you aimed to complete a session but can't quite hit the prescribed targets, or to simply give yourself an easier day.

Engagement & motivation

One of the biggest factors with indoor training apps is the level of engagement they provide, and what will keep you coming back to ride, over and over.

How engaging you find FulGaz will depend on your own preferences, but I didn't find it as appealing or rewarding as some other options. Some might enjoy the ability to see a new road or ride familiar places indoors, but I didn't find I had much impetus to keep going back and using the software, although this could be different if I had an event coming up with a ride that featured key climbs; I doubt I would do so frequently.

If you are looking for more training-focused options, Wahoo's Systm is tough to beat for its immersive experience, whereas if you enjoy a more social experience, with Zwift you will never be the only rider on the road.

Pricing

FulGaz costs £9.99 per month, or £85.99 when purchased as a one-off subscription for a year. There is a 14-day free trial giving you plenty of time to see if the software works for you.

That puts it on a par with some – Rouvy is around £10 (€12) a month – and cheaper than others such as Zwift, £12.99, Systm, £14.49, and Trainer Road, around £15.30 ($20). It's a little more than others, though, such as Strava Premium (£6.99), Bkool (€10/£8.50) and Tacx Training ($9.99/£7.65).

Conclusion

With another new fitness and riding app on the market, what makes it different, and why choose this over or in addition to any other? FulGaz offers something unique, with endless ride options on real roads, captured and ridden by real riders. No VR graphics, or augmented reality, and for some this will be a key factor.

It still feels like an app in development in several areas, though, including the menu options, and very slow response when trying to find and select a ride. On several occasions the software crashed, and it lacks support for ANT+ on all operating systems except Windows, plus key features, such as the inaccurate times seen on Challenge mode, need to be addressed.

2022 Fulgaz slowloading.png

Some might find it engaging, with event preparation being a key motivator, but despite riding indoors on a regular basis over winter I found myself choosing alternative software both for motivational reasons and for stability and speed when wishing to simply jump on and start riding quickly.

Verdict

Potentially useful but doesn't feel like quite the finished article yet, with several areas that need improvement

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road.cc test report

Make and model: FulGaz training app

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

From FulGaz:

The FulGaz Difference

We're as passionate about riding as you are, so we built the most realistic recreation of real rides you'll find anywhere.

Results YOUR Way

FulGaz combines real world terrain and cutting edge coaching knowledge to help you achieve your goals. Our workout library and detailed training programs will keep you motivated and riding year-round.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Fulgaz features and specifications include:

Stunning Videos From Around The World

Working with our global network of contributors, we carefully curate our rides to show the very best and unique routes.

With over 1200+ real-life video cycling rides to choose from on a variety of terrain, there's always an amazing ride in FulGaz.

Add Your Own Workouts

You can sync your workouts directly from TrainingPeaks or Today's Plan or import your own workout files and use them with any FulGaz ride.

Private Group Rides On ANY Route

Organise a private group ride on any route in FulGaz. Ride (or race) your mates, create a social meet-up or do a training session together.

System requirements:

Mac: FulGaz for Mac was designed around the Big Sur OS. Some earlier model Macs may still be able to run FulGaz as long as their OS is updated to at least Big Sur or Monterey. If your Mac is more than 5 years old it's more than likely going to find FulGaz tough to run smoothly, or at all.

iPad, iPhone & Apple TV: Apple devices that are more than 5 years old may struggle. For the best performance please ensure your device is updated to at least iOS 14 and that there is at least 5GB of free space on your device. Any 4th generation or above HD or 4K model Apple TV will run FulGaz.

Windows 10 PC and laptop: A minimum of 8GB of RAM is recommended. For the best performance ensure that all your drivers are up to date. You can use the Intel Driver Assistant to check for any pending updates. FulGaz is also compatible with the new Windows 11.

Android: With so many makes and models of Android device on the market, it's very hard for us to give a minimum specification. The newer and higher-spec the better. A tablet with 4GB of RAM and running Android 11 is a good start. FulGaz is a high powered app, so don't expect it to run brilliantly on a $199 department store Android tablet.

Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

Some areas are slow to load and some elements, including competition elements, had issues that did not work. There is also no ANT+ support, except on Windows.

With a good internet connection, or with the content downloaded, the sessions run well overall.

If used in the 'Reactive Mode' and your riding speed is significantly different to the speed at which it was captured, the content can looks speeded up, or slowed down.

For riders who want to fully customise riding elements, the settings and customisation is vast.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The content is very different to other indoor training apps, and it has its benefits and does give a more realistic ride than the majority of other indoor riding apps. It does have stability issues, though, and there are elements that need to be improved to make using it simpler, and smoother.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Competitive element and real-world feel of the gradients.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Elements were slow to load, lack of ANT+ for MacOS, inaccurate times for videos/climbs within the competition element.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Looking at the monthly subscription it's cheaper than some (Zwift, Systm and Trainer Road), on a par with others (Rouvy is €12/£10), but more than others such as Strava Premium (£6.99), Bkool (€10/£8.50) and Tacx Training ( $9.99/£7.65).

Did you enjoy using the product? Not really.

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Perhaps if they had a specific event or climb they wanted to recce and they found the content motivating. The ability to trial it for free is useful to help riders decide.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It provides a more realistic riding experience than most other indoor apps, but several areas need improving to create a better overall user experience.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 168  Weight: 62

I usually ride:   My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding

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