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Indoor cycling has never been more important than in the last 12 months. These apps help us train, track our progress, analyze our rides, and connect with thousands of other riders from around the world. Here is a round-up of all the best indoor cycling apps.
With a high-tech computer inside each of our pockets, it’s never been easier to track our data. From eating and drinking to training, cycling, and walking – there are apps for every need. GPS trackers allow us to measure our progress outside, but in the indoor world, it’s a little different.
Thankfully, we don’t have to ride rollers and stare at a wall anymore. Instead, there are tens of different indoor cycling apps to keep you motivated, entertained, and more connected than ever.
Zwift exploded and became the best and most well known. But there are a lots of other indoor cycling apps that are just as good, if not better.
Whether you want to pedal easy, ride virtually with friends, or challenge yourself in an online race, there’s an app for that. Plenty, actually. Below is our selection of the best indoor cycling apps from Zwift and RGT Cycling to Rouvy and Wahoo. Some are even free to use, while most will only cost you $10 or $15 per month. A few offer premium subscriptions that unlock training content and more.
These apps are available on a wide variety of platforms including Android and iOS and can be used by anyone from beginners to pros. Heck, most of the guys riding Tour de France are on Strava, if you’re reading this, you probably are too. Now let’s get you riding!
Zwift is the king of the indoor training space, with over 3 million users on the app. Even non-cyclists have heard of Zwift, which has moved into the mainstream ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Whether you want to pedal for 10 minutes or compete in the Zwift Premier League, you will feel at home on Zwift.
User interaction is one of the cornerstones of Zwift, with segment leaderboards on display, and a list of riders nearby. You can chat in-game or via the Zwift Companion app, follow other users, give a ‘Ride On’, and compete in a virtual team kit in one of Zwift’s races which are available 24/7.
Community events are not limited to racing either, as group rides and workouts are available almost as often as races are.
For the individual, Zwift has a library including thousands of workouts and every kind of training plan you could imagine. There are a few different FTP or Ramp Tests to choose from, from which Zwift will automatically calculate your FTP and adjust your workouts accordingly.
Zwift workouts are a bit more chaotic than other training apps (i.e. TrainerRoad) because there is so much going on. Instead of staring at your power graph, you’ll see your avatar riding through a virtual world with your power displayed at the top of the screen.
All in all, you can get many of the same benefits from Zwift workouts as you can from other training apps including on-screen text.
Related: Best Cycling Apps
TrainerRoad has garnered one of the most passionate followings in cycling, thanks in big part to their weekly podcast and great customer service.
Using Base, Build, and Specialty plans, TrainerRoad uses ultra-structured workouts to get you ready for your goal race, or simply improve your FTP. There is a massive library of workouts (over 2000), and on-screen text to keep you focused and motivated.
You can create your own plan too using TrainerRoad’s Plan Builder, and complete almost any one of the workouts outdoors using the ‘Do Outside’ option which can be synced to your headunit.
However, the TrainerRoad screen looks like a power and heart rate graph – that’s about it. There is little visual stimulation and no connection to the outside world. You can’t ride with other users on TrainerRoad, experience races, group workouts, or group rides.
There are no courses or virtual landscapes. But the thing is, TrainerRoad will get you fit. It’s up to you to decide if you need the extra stimulation, or if ERG mode and music is enough motivation for you.
Earlier this year, TrainerRoad announced Adaptive Training that would change TrainerRoad forever. It wasn’t quite that dramatic, but it was a much-needed change that users had been asking a long time for.
Still in Beta, Adaptive Training is said to use machine learning to intelligently adjust the user’s training plan so that they get the right workout, every time. Adaptive Training is still in testing behind closed doors, so we don’t know exactly how well it works.
The rumors are promising and could put TrainerRoad at the top of the indoor cycling app list if Adaptive Training does truly change the game.
Similar to TrainerRoad and its adaptation of simple graph and ERG mode workouts, Wahoo SUF is designed to get you fit using a custom training plan and your multi-dimensional power profile. The most unique feature of Wahoo SUF is its Full Frontal 4DP test, a tough 60-minute workout that consists of a sprint test, 5-minute power test, 20-minute power test, and 1-minute power test. All in the same ride – yes, you heard that right.
Wahoo SUF claims that the 4DP test is better than the more traditional 20-minute FTP test because it reveals your strengths and weaknesses as a rider, and provides a more accurate estimate of your true capabilities while carrying fatigue.
Creator of Wahoo SUF, Neal Henderson, has coached Rohan Dennis and Evelyn Stevens, and has been on the coaching staff of multiple Olympic Games – it’s rare to have a developer as knowledgeable as Henderson design an indoor cycling app for the masses, and that is what makes Wahoo SUF so unique.
Each workout is interspersed with text that is often motivating, helpful, and even funny. Many workouts have pro road racing footage in the background, which is as cool as it sounds. Wahoo SUF even comes with guided strength training, yoga, and mental training sessions at no extra cost.
While priced the same as many other competitors, these additions help Wahoo SUF stand out from the pack.
One of the most limiting factors of Wahoo SUF is its relatively small library of workouts. Though its ERG workouts often come with background, they can become stale after you’ve seen them a few times.
BKool is a smart challenge to Rouvy and RGT Cycling, which all attempt to blend realism with virtual riding. What separates BKool from the rest is its massive variety of routes to choose from, as well as dynamic weather, wind, and night mode.
The app features unique routes which include sections from the Ardennes Classics, Paris-Roubaix, the GPs Québec and Montréal, the mountains of the Angliru and Stelvio. It even includes city routes in Sydney and Lisbon.
Similar to RGT Cycling, users can create their own virtual routes and upload them to BKool, which will convert them into 3D routes. The app also has hundreds of workouts to choose from, meaning there’s no shortage of content on BKool.
There is also a social aspect to BKool that many other apps seem to lack. BKool users can create their own teams, and even use a voice chat to talk to other riders.
Users can even customize their kit and bike, which are unlockable similar to Zwift. Each ride is ranked using a points-based system, where riders earn more points per greater difficulty.
Formerly known as Cyclops Virtual training, Rouvy has become quite the popular option in the indoor training space.
There are over 4000 workouts to choose from, making it one of the biggest libraries on this list, even including a custom workout builder with your Rouvy subscription. Rouvy follows outdoor routes with virtual avatars to create a (somewhat) life-like experience, while also controlling your trainer’s resistance to match what is on screen.
The Rouvy avatars are a bit stiff, and it doesn’t always feel as life-like as you’d like it to be. But perhaps that’s the price that you don’t pay for a cheaper app. Rouvy has been making big leaps in recent months, with the Czech eSport National Championships being help on the platform and an augmented reality that puts virtual avatars into real-life footage.
This has created an immersive user experience that allows you to connect and ride with thousands of users from around the world. That’s a feature that many other apps miss out on, such as TrainerRoad and Wahoo SUF.
When it comes to virtual racing, there is plenty of work to be done on Rouvy. We don’t think there’s a drafting algorithm yet – if there is one, it doesn’t do much, and Rouvy races quickly become an individual time trial.
If you’re into solo suffering on the trainer, Rouvy races are the place for you. If not, there are plenty of options to ride real-world routes and join other users on the climb up Mont Ventoux.
FulGaz uses real-life ride footage to put the virtual rider right on the road, whether it’s Alpe D’Huez or Boulder, Colorado. The high-quality footage is filmed in 4k from the handlebars of a real-life rider, which can even adjust to the virtual effort.
FulGaz automatically adjusts your resistance to match the road on the screen. It helps to create a real-life experience from the comfort of your home trainer.
This is what separates FulGaz from the rest of the indoor cycling app space: real-life footage that matches the user input.
There are over 600 routes available on FulGaz from around the world, plus a library of workouts and the ability to import custom workouts from sites like TrainingPeaks or Today’s Plan.
Xert isn’t your typical indoor cycling app. Instead of virtual roads, user interaction, and races, Xert is a data analysis app that recommends your workout for the day based on your current fitness and goals. Using an adaptive model – perhaps similar to what TrainerRoad is testing – Xert takes into account of a variety of factors to adjust the intensity and duration of your workout.
We aren’t at our best every single day, and Xert seeks to do the hard work for us, adjusting our training load to help us meet our goals in the best way possible. The app contains a large variety of workouts that can be downloaded in ERG mode or onto Zwift, although this disables the ‘smart’ workout feature.
You can also connect Xert with the Garmin Connect app, making an easy transfer of workout files to a Garmin Edge device so you can complete your workout outside. It may seem like a bit of a reach, but Xert claims to be able to tell you second-by-second, how much peak power you have left, all calculated in the middle of a ride.
Xert really is challenging to be the most innovative training app out there.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to drop $2,500 on a Peloton bike in order to use the app. For the same price as Zwift or Wahoo SUF, Peloton Digital offers all of the classes and workouts above. That makes it one of the most well-rounded fitness apps available.
Rather than cycling alone, Peloton Digital focuses on holistic physical and mental health, making it a training app for the masses. You don’t need to be a serious cyclist – or even a cyclist at all – to enjoy the benefits of Peloton Digital. With a single monthly subscription, your entire family could use Peloton’s yoga classes in the morning, a quick ride at lunch, and choose from a variety of strength training classes in the evening.
However, Peloton lacks the gamification and visual aids of many indoor cycling apps and doesn’t allow you to ride with other users in a virtual world. Instead, Peloton classes are live, led by real-life instructors with music pumping in the background.
Peloton instructors help led you through each and every workout, offer advice and encouragement to help you reach your personal goals. And with this is one of Peloton’s core beliefs: each workout is more a journey or personal growth than it is a group competition.
There is a leaderboard for every class, but that’s not the focus of the class. There are no races or courses to complete, but there are thousands of archived video workouts available in the Peloton Digital app.
Best Free Indoor Cycling App
Road Grand Tours, or RGT Cycling, offers realistic gameplay that is meant to be as life-like as possible.
The app features a handful of routes from the real and made-up world, with workouts and races to match. RGT doesn’t have quite as many races or routes on offer as Zwift, but what it does have is an impressive physics model that is constantly being improved.
Unique to RGT is its simulation of cornering, braking, and descending on the user’s avatar. Pedaling through a downhill switchback won’t help on RGT, and it may even make you go wide. It’s a tricky thing to get used to, but then again, it is quite life-like. Bike riding takes learning and skill, and that’s what RGT brings to the table.
While the route options on RGT are limited, the possibilities of ‘Magic Roads’ are endless.
Users simply send in a GPX file, and RGT will have it converted to a rideable road in no time. Users also tout the fantastic customer support of RGT, which should not be underestimated in such a niche and intimate market. If there is something wrong, RGT wants to know.
They even have their own Discord server, where users can chat directly with the developers of RGT, and get changes or updates implemented overnight.
The Wahoo Fitness app separates itself from the pack with its functional diversity and cost of FREE. Users can use the app to sync workouts from a variety of fitness activities, and not just cycling. The app can connect to heart rate monitors, power meters, cadence sensors, and more.
Related: Best Power Meters
Within the app, users can adjust their power and heart rate training zones and use the Wahoo Fitness app to help guide their training, with adjustable audio alerts to remind them to stay in their desired training zone.
Perhaps the biggest downside of this app is the lack of social connection. Users are unable to connect with others – such as following or giving ‘Kudos’ on workouts like in Strava. They can only upload their activities to their personal profile rather than a public community feed.
The free app can be paired and used with a wide variety of devices, while users with a Wahoo ELEMNT head unit and its companion Wahoo ELEMNT app have access to even more features such as route planning, structured workouts, and shareable live tracking.
Much to the chagrin of millions of users, Strava changed their subscription features last year, removing many of the most popular features from the free version of the app.
Even so, the free version of Strava still allows users to easily track and upload their activities, from hiking and cycling to running, rowing, and walking. Users can track their speed, elevation, distance, route, elevation, and more with the free app, and you can see where you stack up on the Strava leaderboards – also known as KOMs/QOMs – which is Strava’s most popular feature.
The Strava route builder is one of the most underrated parts of the app, which can sync with a variety of head units and get you going on your next ride.
Users can open Strava on their smartphone or simply track activity stats on their head unit, which can be easily connected to Strava.
One of Strava’s best features is the activity feed where you can follow friends, give ‘Kudos’ to other users, and comment on their activities.
You can even post photos with your activities, and share them across a variety of social media platforms.
Interested in more cycling-related topics? See our articles on strength training for cyclists or on sweetspot and threshold training.
Hi, Do you know any for indoor instructors which have a space for cue for the class?
Thanks for suggesting that. Will keep that in mind for future posts!