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Help me pick a platform for a smart trainer

Old 09-18-23, 07:56 AM
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Help me pick a platform for a smart trainer

Zwift, Rouvy, trainer road...

-I do most of my structured "training" in the winter. Nothing serious, just for improving fitness. I don't need built in workouts, I have a plan. But ERG mode built to match the days plan may be a nice feature.
-I don't need to race but would like to every so often.
-I don't need group rides but would do them every so often.
-I live in flat country and dream of the mountains. I want to train/experience virtual mountains if possible.

I want to ride where I want when I want. I don't want to be limited to only certain options at certain times - nor do I want to have to earn access to options. I'm not sure if any of the platforms have these restrictions - but I don't want any.

I think Rouvy has the edge on the mountain rides, but I'm not sure about the other items.
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Old 09-18-23, 10:22 AM
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Trainer Road does not sound like a good fit for your list. It's aimed at riders who want a fully managed interval training plan and nothing else.

Zwift is king for racing and group riding and the ERG mode and workout editor is actually pretty good. It is not bad for virtual climbing either, especially with the new climb portal function.

Rouvy is easily your best option for virtual climbing and it can tick off all your other boxes too. But racing and group rides are pretty limited compared to Zwift. You really have to plan ahead for those, while Zwift has rides and races 24/7 so you can just hop on and go.

I use both Zwift and Rouvy for variety. With Zwift you can pause your account at any time, which is useful if using multiple Apps.
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Old 09-18-23, 11:20 AM
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All I can say is that I found Zwift way more fun than I expected. I've not tried the others, so I can't compare. I'm a fitness-focused rider, not racing-focused, if that helps. The gamification elements keep me coming back, and when it's grey, rainy and gross outside, it's nice to hop on an inside ride and imagine I'm somewhere else. I've also joined a few clubs, and have done some online chatting and group rides with live time audio (I forget the app name used). Zwift only has 3 worlds "available" at any given time for free ride - Watopia and then two others (rotating basis) - but if you utilize pacer groups or workouts, you can ride any world. I've done a year on Zwift and I am now level 33. I'm still finding it motivating.

Don't know if that helps, but it's not an annual commit, so you are free to try and hop off if you don't like it. To me, the bigger investment was the space in the house, bike setup, fans, computer, etc. If you are doing that anyway, then just try the difference services once the HW is setup.

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Old 09-18-23, 01:14 PM
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they all (AFAIK) have free trials. suggest you use them and then be the judge.

i used zwift and it was way way way better than just the smart trainer and the little crappy phone app that i could use with it. i eventually wrote an application to re-ride old rides i did in my local area but zwift was really nice so i used it during crappy winter months and still use mine during summer if it is nighttime or raining (very rare for me here). after a while i got irritated with some of the problems, nothing very major but just annoying to me. being a developer these things really get to me.

i ended up trying FulGaz, very much like Rouvy, with really great video quality. didn't like their UI. i ended up with Rouvy, lesser quality video due to being filmed from a vehicle but better UI (IMO). i suspend my account during the summer. their ride search functionality needs work, hoping it is beefed up when i start in the next month or so.
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Old 09-18-23, 02:08 PM
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Yes to taking advantage of free trials. That said:

BKool can do all of what you described.

So can the (seldom-mentioned) Xert platform. That cutting-edge platform uses what is apparently the first software program that adapts workouts (if you're doing workouts) to your results on a rolling weekly basis, micromanaging according to your progress, fatigue level, etc.

I'm 72, so over the last year, Xert relentlessly reported my slowly decreasing "FTP" level (they use a different term, but essentially the same thing).

I'll probably give it another try this winter, though. I probably messed up the algorithm by doing far more road miles than my custom workout program called for. Anyone who wants to improve and is willing to stick to the program might find it useful.
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Old 09-18-23, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak

BKool can do all of what you described.
BKool was the first App I used in 2019 and I thought it was pretty good overall. The velodrome racing is quite cool and Iím surprised Zwift doesnít have that feature. But I soon moved over to Zwift for much better racing and group riding. Zwift has better graphics too, although BKool does have the option of video based routes like Rouvy. I tried the free BKool demo recently to see if they had improved it since 2019 and was a bit disappointed.

Anyway BKool is worth a try for free. You might like it and it does have all the features you want, including workout erg mode.
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Old 09-22-23, 05:26 AM
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Many options for you out there

As mentioned below, take a month now to try out the free trials of different apps and see what fits you the best. I used to be riding Zwift and now switched to Rouvy because I was tired of the virtual world in Zwift. For your preferences I think both are good options, especially with the simulation of the mountains, but what is an advantage of Rouvy is that you can climb the actual mountains and sight-see during the painful climbing which can help you go through indoor workouts that sometimes are quite boring.
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Old 09-22-23, 07:57 AM
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I split my time between Zwift and indieVelo. indieVelo has a smaller set of roads and less polished visuals, but the mechanics are just better. Much more flexible and adaptable (and the developer is constantly pushing out updates). There aren't many people on it yet, but it has the smartest bots of any platform I've used so far. Bots with different phenotypes, CP and W*Balance levels. Some will even go out to hard and then rage quit. It's cool because you can set up your own races or group rides whenever you want and, if there aren't other humans to join you, it'll autopopulate the rest with its smart bots that are specifically chosen to be at the same level as you (everyone is ranked based on who they beat and who beats them in races), so you're always in races and group rides with 50 or so racers with similar ability no matter if you choose a 200 mile race or a short hill climb or a 1 kilo blast on the velodrome - it even has a derny bot for keirin racing. It's also free while it's in beta.

indieVelo does lose out to Zwift when it comes to number of users and variety of courses (also some people prefer the cartoony graphics to the uncanny valley-adjacent thing that indieVelo has going on). Lots of real humans to interact with and a variety of worlds with lots of different things to look at as you're pounding out the miles.
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Old 09-26-23, 08:06 AM
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  1. Rouvy:
    • Rouvy offers augmented reality routes and real-life video routes to make your indoor training more engaging.
    • You can ride on famous routes and compete against other riders virtually.
    • Great for simulating outdoor rides and exploring new routes.
    • thatīs what I am riding
  2. TrainerRoad
    • TrainerRoad is focused on structured training plans and workouts to help you improve your cycling performance and reach your goals.
    • Offers data-driven training plans and detailed analytics to track progress.
    • Suitable for serious cyclists and those looking for a structured training approach.
  3. Peloton Digital:
    • Peloton offers both indoor cycling classes and a broader range of workouts like strength, yoga, and more.
    • Provides live and on-demand classes with motivating instructors and a competitive community.
    • Works well with or without a Peloton bike.
  4. Zwift:
    • Zwift is one of the most popular cycling apps for indoor training, offering a virtual cycling world where you can ride with other cyclists in a gamified environment.
    • Features group rides, structured workouts, races, and a social community.
    • Compatible with a wide range of smart trainers and devices.
  5. Sufferfest:
    • Sufferfest combines structured workouts with entertaining and engaging videos to make indoor training more enjoyable.
    • Offers a variety of workouts, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and endurance rides.
    • Focuses on providing a mental and physical challenge during workouts.
  6. RGT Cycling:
    • RGT Cycling offers a realistic riding experience with real-world routes and interactive training features.
    • It's known for its realistic physics and dynamic weather conditions in the virtual world.
    • Suitable for those looking for a more authentic outdoor riding experience.
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Old 09-26-23, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by nicocyclo
  1. Rouvy:
    • Rouvy offers augmented reality routes and real-life video routes to make your indoor training more engaging.
    • You can ride on famous routes and compete against other riders virtually.
    • Great for simulating outdoor rides and exploring new routes.
    • thatīs what I am riding
  2. TrainerRoad
    • TrainerRoad is focused on structured training plans and workouts to help you improve your cycling performance and reach your goals.
    • Offers data-driven training plans and detailed analytics to track progress.
    • Suitable for serious cyclists and those looking for a structured training approach.
  3. Peloton Digital:
    • Peloton offers both indoor cycling classes and a broader range of workouts like strength, yoga, and more.
    • Provides live and on-demand classes with motivating instructors and a competitive community.
    • Works well with or without a Peloton bike.
  4. Zwift:
    • Zwift is one of the most popular cycling apps for indoor training, offering a virtual cycling world where you can ride with other cyclists in a gamified environment.
    • Features group rides, structured workouts, races, and a social community.
    • Compatible with a wide range of smart trainers and devices.
  5. Sufferfest:
    • Sufferfest combines structured workouts with entertaining and engaging videos to make indoor training more enjoyable.
    • Offers a variety of workouts, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and endurance rides.
    • Focuses on providing a mental and physical challenge during workouts.
  6. RGT Cycling:
    • RGT Cycling offers a realistic riding experience with real-world routes and interactive training features.
    • It's known for its realistic physics and dynamic weather conditions in the virtual world.
    • Suitable for those looking for a more authentic outdoor riding experience.
RGT and Sufferfest are both now bundled in Wahoo X. I never really got on with RGT with its limited roads and events, but havenít used it recently. Sufferfest (now SYSTM in Wahoo) is really good for structured training and the videos are entertaining. Itís an alternative to Trainer Road.
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Old 09-29-23, 06:13 PM
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If you get bored easily, Zwift has plenty of riders on for you to chase and well attended events. If you just want to ride, MyWhoosh is similar to Zwift but free. They expanded the number of routes but it's still limited if you need those big days in the saddle (>3 hours). Same with Rouvy but here are a few full ironman routes w/moderate elevation gains (mostly rollers). I currently using Rouvy but will probably reintroduce MyWhoosh later in the winter for added flavor. Somehow I don't get the boring feeling when there's an actual video of route as opposed to the video game stuff. I was on RGT before they sold out and switched to MyWhoosh for a while until settling on Rouvy. I was on Zwift for a long time but just got sick of the kiddie stuff (gamification, dinos, big foot, exaggerated life forms, sexism, etc).
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Old 09-30-23, 06:23 PM
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exaggerated life forms? sexism? what has happened to zwift since i last used it a couple of years ago?
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Old 09-30-23, 07:27 PM
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Never actually stopped - Jungle loop 2017, London in 2018 & Titans Grove 2019. The mini skirts and short shorts on the spectators was around in 2018ish. Same skirt/shorts up Alpe du Zwift when the snow comes down and in the rain of London. They are also well endowed. Likewise are the female avatars but that every platform expect MyWhoosh is Cish instead of Ds. Did you quit early or just didn't notice?

Last edited by kcjc; 09-30-23 at 07:41 PM.
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