If this pandemic wasn’t enough to bring your riding indoors, the cooler weather this fall will bring you inside. The good news is, a lot has changed. We now have smart trainers, smart bikes, and smart apps that can interact with your bike trainer to make training more engaging and a lot more fun.
The apps I am going to mention here are smart cycling apps. Meaning, they support and interact with smart trainers or smart bikes. For example, the Peloton – even though it’s extremely popular – didn’t make the list and that’s because their app doesn’t interact with smart trainers other than their own bike.
2020 has been an interesting year for indoor cycling, we had a pandemic and indoor cycling became a big thing. Some companies offered their apps for free for a period of time when the pandemic first hit, and some dropped their prices. We’ve also seen some apps go out of business and we’ve seen some new apps come into the scene.
I know some apps didn’t make the cut this year for one reason or another. But you can find a full list of indoor cycling apps here.
So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
TOP 10 CYCLING APPS
Price (USD): $9.99/month or $14.99/month for a family membership.
$79.99/year or lifetime membership for $229.
Free Trial: Free 14-day trial available.
Device Compatibility: iOS and Android.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth.
Kinomap has been around for a long time and they have one of the largest library of video routes. Their outdoor video catalog has around 100,000 videos recorded in 58 different countries. Kinomap curated its library mostly from users, so you will find all different types of videos, from all different places, and with different qualities.
Kinomap offers three different categories, Classic interval training, indoor coaching videos similar to spin classes, and outdoor video rides.
As you browse through each video, you will see who uploaded the video, Some information about the route itself such as elevation, distance, and length, to users’ comments. You can add videos to your Favorites and download the video or stream it. Once you are done with an activity, you can share it to TrainingPeaks, Strava, Runkeeper, and others.
9. TRAINER DAY
Price (USD): FREE and $3.99/month or $41.99/year for a premium membership.
Free Trial: Free limited version is available
Device Compatibility: iPad and iPhone
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth
TrainerDay is new to the scene and is a perfect app if you are looking for something simple, support smart trainers functionalities, and cheap or even free.
TrainerDay app is a simple app that does one thing and does it well and that is executing workouts and controlling your smart trainer in ERG or resistance mode. One of the strengths of this app is its simplicity and quick start option. You can open the app and start your workout within a few seconds. You can switch workouts on the fly and even edit workouts.
TrainerDay contains a giant library of cycling workouts and training plans. You can create your own workout by either using their web spreadsheet like workout creator which is very simple and easy to use. You can also upload your own workout file and they accept all the common format like ZWIFT file format, MRC, or ERG files.
The free version is a slim down version. You get access to 20 workouts. However you won’t be able to automatically sync your workouts to Strava or Dropbox and you won’t have access to their big library of workouts.
All the ERG functionalities in the app will work in the free version as well. But to get the best out of TrainerDay and all their workouts, paying a subscription is probably the way to go.
Price (USD): $10/month or $99 per year. All membership tiers include a family plan and can be used on unlimited devices.
Free Trial: 14-day trial available.
Device Compatibility: Windows and Mac OS
Smart Trainers Compatibility: ANT+ FE-C
BigRingVR offers one of the best videos and riding experience in high quality, high definition videos, and an easy to use interface with a lot of options. Their user interface might not look very modern, but it’s straight to the point, packed with options, and easy to use.
They have close to 400 high definition rides from 11 different countries.
These rides can be streamed or downloaded. You can browse through their rides by searching for a specific ride or use their different filter options. The video quality of the rides are very well done and frame rate is comparable to other applications out there.
The screen has the full elevation profile and another one with about 2km close up of what’s coming up ahead of you
You can bring up the keyboard shortcut menu by click anywhere on the screen. You can ride these rides in Sim mode or you can set a specific target watt and ride in ERG mode.
You can race against other riders that rode this course or compete against your own previous effort. You also have the option to add a workout to your ride. They have a list of workouts you can pick from and you can also use a Zwift workout file and they also accept ERG and MRC workout files.
The workout functionality in the app is pretty decent. You can increase or decrease your target power by using the keyboard arrows. Or you can skip a whole interval.
BigRingVR requires you to have a Google account and only supports ANT+ FEC and can connect to all your ANT+ sensors. Also, unfortunately, there is no Bluetooth support as of yet. I would have pumped them up a few levels if they supported bluetooth.
It’s available for Windows and Mac only, iOS version is not supported so you won’t be able to use your iPhone or iPad.
BIGRINGVR costs $99 for a full year membership or $10 per month for a month by month membership. All membership tiers include a family plan and can be used on unlimited devices. They also offer free 14-day membership, so give them a try and let me know what you think.
Price (USD): $12.99/month or $108.99 with one extra family membership.
Free Trial: 14-day trial available.
Device Compatibility: Windows, iOS, Apple TV, and Android.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C
FulGaz is one of the best apps to use for riding real courses. They bring the outdoor rides indoor in stunning video quality. They offer hundreds of rides from Tour de France stages even off-road courses.
FulGaz app has a very clean interface. You can easily find rides by either doing a search if you are looking for a particular course or even a race.
FulGaz is compatible with almost any trainer out there and can easily pair with any sensor you have in Bluetooth. They also offer support for different trainer functionalities and accessories such as the kickr climb and Tacx NEO road feel simulation.
FulGaz also offers the ability to add a workout to a course or pick a workout from the workout library they have. You can also upload your own workout or auto sync your daily workouts from TrainingPeaks or Today’s Plan
They offer some functionalities to adjust workout intensity or switch between Erg mode or sim mode. You can ride against a virtual rider and have the virtual rider challenge you by customizing the virtual rider’s power settings on the flats, and gradient and you can even customize the aero drag settings.
6. RGT CYCLING
Price (USD): FREE and $10/month for a premium membership.
Free Trial: Free and Premium membership available.
Device Compatibility: Windows, Mac OS, iPad, Apple TV. Requires iPhone or Android device to use as a controller.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth and ANT+ FE-C
RGT Cycling is known for its close to realistic and sharp graphics. Also, the riding physics are a lot more realistic with drafting, slowing down, and leaning into corners.
RGT Cycling has 8 different virtual worlds and you can select to ride on any of these roads. You can join or create your own group rides or races and invite others.
RGT also supports creating your own routes based on real GPS data. So if you have a specific route you would like to ride, you can send it to RGT and they will create what’s called a magic road that is based on the GPS data or route you sent them. Once the route is created, you can ride it yourself or schedule races or group ride on that route.
RGT support Windows, Mac, Apple TV, and iPad. You also need an iPhone or an android device to use as a controller.
RGT dropped their price to $10 per month and they also have a free version with limited access. The free version gives you access to 3 worlds, and you will be able join events and races but you can’t create your own. You also have limited access to their workout library.
Price (USD): $15/month or $14/month for a 6 months subscription. Or $12/month for an annual membership.
Free Trial: 14-day trial available.
Device Compatibility: Apple TV, Mac OS, iOS, Windows 10, Android.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth
Rouvy is an indoor cycling application that offers thousands of virtual, high definition video routes. Augmented reality, and the ability to race, group rides, ride with friends and create your own route and video routes from your own GPS file, and also supports structured cycling workouts.
Rouvy split its app into two separate apps. Rouvy Workouts and Rouvy AR. Rouvy Workout is for structured cycling training. That’s where you do your intervals and download the workout of the day from TrainingPeaks.
Rouvy AR is mostly geared toward riding courses in Augmented Reality, racing, and group riding. There is no workout option in Rouvy AR. Rouvy has been partnering and hosting a lot of events, races, and grand tours on its platform to keep things fun and challenging.
Rouvy also offers running. It’s in beta right now and free to use, but all you need is a compatible footpod and you can select one of the available courses to run.
Rouvy costs $15 per month or $14 per month for a 6 months subscription. Or $12 per month for an annual membership. They also have family sharing. 2 family members can use one subscription. So that is an additional saving for you if you have more than one cyclist in your household.
Price (USD): $9.99/month or $99/year
Free Trial: 30-day free trial available.
Device Compatibility: iOS, Android.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: BLE FTMS, ANT+ FE-C.
Xert is a smart training platform that helps athletes coach themselves. It does this by doing a deep dive into your data to measure your fitness and discover certain patterns that are unique to you and use all this information and present you with certain recommendations based on your current fitness and goals.
Xert tracks changes in your fitness without requiring testing. Just upload your data and Xert runs some algorithms and tells you when you’re improving and by how much and calculate your FTP automatically without having you suffer through an FTP test.
Their smart training recommendation engine determines the amount, and type, of training you need to do to reach your goals. Xert will recommend workouts for you to do each day and guide you through the workout. Their workout player will monitor your fitness in real time and adjust the intensity, and duration of your workout down to each interval.
The Xert Workout Player is also available for Garmin ConnectIQ. You can see your latest Fitness Signature, download your selected workout, and it configures the exact workout interval intensities and durations specific to you and then plays the workout using your power meter and/or smart trainer.
Also, all their workouts are available to download as in ERG or Zwift files if you want to use Zwift for example. However, “Smart” workouts or “Smart” functionalities will no longer be “smart” in Zwift – All the correct wattages and durations are calculated when you export the workout file, but the workout player in Zwift doesn’t support determined wattages or durations like the Xert player itself.
Xert works with ANT+ FEC or Bluetooth FTMS compatible trainers or any power meter.
Xert is $10 per month or $100 per year and they have a free 30 day trial.
3. THE SUFFERFEST
Price (USD): $15/month or $129/year
Free Trial: 14-day free trial available.
Device Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iOS
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth, ANT+ FE-C.
The Sufferfest or SUF offers a big library of structured cycling workouts and training plans for different cycling disciplines.
Their workouts have a different flavor to them. A lot of their workouts are accompanied with video footage of real professional racing from Tour de France, UCI and other. So as you are playing a video of a professional race, the plot is that you are basically part of that race representing this mythical country, called Sufferlandria.
The workouts for the most part are structured in away to match the race footage you are watching. So for example, if there is an attack or a sprint, you will be instructed to sprint. If there is a climb, you will be instructed to climb. You will also see a lot of funny and sarcastic commentaries that are meant to keep you engaged and motivated.
The Sufferfest is Bluetooth compatible and ANT+ FE-C if using Windows PC or Mac OS. It’s compatible with most smart trainers and supports pairing heart rate monitors, power meters and power match as well.
The suffuerfest also offers different training plans for all type of riding including triathlons and e-racing and customize your training plan on the fly. You can also go for a more custom plan and for a one time fee, you can work with one of their coaches to build a plan that is specific for you.
They also offer yoga, strength training, and mental toughness
The Sufferfest is available for Mac, Windows, and iOS devices and costs $15 per month or $129 per year.
A 14-day free trial is available.
2. TRAINER ROAD
Price (USD): $19.95/month or $189.95/year
Free Trial: 30-day coupon available from a friend referral.
Device Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth, ANT+ FE-C.
TrainerRoad offers a huge library of power-based cycling workouts. You can browse through hundreds of workouts or create your own using TrainerRoad Workout Creator or import your workout of the day from TrainingPeaks or FinalSurge.
They also have a well designed and comprehensive structured training plans for triathletes, off-road cyclists, road racers, and other disciplines.
Training plans are divided into high, medium and low volume and you can customize the start and end date of each plan to fit your schedule. You can move workouts around to indicate which days of the week you want to do certain workouts and whether you want to do the workouts indoor on your trainer or outside using your Garmin Edge or Wahoo element bike computer.
TrainerRoad offers group workouts where you can do the same workout with up to 10 other athletes while sharing live video, voice, and data. This is a Great way to keep you motivated and accountable for your workouts.
TrainerRoad also offers a great analytics tool to analyze your rides and do power analysis for each ride and throughout your season.
One of the unique things about TrainerRoad is they have a great and busy community on their forum and Facebook. They also have a great podcast so check that one out as well.
TrainerRoad is $19.95 per month or $189.95 per year. And if you have a good friend with a TrainerRoad account, ask him or her to send you a free 30 days trial code.
TrainerRoad is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android and supports bluetooth and ANT-FEC.
Price (USD): $15/month for cycling. Running is free.
Free Trial: 15-day trial available.
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Apple TV.
Smart Trainers Compatibility: Bluetooth, BLE FTMS, ANT+ FE-C
And this is not a surprise, but the number one spot goes to, yes you guess it… Zwift.
Zwift is social and offers many options to keep you challenged and entertained. At any one time during the indoor riding season, you can be on course with thousands of other cyclists.
Zwift offers a number of virtual worlds. Some are imaginary routes such as Watopia – their biggest and most popular world – and other worlds designed after real places such as London, Richmond, New York, Innsbruck, Paris, France, Yorkshire and others.
Zwift Offers The Following:
- Free Riding: Ride your bike at your own pace. If you have a smart trainer paired as a controllable trainer, resistance will change to simulate the terrain on Zwift.
- Group Rides: Ride with others in real time. These rides can be social rides, part of a challenge, fondo, or stages. These rides are usually divided into groups (A to D) based on your pace and riding skills.
- Races: Race with others in real time. Races are dividing into different categories based on your watts per kilograms.
- Structured Workouts: Follow strucutred workouts to improve your riding abilities or prepare for a race. You can build your own workouts, follow a place, or import a workout from external sources.
- Group Workouts: Similar to structured workouts but you do this with a group of other cyclists.
- Free Running: With a compatible footpod, you can run on Zwift at your own pace
- Group Runs: Run with others. Usually, group runs are divided into groups (A to D) based on speed.
- Running Races: Race with other runners around the world in real time.
Zwift costs $15 per month and is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Apple TV.
Those are my top 10 indoor cycling app of 2020. If there is a specific app I didn’t mention here and you would like to nominate, put it down in the comment section. I would love to know what you use.
Thank you for reading!