If you’ve been enjoying Strava for free like the majority of its 55-million users, then you might want to get your credit card ready. Today, Strava announced a major shift to vitalize the value of its premium offering and focus more on its subscribers or as the co-founder puts it “athletes who have invested in us”.
As of today, a number of these features will only be available to subscribers. Strava also simplified its subscription model and now you have only one level of subscription that is $5 per month or continue to use it for free.
SEGMENT LEADERBOARD: Segments is one of Strava’s core features and also happened to be one of their “complex and expensive to maintain” products. This is where you can view your ranking against other Strava users who rode/run the same route. The segment leaderboard, analyzing segments, comparing your results, and analyzing your own efforts is now subscription-based only. This includes all segments leaderboards including clubs, gender, age-group, and weight class. Live segments, nothing change here, is still a subscriber-only feature.
Not everything related to segment moved to paid only so you can still enjoy some of the segment offerings for free. Afterall, Strava still wants you to use and take advantage of this feature but also if you want more, then you have to pay. If you are a segment hunter and want to do some analysis on your friends or foes, this is where your credit card might need to come out and pay that $5. Top 10 leaderboard for men and women is still free. You can search for segments, create segments, flag segments, and view personal records.
ROUTE BUILDER: Going forward, creating routes will only be available to paying members only. Up until now, this feature was available to all members. However, you can still save one of your rides as a route or copy someone else’s ride to your routes. However, you can’t edit or create new routes anymore.
Strava also introduced a host of new feature to the route builder. You will find a new map style, and you can select the surface type, heatmap as well as sport type.
Strava also added their Segment Explorer to their route builder. So you can now create routes and planned them around certain segments. Also, you can search for waypoint and additional filters were added to allow you to adjust routes based on elevation and surface type.
THIRD-PARTY APP API: Since most of these features will be moved behind a paywall, third party apps lost access to this data. This will have an effect on over 40,000 apps that currently use its data and drove innovation that directly or indirectly helped Strava. The kicker in all of this, Strava didn’t give these app developers any notice. But this seems to be Strava’s business model lately.
Live segments for Garmin, Wahoo, and other head units will still be available and functional.
Strava also made some minor updates to training related features to better view training progress and track your fitness and went away with Summit.
I understand the need for Strava to be a profitable business. This 11-year old company hasn’t figured out a way to be profitable yet. Even though 55 million users opted to feed them with fitness and location data on a daily basis. That information can provide them with valuable insights that they can monetize in some way. Yes, I know they are already doing that but big data is an extremely profitable business, and pushing people away from using their platform might make this data less valuable.
Rebranding some of their features as premium features for a reasonable amount is fine by me and I get that. After all, $5 per month is a small enough charge that most people might just ignore or not even notice on their credit card – you can try out Strava premium for 60-days but you have to enter your credit card information and you will be automatically charged after that initial 60-days. However, my beef with Strava has been their lack of communication and what appears to me disregard to third-party developers.
Either way, thanks for reading!