Zwift vs Wahoo X vs TrainerRoad_ the three most important indoor biking apps examined back-to-back

There’s under no circumstances been a higher time to teach indoors. The arrival of fine and direct-drive turbo trainers throughout the last decade has helped to remodel the realism of driving inside on a stationary bike. Nonetheless it’s the numerous teaching platforms on present which have actually launched turbo teaching into the twenty first century.


Digital worlds, e-racing and pro-level teaching plans that adapt after each session in the meanwhile are solely a month-to-month subscription away, and the choices on present are being added to and improved regularly.

Whereas there are dozens of indoor biking apps to pick from, which is biggest to your digital driving requirements?

We put the three biggest – Zwift, Wahoo X and TrainerRoad – by their paces to dissect the professionals and cons of each, spending two weeks on each platform to change into aware of their key choices.

All three have their very personal distinctive selling components nevertheless, in a crowded market, there could also be a great deal of a crossover to make them ripe for comparability and, ultimately, allow you to resolve which is worth your hard-earned money.

Charlie Allenby / Our Media

First, a top level view

Sooner than we get started on a comparability of Zwift vs Wahoo X vs TrainerRoad, let’s start with a top level view of each platform.


Even do you have to’re completely new to indoor biking, there’s a superb chance you’ll have heard of Zwift. The teaching platform goes huge on its social side and has 1000’s of members all around the globe, who you’ll uncover driving spherical its 11 utterly completely different digital worlds the least bit hours of the day.

When you’ve got the exact gear (see ‘Platforms’ for the minimal requirements), you must use your efforts on a turbo coach to pedal an avatar of your self spherical Zwift’s higher than 1,000km of roads.

Enhance to most likely the best good trainers out there available on the market and Zwift will, in flip, up the immersion and have the power to simulate climbs, descents and even the aerodynamic benefits of driving in a gaggle, by mechanically adjusting the coach’s resistance.

This digital recreation of in-real-life (IRL) driving has seen Zwift develop to be the birthplace of digital racing, whereas completely different notable choices are further socially centered group rides and a wealth of teaching plans and workout routines.

Wahoo X

Zwift has some new opponents inside the kind of Wahoo X.

A big disruptor to the turbo coach market with the launch of its distinctive Kickr once more in 2012, Wahoo has made a extreme strive at dominating your complete indoor teaching market by shopping for two trendy apps – The Sufferfest and Road Grand Excursions, with the earlier initially aimed towards teaching intervals and the latter at digital driving.

The two apps have been rebranded as Wahoo SYSTM and Wahoo RGT respectively and blend to create Wahoo X – a single, month-to-month subscription service that provides riders with an entire suite of video-led teaching plans and train intervals, along with digital recreations of real-world rides.


And now for one factor barely utterly completely different.

Whereas it will not be as correctly typically known as Zwift or Wahoo’s selections, TrainerRoad has been quietly doing its issue since 2011.

A loyal teaching platform, it doesn’t get caught up throughout the bells and whistles of digital worlds or motion pictures, and leaves any required distractions to the rider.

As a substitute, it creates a novel teaching plan centered in your targets, and may use AI after each session to adapt any future workout routines relying in your effectivity, making it, on paper, the best teaching app spherical.

Zwift vs Wahoo X vs TrainerRoad

Charlie Allenby / Our Media

Correct, that’s the basics lined, Now, with out further ado, it’s time to switch on a fan, saddle up and put together to sweat as we put our three contenders to the check out.

By way of the course of the check out, we in distinction the three apps in 9 key areas, delivering a verdict on the ‘biggest’ app in each house, sooner than summing up the place each app excels.

Digital worlds

Historically, indoor teaching intervals involved organising your turbo in entrance of a TV do you have to wished any distractions.

As we communicate’s teaching apps current a far more immersive experience and simplify the tactic, combining on-screen prompts with, throughout the case of Zwift and Wahoo X, an entertaining driving experience all on one show.

Every Zwift and Wahoo X (in its Wahoo RGT app) have digital worlds to find, whereas Wahoo SYSTM has a giant once more catalogue of distinctive and licensed biking motion pictures to look at as you full a train.


TrainerRoad doesn’t current any mid-ride ‘content material materials’, nevertheless will probably be minimised in order to make use of one different third-party app (much like an on-demand streaming service and even Zwift or Wahoo RGT) whereas following its train.

Although every Zwift and Wahoo RGT present up a simulated indoor-riding experience, they’re pretty utterly completely different in style and depth.


Zwift has 11 utterly completely different worlds to pick from and many of miles of digital roads and routes.






New York



Makuri Islands

Crit Metropolis (events solely)

Bologna (events solely)

Its environments aren’t primarily probably the most actual trying (one route will see you expertise throughout the within a volcano), and we’ll cowl this further as soon as we communicate by Zwift’s elevated give consideration to gamification.

Nonetheless, it does simulate some real-world climbs, much like Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez (or Ven-Prime and Alpe d’Zwift as a result of the digital recreations are acknowledged throughout the recreation).


Wahoo RGT, within the meantime, presents 13 utterly completely different digital routes, and each is designed to be a sensible recreation of an IRL course (whether or not or not that’s a Canary Wharf crit circuit or its private deal with Ventoux).

Dunoon Crossover

Leuven Metropolis

Iron Horse

Dirty Reiver

De Reonde

Borrego Springs

Canary Wharf

Cap de Formentor

Mont Ventoux




Tempelhof Airport

Whereas it’s really further life-like than Zwift, it could be a significantly lonely experience, with the sparseness of your atmosphere amplified by the small number of riders spinning spherical as compared with what you’d uncover on Zwift.

That aside, Wahoo RGT’s Magic Roads operate permits clients so as to add a GPX file of any route, which is then grew to become a digital course to expertise – a useful operate if teaching for a specific expertise, climb or event.


Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the content material materials on present on Wahoo SYSTM. It has seven utterly completely different ‘channels’ to pick from, which pair workout routines with the whole thing from documentaries to on-board footage from the WorldTour.

On all the Sufferfest workout routines we completed all through testing, the background motion pictures felt pretty gimmicky; real-world biking clips have been interspersed with clichéd stock footage, whereas the ‘humorous’ tone of its motivational messaging shortly started to grate.

We’d comparatively have watched or listened to at least one factor else, nevertheless weren’t able to change off completely for fear of missing a quick about an upcoming interval.

Winner – Zwift: Although it is essential to take the worlds with a pinch of salt, the wealth of routes on present means you not typically have to expertise the an identical piece of digital tarmac twice.



One among many biggest benefits of teaching apps is how they’ve gamified indoor driving, with Zwift most important the best way during which. Gamification exists to supply riders with further motivation whereas driving.

On Zwift, riders are able to entry non everlasting in-game ‘PowerUps’ (much like drag low cost or boosted drafting) to utilize whereas driving. It’s possible you’ll unlock new choices (much like routes and garments) by accumulating XP (experience components) and levelling up by driving, doing workout routines, taking up events and ending challenges.

You can also earn ‘Drops’, which efficiently equate to sweat drops gained by burning power, climbing and so forth. These will probably be exchanged for upgrades to your digital bike or wheels.

Briefly, previous the digital freeway on which you’re driving, there’s a lot occurring on-screen to occupy the ideas, if that gamified experience is significant to your motivation ranges.


Whereas it’s not as categorical as incomes prizes and components, TrainerRoad includes a operate known as ‘Improvement Ranges’.

Principally a top level view of your bodily skills, your improvement ranges are broken down into a variety of seven zones (from endurance and tempo by to anaerobic and sprint).

Each train completed has a knock-on influence in your improvement ranges, and, in our experience, it supplied added incentive to work on any weaknesses, which are highlighted by lower ranges.

Wahoo X, within the meantime, prides itself on not having any gamified gimmicks, so that you simply’re biggest off making an attempt elsewhere do you have to need some added motivation to teach.

Winner – Zwift: The platform turned indoor biking proper right into a recreation and it’s onerous to beat these added endorphins everytime you diploma up, though some riders would possibly select the stripped-back experience supplied by TrainerRoad and Wahoo X.



Scratch beneath the ground and, ultimately, your complete degree of Zwift, Wahoo X and TrainerRoad is to supply a platform for indoor teaching, and each has a powerful assortment of teaching plans and specific individual train intervals.

Zwift’s teaching plans are fairly expansive (overlaying the whole thing out of your first century expertise by to TT tune-ups), although it’s not doable to create a very personalized plan.


In search of specific individual workout routines isn’t very user-friendly each, nevertheless its really useful ‘train of the week’ is a useful technique in order so as to add some operate to an indoor teaching session do you have to’re between plans.

Workout routines are based in your Sensible Threshold Power (FTP) zones, and to get primarily probably the most out of it, it’s important to conduct an FTP check out on Zwift do you have to don’t know your threshold or haven’t examined it for a while.


Whereas there is a library of workout routines on Wahoo RGT, the SYSTM app is the place you’ll uncover the vast majority of Wahoo X’s teaching plans and workout routines.

In distinction to Zwift, it’s doable to create a tailor-made teaching plan relying in your self-discipline and requirements (whether or not or not that’s a 100-mile sportive or an enduro MTB season).

All it is essential to do is inform Wahoo X what you want to receive, and it’llbuild a plan for you. It’s moreover easy to go looking out one-off workout routines much like a tempo or VO2 max session.

In distinction to Zwift and TrainerRoad, interval intensities are set using your ‘4DP’ – a check out that works out your Neuromuscular Power (NM), Maximal Cardio Power (MAP), Sensible Threshold Power (FTP) and Anaerobic Functionality (AC).

The thought is {{that a}} 20-minute effort (FTP check out) makes use of a definite energy system to your five-second max, so why not check out and apply each system further exactly? One issue’s for sure, the 4DP check out is gruelling – we’ve been throughout the harm locker to indicate it – so be able to be put by the wringer.


Like Zwift, TrainerRoad makes use of your FTP to calculate depth ranges.

Within the meantime, in an analogous technique to Wahoo SYSTM, it’s doable to get really specific about your targets or events (and even add minor races or rides alongside the best way during which that you just’re using to assemble to the precept event), to make sure that TrainerRoad to offer a personalized teaching plan for you.

This may increasingly think about a variety of requirements, along with how prolonged it is essential to apply.

Previous this, the place TrainerRoad differs is in the best way it makes use of AI to control a plan as you’re progressing.

Wrestle with a session and it will adapt future workout routines to challenge this in. Breeze by some onerous efforts and it will uncover you’re ready for one factor harder subsequent time.


In my experience, TrainerRoad moreover makes it very straightforward to find a specific train if you want a one-off session.

All it is essential to do is select the ‘workout routines’ tab and you might filter by size, zone (i.e. endurance or threshold) and downside – helpful do you have to’ve obtained decrease than 45 minutes nevertheless nonetheless want to adjust to, say, a structured anaerobic drill.

TrainerRoad moreover has a trick up its sleeve inside the kind of AI FTP detection – full 10 workout routines and it will use your info to search out out your FTP, consigning these bodily and mentally robust assessments to the earlier, nevertheless nonetheless defending the teaching depth up-to-date collectively together with your current well being ranges

Lastly, in case you’ve got a smart direct-drive turbo coach, all three apps utilise ERG mode to help take the pondering out of a train – you merely have to protect turning the pedals as a result of the resistance is mechanically modified counting on the interval depth.

All through testing, all carried out equally by the use of effectiveness and the patron experiences have been all fairly comparable.

Winner – TrainerRoad: The app’s principal focus is on teaching and it higher than delivers, whereas its AI-based analysis means it moreover doubles up as a coach.

Multiplayer & social


Teaching indoors is normally a solitary experience, which is why most teaching apps try and assemble a social facet into the equation. Some present up the chance to complete a train with buddies, very like a spin class, whereas others have enabled the creation of digital biking golf gear.

One amongst Zwift’s key choices is its social side. Not solely do you see plenty of of various avatars spinning spherical its fairly just a few worlds each time you go browsing, nevertheless the chat function means you might strike up a dialog with anyone by way of the usage of a keyboard, and even throw some kudos (‘RideOns’ in Zwift-speak) their technique. Zwift continues to assemble out its social efficiency, along with the most recent addition of a Discord chat hyperlink.

It doesn’t end there, each. Zwift has a jam-packed schedule of group rides, workout routines and events the least bit hours of the day, whereas it has 1000’s of golf gear that anyone is free to affix.

Each will organise rides of their very personal, and some would possibly even have devoted Zwift racing teams for people who want to get aggressive.


Wahoo RGT is the place you’ll uncover Wahoo X’s social offering, and it matches its Zwift rival by the use of chat capabilities, events and races.

The place it falls down is its lack of shoppers – all through one check out expertise on its Dirty Reiver course, I solely obtained right here all through one completely different precise rider, with most of the completely different avatars the app’s tempo bots. Wahoo RGT’s worlds are eerily quiet as compared with these on Zwift, making it more durable to essentially really feel part of a web-based neighborhood.


Whereas it doesn’t have a digital peloton you might be a part of, TrainerRoad permits clients to create and be a part of group rides with completely different clients.

Identical to a spin class, you all deal with the an identical train, nevertheless by way of the usage of a computer’s webcam and microphone, you’re able to get a approach of togetherness that’s onerous to recreate at dwelling.

Winner – Zwift: Its 1000’s of shoppers and golf gear indicate that whatever the time of day, you’ll have the power to find a gaggle of like-minded of us to expertise with indoors, whereas Zwift’s give consideration to the social side of teaching could be evident in its efficiency.


Tactic Sport

Digital opponents is a key part of many apps and there are even eSports UCI World Championship rainbow jerseys on the street for the strongest riders.

Every Zwift and Wahoo RGT present the chance to duke it out in direction of others, nevertheless there are some refined variations to the racing mechanics.

Racing on Zwift is generally an all-out slog and likewise you’ll normally find yourself throughout the purple from the off merely to stay with the rest of the pack.

Ought to you may preserve on, it then turns into about conserving your energy, responding to breaks and, from a tactical perspective, using your PowerUps appropriately.

Previous bunch races, Zwift’s race codecs embrace chase races, time trials, employees time trials and ‘sprint’ races.


Wahoo RGT, within the meantime, champions its further ‘actual trying’ racing experience, with race, time trial and elimination selections.

It has an automatic braking operate for ‘collision avoidance’ – principally, to overtake any person, you ought to be putting out significantly further power, comparatively than merely sitting on their wheel. It moreover simulates braking when coming into corners, offering you with the chance to make use of the way and methods out of turns like in real-life racing.

Relating to events, Zwift racing has an horrible lot further on present. As an illustration, on firing up the app all through testing, there have been 5 races starting inside the following hour, whereas there are fairly just a few leagues and competitions to enter.

It moreover has various lessons for events based mostly totally on watts-per-kg, pairing you with riders of an an identical capability.


Open air of racing, Zwift moreover has a aggressive facet baked into its regular free driving. As you spin spherical, you’ll come all through sprint and climbing segments (very like these found on Strava), and it’s onerous to face up to ramping up the difficulty.

An on-screen leaderboard displays the best way you’re faring in direction of that day’s biggest, whereas it’s doable to go head-to-head in direction of a ‘ghost’ mannequin of your self – a translucent replay of your 90-day PB, most modern effort, or every.

TrainerRoad doesn’t have a aggressive angle.

Winner – Zwift: Whereas it prioritises power over panache, the wealth of racing on present leaves Zwift on the prime of the pile.

Totally different choices


Foremost choices ticked off, each of the teaching apps have quite a lot of suggestions up their sleeves that help justify their subscription expenses.

Moreover into working? You’ll have the power to pound the pavement in Watopia with a Zwift subscription, nevertheless it does require you to non-public a treadmill.


If there’s solely room for one teaching instrument in your life, nevertheless you proceed to want to add some cross-training to your train routine, then Wahoo SYSTM has you sorted.

The app’s working, swimming, power and mobility, and yoga intervals can add one different dimension to your teaching, although they are going to’t in the meanwhile be synced with a multi-sport smartwatch (which implies it is essential to put in writing them down or create your particular person personalized train).

Steve Sayers / Our Media

One different operate that every Wahoo SYSTM and TrainerRoad allow is so to sync an indoor train to a head unit and full it outdoor instead.

One issue to flag is that SYSTM solely works correctly with Wahoo Elemnt head fashions and there isn’t a straightforward technique of getting outdoor workout routines onto rival items however.


Every Wahoo SYSTM and TrainerRoad moreover can help you log outdoor rides on the platform, so you must use them as a training log that doesn’t focus utterly on indoor biking, providing a further rounded view of your effort (although as quickly as as soon as extra, Wahoo will solely sync outdoor intervals from Wahoo Elemnt items).

Winner – Wahoo X: Wahoo’s additional choices for multi-sport athletes indicate it gives an particularly well-rounded offering that goes above and previous indoor biking.

Shopper experience

One amongst indoor biking’s biggest benefits is its consolation. Whenever you’ve sorted out your setup, it should theoretically solely take various moments to get started with a training session.

Essentially, though, the patron experience of a training app can determine the dimensions of time it takes you to begin out spinning.

We’ve found Zwift very like firing up a streaming app much like Netflix. If not following a loyal plan, there could also be just about an extreme quantity of different by way of driving locations, workout routines and events. It’s easy to go looking out your self paralysed by different, together with time sooner than the pedals are turning. (The ‘Zwift for you’ dashboard, in the meanwhile being rolled out, can even help current some focus to Zwift’s content material materials – ed.)


Nonetheless, the biggest bugbear in testing obtained right here by the requirement for a second app (the Zwift Companion app) to revenue from the game’s choices – along with chatting, altering route in your route, using PowerUps and signing up for membership events.

Indoor teaching is supposed to be straightforward, nevertheless together with a second show into the equation unnecessarily complicates points.


Wahoo X is barely easier to navigate than Zwift, nevertheless its biggest downfall is that it’s break up between two apps – and the two don’t seem to talk to at least one one other. As an illustration, Wahoo SYSTM workout routines can’t be completed on Wahoo RGT, whereas rides in Wahoo RGT don’t current up throughout the newest train (‘progress’) a part of Wahoo SYSTM.

Wahoo says there aren’t any plans to exchange this at present, with Wahoo RGT and Wahoo SYSTM performing as two utterly completely different apps.


TrainerRoad’s shopper experience leads the best way during which by its simplicity. On opening the app, you may even see what train is scheduled that day, regardless of whether or not or not you are following a training plan (aka ‘occupation’) or discovering one factor else to do using the easy-to-filter ‘workout routines’ tab.

Winner – TrainerRoad: Clear, easy to navigate and with out having for a second app, TrainerRoad retains it straightforward and can get you driving in a short time.



At their most basic, your complete teaching apps could be utilized with a primary, wheel-on turbo coach with a velocity sensor, nevertheless to get primarily probably the most out of them, it’s worth using a smart direct-drive turbo coach and coronary coronary heart cost monitor.

They’re all applicable with the foremost working system platforms (iOS, Android, Mac and House home windows), whereas Zwift will even be used on Apple TV.

Winner – Zwift: There’s not loads between them proper right here, nevertheless Zwift practically edges it attributable to its compatibility with Apple TV.


When as compared with a health heart membership or the worth of a biking coach, teaching apps start to look extraordinarily good price for money.

Positive, there could also be an preliminary outlay to buy a turbo/good coach, nevertheless with the most expensive subscription topping out at $19.95 per thirty days (decrease than £17 at in the meanwhile’s change cost), a training app works out cheaper than the worth of a weekly mid-ride café stop.

Beneath is a breakdown of each app’s current subscription costs, with most offering the pliability to try earlier than you buy and reductions for signing up long-term.

Zwift: £12.99 per thirty days after a free 14-day trial

£12.99 per thirty days after a free 14-day trial Wahoo X: $14.99 per thirty days/$149 per 12 months (equal to $12.42 per thirty days) after a free 14-day trial, although Wahoo RGT does also have a free mannequin with fewer choices

$14.99 per thirty days/$149 per 12 months (equal to $12.42 per thirty days) after a free 14-day trial, although Wahoo RGT does also have a free mannequin with fewer choices TrainerRoad: $19.95 per thirty days/$189 per 12 months (equal to $15.75 per thirty days) after a free 30-day trial

Winner – Wahoo X: Not solely does an annual subscription make it probably the most reasonably priced teaching app spherical, nevertheless you moreover get admission to 2 utterly completely different programmes – the training-focused Wahoo SYSTM and the digital worlds of Wahoo RGT.

Verdict – so which app is finest for you?

Charlie Allenby / Our Media

The world of indoor teaching has come on leaps and bounds over the past decade, and the teaching apps on present can depart you with pro-level teaching devices throughout the comfort of your personal house for a relatively small month-to-month cost.

Nevertheless which app is finest for you? As with many points in biking, it’s decided by what you’re after – and what most precisely matches your driving and training targets – nevertheless let me degree you within the exact route.

Must you’re any person who needs to enliven their indoor teaching, then it’s onerous to look previous Zwift. Not solely do its fairly just a few worlds current a welcome distraction from trudging away for hours on end, nevertheless its chat, group and membership capabilities have launched a social side to what was as quickly as a solitary train.

There’s moreover a great deal of gamification to take care of the ideas occupied, an on a regular basis schedule of busy events and the selection to go digital racing.

Nonetheless, whereas they tick quite a few packing containers for riders looking for a straightforward entry degree into structured teaching, Zwift’s teaching plans are restricted do you have to’re looking for a really bespoke programme. You’ll be larger off making an attempt elsewhere in case you’ve got a specific function (or assortment of additional superior targets) in ideas.

Wahoo X is probably this place. What it lacks in distractions (every its SYSTM motion pictures and Wahoo RGT routes fail to match the immersive capabilities of Zwift), its teaching plans and workout routines current a considerably spectacular suite of devices. That could be very true everytime you add in its multi-sport intervals much like working, swimming and yoga – and the pliability to take your teaching outside on the bike.

Most likely probably the most extreme and in-depth teaching instrument of all of them, though, is comfortably TrainerRoad. Using it felt like having a loyal coach on faucet who was not solely providing a very personalized teaching plan, nevertheless was adapting it as we progressed, to ensure we stayed correct on observe.


Whereas it doesn’t have any digital worlds or background motion pictures, its science-led AI choices make it one in all many smartest objects of apparatus available on the market, with a loyal band of shoppers who want to give consideration to teaching, not chasing an avatar.