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The Winter 2016-2017 Trainer App In-Depth Guide

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It’s been two years since I’ve last done a Trainer App guide.  And in that time we’ve continued to see the trainer app world expand with ever better options.  There are both new companies, and existing companies that have exploded in popularity.  And of course, there are also some companies that are no longer with us.

Like before, the post is massive in content.  With over 20 different apps covered, and generating over 1,000 pieces of data for the comparison database, there’s literally something for everyone.  Of course, with so many new apps on the market, it’s impossible for me to do a full in-depth review on every app out there with every feature.  I’d basically be on a trainer 24×7 trying different options.  Which, I do suppose beats riding in the cold rain.

So instead I’ve put together this roundup.  Think of it like a sampler platter of trainer app options.  Some of these apps I actually have a ton of experience with, while others I’ve only poked at it for a bit.  Thankfully, many of them offer trial options – so you can use this guide to try out different apps and figure out what’s right for you.

And that’s a key point.  What I like in an app will likely be different than what you like.  Some people like interactive 3D worlds on a trainer, while others want real course videos, and yet others just want a single wattage number.  And even within a given category, viewpoints vary.

For example – take real course videos.  Some people want a wider variety of videos shot by anyone with a GoPro, while others prefer super-high resolution and fully gimbal stabilized footage on $10,000 cameras.  Just depends on what floats your boat.

So with that, let’s get floatin’.

Understanding the Types of Apps:

If you’re looking for a trainer, you’ll want to start with my overall guide from three weeks ago.  But, there’s still a few things you’ll need to know about trainer apps.

First is that most apps are taking data from your trainer or a sensor attached to your bike.  If you were to divide trainer apps up into three fictitious levels, they’d be as follows:

Level 1/Basic: No sensor data/integration/control – just showing a video/giving instructions – these are pretty rare these days.
Level 2/Sensors: Able to consume sensor data like speed, cadence, heart rate – and adjust video/display metrics.
Level 3/Control: Able to electronically control the resistance on the trainer based on wireless or wired connectivity, virtually always includes sensor data too.  This is most common these days.

The first category (Level 1/Basic) is where trainer ‘apps’ were 5-10 years ago.  And by apps, I mean VHS tapes and DVD’s.  These largely had no integration with your trainer and simply played a video.  You in turn did whatever you wanted on your trainer at the same time.  Effectively no different than watching a football game or The Muppets on TV.

The second category (Level 2/Sensors) is where most of the apps have functionality.  In this case, you can use pretty much any trainer you have.  But, you’ll also typically need a cycling speed sensor.  The speed sensor is then used to control portions of the app, such as video playback speed.  Alternatively, these apps allow you to display, if not record data from your ride – like heart rate, cadence, power and speed.  They generally do this on ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart.

The third category (Level 3/Control) is where you get full control over your trainer.  You simply pedal, and it controls the resistance.  This can be to replicate outdoor rides and routes, automatically changing the grade of the trainer, or it could be to have you iterate through a specific controlled workout based on wattage.  This is very common these days, and with ANT+ FE-C it makes it easy to figure out if your app supports your trainer.  On the flipside, Bluetooth Smart control works better for tablets, but you’ll find it quite variable with a given app supporting only a specific trainer on Bluetooth Smart.  You’ll want to confer with each app on whether or not it supports your specific trainer.

The Gear You’ll Need:

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Now that we’ve got the basic types of apps sorted out, let’s talk about what gear you’ll need.  Obviously, you’ll need a trainer.  But, beyond that, you’ll likely need some way to get the trainer data to your app.  Though, for the Level 1/Basic apps, you don’t need anything.  This is just for the sensor-capable apps.

What adapter you need will vary based on what sensors you have.  If you have ANT+ sensors (like those that are compatible with a Garmin device), you’ll want an ANT+ adapter for your device.  If you have Bluetooth Smart sensors, you’ll likely not need an adapter for any phones or tablets, but would probably need one for a PC.  Mac’s would vary depending on how old the Mac was.

Here’s the basic options, starting first with ANT+:

ANT+ on a PC/Mac: Standard ANT+ USB adapter. Using one from an older Garmin watch is perfectly fine.  Otherwise, either of these work.
ANT+ on Android device: Some Android phones have ANT+ built-in (such as the Samsung devices).  You can check the ANT+ website to validate if your phone does.  If not, then you can either make your own adapter (following instructions here), or, buy the Android adapter from Tacx.
ANT+ on iPhone/iPad (without Lightning connector): For this, you’ll need the Wahoo Fitness ANT+ adapter.  There’s also some re-branded variants of it, but you CANNOT use the Garmin FIT branded option – it’s not compatible with anything.
ANT+ on iPhone/iPad (with Lightning connector): Same adapter as without the Lightning connector, but you’ll need a Lightning adapter.  I highly recommend the official Apple ones, as Wahoo has stated they’ve seen issues with knock-off Apple adapters not working well.  I’ve heard this from readers too.

And here’s the options for Bluetooth Smart:

Bluetooth Smart on PC: Almost nobody app-wise actually supports Bluetooth Smart sensors on PC’s today.  The reason for this is that older versions of Windows haven’t had great support for it.  Nonetheless, for this, you’ll likely need a Bluetooth Smart/Bluetooth 4.0 adapter if your PC doesn’t have Bluetooth already.  To be honest, I believe it’s only TrainerRoad that supports it on Windows.  In the case of Zwift, they support Bluetooth Smart sensors via the mobile phone apps that hand the data back to your PC.
Bluetooth Smart on Mac: All of the new Mac’s made in the past few years have Bluetooth 4.0 within them, so no adapters needed.
Bluetooth Smart on Android: Anything over Android 4.3 and you’re pretty much good to go.
Bluetooth Smart on iPhone/iPad: As long as you have an iPhone 4s, or iPad 3rd gen or higher, you’re good here with built-in capabilities.

The above may seem complex, but it’s rather simple.  Just match up what sensor type you have (ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart), and then the device you want to use to put the app on (iOS/Android/PC/Mac).

Now, while there are other bridging technologies out there – like the 4iiii’s Viiiiva, it unfortunately won’t help you with any of the trainer apps here as none support it today (despite it having an API to do exactly that).  It’s really too bad, as that’d actually be an ideal way to bridge ANT+ over to trainer apps.

With that – let’s get into the apps.  I’ve simply ordered them in alphabetical order.

App Selection Process:

For the most part, if it was a trainer app, I’ve included it within the app guide below.  But I did have some restrictions.  Or rather, one restriction:

My rules for 2016-2017 are simple: In order for an app to be included, it must have been updated at some point since June 1st 2016.  Any trainer app worth investing in (aside from smaller couple-dollar one-time purchases) should be updating on a regular basis, and certainly going into the Northern Hemisphere training season.  That would have given them 5 months to have an update out.  Failing that, you can always look at older apps in my previous guide here.

As a result of this, the following apps were skipped this year (links go to my last app review for that app):

CompuTrainer RacerMate: Last Updated Sometime 2015
iMobile Intervals: Last Updated Mar 24th, 2016
Peripedal: Last Updated Oct 19th, 2015
Tour de Giro: Last Updated Early 2016
Wahoo Segments: Removed from app store
WattZap: Last Updated Feb 10th, 2016

Of course, apps like Peripedal are still quite valid if you’ve got them, or if they meet your requirements.  It’s just that I didn’t want to spend time re-hashing what I’ve already written.  Also, I have specifically excluded the KICKR Studio platform, since that basically requires you own a bike shop and is more than just an app but a bunch of hardware too.

But fear not! Where some apps disappeared, new apps have shown up in their place.  So with that in mind, let’s roll!

BKOOL:

While BKool is best known for their trainers, it’s the software that they actually want you to focus on. And, like virtually every other app here – they work cross platform and support more than just their own trainers.  Their app platform has a variety of functions, from velodrome to recreating outside GPS routes in 3D, to structured workouts/training.  That’s in addition to the outside video elements as well.

Further, the app contains online multiplayer aspects, such as voice chat between players.  It also supports leagues and stage-race style competitions.  Though, you can certainly just ride by yourself if you want.  It also has a training plan generator, though, the workouts generated from that are a bit simplistic compared to some of the more advanced workouts found from other apps.  But it is handy that it can create a plan focused on various end goals – such as losing weight or getting faster in a certain type of effort.  Note that you cannot however specify an exact wattage or %FTP level, one major downside unfortunately.

My screenshots are from the iPad variant, however it supports PC and Android as well.  Note that there are nuances to each platform (as with all these apps) so do keep that in mind.  One cool feature they introduced a few years ago though was Spotify integration.  As a hardcore Spotify user, I love seeing this type of thinking.

Function/FeatureBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 27th, 2016 @ 9:06 amNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android/Windows/Mac
PriceFree & Paid from $10/month
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusReal course videos, online racing, workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)No
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes
DIY Action Cam VideosYes
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Changes Resistance on trainerYes
Can create your own routeYes
Can import GPS/activity filesYes
Can create 3D routesYes
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineYes (Desktop App only)
Online CompetitionBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Can compete online in realtimeYes
Voice ChatYes
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemYes
TeamsYes
Power EstimationBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportBKOOL Cycling Simulator
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYEs
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportBKOOL Cycling Simulator
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes (via ANT+ FE-C)
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksBKOOL Cycling Simulator
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppBKOOL Cycling Simulator
October 27th, 2016

Elite myETraining:

Like Bkool, Elite is better known for their trainers than their training app.  However, their app is quite fully featured, and is available on both tablet and desktop.  The app includes the ability to ride outdoor videos that are professionally made (higher quality, and cost money), or free videos that others have uploaded.  This model is pretty similar across apps.  Further, it supports both structured workouts as well as some testing functions (i.e. FTP and related tests).

In my case for this year I tried out the iPad app, which has a refreshed interface that’s much better than years past. In addition, if you have the higher end Drivo or Kura trainers, they’ve introduced advanced pedaling metrics from the app (which I outlined here).  Note that specific piece doesn’t cost anything.

Note that certain Elite trainers also include 12 month free memberships to the platform.  For example, I noticed a redemption card in both the Kura and Drivo trainers.  I’d encourage anyone with an Elite trainer to dig around in the box and give the free trial a whirl.  If it doesn’t float your boat, you’re not out anything.  But it may be just what you’re looking for and save you some cash.

Function/FeatureElite myETraining
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 3rd, 2016 @ 1:18 amNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android/Windows
PriceApp free, Videos Paid
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusReal Course videos, Structured Workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerYes - Elite Trainer
WorkoutsElite myETraining
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackElite myETraining
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes
DIY Action Cam VideosYes
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesElite myETraining
Changes Resistance on trainerYes
Can create your own routeYes
Can import GPS/activity filesYes (Desktop)
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionElite myETraining
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationElite myETraining
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Elite Trainers Only
Sensor SupportElite myETraining
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceOn iOS/Android only
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateOn iOS/Android only
Trainer Control SupportElite myETraining
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes via ANT+ FE-C with adapter
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C with adapter
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C with adapter
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlElite myETraining
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeElite myETraining
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportElite myETraining
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksElite myETraining
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppElite myETraining
Nov 1st, 2016

FulGaz:

FulGaz is all about beautiful rides that you can re-ride on their iPad app.  However, where they differ from others in the field is that they’ve specifically targeted high-profile events and routes within their app.  For example things like the Rio Olympic courses and Tour de France courses.  Plus a host of other major cycling routes worldwide (aspirational riding routes, if you will).  You’ll see some of those listed in my screenshot above.

The app has received an overhaul since the last time I tried it out, not just on the user interface, but also behind the scenes when it comes to how they cleaned up data from the rides captured outdoors.  In talking with them, they wanted to find the middle-ground between low-quality bike cam footage (by the average person) and “sterile” looking footage from cars.  Thus they’re shooting on bikes, but they’re doing a bunch of work to ensure the footage feels like you’re riding, without being crappy.

And that seems to work – the experience is very solid.  The only downside is that the whole kit will really only control your trainer if you’re on either Wahoo or Tacx trainers.  You can pair other sensors of course, but only via Bluetooth Smart.  Still, if you fit that bill – definitely give it a whirl.

Function/FeatureFulGaz
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 11:34 amNew Window
OS PlatformiPad
PriceFrom $5/month
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusReal ride videos (curated)
Requires resistance controlled trainerYes
WorkoutsFulGaz
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromNo
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)No
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackFulGaz
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes
DIY Action Cam VideosYes
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesFulGaz
Changes Resistance on trainerYes within video
Can create your own routeYes within video
Can import GPS/activity filesYes within video
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionFulGaz
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationFulGaz
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportFulGaz
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen Profile-
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportFulGaz
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes (via ANT+ FE-C)
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes (via ANT+ FE-C)
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes (via ANT+ FE-C)
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notablesSupports Kurt Kinetic InRide
Trainer ControlFulGaz
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeFulGaz
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportFulGaz
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksFulGaz
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppFulGaz
Nov 1st, 2016

Golden Cheetah:

Many know Golden Cheetah as the super-advanced cycling analytics app that also happens to be open source (and thus free).  However, the app has grown to include trainer integration via a trainer mode.  Within this mode it’ll allow you to create structured workouts using everything from %FTP to exact wattages or even gradients.  Additionally, you can download workouts from the massive online ErgDB data (though, that sometimes can be a bit like sifting through the beach sand for a jelly bean).

The app can also control FE-C trainers, or other trainers via older private-ANT variants.  Further, it supports the CompuTrainer.  But more than that it can utilize known trainer power curves to estimate power for a number of popular trainers – like the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and others.  This means you’ll just need a speed sensor to in turn get power information.  More than that though – the app just supports so many different data types and sensors.  Aspects like BSX and Moxy sensor support, the ANT+ remote control for controlling the trainer page, and even the FIT2.0 developer fields that both Training Peaks and Strava have basically shunned.

The app can consume ANT+ sensor data using a USB stick and then display/record that within the trainer view.  Afterwards, your data can easily be uploaded to numerous sites either via the direct file option, or the integration with sites like Strava and Training Peaks.  Overall the app is definitely worth a look, especially if you’re on a budget and just need the core recording functionality.

(Note that while the current production version is 3.3 and technically ‘prior’ to my cut-off date, their upcoming 3.4 version is in Release Candidate status, and brings many additional trainer features as outlined.  As such, I’ve included it within this post since it’s clear the software is being constantly updated.)

Function/FeatureGolden Cheetah
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 11:38 amNew Window
OS PlatformWindows/Mac
PriceFree (Open Source)
Primary area(s) of focusStructured Workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsGolden Cheetah
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes, via Erg DB
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackGolden Cheetah
Changes resistanceYes (with Erg/Video combo)
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosYes (with Erg/Video combo)
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesGolden Cheetah
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionGolden Cheetah
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationGolden Cheetah
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportGolden Cheetah
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileYes
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterOn Mac
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceOn Mac
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateOn Mac
Trainer Control SupportGolden Cheetah
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)No
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes
CompuTrainerYes
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)YYes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlGolden Cheetah
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeGolden Cheetah
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportGolden Cheetah
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksGolden Cheetah
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppGolden Cheetah
November 1st, 2016

Hurts Ergo:

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to ride a specific Erg workout, there might be no better solution than Hurts Ergo. If Apple ever made a Erg workout app, I suspect it’d function a lot like Hurts Ergo.  Just the facts, nothing else clouding it up.

The app will connect to your KICKR trainer to control it based on workouts you download from the ‘ErgDB’, which is their cloud of workouts.  Now the only downside here is that with 600+ workouts, it’s kinda a complete mess to find something if you don’t know what exactly your looking for.  Meaning there isn’t much structure in finding the structured workouts.  Still, assuming you find it – you’re good to go.

Now the application is pretty bare bones at the free level – which many folks will appreciate.  In the event you want to save workouts it’ll be $2, or $3 if you want to upload to both save the workout and upload to Strava.  Those are one-time fees though, so that seems quite reasonable.

Function/FeatureHurts Ergo
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 27th, 2016 @ 6:17 amNew Window
OS PlatformiOS
PriceFree (+$2 for saving workouts, +$3 for Strava uploads)
Primary area(s) of focusStructured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerYes (Wahoo KICKR)
WorkoutsHurts Ergo
Can create custom structured workoutsVia ErgDB
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Via workout
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Via workout
Video PlaybackHurts Ergo
Changes resistanceNo
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesHurts Ergo
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionHurts Ergo
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationHurts Ergo
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportHurts Ergo
ANT+ Power MeterNo
ANT+ Speed/CadenceNo
ANT+ Heart RateNo
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)No
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportHurts Ergo
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)No
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)No
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)No
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)No
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notablesNo
Trainer ControlHurts Ergo
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeHurts Ergo
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportHurts Ergo
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes (pay option)
Direct upload to StravaYes (pay option)
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes (pay option)
LinksHurts Ergo
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppHurts Ergo
Oct 27th, 2016

Kinetic Fit:

The Kinetic Fit app is a structured training app focused on cycling training programs.  The platform has a wide number of training plans for different target groups.  For example, road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes and just general fitness.  Each of those training plans has a set number of weeks associated with it – and within those weeks you’ll be given different workouts to complete.

The app has two tiers: A free tier and a paid tier.  The free tier is actually one of the most impressive free tiers of apps in this entire buyer’s guide, in terms of what you get.  Their site lists the exact differences.  Meanwhile, you can pay $10/month and that then gets you access to Sufferfest workouts (along with some other differences as noted in that link).  Note that’s actually separate from the $10/month (or $5/month if annual) for the premium tier of Kinetic Fit.

In a bit of ironic twist, the app actually has quite wide support for Bluetooth Smart devices beyond their own.  Heck, it even supports all the major Bluetooth Smart standards and other trainers like the Wahoo KICKR and Tacx NEO.  This being odd since Kinetic shunned these standards in their recent Smart Control trainer.  Still, it’s good to see here.

Your completed workouts can be sent to a slew of different platforms from Strava to Training Peaks, and Dropbox to Apple Health – nine platforms in total.  So plenty of 3rd party integration offered here.

Function/FeatureKinetic Fit
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 2nd, 2016 @ 12:19 pmNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android
PriceFree, also from $5/month if annual, (SufferFest is +$10/month)
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusStructured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsKinetic Fit
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackKinetic Fit
Changes resistanceWith SufferFest
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesKinetic Fit
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionKinetic Fit
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationKinetic Fit
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportKinetic Fit
ANT+ Power MeterNo
ANT+ Speed/CadenceNo
ANT+ Heart RateNo
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)No
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportKinetic Fit
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)No
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)No
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):Yes
Other notables-
Trainer ControlKinetic Fit
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeKinetic Fit
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportKinetic Fit
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksKinetic Fit
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppKinetic Fit
November 1st, 2016

Kinomap Trainer:

Kinomap has continued to expand their core platform into other areas, as I outlined in my recent post on their Interbike announcements.  However, at the center of it all is the Kinomap Trainer app, which allows users to ride outdoor video routes on their trainers indoors.  A few years ago they were the first to introduce an ‘all you can eat’ concept when it came to indoor trainer videos.  Previous to that you had to purchase each video individually.  These days their library of videos is so vast that you can pick out Strava segments from almost anywhere on earth and find a corresponding video (see that first post I linked to).  Not only that, you can actually go out and race those Strava Segments.

You can also upload your own videos pretty easily using their web uploader, which means you can go record your favorite routes in the summer for riding in the winter.  Or, when on vacation somewhere record those routes to take home for the rainy days.

The app is subscription based and the base level includes virtually all except the ‘Premium’ videos, which are à la carte items you can pay extra for.  These premium videos are akin to what you find in other apps at the pay-per-video level.  So they essentially offer you a bit of a blend to go either direction depending on what you want.

Like most of the apps, Kinomap can connect to a wide range of ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors and trainers, as well as one trainer that no other iOS device can connect to: The CompuTrainer.  For the CompuTrainer, it does require installing a small application on a nearby computer though to act as a bridge.  Still, it’s a unique distinction that may be of extreme use to you if you want to control your CompuTrainer via iPad.

Note that Kinomap as a platform also has two additional apps that I haven’t included here at this time, which are Skuga and Intervals by Kinomap.  Skuga is all about re-riding Strava Segments, while Intervals by Kinomap is about structured workouts.  I talk about those in this previous post. Those apps come as part of your Kinomap Trainer subscription.

Function/FeatureKinomap Trainer
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 27th, 2016 @ 6:21 amNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android
PriceFrom $5/month
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusReal course videos
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsKinomap Trainer
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromNo
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)No
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Automatic within videos
Video PlaybackKinomap Trainer
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes
DIY Action Cam VideosYes
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesKinomap Trainer
Changes Resistance on trainerYes
Can create your own routeYes
Can import GPS/activity filesYes
Can create 3D routesYes
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionKinomap Trainer
Can compete online in realtimeYes
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemYes
TeamsSorta
Power EstimationKinomap Trainer
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportKinomap Trainer
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes (on IOS ANT+ adapter required)
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportKinomap Trainer
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes
CompuTrainerYes
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlKinomap Trainer
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeKinomap Trainer
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No (yes if each person has iPad)
ExportKinomap Trainer
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksKinomap Trainer
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppKinomap Trainer
Oct 27th, 2016

Maximum Trainer:

Maximum Trainer is focused on structured workouts, but with a portion of the added deeper sensor and multi-user flexibility of PerfPro.  However, Maximum Trainer does so in a fairly streamlined interface that may make it easier for those wanting to get into the multi-user realm (in one physical location).

The platform supports creating your own structured workouts, or downloading them from a database.  Further, it supports training plans that have structured workouts in them.  Once you’ve picked out a given workout you’ll enter the portion of the app to execute the workout.  Here the interface is super clean, and also super crisp.  I like it.

On the advantages of Maximum Trainer to something like TrainerRoad, is the ability to utilize multiple ANT+ USB sticks to connect to numerous sensors beyond the standard 8-sensor limit per stick.  This of course is used for multi-user configurations, which the app supports.  It also supports tying specific sensor ID’s to specific users, so it remembers you versus your riding partners in the garage.

Function/FeatureMaximum Trainer
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 27th, 2016 @ 7:58 amNew Window
OS PlatformWindows, Mac
PriceFree, Pay components after beta
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusStructured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsMaximum Trainer
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackMaximum Trainer
Changes resistanceNo
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesMaximum Trainer
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionMaximum Trainer
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationMaximum Trainer
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportMaximum Trainer
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileYes
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceNo
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateNo
Trainer Control SupportMaximum Trainer
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)No
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlMaximum Trainer
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeMaximum Trainer
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceYes
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)Yes
ExportMaximum Trainer
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksMaximum Trainer
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppMaximum Trainer
October 27th, 2016

Over the Bars:

Over the Bars is kinda a mix between an arcade game and Zwift.  Like an arcade game it has racing against a computer and doesn’t require monthly payment.  Whereas like Zwift it has a virtual world on what appears to be an island and supports connectivity to the Wahoo KICKR and other smart trainers.   However where it gets interesting is that you actually use your phone on your handlebars to steer – allowing you to either stay on the road, or make your own trails across the island.

The app will use the sensors inside your phone to detect when you want to turn left and right, and it actually works pretty well.  You’ll do a quick calibration of the phone on your handlebars, and you can adjust the steering sensitivity as well.  On my triathlon bike I was even able to just wedge an iPad on the aerobars and it worked fine and dandy.

The app has a handful of options like changing the play mode and the graphics, but it’s really designed to be just fun and simple.  Oh, and the best part?  The crashes.  Yes, you can crash your bike.

Function/FeatureOver the Bars
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 26th, 2016 @ 1:07 pmNew Window
OS PlatformiOS
Price$10 (one-time)
Free Trial AvailableNo
Primary area(s) of focusArcade style gaming
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsOver the Bars
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromNo
Has training plans to followno
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)No
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Follows game grade
Video PlaybackOver the Bars
Changes resistanceChanges resistance with game
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesOver the Bars
Changes Resistance on trainerYes (game route)
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesHas own 3D world
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineHas own 3D world
Online CompetitionOver the Bars
Can compete online in realtimeAgainst computer
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemSorta
TeamsNo
Power EstimationOver the Bars
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportOver the Bars
ANT+ Power MeterNo
ANT+ Speed/CadenceNo
ANT+ Heart RateNo
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)No
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes (via KICKR)
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceNo
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateNo
Trainer Control SupportOver the Bars
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)No
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)No
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)No
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)No
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlOver the Bars
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeOver the Bars
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportOver the Bars
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesNo
Direct upload to StravaNo
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksOver the Bars
Company SiteLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppOver the Bars
Oct 26th, 2016

PerfPro:

There’s no other words for PerfPro other than: Beastly.

PerfPro as an app is focused on riding structured workouts, either solo or in group settings.  In addition, it has extensive sensor and trainer support, while also supporting entertainment options like watching movies on your computer or YouTube.  It’s super-flexible when it comes to how it looks and feels.

Seriously, it’s a beast in terms of functionality, options, and things you can tweak.  While the app development team is small, the user base (especially among cycling studios) is huge.  In likely that’s because I believe there’s never been a feature request that PerfPro said “no” to.  As a result, it’s incredibly powerful and incredibly customizable.  Inversely, it’s also overwhelmingly complex at times, and could greatly benefit from some serious simplification.

Of course, if you’re a geek in any way, you’ll likely love the never-ending ability to tweak things.  This is especially true in the multi-rider arena, so if you want to use the software for multiple users in your home or cycling studio – it’s ideal for that.  Same goes for numerous pieces of equipment.  And the best part?  No subscription fee.  Just a one-time payment.

Note that the software technically has two pieces.  One is the Studio piece, which is for when you’re on the trainer.  While the second piece is the Analyzer toolset, which acts like a self-contained training log platform.  So you’re killing two birds with one stone here.

Function/FeaturePerfPro
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 12:12 pmNew Window
OS PlatformWindows
Price$99
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusStructured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsPerfPro
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackPerfPro
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesPerfPro
Changes Resistance on trainerYes (no map shown)
Can create your own routeYes
Can import GPS/activity filesYes
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionPerfPro
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationPerfPro
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportPerfPro
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileYes
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceNo
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateNo
Trainer Control SupportPerfPro
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)No
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes
CompuTrainerYes
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):-
Other notablesSupports WASP devices
Trainer ControlPerfPro
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerYes
Multirider ModePerfPro
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceYes
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)Yes
ExportPerfPro
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksPerfPro
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppPerfPro
Nov 1st, 2016

RaceMyGhost:

Simplicity is the name of the game here, but in a fun way.  You’ve got a road (a straight one), and you’ve got yourself.  Then you go out and throw down a hard effort for a distance or duration of your choosing.  Once completed, you try and beat yourself.

Really, it’s that simple.

But, it’s also cool – because it connects to your trainer/sensors and allows you to make those data comparisons more easily.  I could see this game being a bit of a fun party game amongst friends for something like a 30-45 second throw-down.  Very similar to what we see at cycling trade shows in booths where companies will arrange a 30-60 second all out effort competition and the winner gets something.

So that’d work well here in either a party situation, or even inside a bike store or such.  Still, given the app has a free tier – it might just appeal to you.

Function/FeatureRaceMyGhost
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 12:24 pmNew Window
OS PlatformiOS
PriceFree & $10 for export options
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusRacing against computer riders
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsRaceMyGhost
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromSorta (routes to ride against)
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)No
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackRaceMyGhost
Changes resistanceNo
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesRaceMyGhost
Changes Resistance on trainerYes (KICKR)
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionRaceMyGhost
Can compete online in realtimeOnly against computer
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationRaceMyGhost
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportRaceMyGhost
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)No
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportRaceMyGhost
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)No
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)No
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)No
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)No
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlRaceMyGhost
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeRaceMyGhost
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportRaceMyGhost
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksRaceMyGhost
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppRaceMyGhost
November 1st, 2016

Road Grand Tours:

Road Grand Tours is new to the scene. So new in fact that it’s not entirely out.  Right now it’s in beta, which requires an invite.  Or rather, being invited.  Given I included Zwift in the round-up last time when they were in beta, I figure it’s only fair to include RGT this time.

Road Grand Tours is actually in a lot of ways like Zwift was at the beginning, except that instead of fictional locations, they’re starting off with a real world location – the famed Stelvio (which is a massive climb).  The environment is computer generated to mimic the real pass.  And as more people sign-on, you’ll see other competitors out there. Now since things are still pretty new, it’s kinda hard to get a feel for that since nobody else was around during my ride.

The app supports the ability to connect to trainers to control resistance, as well as power meters and other sensors.  I think there’s definitely some interesting potential here down the road as it matures.  But they’ll need more users to make it compelling.  The good news is you can sign-on for an invite at their site, and since they just made a major release update over the weekend, I suspect we’ll see more people added soon.  Of course, the biggest difference between Zwift and this is what you don’t see: The massive financial backing Zwift has.  As such, it may be difficult for RGT to compete in this space directly with them, but then again, the other 20 apps in this list lack that backing too and make out just fine.

Function/FeatureRoad Grand Tours
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 12:21 pmNew Window
OS PlatformWindows/Mac
PriceFree during beta
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focus3D Replication of Specific Routes
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsRoad Grand Tours
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromNo
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)No
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackRoad Grand Tours
Changes resistanceWithin 3D Routes
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesRoad Grand Tours
Changes Resistance on trainerYes
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionRoad Grand Tours
Can compete online in realtimeYes
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points system-
Teams-
Power EstimationRoad Grand Tours
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportRoad Grand Tours
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceNo
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateNo
Trainer Control SupportRoad Grand Tours
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)No
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes via ANT+ FE-C
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlRoad Grand Tours
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeRoad Grand Tours
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportRoad Grand Tours
Has online/cloud platform of your workouts-
Can save workout as filesNo
Direct upload to StravaNo
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksRoad Grand Tours
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppRoad Grand Tours
November 1st, 2016

The Sufferfest:

The Sufferfest has seen a very solid evolution of their business model.  From something two years ago that wasn’t exactly top-notch in terms of your integrated trainer experience (though the videos were great), to a legit online platform where you can not only download their famed videos on the fly – but also control your trainer to match the action in the video.  Not only that, over the past year they’ve revamped the app to make it one of the cleanest looking interfaces out there.

You’ll start by selecting a given video from their inventory.  Each video is often tied to real-world training or racing events, such as from the Giro d’Italia.  The text on the screen ‘coaches’ you through the workout.  And by ‘coaching’, I mean what happens if your buddies get drunk and taunt you from the couch.  Either way, it’s all good fun and incredibly addicting.

The app on iOS easily connected to my Bluetooth Smart sensors, as well as could control the KICKR (other trainers like Tacx showed up, but control is still forthcoming).  The sensor settings panel is super easy to understand, and in the same vein, you can also connect to Strava, Training Peaks or e-mail for sending your completed workouts.  If you haven’t tried Sufferfest in a few years, I’d strongly encourage you to give it a whirl now – especially if you have an interactive trainer.

Function/FeatureSufferfest
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 4th, 2016 @ 7:58 pmNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Windows/Mac
Price$10/month, or ~$10/video
Free Trial Available7 Day trial
Primary area(s) of focusTraining videos that hurt
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsSufferfest
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromSorta (the videos)
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackSufferfest
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesSufferfest
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionSufferfest
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationSufferfest
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportSufferfest
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportSufferfest
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Windows/Mac/iOS (some via ANT+ FE-C)
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Windows/Mac/iOS
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Windows/Mac/iOS
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Windows/Mac/iOS
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Windows/Mac/iOS (some via ANT+ FE-C)
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Windows/Mac/iOS (some via ANT+ FE-C)
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlSufferfest
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeSufferfest
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportSufferfest
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksSufferfest
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppSufferfest
November 1st, 2016

Tacx Training Software:

The Tacx Training Suite is a vast platform covering a wide variety of features and modes.  These modes differ whether you’re on PC or tablet versions.  My screenshots in this post are focused on the tablet side, however I’ll speak to both pieces.  Within both platforms you’ve got the ability to ride outdoor videos (films) from famous places around the world.  Many of these films are actually from the folks behind Veloreality (a few entries down from here).  And both platforms offer the ability to do structured workouts, such as intervals and FTP testing.  And both platforms include the ability to control your trainer based on slope or power (i.e. ERG mode).

Where the desktop platform differs though is the ability to also compete in 3D generated worlds, kinda like Zwift.  In fact, they were doing Zwift-like stuff before Zwift was doing Zwift-like stuff.  Further, with some of the Tacx trainers supporting steering, you can actually steer your way through these worlds.  However note again this is limited to just the PC platform.

The entire platform is actually a pretty good deal if you buy the Smart Upgrade add-in package from Tacx, which means you’ll get all this goodness for a one-time fee, versus a monthly payment program.  While subscription fees offer an incentive for companies to continually innovate, one-time fees are typically cheaper for the consumer.

Note, below table is focused on tablet app.

Function/FeatureTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 12:36 pmNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android
PriceFree, some videos for purchase
Primary area(s) of focusReal course videos, structured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerYes - Tacx Trainers
WorkoutsTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYEs
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Changes Resistance on trainerYes
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportTacx Cycling - Tablet App
ANT+ Power MeterNo
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)No
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportTacx Cycling - Tablet App
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)No
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)No
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)No
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)No
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsWithin app
Can save workout as filesNot directly from tablet
Direct upload to StravaNo
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksTacx Cycling - Tablet App
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppTacx Cycling - Tablet App
November 1st, 2016

TrainerRoad:

TrainerRoad was really the first mainstream trainer platform out there to go with a subscription model. And it alongside Zwift are without question the two most popular apps there are.  Its primary purpose is structured power based workouts.  So everything is based on power, and the company can use either a power meter or power-based trainer to control those workouts.  Alternatively, they can also use simply a speed sensor against their vast database of trainers to give you what they call ‘Virtual Power’, which is an estimate of your power based on the speed and known trainer power curves.

In addition to specific trainer workouts, they’ve also got training plans.  These are notable because unlike every other app here, they actually include multisport workouts.  So if you’re a triathlete and use a TrainerRoad triathlon workout, it’ll also give you swim and bike workouts.  Whereas other companies just give you bike workouts and let you try and figure out how to plug in the other two pieces.

Over the last year the company has spent considerable effort revamping their underlying software platforms such that they are now on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS.  They’ve also expanded their compatibility with devices and now support virtually all the majors brands (Elite, CycleOps, Tacx, and Wahoo), across all platforms for trainer control.  Finally, one widely used feature that isn’t widely seen on other platforms is their ability to use your power meter to control your interactive trainer.  This is useful if you want to eliminate any differences between indoor and outdoor workouts from a wattage standpoint (effectively normalizing your data).

Function/FeatureTrainerRoad
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 12:37 pmNew Window
OS PlatformWindows/Mac/Android/iOS
PriceFrom $7/month
Free Trial AvailableNo, but refund within 30 days
Primary area(s) of focusStructured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsTrainerRoad
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes (slope mode)
Video PlaybackTrainerRoad
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesTrainerRoad
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionTrainerRoad
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemSorta
TeamsYes
Power EstimationTrainerRoad
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportTrainerRoad
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportTrainerRoad
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Windows/Mac/Android/iOS (with adapter)
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Windows/Mac/Android/iOS
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Windows/Mac/Android/iOS
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Windows/Mac/Android/iOS (with adapter via FE-C)
CompuTrainerWindows/Mac
Elite Trainers (specific models)Windows/Mac/Android/iOS (with adapter via FE-C)
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Windows/Mac/Android/iOS (with adapter via FE-C)
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):Soon
Other notablesKinetic inRide support
Trainer ControlTrainerRoad
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerYes
Multirider ModeTrainerRoad
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceYes
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportTrainerRoad
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksTrainerRoad
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppTrainerRoad
November 1st, 2016

Veloreality:

Veloreality is all about super high quality outdoor videos shot in beautiful settings on high-end equipment and rigs.  It’s designed to look stunning on the biggest screen you’ve got.  And bigger is better, right?  Plus, they’re the only one to offer 4K videos – should your setup be appropriately sized to handle that.  If you’re looking for big screen beauty – this is it.

You can purchase individual videos from them, with the distances being usually pretty solid – often good for a couple of hours riding each.  There are at present over 130 videos, with many of them being historic climbs and routes.  All of which are then playable within the their free VRide software.

What’s cool here though is that the app isn’t just a pretty face.  It’s got legit support for virtually all the major trainers, be it via ANT+ FE-C or directly to units like the CompuTrainer.  Plus they also support their high-end trainer platform, the Lynx and Lynx II.  You can also pair to ANT+ sensors and export to standard .TCX files which works on any training platform on earth .

Function/FeatureVeloreality
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 12:38 pmNew Window
OS PlatformWindows
PriceVideos at $14/each
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusReal course videos (high quality), Structured workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsVeloreality
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromNo
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes within videos
Video PlaybackVeloreality
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes - Paid
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesVeloreality
Changes Resistance on trainerYes within videos
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo (but can show map location)
Online CompetitionVeloreality
Can compete online in realtimeYes
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationVeloreality
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportVeloreality
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceNo
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateNo
Trainer Control SupportVeloreality
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)No
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes
CompuTrainerYes
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)YEs
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notablesLynx trainer
Trainer ControlVeloreality
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerYes
Multirider ModeVeloreality
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportVeloreality
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaNo
Direct upload to Training PeaksNo
LinksVeloreality
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppVeloreality
November 1st, 2016

Virtual Training:

If there’s any app out there that deserves more street cred, it’s Virtual Training.  Seriously.  I always forget what an incredibly impressive app it is.  On a feature by feature breakdown basis, it has more features than anyone else.  And does so in a more industry compatible way than anyone else too.  You can easily match protocols (i.e. ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart)and platforms, and all still works seamlessly.  The number of devices/sensors they support is awesome.

There are two major areas to the Virtual Training app – one is focused on completing outdoor video rides indoors on your trainer.  These are both ‘curated’ videos (read: professionally done videos), as well as user uploaded videos (still great, but quality can vary widely).  In fact, you’ll even find one of mine in there (I also uploaded it to Kinomap too).  The playback speed of these videos is matched to your trainer speed.  There are thousands of videos on every continent.  I included some screenshots of that above.

In addition to the video side, you’ve also got the structured training piece.  This allows you to either create your own structured workouts, or ride ones from a library of structured workouts.  The platform will automatically control the wattage on your trainer to match the workout (assuming your trainer supports that).

Function/FeatureVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 5:05 pmNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android/PC
PriceFrom $5/month (tablet), $10/month (desktop)
Free Trial Available14 days
Primary area(s) of focusReal course videos, GPS routes, Structured Workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Changes resistanceYes
Online library of routesYes
DIY Action Cam VideosYes
Can play generic video fileYes
Map RoutesVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Changes Resistance on trainerYes
Can create your own routeYes (via desktop app)
Can import GPS/activity filesYes (via desktop app and web portal)
Can create 3D routesYes (desktop app only)
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineYes (desktop app only)
Online CompetitionVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Can compete online in realtimeYes
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemYes
TeamsNo
Power EstimationVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportVirtual Training (CycleOps)
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportVirtual Training (CycleOps)
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Windows/Android/iOS (with ANT+ adapter)
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Windows/Android/iOS
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Windows/Android/iOS
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Windows/Android/iOS
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)Windows/Android/iOS (with ANT+ adapter via FE-C)
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Windows/Android/iOS
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerYES (Both BLE & ANT+ Power Meters)
Multirider ModeVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceYes (up to 4 users)
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)Yes (up to 4 users)
ExportVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYEs
Direct upload to Training PeaksYEs
LinksVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppVirtual Training (CycleOps)
Oct 25th, 2016

Xert Training:

Xert is new on the scene in the training app realm, and in this case it’s Android only at the moment. Though, the company is on the cusp of releasing a Garmin Connect IQ variant.

Xert’s play here is integrating with their existing training and analysis platform, which is a bit of an up and coming competitor to Training Peaks, Sport Tracks, and Today’s Plan (though only focused on cycling right now).  So the app is designed to integrate with that and execute structured workouts from both their database, as well as ones that you’ve created.

The app can connect to both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart sensors, as well as control ANT+ FE-C capable trainers.  The app is pretty simplistic in terms of user interface, but it actually has a fair bit of depth in terms of data metrics and integration.  As such, it includes MMP data in the workout, and even shows your predicted MMP right onto the different portions of the workout.  Which is pretty darn cool.  If you’re already using Xert, then it’s definitely something to check out if you’re a fan of more structured workouts (either your own, or their bundled ones).

Function/FeatureXert
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 2:42 pmNew Window
OS PlatformAndroid
PriceFree
Free Trial AvailableYes
Primary area(s) of focusStructured Training Workouts
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsXert
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)-
Video PlaybackXert
Changes resistanceNo
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesXert
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionXert
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationXert
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportXert
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportXert
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Yes
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)No
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Yes
CompuTrainerYes via USB OTG adapter
Elite Trainers (specific models)Yes
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Yes
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlXert
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeXert
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportXert
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksXert
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppXert
November 1st, 2016

Wahoo Fitness App:

Wahoo App is basically old faithful.  Old and freely faithful.  It’s not fancy, but it’s really good at what it’s good at: Controlling Wahoo trainers, and reading open-standard sensor data from any other trainer (except FE-C data).  If I’m doing something where I don’t want to deal with building out a workout in some 3rd party app, I’m likely to just use the Wahoo Fitness app to control my KICKR.

More than that though, it’s awesome for recording data.  You can record data in a boatload of formats, and export it out to equally more formats. Whether it be Dropbox or e-mail, Strava or Training Peaks, it’s got it.  I also love the way it categorizes sensor pages.  Though, I do wish you could actually customize data fields within data pages, an oversight that’s been there for years.  But for basic trainer control and such, it works great.

Function/FeatureWahoo Fitness App
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated October 25th, 2016 @ 11:41 amNew Window
OS PlatformiOS/Android
PriceFree
Primary area(s) of focusWahoo KICKR Control
Requires resistance controlled trainerYes
WorkoutsWahoo Fitness App
Can create custom structured workoutsNo
Has individual workout library to choose fromNo
Has training plans to followNo
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)Yes
Video PlaybackWahoo Fitness App
Changes resistanceNo
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesWahoo Fitness App
Changes Resistance on trainerNo
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo
Online CompetitionWahoo Fitness App
Can compete online in realtimeNo
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemNo
TeamsNo
Power EstimationWahoo Fitness App
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):No
Sensor SupportWahoo Fitness App
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)No
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportWahoo Fitness App
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)No
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Yes
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Yes (iOS/Android)
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)No
CompuTrainerNo
Elite Trainers (specific models)No
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)No
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):No
Other notables-
Trainer ControlWahoo Fitness App
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerYes (ANT+ power meters)
Multirider ModeWahoo Fitness App
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No
ExportWahoo Fitness App
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsNo
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksWahoo Fitness App
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppWahoo Fitness App
Oct 25th, 2016

Zwift:

Z is for Zwift.

It seems appropriate to end on the app that may well now be the largest cycling trainer app ever.  With some 170,000 people having tried Zwift, it’s certainly popular (Note: That isn’t the number of current paid users, or even trial users, just people that have at some point tried out Zwift at least once).  Zwift is of course a massive multiplayer ‘game’ where you cycle around on either a virtual island, or two different real-world courses (the UCI Richmond course, or a new course in London).  You’ll easily see upwards of 1,000 other cyclists on the platform at any given moment, even over the past few months – ahead of the core trainer season.

What makes Zwift so compelling is how mindless it is to begin.  It’s perfect for those weeknights where your tired and really don’t want to do a workout, but tell yourself “I can do an easy 30 minutes pedaling on Zwift”, and then before you know it you’re hammering through 50 minutes of ego-driven competition.  Even if you choose to use their semi-recently added workout mode, you’re still ‘in it’ with other people in that world. You aren’t directly competing against them per se, but you feel like you’re still part of a community.  It’s the single biggest draw to the platform: A sense of not being alone.

From a technical standpoint, it captures data from virtually all trainers out there, and all sensor types.  They recently announced their beta iPad app (no Android yet), but are otherwise available on PC & Mac.

Function/FeatureZwift
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated November 1st, 2016 @ 2:43 pmNew Window
OS PlatformWindows/Mac/iPad (also iOS/Android companion apps)
Price$10/month
Free Trial Available14 Days
Primary area(s) of focus3D Virtual Racing
Requires resistance controlled trainerNo
WorkoutsZwift
Can create custom structured workoutsYes
Has individual workout library to choose fromYes
Has training plans to followYes
Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode)Yes
Can set/control grade (i.e. 5%)No
Video PlaybackZwift
Changes resistanceNo
Online library of routesNo
DIY Action Cam VideosNo
Can play generic video fileNo
Map RoutesZwift
Changes Resistance on trainerYes (within own 3D world)
Can create your own routeNo
Can import GPS/activity filesNo
Can create 3D routesNo (has own 3D world)
Can use Google Earth 3D EngineNo (has own 3D world)
Online CompetitionZwift
Can compete online in realtimeYes
Voice ChatNo
Video ChatNo
Rankings/points systemYes
TeamsYes
Power EstimationZwift
Power Estimation/Virtual Power (from speed/trainer with no power meter):Yes
Sensor SupportZwift
ANT+ Power MeterYes
ANT+ Speed/CadenceYes
ANT+ Heart RateYes
ANT+ Trainer Profile (FE-C)Yes
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen ProfileNo
Bluetooth Smart Power MeterYes
Bluetooth Smart Speed/CadenceYes
Bluetooth Smart Heart RateYes
Trainer Control SupportZwift
ANT+ FE-C (ANT+ Trainer Control Standard)Windows/Mac
Bluetooth Smart (any BLE method)Windows/Mac/iOS
Wahoo Trainers (KICKR/SNAP)Windows/Mac/iOS
CycleOps Trainers (specific models)Windows/Mac
CompuTrainerWindows/Mac
Elite Trainers (specific models)Windows/Mac
Tacx Trainers ('Smart' models)Windows/Mac
Kinetic Trainers (\'Smart Control\' via BLE):Windows/Mac
Other notables-
Trainer ControlZwift
Can use seperate power meter to control trainerNo
Multirider ModeZwift
Can support 2 riders concurrently with one deviceNo
Can support greater than 2 riders concurrently (class/studio)No (online obviously yes)
ExportZwift
Has online/cloud platform of your workoutsYes
Can save workout as filesYes
Direct upload to StravaYes
Direct upload to Training PeaksYes
LinksZwift
Company SiteLink
DCRainmaker.com Posts About AppLink
DCR Database Updated Last For AppZwift
Oct 25th, 2016

Comparison Database:

Still can’t decide?  No worries!

The DCR product comparison database includes all of these trainer apps within a section of it.  This allows you to compare any of the trainer apps out there and which features they have.  You can click on the below image to be taken to the page to compare:

comparisoncalc

I’ve tried as best as possible to call out specific platform differences (i.e. between a given app on iOS vs desktop), but in some cases you’ll want to double-check with that trainer company.  The good news is virtually all these apps allow free trials, which I *highly* encourage you to use to test out your hardware and make sure all is good.

As you can see there are a ton of options on the market today, with even more in the pipeline and yet further some I’ve probably missed (such as pure iPhone non-tablet type options that are merely data collectors).  As I noted above you’ll really need to figure out which specific type of app you’re looking for.  To each their own!

Thanks for reading!

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270 Comments

  1. Davesee

    Good to see Sufferfest getting some love–the changes they have made in last year are awesome and makes training on the trainer infinitely better.

    Reply
  2. Phillip

    Wow, mondo review, awesome! Thanks for putting all this together! Only 2 things I think are missing, a crashometer score ( app crashed lots or not) and whether an internet connection is needed to use the particular app.

    Reply
  3. David E.

    Epic post. Quick question about what TR calls PowerMatch. You write, “Finally, one widely used feature that *isn’t widely seen* on other platform is their ability to use your power meter to control your interactive trainer.” Is there actually any other app currently offering this? I have a first generation Kickr, so PowerMatch has made life on the trainer so much easier for me. I might be willing to try another app if it offered this, but until then, I’ll stick to TR just for PowerMatch.

    Reply
    • Hi David.

      If I’ve understood your question correctly, you’re in luck.

      With a first generation KICKR (not a snap) you can use that to supply the power numbers to apps instead of the KICKR. The confusing bit is that you set this up in the Wahoo Fitness app, not in the apps themselves.

      It’s how we set up FulGaz for comparing real world times with “virtual” times within the app on the same course. It eliminates a big variable. I imagine you’ll find the same thing with just about any other app.

      Reply
    • Ken

      Zwift allows power matching as well. I use both TrainerRoad and Zwift. It is great to know that the power numbers I am recording in my workout are the ones from my bike’s power meter. This means that there is no inconsistency between my trainer and outdoor workouts.

      Reply
    • Hmm, I’ve heard conflicting things on Zwift there. Is it power matching, or is just recording the secondary power meter channel? Interesting.

      Reply
    • PerfPRO supports power meter control. Has for quite some time. Ping me if you have any questions or can’t find the feature.

      Reply
    • David E.

      Mike,

      Thanks for this. So, I know that the Wahoo Fitness app allows for power matching, but could you tell me a bit more? How do I set it up in the Wahoo app and then use it for another app? Thanks.

      -David

      Reply
    • David E.

      As for Zwift, as of this time last year, power matching had been requested on their crowd sourcing request site, and their response was, “It’s on our radar.” To my knowledge, it hasn’t yet been implemented: link to support.zwift.com

      Reply
    • Dan Urban

      You can use your power meter as source of power in simulation mode aka free ride, but it doesn’t work for Workout ERG mode

      Reply
    • FJ

      Powermatch in TrainerRoad is somewhat flawed, in that it only adjusts power every 10 seconds or so. Can be made to work in longer intervals, but for short ones it’s pretty useless. At least this was the case last winter when I tried the feature in TR

      Perf Pro has control of resistance based on power meter values. It works really really well, as long as you can get along with the interface

      Zwift does not have this feature. Plenty of us have requested it, but all we’ve got so far is a “it’s in the plan” statement

      Reply
    • Greg Hilton

      My understanding is Zwift has power matching for “just riding” BUT NOT in workout mode where it’s most needed IMHO!!

      Reply
    • Gryphon

      Their PC software was in beta for most of the early part of this year and, as to the best of my knowledge, they tightened up the Power Match feature to correct more frequently in their new platform.

      Perhaps Nate or one of the other guys at TR can tell us the latest…

      Reply
    • David E.

      My experience is that PowerMatch in TR works very well. Not sure whether this would technically be the right way to assess it (and I’m open to other suggestions), but I regularly compare the IF of my workouts measured independently from the Kickr (through TR on my iPhone) and using my Quarq PM (through my 920xt), and they are identical and exactly what the workout is planned for.

      Reply
    • Zwift does that in a quite special way:
      It uses the trainer (kickr) in grade mode and sets the grade to the grade of the virtual terrain, while it takes power (from the PM) to calculate your in game speed.

      This works very well but obviously does not work in ERG mode. Therefore you can’t perform workouts with a PM controlling your trainer (with the current Zwift version). I use PerfPro for this, which has IMHO by far the best implementation of this feature.

      Reply
    • Mihai Tintea

      Hi Mr Drew
      Do you plan to add Google Street View tracking to PerfPro ?
      Best regards
      Mihai

      Reply
    • Corey

      Until Zwift implements power matching for erg mode, I’ll be sticking with Trainer Road. It’s unfortunate because I know that’s the ONLY thing keeping myself and many others from switching to Zwift.

      Reply
    • Paul

      I have used both Power Match from TR and power meter control with PerfPro. At least with my Computrainer the PerfPro implementation is better. The TR version is slow to adjust and just does some weird things at times. With TR the average power ends up being correct but some of the swings are annoying.
      Seems like the PerfPro has a cleaner implementation at least with my gear.

      Reply
    • ArtakS

      Does VIRTUAL TRAINING (CYCLEOPS) app also includes this feature – to control smart trainer’s resistance with external power meter in workout (ERG) mode. I see – CAN USE SEPERATE POWER METER TO CONTROL TRAINER is marked YES in the review above ?

      Reply
    • Couple things here.

      PowerMatch is updated from last year and works better ;). If you have the new Kickr, it works even better! The new Kickr has faster changes. The result are less of those swings.

      Reply
    • George

      Nate. when can we expect the new Generation Kickr firmware to become available for the Gen 1 Kickr’s?

      G

      Reply
    • Wolfgang

      I use my SRM or P1s as Power Source in Zwift and it works great for me. Even/Especially in Workout Mode.
      But (and probably that’s a big BUT for some/many) you have to match the requested power yourself to some extent (via adjusting gearing or cadence). This is because Zwift is a bit loose and will not exactly adjust trainer resistance.

      Reply
    • valleycyle

      Paul,
      Does PerfPro record averaged data from your power meter or raw data into the data file? I’m evaluating it, using both a Kickr and external power meter. Instead of controlling the Kickr from the power meter I set a constant percent offset. The recorded data I see looks like it is averaged data and not taken directly from the power meter. It must not be the Kickr’s smooth power output, since my Kickr is about 20-30W off from my power meter. (Unless maybe it is the Kickr’s power output offset by the percent offset I set in the software??) I’m guessing it is averaged data from my power meter. But the average power PerfPro shows from my power meter is about 6W lower than what my Garmin recorded for a steady 170W recovery ride, so I really don’t know what the software is doing.

      Reply
  4. Gabi

    Ray great post as always!

    Just wanted to point out that the product comparison calculator says that Bkool “Can set/control wattage or %FTP (aka ERG Mode) No”, but didn’t they add not long ago?

    link to bkoolers.com

    Maybe I’m wrong, just trying to help!

    Reply
    • Cool, I’ll validate/double-check this evening and update accordingly. I like to verify some of these things as sometimes my interpretation of a given feature is different than others. Though, this seems pretty straight forward.

      Reply
  5. tim bulger

    thank you for this, loads of apps I had not heard of before that I will checkout.

    Reply
  6. Gabriel Alicea

    Is there an App that allows you to create a workout that can go from Erg to Standard resistance without hitting a key? For example let say im doing 3:00 at 300W and then I want it to switch to standard resistance without erg for 1:00 and then go back to 300W for 3 minutes?

    Reply
    • theboxers

      You can build/edit sessions with in bkool with specific targets for specific time durations. Take, for example, 45 minute velo session and the edit onto it a set of 3min/300w segments. The segments where no target is set goes back to being a uncontrolled trainer.

      It can be a pain to build, sometimes, but quite satisfying when they work as intended.

      Reply
    • Kai

      I’m *pretty* sure you can do this in Trainerroad, since the FTP test workouts do this. But I’ve not created any workouts myself since there are already a bajillion of them in the database.

      Reply
    • PerfPRO has a workout type called MixMode. This allows you to setup intervals in FTP%, ERG (straight watts) or Grade%. Your trainer then switches into these modes for whatever duration set in the interval. It’s a fairly heavily used workout type. Ping me if you have any questions.

      Reply
    • Mihai Tintea

      Hi Gabriel

      In the MRC file which you are preparing to import in your MRC-aware software, you can add this to the end of the file:

      [MODE DATA]
      180 Slope 4
      300 Erg 0
      [END MODE DATA]

      That means ( and these values are just for exemplification): at the 180-th second of the workout, switch the smart trainer into slope simulation mode with 4% inclination. Then, at the 300-th second of the workout, switch the smart trainer into erg mode.

      Regards
      Mihai

      Reply
  7. Bill

    Another thing you should add would be if there are any latency issues. I have a Tacx smart trainer and an iPad mini 3 and found some serious latency issues trying to use either the Tacx app or the Bkool app. It got so bad that stopped using it altogether. FWIW, I was using the apple lightning adapter and the wahoo ant+ adapter, closed all of my other apps, and had them set to not be able to run in the background. I was just about to give up when I decided to use my laptop with an ant+ usb stick. That completely solved the latency issue. Happily using Tacx’s TTS PC package and don’t intend to go back to using my mini unless absolutely required to.

    Reply
    • The challenge I’ve seen with latency is that it really is trainer to trainer, combined with app to app. And on top of that, it’s protocal to protocal.

      Meaning, take TrainerRoad and the KICKR. There are three ways that app can connect to the KICKR:

      A) Legacy KICKR ANT
      B) KICKR via ANT+ FE-C
      C) Wahoo Bluetooth Smart API

      In my KICKR2 review, I actually talked a little bit on how TrainerRoad sees the priority and responsiveness of each of those variants. As you noted, then you get into even the type of adapter used.

      And that’s just the KICKR and TrainerRoad. There are somewhere in the range of 25-35 trainers right now, and 21ish apps. Most trainers support 2-4 methods of control. Back of the napkin math says 2,940 different combinations to test. That gives me 8 combinations per day between now and next year, assuming no new trainers or apps. 😉

      Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Ray I wanted to get clarification on this. In your KICKR2 review TR said “B” is the better of the ANT+ options and solves the delays you were getting. Question is how do I set this in TR? When I go to pair my trainer I see a grey box for “ANT+ FEC Trainer” and another for “Wahoo KICKR”. Pairing to either one works, and neither is more responsive than the other, and most importantly neither is perfectly responsive, maybe due to wireless interference in my living room. How do I make sure I’m using option B?

      Reply
    • Choose the ANT+ FE-C one, whereas the KICKR is using the old private-ANT spec.

      Reply
    • Kai

      Great, cheers!

      Reply
  8. Duane

    Just a correction, for Zwift it does work with the Kinetic Smart Control trainers. I’ve been using it for several weeks and it works quite well. There is a windows bug affecting BTLE bridging on iOS, but otherwise it is perfectly functional.

    Reply
    • Aldo

      Since you are probably the first I know that has the new KK Smart Control, I need to ask what is your opinion on the unit. Did you have another KK before and, if yes, any difference from the dumb trainer?

      Reply
    • Thanks, updated.

      (I had heard it was ‘pending’, but not actually yet implemented)

      Reply
    • Duane

      Aldo,

      I’m using it pre-release and what I can tell you is that it is really nice. I have been using a CompuTrainer for the past six years, which I also like, but the flywheel on the Kinetic feels dramatically better. I have also used a Kurt Kinetic fluid in the past and it carries over the character of that trainer which made it popular. It is reasonably quiet and plenty sturdy. I’m pretty picky about this stuff, but I like it a lot.

      Reply
    • Aldo

      Thanks for answer. Still over the fence between this and Elite Rampa, due to a number of reasons. Actual user of the KK Road and looking for the upgrade. Guess it will come down to a good offer to import (and aware of the risks, but not much choice here).

      Reply
  9. Hi Ray,

    Just a note that Xert does support Computrainers using an USB OTG adapter.

    Reply
  10. Am I missing something about the Kinetic Fit app? Because in the Google Store I’m seeing that it is “unreleased”. I downloaded it anyway, but it appears not to have full functionality. Thanks.

    Reply
  11. Felix Wilson

    I like the waterbottle! Can i get one? Brilliant post by the way!

    Reply
  12. Fabio M

    Hi Ray,

    i’m going to buy an elite drivo trainer and the first thing i’ll ask to the app is the ability to simulate (with or without video) real Ironman bike courses.
    My fear is that this kind of files are uploaded from user and the accurancy of theese file can not be verified.

    I mean…’m pretty sure that famous tour the france mountains will have perfect files but for ‘minor’ courses ???

    a guy from wahoo suggested me bestbikesplit.

    Reply
  13. 6fattie

    Following

    Reply
  14. Tom Albrecht

    “And it alongside Zwift are without question the two most poplar apps there are.”

    Popular

    Reply
  15. Markus

    Thanks, this is a great review Ray! I also like your product comparison guide seeing different products side by side.

    Do you see a possibility to leverage your comparison database to list apps that support any of the features you documented? E.g. List apps that support Tacx trainers and the import of gps/activity files, etc

    Reply
  16. Gene

    What do you mean my this: “Now, while there are other bridging technologies out there – like the 4iiii’s Viiiiva, it unfortunately won’t help you with any of the trainer apps here as none support it today (despite it having an API to do exactly that).”?

    I am using TrainerRoad with 4iiii Precision PM, 4iiii Viiiiva HRM, Cyclops Fluid2 and iPad Mini. My set up works flawlessly without the need for ANT+ sensor on my iPad Mini.

    Reply
    • Meaning, it won’t support control. As such, you can’t do control of ANT+ FE-C through Viiiiva. You can do bridging of one-way sensor data though.

      Reply
    • Gene

      Ha, I didn’t even know that my Viiiiva can be an ANT+ bridge. I have always treated it like my Garmin HRM, except with BT that allows me to connect to my treadmill. Learned something new. Thanks :)

      Reply
    • Eric

      So Ray (or Gene) — With a Viiiiva, can I pair my KICKR to iOS via Bluetooth, and then grab my Quarq (ANT+ only) power and cadence and relay it to TrainerRoad iOS via Bluetooth? I should have full control of the KICKR and power/cadence/HR at that point, right?

      My current setup is an ANT+ dongle on the laptop, but there are times when I’d just rather slap the phone on the handlebars and go (I made that nifty DIY Garmin iPhone case mount!). It would also let me free up the laptop for Netflix duty on those longer Z2 rides.

      Reply
    • Yup, in theory.

      I say in theory, because sometimes apps won’t consume it properly – for reasons that range from technical spec failings, to companies having small pissing matches.

      Reply
    • Eric

      Hey Ray — just to follow up on this…it sounds like this solution won’t work (yet) with TrainerRoad. I did some poking around with the compatibility of 4iiii’s multi-channel Bluetooth approach to rebroadcasting ANT+ devices. Like you said, a lot of it’s on the app developers to support that. Here’s the response from TR’s support folks…

      “Unfortunately we don’t support bridging devices quite yet :( We have had users who were able to fiddle with it and were able to get it to transmit just the power by means of the Heart rate monitor, but it is not possible to transmit both HR and Power at the same time.”

      It’s a bummer for someone like me who has accumulated a bunch of ANT+ only devices (Garmin HR strap, Garmin speed/cadence, Quarq PM). Replacing my existing HR strap with the Viiiiva seemed like the perfect solution.

      Looks like my options are:
      1) Spend $30 on a lightening/30 pin adapter (blech) and $60 on a Wahoo 30-pin ANT+ key (blech).
      2) Convert wholesale to Bluetooth products like the Wahoo TICKR and Wahoo cadence sensor. My Quarq will just exist to give me information outdoors. Blech.
      3) Give up and just keep using my laptop and ANT+ dongle.

      Reply
    • Eric

      …but the new CABLE device from North Pole Engineering might work. It would be great if someone could test these devices to see how they play with some of the bigger trainer apps. Hrmmm…know anyone? :)

      Reply
    • John

      Although their app is in the App Store, the CABLE hardware units don’t seem to be shipping just yet (as of early December).

      The wildcard in all this will be whether their device can map ANT+ FE-C in a meaningful way from Bluetooth apps back to smart trainers.

      IIRC, Ray has said Tacx does this by simply wrapping the actual ANT+ FE-C protocol inside a Bluetooth wrapper, so it should be technically feasible…

      Reply
    • Yup, I believe their shipping timeframe was stated at Dec 15th.

      Reply
  17. TexasChip

    Hi Ray. Great review, thank you! Just a heads up: the product comparison table picture at the end points to a jpg link, not to the actual comparison tool.

    Reply
  18. Nenad

    Thank you, a very useful overview.

    Reply
  19. Stephane

    Thanks for the roundup Ray.
    One question: no love for ErgVideo.com?
    They have great videos and training programs!
    I personally use a mix of ErgVideo, Veloreality and Zwift.

    Reply
    • ms

      +1 for ErgVideo. It is quite good, particularly now as it supports Wahoo Kickrs.

      Reply
    • MaverickNH

      Love ErgVideo. Just scrapped the Computrainer for the New Wahoo Kickr and plan to use it along with TrainerRoad

      Reply
  20. This may be a bit of an odd question about a feature, and there are probably some perfectly good workarounds…..however, one of the reasons I have been using trainerRoad is their “minimal” view. I like the fact that I can have this smaller view that shows all the pertinent info, and overlay that onto whatever I want to watch (youtube, kodi, WatchESPN, etc.). Is there a way to do that with any of the others in the field?

    I was curious about the Golden Cheetah video player as well. Would that work with streaming video, or is just for videos that you have uploaded? I used GC years ago (before smart trainers) and it looks like it has come a long way. Is there a way to get a minimal screen for GC for an ERG workout like you can with TR?

    Reply
    • Rob Griff

      Mitch, I don’t know about GC but PerfPro has a video mode that allows the video to utilize the whole screen. The relevant data on your workout is ghosted on the same screen that is displaying the video. I often stream netflix while riding longer workouts and it works great. It may take a few minutes to get used to it but it gives you what you need while still allowing you to watch the movie.

      Reply
  21. Ged Equi

    Great article. Very comprehensive.
    I agree with you on FULGAZ.com
    It’s my favourite as it has a very clear UI, never crashes and the rides are great quality (I tend to project them on the wall).
    Not tried Zwift – can’t see the appeal of the limited 3D world when you can ride ‘real’ places with FULGAZ for very little money.
    Cheers, Ged

    Reply
    • Gerard

      Projection. Brilliant :)
      ..waiting for 360% footage and some light weight VR goggles. I’m always wanting to look over the cliff edges.

      Reply
  22. Joel [KoS]

    I may be biased (I’m a Knight of Sufferlandria), but I was super stoked to see The Sufferfest on this list, and with some good words from you, Ray. Been an avid user of the vids for quite some time, and recently switched from TR to using their app full time, good stuff (if you like being tortured, that is.)

    Reply
  23. Ebe

    Great review and resource Ray!
    I have used many of these over the years. Really excited about what sufferfest has done. A lot of bugs to start out with, but they have upped their game. Super solid customer service, and I love that I can download the workout and then ride it later where I do not have wifi

    Reply
  24. Clayton Bell

    Sufferfest is AMAZING. McQuillen’s video skills combined with Neal Henderson’s workouts are an invaluable combination. Seriously, its like being coached by USA Cycling’s best, while being ‘encouraged’ in Grunter Von Agony’s unique style. The app continues to improve, and the library of videos continues to grow. It also contains EXCELLENT running videos for the treadmill.

    Sufferfest will beat the crap out of you, make you faster, and somehow you’ll enjoy it.

    Reply
  25. Nicholas

    Great review of the apps that are out there! I’m especially pumped to see the Sufferfest listed as they have made, what I believe, to be the most inclusive and effective “community of suffering” out there!

    Reply
  26. Nathan Troia

    The Kinetic Fit App currently does not support custom workouts as you indicate. It is also listed as a capability on Kinetic’s website.

    However, if you actually try the app it is currently impossible. They have said it is coming soon for months.

    Reply
  27. Mervyn

    I love FulGaz. I have been able to ride so many of the iconic European climbs and even able to film and add some of my own rides from Canada. The FulGaz versions are faithfully recreated with accurate grades, reactive modes (ride faster or slower than filmed) and easy to set up and ride quickly.

    Reply
  28. Ray Wright

    Great review. Many thanks. I had no idea there were so many apps out there.

    Reply
  29. Kevin K

    For me its Virtual Training all the way on an iPad with a KICKR. 4th year now and still loving it.
    The app is awesome as it does everything including online racing (with a winner) and one of the cheapest subscription models too (ipad version)
    Now that Strava supports virtual segments you can compete on these too.

    Reply
    • Thanks for these kind words Kevin! More improvements are coming this winter season.

      Reply
    • Steven Knapp

      Another perk for Virtual Training, it supports multiple users with one subscription fee. So I pay for one license, my wife and I can both use the license from our independent profiles.

      Reply
    • Michael

      I like the app. But, using an elite rampa the app is recording about 60 watts higher than stages on hills. On a free ride the matched. Any reason for this?

      Reply
  30. Gerard Van Ommen Kloeke

    I’ve been using Fulgaz for probably close to two years, and I love it. Here’s why:

    – Mike Clucas (owner) is fastidious about quality footage. He and his primary videographers shoot top shelf footage.
    – Fulgaz is pretty good about taking on board suggestions to improve the app, and it’s a mature product.
    – I’ve cycled a few of the Australian climbs in real life and the effort on the trainer is impressively similar.
    – They have 2 active Facebook groups for riders of FG, and those who are generally interested in on bike filming.
    – I have increased my average wattage by almost 60w (200 – 260, and higher on moderate inclines) by grinding up some epic mountains on Fulgaz and a Wahoo Kickr.
    – I bought the trainer and the app to train for some big challenge rides.
    – I get bored easily while working out, and gyms don’t do it for me at all. Fulgaz stops me getting bored on the trainer.
    – I cant afford to go to the places that I train on using this app. Sure, it’s not the same but its nice to dream and this helps until I’ve saved enough to head to the Dolomites/Pyrenees etc .
    – the trainer is a chunk of money but its worth the health benefits and increased cycling strength over the long run.
    – the app is not overpriced like some others.
    – I’m a new Australian and I like this Aussie product.
    – Climbs! Heaps of them (and flatter stuff too).. but the Climbs..!..

    Gerard van Ommen
    Sydney, Australia

    Reply
  31. Matt S

    Been using TR for a while and it worked well.

    I’ve shifted to The Sufferfest and it works better (for me). Looking forward to all the features that have been promised in the constantly evolving app. Well done all. Great to see you in a DCR review!

    Reply
  32. Joe Mellor

    Thanks for this typically comprehensive review, Ray. I really liked how you highlighted the fun and addictive qualities of The Sufferfest. I have dipped in and out of several of the other apps but keep returning to Sufferlandria. 35 mins up to 2 hours flies by. This just doesn’t happen to me on other, more “serious” offerings. In Sufferlandria, fitness just occurs. In other apps, I find gaining gaining fitness requires a lot more willpower.

    Sir Joe. Knight of Sufferlandria!

    Reply
  33. Mihai Tintea

    The Virtual Training platform can track your route in real time with Google Street View images on screen as you progress along the route. This is tremendously AWESOME and it is a SHAME that the other apps do not include YET this feature ! Sorry for yelling. I am looking at you, PerfPro !
    I also tried Golden Cheetah at least a dozen times, it is a pity that the documentation is scarce.

    Reply
  34. George

    No review of Today’sPlan…
    curious why?

    G

    Reply
    • Nuno

      I am also interesting in Today’s Plan. Mostly because of the training plans flexibility when compared with TrainerRoad. However, I understand that it is more a website for planning your training than a tool per si.

      Reply
    • Today’s Plan doesn’t control your trainer (at least, not to my knowledge). Rathre, it’s more of a training plan and training log platform.

      Reply
    • George

      hmmmm, I thought they have a samsung app that does control the trainer.

      Reason I went TR because they don’t support iOS control.
      their iOS app is only for managing profile, and calendar.

      G

      Reply
    • Indeed, another reader just found the Android app for controlling the KICKR. Hadn’t seen that before. I’ll try and get it added in shortly.

      Reply
    • George

      Hi Ray,
      Any chance you’ve had a look at this.

      I know it is not directly a electronic piece, hat you can hold in your hand and evaluate, but how about a blog/review about fitness management sites like TrainingPeaks, Today’sPlan, SixCycles
      G

      Reply
  35. Michał

    This question has been asked probably about a million times, but I will ask again.
    ANT+ adapter for lightning connector for Apple devices. 30-pin dock connector discontinued in 2014, and still the only way to retrofit any iPhone or iPad with ANT+ is to use two dongles.

    Ray, you’re pretty up-to-date with ANT+ market, ANT+ Symposium being at least one reason for it – is there any logical reason, or a technical difficulty that makes Lightning-ANT+ adapter absent after almost 3 years?

    Reply
    • okrunner

      That’s a great question. I was puzzled when Garmin essentially abandoned their ANT+ adapter by never updating the only app that could use it and never opened it up to use with anything else. I purchased it first then a couple years later had to purchase the Wahoo adapter. But, yes, why has no one made an ANT+ adapter for lightning connector?

      Reply
    • I asked Wahoo about it a few weeks ago (actually, I ask them about it every time I see them).

      Essentially it’s lack of demand. While they still sell a healthy amount of the units, the challenge is the certification process for a new one is pretty massive (from Apple). I think it was $50K, off-hand – for just Apple “OK’ing” it. Plus other development costs of course.

      Reply
  36. Igor

    Great post!

    as a new owner of Elte Qubo Digital Smart b+ and user of MyEtraining app on Android I just wanted to ask You where did you found that app for Wndows? I looked for in the net but not found anything.

    Reply
  37. Arno

    I really enjoy the Sufferfest video’s and would love to start using the app, but I only have an android device with ANT+ support. Any news if/when the Sufferfest Android app will be available?

    Reply
    • Hey Arno! We’ll be looking at Android in the middle of next year. At the moment, we’re focused on making sure our iOS/OSX/Windows apps are rock solid and that the new content we have planned for those apps (Yoga coming in November) is well integrated. Sorry don’t have better news for you on that. I’ll send myself off to the flogging station.

      Reply
    • Arno

      Thanks for the reply David! I’ll just use the “old” video’s until the android app is ready. :)

      Reply
    • Nenad

      Hello David,

      I have one question about training plans in SUFFERFEST APP. If I buy some road plan for example, whether this applies to single period, and after the expiry of that period must be re-purchased again?

      Regards.

      Reply
    • Hi Nenad! You don’t have to buy a plan — they are free with the app subscription. And the plans don’t expire — you can use them again and again or switch to another plan whenever you like. Hope that answers your question. By the way, if you are a triathlete, our Triathlon plans have full details of swim and run workouts, as well as extensive drills/skills exercises and tips. Road, Cyclocross and MTB also have a full set of drills/skills sessions and ALL the plans integrate optional yoga sessions from our new yoga for cyclists series coming on the 18th of November.

      Reply
    • Nenad

      OK. It is free with app subscription, I have set the wrong question.

      What about your training plans without app subscription are they, after purchase, have some expiration time? Can I use it an unlimited number of times?

      Reply
    • Ah, gotcha. Sorry, we’re not selling our training plans at the website any more. They are only available with the app subscription.

      Reply
  38. Michael

    Maybe I’m missing something, but … Training Peaks and (especially) WKO4 not being included? Maybe I overlooked the explanation? Thanks for the great writeup.

    Reply
  39. Adam

    Any recommendations for a speed sensor with BTLE and ANT+ to use with a dumb trainer? The last review I’ve seen of the wahoo is several years, not sure if that is still accurate.

    thanks as always!

    Reply
    • Davesee

      Hi Adam–lots of options out there but Wahoo is definitely one of the better ones. I have the Blue SC and it’s worked great. They have a new model out now which my friends are using and no complaints there either.

      Reply
    • I agree, I use the Wahoo ones.

      Reply
  40. Stefan

    Ray, what apps do you personally use? I know this is quite subjective, but you made such comments on previous gear reviews as well… Just interested.

    Reply
    • I pay for subscriptions to TrainerRoad & Zwift.

      I also very regularly use the Wahoo Fitness app for controlling the KICKR.

      Reply
    • JL van Nieuwenhuijzen

      Ray,

      maybe I fail to notice something, but I can’t find the external powermeter control option for the KICKR in the Wahoo android app :-( Is it only available in the Ios app version?

      Leendert

      Reply
  41. Lee Sutton

    Have to say, The Sufferfest workouts totally transformed my cycling. As a bonus it’s also massively improved my running and that was before I tried the actual run workouts, which are also really good, especially when combined with the Stryd run power meter :-)

    Currently using both the iPad app and the beta Windows app and both work really well! I know some other platforms have got a bigger library of workouts but Sufferfest has at least one workout for pretty much every aspect and you can dial down most of themy to convert them to tempo/endurance type workouts which is handy.

    Reply
  42. Henry Ng

    Elite have very bad customer support. I brought the Qubo Smart Trainer and use the My e-training after they update the software for the IOS 10 the Conconi test function simply disappeared from the app. Email their support multiple times and they simply don’t reply.

    I will not buy anything from them with such a bad customer service altitude.

    I searched on the web and there are other user also complaint about their bad service. So I think I am not an isolated case.

    Reply
  43. Nathan B

    It would be cool if you could mention the cross over between TrainerRoad and the Sufferest videos. I’m new to TR, and have seen some of the workouts can tie in with the Sufferest videos if they’ve been purchased, but I’m unclear if you just load the videos separately, or if the two platforms integrate?

    Reply
    • Essentially TrainerRoad has structured workouts for those videos if you buy them and load them in. So if you look at my 2014 App Guide, you’ll see a few screenshots I believe of TrainerRoad with a SufferFest video. In that case, I actually bought the downloadable video and then TrainerRoad had a workout available for that specific video.

      Reply
    • Ian S

      I guess the TR workouts are limited to videos that you actually own now given that Sufferfest has moved to streaming only?

      Epic review Ray, every time you find apps I hadn’t heard of, kudos!

      Reply
    • Hi Nathan and Ian: If you subscribe to The Sufferfest app, it includes ALL 37 of our videos as well as all the other features that Ray mentions in his review. In this way, the videos and the app are tightly integrated and the workouts are programmed exactly the way our coaches like Neal Henderson intended them to be ridden. Our newer videos, as well as re-masters of our older videos, are only available in our app. We do have a limited set of our older videos that you can buy at our website and which you can then use with 3rd party apps. You’ll have to synch the videos with those apps and each app interprets our workouts in different ways.

      Reply
    • Dan E

      Hey David,

      How stable is the Windows App? I’m a Windows User using Zwift and don’t mind paying, what I do mind is getting half way through a work out and something going awry. Queue “Hulk Smash / rage quit” behavior. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sufferfest and can’t wait to join in but am looking for a relatively mature experience (Zwift Beta+ type stuff)…

      Thanks!

      Reply
    • Hey Dan. Great that you’ve heard good things about The Sufferfest. We usually can’t hear anything over all the screams. We’re taking the Windows app out of Beta this Friday as it’s working really well now — we’re also adding the ability to download the videos directly to the app so you don’t have to stream them (we have this function in our iOS/OSX apps and it means you never have to worry about the dreaded mid-interval buffering). We’re feeling really confident about the app — of course, there are still some little bugs we have to squash and we’re doing so pretty rapidly. The app has a 7 day trial, so you could give it a go and see how it works for you….maybe start next week after we come out of Beta. We work really hard on delivering great customer service, so if you do have any issues, you can always write to theminions@thesufferfest.com and we’ll help you out quickly.

      Reply
    • Simon N

      Hi David,
      I own most of the video’s which i use with PerfPro. With PerfPro you can adjust the ‘difficulty’ during the course of the workout if you feel you’re not suffering enough, is this function available through the app? Another question, can you take power from an external powermeter whilst using a smart trainer? Thanks

      Reply
    • Hey Simon – Yep, you can change the intensity of the workout either before OR during your session. As a Sufferlandrian, you’re surely only asking that so you can INCREASE the intensity, right? 😉 This video shows how to do it (it’s super easy), along with a few other app tips: link to vimeo.com

      Reply
  44. The ability to adjust power/resistance on the fly sets the Wahoo app apart. Is there an app able to provide this for other smart trainers?

    Reply
    • Xert Mobile allows you to set Erg Mode Power, Trainer Resistance and Trainer Slope directly. The app supports FE-C compatible trainers and the Computrainer.

      Simply add Erg Mode, Trainer Resistance or Trainer Slope to the UI via tap-and-hold on a cell. Then tap the cell to adjust.

      Reply
    • Does Xert require a paid subscription to access that feature? I can’t see workouts in the mobile app.

      Reply
    • You have access to control features without a subscription. You’ll need to register to obtain workouts however. You can create your own custom workouts on Xert Online and play standard/coach’s/custom workouts on Xert Mobile using either a Free and Premium subscription once registered.

      Reply
    • Nuno

      Garmin Edge 1000, 820 or 5×0 can change resistance on the fly, even though it lacks an easy way, ie, big screen buttons

      Reply
  45. PPP

    Thanks,
    Just in time – First snow came today
    You’ve done huge, huge work

    Reply
  46. JakiChan

    So I know you said video-only programs are rare, but honestly I’ve been enjoying streaming the live spin classes from Peloton. I tried Zwift and just didn’t get immersed. I still was riding on my own and didn’t find seeing the avatar interesting. But the coaches and music from the Peloton classes has been getting me amped.

    Reply
    • Yeah, Peloton is pretty cool. It still requires hardware purchase, correct?

      Or can you now do just the software piece?

      Reply
  47. Dan

    I used VirtualTraining last year to train for IMWI. It was pretty good, but I had very serious problems with download speeds. Trying to watch any of their videos (Sufferfest, especially) live was a no-go – nothing but 10 seconds of “buffering” followed by 2 seconds of workout. Eventually I cut my premium subscription and watched downloaded contents only.

    I don’t have the same problems with Sufferfest directly, or any other site I’ve tried, so I don’t think it’s me.

    Reply
    • Hi Dan,
      we moved our servers in the middle of the summer and there is a huge difference in some cases of streaming. If you want to, please contact us at support.virtualtraining,eu so you could get some voucher to test it again.

      Reply
  48. I’ve tried a bunch of these apps but undoubtedly the best is The Sufferfest. The app itself is really taking shape, the workouts are of the highest quality, they are tough and often reduce me to a gibbering wreck but I love them. They come with great footage and well chosen music which takes your mind off the fact your in a freezing cold garage with no one around. The on screen graphics make you feel like you’ve got a coach pushing you. For me the experience goes beyond the app. It’s the only app where you actually feel part of a community. The tour of sufferlandria is a great experience especially if you tie it in with the facebook group where fellow sufferers will post their pictures and words of encouragement. Just completing the tour feels like a massive achievement and of course your also doing your bit for charity. People love being part of the Sufferfest, the humour and spirit you just don’t see that anywhere else.

    Reply
  49. Umberto

    I’ve a MacBook Pro 2009 with Bluetooth 2.1 (not 4.0). I will buy a tacx vortex smart. I’d use it with “bkool”.
    BT 4.0 is necessary, or I can use it with BT 2.1? If I decide to buy an USB ANT+, the old garmin (the big one) works well as new model?

    Reply
  50. Brad M.

    I signed up for the Road Grand Tour Beta and got a confirmation, but am still unable to sign-in. I can’t find any sort of support/contact info on their website to either.

    Any ideas? Thanks!

    Reply
  51. okrunner

    I’m confused on Over the Bars. Both you and the app store say it works on “Wahoo Kickr and other smart trainers” but your comparison chart says no on anything other than Wahoo Kickr and their website only mentions the Kickr. Can anyone verify, before I download, if it will work with the Tacx Vortex Smart?

    Reply
    • It’s because when I tried it, it worked for total control on the KICKR, but on the NEO, it found it by only seemed to report speed. Hence the half and half side of things.

      Reply
  52. Mark Slezak

    Great review, as usual! Are there any programs that will control 2 trainers at the same time? In a 2 cyclist home, it would nice to ride the same course together at the same time.

    Reply
    • Like most of the apps on this list, FulGaz only controls one trainer, but to help people in your situation we provide a “two for one family deal” on our 12 month subscriptions.

      I’m putting together a short video on this at the moment to show the various ways to use FulGaz with more than one person at once in this way.

      Reply
    • Hi Mark,
      With the 3-rider home license PerfPRO can control up to three smart trainers of any type at the same time with a single ANT+ stick. There are studios out there running up to 40 trainers at one time. Ping me here or at my support page if you have any questions.

      Thanks,
      Drew.
      http://perfprostudio.com

      Reply
    • Hi Mark,
      with VirtualTraining premium subscription you´re able to control up to 4 trainers (you + up to 3 friends) connected to one PC at the same time on the same Virtual route or workout.

      Reply
  53. cheapchap

    IpBike for Android is a great free option to try out before signing up for one of the other monthly-fee options (free for 1,000,000 wheel revolutions, then $7.99). Calculates virtual power from ANT+ speed and cadence and a dumb trainer, you can create & record workouts & upload to Strava, etc. Also functions as an onboard bike computer. Just doesn’t offer training video, and has a slightly cumbersome UI, despite tons of functionality and customization.

    Reply
  54. Smokey

    What exactly does the “DIY Action Cam” feature mean?

    Reply
    • DIY = Do It Yourself

      In this case, the platform allows you to go outside with a GoPro or whatever action cam you have, and then upload that video later on to re-ride virtually.

      Reply
    • Smokey

      Cool. That’s what I figured. I guess the PerfPro entry should be YES then.

      link to perfprostudio.com
      You may also associate a video with a past performance and ride the course virtually. This is simular to RacerMate’s Real Course Video (RCV), but you are in charge of the video production. So if you have a GPS bike computer, like a Garmin, and a helmet camera you can go out and create your own virtual video ride. You just need to edit the video to make sure it matches up w/ the data from your Garmin.

      Reply
    • Smokey

      Ding……???

      Reply
  55. Charles

    Any fellow old time Sufferlandrians out there, who bought all their videos at not inconsiderable cost (nearly $300), and don’t want to effectively pay again for the same material via an app subscription?

    My questions
    1) what app do you use for their workouts? Think some people use zwift in training mode but can you then upload the files somehow?

    2) I have a current subscription to trainer road – (pre sufferfest app – otherwise I would never have bought the videos direct just subscribed to the suffer app). I have found this to be great, but with the collapsing pound it might be a bit expensive to renew..
    3) sufferfest is great and I highly recommend, but some of us were caught between the pre app world and the app world and it has proven expensive….

    Reply
    • Lee Sutton

      I own all the videos but still subscribed to the app as I really only ever do Sufferfest workouts or really simple steady state ones for endurance etc (they have a couple of open ride videos for this). And if I’m going to pay a subscription I may as well pay for their app to continue getting their new workouts.

      Also, for me, I’ve bought the videos over around two and a half years so if I’d started on the app from the beginning my outlay would have been about he same anyway so nothing effectively lost or gained.

      Just some thoughts as my initial reaction was similar to yours when they went app only.

      Reply
  56. Andi

    I am surprised on the Taxc Cycling App.
    I am using this app very often and it definitely supports Ant+ Powermeters (in my case i am using my p2m with the Neo). It also supports ANT+ FE-C – a friend of mine is using it with the kickr…
    And if connected to the Tacx Cloud it automatically uploads to Strava and / or send a txc file via Email.

    Reply
  57. Phil

    About Bkool.
    it’s true that they can control other brands trainers but only in the desktop version via ant+

    on their iPad app, via bluetooth, only bkool trainers can be used with resistance control

    Reply
  58. Mihai Tintea

    I tried the Road Grand Tours software in Windows. Awesome idea, and my enrolling request was approved in the same day. However the application wasn’t able to correctly put to work my Wahoo Kickr. It sees that an ANT FE-C device is in the room, but the trainer stays at 50W (this is what the software shows on screen) but my legs feel like pushing 140W, at least this is how I felt the first few hundred meters of the Stelvio. So maybe this app needs a bugfix. Also my other ANT+ devices were not detected correctly.E.g., Wahoo RPM v2 cadence sensor was shown as a power meter (wait, what ???), and the Scosche Rhythm+ cardio sensor was showing 0 BPM. Guess I’m dead, muahahahaha, it’s Halloween.

    Reply
  59. Steven

    I’m on a tight budget, and Zwift, TrainerRoad, Strava and Training Peaks can add up to a lot each month. If I already have a suite of structured workouts similar to TrainerRoad workouts, can I create them in Zwift as custom workouts and not need TrainerRoad anymore? Or could I create them in Golden Cheetah for free? I want to ride Zwift whilst riding my structured workouts whilst spending the least money possible.

    Incidentally, I have dropped Strava Premium and Training Peaks paid, as they no longer represented value to me. If I can create my own workouts in Zwift, then that is the only app which I see ‘value’ in for my situation.

    Ray – Any chance you could update your article on importing data between sites/apps like Garmin to Training Peaks etc? You had one about two years ago, and I’m sure things have changed since then.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Greg Hilton

      Yes you can create custom workouts in Zwift, it actually just creates a text file, so if your at all tech savvy you can manually edit that which is quicker in some cases for multiple repeats etc. I understand that if you do some googling then there are various workouts already available to download and use.

      You can also create custom workouts in Golden Cheetah and ride them using GC.

      link to support.zwift.com

      Reply
    • You can use our software to create and ride custom workouts. That part is free.
      http://veloreality.com

      Reply
  60. Luca

    I searched for the desktop version of the Elite application but I really can’t find it anywhere.
    Is there anyone who would be so kind to indicate me how to get it?

    thanks you very much,
    Luca

    Reply
    • Mihai Tintea
      Reply
    • Sorry for the delay, had some back and forth with Elite that I wanted to check on as well (since I also couldn’t find the link). It looks like I have the naming slightly mixed on their offerings. Here’s what they said:

      “Actually there is no my E-Training version for Windows. For PC Windows, we have the “Real” software.

      At the moment, the Real software is compatible with all the Real Trainers (RealAxiom, RealPower, RealTour, Real E-motion, Real Turbo Muin) and Drivo. In a few weeks, we’ll publish a version compatible with Rampa, Qubo Digital Smart B+ and Arion Digital Smart B+. In order to work with these trainers, the user will have to buy a license.

      In a first moment, we’ll release a kit (Real + ANT dongle) then it will be possible to buy the license direct from the Real software. The Kit should be available in a couple of weeks.”

      Reply
    • Luca

      I reached the same page too but I couldn’t find any download for the Qubo Digital Smart B+, then I get why.

      I cannot understand why it has to be so difficult to get information from Elite, wouldn’t it be easier to have a specific page for each trainer sold in the last few years with all the basic technical information on hardware and software…. ?

      anyway thank you very much Ray for the info, much appreciated as usual.

      Luca

      Reply
  61. Igor

    I asked the same question a few days ago, but nobody replied.

    Reply
  62. chris

    I’m not really sure why the obsession with erg mode on here? On the neo anyway it feels horrible, a function of the necessity to kill almost all inertia in order to be able to switch up and down resistance rapidly. It renders the neo equivalent to a cheap bottom end trainer. The pedal stroke and muscle recruitment is entirely different to outdoors particularly in the TT position.
    Why not just leave it in resistance mode and hit your own intervals? I’d rather be 5/10w out the odd time with a realistic pedal action than bang on wattage but pedalling through syrup with a cadence of 40. Not to mention if you ever need to stop for a second or two and the thing becomes unmovable?

    Reply
    • Igor_119

      “…I’m not really sure why the obsession with erg mode on here?…”

      1) People are lazy and Erg mode does the job for them even though most of the time it is not such a stellar job. One only needs to check short burst intervals with external power meter 😉

      2) Whole bunch of businesses are built on the idea that if you maintain that exact 354W for 11.5 seconds and the trainer/software does that for you, you’ll be a king of tarmac then.

      3) You really expect them to admit selling snake oil?

      Reply
    • chris hutchinson

      It’s a case of not seeing the wood for the trees. Specificity is king and erg mode is the antithesis of this. Do your own intervals, have some will power and train in conditions closer to the road. Get faster.
      Or just pay a stack of money out monthly to disengage your brain and pedal on something equivalent to a £100 magnetic trainer and wonder why it feels ‘totally different’ on the road.

      Reply
    • We’ll be offering a new type of interval training soon that will take advantage of erg mode on smart trainers. Rather than have a fixed wattage during an interval, the wattage will vary based on the individual athlete’s unique fatigue characteristics (what we term “Fitness Signature”) and also through a feedback loop on execution during the interval. We are calling them “Smart Intervals” and you can get a sneak peak at them by opening Xert Mobile workout listing and pulling down on the list. An example Smart Interval Workout will show.

      The intent of Smart Intervals is to be precise in the amount and type of strain you are looking to obtain during a workout. Erg mode on the trainer is used to help you achieve these specific declining / increasing wattage targets on a second-by-second basis. You can follow along without using erg mode but it will require a bit of attention on the displayed target wattage. The goal is ultimately to provide the ability to make high-intensity workouts *precise*, *harder* but *achievable* all at the same time.

      Coming soon…

      Reply
    • Igor_119

      Nice self promotion without a hint of relation to the question raised.

      Reply
    • Our apologies Igor as the intent was to inform people that there specific advantages to running erg mode on trainers and that some of these features will be available shortly. Some that are looking for capabilities like what we offer, will benefit from this information in making decisions on trainers.

      Reply
  63. Stefan

    PerfPro just works. The support is incredible and the number of features is truly amazing. Yes, it doesn’t have the polished look and simplicity of other apps out there, but there won’t be a function / feature that you can’t activate or disable. It is one of the few that support multi-rider studios and within a short amount of times it’s the cheapest option out there (no monthly fee).
    I am an end user, so just trying to help folks make a decision.

    Reply
    • Nenad

      How do you meen no monthly fee? It cost 99$ per year and there no opinion for monthly subscriptions only per year.

      Reply
    • Stefan

      It’s a one time fee to purchase, no monthly or yearly fee thereafter. You own the software.

      Reply
  64. hhbiker

    Hi, thanks for the really thorough write up.

    On the elite myetraining app, you said “In my case for this year I tried out the iPad app, which has a refreshed interface that’s much better than years past. In addition, if you have the higher end Drivo or Kura trainers, they’ve introduced advanced pedaling metrics from the app (which I outlined here). Note that specific piece doesn’t cost anything.”

    I tried the app, and included the free subscription you get with the Drivo trainer, but it asks you to pay extra for the pedalling metrics, so maybe they changed that since the review?

    Reply
  65. Peter

    Hey folks,

    just a quick note about direct driver trainers – I think it’s worth to know

    I just swapped rear wheel for Elite Turbo Muin and have problem with gearing after I bought Quarq crankset and replaced new chain

    my turbo trainer cassette was simply worn out (as I always put new cassette on the bike)

    so if you have new chainrings and/or new chain, it simply don’t work well with old cassette

    Reply
    • George

      This is not a indoor trainer problem,

      Old chain with new Cassette or new cassette with old chain never works well.

      G

      Reply
  66. Holger

    Hi,
    Great post as usual. Regarding TrainerRoad you mentioned that there are also running und swimming workouts included if you follow a Triathlon Plan.
    I have a TR subscription and cannot find a Triathlon plan with Running or swimming. Do. you remember the name of the Triathlonplan, that gives you those multisport workouts?

    Reply
    • Hey Holger,

      Jonathan from TrainerRoad here. All of our triathlon plans have swim and run workouts included. You can find them in the “Weekly Tips” section of each week in your training plan. You can see where those are in the highlighted box on the attached screenshot.

      While you don’t use the workout interface to follow the workouts, the interval structure and instructions are written out in a detailed manner that is easy to follow.

      Hope that answers it for ya! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
    • Holger

      Got it! Thanks a lot!

      Reply
  67. ArtakS

    Does VIRTUAL TRAINING (CYCLEOPS) app includes the feature – to control smart trainer’s resistance with external power meter in workout (ERG) mode. I see – CAN USE SEPERATE POWER METER TO CONTROL TRAINER is marked YES in the review above ?

    Reply
    • FJ

      I too would like to know

      I signed up to VT premium to give it a go. I paired my Tacx Vortex and my P2M. I also had my Garmin paired up with the P2M.

      While riding the power on screen was clearly that coming from the Vortex. I wasn’t doing a workout but one of the video routes, but the fact that it chose to use the power coming from the Vortex rather than that coming from the power meter is not very comforting.

      Also, I saw no option anywhere in the settings to tell the software to use the power meter to control the trainer.

      Anyone knows where this feature is?

      Reply
    • My understanding from talking to them about it back in October is that if you have a trainer connected and then pair a power meter, it’ll automatically use the power meter data over the trainer.

      I’ll forward this over to them and see what they say/troubleshooting steps.

      Reply
    • FJ

      Hi Ray

      That’s what I was expecting to happen, but it didn’t. :-(

      Thanks for passing it on, hopefully between their help and this community we can figure out what is going on here :)

      A bit of extra context: I was using the windows app, and everything through Ant+

      The “power meter controls trainer” feature is a must as far as I’m concerned.

      Cheers
      FJ

      Reply
    • FJ

      I heard back from VT, and the answer is no, it’s not supported. They have it in their beta version and is coming, but as of today it’s not supported.

      Ray, you may want to update the chart to avoid confusion.

      Here is the email copied as is that I got from VT Technical Support: “we know it´s quite requested issue with a lot of new PM on the market (more reliable). It took some time but we´ve already integrated PM priority over trainer power output in new Beta of Desktop App. So you can expect official release very soon.”

      It’s back to Perf Pro for me

      Reply
  68. T. COOPER

    HI Ray,

    Thanks for a great informative post. Zwift question:
    It looks like your chosen FTP on Zwift workouts is 305 watts, but the screenshot on your best efforts is 255 watts for 20 minutes.
    What’s up with that?

    Tom

    Reply
    • FTP is typically regarded as the maximum power you can hold for one hour, in my case, a theoretical 305w. Whereas the Max power on that screenshot is just the max hit at that point during the workout.

      Reply
  69. Seb

    I’ve used the bkool app today for the first time.
    I’m a bit disapointed, I used only a heart strap and the reported power in the app is way too low.
    140W for 165BPM. I’m no pro cyclist far from it, but Strava on a 1h climb in the mountain I did this summer reported 295W estimated power for pretty much the same heart rate (167).
    Consequently the reported speed was also low, and strava consider I didn’t push it very far with a very low “training impulse”.

    any way to fix this?

    Reply
  70. Youp Melone

    Ray, I can’t remember you dropping the ball on anything, pretty much since you started.
    But this time you kinda did, excuse le mot.

    With veloreality you missed a few of the features i like most, like you can race your own ghost in reality.
    That fat guy from begin of season, the one that you now can definitely beat.. or the one that unfortunately was two years younger… Now that is fun and challenging.

    Additionally you can ride with, or race anyone you see online. On a real climb. I beta tested Zwift, and i did not get it, But this is cool, organize a group ride and ride a big climb with a couple of friends or complete strangers.
    It’s real, it is there and it is fun.

    I couldnt do sufferfest on trainer road more than twice before the concept bored me. Still bought most of the videos. Veloreality’s great videos i can repeat like i can repeat tmy favorite rides from home.

    these guys get me through the winter with summer videos of a few of my fav places in the world.
    Tacx Neo, veloreality (and sometimes the absolutely abysmal Tacx software), 55 inch 4k screen, two fans and some good music and i easily do two hours. Which is about 4 times any of the other solutions above (except virtual training .. never tried that)

    Reply
    • Thanks Youp-

      I’m not sure I follow though. In the database entry for that app, I list that it does indeed allow racing online. I’m not aware of the ability to create teams though, which is specifically one what of the line items is for (i.e. create a team and then compete against other teams).

      The other challenge is that sometimes my definitions don’t match those of what others may think a certain line means. Not saying that’s the case here, but it’s sometimes the case. If there is something incorrect, I generally get it fixed in a matter of minutes, hours at worst.

      Ultimately, I try and cover what I think are the most interesting things about a given app in 2-4 paragraphs. For all the nuanced details, I leave that to the feature tables, which at present contain 51 attributes about each app. Or in total, some 1,071 attributes for the 2016 guide.

      Cheers.

      Reply
    • Youp Melone

      Ray, sorry to add to your workload and it wasnt meant as a critique more a surprise that the coolest features did really make it in the review through.

      With indoor training motivation always is a major problem, for me the RLVs make time fly.
      More apps have this (i have TTS4 with many videos as well).

      But the biggest issue for me is to make sure i push it. In the past the sufferfests used to work but that got repetitive. It took some time to discover this in VR but VR saves your workout automatically (weirdly enough i’d prefer a save button), and the next time you ride the same climb/route/training it automatically displays a ghost on the road in front of your representing your previous training. Now the motivation is simple: beat that f-er..
      I have not seen any other app that has that.

      Together with the opportunity to actually create your own workout (more apps do that) mixing and matching the segment videos (have not seen any app doing that, and TTS4 really should have had that) you can get really exciting indoor trainings in full HD.

      I can warm up on mallorca, do a few easy hills and end with the last section of the Stelvio in HD and still ride against my past performance. Now that is cool.

      I can imagine for people who have to ride long straight roads in aero position this is a nifty feature, just keep your eye on the ghost or stay in front of the ghost.

      Reply
  71. Griffin Guild

    Keeping it simple — recommendation for something simple. My current trainers are Computrainer with Nintendo and Kreitler rollers. I plan on spending up to $1,200 on a new trainer and training videos/membership fees.

    Like wheel off with direct drive trainers and would prefer no requirement to coast down, but have it with the Computrainer so not a deal breaker.

    With Clever Training’s current VIP sale I am thinking of one of these trainers Elite Drivo, Wahoo Kickr2 and Tacx Flux.

    Will also need device to control trainer have Garmin Forerunner 235 and thinking either a PC or Garmin Edge 520.

    Also interested in videos also with simplicity in mind. I am looking for something to keep me engaged and in reasonable condition. I am not concerned about personal records, etc.

    Any thoughts are welcome and appreciated!

    Reply
    • You can try our offering for software and videos from http://veloreality.com. The software is free and so is demo video. Cost you nothing to try. As far as quality of videos goes there is nothing matching it on the market and we have great selection (148 videos at the moment and growing). Software controls various smart trainers, can ride against your old performances, can compete/ride together with live people over the Internet in real time, can do structural workouts etc.

      Reply
    • Hi there Griffin! Videos that keep you engaged and in reasonable condition? Well, we will certainly keep you engaged…but I have to say we’ll do more than keep you in ‘reasonable’ condition. We’ll bring out your inner BADASSNESS. :) Here’s a demo video of our app, which will control smart trainers (or work with virtual power on normal trainers): link to vimeo.com . If you have any questions, post here or just email us on theminions@thesufferfest.com . Thanks so much!

      Reply
    • mucher

      Does the OSX app support FE-C? I tried connecting my Flow Smart and looks like it only sees the power meter, but not the controllable trainer.

      Reply
    • Hey Mucher! Thank you for visiting Sufferlandria. Yes, the app supports FE-C and you can select it as ‘FE-C trainer’…but only if you’re using ANT+ (we don’t support FE-C over Bluetooth yet). It can get a *bit* complicated, but if you email us on theminions@thesufferfest.com we’ll help you get Suffering right away.

      Reply
  72. dbsmith

    Two weeks into Neo ownership and I’ve purchased the TTS4 update package to see if it’s a satisfactory alternative to Zwift. Although I use Zwift a lot I find that the cartoon feel of it gets old; I don’t enjoy riding Richmond at all and not a great fan of London, either. So I am quite interested in the GPS and outdoor video possibilities of TTS4.
    HOWEVER it seems that, in addition to the update package I bought from Tacx I also need some kind of license from Google to use the GPS stuff. Links in TTS4 don’t work and I can’t find the Tacx online store link to buy said license (there are about 6-10 difference Tacx sites it seems, and most of them don’t work reliably!).
    Can anyone suggest a (working) way to get the required Google license to use GPS in TTS4?
    On the outdoor video front I’m familiar with VeloReality and have tried their software and actually purchased a couple of films. But right now I’d like to try the GPS in TTS4.
    As an aside let me add that I don’t find the TTS4 interface to be intuitive at all. Yes I can usually make most things work but it always takes some trial and error.

    Reply
    • livio

      i use TTS4 since it was born.
      At the moment, GPS/Googlearth function in the software are unavailable, because Google and Tacx have stopped cooperating together.
      It is not possible buy a license.
      When no one knows when will be restored.

      Reply
    • dbsmith

      Thanks for your input. I had some difficulty purchasing the Google License from Tacx (they say because they were working out bugs in their new website (IMO they still have a lot to do!)).

      Found some very helpful people on the Tacx forum who helped me pick my way through the numerous Tacx links and finally had success.

      SO: It is absolutely possible to purchase a Google License, for use in TTS4, from Tacx. It’s about $32 for a one-year license.

      With the Google License it is possible to create courses using GPS and to ride those courses on a smart trainer.

      Google Street View is available for many roads — not all — but it appears as a series of still photos taken along the route (not as a full-motion video). Still, you get the flavor of the locale you’re “riding”. Trainer resistance is varied to match the GPS data along the route.

      The main complaint I have is that the Google map(s) shown in TTS4 are difficult to use but that may be a function of the fact that I have to run the TTS4 software on a Mac, using boot camp.

      But it’s available, it works and it’s actually pretty neat.

      PS From reading the Tacx forum I gather that Google maps in 3D are no longer available in TTS4 — maybe that’s what you are referring to. But they are there in 2D.

      Reply
  73. Vern Stevens

    Nice review!
    Recovering from removal of centrally located spinal cord tumour at T6 so only able to do 60-100w. Wife has chained me to Kettler Racer S since my legs stop working occassionally – outdoor sessions resulted in falling over :) a lot!
    Anyway, tried Kino KETTMAPS … useless (sorry kino), Kettler Worldtour2 … yawn. Any Kettler Racer S users out there? If so, what apps work for you?
    I have windows laptop or iPad Air available, prefer not to stream.
    Thanks for reading, if you got this far! Great if you have an app for my Kettler (I have also fitted Powetap P1s to Racer S).

    Vern

    Reply
    • Since you have Powertap you could try our software (software and demo video are free). It has feature that could be of particular use to you – power normalization. In this mode it scales your power to that of a decent rider. Quality of our videos is the best you can ever find. Ray’s review of our software: link to dcrainmaker.com .

      Reply
    • Vern

      VR, thank you, will do. Vern

      Reply
  74. dbsmith

    Ray,

    Have been messing around with Tacx TTS4, especially the “create a workout using GPS” feature.

    It’s pretty cool to go back to places I rode years ago and re-live the experience on a smart trainer (or not — I was younger and fitter and some of the rides seem much harder). Street View works for many routes but (a) not like video — just still photos every few hundred feet and (b) some rural routes don’t have any Street View data at all.

    Wondering whether there are other apps that offer this capability — TTS4 is Windows only; I’m running it on a Mac using boot camp, which work’s OK (not great, but OK).

    Biggest problem is that the Google maps used to create routes is very difficult to see and there doesn’t seem to be any way in TTS4 to scale it up.

    Any other app you’d recommend for this use?

    Reply
  75. Shaka

    Does tacx software works on PC. Is there a need for an accessory (USB dongle)?

    Which software rpovides higher quality outdoor videos, Tacx, Zwift or Veloreality.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • All 3 software work on PC. You would need USB dongle. Zwift does not offer video at all. Veloreality has the highest video quality on the market.

      Reply
    • Vernon Stevens

      Velo Reality’s claim about video quality is true … their rides are 15gb! I am having some difficulty with their software … will comment further once it is resolved.

      Reply
    • Avarige size of the file is 8GB. Size for any particular file depends on lots of factors though.

      Reply
  76. Nolan Barrios

    Can you or any of your readership confirm if any of these or other apps work with i.e. can control both a bike trainer and treadmill? Kinomap seems to be able to do both. However they do not appear to provide details on “what is required”. For example are iFit compatible treadmills also compatible with any “internet” based app. Since I use a CompuTrainer it would be nice to use either BKool or Kinomap – but I cannot determine if they would be compatible with a Nordictrack trainer.

    Reply
  77. Dominik

    Maybe somebody knows the answers on my questions.
    I’d like to record the cycling route and then upload recording to the software which is the best in terms compliance and compatibility with amateur video made by users. Software needs to collect or data from garmin edge and be compliant with interactive trainers to have real route experience. Any idea which suits best ?
    Before I have a software I’d like to know what the rules are to have video properly recorded. Should I mount a camera on a handlebar or a seatpost in the back?
    If there are other things important on this topic, please let me know.

    Ray, thank you for all reviews and news. Sharing this knowledge make us well-informed :)

    Reply
    • Hi

      Dominik. FulGaz uses video filmed by amateurs, but we provide help to produce a better quality video in the first place then do some post-production magic to bring it up to a much better standard.

      If you email mike@fulgaz.com I’ll send you some information on how to get a great result.

      Regards,

      Mike

      Reply
    • Kinomap and CycleOps Virtual Training also enable this, and allow for quick end to end combining the video/GPS, as well as publishing it to their platform. I’ve even got a sample one I did on both platforms up there.

      I’m going to do a bit more of that in the coming days and shooting some stuff too.

      Reply
    • Dominik

      Hi Ray, thank you for your reply.
      You write the most detailed and thorough reviews I’ve ever read – props! And I read them thorougly :). I picked those 3 apps up from the review before, anyway thanks Mike and you for confirmation they do what I want. I need Android/Windows OS so 2 apps left.
      I’d like to know if both of them – Kinomap and CycleOps Virtual Training have end to end editing tools ? Are they both user-friendly and easy to use (UI,UX) ?
      Other thing is data. If I use Garmin Virb x camera which collect gps data I can upload video + gps data from Virb x to those aps, then make some editing things and that’s it ? Then I get on a indoor interactive trainer all data and hill incline simulation during training ?

      Is the handlebar mount best for shooting such video to get best results ? What about chest mount ?

      Reply
    • Hi Dominik,
      we have a separate Route editor (free of charge) with many tools for edits. It works on Win OS. You can edit all of the important things when you insert video and GPS data into the editor – accuracy of GPS data via google earth, sync of video and GPS data, insert points of interest. In the end you can upload edited route on VT cloud so you´re able to ride it in any VT app – with interactive/smart trainer there are for sure changes of resistance relating with the route slope. And what is more important to community – other users can ride your routes!

      We have experiences handlebar mount is much better than chest strap to get the best results. We also made routes using scooter or car – best video stability.

      Reply
    • Dominik

      Hi Ondrej, thank you for your raply. Now your app is much more clear. Does it support new Tacx and Elite models. If not all, which Tacx and Elite models support for sure.

      Reply
  78. giorgitd

    I decided to look at a few of the trainer apps today. Short background: Tacx Vortex Smart (TVS, about 10 months old) used mostly on Zwift, some on Trainerroad. I use Sufferfest videos, too, but no app (yet). All Win 8.1 with an ANT+ USB adapter.

    Two notes…

    Maximum Trainer loaded fine, but I did not try it…’Free Accounts are limited to the FTP/MAP Test and 15 min workouts.’ I could not find any preprogrammed workouts < 15 minutes (other than FTP/MAP), which seems to be a big oversight. Hard to imagine 'test driving' an app by doing an FTP test – not the most pleasant initial experience. They should create a 14 min workout that shows off the capabilities and enables potential users to test using their own hardware. Ray's review says 'free, pay component after beta'. So perhaps we are after the beta now.

    Road Grand Tours (RGT) also loaded fine. The only course in the Stelvio. Some observations (and, yes, I know that it's beta, free and has not had the benefit of extended development like Zwift)… The scenery is rendered well, but the cyclist is a static avatar – no legs moving, no wheel turning, far less polished than Zwift. It's evident from the start page, but I didn't catch this the first time: the default is to start 1/2 way up the Stelvio. This is smart b/c from the 'real' start at Trafoi to the 1/2 way point is mostly forest and rather monotonous since you don't benefit from the spectacular views in this portion of the ride. And, as Ray points out, without other riders, or other 'distractors', this part gets old fast, especially since the average gradient is something like 12%. After the 1/2 point, the forest falls away and the views are useful in helping you forget about the climb. Oh, the total ascent is about 14 km with a climb of about 1,700 m. The switchbacks are reverse numbered. At the top, you automatically reverse – it's abrupt and I wondered what I had done wrong as it appeared that I was about to cycle off the edge for a moment :0 No crashes, but one instance where I rounded a switchback and was propelled into the forest for quite some distance. The programming recovered and put me back on the road in the correct location after 5 sec or so of flying. My biggest gripe – and I still don't understand this…on either the ascent or descent, my power would change from white to red with a banner 'reduce power' as I approached a switchback. The problem is that, even if the slope was 10% and I was delivering 200 W, my speed would drop to a crawl, almost stopped, then resume to the speed appropriate for terrain and power later in the switchback. Kinda understandable on the descent, when your are ripping along at 60+ kph into the switchback, but less understandable on the ascents when I'm poking along at 10 kph. I think that the experience could be improved with some slope smoothing – there's a bit of lag between the change in terrain and the trainer resistance. It would be less noticeable if brief changes in slope could be smoothed (12%, 6% for a second or two, then 10%, for example, feels really weird, even if it correctly reproduces the real world – the relative lack of momentum complicates the 'feel' of these changes). So, the idea has promise, but it has a long way to go to be 'Zwift-like'. Still, I think that the opportunity to ride iconic courses with others would be attractive. RGT should also open up another course – or extend the Stelvio course – to include less challenging terrain. I needed about 75 min to do this climb (ascent only) and there are virtually zero 'breaks' where the gradient eases for any length of time to provide some recovery. It's tough! And I'm not complaining about the toughness, but the utility is pretty limited right now.

    Oh, onle last thing about RGT – it found my ancient ANT+ HR transmitter and the FE-C, power and speed ANT+ channes from the TVS, no problem. But the TVS also provides a cadence estimate, which Zwift, TR and
    my FR92XT records/displays no problem – but RGT didn't get this stream, either on screen or in the GPX file (which is created and can be downloaded from the RGT web after login – there's also a direct connect to Strava from RGT, but I didn't have that set up this morning, so I can't report on that piece.

    Reply
    • Youp Melone

      I tried Zwift when it was launched and didnt get it.
      I could do the same, and better with TTS 4 or Veloreality.
      Same for RGT, why ride it a computer game look if you can ride the real thing in HD?
      I must be missing something i’d presume

      Reply
  79. MaverickNH

    I am having problems with Kickr2 disconnects on IOS Bluetooth from Sufferfest and Trainer Road. Sufferfest disconnects and will no reconnect at all, while Trainer Road drops out for seconds every few minutes but reconnects. The Wahoo folks said to delete Wahoo Utility from all IOS devices. Dunno if that works yet…

    Reply
  80. Dan

    I have used TrainerRoad before, and loved that it had not just a load of workouts, but a structured progression through them in the form of training plans. I’ve since wanted to try some of the apps with more virtual interaction, and am looking at CycleOps VT as it’s got a nice blend of quality videos, user videos, and Google Earth virtual videos – the fact that I can re-ride common summer routes via Google Earth seems like a fun thing to try. However, I see the virtual and video stuff as more of a fun thing to just allow you to get some hours in the saddle indoors without necessarily being very structured. I still want to just hit workouts and use power based intervals via a structured plan that tells me what to do, as I’m useless as making my own up. This guide and previous years suggest that there are such plans to follow for CycleOps VT, but I just cannot see how to access them, all I can see is the ability to hunt through a vast workout library and select one, which isn’t what I am after. If there such a facility and I’m missing it, or is there another way to import an actual plan of workouts etc? Or am I going to need to maintain TrainerRoad in parallel? Thanks all.

    Reply
  81. Robert Jensen

    Just FYI. The free version of Bkool’s software, is gone.
    There is only a trial now, and then you have to pay :-(

    Reply
  82. Niels Thijssen

    Today ZWIFT for iOS is avalaible for download :)

    Reply
  83. Romster

    Hi Ray (and everyone else).
    Thanks for all the work you do here. I enjoy – almost – every blog entry (although they have cost me a lot of money over the last two years or so… :-))
    I’m completely new to the trainer world and just got started with a Tacx Neo and a bit of Zwift. So far, I’m liking it a lot and looking forward to trying other apps. One thing that struck me right from the beginning which I just can’t get my head around: why is there no app from any of the tools for later generations Smart TVs? That to me would seem like a very logical evolution.. rather than fiddle around with phones or tablets, they could support the big TV companies (e.g. LG, Samsung, Sony), which all have some sort of Internet connection built in and offer Bluetooth smart integration.. and most people have one of them in front of their trainer/bike-combo anyway.. what am I missing?

    Reply
    • Borko

      I would also be interested in seeing Trainer Apps for smart TVs with Bluetooth support… I don’t see a reason why developers could not make it work.

      Reply
    • Christoph

      Same here – I also don’t understand why Zwift doesn’t make a ‘map’ instead of 3D graphics version. Most people don’t have their bike in the office and don’t have 2 computers or a laptop that satisfies the requirements only because of the graphics they use.

      Reply
    • Kostya

      Well maybe for the same reason companies do all kinds of things, like games that require gaming grade computers. Or expensive bikes that MOST people can not afford.

      Reply
    • Dan

      I would think because loads of people do that, or did that already. They came into it with a 3D persistent world as their unique selling point. Regarding TVs, I would imagine that the number of (for want of a better phrase) “us” that would like an app built in might be quite high, the number of TV purchasers who want to do smart bike training is essentially a rounding error and not worth considering. As for powerful PCs, I just did a 2 hour ride using Zwift on my phone, and it worked fine – mobile (phones and tablets) is the way forward for these things, not TVs or gaming PCs.

      Reply
    • Dan

      can’t seem to edit – by “do that” I was referring to 2d maps

      Reply
    • Borko

      I disagree… Good quality “real video” stream on 55″ TV always beats whatever you put on 10″ tablet (yes you can connect to the TV but I don’t want the hustle). To your other point about the way forward, in my opinion this is going to be “virtual reality” not mobile…

      Reply
    • Well, with Zwift you can have either. You can show it on a small iOS screen, or a big screen TV.

      As to whether or not people want it – people have clearly decided: It’s the most used training app out there. Period.

      Now they’re challenging is expanding that reach to different devices – of which iOS was the first step away from PC’s. We’ll either see Apple TV or Android next.

      Reply
    • From the perspective of an app developer who’s looked into this extensively, here’s some more insight into why this hasn’t happened yet. We were very excited about the most recent Apple TV and tvOS. It looked like an easy way to port FulGaz to a device designed for big screen display.

      The reality was very different. Apple won’t allow third party apps to store large files so videos would have to be streamed. That’s no good if you don’t have great internet. The bigger issue was the requirement that all the coding libraries be specifically written for tvOS. None of the device connection libraries are written for tvOS. Without the investment to re write every “off the shelf” component within an app (graphs, maps, connecting to trainers….) Basically you’d end up with a streaming video player.

      Smart TVs are another possibility because you’re then away from Apple’s restrictions, but I doubt if different manufacturers are using the same operating system so you’d end up with an app that worked on some models of one particular brand. It would be a colossal effort for a tiny segment of the market and the end result isn’t going to be a better app, just a more convenient way to access it (if you could connect the TV to bluetooth and ANT+ and it had the processing power required to run it)

      Reply
    • Christoph

      But the main Zwift app still doesn’t run on tablets/phones – right? It’s just an interface that is linked.

      I would prefer a standalone version simply because I don’t want to buy a second computer for my training room. Zwift has all the functionality and for serious training all the fancy 3D stuff is not needed. It would work as well with a simple map with dots (there is a ticket for this since ages).

      The benefit is that it would allow much more people to access the platform. Most of my friends just don’t want to use it because of that. Most of them have stationary desktop PCs and do not train in their office, as simple as that.

      Having to buy an extra PC if there are apps that run on mobile devices, isn’t really a convincing reason.

      Reply
    • It does as of a week ago (on iOS).

      Reply
    • Christoph

      Thanks a lot – I stand corrected, I didn’t see it in the news.
      That’s very promising! I hope an Android app will follow soon

      Reply
  84. Jose Luis

    Just my two cents: I have been bkool user for 3 years. When I bougth the trainer they offered free and premium subscriptions, that was the reason why me (and the majority of people) made the purchase. They offered offline mode (you could use the trainer with no need of internet connection,ie,in your garage), after a few months they killed that feature. With the last version of the simulator, the free suscription is dead, you have to pay premium if you want to use the trainer. I’m tired of sending mails asking for improvements and bug fixes before this release, but it seems that they don’t want to hear about customer complaints. They have released a simulator full of bugs, less “usable” than previous version, with less info on screen (by the way, ergo mode is a joke…never works fine, power estimation is less than accurate, about 20% of desviation in climbings). The number of training videos released by theirselves is almost cero nowadays, most of the training sessions are published by users, so they are making money off the effort of customers.
    I have tested Tacx bushido at my lbs and is waaaaay better than bkool, yes, I know it’s more expensive and I think there is no free mode, but at least they don’t lie.

    Reply
  85. Alex

    Can anyone recommend an Android (free trial) App for power based training with the Tacx Vortex Smart? (Apart from the Tacx app).

    Reply
    • Nuno Pinto

      Free trial for android. I recommend TrainerRoad, still in beta but very usable…and now with support for bluetooth smart power control (ERG) for TACX, i have tested it with Bushido (I am assuming VORTEX is 99% the same) and works ok.

      Reply
    • Alex

      hm if I want to sign up for trainerroad (online) I need to pay already..

      Reply
    • Nenad

      Yes you have topay, there is no free trial. Only full refund in first 30 days.

      Reply
    • Niels Thijssen

      I have a free trail of TrainerRoad to give away. Post your msil address and I can register you for very first time

      Reply
    • Nenad Jevtovic
      Reply
    • Niels Thijssen

      Just added your email in the referral program. If all goes well you have to create sn account with your email to enjoy one month of free TrainerRoad

      Reply
  86. Dathan Chesnut

    I just got a kickr snap and have a question about connectivity. I have a new mac desktop which I believe has blue tooth smart. I have already controlled the trainer using zwift app on my iphone but when I use zwift on my desktop it says I need the ant+ dongle. Do you know how I can get the bluetooth on my desktop to control the kickr? If it’s possible at all. Thanks for all you do.

    Reply
    • Dan Wilkinson

      (From memory) top right cog icon when you connect your devices, some settings are in there, one is to either use the Zwift Mobile Link app for Bluetooth (default) or use the built in Bluetooth directly (switch to this)

      Reply
  87. FJ

    I see Drew Hartman is also in this thread, so trying my luck here…

    Drew, any chances of adding support for text cues to PerfPro? it’s the single feature I am missing

    I know I can add messages assigned to each step in a workout, and at most one other message offset from the start of the workout, but I would like to have arbitrary text cues at any point in the workout. TrainerRoad and VirtualTraining both support this feature, and TR has gone as far as defining where in the mrc file these cues should be defined:

    link to support.trainerroad.com

    Reply
  88. Vernon Stevens

    Hi folks, I have been sourcing cycling videos for my Tacx Neo (I now have a redundant Kettler Racer S for sale since I couldn’t get what I needed from it). Just received an email from Veloreality, after I mentioned not all their video tour packages were included in their promo code “GRANDTOUR”, Veloreality very quickl replied in a very positive manner such that I am now, or will be on receipt, the proud owner of a HD containing 137 1080p videos (I would have bought their 4K videos but I don’t have a 4K tv!). Many thanks to Gary Bauer who replied to my original email. I think the promotion runs till the end of December and offers 30% off. I have no commercial interest in Veloreality but believe in highlighting great support.
    Happy holidays all from sunny Poitou-Charentes, France!

    Reply
  89. Zuber

    Just my 2 cents.

    I tried everything and here is my set up.

    1. Ray’s recommended music stand with iPad holder from Amazon (he has a separate post somewhere… about $40 altogether)
    2. 42 inch tv with Apple TV
    3. iPad running trainer road or Sufferfest
    4. Tacx neo.
    5. Medical adjustable table ($50 from amazon) as a cheaper alternative to wahoo desk.

    I “mirror” iPad to the TV in front of me for sufferfest (they are snarky and funny and engaging) or I just watch cycling on NBC Gold app on TV and do TrainerRoad on iPad

    I very much appreciate the structured workout and its simple interface (and helpful podcast – 5 stars!) of TrainerRoad. Definitely worth $10 per month.

    My GF prefers Zwift, so she puts it on iPad & project (airplay function of Apple TV) zwift on big screen.

    To each of his own. Since most of these software companies offer free trials, I do recommend trying out 5-6 of them & decide what you like the best.

    Thumbs up to Ray for this awesome post. Big fan!

    Reply
    • Lee Sutton

      How do you find the Apple TV with Sufferfest? I’d heard someone say they found it laggy.

      I use an iPad with the app at the gym and an old pc at home. Would be nice to ditch the old pc and just use the ipad as I’ve got the ant+ key and I prefer the iOS version over windows.

      Thanks

      Reply
    • Zuber

      I haven’t experienced any lag issues with my set up. I use the airplay function of iPad to mirror or project the image from iPad (within my reach while training) to Apple TV (second generation) and it has been working flawlessly. If someone is having a lag with sufferfest, I’d imagine their wifi speed is to be blamed. I do believe sufferfest allies you to download the video in advance if that is the case.

      Reply
  90. Steve S.

    Thanks for this terrific review.

    Question: do any of the apps support VR glasses? or have you heard of any of them that are planning to — this feature would really only be relevant for a site that’s using computer generated graphics rather than cameras IMHO. Zwift maybe?

    A google search found an old kick starter called “Widerun”, but it did not meet it’s funding request and looks like it was abandoned.

    Reply
    • I played with the latest version of Oculus. While it can display some insanely cool things I think it is also insane to use it during strenuous activity. For something like this VR headset have to be purposely engineered I think.

      I am toying with the idea of maybe doing 3D cycling videos (I work at Veloreality, manufacturer of Real Life Videos, Software and trainer for cycling).
      3D videos can be viewed with very light glasses that do not fly away/displace when you move your head suddenly. However it is like a niche inside a niche inside a niche. Does not make much sense commercially for now.

      Reply
    • Indeed, there’s been many companies that have trial’d/beta’d various VR headset ideas. For example, I’ve tried a Bkool variant, a Zwift variant, and then two one-off standalone trainer app variants.

      Like Kostya says, it just ends up being an awkward experience right now, at least on consumer gear. I’ve got most of a post written from tidbits and videos at Interbike & Eurobike trying out various VR bike options. Perhaps I’ll finish it up and see if anything shows up at CES in a week or so. The best one I tried was a highly costume rig that actually moved the bike as well (and controlled a fan simulating wind speed).

      Reply
  91. marutz

    Didn’t try any if the above, I’m just glad I found SportMe app link to itunes.apple.com although it is not so widely promoted. It’s super accurate and easy to use, aka what I need for now.

    Reply
  92. Brendan

    I’m late to the party but another great article.

    I recently purchased an Elite Rampa to replace my old Tacx iMagic and have been looking at desktop software to migrate my RLVs to as well as looking at the new options out there in what is an ever-evolving market.

    I haven’t yet used my free Etraining subscription that came with the trainer but I am using VeloReality and tried using Golden Cheetah trainer for my old RLVs but whilst it sort of worked I couldn’t get it to provide resistance to the Rampa.

    Two others I’ve looked at that aren’t in the aticle (impossible to include everything) are CadenceVR and BigRingVR. There’s no trial version of CadenceVR so I’m awaiting a reply from them as to whether their software is backwards compatible with older Tacx RLVs and whether the software will work with the Rampa.

    BigRingVR is free to trial/use at the moment as they’re in beta testing and on first impresions I’m impressed. They use videos from The Col Collective and I can link to my old RLVs to it and it appears to work well with the Rampa. I imagine they’ll introduce a monthly pay model to use the online videos but I’d be happy to have a simple desktop player for my old RLVs that can output useful data.

    Of the other apps in the article I tried registering on the Road Grand Tours site but get stuck with entering my birthday. I’ve tried all sorts of alpha-numerical combinations but it has rejected all attempts. Does anyone know the right combination? Cheers.

    Reply
  93. Bert

    Great post! However, what I have trouble finding is an app that is capable of HR-based structured workouts, i.e. adjusting the resistance automatically in order to let the measured HR match a user-defined HR profile over time. Any suggestions that are not too expensive and work on Android tablets?

    I am considering replacing my current non-SMART Tacx Bushido trainer with a SMART version in order to use 3rd party apps, since the Tacx trainer app sucks at this (large fluctuations (20-30 bpm peak-to-peak) around specified HR target + app has reliability issues in my case). I’ve been having this issue with all of the following setups:
    – Tacx Flow + head unit
    – Tacx Flow + Tacx Trainer Software 3 on laptop
    – Tacx Bushido + Tacx app on iPad 4 (ant+ dongle)
    – Tacx Bushido + Tacx app on Samsung 10.1 Android tablet

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
  94. Gregg

    Thanks for the reviews!!
    Apologies if this has been addressed but…
    Do any of these app display either kJ or calories, while you are doing your workout? My Elite trainer tells how many kJs the .erg workout is and Zwift will display calories burned after the workout, but none appear to display joules or calories during the workout.

    Reply
    • FJ

      I know PerfPro does, but if you have a cycle computer, you could also pair that up to show Kj/Kcal (assuming you are using Ant+ of course)

      Reply
  95. Michael

    Does anyone know if any of these apps can control resistance on a CycleOps Phantom 5 indoor cycle? Per CycleOps, the Phantom 5 uses “a proprietary ANT+ protocol for resistance control.”

    Reply
  96. John P

    A little background regarding my question
    1. Just started MTB in April 2016 (after 7+ months of riding, I’m absolutely hooked)
    2. Want to maintain some “biking” fitness during winter, so I bought a trainer (CycleOps Magnus)
    3. Only have a mountain bike (Camber) and have equipped it with a trainer tire for my trainer

    Most apps seem centered around road bikes, which I get but I’m curious if you guys have any thoughts / opinions on my situation, where I’m MTB focused and looking to maintain fitness accordingly during the off months. I’m currently using Virtual Trainer but that’s primarily because it was suggested by CycleOps.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  97. Steven DV

    I have a Tacx Flux (actually already a 2nd one, yup, I am one of those guys who had issues). I also use Golden Cheetah.

    I have been trying to create an ERG controlled workout. So far I have succeeded in:

    1) pairing all my ANT+ gizmos: Garmin HR, Garmin Cadance sensor, Power transmitted by the Tacx Flux
    2) workout mode is working (I created something simple myself)

    But ERG mode is not working: meaning if I put in my workout: “200W for 10 minutes”: I have to play with my gears and pedal 200W myself, it is not controlled bythe Flux.

    What am I missing here?
    How do I get Golden Cheetah to control the wattage so it “asks” 200W, independent of what gear I am on, let’s me play with cadance instead?

    It must be some setting in Golden Cheetah to enable ERG / steering of the power on the Flux, but I can’t find it.

    Or is it because the Flux is brand new and not (yet) supported in ERG mode in Golden Cheetah?

    Steven

    Reply
  98. http://www.turbotraining.co.uk is another option which focuses on structured workouts. You can plot custom routes using a GPS map.

    Reply
  99. Sam

    Hi DCR,

    Excellent review- thank you. I just bought a Tacx Flux and want to run the Trainer 4 Software with films but using a tablet rather than a PC. Which tablet did you use and what others are recommended? Can’t find the info anywhere!

    Many thanks in advance

    Sam

    Reply
  100. EM

    Is there any trainer apps that allow you to create custom workouts based on cadence instead of % of FTP? For example: 20 min warm up at 90 rpm, 4 x 3 min at 70 rpm with 3 min recovery at 90 rpm, etc…. That is how I get trainer workouts from my coach since I have a dumb trainer and no power meter. I was using The Sufferfest and I liked how it showed me what cadence to be at but they don’t offer custom workouts and TrainerRoad’s workout creator doesn’t really fit my needs either since it’s based on FTP.

    Reply
    • valleycycle

      PerfPro Studio allows you to enter target cadence, but you still need to enter a target power or percent FTP to go with it. But since you are using a “dumb” trainer, you can ignore the power target and only look at the cadence target.

      Reply
    • EM

      Unfortunately PerfPro won’t work since I’m on a Mac.

      Reply
    • valleycycle

      EM, I’m also using a MAC. I installed Windows with BootCamp, and PerfPro is good enough that it was worthwhile to do that.

      Reply
    • Nenad

      In Maximum trainer you can to enter target cadence as well as power and HR target.

      link to maximumtrainer.com

      Reply
    • Aaron

      If you want a simple way of just a plan with cadence and HR, then turbotraining.co.uk can be used without any ANT+ equipment. You can build our own workouts as you say.

      Reply
  101. Miguel Desentis

    Is there any app that can be launched simultaneously in group? I mean, displayed only in one screen but with different users (including ther especific stats: HR, cadence, PWR, speed) at the same time with liderboard or something like that?

    Reply