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Strava Cuts Off Leaderboard for Free Users, Reduces 3rd Party Apps for All, and More

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After roughly five months of appeasing users with new feature after new feature after new feature, the other shoe has finally dropped. Today, Strava sold its segmented soul. At least, if you believe Strava Segments are the soul of what makes Strava, well, Strava.

The company announced three substantial negative changes to the platform effective immediately, which will have huge ramifications for its 55 million users, as well as the 44,000 registered 3rd party apps. They are summarized as follows:

– Non-paying users will no longer see the full leaderboard: They’ll only see the top 10 times (all + Top 10 women), you won’t see your friends anymore
– Strava is removing the leaderboard from all 3rd party apps: If you’re using one of the 44,000 3rd party apps out there to do anything with Segments, this likely just broke it. Only devices like those from Garmin/Wahoo/Hammerhead/etc that have Strava Live Segments can display that for paying members.
– Non-paying users will no longer get the web route builder: If you want to build routes, you’ll need to use another platform.

In addition to those substantial ones, there’s also one lesser removal:

– Non-paying users will no longer get ‘matched runs’ feature: This will automatically compare runs on the same route from a pace/speed standpoint. A new matched rides feature is introduced today, which is only available to paying users.

One might mistakenly believe this change is only impacting non-paying users. But that’s far from true. This change is impacting anyone who uses the platform with 3rd party apps to do any amount of analysis of Segments. And even beyond that, it’s lessening the value of Segments for everyone. Strava is in effect saying: Segments don’t really matter to our business anymore, getting people to pay for them does.

And here’s the worst part: They aren’t necessarily wrong on that specific issue. In a conference call last week, Strava was point-blank clear that if they don’t get more subscribers and become profitable, there’s a pretty good chance there won’t be a Strava in a year. [Update: 26 hours later, Strava disagrees with this summary of that portion of the call, stating only that “We are not yet a profitable company and need to become one in order to serve athletes better”.]

Is some of that posturing? Probably.

But is the undercurrent of it true? Most likely. You can only run an unprofitable business so long when people stop giving you money.

Still, my take is that this is less about Strava’s goals of being profitable, and more about the way they’re going about it. Instead of adding value and new features to the platform and convincing people to convert, they’re pulling the rug out from both free and paid users alike. They’re using the stick, instead of the carrot. And historically speaking – that doesn’t improve customer satisfaction.

Finally, it should be noted that while Strava is slashing and burning today, they did roll out a few new (positive) changes for premium users. First of all, you got a new desktop (web) route builder which better integrates Strava Segments and terrain filters (e.g. gravel vs not, more elevation option, etc…), and you also got some redesigned elements of the mobile app around training load tracking. Some of it is new functionality, a lot of it is mostly cleaned up user interface design. Those will show up in iOS/Android app version v150 starting today, but may take up to 48 hours for everyone to see. The restrictions will appear immediately. On a normal day I might have covered that more in-depth, but today is not a normal day.

Leaderboard Changes:

This first change only impacts non-paying users. By the way, while we’re at it, as of today Strava is ditching the ‘Summit’ moniker it created two summers ago. Now, you’re simply a ‘subscriber’ or not. Meaning, you’re either paying or not. If you’re not paying, Strava wants you to pay – and they’re even giving you a 60-day trial to test things out. Mind you, you’ll have to provide a credit card first, and if you forget to cancel in mid-July you’ll become one of those paying subscribers.

In any case, as of today, non-paying users will no longer see the full leaderboard. The ‘leaderboard’ is basically what is shown when you look up a Strava segment. It manifests itself in a few different ways, including mini-leaderboards and full leaderboards. For example, here’s a mini-leaderboard. You can see not only the top 10, but my self and my stats on it.

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However, when I view the full leaderboard, I get additional key information – notably the ‘People I’m following’ and ‘My Clubs’, as well as ‘My results’ and ‘This Year’. Plus age groups and weight classes too. If you’re a non-paying member, you’ll get none of this going forward (you previously didn’t get ages/weights unless a subscriber).

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In this context, if I was a non-paying member, I wouldn’t be able to see that I’m faster than GPLAMA here. It simply wouldn’t show up anymore, as if it didn’t exist. And frankly, I can’t have that.

Same goes for my group membership in the Slowtwitch.com ‘Club’, that too would go away, here on a different segment:

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Free users can still create segments, as well as use the segment explorer to look at/search for segments. They can also see the KOM/QOM (due to being allowed to see the Top 10/10 Top 10 Female), as well as they can see their own PR’s.

To be very specific, here’s what non-paying users will see going forward:

Free users:
•    Top 10 all-time and top 10 women Results in Leaderboard
•    New Segment Creation is allowed
•    Segment Detail screen is allowed (just not leaderboard details)
•    Segment Explore / Search is allowed
•    Flagging Segments is allowed
•    Activity achievements is shown on a ride (KOM’s, CR’s, PR’s)

Paying Subscribers only:
•    All segment leaderboards (including following/clubs/this year/age groups/weight classes)
•    Analyze segment efforts
•    Compare your results
•    Analyze your efforts

So, here’s (on the mobile app), what a non-paying member should see starting today, and what happens if they try and do anything:

clip_image002  clip_image002[4]

Now – obviously, if you don’t care about segments, then you probably won’t care about this.

I think though this lessens the value of Strava Segments for everyone, because it makes it far less interesting/valuable to non-paying users. They won’t care what their friends do, because they can’t see what their friends do. And if a tree falls in the forest…who cares? In other words, your friends that aren’t subscribers won’t bother competing with you on Segments anymore, because they can’t see the results of it.

And of course – this perhaps gets to the core of Strava’s realization: They’re far less a network about segment KOM’s than they are now a social fitness network. As much as Strava has resisted that aura being applied to them in the past, that’s what they are today. And it’s probably not untrue. I personally don’t care much about segments in my day to day riding (and certainly not running). I use Strava for essentially three things:

A) Finding/Building routes
B) Posting my activities and photos for others to see
C) Looking at what my real-life friends have posted recently

And that’s it.

Segments don’t appreciably enter into my day to day usage of Strava (unless I’m beating Lama on a segment when he doesn’t realize it, obviously). Of course, we’re all different. If you’re out there hunting segments with Strava Live Segments or Xert, awesome, more power to you. It’s clear that Strava wants you to have a subscription though, otherwise Segments are mostly useless.

3rd Party App Access:

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Out of all the things they’re doing here, this is one of the most irritating ones. Mainly, because of how they’re doing it. Effective today at the exact same time this post publishes, Strava will break some portion of those 44,000 apps. The same app developers that have furthered Strava’s business and reach, Strava has decided to give zero notice to.

Of course, Strava counters they did notify a handful of ”larger developers” ahead of time. But most didn’t get notice. For those, Strava says:

“We realize these API changes could be especially challenging for some developers, so they’ll be non-breaking for 30 days, returning empty data during that time so they can make necessary adjustments. After June 18th, those endpoints will either omit the data or return an error message.”

Which is hilariously crass.

Here, let me translate what they’re saying for you into plain English:

“We realize that this is probably gonna break some (ok, most) apps. So instead of giving you time to fix your apps, we’re just gonna do it anyways and instead give you empty data that confuses your end users and app design, so this way it appears your app is broken – not Strava’s. Good deal?

I’m not aware of any reputable software development platform that gives zero notice to their development customers before breaking their apps. The appropriate course of action here would have been to give their 3rd party developer partners at least a month to update their apps to deal with this significant change. Most companies give many many months for upcoming deprecated features.

Plus – if the tables had been turned, and it was Amazon AWS (Strava’s hosting provider), and they simply sent them a note one morning and said: “Don’t worry, we’re just sending you empty data from your databases effective immediately.” – I’m guessing Strava wouldn’t feel the same way.

Look – I get why Strava needs to deprecate this feature. If they let 3rd party developers access it, then people could just go to 3rd party apps to get the leaderboards which are only available to paying members. But I’m not clear why they had to burn the house down to do it today at 10AM Pacific Time. If they didn’t break apps for 30 days, would that have really been such a big deal?

Strava likely still would have converted those users that cared about in-app access, without breaking their partner ecosystem. An ecosystem that at every turn is wary of Strava’s apparent habit of killing of apps that get too close, or too useful to users.

But even in the larger apps, there are features that will go away. Take for example VeloViewer, within this Zwift Insider leaderboard section. You’ll still see the segment placings (and times for non-paying users) – so in effect for non-paying users, it becomes more of a check-list of to-do’s, than a leaderboard of standings.

But wait – why is VeloViewer different than other apps? Well, apparently a small number of apps retain leaderboards, but only to show to Strava subscribers. VeloViewer has detailed the nuances here, which still involve less features now for non-paying Strava users. They’re the only app I’ve been made aware of that retains full leaderboard API access (aside from actual devices with Strava Live Segments).

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Some aspects of VeloViewer that include leaderboards won’t change though. For example, the ‘Leaderboard’ tab on a given segment won’t change, because it is actually just an embed from Strava’s public site which shows the overall leaderboard + Top 10 women.

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That’s still permitted, but isn’t done programmatically anymore. They’re just using the ‘Embed on Blog’ feature to get that to display:

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I asked Strava exactly what was changing developer-wise, and they noted the following specific items from the API:

Segment Leaderboard data is not available anymore

  • /api/v3/segments/:id/leaderboard

Segment Effort data is available for subscribers (but not non-paying users)

  • /api/v3/segments/:id
  • /api/v3/segments/:id/streams
  • /api/v3/segment_efforts [Updated]
  • /api/v3/segment_efforts/:id/streams
  • /api/v3/activities/:id

*Note: An earlier version of this post included additional API deprecations. Strava has since changed the listings and corrected errors in their documentation that included those earlier added items. The current/final list is also now shown correctly here.

So basically, that first single line item above simply says “kill off segment result data”. Here’s what that API call did before today. Even if you’re not a developer, you can see (in yellow), what’s being killed off. To be clear, everything below is killed. But the yellow parts make it clear that they’re doing this so you can’t get the other premium leaderboard features via apps.

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Meanwhile, the other ones that are allowed for paying members means that apps can still get individual efforts for the given authenticated athlete, but not segment-specific data like people within a leaderboard category such as following or age groups. So basically, as a paying member of Strava, I could still use App XYZ to track my specific pedaling on that segment (with things like cadence/heart rate/etc…), but not my rank (unless I ranked in the Top 10 – which pulls via DetailedSegmentEffort – ”kom_rank”).

Look, API changes and deprecations are a normal part of hosting a web platform. What’s not normal is how Strava is handling this. That’s the part they need to be called out for.

Route Builder Changes:

As part of the May 18th changes, Route Builder got a complete overhaul. They’ve added in new map styles, added sport type filters, show segments directly on the Route Builder, and also have a new surface type and increased elevation features.

But, if you’re not a paying member, you’ll never see it.

As of today, non-paying members lose access to the Route Builder entirely. Up until this point, any member could use the Route Builder for free. Going forward, non-paying members can no longer create routes within Strava, except as to copy an existing route from someone else (or your own ride). Existing routes you have in your account remain.

Here’s the two route builders side by side. At left is the new one. At right is the older one:

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The main change here aside from all the user interface elements and map styling, is the addition of surface type preference – similar to what was added to mobile a month or two ago:

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And along the bottom you’ll see a breakout of the surface type, just as you do on mobile now:

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You can also now toggle segments within the map builder directly:

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Previously you could ‘minimize elevation’, but now you can also ‘maximize elevation’, in case you have a soft spot for hills:

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And they’ve incorporated the dark map them from the heat maps into the Route Builder, which is toggleable on the side. The other three map types, as well as heatmaps, were already viewable in the Route Builder.

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Look, the new changes are nice. Nothing earth-shattering, though a nice clean-up.

The only problem? Likely less than 5% of Strava’s 50 million users will ever see them. Why? They’re not paying members.

Wrap-Up:

I’m sure Strava will think this post is overly negative, not highlighting enough of the new changes introduced today. And perhaps that’s the case – but I honestly don’t think those new feature adds are that big a deal. The Route Builder does have some minor nice new additions, but the training updates seem mostly to be more UI tweaks and filtering options than anything major. There’s some value to be had there, sure, but not as much value as is being lost today (for all users).

And look, I get it, Strava needs to find a way to make money. Every company should – that’s why they’re a company and not a non-profit. As part of a letter going out to all users today from their founders, they outline that part well, saying:

“This means that, starting today, a few of our free features that are especially complex and expensive to maintain, like segment leaderboards, will become subscription features. And from now on, more of our new feature development will be for subscribers – we’ll invest the most in the athletes who have invested in us. We’ve also made subscription more straightforward by removing packs and the brand of Summit. You can now use Strava for free or subscribe, simple.

 

This focus on subscription ensures that Strava can serve athletes decades from now, and in an up-front way that honors the support of the athletes we serve today. We plan to take what we earn from these changes and reinvest straight back into building more and better features – not devising ways to fill up your feed with ads or sell your personal information. We simply want to make a product so good that you’re happy to pay for it.”

But I think there’s still tons of value being left on the table that they can focus on in terms of new features to bring to people that would drive paying member adoption, rather than pulling features away that have been there a decade or so.

For example – why can’t clubs/teams create shared Strava routes that automatically sync into the team members’ accounts based on upcoming rides on a team calendar? Or, the ability for clubs to have a group routes page that includes a list of all popular routes that you could easily sync to your device. That would be a huge driver towards membership.

Or why can’t Strava Beacon then automatically integrate across teams/clubs so that people know where everyone is on a group ride? Or perhaps leveraging vehicle density/speed data integration already being gathered, into route builder as I floated this weekend. Or…or…or. There are countless ideas that people can come up with that would drive subscription revenue. All of which could be Summit paid-only features.

I’m just not convinced gutting Segments and routes for non-paying members is the right direction there. Nor is poorly communicating to your development community. But maybe I’m wrong.

With that – thanks for reading.

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733 Comments

  1. David

    I stopped paying a few years ago because they don’t fix bugs. And won’t pay until they do. I just wanna delete in past goals….

    • AC

      Same. They are punishing users now for their own management errors. I’d have been happy to pay (and did at tims) if I’d have simply seen positive progress, instead of reordering my feed without notice, or say, bugs and feature requests from 2010 addressed by 2020. Now? f’em.

    • Nick

      Exactly. If you go on their community forum, you can find so many useful and simple bugs or features that they just completely ignored for years. Then the things they offered in premium were/still are pretty lackluster. Besides power curves there is nothing else in Premium that even remotely interest me.

      Imo it’s a big mistake to remove leaderboards for free users. Without it Strava is just another fitness tracker app.

    • Cy

      They haven’t fixed goals at all! And for me they are not even updating when met! Yeah, Strava isn’t making things better.

    • Patrick

      I stopped paying last year and never looked back. Had been a paying customer for over 5 years, since before they even had mapping options and it was a product I liked and wanted to support.

      Now it’s like they’re being run by financial idiots / VC managers that only look at the balance sheet and that’s no company I ever want to give money to. User hostile companies are going to stay that way!

      They already monetize their data and have an existing user base of paying customers. If that huge recurring cash pile isn’t enough they got serious cost issues to work out, not pissing off the entire community. You can fix your burn rate without alienating everyone!

    • randy

      The same… Have been paying member since 2012 until they introduced the stupid “suggested athletes” feature and based on their forum many people did the same. And it looks like it was a good choice, because they are not fixing bugs for all people, only introducing a “new” feature that is in reality something old with fixed bug and only for paying members.
      I hope Garmin will remove Strava Routes form all Edge devices as it is now completely useless for most people.

    • Chris

      Great article. My thoughts exactly on the stick and not the carrot. I use Strava to compare against my friends and almost exclusively why I use Strava. We have a virtual run series with segment leaderboards that may not be used now. I use my best efforts through a third party site (strafforts) to track each run and see if I’m improving. And even though I’m in a regional town, with maybe 150 people per segment, it still impacts me for what I use Strava for.

    • Alexander

      A big misunderstanding is to add the ability to disable activity from statistics. Because of this, we have inadequate PR / CR. This is a quick and cheap fix, but Strava does not want to do this.

  2. So…why use it anymore?

  3. Guy

    This is not the way to have a premium subscription. Premium subscriptions should add to what people already have (something Strava has not been doing until recently), not simply give back what was taken away.

    Can’t help but wonder whether in the long term this will harm subscriptions by reducing the base of free users, as people turn away to different platforms.

  4. Danny Lievens

    This brings us back to garmin connect… same features, more analysis, currently less users…

  5. Danny L.

    This brings us back to garmin connect… same features, more analysis, currently less users…

    • Craig Hoskin

      I’m not so sure. How do the majority of people using Strava get their data into Strava. Everyone I know is using a Garmin device via Garmin Connect (tho they may not know it exists 😂)

    • flokon

      You miss that Garmin Connect (like Polar Flow) is bound to a registered Garmin or Polar device, with which you paid for the platform like an entry fee. However, you don’t need a proprietary device to use Strava.

    • cw18

      From a Suunto watch via MovesCount

    • Dave Lusty

      “ via MovesCount”

      That’s the funniest thing I read today, I think you won the Internets.

  6. Julian Divett

    Any news on what they are going to charge going forward? I’ve got a cheap deal at the moment because I was automatically upgraded when they got rid of summit. I’m more interested in the social side and agree with you about the club integration. Be nice to have a club price to include beacon etc…

  7. Yonah

    Over the weekend, I saw an ad for a couple of virtual challenges. The way the company tracked your challenge, was by having you join a club on strava.

    I am wondering if there were a proliferation of these ‘virtual’ challenges that were trying to leverage free strava features that prompted this.

    • Stef

      Rouvy/MapmyRide is winning the virtual challenge game with IronmanVR at the moment, although the Zwift/Strava interface is pretty seamless and fast.

  8. Uh, what?

    In translation: is this really serious, and not a joke?

  9. Fred Stig

    It’s an unfortunate decision they’ve made. I do know a lot of friends that have paid accounts (and I used to as well but, wisely, moved to RWGPS for my route-making) so who knows how much they will notice this, but this isn’t a useful way to run this company. As has been alluded to, you add features that people want to get people to pay (it’s not like they don’t have a long list that we’ve all been giving them on the forums). Shutting everything off with no warning is a good way to shoot yourself in the foot.

  10. Jake

    i pay and basically use Strava for the same 3 reasons; i do however (maybe 3a), set up my own segments solely for the purpose of utilizing a handful as ‘real-world’ test segments. i use them as training markers more than anything.

  11. Mike

    Face palm!

    I stopped paying 2+ years ago and haven’t noticed a difference in how I use Strava. About the only reason to “upgrade” at this point would be to get rid of the annoying popups encouraging me to upgrade.

  12. Chris Watson

    Killing segments for every 3rd party app is the SUMMIT of stupidity.

  13. Rick

    Maybe off topic, but I’m wondering if there is a way to upload another cyclist’s ride?

  14. Mark Middleton

    Ive been a loyal paying subscriber for years and this s a step backwards, then a sneaky kick in the balls. Just looking at their actions over the years they seem unique in that they themselves dont know what to do, and at every fork in the road pick dead ends. Strava IS SEGMENTS and leaderboards. Im quite happy to defect to the next platform to do it better than whatever this is now. All the3rd party apps that held strava up on their shoulders should do their own version. With Blackjack and Hookees. Lol

    • Gunnar

      See, for every “Strava is segments and leaderboards” person out there, there is someone like me who is well past caring that they are 52,345 out of 120,000 up such and such climb. I really like Strava for the social aspect as well as seeing routes available when I travel (or used to….)

    • Frederick Vanderhaeghe

      Dito. Strava for me is for the social stuff, the mileage of my shoes and training log.

    • Frederick Vanderhaeghe

      And I already pay for Training Peaks 🙂

    • chris benten

      You are doing well!!!! I am usually 105,000 out of 120,000….kick ass going DH though…

    • Bill O'Hara

      1) They need to provide street names in the route files.
      2) Plus allow you to select a ride in the club’s page and have it magically appear in your Garmin or Wahoo. Have the route disappear after the ride is concluded.
      3) each club should have a route page. Users should be able to permanently select routes from the club pages.
      4) any admin in the club should be able to assign one of their routes to the club route inventory.

    • Mike Richie

      But they would need to allow access to all users for that to work for a club. They just got rid of that.

  15. David G

    A big issue with the routes and why my cycling club is hesitant in using strava routes is a missing embed feature. Is there anything said about that? I might actually pay for that

  16. Without money a business cannot survive in the long run. For years Strava had the incredible luxury of getting a lot of money from investors without the focus on being profitable. Too much money was thrown out of the window for too long.

    We have also founded a company around Runalyze – without investors – so that we can survive in the market in the long run. We are still working on it alongside our full-time job and in the long run our goal is to run it full-time with one or two other employees.

    • Kevin Morice

      They have been cashing in on their user data for years, selling it on to a number of other sources, even though that data doesn’t legally belong to them. If between that and Summit they have failed to monetise their platform in to profitability then it will be no surprise when they collapse. My prediction, if they follow this proposal and stand by it, they will be as useful as myspace or bebo within 2 years.

    • kchung

      I am a huge fan of Runalyze.
      As soon as I recognize your app, I’ve dropped strava premium subscription and stayed in a realm of Garmin connect + Runalyze.

      Bit off the topic but I’d like to thank all of your efforts!
      I saw you clearly state that there will be no working project on mobile app but wish to have that at someday.

  17. i_c

    I was a paying subscriber for years. Was always irritated by the fact they wouldn’t add a “Mountain Bike” category to their set of activities, but I finally stopped paying for Strava several months ago when they put the screws to third party developers. (Not a developer, just on principle). This is unlikely to get me to come back into the fold. Sounds like a death-spiral to me.

  18. Mike S.

    It’s a tough situation. I hope they can find a path to profitability without destroying their user base in the process.

  19. AC

    So who do we think will buy Strava when they run out of cash?

    And will the new owner (Garmin, Wahoo?) address the long overdue list of bugs and feature requests, not to mention get the free/premium model right?

    • John Holland

      I can think of another online cycling app developer that also uses a lot of orange in their branding… they’re pretty cash poor as well though.

    • AC

      I don’t see how combining those helps the other orange brand though. IMO they are more likely to integrate their own segment tracking in their platform.

      Strava would have been a good add for garmin, but now a lot of users are on mobile so it might not helps spur hardware sales. Perhaps any other PE firm with a strong understanding of SAS and freemium models, or say, what to do with bug reports and enhancement requests.

    • Ian C

      The management of Zwift is a mess too. So it’s a natural match, made in hell.

  20. Eagle Jackson

    Strava drops the hammer. With a freemium model, it’s critical to get the line right between what’s in free and what’s paid. Free – enough to generate lots of sustained usage, word of mouth and reliant users, but also not so much that paid isn’t compelling enough. (Look at the history of Dropbox, though their job was somewhat easier because over time people used more and more storage which pushed them into the paid category).

    It’s been clear from the start that Strava gave away too much for free. They’ve been trying for years to make paid more compelling. And Ray has some good suggestions for other ways to make it more compelling (club related stuff). But today’s announcement makes it clear that their conversion rate from free to paid hasn’t been sufficient. Strava has determined that fundamentally that line needs to be drawn more harshly and take away stuff long taken for granted and core to Strava’s usage — that the carrot hasn’t worked and now they need to try the stick.

    In sure it was a very painful decision for the founders who’ve returned to executive roles to make.

    There is a good interview with them from May 7, 2020 on Cycling Tips’ From the Top podcast. The question was asked about giving too much away for free, and you can hear the founders tap dance around the answer.

    I realize a lot of people may disagree with my opinion, perhaps even strongly so, but I think we should appreciate the good days while they lasted. I’ve been a paid subscriber for years, even when I got very little value from the paid-for features because I wanted to support the company and felt I get $60/year (actually I pay $47.98). Heck look what people pay Peloton a month.

    I hope that Stava will restore third party access, perhaps it will require third parties to pay a licensing fee (perhaps they do now, I don’t know how it works).

    • Mike Richie

      Two things. First although I agree they may have given away too much for free, they did it because there were others doing the same thing – if they had charged, there would be no Strava. Second, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place – if they allow third party access to the data they are no longer providing for free, people will just use the third party apps instead. Maybe they could allow an authentication process so only if you are a paid Strava subscriber can you get the full data set.

    • Eagle Jackson

      Yes, they have a hard problem to solve. Freemium models are hard, finding that right line is hard; getting enough adoption and momentum biases free; how to get enough conversion to paid has eluded Strava so far. In part they’ve struggled for so long figuring out what they want to be and the right business model for it. For third parties, they could license access to the API, or perhaps as you suggest, it’s available only if you’re a paid subscriber.

    • Troy Schuler

      I don’t have a problem with the locking down their API. It was their team that built the software to capture the data from either their mobile app/tracking and GPS inputs from other platforms. It was a convenience to have access to the API, but riding the coat tails only lasts so long. Best example of this business model is Twitter and what they did to third party apps. Bottom line, it’s about Strava maximizing that data and profiting off of it within their walls.

      But here is the issue for charging for API. I don’t think they can because then they would be stepping on the toes of profiting the data of not only their free app users that track on their phones, but also all the GPS hardware users that share to Strava. I don’t think Garmin and Suunto would allow Strava to profit off a license fee from their user’s data.

      WIth Garmin’s rise in profits lately, moving into the fitness tracking/smart watch realm, I could see them purchasing Strava. Garmin has tried to incorporate the segments and social into Connect, but as mentioned in another comment, you have to buy the hardware to be in that club. Purchasing would allow phone to provide Garmin GPS data. They could even throw in 12 moths of premium with the purchase of thier hardware. Some of the best run trackers have fallen to buyers… Endomondo was bought out by Under Armor, Runkeeper funded by Asics, and Runtastic/Adidas? All they would have to do is slap their name on it.

  21. Neil Owens

    You hit the nai on the head. Strava is a non profit. Why should it give content away for free. Everyone wants everything free these days but not many people would work without getting paid. It’s harsh but that’s business. As a subscriber I’d like to think I’m getting more than on subscribers. There will still be a free options. Either pay up or use the free version.

    • Fred Stig

      I used to be a paying member for several years. But as time went on and I saw that they weren’t adding features that *paid* members were requesting in droves (like fix the damn FTP issue or how about semi-private segments to share with friends only) I realized that paying wasn’t worth it. They had crap management after the founders left and those crap leaders are probably crying all the way to the bank, unfortunately. I hope they can fix their stuff but until I hear otherwise, I’ll stick with free at Strava and keep paying RWGPS. They’re stable as a company, have segments, respond directly if you request a feature (even if that answer is ‘no, we don’t have resources’), and have better mapping tools for new routes. Worth every penny.

    • Indeed, Asked them (via mail, twitter, facebook,…) tons of times to improve the routebuilder, they never did so I stopped paying for beta-software, I still use routebuilder because I’m used to it, maybe now i’ll have to search for other software?
      Or maybe I should ask my money back from the days that I was a premium member?

    • Doug

      Yep same here I pay for RWGPS and occasionally post rides on my free Strava account – I use RWGPS as my ride log and route planner and use Strava for its social and segments piece. Not gonna pay for 2 services. I will likely stick with RWGPS

    • Bosco

      You can try Komoot

  22. ken

    I’m still seeing the route builder beta without the “prefer dirt surfaces” feature. Am i just being impatient, or are they rolling it out to different members at different times? (I’m a premium member).

  23. Fhirleighinn

    I was thinking about an idea on my ride yesterday after I had installed the car radar app that you mentioned. Could you build an app that used an acceleratometer already in a unit maybe that counted bumps per mile and count that be translated into a road quality metric? Imagine what strava could do with that data for route planning, or even selling that data to states etc.

    • Thomas

      Actually research into this is already taking place at the Danish Technical University, where accelerometers are being placed on the cars of a car share platform. The data is used to monitor road conditions and facilitate early, and thus cheaper maintenance.

  24. Gary P

    I get that they need to make money, but this decision stings a little. If they were looking for a way to force me to a decision point of whether to start paying for Strava or quit using it all together, they’ve likely succeeded. Not sure the answer is going to go in their favor.

    Does the value to their paying members diminish if the free users leave en masse? And does the value of the dataset they sell to governments and other businesses diminish as well? One would assume so. Then again, the fleeing free users would have to proactively deactivate their accounts and/or stop the automatic data pushes they’ve set up. I suspect most will just stop logging on, and Strava will continue to get data from people who are essentially non-users for years.

  25. Thor OdinSon

    This is no doubt the last nail in the coffin. Not fixing bugs, offering less and less for increasing amounts of money, forcing pay-to-play to leverage “premium” subscriptions is now beyond ridiculous. I hope they go down with a bang and finally release other platforms (Stravistix/Elevate/Garmin connect) to enable them to develop the little extra strava was providing (segments).

    This frankly feels like Youtube premium. Paying more money to keep the already underperforming skeleton of what once was.

  26. Andrew

    Welp, guess it’s time to go back to just updating my training log by hand every day.

  27. Kevin Morice

    Since Strava want to play the slash and burn game, then so am I. Having created over 300 of the local segments over the last decade, including the routes for pretty much every local running race, sportive, and triathlon, I am off on a deleting binge before they revoke my rights. If they want to remove the value of their site, I am quite happy to respond by removing all the work I put into helping them build it.

    • Mike Richie

      Wow, that’s not very nice. You realize that will affect a lot of Strava users a lot more than it will affect Strava the company. (They also could undo your deletions as well).

    • Steevensk

      I guess, most of those segments are crap like 95% of all existing segments. Are most of them flat, in one direction only less than 2 km? Right, that’s how stupid segments look like 😉
      If, not than please accept apology 😀

    • max

      I think he has a point! A lot of segments came from non paying users. For those people segments are nearly useless until now. Destroying there own work (fair enough), so that strava can’t make mony with it, is sad for subscribers. But if a lot of them unsubscribe, strava maybe think this over.

    • Mountainking

      Already done same man…..Now looking for an alternative platform 🙂
      I have downloaded all my rides first…

  28. Really this sucks, I’ve used Strava courses for a long time but it was never fully developed (alot of bugs) and was always alpha or beta, and now I have to pay for a beta routebuilder?! If anyone from Strava reads this, F U!

  29. Will

    For too long Strava gave too much away free.

  30. Mario S

    This is laughable. Strava hopes to take my money by blocking some features I don’t care about? While other companies are having to re-invent themselves by creating virtual competitions, by adjusting their business model to accommodate to a locked in active population. I have been doing rocknrollvr.com races and other similar things just to keep me motivated running in a treadmill, and a company such as Strava believes it is not profitable and simply cuts features from free users (not that I use them…).

    So, instead of leveraging its user base to improve support for virtual competitions, for setting itself up as THE platform for which current running, cycling and tri-sport races companies can turn to to create their events, share some of the sponsorships and revenues given the eyeballs they have, not to mention many other revenue streams that can be thought of, they’re going the route of alienating their large audience ?

    Oh well, no issue for me, I have been loving SyncMyTracks for a couple of years, and I have my data cloned in several platforms, and just pay for the most valuable one (for my use case).

  31. Steven

    Amongst friends we always said that Strava was giving away too much for free and there was no real need to pay for it. I only took a subcription as I enjoyed Strava and wanted to support them and partly for the heatmap. I think it’s only fair to pay for it in the long run and it would be very naive to think that something can remain free for ever…

  32. Fredrik A

    Garmin Connect have more features I use anyway.
    I´ll just keep using that, and rather spend the money on Zwift.

  33. Zane Z

    For me, one of the best features they took away was the ability to search activities. I know they claimed security issues on it, but there has to be a way to make that available. It was so useful when traveling to see routes that people actual RODE.

  34. Long time paying Strava user here, and I’m a software startup veteran. This change makes a ton of sense. The segment data is one of their unique differentiators and they haven’t done enough to monetize it. As someone who specializes in DevOps, having public API’s costs lots of money. Strava is a business, not a public service.

    That being said, there was 4 year period from like 2015-2019 where there was ZERO innovation at Strava. The offering has improved, the mobile app has improved etc, but the amount of basic shit that is broken at Strava is just mind boggling.

    • Craig Hoskin

      The mobile app where they disabled sensor support? 😉
      Agree totally with what you say though

    • Andrew

      The cynic in me wonders if that was actually (perhaps partly) done to make themselves more attractive for a buyout from the Garmins and Wahoos of this world.

  35. John Hallas

    I have always thought that if they reduced their subscription to a quarter of what it is now that they would get many more than four times the paying subscribers.
    The only thing I really look at is the annual total of miles per bike.

    • cw18

      Halve it and I’d consider it – providing I could have a play with the route planner first. I’ve used MapMyRun for years (must be about 10 now) so I find their planner quite instinctive to use after all this time, and although I’m not paying at the moment I did for 5 or 6 years – and some of them I wasn’t using it much. If I subscribe to that again now it would cost me about £27 for the year (after allowing for the international transaction fee my card company would apply), and I’d consider paying somewhere in the region of £25-£30 as fair. I’m not paying closer to £50.

    • Dan G

      This. £48 a year for a route builder (Garmin Connect’s is just as good, if not better) and segment leaderboards just isn’t value for money. £20 and I have signed up last night.

  36. Marc

    How are segment leaderboards expensive for Strava? This is the worst excuse, in the age of data this amount of information should not be an issue. Facebook/Google should have bought them years ago and handled the platform better.

    • Fred Stig

      Let’s face it: if Google had purchased them, the ‘Strava by Google’ service would have been killed off by now. That’s just the Google way.

      – nick

    • Sam

      It’s very compute intensive, it needs a lot of resources from AWS (aka: VM) to scale up…. it’s a cost for sure… nothing is free in this world…. or I guess only the outside is (sorta) free

  37. Mike Richie

    I’m of two minds about this. I am a paying subscriber because I use Strava Live segments, not all that often, but on certain routes I like to race against my, or friends times. I also do use the various leader boards, since I am unlikely to make the top 10 on any popular segment, I can see how I do against my age group of myself. I also use the analysis features, but until now would have been able to use the features I use most often for free. I don’t think Strava is out of line to want to be paid for those features. If you enter a race you pay a fee, even if it’s a local race against bumpkins like myself.
    All that being said, we should look at how we got here. Although you, Ray, don’t use the segment features much anymore, that is what put Strava on the map. And the reason it succeeded in getting the “segment market” was, both, because it provided a good platform for racing segments AND because it was FREE. Garmin segments didn’t succeed because Strava was better and worked with everything and everybody because it was Free. I think the real problem for Strava (or opportunity for somebody else) will be if somebody makes a Free (or ad supported or free plus premium like Strava) site that allows anybody to race segments against anybody and everybody. Strava has a lot of value add and a much greater ecosystem than somebody else could create, but killing the thing that got them here might just open the doors for some competition.

  38. Paul

    Be interesting to see what actual impact this has on Velo Viewer and MyWindsock, as I subscribe to them as well. Glad all my data is in Golden Cheetah so if Strava ever folds I still have my numbers. Never used Strava Route builder even as a subscriber.

  39. Julia

    I don’t mind paying but it’s not worth what they want for me.

  40. marklemcd

    Like most strava things, the web route builder stinks anyway and there’s no way I’d pay to be able to use it.

    1) It is inaccurate on distance. I recently ran a loop where my watch said 20.0 miles. The gmap pedometer site said 20.09. Strava said 20.9. What?

    2) It followed weird routes all the time and I had to micromanage it to get the route I wanted. Sometimes it would back track me and then route. Ie, it was dumb.

  41. Tristan Matthews

    I’m not sure what this will result in for Strava, but IMO, it seems to me that they are positioning for a takeover/buyout within the next 12 months……whether that is good or not for users remains to be see. Letting the mass market know that you have an unsustainable business model is not the best way to hold up it’s value. Even if it is obvious to all and sundry, you still don’t admit it..!
    I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Strava for a long time so have never subscribed as I didn’t really like what they were doing with my data (first off – trying to call it THEIR data), lack of meaningful updates/improvements, and playing the bully tactic with smaller businesses.
    RWGPS is my route builder of choice, they have a segment feature that would only need modest investment to become a significant competitor, IMO.

  42. Ian S

    The only surprise is that it’s taken this long. At some point Strava need to monetise what they do, the issue they’ve had is that they’ve not really differentiated to make it worth subscribing. The added features are nice but ultimately anyone who trains uses TP or another, garmin connect has live track, etc, etc. The core offering was always going to be monetised at some point.

  43. Paul

    Removing access to features for free users is what Endomondo. Remember Endomondo? No, cos everyone jumped ship to Strava.

  44. Scott

    I suspect that Zwift and COVID sped up this timeline for Strava. There are so many segments on Zwift that for every ride I get something like 100 segment, yet a IRL ride would be 10 or so. With every Zwift rider uploading so many segments to Strava, and then many of these rides analyzed by Zwift Power and Veloviewer (and similar I’m sure), that is likely a significant portion of the total leaderboard server load. Then, when COVID shut downs, the number of Zwift rides, and segments, sky rocketed; it must have put a huge load on Strava and hasten the plans they had already developed.

    This might force Zwift to build its own segments and leaderboards, something it has always relied on others to accomplish.

    I’m going to miss the impacted Velo Viewer features that I pay for, but probably not enough to pay for Strava.

    • Nick

      If they had a problem with server load they could have reduced the rate and request limits they already impose on 3rd-party access. Due to those limits, most platforms do an initial import and then going forward use the webhooks API to access the data on Strava’s servers just once, storing their own copy of just the parts they need. What they did today looks like a dying attempt to make some quick money.

  45. Phil W

    I was a paid user for years, but I cancelled it when they dropped bluetooth device support. They need to find the right balance and offer some real new features to get people interested.They treat 3rd party developers like something on the bottom of their shoe – I used Relive and still do (but through another app from my head unit). Cycliq keeps having the overlay feature fail becuase Strava keeps changing the API without warning.

    I paid in the past to help their business, but tthey are losing so much goodwill. many of us send our data to multiple platforms and may end up using the others more and more.

  46. Nighthawk700

    How much is Strava now anyway? I remember at one point it was something like $60 a year, and I thought “If they cut that to $30, I’d join.” They eventually came up with the Summit plans, but no one plan seemed to have enough features to be worth it. I wonder if they’d get more subscribers (enough to be profitable) if they lowered their price. Of course that’s just me and my value added breakdown. I can’t speak for the millions of other non-paying users.

  47. Edwin

    I stopped my paid subscription about a month ago for several reasons, probably mostly to check if I will miss it and really need it.
    No doubt I would prefer that Strava wouldn’t cut features for non-paying users but on the other hand they actually don’t owe me a thing so what they’re doing is absolutely legit. They have to earn money, in the end of the day we all do somehow.
    At least I think what they now do is better than to flood the whole thing with ads to make some profit.

  48. Matt

    I understand where Strava is coming from. You can either get people to pay a little bit ($5 a month is a pretty paltry fee compared to how much money people are spending on their bikes, trainer, Zwift, gps device, powermeter, gels, yada yada) to have the full feature set. Or you can be like Facebook or youtube and just sell data, blast advertisements, etc.

    I’m mixed on allowing no subscribers to make public segments. I’m probably in the minority here, but there are just to many segments. Not every quarter mile of a bike path or road needs to be a segment. And don’t make a segment which is basically the same as another segment but just starts a block earlier. We have some climbs which have over a dozen different segments that are so close to each other that if you get one KOM then you always end up with 6 others. Oh, and don’t end a segment after a stop sign, or if is a hill climb don’t have it end after you’ve started going down the other side of the hill. If people want to create dumb segments to test themselves on, go for it. But it just litters the map and makes good segments harder to find. But just make them private. Also, I wish more people had some fun with there segment names. Honestly, I’d give Strava $1000 if it would let me be in charge of the segments in my area.

    Ok rant over. Thanks everyone for letting me get that off my chest.

    • Mike Richie

      You need to be in charge of segments in MY area.

    • Mike Richie

      Oh and get rid of the KOMs that have someone riding up a steep hill at 50 mph. Or running up a hill at 2:00/mile. Although you would think that could be automated by now.

    • Jeffrey F.

      Matt, you might appreciate this:

      link to regex.info
      “Strava Segment Tutorial: Removing Suckage and Promoting Quality”

      With your attitude, I would be for having you in charge of all segments worldwide. We are birds of a feather….

    • ah

      How about this? If I pay $60 I get 30 credits to delete crappy segments. If the creator wants it back s/he has to use her credits to recreate it.

      I’d like segments a lot more if they were crowdsourced, not done unilaterally – i.e., easy to vote down and out of existence, elevations fixed by data from each successive rider (none of these garbage 500m climbs because someone created the segment in 2011 before GPS did altitude well), etc.

  49. pat

    There wasn’t enough before this grand change content/bug fixes/update wise to make me pay and definitely not going to pay now with the stick in the eye regarding segments and 3rd party access. Post ride segments was about the only thing i payed attention to (i know where the segments I’m interested in start/finish so live segments wasn’t worth the money) beyond keeping track of bike mileage . The route builder was well behind any of the other free ones out there, especially in the woods, and I got the fitness metrics as part of my Garmin devices.There wasn’t any reason to pay before and there certainly isn’t now.

    I’ll keep my account until i go back and update my data on Garmin Connect (8 years worth, not looking forward to that) with bike information for mileage tracking purposes.Then delete Strava as the one main thing I was using it for (segments as a free user), won’t be there anymore for me. I’ll stick with RWGPS for route planning as they incorporate Trailforks data into their maps, making it very worthwhile as a mountain biker at the free level and Garmin for everything else.

  50. Hervé

    Good news for the competition regarding route planner. Long life to Komoot and alike.

  51. Joel

    I pay for strava, and i also pay for TP.
    I wish strava would actually put some money down and license the TSS from TP and stop trying to reinvent the wheel!
    If they do, I bet they would become profitable. For most users a simplified version of the data driven TP would be worth the 60$

    I am waiting for TrainerRoad to finally add running imports to their platform. Once they do, i will more than likely drop Strava!

    • A thousand times this!!! Yes the trainerRoad analysis is getting better and better, strava should see TrainerRoad as an example of how to listen to customers and how they add new features and constantly improve. TR is expensive but you really feel like it is wort it. Strava on the other hand has not added anything wort it.

  52. greyltc

    Thanks very much for the analysis Ray. I’ll vote on their decisions here with my wallet. Canceled my subscription.

  53. T

    Curious timing considering what must have been a massive leap in new users trying to learn how to track activities and build routes for the first time during quarantine.. I wonder if there aren’t some jilted third party devs thinking about challenging them head on now that they seem to be in a position of weakness!

  54. JP

    And just like that, the ability to put routes on almost any Garmin watch that Garmin added becomes useless…

    Back to trying to figure out how to get Komoot routes to sync with my Garmin account (it didn’t work last week when I first started trying it but Strava did)

    • Adam

      Apparently the key to getting Komoot routes over is to make sure you have map access for where they are. I’ve heard a few people have been caught out by that. Works fine for me

    • Oskars

      Most likely you need to buy that region in order to sync it to your device

  55. skyrun

    it’s like what, $5/month? i don’t see an issue here at all.

  56. Nick

    Wow. I’ve only been developing with the Strava API for a few months now and I think I have my head around the various issues (there are some BIG ones). It’s been clear from the lack of updated documentation and complete lack of support or any engagement with the development community that they don’t care about 3rd-party developers. There is a Google-hosted forum for developers but it’s entirely staffed by 3rd-party developers donating their time to help each other work-around Strava’s bugs. The icing on the cake is that Strava support actually direct people to the group rather than help them directly.

    I don’t think I’ll be continuing to invest my free time in their platform, creating value for other users. Why on earth would I? Maybe the part of the API I use will stop working tomorrow.

    Strava’s lack of interesting new features was the reason they don’t attract premium subscribers. Prior to the last few months they had launched nothing new for years. I sincerely hope we don’t still see Strava next year. We don’t need platforms like this. There is space in the market for a new, better-behaved version of Strava. When it turns up, the 3rd-party developers will flock to it and the (paying) users will soon follow. This is a really dumb move.

    • Jeffrey F.

      “….they don’t care about 3rd-party developers”.

      This is, to put it mildly, an understatement.

      They have a history of just shutting off the _entire_ API. Today’s change does rank in Strava’s top 10 of “horrible horrible ways to treat developers that love your product”, but it’s probably not in the top 3.

    • Troy Schuler

      I am curious of how many premium subsribers are actually 100% tracking solely on the app vs. dedicated GPS hardware. Let’s not forget, for a lot of the data they get, Strava itself is a third party developer.

  57. Dolan Halbrook

    I find myself using Strava less and less anyways. Mainly for route planning, and tracking miles put on my various bikes and parts (a very valuable but hidden feature). Kudos are nice and all, but like others have said, the innovation has slowed to a snail’s pace. There’s a thread about being able to filter commutes out of the feed that’s over four years old at this point; something that should take a dev team about one sprint (max) to write and test. In any case, good luck to the Strava team, but I suspect I won’t be the only long-time (and paying) Strava user to start looking at other platforms soon unless they can start innovating (and bug fixing) a little faster. This is simply a wake up call.

  58. Martin

    Just posted my thoughts on Twitter:
    link to twitter.com

  59. Joe

    Eh, maybe go back to Endomondo then. Strava’s segments and routes have never been that useful. Strava should pay its users since it sells its data.

  60. Tim

    Hi Ray,
    Rare grammatical error:
    Strava is removing the leaderboard from all 3rd party apps: If your using one of the 44,000…

  61. Slartibartfast

    Anyone else note that “training log” is included in their list if subscriber features, but not in the free membership? I haven’t seen any change to the behavior of my account yet, but that particular piece is a BIG deal to me, as I’ve used it as my main training log for the past 7 or so years.

    • Allan

      That’s another Strava “bug” it seems. If you navigate to your profile, there is a tab at the bottom called “training”, which is a premium service. Not sure what that is, but if you scroll down to “training log” it’s free. I can’t imagine that your actual training log is no longer free, if that were the case, they’re basically stealing and keeping your own ride data from you. You absolutely have to have the ability to see your own ride information from past rides, or else it is literally pointless to ever upload anything. I think they are confusing things with their own poor choice of terms.

    • John Lewis

      Training log is the big one for me. Training plans et have been premium for a while (maybe always) so the only explanation here can be the training log is being held as a hostage – I’m not paying the ransom

  62. Todd

    I think I would cry if the Strava route planner went away. To me this has long been Strava’s killer feature vs the other platforms. I would gladly pay double the current subscription fee to keep this.

    Is there another platform that overlays a similar heatmap on their route builder?

    This is enormously helpful for identifying routes even in areas where you are relatively familiar, but especially so in new locales.

  63. greg

    Funny how other outlets view these changes in a marketing point of view (like directly posting the probable press release)…

    link to bikerumor.com

  64. Paying Strava customer since 3 years here. My primary reason for subscribing to them back then was the API and particularly the segments and with them also the leaderboards.

    While I fully understand that they can’t give away stuff for free, why do they remove segment leaderboard API access for *paying* subscribers?!?! Why would that part of their API be more difficult to maintain and be more expensive than other areas?

    About 2 years ago I spent a couple of days coding a personal app which does some analysis on those leaderboards, poof, down the drain for no apparent reason.

    Bad move and thanks a lot for nothing.

  65. Mike H.

    Also, I feel it should be pointed out that these changes to leaderboards don’t actually save them much processing time. They are still doing the same processing, they’re just restricting who can see the results of the processing. When I finish a ride, they still process my ride through their systems that determine whether I took a KOM or not, and that data still gets saved in their systems somewhere, I just can’t see the details behind it unless I’m a subscriber. There’s a certain cost associated with retrieving those results for each person that wants to look at them, but I’ve got to imagine that cost is small compared to the cost of analyzing the data in the first place.

    I’m not a huge fan of taking existing features and moving them behind a paywall. I understand strategies change and they have to make money at some point. But they’re a victim of their own success here, it’s generally viewed that segments are a core feature of Strava, moving features that are considered a core part of your platform isn’t going to sit well. It’d be like Google saying, ‘You can still run a search for free, but if you want to see more than 10 results you need to pay us $5 a month’. It’s entirely within their rights to do that, but a lot of people are going to be unhappy with them.

    If you want people to pay for your services and not be annoyed at the prospect, like Ray said, give them features that make them decide it’s something they want to pay for.

  66. Chris Clancy

    Here are our APIs – we’ll rip them away at a moments notice, so don’t get too attached – but please help us make money! ha Strava doesn’t seem to have a clear direction as a company…

    • Chris Clancy

      it’s interesting too that on my “free” account – you can’t see most segements anymore AT ALL – but if I hit it by URL, I can see it.

  67. Joel M.

    I’ve been paying years precisely because of this problem, they have to make money eventually.

    Look how many people in these comments say they don’t pay and haven’t noticed a difference or don’t pay because it’s buggy. People don’t want to pay and Strava pretty much provides the full service for free.

    If we want Strava to continue to exist we need to pay for it. They don’t do ads so a subscription is the only way to go forward.

    I’m viewing this more as a last gasp than anything, sounds like they are desperate and will fail sooner than later with the revenue. This might be quite a negative but clearly Strava is desperate enough.

    They have a marketing problem, there has been no reason to pay unless your intentionally trying to support a service you love. Frankly DCR, you should emphasize well with that, it’s a model you survive on yourself after all.

    I guess Strava are finally growing up and realising they are too big to survive on altruism.

    • “Frankly DCR, you should emphasize well with that, it’s a model you survive on yourself after all.”

      Not sure I follow?

    • Joel M.

      You provide pretty much all your content for free. We support you via your few programs but as a whole there is an active choice to support your work and business model. Either buy purchasing an active subscription, using your referral links and turning the Ad blocker off. (Although, I’ll admit I don’t know what percentage of people out there aren’t using an Ad blocker by default)

      Strava is very similar, at least from a general consumer point of view, in my opinion. Pretty much the entire product that people want is provided free and consumers have to make a very active choice to support them. Many people do not as it’s “just facebook but for athletes”. Their free product is just too damn good and cover off too much of what the average user wants. It’s hard to justify subscribing for most people without wanting to actively support it.

      These few changes do sway the balance towards there being a reason to pay for it to many rank and file users who generally just want to show off their latest effort and compare themselves to everyone else. Which is most people on Strava.

    • I think it’s all about setting expectations. For me, the expectation I’ve set here is that all my usual content is free.

      There are some things that are paid extras – for example, the DCR Analyzer is a paid subscription. Or, the DCR Supporter is a paid subscription which removes ads and gets folks some extra tidbits of content.

      I don’t disagree there are similarities (CyclingTips made such an argument today in a post). I think the core difference though is expectations. If the analogy were sketched further, it’d be akin to me saying that some significant aspect of reviews were behind a paywall as of today. For me, and my ‘business model’ that actually doesn’t work (because it lowers viewership/etc which is the inverse of what I want).

      I’ve also got the slight advantage that my model is a bit more diversified – YouTube, DCR Analyzer, DCR Supporters, generic ad revenue, affiliate revenue, etc… Like any business, it’s rarely a perfect and equal blend – but it’s far more balanced than it was a few years ago.

      As I’ve been saying for months now – Strava has tough decisions to make. I was simply hoping they’d make most of those tough decisions on new features going forward, rather than from the base of the users that made the platform what it is till now.

      Thanks for reading!

  68. Mike

    Strava was great because of segments, this was it’s USP, but overtime they have become less important, segments are rarely used in anger these days by me or my friends, the last time I tried for a segment time was years ago, whilst I appreciate some cyclists still gun for them I feel they are not important and so at face value this change doesn’t matter… but it does for lots of other reasons… the social side, which is what makes Strava different now, and this will be effective.

    Will people suddenly change from free to paid to get the leaderboards ? not a chance, so this change will not really increase subscribers, but it will for sure reduce overall usage. I feel this is the start of the death of Strava, it is a shame as the last few months it looked awesome, but they have turned to the dark side again…. and I am a paid subscriber, but as soon as my friends stop using it because there is nothing for them, I will stop paying and using it… and this is the reality of their decision, it has the potential to not drive up paid membership but to reduce it.

    And also… who the hell is interested in the top 10 overall, literally nobody, 99.99999% of us can’t get near a top 10, it is some random 10 people who I don’t know, why even bother, this shows even more lack of thought and clarity.

    Can’t create a route for the club anymore… more social side gone, it isn’t just segments they are shutting down, it is the social side as well…. so what is left ?

  69. Geoff Thorensen

    > But I’m not clear why they had to burn the house down to do it today at 10AM Pacific Time. If they didn’t breaks apps for 30 days, would that have really been such a big deal?

    Because a third party app would siphon the data they are putting behind the wall. No notice means no recovery.

  70. Fastasasloth

    Article states changes are effective immediately. I have the up-to-date version of the Android app released today, and I am a non-subscriber. However, I can still see efforts on segments from those I follow, and from clubs i am a member of. Mobile version only let me see the top10 anyway, since no scroll feature…. can others still see the efforts of those they follow? Dcrainmaker stated one shouldn’t be able to…

  71. I was getting a little bit of success with link to brevets.bike , a post COVID challenge based on efforts done during this special time.
    They f****d it all.

  72. Dave Stohler

    I have paid for Summit for years and I’m okay with that. But, Strava doesn’t do much to activate “subscribers.” Why don’t they send a Strava t-shirt when you reach, say, 20,000 miles? Why don’t they have Weight Class/Age Group KOM markers? Why don’t they offer discounts to me if I “recruit” a rider or two to become a subscriber? Why don’t they have better “Riders You May Know” algorithms? Anyway, you get it.

  73. Theo WIssen

    I’m in shock. No more route building for free users. I fully understand their decision but this really hurts. To be honest, I’m not going to pay 60 euro’s a year for using their route builder. That’s just too much. Will keep the free Strava account for uploading training sessions and to stay connected with my friends. And I will try to find a good alternative for making routes.
    Btw, I was so happy this week with their new feature of easily syncing Strava with my Garmin Edge….

    • Mike

      That is so true… we will finally give you syncing and then take it away the following week

    • Dan G

      The Garmin Connect route builder works as well as Strava’s. Realised that this morning. You can use Google Maps as the base map as well as OSM, so it actually has advantages.

      You don’t need a Garmin device to use Connect.

  74. John

    A website/app will come along that does everything stava/training peaks do. Is free. And makes money from ads like facebook/twitter (which works a business model). The subscriber pay model does not work.

    • Sanjai Patel

      I couldn’t agree more with that. Even better I’d prefer to carry on paying nothing with small ad banners

  75. Heiko

    oh no – route building was the only feature i still used and especially because of the heatmap. this was for me the killer feature because it helped me find countless of nice routes.
    Any ideas where to move to? The garmin version of a heat map looks very odd and has apparently much less data as a basis.

  76. Phil

    Why didn’t they look at a very basic 5€ a month user charge that many would have gone for and then unsold from there? Weird!

  77. I really dont see a problem here. When I find service or app I like, I want to try support the developer so the service / app has a decent chance of staying around. Last I checked they weren’t running a charity. I think it is pretty generous of them to even offer a free tier. I have been a subscriber since day one and plan to be until they go out of business from giving away everything for free.

  78. Matthias van der Hallen

    DCR, please consider updating the post with a reference on how to download all of your historical data from strava. Given the sweeping changes with little to no notice, I do not think it is opportune to entrust Strava as a ‘forever’ storage.

    Safeguarding your data is easy, and free. Just go to: link to strava.com and click on ‘get started’ under the section header “Download or Delete Your Account”. Disregard the ‘delete your account’ part. It is totally safe to download your data, you can do so without actually deleting your account.
    After clicking ‘get started’, click ‘request your Archive’ under step 2 “Download Request (optional)”. Your data will be provided to you after a few hours via a link through mail.

    • Matthias van der Hallen

      I’m saying this as a longterm subscriber of strava. I like the platform, despite of the bad choices… I would simply hate it if many people lost their cycling history, and given the way that strava communicates with their user base and with third party developers, I think people should take measures.

    • Theo WIssen

      Smart, would hate to loose 4 years of training data. Thanks for reminding me

  79. Keith G

    I would pay $1/month. They have 50 million users. Everyone pays $1/month, that’s $50M/month or $600M/yr.

    • Alan Bailey

      That was my first thoughts as well.

    • inSyt

      Plus ads for when your gear reaches a certain mileage, a tab for allowing events to sell entries, etc.

    • mazswojejzony

      This!
      I’ve got so many bills to pay, but I would subscribe right away if it was $1/month. I do not even need all the paid features – just give me back what I had before.
      And if you add the beacon for extra $1 I will get it too.

  80. dodger

    Also to remind you all that Strava don’t sync all segments to Wahoo/Garmin users, if the segment goes slightly downhill then you won’t get live updates on your device. This is another nail in the coffin for Strava. See the current community discussions here link to support.strava.com

  81. Tony h

    I have been getting great value from Strava for years , I can’t believe it’s taken them this long to actually try and make money . The alternate to paid subscriptions is ads and I know which I’d chose if I was them . We’ve all been using this game changing free service For a long time , it’s about time we all paid up !

    • Fred Lee

      This is my feeling. I get the impression that people don’t remember the landscape before Strava. The notion of segments totally revolutionized the market and, in my opinion, single-handledly drove the mass-market adoption of bicycle GPS computers. DCR probably owns a big part of his success to Strava turning a bunch of cyclists into data nerds.

      They’ve made a lot of mis-steps along the way. Claiming they own your data was a big one that almost lost me until they mostly reversed it. But on the whole I think they’ve been a decent steward of their position in the industry.

      So now they want to be profitable. I have a hard time faulting them for that. I would hate to see them be acquired by a big company. Acquisitions seldom turn out well for the users of the product — I worked for Intel and saw first-hand all the innovative fitness companies they bought… and then shut down. I’m sure DCR saw the same thing at his previous employer.

      Who might buy them? Garmin obviously. And what would happen then? Within a year they’d start crippling non-Garmin devices. Then they’d merge it with Garmin Connect. Within two years the service would be dead.

  82. Because every time I visit Strava it tries to get me to upgrade I have considered paying and my actual thoughts were … nope I don’t choose to pay for that.

    I then took a few moments and thought to myself how in the world does this company make money. Turns out the answer to that is basically – they might not.

    Also as a side note … they might really have the worst public relations/advertising team in the industry.

  83. Matthias Marquardt

    Hi,

    If you miss a route builder (mainly dedicated to road bike cycling) Let me know, if https://route.emacberry.com/  would work for your needs – to store/save a route you can simply make use of the bookmark feature of your browser – export to gpx, tcx and geojson is also available. [available as it is for a couple of years – all for free – no commercial interest]… Stay healthy!

  84. Ed

    I’ve been a summit member for years. Time for all the free riders (and runners) to pony up to keep Strava ad free (or at least big ugly ads in your feed).

  85. I built a virtual challenge app that a few clubs are using now and I planned on expanding it to other clubs after I get through The beta phases and ensure it can handle the load. I currently integrate with strava but I dont use leaderboards or segments or anything like that. I only use it to sync a user’s activities from strava (using their web hooks) so they dont have to enter it manually into my app.

    I just finished testing my strava integration using paid and unpaid users and the integration still works for everyone. So I am not clear if that will stop working for non-paid Strava users eventually – the email they sent indicates they already cut it off. And your article seems to say the same thing — I.e If user is not a paid user the /api/v3/activities is not gonna work as of now.

    Can you clarify this for me? Will it stop working in 30 or 60 days for unpaid users?

    • jk

      I’m wondering the same thing. At the moment I can still get /api/v3/activities/ for non-paying but the above implies that this isn’t the case?

  86. Ben Roberts

    I’ve been a subscriber since 2012, just cancelled based on these changes.

    Several reasons why but, I’m a developer, the idea that some poor devs have had their livelihood, thousands of hours of work destroyed on a whim, without notice, is puke-worthy. Shame on you Strava.

  87. Brian

    Garmin gives more detailed information from power meters and provides live tracking without Strava’s fee. Komoot is less expensive for their full world plan and at least as easy, if not easier, to build routes in. I’m having a hard time seeing a reason to keep paying Strava once this year’s subscription ends in a few months.

  88. For a few months I thought Strava had got their sh#t together. Android beta app was being updated every week. They got rid of all the Summit mess and went back to single Premium. Added some new Training analysis features. Damn I even got motivated to create a new service (https://strautomator.com) using their API some days ago.

    Now I spent 3 days coding some new features using the Leaderboards via their API… and boom! Leaderboards will be gone soon. Back to unhappy customer.

    I guess they haven’t changed their mindset afterall.

  89. John

    I would likely pay if they’d group my triathlon / brick Training activities together!!!

    • max

      +1
      I payed the strava subscription for 5 years waiting for promised feature! After that I quit frustrated.

    • Dan

      +1
      and I still can’t understand why a swim can’t be assigned race status and given the number of triathletes using the platform.

  90. David

    I love to pore over the segments – ahead of a Zwift race or ride ill look at where I stand compared to my “friends” (for a recent Greater London Loop I was close enough to the Llama to target his time.. I don’t think he knew he was in a race). As I understand it, I won’t see anything different, but I suspect removing leaderboard access will remove much of the reason for using Strava for most people. If Strava loses the critical mass and customers start voting with their feet, my leaderboard becomes meaningless, because at that point not all my friends and influencers will be there to compare myself too… frankly they would have been better coming up with advertising based model or finding a cleverer way to hide results and data…

  91. Sherpa Dave

    I love to pore over the segments – ahead of a Zwift race or ride ill look at where I stand compared to my “friends” (for a recent Greater London Loop I was close enough to the Llama to target his time.. I don’t think he knew he was in a race). As I understand it, I won’t see anything different, but I suspect removing leaderboard access will remove much of the reason for using Strava for most people. If Strava loses the critical mass and customers start voting with their feet, my leaderboard becomes meaningless, because at that point not all my friends and influencers will be there to compare myself too… frankly they would have been better coming up with advertising based model or finding a cleverer way to hide results and data…

  92. Like Ares

    One more thought: Don’t we all pay STRAVA with the data we give to them? I thought STRAVA uses all our data in a commercial way, such as heat maps for urban development and routing? I thought that was part of the deal?

    • Fred Lee

      I know right? It’s so ridiculous. If they’re having trouble making payroll, they should just pay their developers with that super valuable route data we’re all giving them.

      Seriously though, it would always be interesting to get a peak at the financials of startups. My guess is trying to fund yourself solely by trying to charge city governments for heatmap data is a tough way to go.

    • Like Ares

      Of course the data is not paying everything, but some of it. Moreover the data of the non-paying users is also adding value to the features for the paying users.

    • JoSt

      Sorry, the data is not worth much. Just commutes are worth a little bit and they are not recorded much. Google has much better and valueble data on momement/speed/route choice etc. nowadays…

  93. Onno

    I think you’re being too negative. Nobody likes features being restricted and yes, it’s annoying that it’s happening immediately, but then again.. I can’t really blame them, it makes sense to have people pay for the most unique features they’re offering. It’s always been difficult to explain to people why they should pay for Strava, because all interesting features were free.

    I have no problems with paying a few euro’s a month for their service, because it’s a service I use and like a lot, and they are actively improving it. (okay, that only started very recently, but still)

    The alternative features you mention they could use to attract paying members.. well.. they’re sure nice-to-haves, and maybe even important to some, but are they features that will make a significant amount of members pay? I doubt it.

  94. jk

    As many others have said, Strava IS segments, so this is sad to see. In terms of route planning, Suunto movescount still has the best roue planner of anything that I’ve come across, but it seems like Suunto are slowly ditching it in favour of their mobile app (which is no place for serious route planning).

    So on that note, does anyone have good suggestions for websites for serious route planning? Features of movescount that are especially good are the elevation profile, the heatmaps, and the integration with many different types of mapping (especially mapbox which shows small trails not on other maps).

  95. Hi Ray

    I thought you got carried away on this piece but my (strava) app developer has just contacted me and said the endpoints are the ones that in simple terms ‘get the basic workout data’

    Surely this can’t be right? it means that no 3rd party will be able to get even the basic hr and gps data

    if so I think there could be a few thousand strava app developers/owners who think you are UNDER egging the significance.

    I’m trying to clarify the exact meaning of the last 3 of these

    /api/v3/segments/:id
    /api/v3/segments/:id/streams
    /api/v3/segment_efforts [Updated]
    /api/v3/segment_efforts/:id/streams
    /api/v3/segments/explore
    /api/v3/athletes/:id/segments/starred
    /api/v3/activities
    /api/v3/activities/:id
    /api/v3/activities/:id/streams

    • Yeah, I’m not clear on that piece. It wasn’t till about 30 mins ago they sent over some additional cuts and details, specifically saying:

      “• The segment effort API in question that got “individual effort detail” has only worked for the authenticated athlete (themself) for years. That is still around and only for subscribers.
      o This would include PII, HR, power, cadence, etc…”

      I’m not clear on this yet, and asked for more clarifications. This would be well beyond what they had detailed was going away previously in numerous e-mails and details back and forth and pretty substantial – and would be a significant pile of crap if so.

      But again, more details/confirmations first.

    • OK, got confirmation back on that one, specifically:

      /api/v3/activities
      /api/v3/activities/:id
      /api/v3/activities/:id/streams

      The last three were incorrectly included by Strava. They’ve since updated their API document to reflect that. I didn’t focus on those in my post (which, Strava got lucky on I suppose), but instead the other API calls. In any case, their final listing is here: link to developers.strava.com

    • Sam

      They still have this call :

      /api/v3/activities/:id

      set as member only, I guess we (devs) will be able to list the users activities but not have details on it

    • Sam

      Here is a comparaison of all route planning websites: enjoy!

      link to en.wikipedia.org

    • Yeah, I can get further clarity, but in an e-mail last night with respect to which calls were changed/not changed they stated: “Activity data is unchanged. Your own HR, gps, etc is all unchanged regardless of subscription.”

  96. Fred Lee

    I’m probably in the minority here since blog comments tend to be an echo chamber that take on the sentiment of the post, but I guess I don’t have a big problem with this.

    There are a lot of people who can still benefit from the ‘free’ strava. My 80-year-old mom is trying to maintain her streak of riding her bike 6 miles every day. She doesn’t give a hoot about segments but having a strava account is a fun way for her to track her miles and to keep tabs on my brother and me who are both premium members.

    If you’re spending a bunch of time on Strava tracking segments and competing with your buddies then stop being a cheapskate and start paying money. Stuff costs money, it’s not rocket science. How many of you offer your employer a month of free labor so they can try it out? Yeah, Strava’s programmers probably don’t do that either.

    So there’s a balance to be struck between offering enough free service to pull people in to being paying members and running a profitable business. I see posts from people who are outraged because they’ve been using free strava for years and now they’re going to lose the features they care about.

    IF YOU’VE BEEN USING STRAVA FOR YEARS, THEN PAY FOR IT.

    Crikey.

    • Fred Stig

      I did. And for years. And over those years all of the feature requests for functionality fell on deaf ears. So I stopped paying. I agree, if you use a service you *should* pay for it. But in return I expect it not to be a dumpster fire run by incompetents (the former company leaders). At this point Strava is going to have to improve their route planner so it’s better than RWGPS (where I now send my money) or Komoot (good luck against both of those, especially for mountain bike routing) and implement semi-private (friends only) segments for me to even *think* about paying again. And for the love of Jeff, just license the use of TSS already, instead of your own, foolish ‘relative effort’ crap.

      Stupid decisions by management *should* hurt. I wish Strava the best of luck but there’s a steep hill they’ve now got to climb.

      – nick

    • JM

      This might have been inevitable, but damn, PR much?

    • Stephen Wilson

      Hi Fred i was paying but live really close to a mtb centre and all of the strava leaderboards were being swamped by electric bikes. At which point i asked strava if they could sort which they didnt, secondly the mapping element was poor. At some point sme other app will spring up and i will move.

    • Maarten

      I paid for Strava for years.

      Then one day I forgot my Garmin, so I pulled out the Strava app to record my ride. And spent lots of time trying to figure out why my phone wasn’t picking up HRM data. Until I googled for answers and discovered they’d yanked heart rate monitor integration from the app.

      Now there’s a feature I’d pay for…

      …but instead I canceled my Strava Premium, because I don’t want to be paying for that kind of surprise.

    • Allan

      It’s the bugs, Fred. I’m not going from free to pay just for something that they used to provide for free, but at the same time, do NOTHING to address years-old problems. Sorry, when they start to concern themselves with bug fixes and actual improvements, then I’ll pay.

    • Fred Stig

      Allan, I am 100% in agreement with you. Horrible bugs and features being requested by huge numbers and not even acknowledged by the company with a yes or no. And if they hadn’t become such a dumpster fire I would continue to pay. But RWGPS is a small group of self-sustaining programmers that have a great service and so that’s where my money goes now. And they fix bugs. And add features (when resources allow). And they respond within hours for service tickets/feature requests.

      Strava was allowed to be run by poor management for too long and I fear that they’ve gone off the rails. This is easily the third time in a year where Ray has posted an article about them screwing up. Strava just isn’t worth paying money for. I do wish them the best. I hate to see people lose jobs, but there’s no sense in watching that company make poor decision after poor decision but somehow keep paying them money. So off to other services I went. And everybody else should as well. Stupidity is the act of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time (well, technically it was madness, I believe).

      – nick

  97. morey

    I’m a non-paying strava member, and can still see the full segment list.

  98. Paul Haynes

    On the non-mobile(laptop) strava, I’m still getting the People I’m Following leaderboard. I’m not paying anything, so far.

  99. andrzejmikke

    ok, so i delete strava 🙂 bad move….

  100. Jeff

    I think they’d increase their revenue per account if they dropped the price from $8/mo to $4/mo. I.e., more of their free subscribers would jump over to the paid side.

  101. Panos

    Any easy way to transfer my segments to garmin connect so I don’t have to create them all again?

  102. Justin Baum

    “Freemium” business models didn’t pan out. Both consumers and businesses need to move on. The amount of people negatively effected by these changes are small compared to Strava’s overall user base. Any ecosystem built on free data from a for-profit boom-time venture backed company is not going to last. The best response here is to have enjoyed it while it lasted, not as a means to fill your daily internet outrage quota (looking at you DC commenters). Fallout from this move will start and stop with a vocal minority.

  103. Oscar P

    I stopped paying because, even though they advertised themselves with the triathlon community, they never cared much about swimming. Two out of three didn’t cut it for me. It would have been so easy use data and play with laps, rests, stroke count – pool leaderboards! Lots of bug/feature requests on their forums, 99% ignored.

    I went and paid Training Peaks and, as an athlete I’m much happier there. Strava became my ‘facebook for cycling, running.” Routes were nice and with the recent update of syncing with Garmin I was happy and looking forward to see positive changes that could perhaps bring me back to pay for it. But here is an idea for Strava: Cut to the chase and make it subscription only. That’s the fastest way to see how needs their “strava fix”.

  104. KevinR

    But maybe you’re right. Oh wait…make that definitely. I love your wrap-up points – interesting and innovative rather than mean spirited.

  105. KevinR

    But maybe you’re right. Oh wait…make that definitely. I love your wrap-up points – interesting and innovative ways to turn a profit rather than being mean spirited.

  106. Oliver Kamer

    First I’m personally looking forward to the new route builder, this looks quite nice.

    As for the segments I think there is probably a different reasoning: The segments probably take quite a bit of calculation and are done across all segments, now they only have to do it across all segments for the top 10 (which can be cached way longer, since they change less often) and do it on demand for the paying users. Can’t really get mad at them for that.

    As for shutting and breaking the API immediately: That is really super shitty, no way around it. Non-breaking my ass. Returning empty data is not non-breaking, it just means the code isn’t gonna break, the application will still very much break.

  107. Duncan Tindall

    In many ways Ray you nail the value proposition for the segments in the article. The tongue in cheek joking about being ahead of GPLama is exactly why if we’re all honest we ever got hooked on Strava in the first place. 99.999999% of us are never going to be gold medalists or top 10 in anything. But on strava segments, we’re all in with a chance. All we need to do is find a rarely used route, be first up a road that’s just become sealed after 30 years as a gravel route, go out on our TT bike with deep wheels in gale force winds and find the downwind segments and walk back… We all have the chance to be the (un)disputed champion of the coffee shop.

    And finally, and I know this will upset some people. If you aren’t paying anything, then you can’t really complain too much that a company stops offering it’s service to you.

    • I have many great KOM’s in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Ghana, and other places on random roads that nobody will (hopefully) ever go on. Most of them on easy workouts. 🙂

  108. Mark Edmonds

    I like Strava leaderboards and have found it fun at times but then I have also found it frustrating when obvious bugs show up such as average speed being higher than maximum speed or when the analysis page gives accurate information but the leaderboard shows completely skewed data for the same ride. There are other broken features present that Strava have ignored despite user requests over many years.

    I have always felt happy to subscribe but have held back due to these bugs and poor implementations.

    Fix the bugs and I’ll willingly subscribe but if they aren’t fixed, I wont. Simple I’m afraid.

  109. Andrew

    I don’t know about the 3rd party apps breaking as I don’t use any of them. The rest of it, I really don’t have a problem with – the amount of time I spend in Strava it’s clearly important to me so paying around £7/month for it doesn’t seem excessive – after all a lot of people on here have bikes that are well north of £1,000, will happily spend £200 on a swimsuit….

    TBH I think Strava’s main problem is that they gave too much away for free in the first place.

  110. ave

    Veloviewer charges their users money while they are using Strava data for free. I wonder why did they allow it to work like this before?
    But I’d let them have their veloviewer visualition tools and whatnot, if the end users are paying for Strava too.

  111. Shai Simchi

    Should have just put ads on the platform and make some decent money. Want to keep the platform have a prime feeling to it came back to bite them in the ass. Now everything that is Strava is gone unless you want to pay…Blah

  112. Pawel Chalacis

    This was a shit move, and also really unprecedented. I would expect at least 30 days notice, not 30 days of “we will return dummy data”.

  113. Mark Edmonds

    I’d also like to address comments suggesting people expect things for free and should pay if they have used the service for a while.

    Let’s get the horse and cart the right way round.

    If something is presented as free and people use it because of that, obviously, they use it because it is free.

    There is no obligation to pay.

    If the free service is removed, the user has the choice of paying or not. They haven’t been taking advantage of Strava, Strava provided the user with the free service in the first place. Now it’s a simple equation of deciding whether the service is worth paying for with no obligation implied.

    The decision to make things free in the first place was Strava’s, not the users’ and no one has been ripping them off by not paying for it.

  114. Mark Edmonds

    I’d also like to address comments suggesting people expect things for free and should pay if they have used the service for a while.

    Let’s get the horse and cart the right way round.

    If something is presented as free and people use it because of that, obviously, they don’t pay because it is free.

    There is no obligation to pay.

    If the free service is removed, the user has the choice of paying or not. They haven’t been taking advantage of Strava, Strava provided the user with the free service in the first place. Now it’s a simple equation of deciding whether the service is worth paying for with no obligation implied.

    The decision to make things free in the first place was Strava’s, not the users’ and no one has been ripping them off by not paying for it.

    • Toby

      I think you make an excellent point!

      Perhaps they would have been better off selling user data – perhaps more controversial but the free account doesn’t seem to offer any value.

    • Mark, I think you make a great point, and you’ve hit a chord for me that helps me to realize why this move bothers me so much. I’ve gone back and forth on whether to become a subscriber for many years–could I justify another subscription on top of TrainerRoad, Xert, NBCSports Gold Cycling, and USACrits? I never pulled the trigger on subscribing, though, and when the Summit model came out, it drove me even farther away. Now, with this final move, I don’t think I’ll waver on whether or not to subscribe. Which brings me to my core point: the service was worth it to me when it was free, and the value just isn’t there now that it’s not.

      Maybe I’m in the minority, and Strava will find a sustainable subscription base and continue on as a successful company. I don’t think so, though. Ray is right; if Strava had focused on creating more value to drive subscription, someone like me who’s been on the fence the whole time would have subscribed. And if they had lowered the subscription price, as other commenters have suggested, someone like me who’s been on the fence would have subscribed. This move feels like Strava is telling me their product is worth a certain amount, and I just don’t see it.

  115. Javier

    If this “update” become permanent, they can bite my shiny metal ass.

  116. Toby

    Thanks Ray, I begun to see this popping up so hopped here to get your thoughts.

    I’m not a Strava subscriber but I used some of its features like route planner to use with EatMyRide which went live recently (which BTW still needs a lot of work to be truly useful). After reading this I went to my account and tried to build a new route using the web app and that still seems to work? Perhaps not for long…..

    Anyway it’s a shame Strava drew the line between subscribers and others in this way. Strava have seldom taken the “softly softly” approach with its users or developers. I’m sure many here read your Reliv article not so long ago.

    I guess time will tell if this was the wrong move, and if so I hope Strava have enough users to be able to turn the ship around. I don’t envy their task. It’s hard to get people to pay for anything. Your product really needs to connect and its value evident and indispensable. I think they offer a unique social platform today for its community but nothing lasts forever…..

  117. trehar

    I will pay for strava when they offer me something that my watch app dosent . right now there isn’t anything that interest me . route builder perhaps . that’s easily fixed with another app

    • Sam

      it’s not easy, or it depend where you live, in europe you definitively want to use strava heatmap powered routes compared to garmin connect showing the boring routes, in US, Australia, it’s pretty straight road so not as much as a feature killer.

  118. Ironman Ivan

    Their business, their call. Love the product but see little value in paying for what I have had for free. But from the get go, maybe I would pay for it as it is pretty cool over all. However, my big issue here is, is NOW the right time to do this? Don’t we want to be talking about community and getting people exercising and connecting more, now making people make another choice about how they spend their increasingly hard earned money. Probably the right move but bad timing. I would pay if they had a killer features but so far none of their upgrades have made me say “gotta have it.” I race and train a lot so I am their core, but its social for me, non of their tools do much for me.

  119. sal

    What happens?
    I payed for 2 apps those last few years: Runtastic and Strava.
    First Runtastic dropped its web-interface I really liked after being taken over by adidas. So I stopped being a paying member. It’s “just another running app”.
    And now Strava cuts off one of its best features.
    sad… sad…

  120. Claude

    How come I only get aware of these changes through you Ray? Shouldn’t they send an email to inform their users? (unless it got into my spam folder…), and I pay for it for now!

  121. Todd Tannenbaum

    So with the new re-work of Strava’s route builder, do their routes now inject good turn-by-turn data like Komoot and RideWithGPS?

    As a Wahoo Bolt owner, i currently make routes in Strava because referring to Global Heat Maps to see popular cycling roads when making a new route is awesome. Then I export GPX from Strava and import the GPX into Komoot. In seconds Komoot magically fixes up Strava GPX errors and even and adds in the turn-by-turn data. Komoot is very nice, works great, nicely priced, and has a great route builder – but just does not have the piles of data to allow it to display heat maps like Strava.

    As a paying Strava customer, I wish they would add turn-by-turn into their GPX files like Komoot/RWGPS, and also agree with an earlier comment: they should just license standard training algorithms like TSS, IF, etc, and make these data values available only to paying customers if need be.

    Oh, and a primary reason I use Strava and why I think everyone will continue to use it (free or paid): everything syncs with it. Every device, every app. So it is the perfect place to have your ride journal from everywhere in one place without doing any extra work (like shuffling around .fit files). And finally, i do like seeing what my friends are up to, if only to get new route ideas/inspiration.

  122. Pablo Gonzalez

    “Mind you, you’ll have to provide a credit card first, and if you forget to cancel in mid-July you’ll become one of those paying subscribers.”
    I guess that’s the way a lot of these apps get their money

  123. Dan G

    Can’t decide if this is sensible or if they’ve just shot themselves in the head.

    Probably the former, if I’m honest.

    • Dan G

      I use the route builder daily and segments for all the major climbs around where I live, so I guess I’m signing up :/

  124. Eddie

    “ Plus – if the tables had been turned, and it was Amazon AWS (Strava’s hosting provider), and they simply sent them a note one morning and said: “Don’t worry, we’re just sending you empty data from your databases effective immediately.” – I’m guessing Strava wouldn’t feel the same way.”
    Strava is paying Amazon AWS. The independent app developers weren’t paying Strava.

    • No reputable platform company, paying or otherwise, gives 0 seconds notice to breaking API changes.

      As for these 3rd party apps, while building your business on another business is always risky, to say they aren’t contributing to Strava’s value is silly. Of course they are – otherwise Strava wouldn’t bother with apps at all.

  125. Dembo

    Just checked and it says that my subscription will renew in August and it’ll be approx € 24 (I canceled Pro when it was still called that and subscribed to just one of the Summit packages). I am okay with € 2,- per month for Live Segments (although the Garmin implementation is terrible) and for supporting them. However, is the subscription price really just € 24 or am I grandfathered in?

    As for routes, I have to use Strava if I want to get Live Segments while navigating due to Garmin’s implementation (works with any route provider on Wahoo) but I much prefer komoot’s route builder. If komoot gets in bed with Garmin to provide LIve Segments (I only race my past self, so don’t care too much about KOM/QOMs) I’d jump ship without hesitation, especially since I am doing all my analysis in TrainingPeaks/WKO5 anyway.

  126. Greg

    Sounds like they just shot themselves in the foot. “Strava needs to find a way to make money” – seriously? They got so big Garmin did not/could not want to buy them already a few years ago…

    Over the years they kept adding more and more “new” useless features instead of fixing the existing ones. Their insistence on their own useless metrics in analysis is beyond me, as is their unwillingness to separate outdoor and indoor rides for ex. The only reason most people use it anyway is to log rides and segments – handy not having to press lap when a climb starts. And to share and compare with friends. Has become kind of like cycling Facebook in recent years.

  127. Sam

    maybe i’ll start paying for it if they start cleaning their leaderboards, most of the top 100 in the top segments are run via motorbike or electric bikes…

  128. Sam

    Quick quick, lets’ rip all the segments informations from the API while it’s available (or on veloviewer) and build a mashup website with garmin connects syncronization that shows some leaderboard on this that probably be quite a popular website….

  129. Spin Diesel

    Without the inclusion of cue-sheet data, the route builder is largely useless from a cycling perspective. If i were a non-paying member, then adding this feature would definitely be an incentive to subscribe! (in fact, I’ve subscribed to RideWithGPS a couple of times for just this reason). It’s probably a difficult task for it to give a sensible automated cue-sheet, without containing way too many waypoints …. but surely they could give us the facility to point/click on the route and annotate it ourselves, building a cue-sheet, and for this to be embedded in the route when exported to our Garmin / Wahoo etc. devices. I no longer use Strava for route building for this reason.

  130. Alexandre

    Ray, you should set up a kickstarter to launch your own strava alternative. You’ll get thousands of backers even with a simple mockup made on Paint.

    There is room for an alternative. You’ll make an amazing CEO and product manager.
    You are the one that can save us from the hot mess Strava became

    • I have no desire to spend $40m in funding to only lose more money on a monthly basis.

      While some may misunderstand my post, I generally like Strava and the platform, and I generally think the direction they’ve taken in 2020 is positive for users and the company.

      What I specifically disagree with here is primarily how they’re going about making these changes, and the communications around them. I also think the cutting of leaderboards for non-paying users is penny-wise and pound-foolish long-term. But that’s on them to deal with eventually.

    • While I’d love to see that platform, I’m pretty sure that if this were to happen, either we would miss the reviews or his kids him, or most probably both. Let’s not do that 🙂

  131. I’m a bit confused by these sentences:

    “They’re far less a network about segment KOM’s than they are now a social fitness network. As much as Strava has resisted that aura being applied to them in the past, that’s what they are today. And it’s probably not untrue.”

    For several years the main headline above-the-fold on Stava’s homepage were the words “The Social Network for Athletes.” That was the main value proposition of their entire product. From my perspective they didn’t resist this aura, they intentionally and blatantly leaned into it.

    • Their previous CEO actually specifically pushed back on the social fitness network bit, saying they didn’t see themselves as the Facebook of fitness.

      ////
      It would be facile to say that Strava wants to be the Facebook of fitness. In fact, Quarles pushes back directly against the idea. “None of our team is trying to create an orange Facebook,” he says.
      ////

      link to outsideonline.com (from last year, pre new-CEO)

    • Oh yeah, I remember reading that last year. The old CEO did indeed say that publicly, but all of their actions suggest the opposite, and that’s the main message of that article. Anyhow… thanks for the link.

    • After thinking about this for a while, I feel like the CEO was directly balking at the notion that he and his teams were “…building an orange Facebook.” If you take that statement at face value, which he did, then it would be insulting to his employees and brand to agree to that idea. That would be like DesFit agreeing with the idea that he’s just trying to be GP Lama on a mountain bike. Of course he isn’t trying to do that. Strava was blatantly and unmistakably trying to build a social network, but they were not copying Facebook, who had even more negative attention associated with their brand at that time.

  132. I’ve been waiting years for the near useless and buggy Strava route planner to get out of beta. The. two main thing it needed was to be able to organise your routes into dumb or preferably smart folders so you don’t have to look though ALL your routes to find the one you want.
    But more importantly make the route planner usable if you decide to change and re-edit a route. Currently it’s often easier to simply start over than rejig a route. RWGPS handles this very well and swapping between follow roads and straigh lines. But I need to use Strava’s route planner because I need Veloviewer integration to plan where I ride for the Max Square Explorer challenge.
    Can’t see either of these core features mentioned in the improvements .

  133. wbcnz20

    Interesting move from Strava – one that makes sense business-wise but has definitely not been rolled out smoothly at all, for the customers or the developers.
    While I am a paid user myself, mainly for the Live Segments and Fitness Tracking etc (couldn’t be bothered doubling up on a platform like TrainingPeaks at this stage), I have a lot of friends who are loyal users of the old free version of Strava who will be extremely frustrated by this move. And I can’t see many of them moving to a paid subscription when this rollout has only taken away from them, and not made the Paid platform an instantly appealing option by offering a decent carrot, with exciting new features.

    Based on the response of many Strava users in these comments alone, let alone other platforms, and the well-entitled fury of the developers, how Strava respond from here will be incredibly interesting. Especially so if this change fails spectacularly & many of the currently paid users end up voting with their wallets and leaving the service!

    I’m expecting a “Sorry, we were wrong…” email in the next six months from Strava quickly backtracking for what could be a death-blow mistake. Then they’ll try make up for it by dropping their prices, add in ads, sell more data, and still piss more people off with how they do it.

  134. Micheal White

    They seem to forget that this ‘data that they use for their prllatform is not there’s, it’s mine. I will just take it to another platform. RWGPS is a good platform for everything I need. It has routing, tracking, times, calories, power, and friends. I see no need to stay with Strava.

  135. Mj

    Well said and very sad! I fear a lot of people will stop using it…

  136. A smarter move would have been to roll out the improvements, so people could see how [if at all] Strava had upped their game for a month. Then Strava could then have given folks a waning that in another month’s time, what you need to pay for will change to keep the company running.

  137. Jose Benitez

    I stopped paying this year too as I was becoming increasingly irritated by their lack of customer support and random functionality cutting like BLE support…. they don’t listen to users, don’t fix bugs, and now this…. Definitely don’t worth my money.

    In the meantime other applications like Ride with GPS are seriously improving their capabilities & interface.

  138. CO Dave

    Absolutely a fair point on this being a brutal roll out for 3rd party app developers. That could have been handled better.

    As for the user feature changes and pushing features to paid users, I completely support it. People talk about things “being taken away” like they are owed services (and the supporting infrastructure) from Strava. Entitled much?? So many web companies start out offering free product with the hope of generating revenue… later. Well, it’s later it it sounds like Strava leash on not being profitable has run out. I continue to happily pay their (IMO reasonable) fee for the service they provide me.

    • I don’t think, that DCR or anybody thinks that Strava “owes” them anything for free. Probably many users could stand behind having bunch of features behind a subscription. The huge difference is whether you introduce them as such from the beginning, or allow users to use them for a while for free, and then ask money for it. Nobody says, that you don’t have the right to do so, but the users also have the right to have a bad taste in their mouth, and lose trust in your product. You will maybe put the other feature I use behind a paywall next month. And maybe raise the fee twofold. If the users do not trust you, they will move to other service providers, even if everything there is behind a paywall.

    • Mike Richie

      I’m not sure that you, a paid subscriber as am I, understand the benefit of having 50 million people providing the data that makes the Strava service worth subscribing to. These users are adding route data for heat maps, segments for interesting rides and runs, and people to race against in segments. If they remove the main thing that brought them there, the ability to race segments against their friends (and others), they will leave. This will make Strava WORSE for subscribers.

  139. Andrew Linquist

    The worst thing about this is the inability to see your own past segment PRs. I could crate any outdoor ones I care about on another platform like Garmin. Zwift segments are the problem. If Zwift would save all time PRs rather than just 30 day PRs, I might drop Strava.

    • Andrew Linquist

      I guess it looks like might still be able to see your personal best but you wouldn’t know whether you current effort was second best or tenth best.

    • jk

      As far as I can tell, you will still be able to see your segment PRs. You will also be able to see if your effort was your second or tenth best personal effort. You’ll also be able to see if you are in the top 10 for the segment. What you won’t be able to see is any more of the leaderboard than the top 10.

  140. Antares

    Stopped paying a couple of years ago. They don’t listen to their customer base.
    1. Don’t care about segments, never have, never will.
    2. I use Veloviewer, but because of what I wrote above, who cares.
    3. Strava’s route builder has always been a joke. A couple of weeks ago I tried to use the “Minimize Elevation” option and it routed out an additional 31 miles, while only removing 184 feet of elevation.

    If they eventually take away the monthly challenges, then I’m gone. I only use it for that and the social media.

  141. Matt Smith

    All I wish is they give us the option to not show our activity times. This is very dangerous.

  142. Mike Schrankel

    Strava irritated enough when I was a paying member, so I dropped them and started paying RideWithGPS.com. Not so much a social platform, but great for finding and building routes

  143. Todor

    I honestly want to get a refund for my 4 years subscription so far.
    I have cancelled my rolling plan and after this one I won’t support this app.
    These are developers without goals and objectives. Strava haven’t moved anywhere for the past 3-4 years and they are only cutting features. The app development is horrible and the app itself is not providing anything different than Garmin for example.
    I am waiting for the 1st strong competitor to come out and will delete my strava account.
    They do not deserve a single penny for the big nothing that they are doing.

    • Jamison Roberts

      I’m curious if you are involved in software development? It takes massive effort to have a performant website for 50M users (if that is true). Should that be provided for free? Their features are superior to Garmin, and I’ve used Garmin since 2007 (and had to use Training Center).

    • If Strava provides nothing different from Garmin, why are you ‘waiting for the 1st strong competitor’? Why don’t you just delete your account now? This is inconsistent.

  144. giorgitd

    So let’s see here. They were lazy and evil. Then they opened up some new features, masquerading as interested in there developers and end users. And now, the chickens come home to roost, so to speak. They are evil and clueless. They *should* go out of business.

  145. Dave

    “In a conference call last week, Strava was point-blank clear that if they don’t get more subscribers and become profitable, there’s a pretty good chance there won’t be a Strava in a year.”

    Sooooooo….. what are we all going to use if Strava ceases to be?

  146. Chris

    I use(d) the free version… It was fun while it lasted.. all the segments in my area were all about who could time the tailwind the best and smash out the 11 cog for the longest anyways… the joys of the prairies….

  147. John

    I’m more disappointed about removing access to the training log *sad face*

  148. hdb

    You didn’t mention it, but Strava also said they are removing one of the few non-subscriber sources of income: “We’ve also removed…Sponsored Integrations (the closest we’ve ever come to putting ads in the feed)”

    I don’t like ads any more than the rest of humanity but if they only have a 5% signup rate, why in the world not consider them? Is this an admission that they couldn’t get companies to sign up as sponsors? I suspect embedded ads (if tagged as such) would be far less provoking than removing features that attract new users in the first place.

  149. Stef

    So question – with MapMyRide/Run etc being US$30/year, will people migrate to that? Strava is US$60/year. is it twice the product? We all ride multiple $1000 bikes and throw stupid money at shoes and kit – does this just become another small hole to throw money into?

  150. Todd M

    As a daily user and subscriber of STRAVA I’ve often questioned the value I get over the free version. This change makes the difference even more distinct. I’m OK paying as long as the product improves and is of value.

    I do believe there is a market for a bundled subscription with other cycling/fitness apps. A bundled monthly subscription for Strava/Zwift/Traineroad would be a nice option. As a power user I have a desire for utilizing multiple subscription, but find myself choosing one over another due to limiting the number of paying subs.

  151. Ken

    So what are our choice? Anything else out there?

  152. JBee

    I asked a couple of years ago to the service desk: when will it be possible to filter on a specific day, for example yesterday? No progress
    Quite often I see people riding on a short segment with an average speed above maximum speed. This is so annoying and often leads to unfair segment leaders. It has not improved in recent years.
    Strava, hire some good programmers!

  153. Dylan

    I’m a subscriber, so not a huge deal for me, but this part is seriously striking if true.

    Do the free users really not get to use the “My Results” section of a segment? The one that shows you how you’ve done compared to your past results? That is seriously lame. I get not seeing your friends, or age group, or weight class, but your own results? They don’t get to look at their own segment data? That’s super duper lame. Goodbye progress tracking. I guess they get to go back to individual workouts and try to compare by hand?

    I can imagine that kills a lot of users motivation to use Strava. If it’s not a workout tracking app to compare my past self vs my future self, then what is it? A GPS mileage tracker?

    • josh

      based on the way things are going, i bet you won’t be able to see “my results” section. agree super lame.

      i know everyone uses and favors different features of strava, but the segment leaderboards are what makes strava unique. if you want analytics, route building, kudos, pretty pictures, there are different apps for all those things. if you want to compare your athletic ability or skill to your friends, rivals, local professional, or mathieu van der poel the only option is strava (or real life racing, or zwift)
      Like any social media, there is a bit of addictive physiology going on…. the hook with strava is the high you get with a KOM or PR, or just beating your friends. By taking that away from the free version, strava is no longer any different from the other fitness tracking apps…..

    • josh

      that 2nd part wasn’t necessarily specific to you dylan!

    • Troy Schuler

      “Do the free users really not get to use the “My Results” section of a segment? The one that shows you how you’ve done compared to your past results? That is seriously lame”

      This was a premium feature in Runkeeper in 2013 when I was using it, so it only seems fit that it would be a premium feature for Strava moving forward in 2020.

  154. I agree with everything above, but this also made me thinking: “This means that, starting today, a few of our free features that are especially complex and expensive to maintain, like segment leaderboards, will become subscription features.” This sends me a message, that Strava do (or did) not make any financial plan/analysis when introducing a new feature. I am not a company leader, but I’d assume, that if I plan to do A, I will ask a team to estimate the 1) development cost of A, 2) maintenance cost of A, and 3) financial gain of A, let it be additional subscribers, more users, etc. Anyhow, I am not really affected by this, as I only use Strava as a backup from GC, but grabbed my popcorn. Not being optimistic.

  155. Jon

    I’ve got to say, as someone who is currently paying for Strava…these changes don’t make me want to keep paying. The two big ones are non-free users not getting to see the full leaderboards or friends’ segment times (for the reasons you touched on Ray) and similarly the apps having this data yanked.

    Removing the routes from non-paying users may wind up making the service less valuable to me as well (again…as a paying subscriber) because there will be fewer users creating routes in my area (or areas I travel to) that I can search through…wait after a quick review, this doesn’t matter…Strava never bothered to provide a way to find public routes…I’m thinking of RideWithGPS, which eats the shorts off of most of the route related stuff Strava is doing apart from maybe the heatmap stuff.

    Regardless, I’m still less inclined to pay Strava more money after this and all of the other “new features” from this year so far, which mostly summed up to either 1) Stuff ported from web to mobile or 2) stuff that was relatively obvious and available on most other modern training platforms. There is a ton of room for Strava to create value to users, but it seems like they aren’t actually interested in doing any of it…which makes me not actually that interested in paying them more money.

  156. Beer_is_so_Awesome

    I’d like to know if Strava is ever planning on including turn-by-turn navigation in their route builder. As it stands, when I send a route to my Wahoo Elemnt, it just shows me a bread-crumb trail onscreen and blinking red lights when I deviate from the course.

    I ended up subscribing to Komoot (a one-time fee) which has a decent route builder that is not without its own flaws. What it does do very well is it generates true turn-by-turn navigation for a given route. When I send a Komoot ride to the Wahoo it beeps to alert me of upcoming turns also displays a directional arrow and the name of the next road.

    So my process, if I want to repeat a route someone shared in Strava, is to sit down at my PC, pull up the route on Strava, export the file as a GPX, then upload it to Komoot which generates its own route and cue-sheet, and save it. The Wahoo is linked with my Komoot account, so I can access them with the Wahoo app on my phone and send them to the Elemnt via Bluetooth.

    This convoluted process is the only way I could get this to work. Why doesn’t Strava’s route builder generate actual directional prompts? Isn’t this a glaring omission? It’s incredibly frustrating.

  157. Robert

    “ if the tables had been turned, and it was Amazon AWS (Strava’s hosting provider), and they simply sent them a note one morning and said: “Don’t worry, we’re just sending you empty data from your databases effective immediately.” – I’m guessing Strava wouldn’t feel the same way.”

    Strava is a customer of AWS, and pays for the service. Are those multitudes of app developers using Strava data paying for it?

  158. John B

    Strava has just reaffirmed were place in the Universe is.

  159. Pier Charly

    I paid for 1yr subscription, but I don’t see the benefits. I’m wondering is there a way to stop it and get $$$ back?

  160. Ed Hawkins

    I haven’t read here one of the biggest reasons to strava – heatmaps. When building a route these can be some of the most helpful bits of information you can find. It would be a shame if these were gone if strava went under this time next year.

    • josh

      yes heatmaps are very under rated feature. at least where i am, i have discovered tons of forgotten and unlabled trails. i have used heatmaps to import almost 80 unique local trails over to trailforks.com.
      maybe i was hasty, and didn’t think through the ethics (dont know if they are on private land or secret stash, but i’ve been riding them for 3 years now without incident) but I would have had zero idea they existed without heatmaps.

  161. Any chance this fancy new route builder will finally send turn by turn directions to my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt like Ride with GPS handles with no issues for free?

  162. Keston T.

    Why not just be like every other social media platform and sell ad space? It is so simple

  163. Damian Wojcik

    Strava wants to play this game…I’m out… I guarantee they’re user base will drop by half.

  164. Matt

    So they go from creating a tiered subscription plan, which admittedly didn’t fill the requirements I had, to an either in-or-out mentality.

    As you’ve mentioned in your other article when launching Summit, i already have plenty of other $10 subscriptions, and honeslty Strava isn’t adding value from their premium option.

    Their route planner was handy, and I do see that as a loss, but I’m not prepared to pay full hog for that alone (segments do nothing for me).

    Hopefully they’ll re-consider tiered membership soon enough, and maybe include a low cost routing subscription level.

  165. Allan Ruyters

    Too many comments, so I apologize if this was discussed. Just want to clarify, in the segment leaderboards, non paying users can no longer see the “my results” leaderboard? I don’t really care about the overall leaders but I do compare myself to my own efforts in the past. Are you saying this feature is no longer free to compare my results?

    • ah

      Wondering this too . . . the answer isn’t clear to me either.

    • JB

      “- Non-paying users will no longer get ‘matched runs’ feature: This will automatically compare runs on the same route from a pace/speed standpoint. A new matched rides feature is introduced today, which is only available to paying users.”

      Doesn’t this mean it will be gone if you don’t pay? I updated my app and it’s still there, but will have to see tomorrow when I do a matched run.

  166. davie

    Scene… It’s the year 2010. In a meeting between Strava and Investors
    Investor: So Strava, tell me your business plan?
    Strava: Well, we’ll develop an unique and innovative social software platform which will get lots of interest from potential customers. We’ll do our best to completely ignore any features they request. When we do implement requested features it will typically take us between 3 and 7 years from when they are first requested. We will implement a few things no one asked for or uses.
    Investor: Wait… What?!
    Strava: No, there’s more. Then for a period of 5 years between 2014 and 2019. We will actually implement no new features whatsoever! in fact, we will remove features that were already there. While this is happening we will introduce confusing subscription models that make no sense. The only feature we develop will be something we suspiciously duplicate from a competitor in record time. Our offering will be so stagnant that massive numbers of 3rd-party solutions will be developed by people who are frustrated with our poor software product.
    Investor: Wow don’t you think this will just lose you customers?
    Strava: Oh no, because… In 2020 we will rush out a bunch of massively overdue releases out the door in record time. This will put us roughly where we should have been in 2015. Then, because we are just so totally awesome once again no one will remember us shafting them for 10 years. Thus, we will then remove basically all the features people love and kill support for all the 3rd party solutions who tried to work with us.
    Investor: Have you thought about just delivering a consistently improving product which does what people want and are willing to pay a subscription for?
    Strava: I don’t understand you.

  167. Andrew

    If Strava think these changes will increase subscribers then they don’t understand their social user base?

  168. Ken Blast

    Strava better be careful or another company will take their one good idea of being a competitive leaderboard app. I seriously doubt most of us even use the social features outside of segments anyway.

  169. josh

    anyone remember when they took away “activity search” a few years ago? bit of an uproar on the support forums but if i recall no real answer as to why they did it. that feature added value. you could look up different types of sports by location. so if you wanted to find a good place to swim, or where on a specific lake people were launching their boats from, you could do it. really great if you were traveling to a new location and wanted to find something specific. heatmaps almost replaces that, but you can’t be specific as to what type of activity you are looking for….. anyway their behavior of taking away useful things is nothing new

  170. Mike

    This is a bad take. The Strava dev team has rent & mortgages to pay, and someone other than venture capitalists needs to pay for their work. As for the ‘development community’ they are not freely developing the Strava platform, they are leveraging the Strava platform for their own projects.

  171. Syd Nakter

    Ray, do you know how much money Strava loses on a free customer? Lots of the comments are focused on how this is a mistake from a revenue perspective. Maybe the right lens to evaluate this change is purely from an expense perspective. Maybe, if you’re not a subscriber, they actually want (need) you to leave?

    • R

      I was a paying customer and downgraded today. Thanks for calling this out. My problem is that I have been paying Strava hundreds of dollars for supporting a business that will die because they have no commitment to their customers. Removing the feature of leaderboards hurts not just free customers, it hurts me as a paying customer. If it sounds a little heartless, I will donate the money to the food bank instead (and maybe I should have done that anyways).

      It’s actually not rocket science when you have this level of engagement. There are many avenues to make money. Everyone else shows ads, what makes Strava special? Maybe it’s a bad time, but running seems to be popular now and buying things online seems necessary. Maybe they can figure out something there.

    • The challenge with the viewpoint of customers being either useful (paying) or useless (unpaying), is that it doesn’t work for Strava as a business model.

      Strava got their popularity because of the non-paying members. Strava’s paying membership is roughly 3-4% of users. So one has to ask themselves: Would they still be on Strava if 96% of the users were gone?

      Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but in some ways it is. It’s up to each platform/company to figure out how to strike that balance from the start. Obviously, Strava never did it.

      Despite some people’s take on my post, I have no issues with Strava charging money, or pushing customers to sign-up. My issue here is primarily centered around the communications of it to developers, the fact that they’re removing functionality from paid users too (app access), and that I think removing features that were free for a decade is a bit of a bait and switch.

      I’m fully in support of having almost every new feature be paying-only. I’ve been saying that for months. Provide just the right balance of new features that make non-paying users go ‘Ok, yes – that’s adding value, here’s my credit card’.

    • Syd Nakter

      Interesting. Thanks.

  172. Frugal But Not A Bastard

    Holy f@ck, less than 5% of 50 million users can cough up $5/month to help a company invest that into creating newer better features. Bunch a GD cheapskates our there.

    • Mark

      We’re not a charity. The market will pay for something when it’s worth paying for.

      Your comment would make more sense if they were adding features to the paid memberships but they are not doing so.

  173. Mark

    I have been using Strava as a runner since 2013. I have tried a paid membership several times the most recent being a month ago. I cancelled again very quickly after seeing there was zero point since I use Garmin Connect as my main training log. Strava’s training metrics are a total joke and seem like they were made up by pulling stuff out of a hat.

    I don’t even give a shyt about the social aspect since the people who I care about I see and talk to in real life. I don’t follow “pros” since just don’t really hmm care about their training and if I wanted to stalk them I would find them on Instagram.

    The only feature I will miss is segments since I have a couple of top 20 spots on hill climbs and descents in my area and I like to see where I am once in awhile. Since I won’t be able to do that anymore I guess I will say goodbye to Strava. Frankly most of the people I know upload to Strava without thought or intent. It’s synced to their Garmin and ends up there but they never actually use Strava as more than another depository for runs.

  174. Sam Menteith

    Now that great feature of starring a ride/new route in your account and automatically syncing over to your Garmin edge won’t work because I can no longer create new routes 🙁 How else can I get automatic syncing of my routes to my Garmin? Sigh.

  175. BilD

    People are complaining about $5 per month? For a tool that has a lot of really nice features?? I think Strava is doing precisely the right thing here. Increasing the conversion rate had been a goal since the founders returned to the helm so as to refocus Strava on their vision. Bully for them! I’m looking forward to more improved features as a paying customer, and not acting as an enabler to free riders.

  176. Nick

    Wow…just wow….

    I paid for Strava for several years. I quit just this year because like so many others, there were no improvements, no direction, a large and increasingly kludgy number of problems and interface issues, etc.

    So I was happy to hear about a management change and starting to see enough changes to think I might just be interested in paying them some money again someday…..

    And…wow…now this….here’s my analogy to help Strava leadership understand what a terrible move this happens to be.

    Imagine you have a local restaurant and you buy the combo meal and the soda is always terrible. They think they’re doing you a favor with the combo offer but since a third of it is terrible, they’re actually at a value disadvantage relative to competitors. You stop going to that restaurant. They entice you back with a coupon and you get your meal, try the soda and are thrilled to discover it tastes wonderful.

    Then you go to take a bite of your burger and discover it has no condiments on it. You ask why it was prepared wrong and are informed that nothing is wrong. Condiments cost extra.

    You’d never frequent that restaurant again and that feels very much like how I can imagine people processing these actions by Strava.

    I feel terrible that they are now in a cash crunch or are worried they won’t be able to survive long term.

    It is funny how the reasoning should be applied both ways….

    You guys buy $150 shoes and $4000 bikes, you should be able to cough up this amount of money.

    The was that yes I can and yes did and yes I would, but at this stage Strava has so little value that a guy who can easily afford it won’t pay it ….just because.

    They’ve spent years literally alienating their paying user base and now they’ve gone and started alienating everyone else.

    With so many high dollar, high value users, all they have to do is… provide a service worth the money or at least make a good faith effort in that direction. They literally have free feedback on what will make people hand over their money in terms of feature requests but they’ve ignored it.

    So first I won’t be giving them money to see leaderboards because if my friends aren’t adding their data, then there isn’t any point. I suspect most people will start looking for an alternative or waiting for someone to buy the corpse when they go bust.

    Here are some of the things most people would hand over money for in my opinion….

    -Put all the sensor support back in the phone app and have it also provide turn by turn navigation on Strava created routes….This makes it a first choice for many casual cyclists and also a cheap backup fitness tracker for anyone who pulls out their Garmin or Wahoo and discovers they forgot to charge it etc.

    -Zwift calculates “Zpower” using dumb trainers. Punch in your weight, your bike weight and pair some sensors and get “StravaPower” as part of your $60 subscription. It could be less than perfect because it is $60 a year, not a several hundred dollar purchase. It isn’t perfect but might be fun when you are on the Beach Cruiser with the kids and decide to hit a segment for fun.

    -Strave knows when you ride with a group for the most part and most people seem very enthusiastic about badges. Subscribers get to hand out special badges on top of thumbs up. You could get the “Making it look easy badge” for that day or the “Awesome Ride Leader Badge” or “New Route” badge and so on. Hell you could make it a literal gold star like every first grader was so desperate for back in the day. Subscribers get to hand out 10 golden stars a day or something.

    This current move feels like a death spiral. I hope it works out for them but they leaderboards are in the category of “condiments”. It isn’t the main course. People will be upset not just because they used to be free but also because their contribution is part of the cycle that added the value that Strava now wants to charge for subscription.

  177. JB

    I like Strava for comparing my runs on the same route and tracking my shoes, guess I’ll have to find something else to easily track runs on the same route.

    Any ideas?

    • Chrisgg

      I will miss the matched activity feature too unless I subscribe. It’s invaluable for getting a quick look at how you did on all your previous activities over the same route. This is especially useful for runners, who tend to do particular races or training routes of particular distances such as 10K, 10 miles, half marathon etc. Cyclists tend to rely more on segments and rarely race a specific distance. However, Garmin.has a better search engine than Strava. You can filter by name of activity, distance range, date range, type of run (e.g. race, training). By remembering to name the same activities with exactly the same words, you can find all your similar runs. It just takes a bit longer.

    • inSyt

      I agree with you about matched runs. It seems like they want to offer no free analysis. GAP is probably gonna be gone soon?

      Personally, I feel like the writing was on the wall for free users when they released the weather data point as a paid only feature. Everyone gives weather away for free. There’s even a 3rd party plugin that gives it away for free on Strava.

      I also do not get why they cannot monetize Strava with ads or merchandise? It’s like the perfect platform for such monetizing. Even running, a relatively cheap sport, needs shoes that need to replaced periodically. They can even sell ads and merchandise without spamming them in the feed, For example, they could include them in the notifications they send out when your equipment has reached a certain mileage. They could also sell peloton style workout videos in the analysis sections of the website. Want to improve, try this workout, or try this at this gym? What about a streaming service that only offers media that’s suitable during workouts? Creating a tab for events to sell entries?

  178. Mike S

    I’ve got $20 for a leaderboard only membership.

  179. davie

    A simple question for anyone saying they will now pay:
    What are you happy to now pay for?
    1) Only the same features I used to get for free?
    2) New features and ongoing improvements ?
    If you answered 1, that totally fine. If 2 you may be extremely naive or gullible.
    Assuming Strava’s rush to release overdue features in the last 2 months was only to justify today’s cash grab. Its likely that Strava will return to normal service of no innovation or development for at least the next 3-4 years.

  180. Andrew

    I came over years ago from mapmyride as it wasn’t mapping very well at the time and I couldn’t find help anywhere.
    I like both the social aspect and also segments. I like to see where I am in “the field” or even “hey, I’ve felt like crap but I ended up with a few PR’s / 2nd/3rds so cant be all bad”. I’m old and heavy so weight and age categories are attractive.
    I’ve come close many times to going Strava premium as I use it weekly and think I should contribute. BUT. They keep doing annoying stuff. And not fixing stuff for years. Pictures, Non chronalogical, dropping sensors from phones. Why?
    FFS. Get your sh1t together and I’ll pay.

  181. WorkonSunday

    One main take away for me is the removal of the pack system of Summit. Even after they switched for two years i still have no idea about what does what and how the cost adds up. Anyway, there is no mention however what is this single pricing tier same as before or just another price hike hiding behind announcement?

    Also, i notoce Relive starts sending me spam mails again…i wonder the sudden stop for 3rd party is another discovery of bypass/backdoor which opens them up for lawsuit….

  182. GPSIG

    While I agree with your observations that Strava should have done a better job with 3rd party folks using their APIs, I am pleased to see Strava trying different paths to find a profitable way to bring social networking for fitness, as well as useful fitness tools, to the market. I hope they never stop innovating. Regarding what it costs and what is “free,” I have squandered hundreds of dollars per month paying for cable and cell phone “bundles” full of things I didn’t support and didn’t want. Very nice to be able to send my money to sports folks who are interested in the thing I am interested in, and I love alternate media distribution models like TriathlonTV.

  183. R. M. Morrien

    Garmin Connect this is your chance. Support third-party devices and you become the number one within a year. You will sell more units and there will be no reason to introduce payment tiers.

  184. Sam

    Strava giveth strava taketh…..

  185. Micke Å

    Does this impact Zwiftpower?

  186. Christian

    I am a paying customer and although I think that Strava is taking a wrong turn here I will probably continue to pay as Strava’s one of the apps I use most in my everyday life.
    I have a question on the Route Builder feature though: one thing that has annoyed me for years is Strava’s route builder’s inability to work with *gpx tracks, that I would simply want to upload as a basis for building my routes. There’s been a beta “gpx to route” feature forever, but most of the times it doesn’t work. Has the feature to upload gpx now been included?
    Here in Germany I cannot see the new route builder (yet).

  187. Leo

    “Strava sold its segmented soul. ”

    Well, not for me. The social part with kudos and being inspired by fellow athletes do is the soul.

    Plus, I set my privacy levels quite high, so I don’t appear in any segments list anyway.

  188. laurens

    Strava is a bitch, just like Facebook. Screw them!

  189. Eric

    From a segment lover perspective: If the freebies stop compete on segments, or even leave Strava (because honestly, whats the point then anymore if I don’t get to see at least my time and place?), all the segments fun is gone also for the premium users. I don’t want to compete with paying users only, I want to race all riders out there.

    • jk

      you will still be competing with all riders. the non-paying riders just won’t be able to see more than the top10 leaderboard on a given segment. that’s what i understand from reading their material anyway…

  190. Al B

    I’ve been paying a small premium for years now. If you want to compete in Zwift you have to pay for the privilege. If you want to turn your free road ride into a competition then I don’t see why you shouldn’t pay someone a small fee for setting up that software. Strava stated years ago that free services would continue in order to increase potential customer base and would then be slowly focusing on profitability/ a sale. This must have been in 2016? I’m surprised it’s taken them this long to take the approach with segments.
    If I owned the app, I’d have done it sooner.

  191. TE

    Are there any other apps/sites providing matched runs based on workouts done with Apple Watch?

    I don’t care about segments in general, I don’t care about social networks… all I want is easy to see information about my latest runs compared to historical runs on the same routes, so I can see progress and get motivated by that.

  192. Hannes

    I have been enjoying Strava a lot in the past years and always thought about upgrading to the paid subscription. However, the benefits of the paid tier were just not enough.
    I always considered only pros go pro on Strava. I found it hilarious to upgrade to a pro account for my few slow and short rides/runs. (Perhaps it could be an added motivation??)
    Now Strava is taking something away from the free tier and at the same time they make “point-blank clear that if they don’t get more subscribers and become profitable, there’s a pretty good chance there won’t be a Strava in a year.” On the one hand I do not want to honor them for taking away something by upgrading, on the other hand I would be quite sad to see Strava go.
    I agree with Ray that there are so many oportunities for cool features. Personally I would like to see the Varia Radar integration into a traffic heatmap come true. And I think Strava could become the go-to place for sports events, if they would allow smaller races to be included into their database. Imagine, going on a holiday (after Corona). You are in this small town in a foreign country. And in your explore tab in the Strava app a notification pops up, that in this town their will be a eg. half marathon the next day. Together with all infos regadring sign-up, cours etc. in your language in a standardised form for every race across the wolrd.
    What would also be great is a heatmap tab like the watchface on the new Suunto. To explore your surrounding.
    Ok, so I hope Strava continues beeing around giving us joy, motivation and competition.

  193. Natalie

    You can still see the top 10, just pedal harder! Or pay a small annual fee to support the service, it’s not a charity.

    • ArT

      Whether small depends on the wallet. Big for me. There used to be a subscription to three parts. It was ok. Payment for the whole is unnecessary if I am only interested in the strava live segment.

  194. Alexander

    A big misunderstanding is to add the ability to disable activity from statistics. Because of this, we have inadequate PR / CR and inaccuracies in personal statistics.

    This is a quick and cheap fix, but Strava does not want to do this.

    (If representatives of Strava read this, pay attention to it.)

  195. dko

    If they start losing people who share data to platform, they will have less to sell. To most people, if they cant see friends times, and compete with them, and on top of that, can’t see my on results to compare, then there is no need for me to use it.
    So, Strava will lose a lots of members with free accounts, that will lead to losing premium members.
    Why would I keep sending them my data for nothing??

  196. Anders

    I used to be a paying customer but they never fixed the problem (attached URL) with accumulated time for all types of training. I would be happy to pay if they would listen to people who are willing to if they were just listened to. The first 1-3 years, people in the thread asked nicely but the last 2 years people are just laughing to the ignorance from Strava.
    link to support.strava.com

  197. John Tomac

    I know that a company needs profits, but I think the are taking a step in the wrong way. The users have to feel that the’re paying for something valuable.

    I’m a Zwift paid user, because it give me motivation to train indoors. On the other hand, I have never paid for Strava, becuase I only use Segments explorer, segments leadeboard and My Results. Never used the route builder because I use Garmin Connect for that. I’m not going to pay for seen a leaderboard. All my friends uses Garmin devices, so I can see what they are doing in Garmin Connect.

    PS: If Garmin Connect improve the segments, they will kill Strava.

  198. Marc

    I’ve been using Strava from several years. First as free, and later paying, because of Live Segments, but mainly to support them.

    What they are doing now is something expected and that has been delayed more than they needed, I guess.

    I’ve tried different route builders but I’ve always come back to Strava. For me it’s one of the best features when travelling away home.

    I don’t think that improvements Ray states to convert people to premium are really appealing to most of us.

    The only thing that they are doing wrong is changed all the API without giving time to 3rd apps to adapt them. I don’t understand what’s the point on this.

    For the moment, I’ll keep with my payment subscription and hope Strava remains for years, but in any case, I’ve started backing up all my information on Strava…

  199. Wojtek

    I don’t care about segments, but loosing matched runs feature really hurts (quite the opposite to what You’ve writing Ray…)

    • Sjaak Trekhaak

      From the Netherlands: I have used Strava for free for the last 5 years. I decided today to get te paid membership to support this great app.