The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Racing


When I think back at my first hours of indoor biking (a.k.a starring at a wall…), I am really happy that companies created indoor apps. It makes indoor biking much more enjoyable.

As probably every triathlete, I struggled for a while to find the right indoor app for me. With this blog post series, I want to give you a first glance at the main indoor apps so you can decide which one you want to test first.

If you want to ride with other (virtual) cyclists, with your friends in a group, or participate in races, you will probably want to give one of the apps below a try! Otherwise, look at my other blog posts:

The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Becoming Faster
The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Riding Real World Roads

ZWIFT

WHAT IS ZWIFT?

With roughly 26 000 cyclists connected simultaneously when I took the screenshots, Zwift is currently the king in the social interaction space. In total, there are 6 worlds available. You will ride your customizable avatar either in their own created world, Watopia, or in one of the 5 real worlds that are constantly rotating.

There are races and group rides you can join around the clock if you wish to. If you are lucky enough to have a treadmill, you will run as well in those virtual worlds.

FREE TRIAL

As with every other indoor app, Zwift is offering a free trial. You will get access to the entire platform for 7 days. Besides, on the first of every month, you will get a credit of 25 km that you can use during the month.

HOW MUCH DOES ZWIFT COST?

Cycling in Zwift costs $14.99 plus local taxes per month per profile, and running is currently for free (while in Beta). If your child is under 16, he/she can use a limited version of Zwift (basically without the chat function) for free.

CAN YOU SHARE A ZWIFT ACCOUNT?

Zwift currently works as one account = one profile, so every user needs to pay for it. No family discount here. You could technically share your account with someone assuming this person is not riding at the same time. However, I would avoid this approach. You would need to manually change the settings each time you are riding and export the Zwift activities manually into third-party software. All activities in Zwift will be shown under the same profile.

WHAT YOU NEED TO RUN ZWIFT

Have a look at their support page, which is listing all the requirements

MY PERSONAL OPINION

Zwift was the first app I have used. I was quite fascinated by the demo videos I saw online. How cool is it to compete using only the power of your legs? There were so many other (virtual) cyclists around me that I felt submerged immediately into a social video game. I really enjoyed using it for an entire winter season, but I still decided to look at other apps. I personally felt too distracted by everything going on in Zwift. Even when I was supposed to ride at low intensities, I saw myself pushing too hard as soon as someone was near me. Will I try it again? Definitely, yes!

RGT

WHAT IS RGT?

With 400 riders at the time of the screenshots (same time as Zwift for a fair comparison), RGT currently has a much lower user base.

You will get as well your own avatar and will be able to explore 8 worlds. The roads are based on real roads and look less gamified than in Zwift. You will be able to ride, for example, the Mont Ventoux (I am French, so of course I picked a French one ;)). As in Zwift, you can join group rides or races.

FREE TRIAL

As with every other indoor app, RGT is offering a free trial. You will get access to the entire platform for 14 days.

HOW MUCH DOES RGT COST?

RGT has a free version and a premium one selling for $14.99 per month per user. The free version gives you access to 3 roads (out of 8), a partial workout library, and the ability to join races.

You can find all differences on their pricing page.

WHAT YOU NEED TO RUN RGT

I was quite surprised that you need 2 screens to be able to run RGT. One will be used to navigate through the app and the second one is the display screen where you will see your avatar. For most triathletes, it won’t be a problem, but it is definitely something to consider.

Have a look at their get started page and compatibility page for your specific set-up.

MY PERSONAL OPINION

I think it is quite hard to be on RGT without thinking and comparing it with Zwift. Even though I liked that there were fewer people on the map, I still found myself missing it from time to time. Having now limited the free version to 3 roads might make it better. I would need to test it again. I like the concept of their magic roads where you email them a GPX file of a course, and they create it for you. I didn’t feel the need to use it until now, but I keep it in mind.

ROUVY

WHAT IS ROUVY?

Instead of a virtual representation of worlds, Rouvy offers real videos of roads. For this particular portion of our guide, we are mostly interested in their Augmented Reality part of their app. It combines videos of real roads and avatars like in Zwift or RGT. I find the result quite impressive.

One big advantage of Rouvy is their partnership with Ironman for their weekly VR races where pros and age groupers can compete on the same course simultaneously.

FREE TRIAL

As with every other indoor app, Rouvy is offering a free trial. You will get access to the entire platform for 14 days.

HOW MUCH DOES ROUVY COST?

Cycling in Rouvy currently costs $12 per month for 3 family members (up to 5 devices). Subscribing for 12 months will bring the cost down to $10 per month. There are talks of increasing this to $15 per month, but I haven’t seen it yet on the platform.

WHAT YOU NEED TO RUN ROUVY

Have a look at their support page, which is listing all the requirements

MY PERSONAL OPINION

I really like their concept with the avatars showing up on the real roads videos. I think it is well made and quite immersive. I took part in some of their Ironman VR races, and I have to say my competitive side was definitely activated 🙂

Apart from those races, I liked to ride Rouvy during my endurance rides. It made those less monotonous. I currently don’t have an active subscription. I wish they would have an attractive pricing model where you would pay per ride. Then I would definitely use it in combination with Trainerroad.

If you are interested in other types of indoor apps, have a look at those:

The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Becoming Faster
The Best Indoor Cycling Apps For Riding Real World Roads

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