Cycling training with an indoor trainer used to be painfully boring. However, with the advent of great software, these indoor rides have become not only interesting and attractive but also much more competitive.
We are sure that there is hardly any cyclist who has not heard of the Zwift and Rouvy apps. And this time we put them into battle.
In this article, we will describe both applications. It’s up to you to decide which one will help you stay fit when the weather isn’t suitable for cycling outside.
What do you need to get started?
Be it Zwift or Rouvy, both apps require you to have:
- Trainer (you can choose between turbo trainers or classic trainers with a speed sensor or power meter);
- Laptop, Tablet or Smart TV;
- Bluetooth and/or ANT+ wireless dongle, depending on what your sensors are using.
Based on the number of users, Zwift is the most popular cycling app among competitive and recreational cyclists. It offers group rides and races as well as fun graphics with which we enter our own HD cartoon cycling world. And these are the reasons why Zwift overshadows other applications, including Rouvy.
Each rider using Zwift has their own customizable avatar to cycle through virtual landscapes and courses called Zwift Worlds, which to date include:
- New York,
- Richmond – Virginia,
- Makuri Islands (fictional),
- Watopia (fictional).
Most virtual worlds are actual cities, counties, or countries. Watopia is a fictional cycling environment inspired by two Pacific islands (Te Anu and Naunonga) and is always available. While the other worlds alternate by day and there are two additional worlds available to you daily in addition to Watopia.
Depending on your location, you can plan your rides using the calendar (found on the right side of the home screen). This will let you know which day hosts certain locations.
Zwift training, races, and points
The huge user base that enjoys the app allows you to ride with other people at any time of the day, regardless of the time zone. There are four types of events on Zwift: Group Rides, Group Workouts, Races (or Fondos), and Solo Training.
- Group Rides are similar to real outdoor rides. Usually with a designated leader and pace for the group. You can send high-fives, short messages, etc. in a way that resembles real life.
- Group Workout allows you to ride with a group that will stick together throughout the workout, regardless of fitness level. It is a more structured setup with interval training and strength training.
- Races are held every day in different categories according to your power level (A, B, C and D). This way you can compete with other riders with a similar fitness level.
- Solo Training allows you to ride solo, where you will probably soon have company, as there are always thousands of active cyclists. If you really want to drive alone, switch your WiFi connection to airplane mode. But don’t forget to turn the WiFi back on before saving your activity and closing the app. Otherwise, you will lose your driving data.
During your ride, Zwift allows you to earn and win various advantages and points:
- Powerups are advantages that are granted when you go through an arc, but new ones are not released unless you used the last one. This gives you some of the unpredictability that is also present in any real bike race. For example, powerups can make you 15 seconds lighter when going up a hill, or allow you to drive lightly for a while.
- Experience Points (XP) are awarded for every kilometer or mile you travel. You receive them based on the type and length of the interval and the accuracy of performing the intervals. Points are awarded as large or small bonuses and for various other achievements or events. With them, you slowly unlock 50 levels of riders, where each level has a reward (shoes, gloves, boots, helmets, kits).
How much does Zwift cost?
Currently, Zwift is priced at $14.99 per month. You have a 7-day free trial before you commit. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the application during this time. You may even qualify for a free 30-day trial if you buy a smart trainer through Zwift. You can cancel the subscription in months with nicer weather and reactivate it later.
Compared to Zwift, Rouvy is a newer virtual cycling app that uses real-world graphics. It offers users a huge number of routes around the world, from the most famous routes to unknown side roads, which you can cycle through with your virtual avatar. You can go on many climbs such as the Stelvio Pass, Alpe d’Huez, or Mont Ventoux. You can also choose more level routes such as the 32 km long Ponte Tresa-Stabio route on the Italian-Swiss border, with a modest 195 m above sea level. Rouvy can be a unique tool for training a particular ride in a location where you may actually be going.
Rouvy driving modes
Rouvy has two main driving modes available:
This mode is divided into training mode (TM) and time trial mode (TT):
- Training mode is where you can train on selected tracks, but your personal record will not be recorded on the leaderboard, only in your training log. You have the ability to adjust the inclines for your own training needs and the option to skip certain sections of the route.
- Time trial in which you drive a route like it is in real life. Adjustments are not possible here, so your results will also appear in the Rouvy log.
Another way where you can enter official or unofficial Rouvy races. Unofficial ones include your private races between you and your friends, which you can create on my.rouvy.com. You can also join a non-competitive group ride, where different fitness levels are equalized. It’s a friendly group ride where you can ride alongside elite cyclists and pros without you being left behind.
How much does Rouvy cost?
Rouvy offers a 14-day free trial, after which you can choose between three subscriptions: $15/month for a 1-month subscription, $14/month for a 6-month subscription, and $12/month for a 12-month subscription. Subscriptions for 6 or 12 months can be paid in advance.
It also has the option of Family Sharing, which allows you to share the subscription with two other family members (3 in total). A maximum of 5 devices can be connected to one family.
Rouvy vs Zwift: quick comparison
The Rouvy vs Zwift table is displayed below:
|Structured workouts & training plans
|$12 – $15
I joined Zwift about a year ago when I bought a trainer for keeping in shape outside the cycling season. I decided on it mainly because of the community provided by the huge user base. So I am never alone, even on a solo ride. Also in real life, I cycle more often with a group than alone.
If you are a fan of group rides and invented routes are not a problem for you, then I suggest Zwift. Otherwise, if you want cycling in realistic routes, try Rouvy.
If you are still deciding which app is right for you try both with a free trial period. It will surely make the decision easier.
Have a lot of fun with indoor cycling!