Virtual indoor cycling: 10 apps you should know

Virtual indoor cycling: 10 apps you should know

In this article you will find the features of the best virtual indoor cycling apps of the moment.

We examine the top 10 indoor cycling apps to immerse you in a virtual world where you can share your training, compete online, create routes and much more.

In this article you will find:

What are indoor cycling apps
Important features of the indoor cycling apps
The best virtual indoor cycling platforms

Which virtual indoor cycling app is for you?

Get the most out of your preparation with some of the best virtual indoor cycling apps we’ve tested for you. All these apps are compatible with the best rollers and trainers on the market.

 

What are indoor cycling apps?

In general it is software that helps create specific routines for training on the bike, allowing the analysis of data and performance achieved. They provide the option of sharing your training on social networks, as well as transforming your training into a virtual competition. You can create exciting tournaments against cyclists from all over the world, and even do it while pedaling through virtual routes that are emblematic of real cycling.

There are two main groups: applications with an emphasis on structured training and analysis, which give you tools to help you manage your indoor training. And other apps that provide a virtual driving experience with simulated GPS routes, video routes or virtual cycling experience. Some of the best apps offer both options.

Important features of indoor cycling apps:

 

  • Indoor cycling apps interface
  • Interface features

Like any good interface, it should ideally be intuitive. It should place special emphasis on the rider’s experience and interaction. It should also be readable for the metrics you are interested in and have a good track record in real time. The follow up can be by video or 3D animation achieving a completely immersive experience.

Subscription Types

There are several plans, but most indoor cycling apps have memberships with options ranging from the basic one with a lower cost that is according to the functions you can use, to the premium one that, with a higher cost, releases all the functions and power of the app to the user. However, even some of them have free options with different limitations within their functions.

Operating System Compatibility

The most complete indoor cycling apps are widely compatible with the most common operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows), as well as with accessories and devices from different manufacturers.

Support for smart trainers

It is important that indoor cycling apps offer the ability to communicate through different protocols (Bluetooth, ANT+, etc.) to different devices and accessories in order to enrich your workouts.

The best virtual indoor cycling platforms

1. Zwift cycling

One of the most important features of Zwift is the ability to travel in a virtual world competing or riding in real time with cyclists from all over the world. It is totally immersive, making indoor cycling more attractive. Its multi-player interface frames a series of on-screen metrics to display data about your training. Another attractive feature of this app is its ability to configure your clothing and the bike your avatar uses. There’s even a mountain bike section in development.

Zwift app

Their training plans, designed by world-class trainers, are being followed by many enthusiasts. However, their flexibility provides you with the opportunity to create your own, or simply take a recreational walk through their virtual or real routes in 3D and 2D animation. Through your membership you can access all functions; cycling events; routes and competitions.

It is compatible with operating systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Apple TV, so you can project it on any type of screen, which makes it very versatile. The application is widely compatible with Smart trainers; Direct Drive Trainers; Wheel-on Trainers; static bicycles (Indoor bikes) and rollers, all from a variety of brands, such as: Saris; Elite; Blackburn; Wahoo; Tacx, among many others. In fact, more and more manufacturers are looking for app compatibility due to the rise of the Zwift community.

When combined with a compatible power meter, any classic rollers should work on Zwift. For a more immersive experience, it also supports some “smart” rollers. All compatible smart rollers will transmit data directly, and some will even monitor resistance.

Interface features: 3 and 2D virtual metrics and graphics display with multi-player capability.
Subscription types: Monthly membership with cost for cycling, includes free running.
Operating system support: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Apple TV.
Smart trainer support: Bluetooth, BLE FTMS, ANT+ FE-C

2. Tacx

Multi-player interface whose latest update allows realistic 4K videos of routes around the world that will fit your pedaling rhythm. In addition to giving you the opportunity to compete live with other cyclists, it also allows for detailed visualization of metrics and data that will be very useful when analyzing your workouts. This app also allows you to update routes, challenges and events in real time and view 3D maps.

Tacx Software

The Premium HD membership stands out, allowing you to access all functions with the option of high definition content, achieving total immersion during your training or competition. One of the features that distinguishes this app is the ability for all Tacx Neo devices to access the Road Feel trainers in the enabled videos. Zwift also uses Road Feel, but in the Tacx app you get the full experience of road simulations to further enhance the interaction with the real videos.

It is compatible with operating systems: Android; iOS; Windows; Mac and through your web browser (hosted in the Cloud). Create or upload your favorite routes by linking your Strava account or uploading your registered GPS data. Follow a specific training plan or create your own.

It is specially designed for Tacx Smart training rollers, which is not a limitation at all, considering that they are among the most used devices by cyclists of all kinds. It is also compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 devices.

Interface features: High-definition video, 3D maps, on-screen display of metrics, multi-player.
Subscription types: Basic, free with some of the features; Premium, per month or per year with all the features; Premium HD, per month or per year with all the features in high definition.
Operating system support: Windows; Mac; iOS and Android; Cloud website.
Smart trainer support: Bluetooth 4.0

 

3. TrainerRoad

Compared to other applications, TrainerRoad is a sober app in terms of graphics. Nevertheless, it has everything those cyclists who have clear goals for a more structured training to their condition need. In addition, its interface displays a graph of your physical activity with real-time statistics, including heart rate, speed and cadence sensor along with its watts. It can be used outdoors and indoors. It also has a new feature that allows users to share video, voice and data in real time with up to four other riders.

Trainer Road Group
With your membership, which can be monthly or annual, you can access over 1,000 interval workouts with power-based exercises, automatic resistance control and comprehensive training plans.

Its compatibility is more than acceptable, as it performs well through the most used operating systems.

It works particularly well with the new generation of intelligent trainers, as resistance can be controlled through the software. The driving experience is reasonably realistic for pedaling the various routes in your collection.

Interface features: Graphics for metrics and your physical activity; chat with video, voice and data in real time with up to four other riders .
Subscription types: A single membership with monthly and annual payment with which you get a preferential price.
Operating system support: iOS; Android; Windows; Mac.
Support for smart trainers: ANT+; Bluetooth 4.0

4. The Sufferfest

The Sufferfest is an application that integrates structured training with real images of cycling and running. A slightly different approach to the interactivity and immersion of apps like Zwift or Rouvy. However, its interface is more graphic than for example TrainerRoad. However, it is based on workouts that are tailored to your personal fitness level (yes, like TrainerRoad).

Membership gives you access, offline, to a library of structured video training. Training in 11 categories, including: base; climbing; exercise; endurance; fitness tests; mashups; race simulation; recovery; speed development; style/form and time trial. Plus comprehensive training for cyclists and triathletes that combines yoga, mental and strength training.

Operating system compatibility options are good, although it lacks Android. In terms of devices, the number of options is more than acceptable, but according to your operating system you should check their page to make sure that the trainer’s control is compatible with your system and the devices with the application. I can tell you that with Windows system, you will not have Road Feel.

We can highlight that what really makes it different, is that in most applications, your personal physical condition is equivalent to “your FTP” (Functional Threshold Power), but that is not the case here. In that sense, The Sufferfest uses the “4DP” (Four-Dimensional Power) which, as its name indicates, 4DP is based on four performance metrics: neuromuscular power (NM, speed and neuromuscular coordination), maximum aerobic power (MAP, very high power for a few minutes), functional threshold (FTP) and anaerobic capacity (AC, extremely high levels of effort to attack). Which is used to determine what kind of cyclist you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Interface features: On-screen metrics; real video; multi-player.
Subscription types: Membership with annual and monthly plan.
Operating system support: Mac; Windows; iOS.
Smart trainer support: Bluetooth; ANT+.

 

5. Rouvy

Rouvy uses for its interface a combination of real GPS-based videos with 3D animated objects and avatars for the users. It is also a multiplayer platform that allows you to create your own route (Windows only); use structured training, and export the training of the day from your TrainingPeaks account.

Their plans and subscriptions are varied, but their Premium membership stands out with important features such as: premium routes; subscription sharing with up to 5 devices; guides and much more.

Its compatibility with Windows, Mac, Apple TV, Android and iOS operating systems makes it easy to project on high-definition devices so you can get the most out of your actual videos.

It is compatible with a series of trainers from the most renowned brands Wahoo; Tacx; Elite, among others and, devices and sensors from various manufacturers with which you can perform the analysis of your cycling style, including pedal analysis with power meters (compatible).

Interface features: Multi-player; 3D avatar and 2D routes; on-screen metrics.
Subscription types: Membership: Basic and Premium
Operating system support: Windows; iOS; Android; Mac; Apple TV
Smart trainer support: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+ FE-C.

6. FulGaz

Its interface combines real video images of the most emblematic routes of professional cycling, so if you want to pedal in Alpe d’Huez from the comfort of your home, with FulGaz it is possible. The videos are shot in 4K from a camera mounted on a bike and the video is accelerated or slowed down to match your actual performance.

Fulgaz App

The memberships (monthly or annual) have no major changes except for the opportunity to have a free profile with your annuity payment.

Its Bluetooth connectivity with the most popular trainers (Kinetic; Elite; Wahoo, etc.), puts it on par with many of the best apps. Although there are slight discrepancies between the synchrony with the Feel Road due to the fact that it takes a few seconds to respond to pedaling resistance on the steepest slopes. However, a good configuration of your weight, aerodynamic resistance and gear ratios will certainly improve things.

Its system compatibility allows you to enjoy hundreds of FulGaz rides on your tablet, TV or Windows PC. The Apple TV application makes this even easier to set up. It also lets you enjoy Ultra HD 4K content.

Interface features: HD video; on-screen metrics; real-time trainer interaction. Compete with another player on screen (Challange mode)
Subscription types: Monthly membership, and annual membership with which you get a free profile.
Operating system support: Apple TV; iOS (9 or later); Android (Beta); Windows (Beta)
Smart trainer support: Bluetooth; ANT

 

7. RGT Cycling (road grand tours)

With a similar concept to Zwift, but with a different level of detail, operation and above all number of users, the interface of RGT, does not allow the option of multi-player that if they handle several applications of our analysis. Another difference in the way it is used is that in order to use it, you will need to install two applications: one that is the actual application you will need to install on your phone, and the other that simply acts as a screen to show the virtual world. This is not very practical because you need two devices at the same time.

RGT Cycling
However, the realism in the riding experience sets it apart, as the emphasis on rider movement, braking and resistance is realistically replicated in the intelligent trainer or stationary bike, and the opportunity to perfect your cornering and improve your sprints compensates for some of its limitations. It has two types of memberships one that is free, which may be its strength compared to other applications and the Premium, through monthly payment that gives you access to all its features including: create event on standard route, Magic Road; customize your avatar; integration with Training Peaks and synchronization with the Workout of the Day library.

Exercise bikes vs training rollers
Regarding compatibility with trainers, we see that it is in the mobile application where you connect the roller and other sensors you have (power, heart rate, etc.) and from where you manage everything to start the activity, set up a workout or chat with other cyclists. You can also synchronize with TrainingPeaks and Strava to send your workouts to these platforms automatically.

The screen application is just that, a screen. But it doesn’t allow you to perform monitoring of any kind, connect sensors, or anything else but display the image. This application can be installed on Windows, Mac, iPad or Apple TV.

Interface features: 3D animation; on-screen metrics; 3D maps
Subscription types: Free membership (some of the features) and Premium all options.
Operating system support: Mac; iOS; Apple TV; Windows; Android.
Smart trainer support: BLE; FTMS; ANT+ FE-C.

 

8. BKOOL simulator

An interface that allows you to pedal through real world videos with virtual 3D representations of other competitors to keep you company or measure yourself against them and crowds to encourage them, are a good start. However, the interface complicates the configuration resulting in resistance changes that are often somewhat abrupt and unrealistic.

Bkool app
But on the positive side, any route can be turned into a BKool session by linking to your own GPS routes to enjoy them in an aerial map mode. Velodrome sessions add an extra element compared to other applications: allowing you to compete against other racers in a chase or against the clock, with the only limitation of the number of other users online.

It has different memberships with monthly and annual payment, highlighting the Premium Unlimited, which gives you full access to all functions among which we find for example the option to upload your own routes or choose between routes with real life.

The application has taken special care in its compatibility with trainers, allowing the connection with several brands of the most recognized, as well as sensors. The systems it is compatible with are Windows; Mac; Android and iOS.

Interface features: Multiplayer; 3D animation; real video.
Subscription types: Annual and monthly membership.
Operating system support: Windows; Mac; Android; iOS.
Smart trainer support: ANT+ FEC; Bluetooth Smart

9. Elite My E-Training

Designed to work with Elite’s wide range of trainers, this application features a multi-player interface that, among other things, provides the option to play your own routes in the trainer and match the pedal resistance as you would experience it on the real route. You’ll also be able to ride routes that other users have shared, plus the ability to create your own 3D course using Google Maps to travel anywhere in the world.

My e-training
You will be able to use some basic functions for free, but to discover their full potential you will have to purchase an annual membership. Among the basic functions we find 16 levels of resistance and data such as: speed, power, cadence and some more.

When you start using My E-Training you will be able to train according to your FTP (functional power threshold) and display power, cadence, heart rate, speed, time and distance data directly on your smart phone or tablet (iOS and Android), or on your Windows or Mac PC, connected wirelessly to Elite home trainers, or through ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart protocols.

Interface features: Real video; multi-player on-screen metrics
Subscription types: Memberships: Basic, free; Premium with annual fee and access to all features.
Operating system support: Windows; Andorid; Mac; iOS
Smart Trainer Compatibility: Compatible with ELITE rollers and home trainers: RealTurboMuin. Trainers with Turbo Muin, Digital, Hydromag, Fluid and Magnetic technology, free driving rollers.

10. Kinomap

Kinomap’s interface is also based on real videos recorded by cyclists around the world, with more than 50,000 kilometers of routes where you can train, ride or compete virtually allowing a multiplayer mode.

Kinomap app
For free you have access to a limited number of application features such as: using some of its videos for beginners; sharing your workouts; connecting devices using an external sensor or the front camera of your smartphone or tablet. And by paying for any of its three plans (monthly, yearly and lifetime) you’ll have unlimited access to all features.

The application is compatible with iOS and Android devices as well as smart roller models such as: Wahoo KICKR Smart Trainer, Cycleops PowerBeam, Computrainer or different models of the Elite firm. But, it can also be used with any type of training roller if you have (compatible) speed and cadence sensors installed on your bike, allowing you to enjoy its features without having to pay money for a state-of-the-art roller.

Interface features: Real video; on-screen metrics; multi-player
Subscription types: Memberships: basic, free; Premium: monthly, annual and lifetime plan.
Operating system support: Android; iOS.
Smart trainer support: Bluetooth; ANT+.

 

Which virtual indoor cycling app is for you?

As we have seen, the applications for indoor cycling can be grouped into two large groups: one for those applications with an emphasis on structured training and analysis, and another that brings together those that provide us with virtual driving with simulated GPS routes, video routes or virtual cycling experience (more like a video game). There will be those that have both characteristics and something else.

Maybe you’re just looking to stay in shape with indoor training when you can’t get out there, maybe you’re planning a comprehensive workout to reach your nearest goal, or you’re looking for the experience of immersion in the world of virtual cycling and competing with cyclists from around the world.

No matter what your reasons are for getting started in indoor cycling, it is important that based on the characteristics of each of the apps reviewed here, you evaluate which app is best for you. Without forgetting the type of equipment you already have, if it is necessary to invest money and buy some of the peripherals they are compatible with or if you have a specific training plan, so that you make the best informed decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *