Which Virtual Training Software & Price?

Discussion in 'Virtual Training: Bkool, Zwift, CycleOps & others' started by Heltor Chasca, 19 Nov 2017.

  1. Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    Depending on the outcome of the bank of EBay and work stuff, I am planning on getting my mits on a Wahoo Kickr Snap. I use Strava frequently.

    Given the potential tedious nature of riding on an indoor trainer I really see the benefit of some software. Any experience and importantly PRICE of the following:




    The Sufferfest


    Kinetic Fit

    Thanks in advance.
  2. theboxers

    theboxers TheBoxers on Cycle Sim sw

    OTC (on the couch)
    Big Ring VR is worth a look and is currently free. No training, just mainly classic climbs with very good video. Currently about 165 routes from Europe and the States. From 5 to 85 miles. Every one I've done, or attempted, I've enjoyed one way or another. You can choose parts of routes to do instead of the entire distance. :thumbsup:

    I use bkool at the moment, but they have done some weird enhancement over the last week or so :huh:. It's good for leagues (join the cyclechat chain gang) and various routes with video or 3D or both. It has simple training plans. There are many workouts aimed at different things. The website and interface can be a bit clunky at times, but you get used to it.

    The others I have not used but I'm sure @bobinski and iirc @CXRAndy will be along to talk about zwift and trainer road/peaks(?) respectively.
    Whorty and Heltor Chasca like this.
  3. CXRAndy

    CXRAndy Veteran

    Here I am ^_^

    If you want structured training plan, then Trainer Road is the goto platform. £8/month The graphics are very simple with no distractions. It's all about hitting the target power. My favourite:okay:

    Zwift, this is great for social rides or mass event racing. Also if you fancy just a trundle the graphics are good. £12.99

    BigRingVR with its HD quality videos are ideal to train on long climbs maybe for an upcoming ride or event. Also try out Road grand tours. These two are currently free

    Bkool to train on a particular hill and you want to experience the type of gradient and duration of the real world.£8
    Last edited: 19 Nov 2017
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  4. stumpy66

    stumpy66 Über Member

    This will be my third winter using TrainerRoad, I live the structure of it, once you select the plan your doing when you log in it tells you what workout your scheduled to do. I’ve no experience of using it with a smart trainer, but have a PowerTap PWR meter, speed sensor and hr monitor linked to it.

    I’ve seen big leaps in my fitness using the software, my initial ftp test was 225 Watts, over the winter by March I was at 339 watts and 4.1 w/kg. I can’t recommend TrainerRoad enough.

    Depends what you want from the software, I like the structure of TrainerRoad not sure I would be as keen on zwift but that’s my opinion.

    I have Spotify running and if it’s an easier session watch stuff on Netflix and have TrainerRoad minimised so I can still keep an eye on what I’m doing
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  5. I used TR last winter, if I am to get another package it'd be that again but mainly as my smart trainer is pretty dumb (it has no adjustable resistance). I think I saw a review though that BKool was the cheapest and if I had a smarter trainer I think that looks the most variable if not as structured as TR.

    Edit and I believe you can synchronise TR with Sufferfest.
  6. Asa Post

    Asa Post Small lungs, weak legs

    I'm going through something similar after falling out with Bkool. I've been on there for years, and it was great at first, but for months now I just can't get it to work consistently. Getting my original Bkool trainer to pair had become hit and miss. When it broke (old and much used, I'm not complaining) I replaced it with a CycleOps Magnus, and I've only managed to pair it once. The videos often freeze for most of the ride. The 3D rides seem to work well, but the graphics aren't great. I've decided that I waste far too much time trying to overcome difficulties that shouldn't exist in the first place. When my subscription ends, I wont be renewing. Having said all that, lots of other people seem happy with it. Bkool seems to work better with some brands of trainer than others. Do some research on how the Kickr Snap performs on it before making a decision.

    My search for alternatives has covered many of the options you mention.

    Zwift - I've had a free trial. No video rides, so I didn't think I'd like it, but I did. A lot. So much so that I found myself doing much longer rides than usual. That must be a good sign. They announced a huge price rise a few days ago. @CXRAndy has quoted the new price in his post.

    Tacx - not tried it. It's "bluetooth only" on a laptop, and I don't want to use bluetooth so it never made the start line.

    Sufferfest - too much emphasis on short, hard workouts. That's useful for training, but no good for my type of general riding. Also, the "free trial" requires you to give them your credit card data, which they promise not to use if you cancel at the end of the trial. I don't like companies that do things like that. Other apps offer a genuinely free week or two, so why can't Sufferfest. Another one that didn't get to the start line.

    Trainer Road - like Sufferfest, it concentrates on hard workouts. It also doesn't offer any kind of free trial, but promises a refund if you cancel your subscription within 30 days. Another trick I don't approve of. Not for me.

    Kinetic Fit - seems to be iOS or Android only, and only uses bluetooth connections. No good for me - I want Windows and Ant+.

    BigRingVR - as mentioned by others, it has good videos and works well. The majority of rides are steep, so I wouldn't want to rely it for all my indoor work. As it expands the ride base it may well become suitable for me. As it is right now, it won't do on it's own. While it's in free beta-testing it would be silly not to try it.

    Lastly, an app nobody else has mentioned.
    Rouvy - I found this via DCRainmaker's review (last year's, but the most recent I could find). It's a rebadged version of the old Virtual Training app by CycleOps/Saris. I'm currently having a free 14 day trial. Lots of videos from all over the world. It also has structured workouts, but again they are too short and too hard for me. The equipment pairs easily, the videos work well. It's like Bkool used to be when it worked properly, and I like it. There are four pricing options: 1 month standard is $8. 1 month Premium (has a few more options, including more videos) is $12. 6 months Premium is $66. 12 months Premium is $120.

    My current thoughts are to sign up with Zwift and Rouvy. I had hoped that one app would do all that I wanted, but I'm pretty specific about what I want or don't want (as you may have noticed :blush:) and there's nothing out there that ticks all the boxes. It will be more expensive than I'd like, but at least my trial on Zwift qualifies me for the pre-increase subscription price.
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  8. OP
    Heltor Chasca

    Heltor Chasca Out-Riding the Black Dog

    Wow! I genuinely appreciate the effort you have put in to give such a comprehensive answer. Thank you.

    CC and it’s awesome forumites :hugs:
    BurningLegs and Whorty like this.
  9. Whorty

    Whorty WADA conclude I don't need a TUE!

    SW Wiltshire
    Interesting reading the comments at the end of the article. This price hike could cost swift dearly in the next 12 months.
    Heltor Chasca and HLaB like this.
  10. Aleman

    Aleman Ale Man (BKool)

    Blackpool UK
    I tend to ride indoors just to get the miles in over winter, although since joining this place I seem to have progressed more towards pushing harder/training.

    For my purposes BKool was excellent, with a lot of emphasis on the WAS! I love riding the video routes, and with my Fly12 camera I was able to upload some local routes to ride . . . but there are limits, Personally I think BKool needs to move from it's own server farm to either Amazon or Google, I really don't think the platform can handle the amount of requests its getting.

    An alternative Sim that I found here is BigRingVR, only 165 HIGH QUALITY rides, mostly short and steep, but some long uphill drags available, you can choose sections to ride (Great for a down hill low watt cool down ;) ) You can also ride local routes if you have a video and GPS track for. and the good news is that you don't have to go near BKools video "Editor", just piece the ride together in Garmins Virb Edit, sync the GPS track, output the video, and ride it in BRVR. Brilliant.

    I've tried to do some HIIT workouts on Bkool and there is something screwed up, Warmed up OK, but then when it swithced to the first interval (90 rpm at 80% FTP) I hit a wall ... resistance just increased to some silly amount way over the 280W it should have been (more like 1280!!) I may try again, although riding the CG league here is fun.

    TrainerRoad, great for training
    Sufferfest ditto
    Zwift Not used it
    Heltor Chasca likes this.
  11. steverob

    steverob Über Member

    What are the best non-Zwift options if you want to do either virtual or video rides (not keen on just staring at a screen full of numbers and graphs) that AREN'T all big climbs? Most of the apps I've looked at make a big thing about having Alpe D'Huez and Stelvio, but if you just want a 30 mile pootle that rarely goes above 2% gradients (which I know you can do on some of the Zwift maps), you're not really catered for - or maybe you are, but the companies don't advertise that.

    I'll admit I'm a little lucky in that while I'm not able to buy my trainer for a few weeks yet, I decided to sign up for a Zwift account in advance just to have a quick play around with the settings and happened (accidentally) to do this the day before the prices went up. So even though I haven't done a single pedal stroke on it yet, I still apparently qualify for the lower cost for the next 12 months!
    BurningLegs, Whorty and Heltor Chasca like this.
  12. CXRAndy

    CXRAndy Veteran

    BigRingVR does have some less steep rides. Also you can create your own if you have a Gopro/Virb and navigation device. Combine the GPS and video to create your own
    Aleman and Heltor Chasca like this.
  13. Asa Post

    Asa Post Small lungs, weak legs

    Bkool and Rouvy have the best range of routes that I've found.
    Both apps allow you to upload your own routes, with or without video.
    steverob and Heltor Chasca like this.
  14. Whorty

    Whorty WADA conclude I don't need a TUE!

    SW Wiltshire
    Bkool has loads of routes from all over the world. The interface can be a bit quirky, and their programmers are less than quality conscious so expect bugs to turn up every now and then, but if you can get over that then it might be worth looking at . I think they do a 14 day free trial so worth a go. Bkool also have a velodrome option which I like to blast around :okay:
    steverob and Heltor Chasca like this.
  15. theboxers

    theboxers TheBoxers on Cycle Sim sw

    OTC (on the couch)
    They have a route for all types of riding. Toooo many to choose from sometimes.

    I use a 10km/40 lap velodrome session for warmups rather than the 10 minute lead in on all sessions.
    Heltor Chasca and Whorty like this.
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