Until a few years ago, indoor cycling meant sweating at home in front of a screen or listening to music. For cyclists, it was a form of penance. Smart indoor bike trainers and indoor cycling apps have turned the situation around to such an extent that virtual competitions (e-sports) have already been created under UCI approval, and some e-cyclists have ended up being hired by professional teams.
To check out the top apps for indoor cycling, how much they cost, if there are any free alternatives and what you need to get started, take a look at this post where you will find the main features, the necessary equipment and the price of the best apps on the market in 2022.
But first, keep in mind that the smarter/more interactive the bike trainer, the better the experience with the apps as you will be able to take full advantage of all their features.
BKOOL Cycling – Varied and fun
One of the first, if not the very first virtual indoor cycling software. At first, it only worked with its own, dedicated indoor trainers. Today it is compatible with many models of smart trainers.
- Video game experience.
- Sophisticated 3D animation.
- Multiplayer mode with official and private leagues.
- You can ride and compete with and against other players.
- Official E-Competitions like Giro d’Italia or CRO Race.
- Training sessions with real life videos, 3D animation or map.
- Road and velodrome routes.
- You can upload and share your own videos and routes with BKOOL Video Route Editor.
- Personalized training plans and sessions according to your goals and circumstances.
- Workout creator.
- Bike + smart indoor trainer or smart stationary bike (here is a list of compatible equipment).
- Bike + standard indoor trainer + cadence and speed sensors plus power meter.
The trainer or sensors must have Bluetooth 4.0 or ANT+ to be able to connect to the device with the app. If you only have ANT+ you need an ANT+ adapter to pair your device with the trainer or sensors.
BKOOL Cycling is compatible with Windows, macOS, iPad and Android. Here are the minimum requirements for the 5.60 version.
- Free 30-day trial with limited features.
- Monthly subscription €9.99.
- Annual subscription, €96 (€8/month).
More info: www.bkool.com
RGT Cycling is an app similar to BKOOL, but with fewer features and less variety. It has great graphics because the number of “official” routes is very limited. With Magic Roads you can upload a GPX file under 100 km and the app will create a virtual ride over that route.
- Free version with reduced features and routes.
- Free 14-day trial.
- Monthly subscription €8.99 / $9.99 / £6.99.
TrainerRoad – Boost your performance
Software focused on training and performance. It is more expensive, less “fun” and requires consistency, like any training plan.
- +2000 training sessions.
- Personalized and customized training plans according to your goals, possibilities and data collected over time.
- Analysis tools to evaluate rider’s performance.
- Machine Learning to adapt plans quickly and easily.
- Very simple interface.
- Graphical environment easy to understand and follow.
- Can be used outdoors by synchronizing TrainerRoad with your Garmin or Wahoo.
- Video, voice and data sharing for group training up to 10 users.
- No virtual environments or competitions or community like Bkool or Zwift.
- You can minimize the application to watch movies, Youtube, Netflix…
Available for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. You can also use a web browser. Here is a link with the minimum requirements.
TrainerRoad uses Bluetooth and ANT+ so make sure that your devices are compatible. There are three possible combinations:
- Bike + Indoor Trainer + Speed sensor
- Bike + Indoor Trainer + Power meter
- Bike + Smart Indoor Trainer or Smart Stationary Bike
- In this forum thread you can get a 30-day trial code.
- Monthly subscription: $19.95.
- Annual subscription: $189.
- You have 30 days to try it out and if you don’t like it, you get your money back.
The Sufferfest (now part of Wahoo SYSTM) is a similar product to TrainerRoad with real POV videos as an added bonus. It also includes yoga sessions and mental support and motivational content for cyclists.
- 14-day free trial.
- Monthly subscription: $14.99.
- Annual subscription: $129.
Zwift – Fun and competition indoors
A little bit of BKOOL and a little bit of TrainerRoad mixed with the social component and gamification to revolutionize indoor cycling by making it fun and competitive.
- Huge community.
- Video game experience.
- Lots of gameplay with points, challenges, prizes (virtual equipment and bikes).
- Multiplayer mode.
- Communication between users during training sessions.
- You can cycle and compete with and against other players.
- Official E-Competitions such as World or National E-Championships, E-Fondo, Tour of Zwift, etc.
- Virtual 3D scenarios in fictional worlds and real routes.
- Training sessions and plans for all levels. You can also create your own workouts with a simple drag and drop interface.
- Bike (find supported bike models here) + smart indoor trainer (here is a list of different types of trainers).
- Bike + standard indoor trainer with cadence and speed sensors plus power meter.
- A supported model of a smart indoor bike.
You may need an ANT+ adapter. You can also download the Zwift Companion app on your cell phone to bypass it and allow your PC or tablet to receive the sensor data.
As for the supported devices here you have a link with the requirements.
- 7-day free trial.
- Monthly subscription £12.99, $14.99 or €14.99.
More info: www.zwift.com
At the moment there is nothing similar to Zwift.
Rouvy – Augmented Reality for cyclists… and runners
With Rouvy you can explore routes from the comfort of your living room, train on legendary climbs, compete in events and win prizes. If you practice triathlon or you like running, Rouvy also has a Running version (more info here).
- Augmented reality routes. +300 (end of 2021).
- Video in GoPro format with 4K quality.
- Iconic cycling scenarios: Stelvio, Tourmalet, Kona…
- You can ride with your avatar on some of the routes. On others only in POV format.
- You can upload your own routes synchronizing video and GPS data with Rouvy Editor.
- You can ride or train alone or in a group.
- Virtual competition or e-racing with events organized by IronMan, La Vuelta, Tour de Suisse…
- Your effort and dedication is rewarded in challenges and by building an indoor and outdoor “career” that allows you to win gifts and prizes.
- Ready-made training plans and sessions. You can create and upload your own.
- Training statistics that you can synchronize with other apps (Strava, TrainingPeaks, etc.).
You can use Rouvy on Windows, Mac, Apple TV, iOS and Android. You’ll find the minimum requirements under this link.
You can enjoy augmented reality videos with any bike and indoor trainer, but remember: the smarter or more interactive the trainer, the better the experience. Check out various options available here.
- 14-day trial period
- Monthly subscription $/€15.
- 6-month subscription $/€84 ($/€14 per month).
- Annual subscription $/€144 ($/€12 per month).
- There is a “Family Sharing” option where you can create 3 profiles and use up to 5 devices within the same account.
More info: www.rouvy.com
FulGaz has more than 2,000 hours of 4K POV videos of tours around the world.
- 14-day free trial.
- Monthly subscription €10.99.
- Annual subscription €97.99.
Kinomap contains thousands of kilometers of routes recorded on video so that you can travel through faraway places from the comfort of your home. It is very easy to use and connect.
- 7-day free trial.
- Monthly subscription €11.99.
- Annual subscription €79.99.
- Lifetime subscription €229.
Free apps for indoor cycling:
- TrainerDay. It offers the biggest number of features for free. If you want the full package, the subscription costs $3.99 per month or $41.99 per year.
- ErgVideo. Only available for Windows 10. The software is free to use power workout files.
- CycleGo. Available for iOS and Android.
- My E-Training is the official app for Elite indoor trainers and has a free option, but with way fewer features.
- VeloReality has free demo videos. Only available for Windows.