The best virtual indoor cycling apps
With the arrival of autumn, many people dust off the turbo trainer, the fan, the laptop table and carefully prepare their 'pain cave' to continue their indoor training. Virtual indoor cycling applications, although they have been with us for quite a few years now, had their definitive take-off with the confinements during the pandemic, being the lifeline for many during those months of confinement. Nowadays, they have become a real alternative to outdoor cycling, with their own competitions and World Championships.
Virtual cyclists' favourite apps
Given the choice, few will stick with the turbo trainer when they can ride up a mythical mountain pass with a spectacular sunset. That is irreplaceable, however in certain contexts virtual indoor cycling is an excellent option and has become a perfect alternative with which to carry out hard training sessions and even competitions without having to suffer the lack of light or the harsh weather conditions that torture the cyclist during these months.
It is undoubtedly the leading virtual cycling application at present, despite not being the first to arrive. The reason for its success is to be found in how they have managed to find the social aspect of virtual cycling. In Zwift you don't just choose a session and a route and that's what you do, but in its quickest access mode, you simply choose the world you want to ride in, press the start button and it's like going out on the road where there are people riding like on our usual routes and we can choose our routes on the fly as we would in the real world. If we also add the clubs, the races and a dose of gameplay with aids or power-ups that we can use during the rides, we have the ingredients that explain the success of Zwift.
Among Zwift's range of routes, it is worth highlighting the combination of totally imaginary worlds with real routes such as those of some of the most recent World Road Championships, and others which, inspired by real places such as France, New York or Japan, create completely imaginary and sometimes totally surreal routes. In any case, the favourite is still the original world, the islands of Watopia where we can pedal through the interior of a volcano, tunnels under the sea, travel to the deserts of the far west or cross a jungle of clear Central American inspiration in search of the hard ascent of the Alpe d'Zwift, which reproduces the mythical 21 curves of the Alpe d'Huez.
Zwift's latest move to further popularise its application has been the launch of its own turbo trainer with specially programmed firmware to offer the best possible experience and accompanied by a wide range of accessories available on its website. In any case, one of Zwift's great strengths is its enormous compatibility with practically all the rollers on the market, even with non-virtual rollers or with older interactive rollers prior to the introduction of the FC-E communication standard.
- Available platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Apple TV, Android
- Subscription price: 14,99 €/month. 25 km free per month without subscription.
- Social aspect
- Does not require powerful computer equipment
- Compatibilidad con rodillos antiguos
- Price slightly high
- Simple graphics to keep the application lightweight
Focused more on training, Rouvy is a good option if you are looking for interval training. The big difference with other apps is undoubtedly that the images in the app are real. That is to say, you will see a real video of an existing road distributed all over the world. The virtual cyclists are superimposed on these videos in the form of augmented reality.
Its focus on training rather than playing or just riding is evident in a huge library of training sessions of all kinds and plans to find exactly what suits your goals.
- Platforms: Windows, iOS, Apple TV, Android
- Price: 15 €. 14-day free trial
- Possibility to ride in a multitude of real locations
- Huge training library
- Price a bit high
- The combination of real and virtual images is not always as smooth as it should be.
Bkool is one of the pioneering virtual cycling applications that began its journey associated with its own turbo trainers, although it has now decided to abandon them to focus on the development of the Zwift application. In its origins, Bkook tried to cover many facets, with the possibility of making recorded video tours, virtual tours or even tracks loaded by the user in which the application itself was transferring the changes of slope to the roller. Nowadays, they have focused more on enhancing virtual trails although, unlike Zwift, instead of having large specific worlds, it reproduces real tracks, although recreated in a virtual way, which we enter to carry out specific sessions. In any case, the videos of certain routes are maintained which, for example, allow us to enjoy some of the most legendary sections of the Paris-Roubaix. Curiously, among the virtual routes, one of the favourite ones for its users is the velodrome where tremendously agonising and dogfighting sessions take place.
- Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Apple TV, Android
- Price: 11 €/month
- Smoothness of the simulation
- Choice of video, 3D or tracking of a route on the map
- Excessive encapsulation in short sessions
- Excessive competitive component, it is difficult to ride with the classification always in sight.
Developed in the United Arab Emirates, the strong investment made by that country, making it in turn a partner of the professional cycling team, has led MyWhoosh to make a strong assault on the market of virtual cycling applications with the clear objective of unseating Zwift from its reign. To do this, they have played hard by making this application completely free and being able to access all its functions without the need to pay a subscription, including its powerful training tool.
In the first round of this all-out war, MyWhoosh has managed to wrest the organisation of the World Indoor Cycling Championships from Zwift after signing an agreement with the UCI for its organisation in the coming years.
The concept of MyWhosh is similar to that of Zwift in terms of the use of virtual 3D worlds, although this one reproduces real rides located in Arabia, Colombia, AlUla, Australia and Belgium that are recreated in great detail and with tremendous quality. This leads to the main drawback of this application: it is necessary to have a tremendously powerful computer to be able to enjoy it with total smoothness.
- Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows
- Price: Free
- Real routes reproduced in great detail
- Very high hardware requirements