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Best indoor cycling apps 2023 — push your fitness to new levels with immersive virtual cycling experiences

For maximum indoor (and therefore outdoor) cycling fitness gains, using an indoor training app can make your training much more interesting, structured and rewarding

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Hitting the turbo used to be a mind-numbing affair, but the last decade has seen a complete revolution in indoor cycling. The transformation is mostly thanks to immersive training apps and smart trainers that provide entertainment, accurate data and training plans to do everything short of turning your legs to make indoor training less brutal and, dare we say it, even enjoyable for a lot of cyclists. 

The popularity of indoor cycling means the market is fiercely competitive, making the best turbo trainers even better and the best cycling apps featured in this guide pushing to be the one that cyclists will stick with and take out a subscription. This competition is only good for the consumer of course, and in the 2020s there are now plenty of very good apps bringing different experiences to the table depending on what you want from your indoor training. 

Below, we've picked out our favourite apps to give our honest and unbiased breakdown of the pros and cons along with our recommendations. Which indoor training app you get along best with will be a very personal thing, whether you're looking for maximum training gains, immersion, virtual racing or simply pain cave enjoyment.

Many of the apps mentioned also offer a free trial that can last anywhere up to a month, which is a great way of trying before you buy and seeing if it is indeed the software for you.

For most of us training indoors isn't a means to an end, with the idea being that structured indoor sessions will lead to outdoor improvements; if that's you, then we'd also recommend checking out our advice on how to balance indoor and outdoor riding for maximum fitness gains. 

The best indoor cycling apps

Zwift Subscription (Monthly)

Zwift Subscription (Monthly)

The most popular app on the market
Buy now for £12.99 from Zwift
Easy to set up
Only requires basic equipment
Makes indoor training fun
Can help motivation
It's free to ride outside...

Starting with by far the most popular app on the market, Zwift. At £12.99 a month it is one of the more expensive options but it is well established so the setup and navigation has been refined making it one of the easiest indoor training apps to use despite tons of functionality.

Zwift is the most 'game' like indoor training option here and isn't for everyone with its cartoon-like customisable avatars and terrain, but don't be deceived. This is still a serious training tool with a total of nearly 3,000km of routes, ranging from open road to dirt track, along with training plans and structured workouts. 

It offers by far the largest number of events to suit all abilities, races and best community feel. The sheer number of people using Zwift means there's always someone to ride with and push you - something I personally find really motivating. 

Read our review:

MyWhoosh Virtual Cycling App

Entirely free training app
Buy now for £0 from MyWhoosh
It's free
Real-life prizes
Limited routes
No Mac support

If you're not prepared to spend hard-earned cash to sit in your own garage then MyWhoosh is a perfectly sound option providing workouts and training programmes. 

Its focus though is on e-sports and it hosts a weekly racing series that it calls Sunday Race Club. Despite being free MyWhoosh puts real-life prizes on the line - in fact a pot of $96,000 each month, to try and pull in the world's top e-sports pros.

MyWhoosh matches its competitors against riders of similar capabilities for a level racing field which in our experience has been really accurate and leads to greater motivation to push yourself harder.

There’s currently no Mac support but this is likely to improve as MyWhoosh finds its feet. However, one thing that is unlikely to change is that you need a power meter and heart rate monitor rather than a simple speed sensor set-up. This helps to avoid spurious data in races but makes the software less beginner friendly.

Wahoo SYSTM training app

Wahoo X Training App Subscription (Monthly)

Vast and enjoyable content library
Buy now for £12.47 from Wahoo
Huge variety of content
Enjoyable and motivating to follow
Can aid efficient improvements in performance
Linking devices could be simpler
Personal cadence not taken into account

A Wahoo X subscription means that you can benefit from both SYSTM and Wahoo RGT and both are excellent alternatives to Zwift, offering what it believes is greater ride experience realism. It claims that rider movement, drafting, braking and resistance are more realistically replicated. The graphics are also of gaming quality, which does help to make the experience more immersive. 

Wahoo SYSTM brings plenty of functionality such as recommending training including strength and yoga sessions. The 4DP test is also very good and we think it’s an excellent albeit painful way of measuring your capability as a rider, more so than a simple FTP test.

> What is FTP? 7 key facts to learn about functional threshold power, a major training metric

Using Wahoo RGT, paying subscribers can upload a route file letting them ride somewhere they've always wanted to go or just a local loop without leaving home. 

Wahoo SYSTM and Wahoo RGT can be purchased separately but are best value when purchased as part of a Wahoo X annual subscription which is very similar in price to Zwift. Costing £135 for a year's subscription (£11.25/month) you benefit from more personalised training plans and workouts but the comparative lack of users does limit event and race choices and buddies to ride with.

Read our review:
Rouvy Indoor Cycling Reality App

Rouvy Indoor Cycling Reality App Subscription (Monthly)

Augmented reality riding
Buy now for £12.39 from Rouvy
"augmented reality" riding
Works with non-smart trainers
Can import rides from the real-world
Video quality on low-end devices
Competition element not accurate
Speed of playback when faster/slower than capture speed

Rouvy's key feature is "augmented reality" riding, which provides videos of classic cycling routes and tells your home trainer how much resistance to impose to simulate the effort of the particular climb you're on. Rouvy can import your rides from the real world too, so you can keep all your riding data in one place to track your progress.

> What is ERG mode on your turbo trainer and how should you use it?

It also works with non-smart trainers, calculating your virtual power based on your current speed and the profile of the course. We have found that the videos can be a little bit glitchy on low-end devices, even the lowest quality videos are high definition so you will need to consider your internet connection and the device you run it from.

One of the biggest benefits to multi-cyclist households is that the subscription which can be as low as 12 euros a month, covers a whole household - up to five devices and three people can enjoy (or suffer through) more than 3,000 routes.

FulGaz Training App

FulGaz Training App Subscription (Monthly)

Most realistic outdoor riding simulation
Buy now for £9.99 from FulGaz
Genuine real-world gradient feel
Huge and expanding content library
ANT+ only on Windows
Content slow to load

Fulgaz is in essence very similar to Rouvy, with 1,200 augmented reality routes. One of the main appeals of Fulgaz over Rouvy is the inclusion of Ironman Routes which will be a determining factor for many triathletes out there.

For simulating a route, Fulgaz is very impressive because you can set it to three modes - steady, reactive or challenge. The app also allows you to set up things like wind speed, rolling resistance, and aerodynamic drag, which is an excellent way of simulating race day! You can also download routes in advance which is great for anyone with poor internet.

Fulgaz will set you back £9.99 a month or £7.99 a month if you sign up for a year.

Read our review:
TrainerRoad Online Training Subscription (Monthly)

TrainerRoad Online Training Subscription (Monthly)

Close to having a personal coach
Buy now for £16.58 from TrainerRoad
Customised training plans
Structured workouts
Less immersive

TrainerRoad quite simply means business, it’s the most serious out of all of the options here and certainly appears to deliver results as long as you can motivate yourself to use it.

The structured workouts and training plans take some serious beating and it's as close as many riders will get to having a personal coach..without paying for a coach. It uses customised plans, AI FTP detection, machine learning and adaptive training plans to structure training depending on a rider's specific goals and current condition. 

There are over 100 different plans specific to each aspect of cycling and over 1000 workouts available, and like many of the other apps, there's a custom workout creator. 

This is by far the most expensive option (~£16.58/month) we’ve looked at but has the potential to deliver the biggest results - just don't expect any entertainment over specificity. There also isn't a free trial but if you don't like it after 30 days then you can get your money back.

Read our review:
Bkool Cycling Simulator Subscription (Monthly)

Bkool Cycling Simulator Subscription (Monthly)

Indoor cycling on an indoor velodrome
Buy now for £8.83 from Bkool
Lots of functionality
Customisable training plans
Multiple viewing modes
Lower video quality

Bkool  is 9.99 euros/month (around £8.83), making it one of the cheapest options on the list. Bkool was one of the first to the market offering online competition using rider power and physics-based algorithms.

The app lets you select one of four sessions - 'Route' which are road rides such as grand tour stages or your own, ‘ Workouts’ in a personally set power zone, ‘Velodrome’, including events such as the Keirin, and of course the all-important FTP test.

The look and feel of the app is similar to RGT with 3D-rendered roads and avatars. The whole package is there but the execution is not up to the same high standards as with rival software which can impact the overall ride experience. There are far fewer opportunities for competition and communication with other riders but the customisable training plan feature is very nice.

How to choose from the best indoor cycling apps

What is the best free indoor cycling app?

MyWhoosh is free-to-use boasting many similar features to other indoor cycling apps like Zwift, providing workouts and training programmes. 

Unfortunately other indoor cycling apps aren't free, but many offer a free trial that can last anywhere up to a month which is a great way of trying before you buy.

Is Zwift the best indoor cycling app?

Indoor cycling apps are a very personal thing but here’s our opinion. For the vast majority of riders, Zwift is still the app to go for, offering by far the largest number of events, races and best community feel. 

If however, you're less about fun and all about the gains then our pick would be TrainerRoad, the structured workouts and training plans take some serious beating and it's as close as many riders will get to having a personal coach..without paying for a coach…

That said we also have a lot of time for the other options and we're not just saying that. The indoor cycling market is so competitive that the apps have been forced to deliver top-tier performance and each brings something different to the table. For example, if you want to scout out a future real-life ride then Fulgaz would be a good pick. Or if you're not prepared to spend hard-earned cash to sit in your own garage then MyWhoosh is a perfectly sound option.

What can I use instead of Zwift?

The indoor cycling market is expanding so there are many very good alternatives to Zwift. 

The long answer to this question is that the Zwift alternative will be personally tailored depending on whether you're looking for maximum training gains, immersion or simply pain cave enjoyment.

These Zwift alternatives can vary from TrainerRoad which is a less immersive, goal-driven training platform or MyWhoosh which is a completely free indoor cycling app. 

What do I need to use an indoor training app?

First and foremost it is essential you have a bike and turbo trainer (we recommend one of the best turbo trainers you can afford with ANT+ and/or Bluetooth connectivity that at least measures power and ideally cadence, or you could even splash out on a full smart bike) to allow you to connect to the indoor cycling app. 

Once you’ve chosen the setup that’s right for you, some quality cycling clothing will help you stay comfortable and get the most from your experience. 

We would also recommend using a smartphone, laptop or TV screen/monitor to view the cycling app on, helping you to get fully immersed. Just be weary that some newer indoor cycling apps might not be compatible with all devices. 

Using one of the best heart rate monitors and a power meter will help to maximise your training with even more useful data; but as the bare minimum, you should make sure your setup includes a speed sensor.  

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…