In this BKOOL review, you learn whether this app promoted by Chris Froome is worth using or not.
Spoiler alert: I don’t think so.
I tested and compared it with other free and paid indoor cycling apps.
- A large number of real-world routes and structured workouts
- Access to two apps (BKOOL Cycling + BKOOL Fitness) for the price of one
- Videos from multiple cycling tracks
- Can make customized training plans
- Low video quality
- No social-interactivity
- No motivation elements (career, achievements, etc.)
- No racing
- Outdated and laggy user interface
What is BKOOL?
BKOOL is an indoor cycling app that uses real-world footage from people worldwide. Some of its routes are designed from scratch in 3D graphics.
BKOOL Cycling routes library includes thousands of routes and structured workouts. In addition, the second app, BKOOL Fitness, has guided fitness sessions.
Who is BKOOL for?
BKOOL is suitable for people who want to explore worldwide routes from the comfort of their homes.
You can also use BKOOL to maintain or improve your fitness.
Who is BKOOL not for?
BKOOL is not for people requiring in-app social interaction or riders looking for comprehensive, structured training plans.
Due to the low video quality, it’s also unsuitable for those with high demands on video quality.
My Experience with BKOOL
Here are my takes on the ease of initial setup, in-app experience, engagement, and more that you can find in BKOOL.
If you want to use BKOOL, you don’t need a smart trainer (although I recommend it for a better riding experience).
You can use a dumb trainer with a power meter or cadence + speed sensors.
I used BKOOL with a Wahoo KICKR v5 smart trainer that measures power, cadence, and speed and a Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor.
The pairing process went smoothly. The app found the devices quickly and paired them without issues.
TIP: Use a rocker plate to improve your indoor cycling comfort.
BKOOL has a comprehensive library of routes from around the globe. You can relive memories of places where you have been or explore new ones.
Some routes are shot by contributors, but some are designed from scratch, so they look like routes in Wahoo RGT (but a little less realistic).
It took me a while to determine how to differentiate if the route was shot on a camera or built from scratch. Then I noticed the following icons:
I chose a route and turned it on. It loaded within about 20 seconds.
All BKOOL activities include a short warmup (you can adjust its length in the settings). If you stop pedaling, the warmup stops and the app starts your activity in the next 30 seconds.
The following gallery shows the differences between the three view modes.
The video and 3D graphics quality are bad, and looking at the map makes no sense. So far, I am disappointed.
If you are into track cycling, you will appreciate videos from multiple tracks worldwide. I have not seen cycling track videos in other apps. Cool!
BKOOL doesn’t have any sophisticated motivation mechanism (unlike Zwift).
You have to be pretty self-motivated to use it for weeks or months. This is a problem with many indoor cycling apps.
However, ROUVY, for example, has a career, and you can collect achievements. So, they motivate you to spend more time on your bike.
I don’t like the graphics either. You can set different levels of 3D graphics quality. Honestly, they don’t differ from each other much.
Considering it’s 2022 already, I dare to say the graphic is bad. See for yourself:
The only nice thing about BKOOL gamification is the possibility of buying different jerseys and bikes. But, the selection is limited.
BKOOL’s route library is one of the biggest I’ve seen. But as I noted earlier, the routes are often not in high definition. I believe this is because of poor requirements on quality.
The following pictures show how they look:
The in-app filtering is also pretty basic. For example, you can only filter routes by type (3D or video), distance, elevation, slope, and difficulty.
If the rule “quality wins over quantity” should apply anywhere, it should be here. What’s the point of tens of thousands of videos when they are unwatchable?
If you want to do structured training in BKOOL, you can. It includes hundreds of workouts.
Their filtering is, again, basic. So, finding the right one for a given moment might be a challenge.
I tried to set up a customized training plan but gave up after the third or second step. That’s how user-unfriendly their interface is.
So, if you are serious about improving your performance, I recommend those instead. Don’t even bother with BKOOL’s builder.
The BKOOL Cycling app feels like it was designed five or ten years ago.
Some texts and icons are not sharp, and the overall feeling is not positive. It reminds me of ROUVY. Its interface also doesn’t look good.
What bothers me the most is the lack of responsiveness. BKOOL doesn’t react to clicks instantly, but there is always a delay.
The app is probably not well-optimized and would deserve a major update.
BKOOL is available on all major platforms (iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows) except Apple TV.
Remember, BKOOL has two separate apps:
- BKOOL Cycling
- BKOOL Fitness
You can use them both with the BKOOL subscription.
I used BKOOL Cycling on macOS Monterey, and it worked okay but was not responsive.
For context, I have a 25 Mbit/s internet connection and a MacBook Pro 2020 with 16 GB RAM, a 5-core Intel processor, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 1536 MB.
There are plenty of indoor cycling apps out there. Here are those worth trying:
- ROUVY – is one of the closest BKOOL alternatives. It augments real-world routes with virtual objects. Read this ROUVY vs. BKOOL comparison for more details.
- Zwift – uses a virtual world built from scratch. It has fewer routes but a much larger community, more events, and allows racing. You can check out my comparison of Zwift vs. BKOOL for more info.
- TrainerRoad – is focused purely on making you a better cyclist—no distractions – only structured training plans.
- Wahoo SYSTM – displays your ride data with pre-recorded footage. It is a universal app not only for cyclists but also for other endurance athletes.
- Wahoo RGT – features a virtual world inspired by real-world roads. Its graphics are more realistic than Zwift, but it doesn’t offer as sophisticated motivation mechanisms. It also doesn’t have as many users.
- FulGaz – has thousands of videos of real-world routes in high definition. The main difference is that FulGaz doesn’t use augmented reality.
|App||Price||Free Trial||World||Multiplayer||Connectivity||Platform Availability|
|Zwift||14.99 USD / month||7 days||Virtual||Yes||ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth, BLE FTMS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV|
|ROUVY||15 USD / month|
144 USD / year
|14 days||Real||Yes||ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV|
|TrainerRoad||19.95 USD / month|
189 USD / year
|n/a²||n/a||No||ANT+ FE-C, Bluetooth, BLE FTMS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS|
|Wahoo SYSTM (formerly The Sufferfest)¹||14.99 USD / month|
149 USD / year
|14 days||Real||No||ANT+ FE-C, BLE FTMS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS|
|Wahoo RGT (formerly RGT Cycling)¹||Free or|
14.99 USD / month
149 USD / year
|14 days||Virtual||Yes||ANT+ FE-C, BLE FTMS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV
Android, iOS (remote)
|Kinomap||11.99 EUR / month |
89.99 EUR / year
429 EUR / lifetime
|14 days||Real||No||ANT+ FE-C, BLE FTMS||Android, iOS (screen mirroring available)|
|FulGaz||12.99 USD / month|
108.99 USD / year
|14 days||Real||Yes||ANT+ FE-C, BLE FTMS||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV|
Updated on the 12th of September, 2023.
¹You can only subscribe to the Wahoo X subscription and get access to Wahoo SYSTM and Wahoo RGT.
²30-day money-back guarantee
The following table shows my ratings of specific areas on a scale of 1–5 (5 is the best).
|App||Price||Ease of Setup||Engage-|
|Wahoo RGT (RGT Cycling)²||5||5||2||2||4||2||3||23|
|Tacx Training App||3||5||2||4||3||5||4||26|
¹TrainerRoad is different from other apps and doesn't offer any routes.
²You can only subscribe to the Wahoo X subscription and get access to Wahoo SYSTM and Wahoo RGT.
Do I recommend BKOOL?
No. Its video quality is poor, and the overall experience is much worse than in other indoor cycling apps.
It also seems that BKOOL abuses its terms and conditions regarding subscriptions.
Many people reported that they were unknowingly charged and not refunded by BKOOL.
Have you ever used BKOOL? What’s your experience? Let me know in the comments below.