This is my comparison of ROUVY vs. Zwift. Both apps belong to the most popular indoor cycling apps out there, but is one better than the other?
I tested them in-depth to help you decide which one you should use. The answer depends mainly on your personality and goals.
The main difference between ROUVY and Zwift is that ROUVY augments real-world footage and is not as socially oriented as Zwift. On the other hand, Zwift is like a game. It offers an entirely virtual world, gamification elements, and many social interactions between its users. However, both apps host many events, including races.
Continue reading to learn more.
ROUVY and Zwift Summary
The most significant difference between these two apps is the world you ride in. While Zwift’s designers and developers created a virtual world from scratch, ROUVY uses real-world footage from places worldwide and augments them with virtual objects.
I summarized the essential features in the following table.
|Races & Events||Yes||Yes|
|Platforms Availability||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV|
|Free Trial||14 days||7 days|
|Price||12 USD / month|
144 USD / year
|14.99 USD / month|
|In-Depth Review||ROUVY Review||Zwift Review|
*Workouts builder is available in the ROUVY web app only.
Updated on the 10th of April, 2022.
Let’s now dive deeper into the individual features.
For many people, the graphics aspect is one of the most important features they consider when looking for a new indoor cycling app. And I am no exception.
In ROUVY, you can choose from thousands of routes from famous and less famous places. Their library is easy to filter based on the name, distance, duration, ascent, etc., so you always find the one that suits you.
The number of routes in ROUVY brings huge diversity. Due to the high number of routes, you probably won’t have time to try them all.
One of the benefits and unique features of ROUVY is that you can compare your times with pro-athletes on routes from events like La Vuelta, IRONMAN, etc.
Zwift, on the other hand, has multiple worlds like Watopia, London, Paris, Richmond, Neokyo, etc. (you can check out more worlds here). However, only three worlds are available at the same time. The Watopia is available permanently, and the other two worlds change based on a schedule.
Naturally, the number of routes in every world is limited. This is one of the most significant downsides of Zwift – the routes get repetitive.
The visual experience is entirely different from ROUVY. See for yourself:
PRO TIP: Use a fan when training indoors. It will keep you cool down, so your workouts will be more comfortable.
Multiplayer & Social Interactivity
Both apps have a multiplayer. This means that you can meet other people in-game. However, thanks to a larger community of Zwift and much fewer routes, their worlds are thriving. You always meet somebody.
Although ROUVY is also popular, due to a large number of routes, you won’t encounter as many people on the routes you choose (unless you ride the most popular ones).
Another downside of ROUVY compared to Zwift is no in-game chat. This is unfortunate because you have to use third-party apps. There are also no gestures like the wave in ROUVY, so you have no way to meet your (in-game) friends.
Races & Events
Zwift and ROUVY have their racing programs. You can host a race in both apps.
The difference between these two is that Zwift races are more packed. This is again thanks to its larger popularity and very active community.
However, ROUVY also offers many events you can choose from – official and unofficial. The official races and events have many participants because ROUVY actively promotes them. The unofficial races are less crowded.
Have you ever heard about rocker plates? They will allow your trainer to swing from side to side. This movement makes your indoor training more engaging and comfortable. Learn more in my cycling rocker plates article.
If you look for an app that allows you to do structured training, both will satisfy your needs.
Until recently, ROUVY had two apps, ROUVY AR and ROUVY Workouts. Luckily, they merged them into one, so you can browse structured workouts in-app.
There is no workout builder in the ROUVY app. However, you can create a workout in their web app or upload your own that you create in apps like TrainingPeaks.
Zwift has more sophisticated workouts and plans. You can also create your workouts using their workout builder or upload your workouts.
Additionally, Zwift has so-called pace partners. So if you just need a “company” to maintain a constant tempo, you can use these bots instead of friends.
Zwift is a clear winner here because the selection of workouts and structured plans is more comprehensive.
Another area that sets these two apps apart is their approach to gamification. While Zwift is a game that uses many gamification elements (more about them below), ROUVY is more conservative.
In Zwift, you collect drops (an in-game currency), achievements, finish routes, build your equipment, etc. These elements add extra motivation for riding more.
ROUVY was pretty much gamification-free (not counting the poorly designed challenges) until the end of 2021. However, they launched a new ROUVY Career at the beginning of 2022.
The new career consists of 80 levels that you complete by collecting coins. You get them by riding (regardless of the type of ride you do).
You can then spend these coins on new gear and customize your avatar just like in Zwift. By completing levels, you also get extra rewards from ROUVY’s partners like TrainingPeaks (30 days premium account for free), Elite (discount on nutrition related-products), etc.
Although ROUVY’s career is not as comprehensive as Zwift’s yet, this update is a giant leap forward that makes ROUVY more attractive to a wide range of people.
Another difference worth pointing out is the lack of power-ups in ROUVY. Zwift’s power-ups are a pretty clever way to make your in-app experience more entertaining.
The user-friendliness, in other words, how easy it is to use the apps, is pretty similar. But, unfortunately, I don’t like either user interface.
ROUVY feels a little bit outdated and gloomy due to the black color. Zwift, on the other hand, went through a complete redesign in 2022. It’s not full of colors and confusing buttons anymore. Its user-friendliness was improved.
I miss an explanation of some of the features in the ROUVY app. I had to study their website to understand how they work (like the training vs. time trial mode).
Zwift feels more intuitive. Also, it doesn’t take as long to load routes as in ROUVY. I recommend downloading ROUVY routes in advance if you have a slow internet connection (under 20MBit/s) for an uninterrupted experience.
ROUVY and Zwift are available on all major platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Apple TV.
FulGaz is the closest and the most similar indoor cycling app to ROUVY. It also uses real-world footage from all corners of the world. The main difference is that FulGaz doesn’t use augmented reality, so you get an undisrupted view of the footage.
RGT Cycling is the closest alternative to Zwift. It also leverages a virtual world. However, the graphics and physics are more realistic than in Zwift. On the other hand, RGT Cycling doesn’t have sophisticated motivation mechanisms that motivate you to ride more.
ROUVY vs. Zwift: The Winner
There is no clear between ROUVY and Zwift. Both apps will find their users.
While ROUVY is better for people who want to explore beautiful places worldwide while working out, Zwift attracts competitive riders and riders looking for more entertainment.
So, if you like virtuality and enjoy computer games, try Zwift. On the other hand, if you prefer real-life and diverse routes you won’t be able to visit in person, go for ROUVY.