TrainerRoad has garnered a stellar reputation as the best indoor cycling app for elevating your cycling performance.
Their science-backed workouts, innovative Adaptive Training technology, and comprehensive analytics beg the question: Is the app worth it?
In this in-depth TrainerRoad review, we’ll saddle up and seek answers. I’ll share my experiences and compare TrainerRoad against other popular indoor cycling apps.
- Science-based and personalized structured workouts
- Unique Adaptive Training technology improves the training effectiveness
- Focused on improving your performance
- Counts with your outside training
- Seamless integration with Strava, TrainingPeaks, and other cycling apps
- Solo or group workouts
- You have to be self-motivated to push your limits
- An absence of a virtual world or real-world footage
- Very limited social interactivity
What is TrainerRoad?
TrainerRoad is an indoor cycling app focused on making you a faster cyclist. It leverages science-based structured workouts and Adaptive Training technology. TrainerRoad also provides you with comprehensive analytics tools and training guidance.
Who is TrainerRoad for?
TrainerRoad is perfect for riders who want to improve their performance and push their limits. It’s suitable for people with a clear goal in mind and those who don’t know where to start with structured training.
Who is TrainerRoad not for?
TrainerRoad is not for people who are not motivated or want to watch real or virtual world footage.
My Experience with TrainerRoad
Here are my takes on the ease of initial setup, in-app experience, and more you can find in the TrainerRoad app.
I admit I didn’t spend as much time with TrainerRoad as it deserves, but I use it to prepare for major events or to create training plans.
If you want to use TrainerRoad, you don’t need a smart trainer. You will be fine with a power meter or facadence + speed sensors.
Keep in mind that your laptop, computer, or other display device has to feature Bluetooth connectivity to connect with these devices. If it doesn’t, you may need an ANT+ dongle.
The pairing process is effortless.* Once you pair your devices to the app, TrainerRoad shows a few recommendations for calibration, firmware updates, etc.
PRO TIP: Bike trainer accessories will take your indoor cycling to a whole new level. A fan will keep you cooled down, a trainer mat will protect your floor, and a rocker plate will improve your riding comfort.
In-App Experience & Training
One of the things I like the most about TrainerRoad is its seamless integration with other cycling apps like Strava or TrainingPeaks.
All my previous rides from Strava were synchronized into TrainerRoad’s calendar, so I could see my training load in charts and analyze it in-depth.
TrainerRoad also counts with your outside training. This is an excellent feature because you are not limited to training indoors only. If you decide to ride outside, it will count into your training.
My first experience with TrainerRoad was when I took the Ramp test. I didn’t prepare for it at all. Instead, I spontaneously jumped on my bike and started riding.
Thanks to Direto’s ERG mode that adjusts the resistance, I just focused on smooth pedaling and breathing.
In addition, the app guided me throughout the test with instructional messages (you can turn them off in settings).
TrainerRoad does not include any video so that you can focus on your effort.
Here is my Ramp Test result.
Once I finished the test, I proceeded to the Plan Builder. And this is where TrainerRoad stands out from the rest of most indoor cycling apps.
It guides you through every important area like your training load & volume, experience, type of event you train for, etc.
These structured plans differ based on these areas and your goals.
Do you want to train for a Gran Fondo, Time Trial, Triathlon, Cyclocross, etc.? TrainerRoad has got you covered.
Here is an example of a structured training plan:
TrainerRoad also has Adaptive Training (AT) technology. It analyzes your performance and adjusts the upcoming workouts. This leads to maximizing your training effectiveness.
You can turn this feature on and off in settings.
Naturally, the more data TrainerRoad assesses, the better adjustments it makes.
It’s also worth mentioning that neither TrainerRoad structured plans are perfect.
According to Dylan Johnson, you must be careful not to burn out or overtrain. TrainerRoad training plans include too much intensity and not enough recovery and endurance rides that are important for becoming faster.
To wrap this up, TrainerRoad workouts and the app do work (check out these reviews), but don’t overdo it to avoid overtraining.
Learn to listen to your body and rest when you need it.
TrainerRoad doesn’t use sophisticated motivation elements like Zwift. You have to be self-motivated to push your limits further.
It focuses on the riders who know what they want to achieve. It also helps beginners who want to implement structured training.
In the end, the biggest motivation for riders is their progress.
You can invite your friends and do Group workouts together if you need extra motivation. This adds a little competitiveness, and your friends will push you further.
TrainerRoad has no route library due to its nature. You can browse workouts or the training library instead.
NOTE: TrainerRoad workouts cannot be exported to 3rd party apps. (Source)
The workouts library is comprehensive, and you can filter it using advanced filters.
Some people don’t mind that the app doesn’t include footage because they can watch movies while training. However, for some, this can be a dealbreaker.
Personally, I don’t mind because I have multiple screens, so I can watch a movie on one screen and my ride data on the other.
I read comments where people described how they combine TrainerRoad with other apps. They run them simultaneously – one for training and the other for the scenery.
TrainerRoad’s user interface is modern and minimalistic. It is easy to navigate, and it has clear call-to-action buttons.
Together with Wahoo SYSTM, these user interfaces are the best of all indoor cycling apps I tested.
TIP: Read my comparison of Wahoo SYSTM and TrainerRoad.
TrainerRoad also offers almost the exact copy of its app available online. You can set everything up in a browser, then open the desktop app and start training.
I had to use the web app because I didn’t manage to set a training plan in the app.
The ‘NEXT’ button was not clickable, and there was no error notice, so I had no idea what was wrong. However, everything worked fine in the internet browser.
I didn’t experience any other issues with the TrainerRoad desktop app.
TrainerRoad is available on all major platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows. Unfortunately, an AppleTV app is not available.
I’ve been using TrainerRoad on macOS and iOS, and except for a few minor issues described above, it worked flawlessly.
There are plenty of indoor cycling apps out there, but only a few of them are worth it. The following ones are my favorite.
- Wahoo SYSTM – displays your ride data with pre-recorded footage. It is a universal app for cyclists, endurance athletes, and people who want to strengthen their mental health. It is one of the most similar apps to TrainerRoad.
- Zwift – unlike ROUVY, Zwift uses a virtual world built from scratch. It doesn’t have as wide a route library as ROUVY. It is much closer to being a game. Learn more in my Trainerroad vs. Zwift comparison.
- ROUVY – uses real-world footage augmented with avatars and other objects. It has a huge route library and allows you to explore beautiful places from the comfort of your home. Learn more in my Trainerroad vs. ROUVY comparison.
- Wahoo RGT (formerly RGT Cycling) – features a virtual world inspired by real-world roads. Its graphic is more realistic than Zwift, but it doesn’t offer as sophisticated motivation mechanisms.
- FulGaz – is the most similar app to TrainerRoad. It also uses real-world footage of routes worldwide. The main difference is that FulGaz doesn’t use augmented reality. This means there are no avatars or artificial objects.
|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 TrainerRoad?
Yes. Riders motivated to improve their performance will appreciate the science-based plans and Adaptive Training technology.
If you follow one of their plans, you can be sure you will improve the area you want (FTP, endurance, sprints, etc.).
You will also appreciate their in-depth analytics tools and insights to help you understand your progress.
Do I recommend it to everybody?
No. TrainerRoad isn’t suitable for people who want to explore new places from the comfort of their home (like in ROUVY or FulGaz).
It also doesn’t provide you with many rewards (achievements, new equipment, etc.), like Zwift.