Zwift vs. TrainerRoad: Which One Should You Use?

Zwift vs. TrainerRoad: Zwift in-app screen on the left vs. TrainerRoad in-app screen on the right

I’ve made an in-depth comparison of Zwift vs. TrainerRoad to help you decide which one is the right for you based on your personality and fitness goals. I used them both to find their pros, cons, and differences.


Zwift is all about socializing and having fun. You’ll ride through a virtual world with other people from around the globe. On the other hand, TrainerRoad is ideal for serious athletes who want to improve their performance. It displays your workout plan and data and uses advanced algorithms to personalize your training.

Continue reading to learn more.

Zwift and TrainerRoad Summary

The main difference between these apps is their concept.

Zwift offers a fun, virtual experience where you ride alongside others in a cartoonish world. You can chat, race, follow pace partners, or do structured workouts.

TrainerRoad, on the other hand, focuses solely on improving your cycling performance. It achieves this with advanced algorithms that create personalized training plans based on your fitness level and goals.

To sum up, here are the key features of each app.

WorldVirtualNo world¹
In-game ChatYesn/a
Races & EventsYesn/a
Workouts BuilderYesYes
Platforms AvailabilityAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TVAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOS
Free Trial14 daysn/a²
Price14.99 USD / month
144.99 USD / year
19.95 USD / month
189 USD / year
In-Depth ReviewRead Zwift ReviewRead TrainerRoad Review
Comparison of the main features of Zwift vs. TrainerRoad.
¹TrainerRoad only shows a screen with the structured training.
²30-day money-back guarantee
Updated on the 3rd of January, 2024.

Features Comparison

Let’s now dive deeper into the individual features.


Zwift is like a video game where you control an avatar in a virtual world by pedaling on your bike or running with a sensor.

You can interact with other riders who are on the same roads as you, chat with them, wave to them, and give them ‘Ride Ons’ (similar to likes).

In Zwift, you can follow structured training plans, race against others, or train with pace partners.

Zwift currently offers different worlds like Watopia, London, Paris, Richmond, Makuri Islands, and more to provide a diverse experience.

However, only three worlds are available at a time. Watopia is always available, and the other two worlds change based on a schedule.

TrainerRoad is a straightforward training tool designed to help you improve your cycling performance.

The main screen only displays essential data when doing a structured workout. This includes your power, targeted power, interval time, workout time, heart rate, and cadence.

My ride data in TrainerRoad
TrainerRoad – Ride Data

While it may not offer the same level of virtual interaction as Zwift, TrainerRoad is ideal for those who want to focus solely on improving their cycling ability without distractions.

When doing indoor cycling training, it’s normal to sweat a lot. To stay cool and comfortable, it’s recommended to use a fan for indoor cycling.

Multiplayer & Social Interactivity

Zwift is designed to be a multiplayer experience where you can chat and meet other riders. However, TrainerRoad is for those who don’t mind riding solo.

While both apps have a large community and user base, with TrainerRoad, it’s just you, your bike, and the app – no distractions.

Races & Events

In Zwift, you have the option to participate in races and group rides, but TrainerRoad does not offer these features.

Zwift races can get quite crowded (depending on the race) and occur frequently due to the app’s large user base and community.

My avatar in a bunch in Zwift race.
Screenshot from Zwift race

Moreover, Zwift is also used for official events such as the UCI Cycling eSports World Championships.

To improve your indoor cycling comfort, consider using a rocker plate. This will allow your trainer to move from side to side, reducing friction between your butt and the saddle.


Here’s where the two apps are more comparable – both allow you to create and do workouts or follow structured training plans.

Zwift provides a library of workouts, structured training plans, and a workout builder.

Additionally, Zwift has pace partners – bots you can ride with to maintain a consistent tempo.

Zwift Pace Partners: Categories from the quickest (A), to the slowest (D)
Zwift Pace Partners

TrainerRoad also has a workout library, but it takes training to a whole new level.

With TrainerRoad’s Plan Builder, you’ll answer a series of questions, and it will design a personalized training plan based on your goals.

You can specify how much time you want to invest in training, which days you want to train, and what discipline to focus on. It works like magic.

TrainerRoad also features Adaptive Training, which adjusts your plan based on your load and fitness.

How to Use Adaptive Training

And last but not least, if you like to dig deeper into your training data, you can because TrainerRoad offers helpful analytics tools for each activity.


Another area that sets these two apps apart is their approach to gamification.

Zwift heavily incorporates gamification elements, such as collecting drops (an in-game currency), achievements, finishing routes, and building equipment. These elements add extra motivation for riding more.

In contrast, TrainerRoad has no gamification features. It’s up to you and your internal motivation to stay motivated during your training.

User Friendliness

Both apps are easy to use, but TrainerRoad is better in terms of the user interface.

Zwift’s user interface used to be subpar, but it has improved with the 2022 update.

However, TrainerRoad’s user interface is clean and intuitive, with only minor issues such as small buttons or fonts.

Zwift Dashboard 2022
Zwift Dashboard
TrainerRoad dashboard
TrainerRoad dashboard

Pairing sensors and setting up the apps is straightforward for both, and I did not encounter any compatibility issues when using multiple power meters, heart rate monitors, or smart trainers.

Platforms Availability

Zwift is available on all major platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Apple TV.

TrainerRoad is not available for Apple TV.

Zwift platform availability (iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, etc.)
Zwift platform availability
TrainerRoad platform availability (iOS, macOS, Windows, etc.)
TrainerRoad platform availability


Zwift costs $14.99 per month, while TrainerRoad is a bit more expensive at $19.99/month or $189/year.

That’s a 25% difference, but is it worth it?

If you’re serious about improving your cycling performance through structured training, there’s probably no better app than TrainerRoad. In this case, the investment may be worth it for you.


The closest alternative to Zwift is Wahoo RGT, which has more realistic graphics and physics, although it’s not as widespread. You can find more information in my comparison of Zwift vs. Wahoo RGT.

The closest alternative to TrainerRoad is Wahoo SYSTM, a comprehensive training platform for endurance athletes.

While it offers similar features to TrainerRoad, its structured training plans may not be as comprehensive or personalized. You can learn more about these apps in my comparison of Wahoo SYSTM vs. TrainerRoad.

Alternatively, you can explore other indoor cycling apps.

Zwift vs. TrainerRoad: The Winner

It’s unfair to say that one app is better than the other, as Zwift and TrainerRoad have different goals and purposes. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

Zwift is designed as a game that makes indoor cycling more enjoyable and motivating.

On the other hand, TrainerRoad is a training tool ideal for dedicated athletes who want to improve their performance.

When deciding which app to use, it’s important to consider your goals and what you hope to achieve with indoor training.

If you’re looking to have fun, meet people, or participate in indoor racing, Zwift might be a better fit for you.

… or read my in-depth Zwift review for more details.

But if you’re a dedicated athlete looking to become a faster cyclist, TrainerRoad might be the way to go.

You can also read my in-depth TrainerRoad review for more info.

Zwift and TrainerRoad FAQ

2 thoughts on “Zwift vs. TrainerRoad: Which One Should You Use?”

  1. Profile picture of Petr Minarik - the founder of

    I’ve been using both Zwift and TrainerRoad for a few months now and I have to say, they are both great platforms for indoor cycling. However, I find myself preferring Zwift more because of its more immersive experience. The virtual environments and interactive features keep me motivated and engaged. But TrainerRoad’s structured workouts and data analysis are top-notch as well. It really comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a workout platform. Great post, thanks for the comparison!

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