This is my comparison of Zwift vs. Wahoo SYSTM (formerly, the Sufferfest). I tested them both to help you decide which one you should use.
Both are among the best indoor cycling apps, but their concept differs.
While Zwift is highly socially oriented, Wahoo SYSTM suits those who don’t mind training solo and want greater sports diversity.
The main difference between Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM is that you ride through a virtual world built from scratch with other people in Zwift. Wahoo SYSTM is a multisport platform for endurance athletes. It can combine cycling, swimming, running, yoga, strength training, and more.
Continue reading to learn more.
Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM Summary
The most significant difference between these two apps is their concept.
In Zwift, you ride with an avatar through a virtual, cartoonish world with other people worldwide. You can just ride and chat with others, race, follow pace partners, or do structured workouts.
Wahoo SYSTM, on the other hand, is a multisport platform suitable for endurance athletes, like cyclists, runners, swimmers, etc.
It includes structured workouts, yoga, strength and mental exercises, and much more.
See my summary of the main features below.
|World||Virtual||Real and Virtual|
|Races & Events||Yes||No|
|Platforms Availability||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Apple TV||Android, iOS, Windows, macOS|
|Free Trial||7 days (limited to 25 km)||14 days|
|Price||14.99 USD / month||14.99 USD / month*
149 USD / year
|In-Depth Review||Read Zwift Review||Read Wahoo SYSTM Review|
*You also get access to Wahoo RGT with the Wahoo X subscription.
Updated on the 15th of November, 2022.
Let’s now dive deeper into the individual features.
Zwift is basically a game where you move your avatar through a virtual world by pedaling on your bike (or running with a sensor).
You can meet other riders who ride the same roads throughout the ride. You can chat with them, wave to them, give them ‘Ride Ons’ (likes), etc.
In Zwift, you can also follow structured training plans, race, or train with pace partners.
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.
Wahoo SYSTM is more complex, and it really depends on you how you leverage everything it offers.
For example, one of the first things I did was I took their 4DP test, which is more complex than the standard FTP test.
The app showed me a mix of footage from pro races and funny quotes:
Once I finished it, I learned my rider’s profile:
However, I am only scratching the surface. SYSTM also includes other cycling activities like Pro Rides or On Location.
Then, there are other sports like running, yoga, swimming, mental training, etc. You can learn more about them in my Wahoo SYSTM review.
As you can see, there is a lot to explore in SYSTM. I recommend it to people who appreciate sports diversity.
During indoor training, you will sweat – a lot. Stay cooled down by using a fan for indoor cycling.
Multiplayer & Social Interactivity
While Zwift is multiplayer-friendly (e.g., you can chat, meet others, etc.), Wahoo SYSTM is only for people who don’t mind riding solo.
Zwift uses more external motivation factors (like competitiveness, gamification, etc.). For Wahoo SYSTM, you have to be motivated internally.
Races & Events
You can race and do group rides in Zwift but not in Wahoo SYSTM.
Zwift races are usually pretty crowded (depending on the race) and frequent, thanks to the large community and user base.
Zwift is the best platform if you want to do e-racing. SYSTM cannot compete here.
Improve your indoor cycling comfort with a rocker plate. It will allow your trainer to move from side to side, reducing the friction between your butt and saddle.
Here is where things are more comparable.
Both apps will allow you to create and do workouts or follow structured training plans.
Zwift offers a workouts library, structured training plans, and a workouts builder.
Additionally, Zwift has so-called pace partners. So if you just need a “company” to maintain a constant tempo, you can use these bots.
Wahoo SYSTM has a workout library, of course. But it can also create a personalized training plan based on your goals.
Furthermore, it can mix multiple sports together. This feature is unique, and I like it because I appreciate the comprehensive approach.
Another area that sets these two apps apart is their approach to gamification.
Zwift uses many gamification elements. For example, you collect drops (an in-game currency), achievements, finish routes, build your equipment, etc. These elements add extra motivation to ride more.
Wahoo SYSTM uses gamification a lot less. Basically, the only motivation system they use is their Awards gallery.
The ease of use of both apps is similar, but Wahoo SYSTM is better.
The Zwift app is much better than it was in the past. It’s more responsive, more stable, and easier to navigate now.
However, the Wahoo SYSTM user interface is cleaner and more intuitive. Wahoo is known for its great user experience, both product, and software-wise.
Zwift is available on all major platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Apple TV.
Wahoo SYSTM is also available for these platforms except for Apple TV.
Zwift costs 14.99 USD/month. Wahoo SYSTM is available in a Wahoo X subscription for 14.99 USD/month or 129 USD/year.
The Wahoo X subscription gives you access to Wahoo SYSTM and also Wahoo RGT.
Wahoo has an edge here. You get two apps for the price of one.
Both apps have alternatives. The closest alternative to Zwift is Wahoo RGT. It is not as widespread but has more realistic graphics and physics. You can read my comparison of Wahoo RGT vs. Zwift for more info.
The closest alternative to Wahoo SYSTM is TrainerRoad. It’s even more focused on making you a faster cyclist.
It has a comprehensive, structured training plans builder and unique adaptive training technology. Learn more in my Wahoo SYSTM vs. TrainerRoad comparison.
Or, check out other indoor cycling apps:
Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM FAQ
Zwift vs. Wahoo SYSTM: The Winner
There is no winner between Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM because both apps are different. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.
While Zwift is designed as a game that motivates you to ride indoors and have fun, Wahoo SYSTM is a comprehensive training platform for endurance athletes.
I recommend you consider your goals and why you want to use an indoor training app.
Do you want to have fun, meet people, or do indoor racing?
Are you an athlete looking for ways to make your training more diverse? Do you appreciate more variety?