Are you comparing Strava vs Wahoo SYSTM?
Strava and Wahoo SYSTM (this isn't a typo, it's actually spelled SYSTM) are two of the best-known apps for endurance athletes. Strava will allow you to connect with and follow athletes from around the world (it's sort of like Facebook for athletes), while Wahoo SYSTM provides cycling and triathlon training plans for indoor smart bike trainers.
Strava and Wahoo SYSTM are very different training platforms that people use for two totally different purposes.
The main difference between Strava and Wahoo SYSTM is that Strava is primarily designed for people to follow the training other athletes are doing, while Wahoo SYSTM is designed to create a cycling plan performed primarily indoors on a smart trainer.
In this article, we'll discuss all the pros and cons of Strava and Wahoo SYSTM, and we'll answer the following questions you might have:
- What are the main features of Strava and Wahoo SYSTM?
- What are the pros and cons of Strava and Wahoo SYSTM?
- How much do Strava and Wahoo SYSTM cost?
- Are Strava and Wahoo SYSTM good for beginners?
- What athletes should consider Strava vs Wahoo SYSTM?
BONUS: We'll also discuss our app, MOTTIV, which is a good alternative to Strava and Wahoo SYSTM if those two apps don't sound quite right for you.
Strava vs. Wahoo SYSTM vs. MOTTIV Summary
Strava Training App Review
Strava is a web and smartphone-based app designed primarily as a social media app where you can follow the fitness activities of other people.
Strava displays activities, allows you to see existing routes, create your own routes, and see how people rank on leaderboards for sections of activities from all around the world.
Compared to Wahoo SYSTM, Strava is much better for connecting with friends and strangers, but the training plans offered to paid Strava users are very generic, and Strava doesn't offer a real-time training experience.
- Connections: Strava connects to an almost unlimited number of fitness devices and apps.
- Huge community: Strava has roughly 100 million users, so you'll have no shortage of athletes you can follow.
- Free version: If all you want to do is follow other athletes, you can do that for free.
- Stats: Strava can be your all-in-one lifelong fitness activity app, so you can always change your fitness devices and not worry about losing your fitness data.
- Paid version: Strava has struggled over the past several years to show its users that the paid version actually has value.
- Training plans: Strava training plans are limited to runners and cyclists, and the training plans are extremely basic and not interactive whatsoever.
- Complexity: Strava has suffered "feature creep," where there are so many features available on Strava that many users don't even know everything available or where to find most of it.
- No strength or mobility training: Strength training is one of the most significant performance enhancers endurance athletes can do, and mobility workouts will help athletes avoid developing tightnesses and physical limitations during training. Strava doesn't include any strength or mobility training in their plans.
- No nutrition guidance: Pairing the right nutrition with every workout will make the workouts much more effective. Strava doesn't provide any nutrition recommendations at all.
Strava Ease of Use
Strava is very easy to use because it is designed for the end user (as opposed to being designed primarily for coaches the way Trainingpeaks is).
The most difficult thing new users need to learn with Strava is where everything is. Strava has been around since 2007, so the app has grown quite large, and there are a lot of features users can find and play with.
When it comes to Strava training plans, they're easy to use once you find them (run training plans can be found on Strava here, and cycling training plans are here). They are very basic and without many details, so athletes will have an easy time using them, but they're generic and not personalized to your goals and abilities.
Who is Strava Best For?
Strava is best for athletes who want to track their fitness activities in one place to see what they did, what their friends or favorite athletes did, and how they compare. Strava is not a good option for training plans.
- No free plan
- Paid: $11.99/month, $79.99/year
Wahoo SYSTM Review
Wahoo SYSTM Overview
Wahoo SYSTM is a computer- and smartphone-based app that used to be Sufferfest – which Wahoo acquired in 2019. The Sufferfest app provided challenging indoor cycling workouts and motivating videos you could watch during the workout.
Wahoo SYSTM now has training plans for various cycling races, duathlons, and triathlons. There are no running-specific training plans in Wahoo SYSTM. Athletes can add strength training, yoga, and mental training to their plans.
Paid Wahoo SYSTM members also get free access to Wahoo RGT, which is kind of like Zwift (the indoor cycling app), where you can ride in a virtual world with other athletes or by yourself.
Like Trainerroad, Wahoo SYSTM doesn't strictly use FTP (Functional Threshold Power) to create workouts. Instead, it creates a profile of each rider's abilities using their "4 Dimensional Power" or 4DP test.
Compared to Strava, Wahoo SYSTM is much better at creating a training plan for cycling races, triathlons, and duathlons. Wahoo SYSTM also has helpful motivational and informational videos to help you with your training.
Wahoo SYSTM Pros
- Integration with Wahoo Products: Wahoo SYSTM connects Wahoo products very well, allowing you to load up bike workouts and have the app control the trainer for you.
- Four-Dimensional Power: Wahoo SYSTM develops a profile of your athletic abilities (which they call your 4dp profile), then recommends training based on that profile. It's unclear whether this generates improved performance, but it's a cool feature.
- Motivational videos: Many people love how Wahoo SYSTM has motivational videos playing during your workout. They often find this more engaging than the virtual world of an app like Zwift or Rouvy.
- Bonus content: Wahoo SYSTM offers a lot of bonus content, like following along with a pro for a week or other content that's just fun to watch.
- Strength and Yoga workouts: Strength and mobility are extremely important for athletes for both performance and health. Wahoo SYSTM is one of the few apps that, like MOTTIV, offers many strength and mobility videos that you can follow along with.
- Price: $14.99/month or $149/year, a great price for training plans.
Wahoo SYSTM Cons
- No free version: Wahoo SYSTM doesn't have any free version.
- Limited plans: Wahoo SYSTM plans are based on templates and are not extremely personalized. You also can't load several races at once and create a cohesive training plan for all of those races. There also aren't any running-specific training plans.
- Not fully "finished": Wahoo SYSTM feels like a less good Training Peaks, and Wahoo RGT feels like a less good Zwift. It has taken Trainingpeaks and Zwift many years to make their apps as good as they are. Wahoo is trying to build bike trainers, fitness watches, a training plan app (SYSTM), and a virtual world app (RGT) all at the same time, which means attention is fragmented across products.
- Questionable personalization: Many aspects of Wahoo SYSTM feel very strange to use. For example, during your sign-up process, the app will say it's creating a personalized plan for you even though you haven't given it any information. There are many odd instances like this where it feels like the app is trying to convince you that it's creating a personalized experience, but it's clear that it's not.
- User interface: Wahoo SYSTM can't be used over a web browser. Clicking certain things in Wahoo SYSTM causes the app to try to open itself again, even though it's already open. Setting up training plans is a very baffling experience with prompts like "Choose Strength Level. Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, Level 5." What do those levels even mean?! There are a lot of instances where the app leaves users confused about how to use it.
- Uncertain future of Wahoo: Wahoo recently had to go into bankruptcy protection and was repurchased by the founder and a group of investors. This usually spells big changes for a company, so who knows what the future holds for Wahoo.
Wahoo SYSTM Ease of Use
Wahoo SYSTM will be easy for people to use once they work through some of the peculiarities of the app that we mentioned in the Cons list above.
The app is minimal, without many places for users to get confused. That said, there is a learning curve users will need to go through to get used to some of the odd things in the app.
The offering of Wahoo SYSTM training and Wahoo RGT is also confusing because you get access to both services, but they aren't integrated at all, so you have to download multiple Wahoo apps to use the entire product line.
Wahoo SYSTM doesn't have much information inside the app or the workouts as to how and why the training is designed the way it is, so athletes have to just trust that the workouts and/or their training load is correct (or figure it out for themselves.) They also don't give any guidance if you aren't sure what something means. For example, swim workouts within SYSTM might say "100 drill", but what drill should you do?
Who is Wahoo SYSTM Best For?
The Wahoo SYSTM platform is best for cyclists who want a plan builder to give them training based on their unique profile as a rider. It is also great for athletes who do most of their training indoors on a Wahoo bike trainer, and they want an app that will control the trainer for them.
Wahoo SYSTM Pricing
- No free plan
- Paid: $14.99/month, $149/year
BONUS: MOTTIV Review
MOTTIV is an app that can be used on the web or in their mobile (smartphone) app that creates a comprehensive training plan, personalized for athletes looking to prepare for any combination of running races, triathlons, cycling events, duathlons, and swimruns.
Athletes need to enter the dates and distances of their races, how much time they're able to train, and their current fitness abilities, and they'll receive a personalized training plan that gets them ready for all their races at the same time.
Of course, we're biased, but we believe MOTTIV excels at keeping athletes on track to reach their goals. Getting a training plan is one thing, but having the support and motivation to stick to that plan is far more important. MOTTIV keeps you motivated throughout the training process so you always know you're on track and your goals are within reach.
- Ease of use: MOTTIV is designed for athletes who want a training plan that's done for them and easy to follow. All you need to do is input some data, then be ready to show up willing to work and follow the plan every day you have training scheduled.
- Unlimited training plans: Whether you have one race or 20 races to train for, MOTTIV can create a training plan that gets you ready for all of them. Premium members can add as many races as they want at no additional cost.
- Strength & Mobility: MOTTIV strength and mobility workouts are full-length videos that you can follow to make sure you're doing the movements correctly.
- Nutrition guidance: Eating the right thing before, during, and after your workouts will make every workout you complete much more effective. Every workout in the MOTTIV app has nutrition recommendations that are personalized to you.
- Progress stats: MOTTIV tracks and displays all your workout and progress metrics for you. You don't need to learn how to work the app or where to find stats to know if you're on track or not, MOTTIV easily shows you if you're headed in the right direction.
- Motivation: MOTTIV has some excellent features that help keep you on track with your training plan because we all need a little support sometimes when we're working hard to get fitter and achieve our goals.
- Cost: MOTTIV provides all your endurance training, strength training, mobility training, personalized workout nutrition, and stats tracking, all in one place for one flat fee. Getting all these services separately would cost over $60/month.
- Workout complexity: Some people find that our workouts can be hard to understand when they first start using the app.
- Device connections: MOTTIV offers full workout synchronization with Garmin, as well as connections to popular platforms like Trainingpeaks, Strava, Zwift, and more, our list of possible connections isn't as robust as some other platforms.
- Lack of flexibility: While most people want a training plan they can simply follow, some people want to add, subtract and modify workouts as they see fit. While you can definitely move workouts in MOTTIV, the workouts are designed for you to follow along as closely as possible for the best result.
- Slow interface: MOTTIV hasn't been around for as long as Wahoo or Strava, so some screens take a few extra seconds to load because the app is still being fully optimized for speed.
MOTTIV Ease of Use
MOTTIV is designed to be the easiest app for endurance athletes to use. All you need to do to create a personalized training plan are your race dates and distances, how much time you can train, and your current fitness abilities.
In addition to it being easy to create training plans, the MOTTIV app has features throughout the app that tell you why and how to perform every aspect of your training, so you're never left guessing.
Who is MOTTIV Best For?
MOTTIV is best for athletes looking for a holistic training plan that includes: endurance workouts, strength training, mobility workouts, and nutrition guidance.
If you're the type of person who wants to know what to do, with a little bit of confirmation that you're on track and doing it right, then MOTTIV is for you.
- Free plan
- Paid: $19.99/month, $179.99/year
Strava vs. Wahoo SYSTM vs. MOTTIV: Which One is Better?
When comparing Strava, Wahoo SYSTM, and MOTTIV, the answer to which one is better is, like most things: it depends.
If you're primarily looking to connect with and follow what other athletes are doing in their day-to-day training sessions, Strava is the app for you.
If you're looking for an app with training programs that will make your indoor bike training more enjoyable, Wahoo SYSTM is the app for you.
If you're looking for a training plan builder that can create a personalized training plan for multiple races at a time, and keeps you motivated to stay on track to reach your goals, then MOTTIV is the app for you.