Are you comparing Trainerroad vs. Wahoo SYSTM?
Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM (that's not a typo, it's actually spelled SYSTM) are two of the best-known training apps for endurance athletes. They both allow you to train for cycling by connecting to a smart trainer, but Trainerroad feels a little easier to use, while Wahoo SYSTM offers more than just training plans.
While each indoor cycling app offers a good experience, the type of athlete they're each best for is different.
The main difference between Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM is that Trainerroad training is based on personalized training plans created by their "Adaptive Training," which is designed to make you a well-rounded cyclist. Meanwhile, Wahoo SYSTM is less personalized and based on more of a template style training plan.
In this article, we'll discuss the pros and cons of Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM, and we'll answer the following questions you might have:
- What are the main features of Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM?
- What are the pros and cons of Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM?
- How much do Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM cost?
- Are Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM good for beginners?
- What athletes should consider Trainerroad vs. Wahoo SYSTM?
BONUS: We'll also discuss our app MOTTIV which is a really good alternative to Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM if these two apps don't sound quite right for you.
Trainerroad vs. Wahoo SYSTM vs. MOTTIV Summary
Trainerroad is a web and smartphone-based training platform geared towards cyclists, but triathletes and duathletes can also create plans on the app. Athletes can train for multiple races at a time, and their workouts are personalized.
Trainerroad uses AI to determine a cyclist's strengths and weaknesses, and provides structured training plans designed to create a well-rounded athlete.
Compared to Wahoo SYSTM, Trainerroad is much more straightforward to use. Wahoo SYSTM feels like it doesn't know exactly what it's trying to provide users.
- Connections: Trainerroad syncs to a lot of devices and apps directly. If you plan on doing most of your training indoors on a bike trainer and want an app to control the trainer for you, Trainerroad will do just that.
- Adaptive training: Trainerroad uses your workouts to develop a profile of your athletic abilities, then recommends training based on that profile. It's still unclear whether this actually generates improved performance, but it's a cool feature.
- Hard workouts: Many people love how difficult most Trainerroad workouts are. You'll feel like you're getting a solid workout every time you follow one of their recommended workouts (although this is also a con for many people).
- Easy to use: Most people can quickly pick up how to build plans inside the Trainerroad app.
- Stats: Users can easily track their stats without having to understand much about the app.
- No free version: Trainerroad doesn't have a free plan, all memberships are paid.
- Burnout: Trainerroad workouts are very hard, and many people report getting faster initially with the app but start to experience burnout and plateau after six months.
- Poor running support: There aren't any running race-specific plans, and running workouts can't be sent to fitness devices to follow along. This isn't great if you're a runner, triathlete, or duathlete.
- 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. Trainerroad 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. Trainerroad doesn't provide any nutrition recommendations at all.
Trainerroad Ease of Use
Trainerroad is easy to use because it is designed for the end user. It is also very simple to understand, and users will be guided through creating a personalized training plan.
The user experience can be somewhat complicated for people completely new to setting up training in general, but most people will get the hang of it within a few days.
Trainerroad doesn't have much information inside the app on how and why the workouts or plans are designed the way they are, so athletes have to trust that it's correct or figure it out for themselves. However, Trainerroad has a very active forum community to help with support.
Who is Trainerroad Best For?
Trainerroad is best for cyclists who want a training plan designed by artificial intelligence that addresses an athlete's weaknesses. It is also great for athletes who do most of their training indoors on a bike trainer and want an app that will control the trainer for them.
- No free plan
- Paid: $19.95/month, $185/year
Wahoo SYSTM Review
Wahoo SYSTM Overview
Wahoo SYSTM is a computer- and smartphone-based app that used to be the Sufferfest app which provided challenging cycling workouts paired with motivating videos you could watch during the workout.
Wahoo SYSTM now has training plans for all cycling races, duathlons, and triathlons. There are no running-specific training plans in Wahoo SYSTM. Athletes can add strength training, yoga, and mental preparation to their training plans.
Paid Wahoo SYSTM training members also get free access to Wahoo RGT, which is kind of like Zwift, 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 athlete's abilities using a "4 Dimensional Power" or 4DP test.
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 with a 4DP test, then recommends training based on that profile. It's unclear whether this actually generates improved performance, but it's a cool feature.
- Motivational videos: Many people love how Wahoo SYSTM has motivational videos playing during your training session. 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' performance and health. Wahoo SYSTM is one of the few apps that, like MOTTIV, offers many strength and mobility videos you can follow along with.
- Price: $14.99/month or $149/year is a great price for training plans.
Wahoo SYSTM Cons
- No free version: Wahoo SYSTM doesn't offer a free version of their app.
- Limited plans: Wahoo SYSTM plans are based on templates; they're not extremely personalized. You can't load up several races at once and create a cohesive training plan for all races. There also aren't any running-specific training plans.
- Not fully "finished": Wahoo SYSTM kind of feels like a less good Trainingpeaks, and Wahoo RGT feels like a less good Zwift. It's taken Trainingpeaks and Zwift many years to make their apps as good as they have. 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 their attention is fragmented across a whole bunch of 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 the app is trying to convince me 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 again, even though it's already open. Setting up training plans is a very odd 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 be 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 relatively 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 fairly minimal. There's just a noticeable learning curve to get used to some of the odd things in the app.
The offering of Wahoo SYSTM 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 (such as Wahoo X).
Wahoo SYSTM also doesn't have much information inside the app about how and why the training is designed the way it is. Athletes just have to trust it's correct or figure it out for themselves. For example, swim workouts in Wahoo SYSTM might say "100 drill", but what drill should you do? It doesn't say anywhere what the directions mean.
Who is Wahoo SYSTM Best For?
Wahoo SYSTM is best for cyclists who want a training plan created based on their unique cyclist profile. 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 application that creates a personalized training plan for athletes looking to prepare for any combination of running races, triathlons, cycling events, duathlons, and swimruns.
Athletes just 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.
MOTTIV excels at keeping athletes on track to reach their goals. Getting a training plan is one thing, but having the support and motivation you need 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 is easy to follow. All you need to do is input a bit of 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 you can follow along with to make sure you're doing the exercises and workouts correctly.
- Nutrition guidance: Eating the right thing before, during, and after your workouts will make every workout you complete much more effective. Every single workout in the MOTTIV app has nutrition recommendations that are personalized to you.
- Progress stats: MOTTIV tracks and displays all your workout and progress stats. 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 really excellent features that help keep you on track with your training plan because we all need a little support sometimes.
- 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 these services separately would cost well over $60/month.
- Workout complexity: Some people find some of our workouts a bit hard to understand if they're new to endurance sports.
- Device connections: Although we offer full workout synchronization with Garmin Connect, as well as connections to Trainingpeaks, Strava, Zwift, and most other popular devices, our list of possible connections isn't as robust as some other platforms.
- Lack of flexibility: While most people want a training plan they just can follow and get great results, some people want one where they can add, subtract and modify workouts as they see fit. While you can definitely move workouts around in MOTTIV, it's designed more for you to follow as closely as possible for the best results.
- Slow interface: MOTTIV hasn't been around for as long as Trainerroad, so some screens may take a few extra seconds to load because the app is still being fully optimized.
MOTTIV Ease of Use
MOTTIV is designed to be the easiest app for endurance athletes to use. All you need to enter 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 and get just a little help to know that you're on track and doing it right, then MOTTIV is for you.
- Free plan
- Paid: $19.99/month, $179.99/year
Trainerroad vs. Wahoo SYSTM vs. MOTTIV: Which One is Better?
When comparing Trainerroad, Wahoo SYSTM, and MOTTIV, the answer to which one is better (and specifically which has the best indoor training) is like most things: it depends. Trainerroad and Wahoo SYSTM are very similar, while MOTTIV is a little different.
If you're primarily a cyclist and you're looking for an app that creates a training plan that you can connect to an indoor bike training to guide every single workout, then Trainerroad is a great option.
If you're a dedicated Wahoo device user and want a training plan that includes add-ons like strength training, yoga, motivational videos, and cycling race footage to pump you up while you ride, then Wahoo SYSTM is for you (just be prepared for a little less user-friendly experience).
If you're looking for a holistic training plan app 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.