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Are you comparing Zwift vs Wahoo SYSTM?

Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM (that is not a typo, it's actually spelled SYSTM) are two of the most comparable apps for workouts to be controlled on an indoor smart trainer. Zwift will allow you to ride alongside other athletes while you're in the Zwift worlds, while Wahoo SYSTM provides cycling and triathlon training plans that can connect to a smart trainer for indoor cycling.

Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM are very comparable apps on the surface, but the athletes who use them will be very different.

The main difference between Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM is that Zwift is designed solely to ride and race alongside other athletes inside the virtual Zwift world, while Wahoo SYSTM is designed primarily around doing bike trainer workouts on your own as part of a training plan created by Wahoo SYSTM.

In this article, we'll discuss all the pros and cons of Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM, and we'll answer the following questions you might have:

  • What are the main features of Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM?
  • What are the pros and cons of Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM?
  • How much do Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM cost?
  • Are Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM good for beginners?
  • What athletes should consider Zwift vs Wahoo SYSTM?

BONUS: We'll also be discussing our training app MOTTIV, which is a really good alternative to Zwift and Wahoo SYSTM if these two apps don't sound quite right for you.

Zwift vs. Wahoo SYSTM vs. MOTTIV Summary

What kind of plans? Thousands of structured workouts, but very minimal race preparation-focused training plans Training Plans Template-based plans for cycling, triathlon, duathlon (no running plans) Personalized training plans
for running, triathlons, cycling events,
duathlons, swimruns
Can training plans be combined? No No Yes
Strength Training No Fully guided strength videos you can follow along with Fully guided strength videos you can follow along with
Mobility Training No Fully guided mobility videos you can follow along with Fully guided mobility videos you can follow along with
Progress Stats No Yes Yes
Nutrition Guidance No No Yes (on every workout)
Connect With Other Users? Yes No Yes
Ease of Use Easy Can be confusing to use Very easy
Free Plan No (Training plans are only available to paid users) No Yes
Indoor Training Experience? Yes Yes No
Pricing $11.99/month or $79.99/year $14.99/month or $149/year $19.99/month or $179/year
Avg. User Rating 4.7/5 Stars 4.7/5 Stars 4.8/5 Stars

Zwift Review

Zwift Overview

Zwift is a computer and smartphone-based indoor cycling app that connects to bike trainers and fitness devices like heart rate monitors.

In the Zwift virtual world, you can cycle around and explore, finish fitness challenges, ride with friends, or join a virtual race with other people from around the world. The community of athletes from all around the world is incredibly motivational and makes indoor riding much more enjoyable.

Zwift also has thousands of pre-made workouts that you can perform in the app. You can create your own workouts or load up workouts from your MOTTIV training plans.

Compared to Wahoo SYSTM, Zwift does not offer training plans, but it is a much more interactive experience when you ride along inside the virtual Zwift world with other athletes.

Zwift Pros

  1. Virtual world: Riding in the virtual world Zwift created feels like you're riding outside when you have a really nice indoor bike trainer setup.
  2. Huge community: Zwift has roughly 1 million users, so you'll have no shortage of athletes you can ride with. The community features are very motivating and make you feel like you're actually riding with other people.
  3. Races: Zwift races are incredibly intense; they're some of the hardest workouts you can possibly do. Zwift racing has become so large that some riders even specialize in virtual racing and not real-life bike racing.
  4. Badges: Many people get into the gamification of Zwift and start pursuing all the badges, achievements, and rides that they can collect.

Zwift Cons

  1. Expensive: While Zwift itself is not expensive, getting a bike trainer setup that provides a realistic cycling experience may cost thousands of dollars.
  2. Training plans: Zwift doesn't really offer any structured training plans to prepare for races
  3. Graphics: Zwift was released in 2013, and the graphics haven't changed much since. Many people find the graphics cartoony and not realistic.
  4. Workouts: Zwift pre-made workouts are very random, not relating to any specific goal or training plan. Some coaches have criticized Zwift training plans for being created to be interesting and hard, as opposed to effective or good.
  5. Stats: Zwift tracks all of your activities but doesn't really do any performance tracking to let you know how you're progressing or if you're making any progress at all.
  6. Pricing: Zwift is primarily an app that's used in the winter months, but there's no annual membership option or long-term pause feature, so many athletes cancel Zwift outright every single year.

Zwift Ease of Use

Zwift is very easy to use once you have your indoor bike trainer setup put together.

The user interface is very easy to understand every single ride. The only thing that's a little confusing to learn about as a new user is that to use the full features of Zwift, you need the Zwift Companion app.

Who is Zwift Best For?

Zwift is best for athletes who want to ride indoors on a smart bike trainer setup. If you want to ride around and collect achievements or race in virtual events, the Zwift app will be great for you.

If you have a training plan from another app, like MOTTIV, you can perform your bike workouts from the MOTTIV app in Zwift.

Zwift Pricing

  • Free: No free plan
  • Paid: $14.99/month, no annual option

Wahoo SYSTM Review

Wahoo SYSTM Overview

Wahoo SYSTM is a computer app and smartphone-based training platform. It used to be called 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 different 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 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.

Compared to Zwift, 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

  1. 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.
  2. Four Dimensional Power: Wahoo SYSTM develops a profile of your athletic abilities and then recommends training based on that profile. It's still uncertain as to whether this actually generates improved performance, but it's a pretty cool feature.
  3. Motivational videos: Many people love how Wahoo SYSTM has motivational videos playing while your workout is taking place; they often find this more engaging than the virtual world of an app like Zwift or Rouvy.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Price: $14.99/month or $149/year is a great price for training plans.

Wahoo SYSTM Cons

  1. No free version: Wahoo SYSTM doesn't have any free version.
  2. Limited plans: Wahoo SYSTM plans are based on templates, and they're not extremely personalized. You also 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.
  3. 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 are. Wahoo is trying to build bike trainers (Wahoo Kickr), 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.
  4. 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 me that it's creating a personalized experience, but it's clear that it's not
  5. User interface: Wahoo SYSTM can't be used over a web browser. Clicking certain things in Wahoo SYSTM tries to open the app 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.
  6. 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 fairly easy for people to use once they work their way through some of the peculiarities of the app that we mentioned in the Cons list above.

While the app is fairly minimal, without a lot of places where users will get confused, there's still a noticeable learning curve users go through to get used to some of the odd aspects of 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 require downloading multiple Wahoo apps to use the entire product line.

One thing Wahoo SYSTM doesn't have is much information inside the app and the workouts as to how and why the training is designed the way it is, so athletes have to simply trust that it's correct or figure it out for themselves. For example, swim workouts in Wahoo SYSTM might just say "100 drills", but what drill should you do?

Who is Wahoo SYSTM Best For?

Wahoo SYSTM is best for cyclists who want a training plan that is created based on your 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

  • Free: No free plan
  • Paid: $14.99/month, $149/year


MOTTIV Overview

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.

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 you need to stick to that plan is far more important. MOTTIV keeps you motivated throughout the training process so you always know that you're on track and your goals are within reach.


  1. 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 a little bit of data, then be ready to show up willing to work and follow the plan every day you have training scheduled.
  2. 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.
  3. Strength & Mobility: MOTTIV strength and mobility workouts are full-length videos that you can follow along with to make sure you're doing the right thing.
  4. Nutrition guidance: Eating the right thing before, during, and after your workouts will make every single workout you complete much more effective. Every single workout in the MOTTIV app has nutrition recommendations that are personalized to you.
  5. Progress stats: MOTTIV tracks and displays all your workout and progress stats 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 what you need to know to know if you're headed in the right direction.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 elsewhere would cost well over $60/month.


  1. Workout complexity: some people find that our workouts can be hard to understand when they first start using the app.
  2. Device connections: MOTTIV offers full workout synchronization with Garmin as well as device connections with other platforms such as Trainingpeaks, Strava, Zwift, Wahoo and more.  But our list of possible connections isn't as robust as Trainingpeaks.
  3. Lack of flexibility: While most people want a training plan they can simply follow to get great results, some people want a training plan that they can customize themselves to add, subtract or edit workouts as they see fit. MOTTIV is designed for you to follow along as close as possible to get excellent results.
  4. Slower interface: MOTTIV hasn't been around for as long as Zwift or Wahoo, so some screens take a few extra seconds to load.

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're able to 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 who are looking for a holistic training plan that includes endurance workouts, strength training, mobility workouts, and nutrition guidance.

If you are the type of person who wants to know what to do and have just a little help to know that you're on track and doing it right, then MOTTIV is for you.

MOTTIV Pricing

  • Free: Free plan
  • Paid: $19.99/month, $179.99/year

Zwift vs Wahoo SYSTM vs MOTTIV: Which One is Better?

When comparing Zwift, Wahoo SYSTM, and MOTTIV, the answer to which one is better is, like most things: it depends.

If you're primarily looking to ride inside a virtual world alongside other athletes and don't need a training plan, then Zwift is the choice for you.

If you're looking for an app that will create a training plan for you and will connect with your smart bike trainer, then Wahoo SYSTM is an alright option as long as you're only training for one race at a time and are willing to work within some odd app interface designs.

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.

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