Long post coming (didn’t find anything in forum search or Google, so documenting everything should someone else be in a similar situation). Short version if you don’t want to read further is: thinking of switching from Peloton to a Wahoo KICKR and TrainerRoad. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Currently riding a Peloton bike and subscribed to their service. I’ve ridden mountain bikes my whole life, and have recently used the Peloton successfully to get back in shape. It was a bit of an impulse buy (I had decided to spend the money, just didn’t know which platform), as at the time I needed motivation more than anything. That’s what swayed me towards the Peloton over a smart trainer and TrainerRoad/other smart trainer app.
Now that I’m a few months back in shape, I really want a more structured training plan. I’ve set a goal to do a 100km MTB race in March 2020 and find a few things lacking on the Peloton platform.
Other content such as running/yoga
The bike. Don’t need to connect anything or have a second bike. It’s all ready to go.
No other tablets, sensors, or anything else is required. Just jump on and go.
Power Zone training (Wilpers and Morton are just about the only two instructors I’ll take).
Low impact rides from Wilpers have been awesome for pedaling techniques .
Majority of classes are “typical” spin style. Terrible music and instructors that were hired for their image rather than biking knowledge/skills. For example one instructor called out a specific cadence and resistance for multiple intervals. This means nothing! The bikes/software are not consistent and each rider is at a different level. Instructors often stop pedaling to spew some motivation quote that I’m sure they rehearsed sufficiently before hand.
Price - we all know the Peloton is expensive to purchase. Then the $40/month for the subscription. The Peloton app has some metrics, but is not complete. I really like the 3rd party mPaceLine app, but the Pro version is $4.50/month. Then I had trouble syncing to all my other platforms where I track data so add on another $1 per month for a 3rd party sync app.
No built-in training plans. I guess they have a “Program” section, but it’s pretty much limited to beginner level and/or random workouts.
Can’t load external plans. Can’t even make custom workouts. If you don’t take a class, your only option is “Just Ride” which is 100% unstructured.
Can’t “cast” metrics to any other app or computer/phone.
Power Zone “Plan” - like mentioned above, there is only one beginner 4-week power zone Program. After this you’re on your own. There is a “non-affiliated” group that puts together training and challenges that are power zone specific. This would be great, but it’s really just a basic plan, nothing tailored towards anything (maybe besides improving FTP?). Also, the people who run it are trying to do there own thing, and obviously have a problem with the mPaceLine app folks, so without some major workarounds the two aren’t compatible. They of course want you to use their subscription service. Just crazy.
So where does all this leave me? I still like the Peloton and enjoy a very select few of the offerings. I think it’s great for building base miles and just getting my legs moving every day. That being said, I’m obviously in need of some more intense/structured training, so reaching out for some advice. Sure the easy answer is to keep both, but multiple monthly subscriptions would not work out for me.
Has anyone been in a similar situation (Peloton or other spin bike/in person classes) and made the switch? Any advice if I do jump over? I suppose my main concern at this point would be getting bored with staring at a graph for my whole ride. I do have music and a TV in my workout room, so maybe wouldn’t be an issue. Also might be less likely to ride if my bike is sitting out in the garage from the previous day’s outdoor ride?
I’ve been on Trainer Road for about two years, and I have maybe 8-10 Peloton rides under my belt at the office gym, and I think your description of the service is on the money. It’s a typical spin class with a little bit of gamification and feelgood inspirational stuff woven in. The eye candy instructors are probably an attraction to some as well… Awesome recipe for those who never want to take their fitness on the road and who like to have a face to look at while they ride. When I ride on Peloton, I ride hard and I definitely find myself trying to climb the “leaderboard” for whatever session I am in. It’s a serious workout but it’s not serious training, if that makes any sense.
It looks to me like you are waking up to goals that Peloton can’t help you reach. Trainer Road can help you reach them because of one word: structure. Yes, graphs aren’t quite as fun to stare at but they can be motivating in their own way. And putting up a perfect looking graph on a ride that took everything you had to complete is very satisfying. Seeing your FTP rise is very very satisfying. And seeing your ceiling as a rider turn into your floor is very very very satisfying.
I’d say this - just about anyone here will give you a code for a month of Trainer Road and use it for that month, exactly as the plan requires. Just sweet spot base. See what happens. If you hate it - you’ve lost nothing and probably gained fitness. If you love it, the TR community will welcome you with open arms. And you’ll definitely get faster.
Very good points! The leaderboard cracks me up too. So many people boasting about a 500 KJ output in 30 minutes, or a 400 watt FTP. Sure, if you improved from your previous best, then great! But quoting numbers from some arbitrary power calculation based on resistance and cadence, on a bike that could be ±20% off from others is insane.
What would be the best way to use TrainerRoad without a smart trainer (with a 1-month trial of the software)? Would this even be advised?
Not totally germane, but slightly, but I always chuckle at what I call “fauxsperation” (hollow vapid inspiration) that seems to exist in Peloton and in a couple of spin places I’ve gotten stuck in. I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices that!
My impression of spin, and it’s not totally informed, is that it’s all high intensity stuff, I can’t imagine that there would be any endurance or even much tempo stuff. I feel bad for the spin addicts who do it so much but I’d imagine eventually plateau. I think you’ve got the downsides of Peloton nailed
I think doing sweet spot workouts (does Peloton transmit data to the TR app?) would be a good way to get started.
Peloton and Trainerroad are two different animals. You can probably maintain good fitness with a Peloton if you know what you’re doing, but honestly from a cyclists perspective their machine is a joke. I stopped at the Peloton store kiosk thing at a mall for curiosity and felt like someone was selling me on joining some kind of cult.
Trainerroad will make you a faster cyclist. Peloton is an archaic spin bike with a big screen
Seems like you already made up your mind no? I’m not sure you’ll find anyone on the TrainerRoad forum that would say Peloton is better than TR… I would say it’s unfortunate that you already have a Peloton as spare bike + smart trainer would have been cheaper and eliminated a good chunk of your cost. I assume you can re-sell the peloton though.
In any event, I convinced my wife NOT to get a peloton by showing her TR. She does the Time Crunch 45 minute plan and those classes seem to be close a spin class (short, fairly high intensity) without being overwhelmingly in your face for someone who doesn’t really have long-term cycling goals…
If you want to lose weight, or keep it off, or just generally get/keep in shape…peleton is probably better.
If you want to get faster - Trainerroad.
Though…I would kind of like to put in a request for a grumpy @chad leading spin classes online for the community. Preferably really hungover. I’d find this much more beneficial (entertaining…) than a traditional spin class.
Exactly this. If you want to be fit and make a decent time then Peloton will get you round and you won’t be embarrassed. If you really want to smash it the TrainerRoad is what you need. As simple as that.
To be fair though…it’s kinda different strokes for different folks. Saying trainerroad will make one faster quicker is a bit misleading…theyre different products for different purposes.
Not to stereotype too much…but I would venture a guess that most peleton users dont have much interest in toeing up to the line in their local criterium races. I think the goal is a bit closer to ‘lookijg good at the beach.’ And thats a fine goal. Peleton is frankly probably better at helping more people achieve THAT goal. Though spin instructors personally just make me want to break things…but I’m anti-social, and obesssively competitive, even if I dont have a type ‘a’ personality.
So I actually did the exact same transition from Peloton to TrainerRoad. Peloton was good for getting me in the habit of riding the bike multiple times a week and definitely helped build a decent base of fitness for getting on your “real” bike.
The reason I left is that I really liked Matt Wilper’s Power Zone Rides, and not much else. And he definitely was from the same school of power training that TrainerRoad was built on.
I had a power meter on my bike for outdoor rides already, and I got a good deal on a CycleOps Hammer. I will say I don’t think i’ll ever go back, especially with an erg trainer I found I didn’t have to be as “engaged” so that I didn’t miss the cues for changing resistance as it was happening automatically, which at 5am can sometimes be difficult. I’m also not a huge fan of having to stare at the instructor on a screen my entire workout, now I can put on music, or a movie and let the app generate the pain for me. I think Peloton is perfect for some people, as it’s just enough structure to the workouts and you’re building fitness without having to be too “serious” about it. My wife loves it. TrainerRoad makes me feel like I’m building towards something, and turned my fitness into a project instead of just something I do so I can have a guilt-free cheeseburger.
Peloton keeps you from being embarrassed on your bike. TranerRoad makes you embarrass others :).
I did peloton for about a year and overall I liked it. I wanted to ride my outdoor bike though and get stronger with longer efforts and started trainerroad in December. It is much more like outdoor riding in every way and the longer sessions and efforts are much more relevant to outdoor than peloton.
I thought trainerroad would be too boring but with Netflix and TV for sweet spot and music for vo2 intervals it is great and has continued to hold my interest.
Having a real power reading from the trainer which is calibrated and correct keeps you more accountable and able to see progress.
My spouse has a Peloton and I use it occasionally. It’s fun and a good workout for 30-45 minute efforts. It does not replicate structured training and there are few sustained efforts. If it gets you on the bike, whatever works is great. I do know that I am barely hanging on in D Zwift races and then in the top 5-10% of Peloton leaderboards. Good for the ego. The best part of the Peloton is your Peloton only friends marvelling at your power output.
I don’t own a peloton bike but I have over 200 rides under my belt, some on family/friends peloton bikes, and some on keiser bikes at the gym or my trainer at home plus the mobile Peloton app.
I strictly do scenic rides (while following a TR workout) or Matt Wilper’s classes, which are the closest thing to TrainerRoad that Peloton offers. (Wilpers is on Strava, he does TrainerRoad rides, I assume his classes are directly influenced by TR).
If I owned the bike, I would probably try and sell it, and buy a power meter + trainer setup with the proceeds. I would also try and get on a friends Peloton account (each bike gets 10 members), so I could still do Peloton rides on my trainer and the app and not have to pay a $20 subscription fee. I like doing the 10 min core classes as well, so I don’t use it just for cycling.
I have both and like both but they are for different purposes. There’s nothing that even compares to the specificity of the trainerroad program blocks on the peloton. Peloton is great for the off season when I can’t commit to a set schedule of training and want to squeeze in rides under an hour when I have a chance. The multi member access from one account on the peloton is great for our house.