I asked customer service via the chat why it’s worth the extra $$$ over Zwift and SufferFest and basically got a reply (Words to the effect of) that went “well it’s really not except for a group workout function we recently released”.
I’m looking to get back to a point where I am at the pointy end of a 70.3 triathlon (circa 2.20 bike split and 1.20 run - I swim like a brick).
Before I jump on board one of these services why would I pay more for trainer road vs the rest? I feel like Zwift actually has more than TrainerRoad as far as entertainment to get me through winter (my first cold winter after relocating to the US for work).
What am I missing with trainer road that makes it worth the extra $$$?
It’s so confusing trying to work out which app subscription will be best and help me improve.
This seems a reasonable overview of all the platforms you mention, plus Peloton:
People seem to favour TR because of the depth of plans & workouts, and because they work. Not everyone needs or likes the entertainment that Zwift gives. Can’t speak for Sufferfest, don’t know much about it.
Cyclist here. I trialed all three (would suggest you do that) and picked TR. Zwift is entertaining distraction and has social elements if you want a substitute for group training rides and lack of racing options due to Covid. Workouts and planning were weak and gamification was gimmicky to me. Sufferfest was better but workouts not as rich as TR and the whole Sufferfest “suffering” brand gestalt was annoying. TR was all business, best for for me as I am all about having a plan and achieving goals and love the calendar and deep library of workouts and no nonsense workouts all about getting results.
Thought about picking up Zwift for distraction during winter days inside and running concurrently with TR for long hours inside but I may just stick with podcasts, music, audiobooks and streaming video.
I use TR for workouts and plan, and Zwift for social rides, crit races and Tour de Zwift. The cost of both is a fear ion of a gym membership. And I’ll try Apple Fitness soon too for strength and yoga. Sufferfest is cool with ride, strength, yoga and even mental conditioning bit I find it too much for my weekend warrior lifestyle.
TR is more flexible and Zwift is just fun.
It comes down to this:
TR is a serious training tool to get faster.
Zwift is fun.
Sufferfest has nice videos and add-ons like yoga and mental training.
Which one(s) you select depend on which has the most value to you.
If you can afford more than one, great.
Trial them. That’s the best way to see which ones hit the points you personally care about.
The TR + Zwift combo is relatively common, as the training elements of Zwift are pretty bad (unless you get plans from somewhere else), and the entertainment element of TR is pretty bad (unless you use another source in parallel, such as Netflix).
I tried TR for 2 weeks. It’s ok. I don’t think it’s worth the extra $$$$ over Zwift. I now do Zwift and I do my custom workouts there, just like in TR, hard good workouts, even better bcs the program is customized to my needs and baseline.
Zwift has a lot more options. Let me give you an example. Say a hard long threshold workout is in your program, then you can choose to do it as a Zwift race going up Alpe du Zwift, just for some variety aside from staring to the blue screen.
Finally, there’s no TR = Serious, Zwift = Fun. Zwift is what you make of it, it has that added flexibility. I just started my winter indoor program on Zwift I am pleased with it.
I would suggest, as they all have free trials (in the case of TR you have to request your money back) you give them ago a see which one works for you
They are training tools, there are plenty of good training plans out there, see which one works for you. There is no law written that you have to stay with that product forever either
If you want solid structured training plans and workouts, TR is the way to go.
If you want entertainment and chatting with other riders and the odd race, well that’s where Zwift excels.
Realistically, in the big picture of the costs of cycling, both are very reasonably priced for what you get and there’s a reason so many people have both TR and Zwift subscriptions.
If you’re in the 45-49 AG, I recommend Zwift with lots of group riding.
These things are very personal - at the end of the day, you need to try a few and see what you like. Personally I like the simplicity of the TR workout interface, and usually listen to music, podcasts etc during workouts. Zwift is ok for occasional group rides with friends, but frankly I find the blocky graphics and jarring pseudo-physics a bit meh.
I wouldn’t say zwift plans are actually as good as you state lol
Come to TR forum ask about differences. Go to Zwift forum ask about differences.
Seriously though try them all and make up your own mind.
I’m about to retire so bit the bullet and subscribed to Zwift, TR, Sufferfest and FulGaz to try them out. They all have different things to offer. Zwift is obviously the most engaging as so much is going on. FulGaz offers the best interaction with 4k real rides. The Sufferfest seems to have its own culture which is engaging but could become quite repetitive after a while. TrainerRoad - love the Planner - takes the thinking out of the process. In all likelihood I will be going with 3 of the 4. TrainerRoad or theSuf for training plans/workouts and both Zwift and Fukgaz just for the environment since you can operate either Zwift or FulGaz as backgrounds with TheSuf/TrainerRoad controlling the ride. I will keep Zwift only for Group Rides and Races (at least until FulGaz can demonstrate that it’s group rides work)
At the moment for me, TR is worth the yearly price just for tracking my training and for the analysis tools. The workouts and calendar are a huge bonus. I am currently using another base plan as the TR plan is a bit too high intensity for what I want to be doing at this time of year. I much prefer the TR peak analysis tool to the one I used to use on Training Peaks. I really don’t care about the Form/Fitness/Fatigue numbers from TP. I trust TR to plan me properly for an event. It has worked really well for me.
Zwift’s main goal is entertainment. That’s not a ding, anything that gets more people on the bike is a plus in my book. But it is not designed to make you faster. Peloton is more of a Zwift competitor than TrainerRoad is IMHO, although the two are quite different.
TrainerRoad is the opposite of video-gamy entertainment, you’re here for the structure and your subscription not only pays for the continued development, but for great podcasts and blog posts.
I don’t think TrainerRoad has much competition in Zwift and vice versa. I can’t say anything of substance about SufferFest, but as far as I understand, on the spectrum between TrainerRoad and Zwift, it is closer to the TR end of things.
If you are serious about triathlon, I don’t think it makes sense to even think about switching to Zwift because you are saving a few bucks/euros/yen per month. Cycling and triathlon is an expensive hobby, and I spend more on bike consumables and maintenance each year than I do on TrainerRoad.
I’m going to add my usual addition to the TR v Zwift… The tech required. I can do TR on my phone, on hybrid rollers, on my bike with a power meter.
I started dabbling with zwift at the start of lockdown. Casting my phone soon failed once I joined large events. So AppleTV purchased. I really don’t see using it on a non-smart trainer. And I haven’t since my Hammer has been out of action. I also ended up purchasing a new larger TV, as I was missing the edges on the very old 19 inch I’d happily used for netflix with TrainerRoad for years.
Zwift is fun? Hard to believe. Zwift is good for racking up miles and group rides if those are your thing. TR plans are from a different planet than Zwift plans.
Recently I cancelled my Strava premium and trainerroad subs and went with zwift.
I will be back on trainerroad one day no doubt but after 2 years of non-stop base/build repeat I’ve just kinda had enough of the plans to be honest.
Add to that a lack of any innovation or development that I personally see any benefit from and I just can’t justify paying the money for it anymore.
I look forward to my weekly zwift races - they are good fun and end up being great workouts and while the current zwift plans and workouts aren’t up to much the custom workout builder is a skoosh to use.
I’ve no idea on the technical aspects to compare plans. I just TrainerRoad coaches, but I’m not qualified to dismiss zwift plans.
However, I’d suggest the best argument against zwift plans is the ease of use compared to TrainerRoad. I’ve tried to do some Zwift workouts, but ended up searching on 3rd party websites to find what I wanted. Night and day compared to open the app, and pick workout in TrainerRoad.
I don’t particularly like the zwift workout screen compared to TR, either on screen or companion App. And then I have the TR calendar function - I decided this morning to go build rather than repeat base. Pretty straight forward on TrainerRoad calendar.
Particularly those starting, but most recreational/ sub elite cyclists consistency is most likely king rather than the plans?