Why should I choose TrainerRoad over Zwift?

TR doesnt make my trainer scream when the resistance kicks in. I switched from Zwift because Zwift was so loud i couldnt use it. TR seems to control the trainer differently. I hate the cyclops I have, and it was like a grinding metal knife sharpner in Zwift. TR also lets you take full control of the trainer, so you can set your own desired wattage through resistance, etc, in a free ride, but there was no control in zwift. Zwift got me onto indoor training, and i thought it was awesome at first, but i like that TR also frees up your screen fod whatever you want to watch. And, no computer or Apple TV required. I had both for a while but wasnt using Zwift.

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Currently I have TR, Zwift and Sufferfest memberships. My core plan is TR because it provides the backbone and structure. The ability to use the calendar is a game changer for monitoring tss and weaving in the other plans. So why do I have the other plans:

  1. I tend to use TR during the week
  2. I ride the group races on Zwift on the weekend much like weekend rides outside with my buddies during the summer. Things like the tour de zwift and other smaller virtual races
  3. Sufferfest for the tour de sufferlandria and the variety it provides
  4. The structure of TR cannot be beat and the analysis metrics that are included are far deeper than the other two and not an uncharge like Strava
  5. The variety of the plans keep me motivated and allow more time on the bike.

Does this approach allow me to be the fastest I can be…probably not. If I wanted to be at my peak I would have to be twenty years younger and do TR exclusively. But just like my diet I try to be perfect but I need the variety to be the best I can be.

People might say…three subscriptions that is expensive!! Think of what you spend on cycling and the small percentage you spend on the training programs. The bang for buck is huge

I think that anyone not including TR in the mix is missing a very focused and personalized program that can be tailored to your needs (via calendar) and allows for analysis.
Also they have a great pod cast and admit to drinking beer!!


I hope so. The Zwift workout creator is simpler and much more intuitive.

Gav, I didn’t read through all of the posts in responce to your question, just don’t hav the time nor patience to sift through all the replies, but you can get the best of both worlds at the same time.

I came across this blog post (https://www.smartbiketrainers.com/run-zwift-trainerroad-simultaniously-1948) back in December and I’ve tried it out and it is great. I ride with a large screen TV directly in front of me and about 7 feet in front of me. Now I could just use my phone, mounted to my handlebars, to drive the TR workouts and then see the Zwift screen on the TV, but I prefer a bit larger visual real estate so I found and purchased this sweet iPad base from Amazon (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N9L9P6W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) so that I can have the iPad directly in front of me as well, but superimposed in my view of the TV and slightly below so that it doesn’t block any of my view of the TV. I will caution you, however, if you do get this sort of stand, get the post that mounts to the base welded because the maker of the product didn’t think through what might happen when you only have 3–4 threads screwed into the base. For me they stripped out almost immediately but I didn’t want to return it so I had a friend who lives next to me and does welding (you could probably take it to any welding shop and they’d do it for you) and now it’s very solid.

Works awesome. I now do all of my TR workouts with the workout on my iPad screen while watching me riding in Zwift.

Hope this works for you to if you want to try it out.


I disagree that Zwift is better. It’s gamified and it’s a nice distraction, but they’re training plans are crap compared to TR and the calendar while new is an awesome feature.

As long as you have a speed sensor attached, TR does upload your distance to Strava. I wish that Strava would allow me to edit miles when I’m working with PM only on a bike without a speed sensor. That’s not a TR issue though.

I quit Zwift for TR this year, and while I might do both for the racing and rest day gamified rides, I would not leave TR for Zwift.

It is definitely a personal preference issue though, it’s sort of a question of what your goals are for riding indoors.

Not sure what stops TR to make virtual group workouts possible. Calendar is there, tons of display space to use to show everyone in the group. No need for gamification or 3D. Would be a game changer for me.


Because there would be tons of work to make it worthwhile. If you want a ‘group ride’ to be a worth while thing you want at least some of the following:

  • Group chat, possibly voice
  • Seeing other peoples metrics (power, hr, cadence)
  • Sending invites to other users
  • Privacy settings for who is allowed to send you invites
  • Having planned time of day on workouts
  • Having an attendance list on who is going to be in the workout
  • Does everyone have to do the same workout or can everyone do their own thing?
  • How does starting the workout work? Do you have to wait till your posted time? What if you start late?

So… this ‘simple’ group workout is a hard feature with tons of edge cases we haven’t even dug into to. Then you ask… how does TR doing this make you faster? Just set up a discord channel to chat with people that are doing TR workouts and there you go, 90% of the benefit for 0 effort on the part of TR engineers.


Appreciate explaining this, I have a feeling this may have been considered before. Perhaps I have put it wrong, it would be nice to have it, or to see someone suffering beside to push myself going too. Half of people here using Zwift solely for motivation. Thanks a mil.

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which is exactly what happened for the disaster day, and worked really well.


Maybe you should join a spin club like Soul Cycle.

I didn’t mean to bring zwift functionality to TR, let it stay in zwift where it works very well.

My thoughts were to mere have my scheduled work public, so anyone could join me doing it.

The display would be very basic stats. Here is what Indoor Rowing Events displays look like, clean and basic

Just an idea, apologies for deviating off topic a bit, I leave it at this

I use both, although I ‘bin’ Swift in the summer months.

TR provides structure to my cycling world. I love having a plan to follow. I am no expert, so the details provided on the site, dovetailed with the outstanding podcast, gives me the data and motivation to make me a better cyclist.

The TR diary is a fabulous addition. I can now make the plan fit round my life activities so I no longer feel guilty when I used to miss so many sessions.

ZWIFT, for me is when I want to have a ‘blast’ and have fun. I find the time flies by through riding with others and enjoying the ‘views’. Nothing structured, as I can’t discipline myself when riders pass me. It also motivates me to go seriously into the red, something I do find harder on TR. (clearly a mental deficiency on my part ha ha).

I am fortunate to be able to do both but if I had to choose, TR wins.

I agree with previous comments, as a seriously average amateur, I do fall into the trap of over analysing data! A little knowledge can be dangerous!!

Just a question for everyone…

What’s the difference between an indoor rowing competition and a live Zwift event? Both physical e-sports, no?

Not forgetting we also have those on Zwift who have modified their concept rowing machines to move their bike avatars around… Eric MIn (Zwift CEO) does hope to support rowing machines on Zwift be the end of the year…

e-Sports on Zwift might soon include rowing, I do wonder what will be next…

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Basically no difference as you are performing a simulation of an outdoor sport on a static machine.

I heard about erg rowing competitions when a friend transitioned out of very competitive marathon running and at first I found the idea a bit strange but have since realised it’s not that strange.

Btw indoor cycling competitions on static bikes is nothing new.

For indoor rowing races, you go all out for 2000 metres. No drafting, no strategy other than your own pacing. You start the race at the same moment as everyone else in the race, but then you are totally immersed in your own performance with no considerations of the other rowers. It’s you against the machine. The only benefit to be at a race location would be the adrenaline rush from being near other racers.

I might also add that there is very little skill involved in indoor rowing if you have the basic technique correct.

Indoor rowing is also not “fair” in terms of race results because the winner is the person with the fastest time and the person with the fastest time is usually a “monster” of a human being. Genetic advantages are huge in indoor rowing. Maybe that’s why indoor rowing isn’t very popular for racing. Training yes, racing no.

There are only two weight classes in rowing, lightweight (under 165 lbs) and heavyweight (over 165 lbs). Heavier rowers normally have more muscle mass which means horsepower which means faster times. It is hard for someone 170 lbs to compete against someone 250 lbs even though they are lumped into the same “race”. Thus, most competitors are trying to beat personal bests, not the competition, although that might be a result of the race.

If you were to compare W/kg of top lightweights versus top heavyweights, the lightweights would normally have higher numbers but that doesn’t matter in indoor rowing where a top LW would pull 6:20 versus a HW at 5:50.

Outdoors, water resistance for heavier rowers tends to equalize the weight disadvantage of lightweights.

I’m in the I use both camp. I personally had a paid Strava, Zwift, and Trainer Road account.

I’ve been a Zwift user since the BETA days and I love it. In fact the few workouts that they have actually pushed me to TrainerRoad. I figured if I raised my FTP with the limited plans they had with some racing thrown in, what could I do with actual structured training plans? I started out month to month with TrainerRoad and recently went to the annual plan.

I have TR on my iPad controlling my trainer and follow along to the day’s workout. I then have a laptop with an ANT dongle paired to my Vector pedals and cruise around Zwift for the social aspect and just to rack up XP points.

How do I pay for it? I dumped my paid Strava membership. At the end of the day what does a paid Strava membership give you anymore? Nothing in my personal opinion.


So since I joined TR a few months ago I’ve been on the fence with Zwift. Today I decided to cancel Zwift and just use TR. My main reason coming to TR is because I felt like I peaked and something had to change. I want to keep my training simple and give TR my full attention. So to remove any temptation to stray from the plan I removed Zwift from the picture. Bye Bye for now Level 34, 163 followers and Team DIRT…:neutral_face:

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The entirety about what I know about this topic is from your post but I am now interested in competing since I can get my weight down to just under 165 and would be, I think, very strong at that weight class