Riding on an indoor trainer used to be painfully boring, but with the advent of nifty cycling software such as Zwift, Rouvy, and Peloton, indoor rides can be more engaging, competitive, and structured than ever.
But what’s the best indoor cycling app? Is Zwift better than Rouvy? What are the differences between Zwift, Rouvy, and Peloton?
In this article, we put these three popular cycling apps in a head-to-head (to-head) battle, to give you the lowdown on how Rouvy vs Zwift vs Peloton stack up.
So, if you’re looking to increase the enjoyment and effectiveness of your indoor cycling workouts but aren’t sure if you should subscribe to Zwift, Rouvy, or Peloton Digital, keep reading!
We’ll be covering:
- Zwift Vs Rouvy Vs Peloton: How Do The Cycling Apps Compare?
- Rouvy Vs Zwift Vs Peloton: Which Is Best?
Ready for the lowdown on Rouvy vs Zwift vs Peloton?
Let’s jump in!
Zwift Vs Rouvy Vs Peloton: How Do The Cycling Apps Compare?
Zwift is arguably the best-known virtual training platform or cycling app amongst competitive and recreational cyclists alike.
It is based on real-world, outdoor cycling, and in order to take advantage of all of the features of this platform, riders need a smart trainer.
There are three primary ways in which Zwift ostensibly outshines Rouvy and Peloton: the large user base, the group rides and races, and its fun graphics.
If you are expecting photorealism in terms of graphics, Zwift will fall woefully short. But what the cycling app may lack in real-life video footage, it all but makes up for with its high-quality, engaging computer-animated style.
Riding with Zwift is like entering your own HD cartoon cycling universe.
Riders have their own customizable avatar, and you race through iconic landscapes and courses that are computer-generated, but fun, whimsical depictions of real-life scenery.
The benefit of having an extremely large user base compared to Rouvy goes hand-in-hand with the amazing group rides and racing features.
Because there is such a high number of users on the Zwift platform, and the fact that these riders are located all around the world, there is almost always plenty of other cyclists logging in at the same time.
This enables riders to work out together, push each other, and have a real community feel to each workout.
Alongside its main virtual world, Watopia, Zwift offers nine other “Guest Worlds” such as Scotland, France, and Makuri Islands (Japan), which rotate with two available each day.
Even if you have an alternative schedule and need to hop on the saddle in the wee hours of the night, there are tons of riders around the world in different time zones pedaling alongside you on the group rides.
There are lots of options for group rides, including everything from demanding interval workouts to cooperative group challenges and scheduled meetup rides with other Zwifties you’ve met on the Zwift Facebook group or Discord channel.
For cyclists who thrive on community support and love outdoor group rides or need real-time exercise buddies, this is a major perk of Zwift vs Rouvy or Zwift vs Peloton.
In addition to the group rides, the racing options on the Zwift app allow even beginners to dip their toes into the world of competitive cycling and test their personal physical and mental limits.
Competitive cyclists can tackle formidable opponents and seemingly indomitable courses up to the WorldTour level. This feature represents a tremendous opportunity for cyclists who would otherwise be unable to access high-level racing with any regularity, if at all.
You no longer have to worry about scheduling, traveling, crashing, finances, and so on while still immersing yourself in the physical and mental benefits of racing and working your way up the ranks of competitive cycling.
Like Zwift, Rouvy offers virtual riding workouts for cyclists on their virtual cycling platform.
Compared to Zwift, Rouvy is a newer and smaller player in the cycling app space. The biggest difference between Rouvy vs Zwift is in the graphics for the virtual world in which you are cycling.
Unlike Zwift, Rouvy employs real-world graphics. There’s a huge library of real routes throughout the world, enabling users to ride anything from the most famous race courses to relatively unknown back roads.
Popular race courses and world courses have especially high-quality graphics, and users can even upload their own video footage to add to the library of options with Rouvy Route Editor if they have a course not yet available in the library.
Alternatively, if you want to ride in an area of the world where video footage is not yet available, you can import GPS data to Rouvy or draw a route using Google Earth.
Although these options won’t have an associated video, Rouvy will still generate a basic map visual while you ride and the climbs and descents will be true to life.
The endless possibilities this opens up make it possible to train at home for any race or event in the world – or test yourself against the pro peloton during the Tour de France – from your own home.
When it comes to the racing options with Rouvy vs Zwift, Zwift races tend to be much larger because there are so many users. However, one of the benefits of the Rouvy racing options is that users can schedule their own races on any route they choose and then invite other users to compete.
In this way, you can customize an event to either support your training towards a specific course or bond with your virtual cycling mates.
Besides the major difference in graphics, the other biggest difference between Zwift and Rouvy comes down to the size of the user base. Because Zwift has a massive user base compared to Rouvy, there are always tons of other riders in a group ride and the sense of community is huge.
In contrast, even if you are doing a race on Rouvy, it can feel a bit lonely and isolated, with few other riders around to push you to your limits.
Therefore, if you thrive on competition or being pushed by others, Zwift will probably suit you better than Rouvy.
On the other hand, routes on Rouvy not only look more realistic from a graphics standpoint but also are true-to-life in terms of ascents, descents, and minute modulations in the road. Zwift’s courses, meanwhile, are somewhat limited and not all that realistic in terms of the real-life bumps and challenges of the road, and the gradients are usually constant.
So for riders striving for realism or who love the idea of challenging themselves on any of the hardest climbs in the world, Rouvy has more to offer than Zwift.
Peloton has a very different feel from Zwift or Rouvy.
Peloton’s focus is more on indoor cycling workouts with instructors, rather than the gamification of cycling and virtual course riding you get with Zwift or Rouvy.
When comparing Peloton vs Zwift or Rouvy, Peloton is geared more towards fitness than racing, riding routes, or virtual cycling. Even if you don’t own a Peloton bike, you can still subscribe to the Peloton Digital app, which has far more than just cycling workouts.
This fitness app features live and on-demand classes taught by real professional instructors. Unlike Zwift, which uses avatars and animated graphics, the videos all feature real instructors in fitness studios.
Instructors provide tips, guidance, and motivation, and most workouts are set to energizing music.
One of the downsides of Peloton vs Zwift is that live classes aren’t available 24/7 so the community aspect isn’t as rich. In contrast, you can log into Zwift any time of day or night and have tons of other riders on group rides and races.
That being said, you can still tune in to Peloton’s on-demand classes at any time if you’re not too bothered about the live element.
When comparing the intensity of Peloton vs Zwift vs Rouvy, Peloton workouts are much more variable, allowing users to easily adjust the intensity to suit their training plan. Meanwhile, Zwift is very power-based and places greater importance on your power output wattage (and watts per kilo).
Overall, Peloton is much more about the studio cycling experience and fitness rather than replicating real-world cycling and racing.
There’s no gamification aspect and you won’t be exploring virtual routes around the world, but you will be getting expert guidance and challenging workouts.
Rouvy Vs Zwift Vs Peloton: Which Is Best?
Ultimately, the best indoor cycling app is unique to every cyclist.
If you’re after competition and a game-based experience, Zwift is the best cycling app for you.
If you want realism, infinite opportunities for exploration, and to test yourself against any climb in the world, Rouvy is the best choice.
And if you want a more varied, structured workout regime with great instructors leading the way, Peloton is the obvious way to go
They’re also all roughly the same price point of $12-$15 per month, depending on the membership length – although the cost of the equipment required for each of them can vary.