The Best Indoor Cycling Apps for Beginners (and How to Choose the Right for You)

By Katie Pierson, Certified Spinning® Instructor & Personal Trainer.

Are you looking for a cycling app to help grow your confidence as a new rider and make riding fun? With over 250 cycling app options available for download, which one should you choose? Don’t worry. Our quick overview of our favorite apps will help.

Best Indoor Cycling Apps 

Today, more people than ever are crushing their fitness goals in the comfort of their own homes. In 2020, indoor cycling bike sales increased 170%, according to a recent study. We have compiled a list of cycling apps for you to explore and why we find them valuable. 

Zwift

Perfect for video game lovers

zwift gameplay
  • Website: zwift.com
  • Price: $14.99/month
  • Platforms: Mac, Windows, iOS, Apple TV, Android

Things We Like

  •   Ride customization for watt and time goals
  •   Compatible with turbo trainers and smart bikes

Things that could be Better

  • Additional equipment needed for proper data tracking with turbo trainers

Do you enjoy video games? If you do, this interactive app might be just what you are looking for to achieve a great workout and drive up the fun factor in the process. This interactive video game-like app allows riders to customize their avatar as well as their virtual bike. Riders can bike through six different virtual worlds and experience over 80 different routes to keep their rides fresh and exciting. So whether you are interested in racing others or wanting to enjoy a ride on your own, this app has a little bit for everyone.

As you keep improving and perhaps find that you would like to compete for a professional cycling contract, Zwift offers Zwift Academy. This academy has participants compete in various events via the platform. Finalists are then selected to compete for the coveted contract.


 

Sufferfest

Perfect for riders of all fitness levels looking to improve continually

sufferfest gameplay

Things We Like

  • Four-Dimensional Power platform
  • Offers 11 training categories

Things that could be Better

  • Live classes not available

The Four-Dimensional Power platform offered by Sufferfest allows riders to continue to be challenged. This platform automatically adjusts your customized power targets based on your fitness level and power profile. Instead of just focusing on FTP, it also considers your anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular system to help tailor workouts just for you.

Sufferfest offers 11 training categories to select from: base, climbing, drills, endurance, fitness tests, mashups, racing simulation, recovery, speed building, style/form, and time trial. This platform continues to monitor your cadence, power output, and heart rate during your ride. In addition, it provides detailed graphs to help show your growth. Smart bikes and trainers easily link to this app.


Ifit

Perfect for riders that prefer that their equipment auto-adjusts

ifit 1
  • Website: ifit.com
  • Price: 
    Yearly Family Plan – $396/year
    Monthly Family Plan – $39/month
    Yearly Individual Plan – $180/year
  • Platforms: Nordic Trac, Pro-Form, Freemotion, and Matrix equipment
  • Digital: iPhone 4S and above, and Android 4.3 devices and higher

Things We Like

  • Live classes available in addition to a massive on-demand library
  • Interactive, trainer-led workouts available

Things that could be Better

  • Must purchase specific equipment to enjoy trainer-led workouts

Whether you are looking to bike along with beautiful views across the world or are looking to take a heart-pumping studio class, Ifit delivers. Offering classes from over 100 trainers worldwide, app users can enjoy a vast array of live and pre-recorded class options.

Ifit is compatible with Nordic Trac, Pro-Form, Freemotion, and Matrix equipment, and helps take your training to the next level. Treadmills and bikes from Nordic Trac, Pro-Form, Freemotion, and Matrix take out the guesswork of adjusting your bike as they automatically change your trainer’s incline and resistance to match the class expectations. 

After completing any Ifit challenge, the leaderboard is available to show where you ranked among your fellow competitors for finish time. The exciting component of this leaderboard is that you can directly compare your results to others during different points in the challenge. The data can show how long you kept pace with the winner and can be compared across multiple challenges. 


Rouvy

Perfect for riders that want variety

rouvy gameplay 1
  • Website: rouvy.com
  • Price: $12/month
  • Platform: Windows, iOS, Apple TV, Phone, or Tablet

Things We Like

  • Affordable
  • Can race for real $

Things that could be Better

  • Turbo-trainer must include digital integration, and smart bikes must include a power meter

This affordable app offers a little bit of everything for its over 500,000 users. Whether you are looking to explore over 300 routes on your own, create a training program to reach your goals, or compete in one of the 100+ weekly events, this app has something just for you.

Rouvy incorporates actual race footage along with rider avatars. As a result, riders can experience some of the most beautiful and iconic riding locations. With a smart trainer, riders can quickly feel the gradient and resistance fluctuations during the ride and track output and cadence. Unfortunately, at this time, live classes are not available.

Looking to earn a little extra money? Rouvy offers up to $20,000 in prizes per year for race and challenge winners.


Peloton

Perfect for riders that enjoy a fun and competitive group atmosphere

peloton gameplay 1
  • Website: onepeloton.com
  • Digital App Only: $14.95/month plus tax
  • Bike Membership: $39/month + $1995 for bike
  • Digital Platforms: IOS, Android, and Peloton Web Platform*
    *Peloton Bikes are automatically integrated with the Peloton platform

Things We Like

  • Massive class library available in multiple class formats
  • Live classes offered every day

Things that could be Better

  • Leaderboard not available with the digital app and requires the purchase of a Peloton bike

Peloton is one of the most popular cycling apps available, with over 4.4 million users. Boasting close to 10,000 classes available on-demand and live classes being added every day, users can find the perfect workout for their mood based on duration, intensity, instructor preference, and music genre. In addition, the platform includes a large selection of cycling workouts and offers other formats such as yoga, strength, cardio, boot camp, barre, treadmill, pilates, dance, and meditation. 

One of the unique features includes the leaderboard available for Peloton Bike owners included in the membership. The leaderboard allows riders to receive shout-outs from instructors, high-five fellow riders and compete for the top of the Peloton Leaderboard in class. In addition, the leaderboard ranks riders based on their total KJ output for the class.

This is the app that I use at home. Since I love the energy of an indoor cycling class, this is the perfect fit for me. The digital app is easy to use with my Bowflex C6 bike and my smartphone. I find the inspiring instructors and great beats help me crush my workouts every time I click in for a ride.

Other Apps

We wanted to give you a few others that you might want to check out with so many cycling apps available.

How to Choose an Indoor Cycling App

Metrics Tracked

It is essential to know what type of metrics the app will monitor during your ride, as the tracked metrics vary from app to app. We suggest looking for an app that can record your FTP (Functional Threshold Power), which is the highest amount of power you can average for an hour. If you are interested in seeing your growth as a rider, FTP tracking is a must. 

Desired Training Style

Do you prefer training on your own, are you gearing up for a specific event, or are you looking for a structured studio class style led by a first-class instructor?

It is essential to understand what type of training style appeals to you and helps keep you motivated to reach your results. Many apps offer a combination of instructor-led classes and global routes. However, if live classes are what you are looking for, only a few offer this feature, so it is essential to research your options. 

Equipment Needed

Understanding the equipment and operating system needed before purchasing an app is important. For example, many apps allow you to ride your favorite road or mountain bike using a turbo trainer. Still, others require that you purchase specific indoor cycling bikes to enjoy the technology entirely. It is also vital to know if your smartphone, tv, or tablet are compatible with the app. 

Understand Your Budget

Certain apps can be quite an investment when you factor in the monthly charge and the equipment required to create the training environment you crave. Set yourself up for success and know your budget before hitting purchase on any app. Many apps that require a monthly fee offer free trials. Therefore, we suggest taking advantage of the free trials for any app you are considering to find the right one for you. 

Bottomline

There are so many cycling apps available to help you reach your goals. Experiment with multiple different apps during their free trial period to find the perfect one to help you crush your fitness goals. 

Katie Pierson

Katie is the creator of MT Girl Fitness and has been a certified fitness professional for almost twenty years. She currently holds ten different fitness certifications, including Group Fitness, Spinning Elite, Rockstar Spinning, and Personal Training. Fitness is her passion, and she loves seeing her clients reach goals they never imagined.