Zwift and Rouvy are both digital cycling platforms that allow users to cycle at home in a virtual environment. Both apps offer a range of routes as well as the ability to participate in workouts, group rides and races. Besides Zwift and Rouvy, TrainerRoad, RGT, Bkool, Wahoo SYSTM are also examples of such platforms.
These virtual training platforms have many similarities. They are all based on using real bikes and all use the same technology. This means that whichever option you end up using will have similar connectivity to a computer, laptop or tablet and will be compatible with most available indoor trainers.
In the Cyql app, you can also create virtual rides that you can cycle through Zwift or Rouvy, for example. But what exactly are the differences between Rouvy and Zwift? We explain below.
Zwift is the most famous virtual training platform and has become the standard of indoor cycling for many cyclists. Zwift has by far the most users allowing you to ride with or against other people every day and at any time, regardless of time zone.
The cycling world in Zwift is not photorealistic but a digitally drawn landscape. However, Zwift never aimed to resemble the real world either. The platform opted for a graphic style with the aim of getting and keeping as many people cycling. An additional advantage is that photorealism requires more computing power and therefore places more demands on the hardware being used. In this way, Zwift can be used on many devices.
If you want to race, you have access to an extremely accessible range starting from a “let me give it a try” level all the way up to the WorldTour level. You can immediately enjoy your first group ride or race without having to worry about crashes or killer training schedules.
The biggest difference between Zwift and Rouvy is the landscape within which you cycle. While Zwift is a virtual world, with Rouvy you actually cycle in the real world. Instead of a virtual landscape, you cycle around in the real world. Rouvy is based on video footage of real routes. This way, you can cycle on the most beautiful climbs you’ve always wanted to do or just undergo a Flemish Classic.
With the Rouvy Route Editor, you can also record your own video and this way create new rides for other users. Always wanted to share a lap of Lauwersmeer with your Limburg friends? Here’s your chance! You can also import GPX files or draw a route manually using Google Earth. Everything is aimed at offering the most realistic cycling experience possible when it comes to the landscape around you. Are you going to participate in a Granfondo in the Dolomites or Limburgs Mooiste in the upcoming cycling season? Download the GPX file from someone who has already ridden the race and convert it into a Rouvy route and train it throughout the winter!
Which platform do you choose?
There is no doubt that Zwift has a much larger number of users and therefore more opportunities to cycle with other people. When you try to win a Zwift race by attacking from the lead group, this largely emulates a real race final. You save your strength and power by hiding in the peloton and on the final climb you give everything you have and try to make up the difference. In this area, Rouvy doesn’t come close to Zwift!
At the same time, the routes on Zwift are and remain programmed and sometimes somewhat based on science fiction. In Rouvy, you can pop up iconic climbs like Sa Calobra or the Ventoux at any time and enjoy the stunning visuals. Riding on Zwift, most routes feel like a lot of thought has gone into them. The gradients are consistent without the random rises and falls you find in the real world. The routes are so well designed that they end up lacking that little extra bit of randomness that the real world does have. And that is precisely where Rouvy can be a very nice alternative.
Should you succeed, use both. There is some overlap, yet both platforms also both have their own specific features and advantages. Want to cycle together with your friends or race against other users? Then use Zwift! Want to actually ride or prepare specifically for a particular course? Then Rouvy might be better.
In short: Use a combination of Zwift or Rouvy or choose which platform you think is best for you as a cyclist. Lots of cycling fun in the garage 😊