Difference Between Zwift and Strava (With Table)

Cycling is one form of exercise that has stood the test of time as millions have made it part of their daily routine. One can easily see the overflow of technology into the world of exercise as the advancements increase. This has never been more true than the apps that are exclusive to cycling. These apps are Zwift and Strava. 

Zwift vs Strava

The difference between Zwift and Strava is that Zwift creates a virtual environment to cycle in. This app’s interface looks like a game that requires a cyclist to complete certain targets to progress. 

Strava, on the other hand, is an app that simply maps and calculates the distance that one cycles outdoors.

Comparison Table Between Zwift and Strava

Parameters of ComparisonZwiftStrava
PriceZwift does come with a high price tag. It does not offer any workouts in the free edition. Strava does offer quite a few features for the Freemium account. 
LocationZwift specializes in cycling indoors. It is beneficial for individuals looking to cycle in the winter or rainy seasons.Strava caters to the cyclists who cycle outdoors. 
StatisticsThe statistics on display in the Zwift app are much more accurate. This app also displays more statistics.Strava does offer real-time statistics, but it may not be very accurate.
PerksZwift offers professional deals to several individuals. There is also a distribution of prizes. Strava does not offer such perks to its users. 
Structured trainingZwift offers a proper structure to one’s workout plan. This app guarantees one to have a professional workout.Strava is simply an app to measure a few statistics. It does not offer suggestions to alter one’s workout.

What is Zwift? 

Zwift is a cycling app that aims at bringing the world of cycling into one’s home. It does this by creating a virtual track as well as virtual competitors to push a cyclist. Although the setup in relation to the Zwift app is quite expensive, it does make it worth it. 

A cyclist will require a turbo trainer to use this app. Once the turbo trainer is in hand, one will have to connect a device to the trainer. This setup is a must to race in the virtual world. This app can connect to a computer, iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV to display the virtual environment. 

This app maps out different tracks that a cyclist will use. These maps include places in 

  1. Watopia
  2. Innsbruck
  3. Bologna 
  4. Crit city 
  5. London 
  6. New York City

Zwift also creates an air of competition between different cyclists. One can also compete against friends. In addition to this, Zwift aims to train cyclists depending on their Full Threshold Performance. This means that a group of cyclists can workout in the same session and put in the same effort. 

Throughout the ride, Zwift makes a cyclist follow certain speeds. The screen has the following statistics: 

  1. Time
  2. Height from Sea level or Incline
  3. Speed
  4. Heart Rate
  5. Objective that cyclist follows

The objectives are given every five minutes. After these five minutes, the cyclist can cycle at a slower tempo.

In addition to the workouts according to one’s FTP, there are also workouts with a time constraint. There are also workouts that are the creation of top cycling legends.

Cyclists can participate in races in accordance with their FTP. Group cycling bouts can also take place with friends through MeetUp. 

What is Strava? 

Strava is mainly for cyclists who spend their time outdoors. This app allows one to view real-time statistics as they cycle. The list of statistics that the app provides is: 

  1. Heart Beat
  2. Time
  3. Pace
  4. Tracks or maps
  5. Distance cycled 
  6. Elevation and declination

This information can be seen by a cyclist while cycling on a premium account. For a free account, the statistics will be available after the workout is over. Strava also makes an account of one’s achievements and best workouts. 

In addition to this, Strava is a great way to connect with other friends who also cycle. Through the Strava Flyby, one can view the performance statistics of their friends as well. 

Strava not only caters to cyclists but can track other sports well. It tracks swimming, running, walking, hiking, and even skiing.  It connects to the athlete either through a computer, iPhone, Android, or Apple watch

It also possesses a few special features that are exclusive to the premium accounts only. A few honorable mentions are:

  1. Strava Suffer score: Tracks the workout on the basis of the track that one uses. 
  2. Strava Routes: It saves the routes that are usually traversed by a cyclist. It also creates new tracks that include slopes or challenging distances. 
  3. Strava Heat map: This creates a heat map of a large area showing the number of Strava users.

However, one disadvantage is that it does not offer a structured workout plan. This can be hard for beginners who are unclear about cycling or running. 

Main Differences Between Zwift and Strava: 

  1. Zwift is exclusive only to cyclists. Strava offers its services to cyclists, runners, hikers, and many more individuals.
  2. Zwift creates a virtual environment. Strava creates a route in the real world. 
  3. Zwift caters to cyclists that cycle indoors only. Strava is for outdoor cycling.
  4. Strava has a more extensive network that connects friends together. This is present in Zwift too, but it is very basic.
  5. Zwift offers awards to the cyclists that are really good. The awards usually consist of professional cycling deals and more. 

Conclusion

Strava and Zwift are both well-designed apps that keep the wants of the user in mind. Strava is a great option for those who cycle outdoors, come rain or snow. It is also good for individuals who are unable to splurge as it offers quite a few features free of cost. 

But given the recent circumstances, Zwift is probably a good option as it makes indoor cycling much less tedious. Zwift will also require one to pay for a turbo trainer rather than a normal cycle. So depending on whether one is an outdoor or indoor cyclist, both apps can do the job.

Reference

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211695819301576
  2. http://www.evankuhl.com/blurbs/winter-training-tips-for-a-stronger-spring
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s40798-020-00267-6
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