Zwift vs Strava: Difference and Comparison

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 exclusive cycling apps. These apps are Zwift and Strava. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Zwift is an online cycling game that allows users to ride in virtual environments, while Strava is a social network for athletes to share and compare their workouts.
  2. Zwift offers a more immersive experience, complete with virtual races and structured workouts, while Strava provides an in-depth analysis of workout data and social features.
  3. While both are useful for tracking progress and staying motivated, Zwift is best for indoor cycling workouts, while Strava is better for outdoor activities and tracking overall fitness progress.

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. 

Zwift vs Strava

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

Comparison Table

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 benefits individuals looking to cycle in the winter or rainy seasons.Strava caters to 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 has 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 and virtual competitors to push a cyclist. Although the setup of 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 must 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 cyclists can work out 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. The 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. Some workouts are the creation of top cycling legends.

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

zwift 1

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 as follows: 

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

A cyclist can see this information while cycling on a premium account. The statistics will be available for a free account after the workout. 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 through a computer, iPhone, Android, or Apple watch

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

  1. Strava Suffer score: Tracks the workout based on the track one uses. 
  2. Strava Routes: It saves the routes 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 who cycle indoors only. Strava is for outdoor cycling.
  4. Strava has a more extensive network that connects friends. This is present in Zwift too, but it is very basic.
  5. Zwift offers awards to good cyclists. The awards consist of professional cycling deals and more. 
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