I’ve been testing the Rouvy indoor cycling app for the past 8 months now. It is one of the most popular indoor cycling apps on the market. Still in the shadow of Zwift but claims a large global user base. I used it with an Elite Direto smart turbo trainer, my Cannondale Super Six Evo and Garmin heart rate monitor. I tried every element to pull the review together. Is it a genuine alternative to Zwift and worth the monthly subscription? Read my views on what was good and what needs some improvements. Read our review of Zwift and why it is so popular.
I have provided an update on the review based on the November 2023 major updates to ROUVY. Jump to read the updates section at the end of the main review.
ROUVY launched a new companion app in December 2023 that I reviewed in January 2024. Read my review of the ROUVY companion app for more information on this.
Rouvy review summary
Trivelo Rating – 3.5/5
I found ROUVY quick to set up and get going with my first indoor cycling ride using a smart turbo trainer. It includes a series of workouts tailored to your needs so perfect for anyone looking to improve. With regular interactive rides with other riders it ensures you don’t lose interest. It suffers from having limited social interaction with others and group rides are somewhat sparse in attendance. I liked the good connectivity with other apps like Strava and Garmin Connect which means workouts are quickly shared. I didn’t like the need to continually bounce out of the app onto the website and log in for details.
Plenty of good challenging rides that works well for anyone happy improving independently while using a smart turbo trainer.
8 months on and I can’t give up now. As my rating has improved and my ride history built up allowing me to compete against myself for PBs I’m still using it regularly. It has enough going for it with challenges and content updates that I am an addict now. Using other cycling apps as part of my reviews continues but I have to be on ROUVY regularly to maintain my status.
Pros and Cons of ROUVY
- Good connectivity with smart turbo trainer
- Mobile app UI is simple and intuitive
- Gamification to improve with levels
- Limited numbers of users on group rides and social interaction
- Mobile app is missing key information that pushes you out to the web interface
What is Rouvy?
ROUVY is an indoor cycling app. It connects with a smart turbo trainer to allow you to train indoors on your own bike. It offers real life routes you can ride on claiming to give the most realistic simulation. The app offers real life cycling routes and a series of workouts for you to join. ROUVY offers live interactive rides where you can join other riders on set courses. It includes more than 15,000km of augmented routes across over 100 different course.
There are regular challenges (30 at the time of writing) that allow you to earn badges and even real prizes such as holidays.
How much does Rouvy cost?
What does ROUVY cost? And how does this compare to others. When completing my review of Rouvy it offered a monthly or yearly subscription. Prices vary based on location but are currently:
- USD – $14.99 per month ROUVY cost USA
- CZK – 325 CZK per month ROUVY cost Czech
- EUR – 12EUR per month ROUVY cost EU
- GBP – £12.99 per month ROUVY cost UK
ROUVY has been pitching itself as a cheaper alternative to ZWIFT or Sufferfest. Although the subscription is as expensive as ZWIFT that is £12.99 in the UK where I was testing Rouvy. There is a free 14 day trial where you can assess how much you like it though.
Who is ROUVY for?
ROUVY is targetting keen amateur cyclists. With a series of workouts for road cyclists it is perfect for anyone who loves riding their road bike but wants to ride all year round. I tested ROUVY through the Summer so it is not just a winter app to be used when the weather closes in. As I am always short on time joining a quick 45 minute workout with ROUVY is a good fit. As I don’t have a power meter on my bike ROUVY offers useful wattage information to help me assess performance.
If you are looking to buy a Power Meter or not sure if they are worth it read our 15 reasons why you should buy a power meter. Plus my view on why it might not be worth it for you.
How does ROUVY work?
ROUVY connects to a smart turbo trainer and sets the resistance based on the specific workout selected. A number of the workouts use a FTP (Functional Threshold Power) wattage value. Using this as a benchmark it tailors your effort accordingly with virtual riders to join you. ROUVY is a connected app that has a global list of subscribers and allows them to join timed rides. These are at set times following specific courses where all the subscribers regardless of ability join the same start line.
What do you need to use ROUVY?
To use ROUVY you need the following equipment:
- Smart Turbo Trainer with bluetooth or ANT+ connectivity
- Bike (preferably a road, hybrid or TT bike)
- Laptop or Tablet to connect to and provide content
- Heart rate monitor (although you can use it without this)
- Wi-Fi connectivity or Cellular connectivity
This is quite a list but if you are a serious cyclist you are likely to have much of this for your cycling or in your home. The biggest barrier to using ROUVY is having a suitable smart turbo trainer. Without this you are not able to get anywhere with ROUVY or similar indoor cycling apps. While doing the review of ROUVY I tried the app on various devices and connected to different heart rate monitors. Plus tried different bikes to assess the resistance effectiveness in training.
For my recommendation of the best smart turbo trainer to use with ROUVY read my post on the 5 Best Turbo Trainers 2024. I share my recommended turbo to buy and get you going with your indoor cycling training.
Reviewing ROUVY for stand alone training
When I was doing the ROUVY review I wanted to get started quickly with a simple workout. Following set-up I headed to the Home screen and training. ROUVY offered weekly training plans or single training sessions. I tried a number of these from the Workout selection. They ranged in time from 15 minute warm ups to endurance sets of 3 hours.
There are hundreds of these workouts that you choose from a visual list of thumbnails. Clicking into the thumbnail gives more narrative. I found these offered some quick starters but I couldn’t find any that included varying the resistance. Instead the variability of the ride was based on cadence to impact your wattage.
I would have liked more of these quick training sessions with resistance variability. Giving you a range of resistance through the workout. You can get this from the Routes on offer but not the workouts.
Review of ROUVY Routes
ROUVY offers the most realistic set of routes allowing you to ride iconic locations. I personally loved the South Africa routes that had a good incline and kept the ride exciting. You can filter these routes based on time duration or location. There are more than 100 of these routes to choose from. The resistance is applied directly and I found on inclines reaching over 6% quickly my turbo trainer really froze up. As I pushed through it became more manageable but initally it can nearly be impossible to make progress. Especially if you are stuck in a high gear. It means you need to look ahead at the gradient chart to identify the hills early and be absolutely sure to bein the right gear.
One irritation while doing the ROUVY review was the need to download routes. In order to complete a route ROUVY forces you to download it locally to the device you are using. This means you have to wait while to route downloads. A consequence of the real road augmented reality cycling I assume. The App can’t store all of this and they are trying to remove dependency on a network. I did find this irritating though and meant my iPad became bloated with the files to support the app.
Review of ROUVY Group rides
ROUVY like ZWIFT and other indoor cycling apps allows you to join group rides and compete real time with other cyclists. There are a handful of rides every day at fixed times. I joined a number of these rides and found the other cyclists ranged in abilities that was a good mix. There were not enough of these rides to always fit my schedule that was a disappointment. I also didn’t join any rides with more than 6 riders suggesting the user base for ROUVY is still relatively small.
What structured training does ROUVY have?
ROUVY offers a series of training plans that vary in duration but are based on your weekly riding time. You can choose the workout plan you want to follow. These structured training plans group together the workouts into a calender for you. Perfect if you are looking for more guidance on your indoor cycling training but don’t have a trainer. ROUVY to be fair make this accessible to everyone with the Start Easy training plans genuinely something a beginner could pick up.
How does ROUVY compare to ZWIFT?
ROUVY versus ZWIFT for indoor cycling training. Both indoor cycling apps connect to smart turbo trainers and allow to train indoors. ZWIFT has developed the social element of the app much more than ROUVY. You can’t interact with other riders or comment on their progress. ROUVY allows you to ride and to compare your cycling performance with others but that is where the social elements end. ROUVY has developed a gamification side to the app to allow you to level up in the same way as ZWIFT and the routes and training is similar in many ways. The key difference between ROUVY and ZWIFT is the social interaction where ZWIFT has the edge.
Best Alternative to ROUVY
If you are looking for a free alternative to ROUVY I would strongly recommend you look at MyWhoosh. I recently completed a review of this indoor cycling app. Read the full review of MyWhoosh for more information on this fully featured free indoor cycling app.
If you are looking for a cheaper indoor cycling app read my review of the Elite My E-Training App. A much cheaper indoor cycling app designed by the Elite Turbo Trainer gurus. It has some serious shortcomings but is cheap. Read the review to find out more.
Video Review of ROUVY
See the ROUVY application in our video walking you through the key functionality of the indoor cycling app.
Strength training is hugely important for improving your cycling with apps such as ROUVY. As an age group athlete myself I have increasingly tuned my training to include more strength work. Find out more information on workouts and strength training.
How to Subscribe to ROUVY
ROUVY review updated
In November 2023 ROUVY released a major update to the app. I used this app over a period of two weeks to see how the changes bedded in after the original review. The main cycling experience is unchanged but the home page has significantly been updated. My favourite addition has been the “My Collections” section. Finally they have grouped your favourite and downloaded rides. It was always a bugbear of the original version finding them. This is a massive boost.
The overall look and feel is much better with a richer set of information that makes it easier to get riding and find out details. It was glitchy when I used it. The interface crashed a few times hanging needing me to close down the app. Nothing major and it never crashed during a ride which I was grateful for. The main cycling interface is unchanged with focus purely on the homepage. You still have to bounce out to the website for certain information that I personally hate. Given the amount of download content in the app there should be no need to leave to sign into the app.
A good update though and some important improvements not just a vanity set of changes in my view.