Indoor cycling is booming right now, partly as riders look to avoid poor weather but also because the technology required to make it a fun and immersive experience has become mainstream and more affordable.
Rouvy is just one of those apps and, like any other in a hotly competitive market, it aims to offer something slightly different to set itself apart from the pack.
In this guide, we’ll look at all of the key features to help you decide whether it’s the right app for you.
What is Rouvy?
Rouvy is an indoor cycling app that offers a range of real-life routes and augmented-reality courses for you to ride on.
Unlike other apps such as Zwift and MyWhoosh, which simulate virtual worlds or offer simulations of real roads, Rouvy uses video recordings of real roads and combines them with elevation data.
The app can also generate animated 3D riders. There are more than 1,300 of these augmented reality courses covering over 25,000km.
On these, as well as an avatar of yourself, the animated riders can either be virtual partners of your previous records, ghosts for you to race against or other real-life Rouvy users. You can switch the lot off if you prefer to ride alone.
Whereas before you only got a view of the road ahead, On Omnimode routes, Rouvy now enables you to spin your perspective around to admire the view, see where you’ve been and keep an eye on who’s coming up behind you.
Beyond augmented reality courses, there are thousands of different route films available, which total a staggering 245,697km of roads – so it’s safe to say there’s plenty of variety.
Here, you just see a video of the route, which speeds up or slows down as you do, with the app changing the resistance to reflect the gradient, but there are no avatars shown.
Aside from simply riding courses, Rouvy also hosts races, has a library of 291 official workouts and even the chance to win prizes, including a free subscription, for completing in-game challenges.
How does Rouvy differ from other indoor cycling apps?
While Zwift has built its own virtual worlds, some completely made up from scratch and some based on real-life places, Rouvy sets itself apart by using video footage of the actual roads it simulates and by having a massive library of routes to choose from.
If your goal is to train specifically on real-life roads, perhaps for a future sportive or gran fondo (or just for the thrill of riding some of the sport’s most legendary roads), then Rouvy could offer a real advantage.
How much does Rouvy cost?
The monthly price for a Rouvy subscription is comparable to its competitors at $14.99 per month and you can register up to five hardware devices on which you run the Rouvy app.
You also have the option of sharing a Duo subscription with family or friends for $19.99 per month or as a group of up to five riders for $32.99. When signing up for an account, Rouvy offers new users a 14-day trial with full access to its feature set.
A subscription gives you access to Rouvy’s collection of augmented routes, other virtual routes and its library of structured workouts and training plans.
What do you need to use Rouvy?
The Rouvy app itself is available for Mac/Windows PCs, Android/iOS smartphones and tablets, and Apple TV.
As with other indoor cycling apps, you’ll get the most immersive experience if you have access to a smart indoor bike or smart trainer in your pain cave.
Rouvy can control the resistance of the trainer or indoor bike to match the profile of the course or the intensity of an interval session. So, for example, if you’re riding the Passo Gavia (which is an option in Rouvy), the app can make your trainer simulate the resistance you would feel if you were climbing it in the real world.
It’s possible to use Rouvy without a smart trainer though. If you have a classic ‘dumb’ turbo trainer or rollers, and a power meter, Rouvy can use the data from the power meter to accurately follow the video of the route and drive you forward in the game.
A full list of compatible trainers can be found on Rouvy’s website.
How do I progress on Rouvy?
Some say gamification is the future of indoor cycling, and Rouvy now supports progression levels, much like Zwift, in a process that it calls your Rouvy Career.
You gain Experience Points as you ride; once you’ve earned the target for your level, you’ll automatically level up. At the same time, you earn Coins which, similarly to Zwift, you can use to customise your avatar.
Rouvy starts off with a calibration phase to work out what you’re capable of before it starts to track your Rouvy Career progression.
Within each of the nine levels, which range from Starter to Legend, there are a series of sub-levels, so that there are 80 levels in total. Level up and you get a new virtual badge and (unspecified) prizes from Rouvy’s partners.
Rouvy also lets you track your progression over time and see where you fit with the rate of progress of its other users.
What courses are there on Rouvy?
There are more than 1,300 routes that support the augmented reality feature. These include iconic climbs from Italy and France like Mont Ventoux and the Passo dello Stelvio, as well as sections of famous sportives such as the Fred Whitton (which takes place in the Lake District in the UK).
Rouvy includes a search function that enables you to find routes that match your criteria for where you want to ride.
Beyond augmented reality courses there are thousands of standard, point-of-view video routes to ride, with categories including the Alps, the Pyrenees and mountain bike trails.
As we’ve already mentioned, Rouvy’s route catalogue suggests there’s currently a total of 245,697 km worth of video routes available in the game, which is a little mind-boggling.
While Rouvy used to allow users to upload their own ride videos and create custom routes to add to the app’s library, it has now closed that option.
Does Rouvy offer structured training and workouts?
According to Rouvy, there are 291 official workouts available on the app.
Some have been created by professional coaches such as Hunter Allen or companies such as TrainingPeaks and CycleOps, but there are many created by Rouvy users too.
If none of them are suitable, or you just can’t find the right one, you can also build your own interval-based workouts, if that’s more your cup of tea.
The workouts with the richest feature set are the Rouvy training plans, where video, power-based intervals and motivational quotes combine to help you get a good workout.
The rest of the workouts simply guide you through intervals in a similar manner to apps such as TrainerRoad. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; sometimes simplicity can enable you to focus entirely on your workout.
If you’re looking to follow a longer-term structured training plan on Rouvy, the app points you to TrainingPeaks, with Rouvy supporting synchronisation between the two apps.
Can I join a group ride on Rouvy?
Yes… Official Rouvy group rides take place on a weekly basis, as on Zwift, enabling you to ride with friends and other riders on the augmented reality courses.
Via the ‘Set up your ride’ menu, you can pick any rider or a friend who has ridden it previously to ride or compete with them.
Rouvy now has a more sophisticated physics simulation, which supports both drafting and weight and height simulations, so that larger riders have to push more than smaller riders to keep up the same speed, both on the flat and on climbs.
Any rider can lower their effort level by drafting another though, unless they’ve set their ride up in time trial mode.
If the pace is too easy or difficult for you to stay with the group, you can adjust the ‘reality level’ in the settings menu to adjust the difficulty of the course profile.
Can I race on Rouvy?
Yes, as with Zwift racing, there are races and events for both amateurs and professionals.
The Digital Swiss 5, for example, was live-streamed in April 2020 in place of the 2020 Tour de Suisse (which was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic) and involved professional riders from a number of WorldTour and ProContinental teams. It won the Digital Communication Award in 2020.
Beyond professional races, there’s a wide variety of races that are open to all, and Rouvy users can create their own events.
To take part in official Rouvy races, you’ll need to use a smart trainer, but there are other events that are open to users with all types of trainer.