Indoor trainers are starting to become an essential tool during these weeks of training. But if we also want to train virtually, compete and bring out the best of us in a virtual world, two platforms stand out above others; BKool and Zwift. Which is better? We give you the key points for each one of them.
We can train indoors with a bike and a turbo trainer in many ways. From the most conventional rollers in which there is no resistance and you adapt your rhythm with your speeds, to the treadmill rollers in which you move with your usual bike as if you were, almost, on the road. In addition, virtual platforms such as Bkool and Zwift currently offer us a much more interactive way of training so that our indoor trainings are as entertaining and effective as possible.
Taking a first look at both systems, what differentiates them mainly from one and another, is that Zwift has a very social operating base, a very social network style, where we establish contact with a group of people known or not, to do our training in an environment very similar to that of any social network. The program helps you socialize with other riders in a virtual multiplayer atmosphere. On the other hand, Bkool focuses more on simulating in the best possible way, the sensations and the 3-dimensional environment in which we ride our bikes outdoors, including night or rainy environments and even real training videos.
At the circuit level, with Zwift we mainly rely on 6 stages (Watopia, London, New York, Richmond, Innsbruck and Yorkshire) in addition to the extra criteria. The stages have different lengths and gradients, so you can choose the one that most closely matches what you are looking for when training. In this sense, Bkool is very different since it offers up to 500,000 different routes, that in addition, allows you to customize your training with the parameters of distance and elevation that you want. In fact, you can choose any GPS track you have from your workouts and replicate them virtually with very high accuracy to the original.
In this sense, Bkool offers you the possibility of doing the routes you want, as well as mythical, classic summits, and any international competition, with a well-worked replica in terms of the unevenness that occurs in reality.
This is a very important point that defines both platforms a lot. In Zwift, due to a much lower number of routes, the gameplay component is greater than Bkool, since it means that in all the scenarios you choose, you will have many players to train or compete with in real time. In Bkool, the virtual training component with other runners will depend a lot on the route you choose. This is an advantage because you can choose all the routes that exist, but depending on which one you choose, you will train with a few people or almost no one at all.
TRAIN YOUR WAY
Both platforms have the option of entering the parameters of your training. In Bkool you can choose the watts you want to roll at, the cadence, the speeds and intensities and you regulate the effort and resistance of the roller to follow the training instructions at the desired power level. Zwift on the other hand, has an option called ERG, in which you can choose the intensity of watts at which you want to roll, and the program is in charge of selecting one mode or another of resistance in the roller, so that you pedal at the power you have chosen. Let’s say that Bkool is less ‘intrusive’ in that sense and it is you who adapts the resistance and pedal to follow the selected power range. In Zwift it will be the program itself that calculates the resistance so that you can put down the power you have chosen. This can lead to a difference in watt measurement whether you do it manually in Bkool, or whether or not you use the ERG in Zwift.
COMPETITIONS AND EVENTS
Both platforms allow you to compete in events that they organize, but the main difference is that in the case of Bkool, it allows you to compete in mythical events or the same races as professionals (Belgian spring classics, stages of the Tour de France, Summer League etc …). Something that is very interesting if you want to do virtually the most spectacular circuits in the world. There are not too many events that are created every day by Bkool. At Zwift you have the advantage that every day, events are created, making it easy for some of them to fit what you have in mind to train. Although in Zwift you do not have as much variety of circuits and as they are usually much more popular than the Bkool events in terms of number of participants, you may be in the peloton for too long, which means that at the training or effort level, you can obtain misleading data, like average speeds. Of course, it is very easy to find an event every day that fits the type of training you want to do.
At a connectivity level, if you want to know if your trainer is compatible with both platforms, go to their respective websites (www.bkool.com and www.zwift.com) where you can check in the compatibility lists, which ones are appropriate and which not.
Without a doubt both platforms are the ideal complement if you use an indoor trainer a lot to train. The prices are quite reasonable, although Zwift is a little more expensive and the main difference between both systems is that Zwift is a much more social platform where it is easy for there to be more interaction between riders, with an operation that somehow mixes social networks and online games. Bkool has a base that seeks more performance, with the possibility of going through mythical stages as if you were a professional cyclist and adapting your training to the maximum by the infinity of routes.
BKOOL MAIN FEATURES
- Environment closer to the sensations of shooting outdoors.
- More than 500,000 different routes to choose from. In addition, it allows you to customize the routes under your parameters.
- Replica GPS tracks that you have stored.
- The great offer of routes, can make it more difficult to train with a larger number of people
- It has the option of a velodrome to ride alone or in a group.
- Recorded scenarios abroad that can be traveled virtually.
- You can carry out your specific workouts, by entering their parameters. You adapt the pedaling and the resistance to stick to the parameters of the chosen training.
- Own events organized within many professional cirtcuits
- Fee of € 9.99 per month.
ZWIFT MAIN FEATURES
- More focused on multi-player play and social relationships between participants.
- 6 environments, plus criteriums to choose from; Watopia, London, New York, Richmond, Innsbruck and Yorkshire.
- In the different scenarios you have from completely flat places like ‘tempus fugit’, to others much more mountainous or with continuous slopes.
- Total and continued interaction with a multitude of players, pelotons, training groups etc …
- You can carry out your specific workouts by entering their parameters. The ERG adapts the resistance of the roller automatically.
- Organized own events. numerous every day.
- Fee of $ 14 per month (about € 12.89).