At the end of September, I wrote about Wahoo Fitness launching their new SYSTM app, and promised I’d update RBR readers after a few months of testing. Be sure to read my earlier article to understand the app’s functionality.
It’s been three months, and I like what the app has to offer. My favorite part is selecting a training program, and the calendar auto-populates with the workouts. My typical calendar includes trainer workouts, 15-minute yoga sessions with Abi Carver, and strength training. I love the fact that I don’t have to think about what workout to do each day. Instead, I’m spoon-fed my workouts. And if I’m honest, those days I’m not really motivated to get out of bed at 5:30 am, knowing my training is pre-planned, gets me out of bed. I feel accountable.
The SYSTM app is all about training with a purpose, not just logging endless hours in the saddle. The thought is, by integrating yoga, strength, and mental training sessions, you become a more powerful, balanced, and tougher athlete.
The workout summaries and visuals (e.g., ride profile) that go along with them are excellent, and I know precisely what I’m in for during each session. I rarely do this, but if I’m I don’t feel recovered from my previous day’s workout and just want to spin my legs, I can select from a catalog of workouts that keep me well below my FTP. I simply add it to my calendar and ride. The same holds for the yoga or strength sessions. If I want to work my core or need a quick morning stretch, I can select the appropriate workout by adding it to the day’s schedule.
One of the key differences between the original Sufferfest training and SYSTM is the variety. SYSTM offers more options, and all the workouts are not out to trash your legs. Choose from Sufferfest, GCN studio-style sessions, cycling documentaries, pro rides, and “a week with” a pro rider.
The SYSTM app also features proprietary Four-Dimensional Power™ (4DP) technology, which gives you insight into your fitness and then tailors all of the workouts and plans to match your unique profile. Performance targets are individualized, so every interval is at the exact intensity necessary to improve.
My Pain Cave Setup
To use Wahoo SYSTM, I connect my Wahoo KICKR and TICKR HRM. I launch the app typically from my iPad but sometimes opt for my iPhone; the app works flawlessly in either option. In addition, I use external speakers and stay focused by usually listening to their choice of music or commentator, but there are times I prefer my tunes or watch a Netflix show.
The only issue I encountered with my setup was on my iPad. If the interval rating has a decimal (e.g., 7.5/10), I can’t read the time remaining for that interval. Instead, the black bar covered the countdown clock. It’s not the end of the world except when you are dying for the interval to be over.
Brandon Bilyeu, a fellow RBR reviewer, has used Sufferfest and SYSTM. He had some issues with ERG not working with his trainer setup. Per Brandon:
I have a Tacx Flux S, and symptoms are ERG not able to hit power targets at anything above zone 1 and consistent ~1-second power drops every ~30 seconds. I have an older iPad that cannot upgrade to the new SYSTM and have found that the old Sufferfest App still works fine. According to the SYSTM team, yes, Sufferfest will still work for a while longer before they kill it entirely, but it has to already be on a device as it is no longer available in the App Store.
Brandon wrote to Wahoo support and received this response:
It is an issue with Tacx trainers that only affects the iOS app. We are working to develop a fix as soon as possible.”
SYSTM is competitively priced with other cycling apps and a pay-as-you-go model at $14.99/month or save $50 with an annual subscription of $129. Not sure if SYSTM is right for you? Wahoo offers a 14-day free trial, which is probably long enough to know if it’s right for you. I’ll continue to use the app even now that I no longer have access to a media comped account. I enjoy the variety and training program.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women’s cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri’s full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.