Strava vs Endomondo vs Etc, etc, etc...
I've checked out a few of the iPhone tracking apps and thought I'd share my experiences and observations.
First I started out with Strava, and then Endomondo. I also checked out MotionX-GPS. I used Strava for a while but missed the ability to see a map while I ride. Endomondo has this and that worked for a while but then I heard about MotionX-GPS and once I saw "their" "MotionX Terrain" map I was sold. I'd start to track my ride with Strava or Endomondo then switch to MotionX-GPS for the ride. This worked okay but I was annoyed by having to use two apps.
Then I complicated the situation by buying a Wahoo Fitness Blue SC Sensor and ordering a Wahoo Fitness Blue HR monitor. I don't have my iPhone 5 yet so I haven't actually used either device yet (I have the iPhone 4, currently, which doesn't support the Bluetooth mode those devices need) but with this in mind I had to reconsider my choice of tracking apps. I want one app that will do everything I want it to do and to work with my sensors.
The apps that I have checked out that support both my sensors are Strava, Cyclemeter and Runtastic Mountain Bike. Endomondo and MotionX-GPS support the HR monitor and I thought they support the SC but they do not. They are included in my comparison only for completeness.
Here are the pros and cons as I see them. As these are based on my needs they are likely to differ from yours but if anyone has any comments Iíd like to hear them.
Large community to compare performance with.
Clean uncluttered interface while recording Ė mostly due to lack of a map
Inability to see map while recording Ė for me this takes it out of the running.
$60 a year for features others include for a one time purchase.
Ability to see the map while I ride
Active community with local routes added by others
The deal killer for me is the lack of support for my SC sensor.
Maps are not as good as MotionX-GPS
Excellent maps. I thought these were proprietary but turns out they are from OpenCycleMap.
Overly complex user interface. This might be a pro for you as itís packed with features.
I do not like it for logging and it does not support my SC anyway. No dice.
Honestly I did not give this one much of an evaluation once I saw that Runtastic has the maps I like and this one does not.
The user interface looks clean
Uncluttered screen while recording.
Lack of OpenCycleMaps
And, for me at least, the winner is:
Runtasticís Mountain Bike Pro
It has the excellent maps from OpenCycleMaps
Works with both sensors
Ability to download maps so that it doesnít need internet when Iím riding.
I wish I could zoom in further on the downloaded map. The source map lets me zoom more
The map screen could be a little less cluttered.
Nice review. I don't know about the others but I agree with you on Motion-X and Strava.
I'm going to check out Runtastic.
Thanks for the kind words. I'm happy you found my post useful.
I'm in no way affiliated with the makers of Runtastic but I am interested to find out what you think about it.
I was using strava for a while but recently it's been dropping satellite coverage mid-ride. I am still looking for a decent app that doesn't have this problem. So far the only one I can find that maintains coverage is a dedicated GPS app that isn't bike or run specific.
BTW I am using an android platform, not iphone. I thought maybe it was my phone's fault but apparently a lot of riders in these parts have the problem with both droid and iphone-something about the way the valleys are disrupts the sattys around here?!?
Thanks for the review, I just got started but I have been happy with Straya so far. Not sure if I will venture beyond the free version or not but it is working for me.
I'm using IpBike for android. It records at 1 second intervals, uploads to Strava, and displays a map. You can also use it to create interval workouts, plot data after the activity, talk to ANT+ sensors and other stuff. It is a bit clunky, but works well enough for me. I haven't paid for it yet but I expect that I will when the ~1000+ mile trial period runs out.
Great article in the latest issue of Mountain Flyer Magazine regarding these apps.
thanks for review.. now i just use endomondo.. I should try Runtasticís Mountain Bike Pro later..
Other things to consider.
Export workout files (.gpx)
Are you able to import and export your rides (for free?) I was using mapmyride / mapmyrun / mapmyfitness websites and they absolutely do NOT allow you to export your workouts. (They claim they do, but the file they send out is worthless...) Not good customer focus.. Their only focus seems to be on my wallet.
I thought Strava costs $6/ month if you want to do more that six rides per month. Is that still the plan? I hate plans where you sign up, where they are relying on you to forget to shut the plan off in the future...
I'm pretty happy with Endomondo, free cost, good import / export , I can use it to follow given course, etc... I know its a stupid little thing, but I like the voice countdown timer to your start...
How is the mapmyride file worthless? What's wrong with it? Details would be nice. Strava doesn't do that plan anymore, AFAIK. I have been using it some lately and I uploaded a lot more than 6 old rides when I wanted to see if those old rides would score me any ratings on segments. The premium service gets you access to more analysis features, for one. Not sure about other stuff because I never paid up. Phone app use might also differ. I only do manual .gpx file uploads, anyway, because most services do not support direct uploads from my device, anyway.
Originally Posted by zipzit
The free strava account doesn't have a limit on # of rides per month. I'm happy with my free account.
Strava | Premium Membership
Ouch, big ouch. You are absolutely correct. I was overviewing Stava on a youtube video (oops, from 2011) and that used to be their plan. See Strava GPS Recording for Cyclists - YouTube, at time = 10:38.... It says clearly 5 rides per month.
Originally Posted by JDM
When you check that url now (Strava Plans | GPS Tracking, Maps, Analytics, Challenge Friends, Find Top Runs and Rides ) it shows unlimited rides for the free plan. Profuse apologies... Nice to see Strava change a situation to better serve customers. Again, profuse apologies.
Any ride recorded in mapmyride cannot be sent to any other program. The .gpx output files they provide under the free plan only contain lat/long info. They've stripped off the time and elevation elements from the computer XML file. The XML elements are correct, albiet with light header info, but ultimately without the time / elevation info, no other programs will import from those .gpx files... at least I can't find any. Perhaps you will have better luck. I've debated writing custom code to add fakey times back into the file, but ultimately, it was a lot easier to jump to Endomondo. I've tried in numerous different packages to make good on an mapmyride .gpx file but no go anywhere. (I share my workouts with family on garmin connect). Do a search on line, you'll find plenty of folks not happy with this feature from map my ride.. Map my ride will import any workout, You just can't get a workout recorded there out again. Most other programs out there will let you export as well as import easily. Try it for yourself.
Originally Posted by NateHawk;
I trust you. Just based on your earlier comment I couldn't tell if you knew what you were doing or not. You obviously know what you're doing. I have a MMR account, but I don't ever download my files from the service (I don't do that from any service, for that matter). This looks like another good reason to download to your computer first, and then put your stuff online. But that doesn't help if you want to race against someone else.
Originally Posted by zipzit
Hi all great post. just joined as I am trying to find the weight of my bike for the Strava Android ap.
Use a scale
Originally Posted by Kidkoffin
If you have a bathroom scale weigh yourself with and without the bike.
Originally Posted by NateHawk
I run endomondo and strava at the same time. Problem solved.
Does the runtastic app allow you to view th map with HR and time overlaid on the display? That would be the ultimate for me
No, not overlaid. You can split the screen so you have six stats up top and the map on the bottom, tho.
Originally Posted by rideandshoot
Current versions of Strava for Android can show the map during recording.
It's annoying to hear that MapMyRide doesn't do a good export. I finally got a HRM (yeah, only about twenty years after everyone else...) and while being able to add heart rate to my Strava isn't a "must-have" feature, I'd like it.
Anyone know an Android app that supports the Polar H7 meter and exports tcx? For now, I think that's the only file format that Strava can read the heart rate track from. Hoping that Strava and Polar will see the wisdom of being able to talk to each other in future...
I use Endomondo because of the voiceover and then send the info over to Strava. Having a voice tell me the mile/time I'm at keeps me going and when to head back. It would be nice if Strava did that.
Strava isn't always accurate with the segments though. I know I should have broken one of my times, but it never picked it up. It looks like you can't go both ways on one segment and have to create one going and one coming.
I'm not using a HR monitor so not a concern. I know when I'm dying..LOL.
Endomondo recently changed their user interface making it a pain to get working at times.
I've only used Strava because I'm on the Clydesdales/Athena board on another forum and it's nice having the support from those members on Strava.
A teammate gave me his old one recently (after I whined on Facebook about it. Love Facebook.) It's interesting. While I certainly know when I'm dying, I hate myself enough to stay at that effort anyway.
Originally Posted by Bethany1
If you buy into the whole periodization thing (I'm at least willing to give it a shot,) doing nothing but tempo all the time isn't as efficient a way to train as having endurance rides that are actually at endurance pace and speed work that's consistent about being at a high level of intensity. While I'm finding that my sense of where my effort levels are is fairly accurate, I'm also not that disciplined about staying in them, especially when there's something like a terrain change that I know doesn't have to slow me down or when I'm riding singletrack.
This is pretty much a non-issue for most rec. riders and even most fitness riders, I think. Just riding lots of volume will take care of that. But I don't have the kind of time I did when my life went off the rails, and I'd rather be a bit more disciplined about training and stay competitive than hang up that aspect of my cycling. Racing is fun! So, I'm giving it a try. Either the heart rate monitor will be a tool that helps me become a stronger rider or I'll decide it sucks. At least I didn't have to throw much money at it.
That would work... the display on the iPhone is pretty big. I tend to check HR the most. Monitor time and distance to make sure I turn around in time and like the map when I ride new places. I'd rather not switch back and forth.
Originally Posted by MoTec
There are basically three types of communications protocol out there for heart rate (HR) straps. You can get a pure bluetooth transmitter (from Zephyr), a HR transmitter that uses ANT+ protocol (there are lots of these out there... Garmin uses this in their HR products) or the new Bluetooth Low Energy (also called Bluetooth Smart). There are four of these HR transmitter straps out there, Polar H7, Yahoo Blue HR, Lavod Iron Runner and Zephyr HxM. They all run about the same price, in the range of $80 USD.
Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
Regular bluetooth would pretty much work with any phone, but I have to believe it would really eat batteries / consume a lot of power. Ant protocol is nice, but few phones have the ANT receivers built in. You can purchase a plug in module for lots of phones out there including the iPhone. The Bluetooth low energy receivers are built into to the iPhone 4s, the iPhone5 and a couple of recently release android phones (Samsung Galaxy SIII + a few others...)
As I understand it, most of the common phone software apps are pretty much set up to receive what ever heart rate signal. I think you will find more issues with coordinating the hardware. You want to make sure your strap communication protocol matches the receiver on your phone.
I've been using Endomondo for my stuff (less the HR thing.) It gives me the ability to upload a route to a my phone (Samsung Galaxy Siii), and then exercise and record my route. I'm following off road trails in the hills and desert that I've never been on before.. Its VERY easy to get lost.. or worse take the wrong trail up a sandy creekbed instead of the correct single track trail 80 feet off to the left that you can't quite see from the bottom of the creek. Ugh... With Endomondo I can see where I am as well as see the route I should be taking. Currently I'm dual recording my track and HR on a Garmin Forerunner 410 watch.
Good luck with it. --zip.
Part of the problem is that for using it for actual training, I'm committed to using a sensor that works with the Polar heart rate monitor my teammate gave me. At least, unless and until I decide I'm ready to spring for something more expensive. In which case I'd need to maintain compatibility with that. That's why I was specific about something that works with the Polar H7 monitor - that's what I have, and my priority is that it work with the watch. My phone goes in my back pocket during a ride, and while I've occasionally learned useful things from looking at tracks later, mostly it's just something that's kind of fun. I've been able to get my Motorola Droid whatever to talk to it, although I wasn't smart enough to actually record the track last time. :p
Huh? Droid ? Droid what?
Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
"Talk to it" Not sure what that means. Your note is not all that clear. Are you a developer writing apps? If so, PM me, we can talk. I'm assuming not but its not clear.
Polar H7 = Bluetooth Low Energy (also referred to as Blue Tooth Smart, Bluetooth 4.0) Devices with Bluetooth Low Energy = iPhone4S and 5, ipad, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Motorola Droid RAZR... do you have a RAZR? (Not the Eris, not the incredible, not the Droid Pro, not the X, not the 2,3, 4, not the S, ... there are a LOT of Motorola Droid phones ...) We're looking for the Motorola Droid RAZR & the Razr Maxx. There are also laptops and computers with the protocol, but I doubt you are carrying them around.
DO YOU HAVE A DROID RAZR? If not, you are done. Not going to work.
If you do have a RAZR, download endomondo, its free. I haven't tried that combination myself, but I'm pretty sure that will work well for you.
Register with Endomondo. Wet the contacts on your heart rate strap, put it on. Go outside so the phone will see the gps satellites. Attempt to record a track. Five minutes walking around is fine. To stop the recording, hit the pause button (= sign) then hit the red box (the stop button). Endomondo will automatically upload the track to their web site. You can go to a computer login, see your travel path, and your heart rate, etc... Let us know how this worked out! Good luck, zip
I feel like you're not really reading my posts. Post #24 read like a catalog of heart rate communication protocols where I was asking about something specific, for example.
Using MapMyRide and my current phone, I successfully recorded a track including heart rate. I have one of the Motorola Droids with the pull-out keyboard and I got it recently, but I don't care enough to remember what number that makes it. Regardless, it supports the communications protocol the H7 strap uses or MapMyRide wouldn't have worked.
I did try Endomondo. I couldn't get it to communicate with the strap. I'll re-look at it and maybe give it another shot.
Ouch. Andrew, no offense intended here. Its totally not clear what goal you are trying to achieve.
--You might be like myself, trying to exercise specifically to get into better shape and lose weight. I use the Heart Rate (HR) recording to qualify my workouts, to attempt to place some sense into cross training (running / road rides / MTB rides) and monitor HR over time. e.g... a long run at avg 65% max for one hours is some what similiar to a short bike ride at avg 85% HR max. (Look up Strava Suffer Score / Andrew Coggan Training Stress Balance, Dr. Eric Bannister Training Impulse Score) For this purpose, I never look at HR during the exercise... cell phone stays tucked in pocket/camelback unless I need to check my route.. I often follow routes of others.. Its very easy to get lost here where I ride.. good trail / bad path could be 100 feet from each other...
--You might be training for an event, where you use your heart rate recording device as a training aid, for example to do a series of timed sprints as part of a training routine. Frankly these only make sense when running or road biking on relatively flat terrain. I can't imagine anybody doing this off road, but to each his own. For this you would have to check the screen / work off of audio commands. A variant on this is doing self sprints against timer, then start again after HR cools down to particular rate. So in this case you'd need a simple display of HR.
--You might be using the HR monitor as a fun tool to keep up motivation up.. eg.. how high did my HR go while climbing Puke-your-guts-out hill. Again, a simple display would work for that.
--You might have just finished reading "Heart Monitor Training for the Complete Idiot" by John L. Parker, and you want to do the Easy Day / Hard Day routine thing. Excellent book, highly recommended. I will say I doubt anybody could do an easy day off road single track mountain bike ride. Just not practical but who am I to say. I'm on a single speed. Hold easy days for road rides or running on more sedate terrain. Remember when that HR hits 70% you gotta slow down , PERIOD. For that you need HR display preferably with a audible zone alarm.
And you are right, I don't think there is a single piece of software out there that will do all of those different tasks on the Android. I think the Polar stuff will do the training zones and alarms, the map my rides / endomondo stuff will map out routes, keep recording for after the fact reviews...
What goal are you trying to achieve? (note: "just have fun, not worry about the details" is a totally acceptable answer...)
hmmm.. maybe that question would be a good survey for this site. (Multiple answers allowed, would have to rank your responses...) does this forum allow you to post up surveys?
What do you use your Heart Rate / GPS device for?
--Find out new routes on my GPS device.
--record my training / monitor my fitness for evaluation after the ride.
--active training aid (manage my workout, perform splits, etc...)
--Allow me to compete with myself / others on same route. Gauge my improvements. (Strava king of the hill, etc...)
--Monitor my easy days so I don't exceed X% HR rate.
--a fun cool tool, keeps me motivated.
--I just like to see my heart rate. Keeps me in tune with my inner karma.
Andrew, which are you? And hey, we're all learning here... the HR rate app stuff and what it does is changing daily right now. Let us know what you've tried! thanks, zip.
The big goal is that I'd like to be more faster-er despite having less training time than in 2009-2011. I'm a better bike handler and better at pacing myself, so that helps, but it's still an endurance sport.
I've got two goals for the heart rate monitoring. The first is that I'm trying to follow a Friel plan (self-coached, per his book) a little more faithfully. Like a lot of amateurs who haven't been training with heart rate in the past, I'm finding that while I have a decent sense of my paces, I'm not that good at actually staying in them. So I have both the watch/computer unit and the strap, and the particular computer I have is able to tell me which zone I'm in, record time in zones, and do some interval workout timing. Use of a computer is non-negotiable and while it won't necessarily be the one I've got right now (Polar RS 300X) long-term, it'll be something. So I'm not going to switch to the Zephyr strap for Strava compatibility, for example.
The other goal is a secondary goal. I'm on Strava, along with some of my friends and a lot of teammates, and I get kind of a kick out of it. Now that I have a device that's capable of measuring my heart rate and can pair with my Android, which is what I use for GPS and Strava, I'd like to be able to add heart rate to those tracks. I don't use Strava as a training tool in general, although now and then I think I learn something useful from my tracks. I don't record my runs (don't want to take my phone with me) or my commutes (can't be bothered/it's pretty inane) so it's not like it has complete training data for me. I do that with Excel. If I can get tracks with heart rate into Strava, though, there are a couple of protocols in Friel that would be a bit easier to do. For example, one of his tests for LT is that it's average heart rate for the last 30 minutes of a race. I think it also might be interesting to see where I'm spending effort, and if my heart rate follows trends over the course of events.
So where I'm at is that I've got a heart rate monitor and strap combination that work together, and I've got an Android phone that will work with the strap with at least some software. I just want the phone to passively record - I'd much rather use a small, purpose-built device to do any feedback I actually use.
So I guess I'm in the record/training tool group.
FWIW, it's actually not that difficult to manage effort on a mountain bike ride. Since heart rate is reactive, it acts to average effort to some extent. This is why it takes several seconds to react to a change in effort/pace. I don't know if I could do it with sustained climbs - those often have a certain minimum effort - but on rolling singletrack, sure. Probably not with the kind of precision I could do it on a run around the lake near my house, but it's just guidelines at the end of the day.
Polar RS 300X hardware compatibility
Just in case people aren't totally over this tangent yet,
The Polar RS 300X is compatible with several monitor straps. The only one that does any kind of Bluetooth is the Polar H7 strap, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy. That puts a few phones out of the running right away, not including mine. For other Polar users, the Polar web page for your product has a "compatible accessories" link.
Just to make things confusing, Polar has previously released a Bluetooth sensor strap, the Wearlink+ Bluetooth. This isn't compatible with any of their standalone devices. (Per the page on this particular strap.)
The H7 and Wearlink+ use a different protocol along with having somewhat different Bluetooth implementations and devices support. From some previous clicking around, Polar is only releasing the API to a few companies and developers, and they have to apply for it. I can't be bothered to re-find the forum where this came up, but it was one of Polar's own forums, IIRC; the question was answered by a Polar employee.
Information about which Android apps are and are not currently supporting the H7 is pretty sketchy. Polar says that no Android phones work with it, which I know isn't true. (Per the page on the H7.) The combination of MapMyRide, the Polar H7, and the Motorola DROID 4 works fine. MapMyRide just sucks. :p
I'm pretty much over actively looking for an app that will work with my hardware and export .tcx. My initial plan had been just to use the heart rate monitor as a heart rate monitor, without bringing the phone into the mix, but when I figured out that I had a probably-compatible hardware ecosystem, I figured I'd give it a shot.
Back in March, Strava was already supporting the H7 for their iPhone app. (For once, iPhones do something I want and my Android doesn't do it!) So, I won't be too surprised if a future Android version adds this functionality. For now, I think I'm using the heart rate monitor as a heart rate monitor and the Android and Strava as an amusing record of my rides.
EDIT: Oh yeah - as of right now, Endomondo and my phone won't work with the H7, and information about their support or non-support of this device varies.
Endomondo on the phone so wife/kids at home can see where I am. Edge500 output uploaded to Strava for post-ride review.
Originally Posted by ihaveagibsonsg
It would be slick if Strava could live-track like Endomondo so that riding buddies could see where I was and maybe join me if they were headed out as well, although I'd probably have to buy a new phone for that since Strava has no BB support.
Personally, I liked Endomondo since it always tell you when you reached a Kilometer. Sometimes the voice is annoying(Lap Reached) but gets you motivated most of the time. Never tried other since my Nokia does not support them at least in my country.
I'm ready to exchange the Polar H7 I just bought for the Zephyr that Strava recommends. I can't seem to the my Razr Maxx to pair with it. Error message about pin incompatibility.
Could very possibly be user error since I have had this Razr for about a week
What app are you using? What app do you want to use? Are you constrained by wanting to maintain compatibility with another piece of hardware, like a watch or an actual cycle computer?
I'm a Strava user and would prefer to stay there and don't want to run 2-3 separate pieces of equipment.
I actually did a feature request on Strava support about that issue and they say they're working on it. But for now, I think the easiest would be to just get the Zephyr they recommend. No idea if it works, maybe you can find some discussion of that specific combination elsewhere on the 'net.
I have been using Endonmondo for some time now on my Android phone. I am very happy with it but the kcal is not correct. I noticed that since I ride the same route to work that if I take more time to get there (slower riding) I burn more kcal. If I amp up my ride and push it I burn less kcal. I now have the Zepher HR monitor and will see if it helps correct this issue. I have the Pro version but now there is another version above it that costs a few dollars more. I did start out with MapMyRide but like Endomondo a bit better. BTW I got the Zepher blue Tooth HR monitor for $79 + $9 for ground shipping.
I'm currently using Everytrail (free) coming from Endomondo. I just liked the phonecamera function of Everytrail which Endomondo and the other apps I've tried didn't have. I love how it allows me to take geotagged photos along the way and automatically place it in the track.
I loved Endomondo before because of how fast it gets a GPS lock in. I loved the apps robustness and I never experienced a crash even when there is a call. Although there seemed to be a glitch that when the time hits midnight on the phone (I usually ride at night), tracking seems to stop for around 30 seconds to 1 minute. I reported it to Endomondo and those clowns just laughed it off with some Cinderella references.
Do all of the top apps have auto start/stop?
Strava certainly doesn't. Strava will calculate elapsed time and moving time after upload, however. With the more competitively-oriented app, it makes about as much sense as allowing players to pause a multiplayer computer game.
One plus for Strava is the Kcal counter seems much better then endomondo. Once I got my HR monitor my Kcals were cut in half on Endonmondo. Using Strava and entering in my bike weight and such it seems to be very close to Endomondo (with HR monitor). However, Strava is not using my HR moniror, it seems that only one app can connect via bluetooth.
- lightweight and robust app. Never crashed, never hanged.
- quick to get an initial GPS fix.
- talking coach counts out the distance
- live online tracking (but I never used it).
- allows you to play music while tracking
- desktop app calendar interface was very useful
- customer service sucks
- no cameraphone function
- map cannot be zoomed it while tracking
- integrated cameraphone function. allows you to take geotagged pictures and it places them automatically on the track.
- offline pre-cached map while tracking
- wait.., that's the only reason I shifted from Endomondo
- slow to get an initial GPS fix
- slow to upload tracks
- few picture management tools on the device or on the online desktop interface.
Lots of info. Lots of tech.
I'm using Motion X GPS on an iPhone 4S.
I like it a lot and use it as a training log and enjoy importing DWX files into google earth and sharing to Facebook. I also like how pics are added to tracks.
I do not own a HRM as my old Polar died.
What is the easiest/best path to include HR into the picture using the iPhone and Motion x?