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  1. #1
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    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.

    Strava
    Pros:
    Large community to compare performance with.
    Clean uncluttered interface while recording Ė mostly due to lack of a map
    Cons:
    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.

    Endomondo
    Pros:
    Ability to see the map while I ride
    Active community with local routes added by others
    Cons:
    The deal killer for me is the lack of support for my SC sensor.
    Maps are not as good as MotionX-GPS

    MotionX GPS
    Pros:
    Excellent maps. I thought these were proprietary but turns out they are from OpenCycleMap.
    Cons:
    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.

    Cyclemeter
    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.
    Pros:
    The user interface looks clean
    Uncluttered screen while recording.
    Cons:
    Lack of OpenCycleMaps

    And, for me at least, the winner is:

    Runtasticís Mountain Bike Pro

    Pros:
    It has the excellent maps from OpenCycleMaps
    Works with both sensors
    Ability to download maps so that it doesnít need internet when Iím riding.
    Cons:
    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.

  2. #2
    Rohloff
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    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.

  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    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?!?

  5. #5
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    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.

  6. #6
    JDM
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    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.

  7. #7
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    Great article in the latest issue of Mountain Flyer Magazine regarding these apps.
    jesus rides a fixed gear.

  8. #8
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    thanks for review.. now i just use endomondo.. I should try Runtasticís Mountain Bike Pro later..

  9. #9
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    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.

    Costs $$..

    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...

    --zip

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zipzit View Post
    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.

    Costs $$..

    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...

    --zip
    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.

  11. #11
    JDM
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    The free strava account doesn't have a limit on # of rides per month. I'm happy with my free account.

    Strava | Premium Membership

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDM View Post
    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.

    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk;
    How is the mapmyride file worthless? What's wrong with it? Details would be nice.
    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.

    --zip

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zipzit View Post
    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.

    --zip
    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.

  14. #14
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    Hi all great post. just joined as I am trying to find the weight of my bike for the Strava Android ap.

    Thanks all

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kidkoffin View Post
    Hi all great post. just joined as I am trying to find the weight of my bike for the Strava Android ap.

    Thanks all
    Use a scale

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Use a scale
    If you have a bathroom scale weigh yourself with and without the bike.

  17. #17
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    I run endomondo and strava at the same time. Problem solved.

  18. #18
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    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

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideandshoot View Post
    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.

  20. #20
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    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...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    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.

  22. #22
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethany1 View Post
    I'm not using a HR monitor so not a concern. I know when I'm dying..LOL.
    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.

    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.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoTec View Post
    No, not overlaid. You can split the screen so you have six stats up top and the map on the bottom, tho.
    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.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    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...
    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.

    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.

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    ^^^
    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.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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