Bear with me on this metaphor for a moment. Some videogames do a nice job of gradually introducing features and complexity as you learn the mechanics of the game. There’s no need for a manual because you learn the game through trial and error. The more you progress, the more features and options are introduced.
Other videogames, especially ones that are sequels to past iterations, expect that you already have a certain level of familiarity with the mechanics of the game and its features. If you are jumping in a later iteration without playing the ones that came before, you potentially have a steep learning curve ahead of you.
If Wahoo X was a videogame, which it’s not, it would fall into this latter category. There is so much going on with the Wahoo X ecosystem that it can be disorienting at first because you can be overwhelmed with options. This is due in part that Wahoo has acquired different parts (e.g., Sufferfest in 2019, RGT in 2022) and is still in process of making the parts a coherent whole, bringing indoor and outdoor training together in one software and hardware platform. Wahoo X does include features that help users put the many parts together into a coherent training plan, but it takes some time to learn how it all can fit together.
In the coming months, I will be taking deeper dives into the many different parts of Wahoo X. Today, I’m providing an overview of the main features that are included in the $14.99/month subscription, as well as some details on how they work together across indoor and outdoor riding.
Wahoo X = SYSTM + RGT + ELEMNT
For me, the Wahoo X ecosystem is best represented by these three icons. They are each separate applications that can work together, but there is a bit of a learning curve on how to get the most out of how the three work together.
The SYSTM app can be downloaded on MacOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. Think of SYSTM as both a library of video- and audio-based pre-planned workouts as well as a master calendar for the Wahoo ecosystem. SYSTM also has a web portal you can access, but you cannot play any of the workouts this way. The web portal allows you to check your calendar on a device where the SYSTM app isn’t installed (e.g., work computer).
The RGT app can be downloaded on MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and AppleTV. Think of RGT as a virtual training and racing platform that you navigate as an avatar, but the virtual roads that you ride are based on routes in the real world, including ones that you curate and upload.
The ELEMNT app can be downloaded for iOS and Android. Think of this app as the gateway to your ELEMNT bike computer or watch, giving you options for pulling in workouts from the SYSTM app (as well as other apps) and for reporting rides and runs to the SYSTM calendar.
Below is an inventory of the major features in each application. In future articles, I will provide more detail and a user experience for each application.
Four Dimensional Power (4DP)
All of the cycling workouts in the Wahoo X ecosystem are based on what they are calling your 4DP (Four Dimensional Power). Like many training systems that are moving away from solely relying on FTP (e.g., INSYCD) to set workout wattage targets, Wahoo X is focused on four domains:
Neuromuscular Power (NM) – 5-second power
Anaerobic Capacity (AC) – 1-minute power
Maximal Aerobic Power (MAP) – 5-minute power
Functional Threshold Power (FTP) – 20-minute power
The SYSTM app includes two workout options for determining these numbers, both of which include a warmup and are an hour long. However, you can also manually add these numbers if you know them. In my case, I used my peak numbers for each duration for 2023 recorded in TrainingPeaks. They weren’t all from the same ride, so this may not be in the spirit of what 4DP is meant to represent.
The library of workouts within SYSTM can be explored by discipline or by channel. Most of the workouts for the channels below are cycling specific. The other disciplines draw from the Wahoo Fitness catalog of workouts, including running (126), swimming (77), yoga (62), strength and mobility (76), and mental training (21).
The Sufferfest: 67 workouts, most of which include video footage from races
Inspiration: 66 workouts that include a video narrative (e.g., documentary)
A Week With: 23 workouts with video from a week with a featured athlete
ProRides: 19 workouts with on-the-bike video within races (e.g., Giro d’Italia)
On Location: 26 workouts with on- and off-the-bike video of a route with local highlights from the tour guide
NoVid: 154 workouts with no video or audio media
Fitness Test: 2 4DP workouts
Getting Started: 11 how-to videos for navigating and using SYSTM
Currently, you cannot build your own workouts within SYSTM, but you can build your own workout plans drawing from all of these disciplines, channels, and modalities. You can schedule your own workouts or you can follow the decision tree within the planner to map out a comprehensive plan that can include multiple disciplines, strength, yoga, and mental training.
Wahoo RGT is similar to other virtual riding platforms in that you customize an avatar with available features and equipment. You can choose to “Just Ride” one of the 14 available virtual courses, all of which are based on actual roads. There are also scheduled events to choose from that either have a group ride or race format. These rides include a built-in voice chat feature, eliminating the need to use Discord for communicating with other riders in the same event.
Listed below are some other distinct features of Wahoo RGT:
Magic Roads: You can send a route you have ridden to Wahoo in the form of a .gpx file. This can be a route that you have created with sites like Ride with GPS or Garmin Connect or it can be a route taken from those created by the Wahooligan community. Once you send the file via e-mail, it will soon after appear in Wahoo RGT for you to ride.
Custom Workouts: You can send a workout that you have created to Wahoo in the form of a compatible file (.erg, .fit, .zwo, or .mrc). These can be ones you created in other applications like TrainingPeaks. Workouts are set at ERG mode by default, but you can disable it. These custom workouts get added to your library of other available pre-planned 4DP workouts pulled from SYSTM. Once you complete a workout, it then gets reported to your calendar within SYSTM and any other third party apps that you have connected (e.g., Strava, TrainingPeaks).
Create Events: On the RGT website (not within the app), you can create a custom group ride or race and invite your friends. You can choose to use one of the available roads within RGT or you can use a Magic Road that you provided. What this means is that you and your friends can ride or race your favorite local course virtually, and you can use the voice chat to have a conversation.
The ELEMNT app allows you to send workouts to your computer in two ways. First, you can add a SYSTM workout to your calendar in that application and it will appear in the ELEMNT app on your phone to synch with your ELEMNT computer. This allows you to schedule a workout within SYSTM and either complete it indoors or outdoors.
Second, you can pull custom workouts into the ELEMNT app that were created in the Today’s Plan, TrainerRoad, or TrainingPeaks platforms. Wahoo X doesn’t have a native workout builder yet, but it does have a way to import custom workouts from these other platforms. This means that if your coach sends you a workout in TrainingPeaks, for example, you can send it to your ELEMNT head unit to complete outside or to RGT to complete inside.
Phew! That’s a lot of features for $14.99/month. Those are just the highlights, and I’m sure I missed many of the nuances. In future articles, I will take deeper dives into these features based on personal experience. In particular, I’m looking forward to playing with the Magic Roads feature and the Custom Events in RGT. A while back, Wahoo RGT was hosting USAC sanctioned racing on courses that we race on outdoors (e.g., Tour of America’s Dairyland). I’m interested in setting up something similar for our local racers here in Western New York during the off-season. Instead of racing on fictional roads, we could be racing virtually on our new criterium course on the south side of Buffalo, NY.
I’ve also never tried completing a planned workout using my bike computer. I’m one of those guys who tapes a piece of paper to his top tube for an interval workout that is too complicated to remember. Seems like it’s worth a shot to put it all on the computer.
More to come soon.