STRAVA *Free* – Fit for purpose in 2021?

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STRAVA *Free* – Fit for purpose in 2021?

We know that

STRAVA needs to make money

before the VC cash runs dry. Yet they also need to keep accumulating our data to ensure their service remains meaningful to everyone using it.

STRAVA’s historical strategy seems to have been to accumulate a critical mass of users and their data at a cost. Going forward the strategy now seems starkly clear: FREEMIUM – ie a FREE service to retain a critical mass of fresh user data combined with a feature-rich PREMIUM service delivering analytics, plans, routing and more. Gone are the nuanced and confusing premium packages, gone is any pretence to want to capture real performance data in the STRAVA app, and was there ever really a significant B2B market for their data insights in METRO?

I am positive that we will see more new PREMIUM features this year like running power support, I suspect that we will see more features slipping from what is currently FREE to PREMIUM, and I’m just hoping that there will be more general bug fixing, tidying up and presentational improvements.

Same old, same old. As Dory once said, “Just keep swimming.”

Looking ahead, I just can’t see that great new WOW feature popping its elusive head over the dimly lit horizon – something like a dedicated STRAVA bike computer, for example, probably isn’t going to happen ie something that could deliver a big chunk of new paying customers. Sure the hinted-at running power support would make me happy, let’s say that would add a generously large chunk of 5,000 NEW paying users, that’s $250,000pa or 4-5 STRAVA salaries. Not much in the grand schemes of VC-world.

Thus, in the absence of several nice juicy carrots to entice people to pay, STRAVA will have to use the stick method to force some of us to pay which means paring back the capabilities of FREE-STRAVA to its bare bones but…

What are those bare bones to you?

What would be just enough to keep you uploading your data for STRAVA to use? In my mind, I see the free STRAVA service giving us

I’m struggling to see the point of what free-STRAVA is increasingly becoming. Is it really just super-simple activity recording on an app, links to other sports hardware devices and the social network as this table from STRAVA suggests? Or is there more?


Features Free Subscription
Activity Recording Y Y
Device Support Y Y
Social Network Y Y
Route Planning Y
Segment Competition Y
Training Dashboard Y
HR & Power Analysis Y
Advanced Metrics Y
Goal Setting Y
Training Log Y
Compare Efforts Y
Beacon Y
Personal Heatmaps Y
Partner Perks Y
Premium Support Y


And many of you will, at the same time say, I’m not getting PREMIUM STRAVA unless it includes X, Y or Z. We all have our pet STRAVA peeves on that topic – like I would love to be able to see a triathlon as a single event or 3 separate events. But that’s a small picture thing and it’s just focussing on the costs and benefits side fo the arguments for STRAVA Premium.

Where is the big picture that will keep FREE STRAVA relevant to TENS of millions of people?

It looks like STRAVA could well become stuck between a rock and a hard place and end up getting squashed if the cash runs out and if the free data also starts to dry up. Then the corporate fun and games would start.

It’s been said that STRAVA is too big and too unnecessary for Garmin to buy – and that’s likely true; yet what would happen if, say, Google wanted to buy STRAVA to make Fitbit even more social? Would Garmin be commercially forced to bid for it for fear of being cut off from Google-STRAVA or charged by Google-STRAVA or would Garmin boost up and open up their own segment offering on their CONNECT platform? Interesting times may lie ahead in the not-too-distant future.

Hopefully, that was thought-provoking and a distraction from the normal question to determine what it is worth paying for STRAVA premium.

Question: What makes FREE STRAVA worth using or what needs to be removed to just make you stop using it…period.?

Bring on the ads…





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