MyWhoosh Review After 500km

Image|MyWhoosh

MyWhoosh Review After 500km

TL;DR – A Free version of zwift that’s pretty good

More: Mywhoosh.com

What is My Whoosh?

MyWhoosh is a digital training and bike racing platform.

Over 50 routes are arranged into worlds; Arabia, Columbia, Australia, Alula and Belgium, with the latter being the flattest and Arabia having the most routes. The routes traverse deserts, canyons, towns, cities, mountains and the Yas Marina F1 circuit. The hardest route is the Endurance Climb which includes well over 2500m of elevation gain and a 57km distance.

You can chat or emote to other riders or do your own thing. As you try out new things and improve, you earn points which you can use to upgrade your avatar’s clothes or bike.

Look & Feel, General Experience

A bit later

My way of riding was to complete as many different courses as possible and I’m not even halfway through them all yet. There are lots. I focussed on climbs as I was testing out Wahoo KICKR CLIMB.

I’ve looked around the net at some of the older content about MyWhoosh and the platform seems radically improved from two years ago in terms of reliability and looks.

I thought it was great and mostly used it in Free Ride mode to explore the numerous worlds and routes. I dabbled with a few manually created structured workouts but didn’t enter any races.

Using a 2019 lowish-spec iMAC (Retina5K, 3.1Ghz 6-CORE i5) Mywhoosh worked OK even with maximum display settings. I had zero crashes and zero lost rides. Sometimes a building might be rendered a bit later than expected but it feels natural enough.

The main ride screen reminds me very much of Zwift and the secondary data overlays provide useful information and their transparency works well with the background. Rider information includes the progress of bots and real people and their current watt output per kg but their distances from you are incorrect plus, very many people seem to maintain over 4w/kg. Draw your conclusions!

Drafting kicks in at 6m and the colour of your wattage changes to green at that point. I found it hard to maintain a draft distance but there was a definite drafting effect.

At 30kmh visual airflow effects appear at the end of your drops and increase in length the faster you go.

I did this one…yikes. Not easy.

Other People

My Whoosh doesn’t have the feeling of a social platform.

In some of the worlds, there are few other riders. Most congregations of real people seemed to be on the easier, shorter and flatter routes in the Belgium & Australian worlds. Contrast that to the hard Endurance climb (above), I saw about 10 people in over 2 hours, who all zoomed past me cranking out over 4w/kg. when I summited, only 4 other people had completed it that day.

I’ve only used MyWhoosh in the daytime (GMT) and I suspect the low number of riders I encountered is why some of the worlds are only open on certain days of the week to concentrate people together to give the feel of greater usage.

This was a lot of people!

Setup

I had zero issues pairing with KICKR Move, Wahoo CLIMB, Wahoo HEADWIND, Assioma Duo, Polar SENSE and Garmin HRM-PRO Plus. Handily, a secondary power meter is used as a backup and means of validating power in races.

I chose to use 100% grade difficulty which was challenging on a 28T gear on some of the steeper slopes, which are in the high teens of percentages, some might be over 20% at times I can’t remember exactly.

I also chose 1-second power updates rather than the default of 3-seconds. I didn’t especially notice the difference but the setting I made is probably much more useful in races.

The in-ride display is configurable. You can selectively hide each group of screen elements and change the camera angle.

There is a smartphone partner app. I couldn’t see how this could provide steering to My Whoosh when it runs on the MAC.

Exporting data from MyWhoosh isn’t obvious (try here). I linked to strava where the full ride data later appears and then added ‘export_csv’ to the Strava URL to get a TCX workout file to use elsewhere.

Garage & Points System

You go to the garage to change bikes, wheels and apparel. You buy them with coins earned from various in-ride achievements, ranging from giving 500 thumbs up to completing a course to cranking out 8w/kg or averaging 35km/h for an hour…and similar easier/harder versions of those. Points also accrue for each new route completed but you don’t level up after each of them and I didn’t quite figure out exactly why or how I levelled up.

You also get credits and experience points for minutes or miles ridden, perhaps also for climbs and sprints completed.

After about 500km I had enough coins to buy a TT bike and a decent set of wheels totalling just under 100,000 credits. I bought the disc wheel before realising one came free with the TT bike. #Sigh.

 

Bugs/annoyances

Very occasionally, I start to pedal and the avatar won’t move for a few seconds. I’m unsure if this is Wifi interference (I don’t think so) or linked to the KICKR in some mysterious way.

The distance shown to other riders is wrong. What is shown is the as-the-crow-flies distance, not on-the-road distance. Hence it’s useless unless you are on the same straight stretch of road as someone.

Segments/sprints don’t always work properly but only in trivial ways eg once one segment did not complete until my second lap. On another occasion, I did a very fast segment time but it didn’t appear on the leaderboard straight afterwards when it should have. Upcoming segments can be shown when they are after a junction but not on the route you have chosen to follow.

I can’t give a thumbs up on a MAC as it’s not within arm’s distance. I’d like to do that on a companion smartphone app physically on my bike that also executes U-turns and left/right turns at junctions.

All bikes seem to have the same aero rating…even the TT bike I saved up for. Bike weights are shown as different, though I don’t know if this is reflected in the gameplay. Other than aesthetics, there seems little point in changing from the default bike.

The elevation profile is useful but I’d also like to know the number of metres to go on the current climb.

A final thing that still doesn’t quite sit right with me is which stats are in different places on the screen. For example, why isn’t my speed next to or underneath my power?

Thoughts

Considering it’s a freebie, I’m at a loss as to why more people don’t use it. I like it. It’s a good training platform and no the company hasn’t paid me to say that or incentivised me in any other way. The company couldn’t even give me a free subscription as it’s free to everyone!

I only considered using MyWhoosh because the platform shares the same PR company as Wahoo, so it contacted me to point out the new virtual running feature. I just thought I’d give it a go to test out some other Wahoo stuff. Then I ended up staying in the ecosystem. Clearly, MyWhoosh is starting to market its product more but I think it needs to do a major job of raising awareness.

If it stays free (it won’t), it will eventually entice huge numbers of people from Zwift. But I’d expect it to start charging at some point. I can’t see that point being anytime soon though. Apparently, the owner is a benevolent benefactor with deep pockets who loves cycling! hmmm. He’s also based in the UAE and perhaps this venture is another of the region’s efforts to turn their hard-earned petrodollars into long-term leisure incomes….think golf, boxing, F1, football, holidays and duty-free shopping.

MyWhoosh is also sponsoring and hosting UCI racing. That must reassure those of you who tried the platform out a couple of years ago that it’s now stable.

One of the barriers to switching to Zwift must be the amount of effort Zwifters have put into levelling up, which must create a reluctance to leave. Perhaps MyWhoosh could think of a clever way to offer an equivalent incentive to someone who switches to represent their previous commitment to virtual cycling eg level 40 on Zwift might give you level 30 on myWhoosh and one million points… something like that. However, MyWhoosh has a tricky job attracting Zwift’s racers all of whom want the competitive element of virtual cycling, unlike me who just pottered around in various virtual worlds for a few days. For casual users, it will be easier and for casual groups of friends it should also be easier.

 

More:

Commenters below and elsewhere seem obsessed with the ownership of MyWhoosh. Perhaps rightly, IDK. Here is some more info on that.

 

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11 thoughts on “MyWhoosh Review After 500km

  1. I haven’t used it yet, in fact I haven’t used anything else but Zwift. And fundamentally this is for two reasons. Zwift is well established and thus has a massive community. I have participated in multiple races series that utilise the Zwift platform but are run by external clubs, this is the result of the large community and you see it when ever you are on. More recently I have done a handful of rides up ADZ for various reasons and have bumped into riders Everesting. I slowed and joined one for a chat for about 20mins before continuing on. It’s significant that I have just casually bumped into Everesting riders multiple times recently.

    The other big reason is Zwift has had alot of time and effort put into it and as a result the bugs you mentioned above don’t exist. Sure there are occasional bugs and there will always be bugs, but for the vast majority of use it works flawlessly. It’s this time and effort to create the world’s, courses and various challenges that help justify the subscription and that’s before you consider above.

    I love the idea of competition, good luck to mywoosh as every advance they make will ultimately put pressure on other platforms to improve too. But right now wether you like Zwift or not, it’s the best place to ride virtually.

  2. My number one requirement for a Zwift successor is that they demonstrate that they know how to do it in a cost-effective way. There’s not much inherent cost in building and operating a platform like that, but there are plenty of ways to do have inefficiency.

    Compare it to a light bulb: the number of watts inherent to in the photon stream we need to see is very low, but light bulbs made only a tiny fraction shine the rest was wasted as heat. LED get a comparable amount of light from a much lower watt number, but they are still only about 50% so efficient. Sounds bad, but even the hypothetical perfect emitter would not be able to do to LED what LED did to the light bulb.

    As for the Zwift successor, I’d hope for an “LED level efficient” company. Zwift is the light bulb, or worse. Mywhoosh could be anything, an LED, an even worse light bulb, something even better than an LED. The black box funding makes it impossible to know, at least from a superficial internet glance. If I had to guess, I’d say they are likely halogen bulb, more efficient than Zwift but probably still not good enough.

    For the time being, I stick to Zwift, and the workout routine I get from banging my head at always the same lap, trying to finish it in 60 minutes and the load variation that comes with trying to find the perfect pacing.

  3. Even though it’s free, there’s no way I’m supporting these countries with their policies on LGBTQ+ people. I’d rather pay for an ethical training system

  4. It may very well be sportswashing, but consider a few other things as to why the platform exists.
    1. Yes it is made in a country that has issues with general openness and what westerners would consider appalling in behaviour. But unfortunately also with an unlimited budget!
    2. That also counts for how the country treats women in general.
    3. How do you actually get women to exercise then? This is actually one of the reasons i believe it will be free to ride for quite a while still. As this is used as a tool to improve general health in the country.
    4. Being outside can be pretty darn hot. In fact quite a lot hotter than a normal indoorsession, where they have proper aircon/cooling
    5. It’s being used by Team UAE, and their coaches have made the trainingplans on the platform. That is actually not that bad at all.

    One of the big issues are if you try to spectate some of the races – funnily enough everybody rides at 5w/kg the entire race! so cheating is very much a thing even though they are trying to reduce that by double recording power and such, but i suspect a lot of them come from zwift due to the high pricepurse, (that unlimited budget)

    Other than that, the scenery is actually pretty ok on an ipad with screen duplication on a regular monitor. The ride feel was quite bad in the beginning, but has improved a lot since the early days.
    However i opted for a subscription to rouvy in the end. I like the ability to ride “local” routes and see the real life videos. If i’m to do specific intervals, that’s done via Goldencheetah.

      1. i just tried to create a segment for the whole thing to get an idea on how many had finished it. but strava errored out so i didn’t try again!

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