Systm - Tech issues, misc issues, and loss of unique selling point

So after all of one day, I thought I’d share my initial impressions and experiences. Not sure whether I should have made this a support ticket or forum entry, but I’ll start here.

First try of the new app yesterday, as part of my regularly scheduled plan. I saw some issues from a tech side of things. I was unable to load videos, but that looks well covered elsewhere. To do strength I downloaded the video and that worked well. I guess this is something to keep an eye on for improvements as load lowers or capacity is scaled, if that’s what it was.

For the strength workouts, when looking in the app it didn’t list the needed equipment clearly. The previous descriptions had a really simple listing at the top and this appears to have been lost. Having it helps prep and gets you ready to work faster.

Cycling - using an iPad running iOS 14:

First time I attempted the video, the timers never started or loaded in properly. My first interval was 0:00m long, time riding stayed at 0:00 and total time for the video didn’t decrease, although distance was climbing up.

I wasn’t keen on the new floating display for the power and stats at the bottom of the screen. Adding too many and they push off either side of the screen, and cover the interval and total time remaining. With no borders around the displays, the power/cadence up/down bars don’t have a clear termination point, so it’s more of a surprise when the changes kick in. Although this might be an issue only because the video didn’t load in. Similarly, when tapping the display I couldn’t see the battery state or time, as they appeared to be black on black for some reason. Again, could be because of no video loading in, but it would then potentially be an issue on no-vids too.

Whilst cycling, I felt some odd power changes in the trainer (Kickr Core). At the same cadence, and supposedly the same power, it occasionally felt like there was a resistance increase in the trainer. Not a sudden one, but a small and constant increase for about half a second, before decreasing back down again. Smooth rather than sudden.

After finished workouts, the calendar was slow to update, there’s no refresh button there anymore, and I had to flick the app out and reload it to see the workout get matched up to the planned session (from which I started the workout).

The calendar looks to be a big improvement, and I like it. deleting individual workouts is good (not that I should, I know, but if deciding to change plans it lets me delete future ones without deleting an entire plan). I do miss the colour-coding from the old calendar though, it made things easier to see.

Similarly, the more modern styling of the app looks great.

So all of the above issues I think are teething technical issues with the shift to the new app, which should be congratulated. It broadens availability, and could bring more people onto the platform.

This also brings about my biggest concern, and that is the slow and steady removal of Sufferfest as a brand, and the affectations in the videos and training plan that made it what it is. The branding was the unique selling point. It was different to every other training system out there. Swift has group rides and gamification in a different way, and TrainerRoad is pure business.

So Sufferfest had a very silly, but fun, story behind it. It allowed a bit of escapism in the training. I feel like this is a large part of what enabled me to get through some workouts and push myself harder. It didn’t feel like work, it was more fun than it should have been, and this was due to the Sufferfest branding and the Sufferfest content, which is slowly being removed as Wahoo makes it more corporate branding palatable. It started with the app icon removing the bleeding eyes, now the passports and all of the “suffer” terminology, and I feel like this is slowly removing the heart of what made it different to other programs, and one of the reasons I stuck with it and it worked for me.

Given this, I believe future updates will move Systm closer to TrainerRoad, and this makes me question whether that would be a better program for me now, especially given features such as the adaptive training, as the unique selling point I had is diminishing, and looks like it could be lost. As my renewal is in October, I am really facing a difficult choice to renew, and am now forced to consider changing to another platform. One thing making the choice so hard is knowing that the last 3 years I’ve been using Sufferfest has made a huge difference to me, and substantially improved my fitness and riding, for which I am truly grateful.


I had the same issues on day 1, this seems to be resolved today, I think there might have been a lot of users, seeing what was what, and new servers, things are a lot more responsive (for me) today

I get the sufferfest thing, but isn’t this the only thing that matters ?

Fwiw, while trainer road offers some interesting things vis a vis adaptive training, I just can’t bring myself to subscribe to an app that offers me nothing to immerse myself in during the training. I LOVE stats, and data, and the concept of adaptive training but in the absence of engaging training content, I’d rather poke myself in the eye with a flogging stick.

As for feeling forced to decide whether or not to renew in October, switch to a monthly plan and give it a month or two.


I get the sufferfest thing, but isn’t this the only thing that matters ?

Whilst the easy answer is “yes”, I think you miss the earlier point on the sufferfest branding being part of the why I’ve managed to stick with the training and been able to get those improvements. As I said:

I feel like this is a large part of what enabled me to get through some workouts and push myself harder.

So without that, my first point is that I will find it harder to stay motivated and keep gaining as I have done. The second point is, without that identity, I don’t see the value proposition in Systm above Trainer Road, given the adaptive training, difference in organising and planning training to events in the year, etc.

As for feeling forced to decide whether or not to renew in October, switch to a monthly plan and give it a month or two.

Hmm, I might. But more likely I would subscribe to Trainer Road for a month or two to see how I get on with that, and then make a decision. That might give me time to see how Systm develops or grows too.

I’d be curious to hear your feedback if you do. For my money, without the video content and cross training augmentation with yoga/strength I just couldn’t do it. Let us know how you get on please.

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I get it, I do agree with you, the sufferfest branding was good (but didn’t give that much market share), and was part of the appeal, my only feeling is that after drifting about on Zwift, burning out on TR again (off and on for 8 years), and FTP stagnating (again … and yes tried the AT, was on the beta , which is not AI, but is the gamification of training) I’m back with SF, and again my FTP is improving … I keep getting drawn away by greener grass, but the training plans here make my grass (FTP) grow, and that for me is the motivation


I’m just back from TR and I think if you want adaptive training, look at Xert, Join or even Breakaway, in my opinion TR adaptive training, is little more than a if statement, if user does v02, and says it is easy or moderate, make next v02 workout harder, when FTP changes, reduce v02 intensity for next workout, it does not say, hay you’ve done lots of V02, you need to do some base or anything close to that (unlike xert)


This is largely my experience of it, however, the new workout levels it brought about are incredibly useful if you’re capable of self coaching.

Can’t say I got on with using Xert directly, though with that said, it can be used effectively alongside TrainerRoad.

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I use an iPad as well, and the screen framing is terrible. It’s got me thinking looking at TR as well before I renew. It was so clear and easy to see what was happening when in the old app. Not so much now.

For my money, without the video content and cross training augmentation with yoga/strength I just couldn’t do it

This is a really good point. I have consistently said I believe that the strength and yoga training has really helped my general fitness and mobility. I think especially the yoga. I don’t want to drop that from my training. So I’ve started a Trainer Road cycling plan, and am augmenting that with strength and yoga from SYSTM. I’ll see how it goes. If it works I will have a choice to make, regarding which I choose out of the two.

As for the video content, I think I will miss the true Sufferfest videos for the quirky humour, but the GCN videos ended up just annoying me more than anything. I could see myself turning them off anyway. The inspiration videos are good, but I’m not sure I want to have many repeated viewings of them. I think what I’m saying is I already need an alternative video, so having none in Trainer Road is not necessarily a massive loss, except for the Sufferfest ones.

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It was so clear and easy to see what was happening when in the old app. Not so much now.

I think on iOS it is as simple as sorting the OS colouring to match the background (turn the OS clock/battery/etc white if on a black background), and putting a contrasting frame around the data elements of the display.

Yes, I’d prefer a more customised fit, but I suspect they’ve implemented the new UI with WebKit or similar tech that is multi-OS, so they have a unified client codebase. Whilst this works, it leads to exactly these problems where they can’t take advantage of OS-specific features, and can lead to some platforms jarring in the UX. For what it’s worth I’ve known of companies moving to a unified codebase, only to move back to discrete UI codebases for different OS’ because they couldn’t deliver the features they wanted to.

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You do realize the Sufferfest videos are not going away and more are planned? And I would strongly recommend that you try out the On Location and Pro Rides - which are fantastic additions and complement the Sufferfest videos well (in that they are hard but quite different).


All the Sufferfest videos are still there though, unchanged except for a different first 10 seconds, in a section marked “Sufferfest”. They have also explcitily said that they are committed to this.

If the fear is that they will disappear over time, well I guess only time will tell, but it seems silly to me to move to something else (which doesn’t have videos) now for solely that reason.


If the fear is that they will disappear over time, well I guess only time will tell

There has been a small but consistent and constant “quieting”? “lowering”? of the Sufferfest brand since Wahoo came in, and although a host of videos have been added, they are nearly all non-sufferfest videos. And by that I mean they are the inspiration, pro-ride, etc videos.

Similarly, the plans are drifting into the inspiration/GCN videos rather than the Sufferfest branded videos. I don’t believe they’ll ever go away, but right now, the training plans aren’t doing it for me, because not enough sufferfest videos, and the new videos don’t help me train in the same way. So I am looking to a second screen for entertainment anyway. So to me, it makes it a good time to try a different training tool, as I’ve only ever been on the sufferfest previously.

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I would strongly recommend that you try out the On Location and Pro Rides

Yeah, I possibly will, but I didn’t find the non-Sufferfest videos as engaging, and it didn’t help take my mind off the suffering in the same way, so as I was saying, I need a second screen to help distract anyway.

And after looking, and setting up my plan in TrainerRoad, I’m definitely seeing some things made easier for me. Planning for multiple events in the year, accounting for times I can’t get on a bike, the adaptive training element, all of these are things done for me that I would otherwise be tinkering with in the SYSTM calendar.

I’m still not gone, but definitely appreciating some greener grass now (just not sure when it’ll turn brown! :wink: )

It kind of depends in the direction of your spin and your perspective.

In October of 2020 Sufferfest release 2 new Sufferfest videos: Attacker and Cobbler. These are fantastic videos.

Recharger was released early this year and it’s a great Sufferfest video. And now Tapers was re-done with an actual Sufferfest-style video instead of a No-Vid. And it’s fantastic.

For a long time, users have been asking for toned down videos that could be used for recovery days instead of using the standard Sufferfest video on reduced intensity. The Inspiration videos fulfilled this request in spades.

The GCN videos were made during a promotion of The Sufferfest on GCN a couple years ago. It was to actually help promote The Sufferfest to GCN users.

So, it really depends on your point of view and your perspective on whether these “dilute” and “water down” the Sufferfest brand or not. Because a lot of these were released and/or asked for by Sufferfest users before the app switch-over or to bring in users to the app before the switch-over.

Yes, SYSTM allows the team to give us non-Sufferfest branded videos as well (On Location and Pro Rides). You can enjoy them or not. Because even among the core Sufferfest videos, not everybody enjoys the same videos, otherwise every workout would be either Violator or Defender.

The Sufferfest selling point is still there. The 4DP system is still the best system out there from a sports science perspective. And that hasn’t gone away. And neither has any of the videos that fulfill it. So, you can go use another training app, but none of those apps are using 4DP.


My 2 cents on this (and I’m not trying to convince you to stay if you choose to switch teams. I am genuinely curious how you find life in TR if you do drop SYSTM completely.)

I thought the introduction of the Inspiration films/videos for general endurance and recovery focused rides was brilliant. Prior to that, these types of rides were in the regular Sufferfest vids with radically reduced and altered targets making the stories clearly unmatched with the efforts. Sure, once you’ve seen one of the films, you might not want to do it again, but there are a lot, and many can be quite easily swapped out now in the Calendar. Also, the addition of the GCN vids, Yoga and Strength training occurred well before The Acquisition :slight_smile: and I, for one, am glad they are in a different place now. I’m also willing to give the GCN vids a shot (treating them as No-Vids) as I think some of those workouts are genius (my preference would have been to create Sufferfest vids for them, but I also realize there are a lot of folks who really enjoy the GCN vids and the Spin Class style of training).

Again, not trying to force you to stay and I hope you keep updating us with your progress in TR especially if you find it better meets your training goals. Again, this is just me and I know I’ve said it before, but I’d rather punch myself in the face repeatedly, than train without the Sufferfest vids. Keep posting @j3p0uk!


Of course - we should all follow the process that helps us get the most out of our training, whatever platform that is.

I’m actually not a fan of the inspiration sessions either, though they were introduced as a replacement purely for session that were existing Suf workouts but with targets dialled down to an easy-ride level. When they come up in my plan I switch the video off or, in fact, do a Sufferfest workout dialled down (or have an easy ride outside if possible).

I watch some of the Inspiration videos multiple times if I really like them. For the Inspiration videos I don’t care to watch again I have actually started replacing them by doing the Pro Rides or On Location videos dialed down. And sometimes I listen to Mike Cotty or the DS in my radio, while other times I listen to my own music.

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