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RIP Sufferfest, hello Wahoo SYSTM: Ride with the pros on revamped training app

Will Strickson
28 Sep 2021

Moving beyond pure suffering, Wahoo's new training app looks to offer more thoughtful and personalised training with a world of new content

Wahoo has launched a new training app, SYSTM, which takes over and revitalises its popular platform The Sufferfest with a load of new content and further plans to expand its services in the near future to include outdoor training.

Current users of, and those familiar with, The Sufferfest will be greeted with many familiar features and won't be surprised with the direction SYSTM takes it as it branches out from just the most gruelling indoor workouts to a more holistic approach to training.

The rebrand and relaunch has been in the works for a while, with Wahoo's purchase of The Sufferfest in 2019 bringing the financial and technological support that allowed its creators to think outside the pain cave.

David McQuillen, founder of The Sufferfest and head of Wahoo's training services, said, 'With Wahoo's resources we were able to dream a lot bigger about what we could become and saw that we could provide all these different experiences that our customers have always asked for.

'I knew before Wahoo bought us that we were going to have to change the name because 'The Sufferfest' was just too far from what we had become. We used to be about just throw-yourself-against-the-wall workouts when we started 11 years ago but fast forward eight, nine years that wasn't what we were about. We have a sports science team and focus on recovery as much as work, when Wahoo acquired us it just helped make that possible.'

Before we dive deeper, it's worthwhile noting that current users of The Sufferfest will be automatically transferred to SYSTM with an update of the app and it costs exactly the same.

Wahoo SYSTM: From pain cave to refinement room

'We set out to build the most comprehensive training app available – incorporating engaging content, the best sports science, useful training tips delivered in plain language, and tools that empower athletes across the spectrum to achieve their unique fitness goals,' McQuillen explains.

He also emphasises that the launch of SYSTM isn't a final solution, it's a base on which he and his team will build over time with further developments already in the works. It's the training platform version of Kanye West's 'The Life of Pablo'.

The foundation of SYSTM is sports science, with first-time users recommended to complete an initial fitness test to find their 4DP profile, which includes your FTP (functional threshold power), MAP (maximal aerobic power), AC (anaerobic capacity) and NM (neuromuscular power). This goes further than most online training platforms and allows for a more personalised experience on the app as it means you'll be training your actual limits, rather than estimated ones gathered from your FTP.

That leads us onto the content – the core of what Wahoo is hoping will draw you away from the likes of Zwift. This begins with The Sufferfest, those classic videos that the brand began with will continue to be made, they just now find their home as a portion of what SYSTM offers.

There will also be plenty more of the same strength training, mental training and yoga programmes to be completed and added to your schedule as well as NoVid workouts without video and GCN-hosted classes. The Sufferfest's forum will also live on in SYSTM.

Four new categories have been introduced with SYSTM though: On Location, ProRides, A Week With and Inspiration.

On Location is essentially what Cyclist would be if we did workout videos instead of magazines and a website, you'll be taken to iconic cycling locations around the world with The Col Collective's Mike Cotty who will give you a guided tour and local insight while you essentially ride those famous roads on your trainer.

ProRides, arguably the most exciting of the bunch, takes on-bike camera footage from professional races and pairs them with the rider's actual power file, SYSTM then takes your 4DP data and scales those power numbers down to what you can do and puts you in the race. Currently these include riding one of the Hammer Series races as Max Walscheid and getting in the breakaway at this year's Strade Bianche with Tosh Van der Sande.

A Week With makes the most of Wahoo's connections, giving you behind the scenes access to a week with famous athletes, training with them over six days with lighter rides, harder efforts, yoga and strength training while getting insight into their lives at the same time. Initially you can spend a week with former Team Sky rider, now elite gravel racer Ian Boswell and Neal Henderson, coach to pros including Rohan Dennis and Kasia Niewiadoma and head of sports science at Wahoo.

Finally, Inspiration is a collection of cycling films and documentaries for recovery and endurance workouts. It's essentially Netflix while you ride, and includes classics like A Sunday in Hell (1977).

With all this content at the ready, SYSTM features a calender to help you keep track of past and future workouts and add new plans to your schedule. With that 4DP profile paired with personal goals you can input, you can also get personalised training plans – including cross-training options – curated from the content available to give you preparation tailored to your specific goals. There are also a host of badges for users to try and win.

Say it quietly but SYSTM also has a load of running and swimming workouts for you to integrate into your plans if you want to mix it up or are training for a multisport event.

Finally, with the launch of SYSTM comes a new podcast series called The Knowledge, which will go out on podcast providers but will be introduced in-app later on, with 15-minute episodes hosted by Wahoo's sports science team including Neal Henderson that dive into a specific topic that you can then apply to your training.

The future of Wahoo SYSTM: analytics and portable workouts

There are a couple of features that aren't yet available but Wahoo has said are on the way.

First is analytics, so, once introduced, you'll be able to track things like your training load and performance to see how you're progressing a lot more easily.

Soon you'll also be able to export workouts onto your bike's head unit and take SYSTM's workouts onto the roads – though clearly not quite in exactly the same form – so you can use it for all rides, not just indoors in the winter.

Similarly, multi-sport athletes will be able to export running workouts to smartwatches like Wahoo's Elemnt Rival to essentially mimic having a personal coach running with you.

SYSTM will also become a hub for setting up and managing your Wahoo devices in the same way you currently can on Wahoo's other services like the ELEMNT app.

Wahoo SYSTM pricing and compatibility

As we previously mentioned the cost will stay the same as The Sufferfest, which is priced at $14.99 (approx £11) per month or $129 (approx £94) per year and current subscribers will be automatically switched over to SYSTM, with all current achievements and calendars being carried over.

SYSTM is compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS and Android and will connect with turbo trainers, power meters, heart rate monitors and cadence sensors from other brands.

Make sure you're up to date though as SYSTM requires a minimum of Windows 10 (v1903), Catalina 10.15, iOS 14 and Android 9. If you don't update to the new app you can carry on using The Sufferfest but only until 15th November when it will be turned off completely.

A 14-day free trial is available for new users to try it out.

For more information visit wahoofitness.com or download the Wahoo SYSTM app.

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