Strava’s Premium Problem

Like many avid cyclists, I’m a huge fan of Strava, the social training tool which keeps track of cycling performance via cycling computer data and phone applications. Strava has been around for a few years now. It started out as a pay service with limits on uploads for free users, but last year they introduced a “Premium” offering and removed the free upload limit.

The premium offering gave cyclists some addtional features. Probably the most notable was SufferScore, a feature which gives your ride a numberic score of effort based on a number of factors. There were also addtional power visualizations and the ability to sort leaderboards by weight.

Many loyal Strava users went for the premium offering just to show support for the service. The addtional features were not very compelling, but people wanted to support Strava. Its been over a year now, and premium users are starting to get disatified with the lack of updates. Sure, Strava has made enhancements to the service. Most notably, improvements to the mobile apps and a running offering as well.

The vast majority of premium users have a Garmin device making mobile enhancements irrelevant. When the premium offering was introduced, people assumed Strava would gradually add more training and analysis tools. As it stands now, Strava is a lot of fun but its not a serious training tool.

For serious cyclists, they have to use other software offerings in order to get detailed analysis of their rides. Training with power meters is becoming much more common, and Strava’s power analysis is extremely weak. You get a number for average power and some visualizations of power output over time. People who actually train with power meters are forced to use another service like Training Peaks in order to get any true insight into their training data. Strava doesn’t even provide the most basic functions such as power zones and normalized power metrics.

There is definitely an increasing backlash to Strava premium due to the lack of development. The lack of development is especially alarming when you consider the amount that Strava has grown over the last few years. I assumed by now that Strava would have much more serious ride analysis and training tools.


  • Chet

    Alex, great stuff.  I agree with much of what you wrote.  I love Strava, but it would be great for them to add features that are cutting edge.  Like you, I am a premium member bc i feel obligated…and I am overall pretty happy.
    -Chet

    • alexvalentine

      I definitely agree Chet, I’m happy overall with Strava. 

  • Caitlin from Strava

    Thanks Alex. This is Caitlin from Strava. We hear you loud and clear. All of us here at Strava HQ are thinking a great deal about our Premium athletes and how to best serve them. We hope to motivate athletes in great new ways as early as this winter. Thanks again for this feedback.

    • alexvalentine

      Thanks for the comment Caitlin, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for new premium features. Keep up the awesome work!

    • alexvalentine

      BTW, I’m really enjoying the latest power analysis tools, nice job!