Road Grand Tours could be the Zwift rival you’ve been waiting for

New cycling simulation focuses on realism

Zwift completely changed the face of indoor training and until recently, it hasn’t had much in the way of serious competition. Road Grand Tours is a new cycling simulator which aims to change that and it’s currently in beta testing and completely free to use.

Road Grand Tours operates along much the same lines as the big Z, letting you train or race as you please. It also has similar requirements: you’ll need either a smart trainer (or a standard one plus a power meter), along with an ANT+ USB dongle.

Heart-rate monitors and cadence sensors are optional and if you have the latter, your avatar’s pedalling will synchronise with your meatspace legs.

Although it's still in beta, Road Grand Tours already offers a number of different courses

The key selling point according to the people behind RGT is its focus on realism. Courses are modelled on real places including iconic climbs like the Stelvio and Cap Formentor, as well as circuit races in London and Berlin.

The Stelvio is one of the iconic climbs featured on the platform
The Stelvio is one of the iconic climbs featured on the platform

The physics aim to be as realistic as possible too, with simulated drafting and the ability to take account of rider and equipment weights.

RGT’s people also hinted at the possibility of full-fledged CFD-based aerodynamic modelling, although that’s yet to come.

Canary Wharf provides the setting for an urban crit course
Canary Wharf provides the setting for an urban crit course

Although realism is key, RGT's designers were keen to stress that creating an immersive experience for users is what matters the most on grounds that "no one loves being indoors".

RGT is keen to get feedback from users during the beta and the software includes a feature that lets you message the developers directly to report bugs. So far there have been around 10,000 sign-ups to the platform, and riders have been comparing notes on an informal Facebook group

If you’d like to give it a go, head over to the Road Grand Tours website. We’re assuming it won’t be free forever, but RGT has yet to settle on a membership model so pricing remains to be seen.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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