Tech Review: New Strava update boosts photos, mapping features and more


Version 4.0 combines running and cycling, helps bike advocates with critical data

The new version of Strava adds photos to your ride file as well as advanced mapping features. Images courtesy of Strava.

It’s a sure sign your brand has made it when its name slips into use as a verb. As in, “I’m going to Facebook this adorable cat,” or “Let me just Instagram this pie.” And by now, you’ve probably heard—or said yourself—something like, “I’m going to Strava this climb.”

But actually, Strava—despite being the fitness network of choice for millions of athletes around the world—hasn’t made it. The company has yet to turn a profit, though they expect that day to come within the next 18 months. It relies on premium membership sales as its main source of revenue, and it’s committed to keeping it that way, closing the door to eager advertisers. Meanwhile, for both its premium and regular users, Strava has been working on new ideas both online, and on your local roads and trails.

Video: Strava’s video on mobile version 4.0 illustrates the apps new features.

Earlier this month, the company released a new version combining its running and cycling apps into one and adding the following social features to your activity feed:

  • Photos – If you’re an Instragrammer, you can stop to take a ‘gram of that epic view, a friend getting rad, or the always-popular sweaty selfie and it will be displayed in your feed, adding color to your workout.

  • Maps – Most activities feature a map tile showing the GPS-tracked route. Let the athletes you follow show you around by downloading their .gpx files.

  • Social sharing – A one-tap icon shares your activities with other social networks including Facebook and Twitter.

  • Comments and Kudos – Let your friends and followers know about their job well done with one-tap kudos and comments.

  • Grouped activities – If you rode with a friend (or a whole peloton), your activities are grouped, so you can see who worked out together.

New languages address growing global reach

Strava Mobile 4.0 now comes in 11 different languages, recognizing how popular the app is around the world. In fact, 65% of Strava users are located outside of the U.S. and more than 50,000 new users are joining every week. That means KOMs/QOMs could make great souvenirs wherever your travels take you, whether you’re riding across town or across the globe.

Strava Premium adds features, helps company advance the cause

Strava Mobile 4.0 is a free app, but for $60 a year, or $6 a month, you can upgrade to a premium membership with a host of extra features. With Strava Premium, you get audio updates delivered straight to your earbuds while you’re out on the front lines. If you star a segment, the pre-recorded voice of your choice—accent, gender and language are all up to you—will tell you right away if you bagged a crown, or if you should hit it again. And now, you can select which equipment you’re using to help you keep track of wear and tear on your cleats, tires, chain and brake pads.

Convincing more members to upgrade to a premium membership is an important part of Strava’s ad-free future, as well as all athletes’ continued enjoyment of the service. The amount of data generated by Strava users every week, every day, every hour is massive. The best part is Strava plans to use this information to advocate for cycling.

Strava is sharing heat map information with bike advocacy groups to help improve trails and bike routes. Images courtesy of Strava.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and Strava are already partnered on some trail-advocacy projects and the company is also interested in working with city planners to make cycling better in urban centers better. For example, using its heat maps, Strava could share the most popular routes taken by its users to show where best to build a bike lane. Conversely, if a route has a bike lane, but riders aren’t using it, planners could use that info to figure out why, and how to improve it.

Users who upgrade are supporting Strava’s efforts to support cyclists. Added bonus? They get some pretty amazing analysis of their scores, power data, heart rate data, their own personal heat maps (so they can see what ground they’ve covered) and more.

Strava is a tool that’s brought to life by its users. Loaded with new social features and admirable advocacy goals, it’s an app any athlete can enjoy on and off the screen.

Cost: Basic-Free, Premium-$60/year or $6/month

For more information visit

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Kristen Gross

Kristen Gross is a freelance writer and pro mountain bike racer based in Carlsbad, California. Currently preparing to check the BC Bike Race off her bucket-list, you can find Kristen training on the road, coaching with Ninja Mountain Bike Skills and keeping the rubber side down wherever the trail takes her. She’s known for her smooth, flowy lines and authentic sound effects.

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