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Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. It’s hard to even imagine life before Uber or Instagram, right?! We rely so much on our phones (for better or worse) and it’s no different when it comes to spending time outdoors.
Most mountain bikers have at least heard of Strava or TrailForks if not use them on nearly every ride. Mountain biking apps like these have come a long way over the past few years and now they are instrumental for trail finding, route planning, measuring performance, and even improving skills.
But there are a lot of apps out there to download and they’re not all created equal. So which ones are the best and most helpful?
In this post, I round up the best mountain biking apps to help you have maximum fun and stay safe out there on the trails. Whether you’re looking to track mileage, plan a route, measure elevation gain, or something else, there’s an app for you.
Best Mountain Biking Apps for Tracking Stats
- Best for: Tracking stats, measuring performance, keeping tabs on fellow riders
- Price: The basic version of Strava is free, but missing most of the features outlined above. If you want to see how to stack up against the top ten riders or you want access to your training log, you’ll need to subscribe for $11.99 a month or $79.99 a year.
Strava is probably the most well-known mountain biking app out there and for good reason. Strava does a little bit of everything from tracking mileage to recording routes via GPS to measuring elevation gain and loss, and even tracking fitness stats like heart rate and power output.
Strava is a powerhouse when it comes to keeping track of every ride.
Through its Strava segments, the app also ranks riders against other riders by measuring speed along specific routes and ride segments. For example, you can see how your time measures up against your friends and foes and if you really work hard, you might get a top 10 trophy or even the crown!
You can also use Strava to discover new trails via its heatmap (although I recommend TrailForks for this – see below), join monthly challenges to whip yourself into shape and win cool prizes, or track other activities like running, road cycling, hiking, and more.
If Strava didn’t record it, the ride never happened.
While Strava does measure a lot of stats like heart rate and power output, if you really want to dive into training statistics, Garmin Connect is your tool.
This biking app – when paired with a Garmin device like my personal faves, the Garmin Fenix watch and Garmin Edge 830 – measures everything from VO2 Max to menstrual cycle for the ladies, to water intake, and so much more.
It also allows you to record a much broader range of activities including yoga, paddleboarding, golf, etc…
Garmin devices can also link to Strava and upload ride reports to TrailForks, so basically it does everything.
Personally, I think it’s super interesting to look back over my Garmin Connect calendar to see how many activities I’ve done throughout the month and how my training effect has improved (or decreased…).
Best Apps For Finding Trails & Routes
- Best for: Finding singletrack trails, discovering routes, and reading trail reviews. This is the app to have for mountain bikers
- Price: Free for one region or $2.99/month or $36/year. The desktop website is always free.
TrailForks is the mountain biking app that I use the most. Hands down. I don’t know what I would do without this little gem on my phone. It has prevented me from getting lost, allowed me to find the best trails, helped me discover new and exciting networks, and so much more.
TrailForks is a user-generated community which means that almost everything on the app and website was put there by actual riders who have ridden the trails and have experience in the area. You can read trail descriptions, look at photos, view trail reports, and browse comments.
Trails are rated according to difficulty, so it’s easy to choose routes that are suited to your abilities. You can also find route suggestions on the best way to link up trails.
If you mountain bike a lot (or plan on mountain biking a lot) this app is indispensable. You can even use it offline.
TrailForks is also working hard to build up trail data for other activities like hiking, skiing, dirt biking, and more.
4. MTB Project
- Best for: Those who don’t want to pay for TrailForks
- Price: Free
MTB Project is REI’s version of TrailForks. It’s designed to more clearly showcase routes and loops rather than individual trails, but personally, I think the app is a little harder to navigate.
Like TrailForks, MTB Project is also user-generated, so anyone can add photos, routes, trails, and comments.
However, unlike TrailForks, MTB Project only lists legal and sanctioned trails. So if a trail is not approved by, say, the Forest Service or BLM, it will not appear on MTB Project.
I also find that MTB Project is more geared toward cross-country riders while TrailForks caters to pretty much everyone.
5. All Trails
- Best for: Mountain bikers who are also avid hikers
- Price: Free or pro version is $29.99/year
AllTrails is most widely known for its hiking trail beta and navigation but it’s actually pretty good for locating mountain bike trails as well.
The app contains over 200,000 hiking and mountain bike routes that can be used offline (pro version) and you can record your GPS activity while riding.
The app also includes trail reviews, photos, mileage, elevation gain/loss, and much more. It’s not quite as comprehensive as TrailForks or MTB Project, but if you enjoy hiking as well as mountain biking, this app is great for both.
- Best for: European mountain bike adventures, those who want turn-by-turn directions
- Price: Varies depending on which map bundle you buy. All maps are a one-time purchase and you can choose from the World Pack ($29.99), a Region Bundle ($8.99), or a single region ($3.99). You can also opt for a premium plan, which is $4.99 a month and gives you access to a lot of great add-ons.
Komoot is an up-and-coming mountain biking app. I haven’t used it extensively, but from what I gather, the app focuses on user-created loops and routes.
Most of their content is over in Europe, but they are growing in the US and Canada.
When navigating, the app will give you turn-by-turn directions and you can also import GPX files.
If you want to plan your own routes, you can use their planner tool.
Komoot also has maps for hiking and cycling.
Best App For Training & Improving Fitness
- Best for: training, off-season riding, getting a ride in when time is short
- Price: $14.99/month after a 7-day free trial
Zwift is a software program that is essentially a video game for bikers. It’s the app that “turns indoor training into a game”.
While I don’t love indoor cycling, sometimes you just need to get a good pedal in when time is short or it’s raining cats and dogs outside.
Originally, Zwift was only targeted at road cyclists, but recently they released an off-road version for dirt enthusiasts.
You can choose from a variety of offroad routes from singletrack to gravel rides. Another cool thing about Zwift is that you ‘ride’ with actual people so the competition is real. Of course, you can also ride by yourself as well.
In order to get started with Zwift, you’ll need a biker trainer to use with your mountain bike. Smart trainers are ideal because they ‘talk’ to Zwift and allow the computer to add or reduce resistance depending on the terrain. Zwift can be used on a computer or through their phone app.
For tips on how to choose a bike trainer, head over to How To Choose A Bike Trainer on Cyclists Hub.
Best App for Honing Mountain Bike Skills
8. Ryan Leech Connection
- Best for: Improving and honing skills, connecting with a community of riders
- Price: $19/month
Ryan Leech is one of the most well-known mountain bike instructors out there. He was formerly a professional trials rider (and a successful one at that) but now spends his time making videos for his online skills course called the Ryan Leech Connection.
In his course, you can learn how to bunny hop, practice cornering, learn how to pop a wheelie, improve physical fitness, and much more.
The course and his videos can be accessed with a computer, but he also has an app for easier viewing while you’re out in your backyard practicing those skills.
Best Apps for Mountain Bike News
9. Mountain Flyer
- Best for: Keeping up with industry news, on-the-go reading
- Price: 1 year digital subscription (4 issues) – $13.99
Mountain Flyer is one of the top mountain bike magazines and you can get all the issues and articles on their app for on-the-go reading.
Mountain Flyer publishes everything from editorial pieces, gear reviews, racing news, and more. You can subscribe to get four issues a year or buy back issues separately.
10. ENDURO Mountain Bike Magazine
- Best for: Global mountain bike news, how-tos, gear reviews
- Price: Free!
ENDURO is another widely-read mountain bike magazine. They don’t have a print journal, but all their online content can be viewed on their app and it’s free!
Read honest reviews, exciting worldwide adventures, mountain bike how-tos, and much more. The format is engaging and beautiful and did I mention it’s free?
Looking for more mountain biking resources and inspiration? Check out these related blog posts:
What are your favorite mountain biking apps? Which ones do you use the most? Share in the comments below!