VQ Velocity Virtual Cycling Platform Extended Review
Another virtual indoor cycling platform throws its hat into the ring with some advanced metrics, a focus on skills, live-guided workouts, a community, and more. But is Velocity VQ ready for the spotlight with other polished platforms?
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
VQ Velocity is a new, still-in-beta online cycling platform that caters to those who prefer to have a coach push them vs. the thrills of a virtual reality game (like Zwift, for instance).
This sleek, elite-feeling platform is built on the concept that “fast is a skill” when it comes to riding your bike. The VQ Velocity software focuses on two main areas within their classes: skills work—like cadence—holding aero position or standing out of the saddle, and energy systems, like threshold focus, VO2 max focus, or a blend of the two.
But what makes VQ Velocity so interesting is its “INSCYD” AI (artificial intelligence) that claims to “identify your physiological rate limiters to help you train specific energy systems to achieve your goals.” In other words: artificial intelligence that can read your ride data and physical makeup (height, weight, sex) and make training recommendations just for you.Section divider
VQ Velocity: The Basics
Price: $40/month, after a 14-day free trial
You can log on entirely solo and join a live ride (if one is happening at the time) or any of VQ Velocity’s pre-loaded on-demand rides with industry big names like Robbie Ventura or Kaysee Armstrong. Plus, you can select which ride you’d like today based off one of those skills or energy systems mentioned above.
If getting through a session is easier with others, connect with your friends (who must also have either a VQ Velocity free trial or membership) to do a ride together—your group can even turn on their smart device cameras for that pain cave camaraderie we all crave when riding indoors.
Holistically, VQ Velocity has all the features that could make for a great indoor riding experience. They’ve got some fine tuning to do, but let’s take a deep dive into the big standouts and the areas for improvement.Section divider
VQ Velocity: The Good
As we mentioned above, VQ Velocity is buttoned up. Its interface is just the type that would cater to a triathlete: polished, organized, data-driven.
The actual dashboard itself can be a bit overwhelming at first, but all its facets are explained in VQ Velocity’s FAQ Page. After that quick explainer, it’s off to the races with your connected devices and VQ Velocity.
Kudos to VQ Velocity on the fact that all their rides and instructors are high quality. It can be a gamble to use actual people as ride hosts because not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera. But all the hosts, including the guest hosts, appear confident, happy to be there, and motivating. During the live rides, instructors can see your and other riders’ data in real time and give personalized shoutouts as you grind away. For some, this is more motivating than just a virtual thumbs up from a random virtual passerby.
VQ Velocity is one of the latest cycling software to jump on the AI train. Similar in concept to TrainerRoad’s Adaptive Training, VQ Velocity’s INSCYD metabolic testing and data will gauge what you need to improve upon, when you should work on it, and how.
For those without a dedicated coach, or for athletes whose coaches aren’t local, this kind of feedback can be invaluable in giving direction to one’s training and race-season goals. We’ll get into this more in “Velocity VQ: The OK” section, but the inner workings of INSCYD could be explained a bit better. However, the idea is strong and could be a game-changer for some triathletes.
Lastly, most of us have other life obligations: a job, a family, other hobbies. We may not all have time to summit a virtual Mt. Everest on our bikes on a Tuesday evening. Nearly all of VQ Velocity’s workouts are 60 minutes or less, but many of them pack a supreme punch. These hour-long sessions can be a great way to feel accomplished about getting some quality time in the saddle without sacrificing quality time spent elsewhere.Section divider
VQ Velocity: The OK
So much of VQ Velocity is almost there, but not quite. Granted, it is stated loud and clear on its website that VQ Velocity is still in beta. To charge $40 per month, though, for a program that is still largely in development is a hefty ask for many budget-conscious triathletes.
Outside of VQ Velocity being the most expensive virtual cycling platform we’ve reviewed yet, there are a few speed bumps that could detract from a rider’s experience as the software stands now.
For example, it is not possible to pause, skip ahead, or rewind on-demand rides once you’ve started them. While obviously you don’t want to be in a position of needing to stop and restart any indoor ride too often, it does make taking a bathroom break or refilling a water bottle a much more daunting task than it normally would be. You need to be ready to lock and load without a hitch once you hit “play.”
Likewise, while your personal metrics dashboard is easy enough to understand, the leaderboard to the right of the screen is a bit confusing. It is unclear how and why riders earn points throughout a ride. For those just looking to get in a workout and log off, this is a negligible irritant. But for those who are looking to bring out their competitive side, spending extra time trying to understand a points system is probably not how you want to spend your pre-ride routine.
The goal of VQ Velocity is to help you get faster. The brand states that on their homepage. There is something to be said for an easy, open-ended long ride, though. Combing through the VQ Velocity on-demand library, there are no options for longer or unguided rides. You are committing to a max 60-minute, hosted workout each time you choose a session on VQ Velocity. While there’s no doubt those rides will get your heart rate up, it’s tough to stomach that $40 per month price tag when there are no longer ride options mixed into the catalogue.
Lastly, there is currently no app for VQ Velocity via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. You can log in to the platform on your phone, but the site is definitely not mobile-friendly—the library of on-demand videos is hardly scrollable due to how out-of-place the page’s components are. Your best bet is using a computer, larger tablet, or internet-accessible TV if VQ Velocity becomes your cycling software of choice.
While much of this is obviously a symptom of early release software, it’s worth paying attention to these little things if you do end up taking advantage of their 14-day free trial.Section divider
VQ Velocity is a software that will be great once it sorts out a few key aspects.
For one, we’d like to see more information from VQ Velocity about how INSCYD works, what metrics it takes into account, and how accurate its deductions are about any given rider’s training needs.
The lack of explainers about multiple things within the platform (the leaderboard, for example) shows that VQ Velocity has a bit of catching up to do to make this a wholly user-friendly experience.
On the flipside, the program is revolutionary in that it is placing emphasis on skills-based riding in combination with key markers such as a rider’s VO2 max and threshold abilities. Plus, VQ Velocity hasn’t forgotten the community aspect of indoor riding (which, we’d argue, is critical—for most, the whole point of using an online cycling software is to train with others from the comfort of home), making it possible to even view your teammates mid-ride and bond over sprints, climbs, and everything in between in real time.
VQ Velocity notes that it’s still in beta. We think this training software has a lot of potential. It is sleek, fun, and uses the latest technology to help riders become faster, smarter athletes all from their living room. We will be keeping an eye on this platform as it continues to develop in the cycling and tri worlds—particularly as most of the big issues aren’t insurmountable fixes.