As many cyclists know, Strava is a service which helps you keep track of your cycling progress. I’ve been using it for probably 7 years but not solidly. Within the last week they have announced a change to their subscription model. Previously Strava had multiple different levels of subscriptions under the brand Summit. Now there is just two: free and Premium and the Summit brand has gone. Which makes life easier for everyone. So why are people not happy?
No Longer Free Features
This year I subscribed to Strava for the first time with my own money. I had been on a trial of their highest bundle and loved the features. In all honesty I forgot to turn off the renewal and money was taken from my account. I didn’t spend long dwelling on it as I did like the extra features.
Then came the message from the Founders that they would be transitioning into a two tier system for ease of use. Perfect! I read their post about the features and I noticed one particular feature that was always free had been moved to premium which was seeing your position on segment leaderboards. Now if that had been the case from the start I don’t think anyone would have issue with it, but since it had always been free it seemed odd. It did leave a bad impression. This isn’t the only feature see below:
The timing of this change couldn’t come at a worse time. Many people across the globe have either been let go from their place of work or have their wages cut due to COVID-19. Many people do not have the funds currently to support this change. In response to this they have offered a free trial.
Strava as a Service
Now it all seems rather negative however, from reading the blog post they are being very transparent. Strava have to pay for maintaining and hosting their services as well as their staff. This doesn’t even include improvements that they may have to make.
At the end of the day they are a business and they need to become profitable to survive to expect them to let the freeloaders have most of the features is unfair on them. Imagine going to work and only being paid a single digit percentage of your wage. You would give up and go home.
Another service that has changed the way it operates is Fitbit. Last year at a conference Fitbit announced Fitbit Premium a monthly subscription which allows you to access features that were previously free. However, if you were to look at the Premium Feature list you would think that nothing has been taken from free users:
Now I wasn’t aware any features had been taken away, I rarely go into the app at all and when I do it was to check on my sleep data. But according to this post some of the data recorded is now hidden behind a paywall. Now here is the difference between Strava and Fitbit, Strava Free version only entry fee is a smartphone, while Fitbit’s is the watch which in the UK can cost anything from £80 upwards. However, I still see it as being fair though I wish they were being transparent like Strava. In the background there are employees, rents and maintenance costs that need to be paid for and neither site shows any ads.
The New Features
Strava have unveiled some new features that come as part of the Premium package:
These are all helpful features for people who are trying to improve their fitness or are very competitive which I fall under both categories.
I am hoping to be fit enough, to take part in some Enduro races when the pandemics is over. All these tools will help and I cannot wait to see what other new tools they will add in the future.
If you are competitive, love data, or trying to get fitter then Premium is worthwhile getting, at the very least you can trial the features to see if you use them. The price is reasonable and I will see how this year of subscription pans out.