Taking input from your trainer, whether smart or traditional, the application adjusts the speed of the video to give you the impression of control when you speed up and slow down. If you just want to watch the video during your ride without the speed shifting, it can be turned off in the Settings.
If you have a smart trainer, FulGaz will control resistance like other virtual training apps. The hardware support is fairly extensive, but they discourage older Ant+ devices and have a 2 device limitation on the Apple TV version (a limitation of Apple TV itself).
I only did a couple of rides on FulGaz because I didn’t find it all that compelling.
In my first ride, I was on a flat route parallel to a beach with lots of traffic interruptions. When I was cruising along at around 20 mph, the video would occasionally stop because the rider taking the video had to stop for traffic. The effect of those stops and speed ups, even with the time shifting FulGaz does to the video, is that I’m taken out of the experience. It felt like watching a video instead of participating in a virtual ride.
In my second ride, the location of the camera changed slightly which made the ride feel a bit more realistic, but I experienced similar issues with the experience. Speed felt awkward due to my speed being fairly consistent but the ride speed being interrupted by hills, sharp corners, and some traffic. A smart trainer would have improved this ride, but I’m not sure it would be enough of an improvement to sell me on the experience.
Comparing both rides, another interesting issue I ran into was audio. The first ride had no audio, and the second ride had way too much audio. FulGaz addresses this issue on their support site:
Setting aside the technical reasons, I think the issue with audio is a tough one. The immersive feeling of these rides would be improved with audio similar to what you would actually hear on the ride. Unfortunately, we all know what sound you get when a 20 mph wind hits a microphone. That’s the kind of audio I heard in the 2nd ride, and it did not make for a pleasant experience.
FulGaz might want to experiment with either better audio recording equipment or a two-step process for capturing video and audio. Given the current state of noise cancelling algorithms, they might look into filtering systems that could potentially improve existing videos by pulling out wind noise without removing the underlying sounds of the environment.
Even though FulGaz didn’t really tick all of the boxes for me as a virtual training app, there are some great aspects to this virtual cycling app that I think deserve consideration.
- If you want to ride a famous route that you might never get a chance to ride otherwise, you can hop on a virtual trainer and have the experience.
- If you are planning a destination cycling trip and want to prepare for the route and elevation, this is a great way to explore and train.
If a great variety of routes and great views in high resolution keeps you motivated in your pain cave, definitely give FulGaz a look. For me, though, the Zwift experience is more compelling, and both services are priced similarly, with FulGaz coming in at $12.99/month and Zwift at $14.99/month.
It would be nice if FulGaz could offer individual rides at $0.99/ride after a limited preview of the ride. At its current price, I feel like I have to make a choice between FulGaz and the alternatives.