Even us mountain bikers can benefit from hitting the virtual world once in a while


Us mountain bikers might not give much thought to indoor training. But we should, if we want to see improvements on the bike. That big climb you’ve nicknamed your nemesis? It can be conquered – and even enjoyed if you work hard enough. But a lot of virtual cycling simulators feel like they’re geared more towards road riders. There’s plenty of virtual criterium racing, lots of imaginary mountain passes to climb, but not a great deal of dirt. That’s where BKOOL comes in. 

But let’s be honest. A turbo trainer and a cycling simulator isn’t going to replace mountain biking. We don’t necessarily do it for fitness, but for the enjoyment of pushing ourselves and getting outside with our mates. But if you want to enjoy yourself more outside, it might be worth investing some training time inside – and BKOOL is one of the most cost-effective ways to do that. 


BKOOL offers different ways to train, from spin classes to riding along routes you’ve uploaded

What is BKOOL?

BKOOL isn’t just a virtual simulator with a cartoon character and graphics to match. Instead, it’s the most complete virtual cycling platform available. It’s a more realistic and varied alternative to Zwift, with four different training modes, and you can choose between riding a video simulation – which uses actual footage of routes so you can literally ride anywhere in the world from your house – spin classes, track cycling and customisable workouts. 

But how does that relate to mountain bikers? It’s among the only platforms that can simulate real-life terrain changes. If you go from riding a smooth bit of road to hitting the trail, it feels different under your tyres, right? It’s no different on BKOOL – the software adapts the speed and resistance to the terrain to create an incredibly lifelike experience. 

It’s also among the most affordable indoor simulator options. The premium plans cost €11 per month, or €110 annually. You can also choose from a family plan option, which allows three members of the same household to share BKOOL Premium for just €129 per year (that works out at just €43 per user per year). This works well for multi-rider households, particularly if you and your family don’t want to ride the same thing. Maybe you love off-road, and your partner prefers a spin class – now you can do both with one membership without it affecting your rider profile. And if you want to give it a go before committing, you can try BKOOL for free for 30 days.


Ride in a group or ride alone to get the most out of your training

So what do you need to get started?

Perhaps contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune on new kit to get started with indoor training. A smart bike (like a Wattbike or similar) or a smart turbo trainer (one that connects via Bluetooth or ANT+) will do the job, and you should be able to pick something up second hand for less than a couple of hundred pounds if you don’t want to buy new. If you already have a turbo, you can check here to see if your equipment is compatible. If you prefer video explanations, watch this on what you need to get started.   

Many turbos now come with thru-axle compatibility, so you may even be able to run your mountain bike off it! You’ll also need a phone, tablet (iPad or Android) or laptop to run BKOOL off of. Remember this will also act as your screen (unless you connect your device to a TV) so the bigger the better for a more immersive experience. We’d also suggest getting hold of a fan…things can get warm! Here’s a great video explanation on getting started with BKOOL


You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of pounds to get the most out of your indoor training

How can mountain bikers get the most out of BKOOL?

It might be all well and good being affordable and compatible with your mountain bike, but how does something like BKOOL actually benefit mountain bikers? Firstly, you can tailor your experience to your training goals. Want to boost your anaerobic power to improve on short, steep hills? Join a spin class designed to boost your top-end. Want to build your endurance so you have the energy for more laps at the trail centre? Set up a video route and ride across the Saharan desert on your MTB. 

You can even join community events and ride with your mates when the weather is less than ideal for laps outside. The social aspect of BKOOL is what you make of it – here’s a video to help explain what you can do. There are plenty of training options, from track cycling, customisable workouts and real routes you can follow along so it’s far more engaging than just following numbers on a screen while you catch up on the WC racing. 

And, if you’re keen on doing a group ride with a pro cyclist, BKOOL has plenty of ambassadors that do group rides several times a year. These include former Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, and the Soudal-Quick-Step team (and yes, Remco Evenepoel uses it). Users can also interact with the riders during the ride via Instagram Live.

For mountain bikers especially, there are virtual versions of some of the biggest events in the world for you to ride from the comfort of your own home. For example, the Sabana Race, Cruce del Istmo, Brasil Ride and Mitas 4 Islands. And if you wanted to dabble in the dark side, there’s even road events like the Virtual Giro d’Italia to try your hand at. 

Perhaps the most ingenious part of BKOOL is the fact you can upload your own routes or GPX files to the platform and ride along it from home in both video or 3D. And with the Video Route Editor app, you can take your weekend ride along the South Downs and create a virtual version to do when the weather is just not enticing you out. For this, you just need your GPX file and a video of the route (action camera wearers, rejoice!)

BKOOL is also compatible with Strava, TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect. So once you’ve finished your ride, you can export it to one of those three apps to see all your ride data. Want to learn more? Watch this video all about BKOOL.


Try it free for 30 days by clicking here, and see how it can help your mountain bike fitness.