Tech Review: New Strava update boosts photos, mapping features and more


Version 4.0 combines running and cycling, helps bike advocates with critical data

The new version of Strava adds photos to your ride file as well as advanced mapping features. Images courtesy of Strava.

It’s a sure sign your brand has made it when its name slips into use as a verb. As in, “I’m going to Facebook this adorable cat,” or “Let me just Instagram this pie.” And by now, you’ve probably heard—or said yourself—something like, “I’m going to Strava this climb.”

But actually, Strava—despite being the fitness network of choice for millions of athletes around the world—hasn’t made it. The company has yet to turn a profit, though they expect that day to come within the next 18 months. It relies on premium membership sales as its main source of revenue, and it’s committed to keeping it that way, closing the door to eager advertisers. Meanwhile, for both its premium and regular users, Strava has been working on new ideas both online, and on your local roads and trails.

Video: Strava’s video on mobile version 4.0 illustrates the apps new features.

Earlier this month, the company released a new version combining its running and cycling apps into one and adding the following social features to your activity feed:

  • Photos – If you’re an Instragrammer, you can stop to take a ‘gram of that epic view, a friend getting rad, or the always-popular sweaty selfie and it will be displayed in your feed, adding color to your workout.
  • Maps – Most activities feature a map tile showing the GPS-tracked route. Let the athletes you follow show you around by downloading their .gpx files.
  • Social sharing – A one-tap icon shares your activities with other social networks including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Comments and Kudos – Let your friends and followers know about their job well done with one-tap kudos and comments.
  • Grouped activities – If you rode with a friend (or a whole peloton), your activities are grouped, so you can see who worked out together.

New languages address growing global reach

Strava Mobile 4.0 now comes in 11 different languages, recognizing how popular the app is around the world. In fact, 65% of Strava users are located outside of the U.S. and more than 50,000 new users are joining every week. That means KOMs/QOMs could make great souvenirs wherever your travels take you, whether you’re riding across town or across the globe.

Strava Premium adds features, helps company advance the cause

Strava Mobile 4.0 is a free app, but for $60 a year, or $6 a month, you can upgrade to a premium membership with a host of extra features. With Strava Premium, you get audio updates delivered straight to your earbuds while you’re out on the front lines. If you star a segment, the pre-recorded voice of your choice—accent, gender and language are all up to you—will tell you right away if you bagged a crown, or if you should hit it again. And now, you can select which equipment you’re using to help you keep track of wear and tear on your cleats, tires, chain and brake pads.

Convincing more members to upgrade to a premium membership is an important part of Strava’s ad-free future, as well as all athletes’ continued enjoyment of the service. The amount of data generated by Strava users every week, every day, every hour is massive. The best part is Strava plans to use this information to advocate for cycling.

Strava is sharing heat map information with bike advocacy groups to help improve trails and bike routes. Images courtesy of Strava.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) and Strava are already partnered on some trail-advocacy projects and the company is also interested in working with city planners to make cycling better in urban centers better. For example, using its heat maps, Strava could share the most popular routes taken by its users to show where best to build a bike lane. Conversely, if a route has a bike lane, but riders aren’t using it, planners could use that info to figure out why, and how to improve it.

Users who upgrade are supporting Strava’s efforts to support cyclists. Added bonus? They get some pretty amazing analysis of their scores, power data, heart rate data, their own personal heat maps (so they can see what ground they’ve covered) and more.

Strava is a tool that’s brought to life by its users. Loaded with new social features and admirable advocacy goals, it’s an app any athlete can enjoy on and off the screen.

Cost: Basic-Free, Premium-$60/year or $6/month

For more information visit

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About the author: Kristen Gross

Kristen Gross loves bikes, all sorts, and above all, XC mountain bikes. She races in the pro category and gets a lot of joy from teaching others the way of the trail as a mountain bike skills instructor—especially women who are just discovering cycling. She is a USAC-certified coach, and she runs her own freelance writing business based in Carlsbad, Calif. You’ll find her either writing or riding, bringing over 10 years experience to both. Why does she ride? To offset her addiction to Coca Cola and Lay’s Potato Chips.

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  • luisMHdez says:

    Never had issues with the old app. New app has been troublesome! But I truly like Strava and hopefully it gets fixed. I have premium membership and would like to keep it that way.

  • Hugo says:

    Why they don’t charge a little less like 25 per year ?the money will be entering for sure ,I’m not saying 60 is expensive but might back off many. And another thing is why they don’t show the tracks on the mobile application with the google or imaps,they only show the basic map witch is only usefull for roadies not for mtb ,make kom of the month or week that will be nice too ,show all the leader board on iOS ,etc. but most important lower the price a little please 25/30 max. but great idea this STRAVA ,sometimes makes people visit the hospital more often but very good program

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