Complete guide to Komoot | Komoot vs Strava and how to use the app

Freda Walters

Komoot is a navigation and route planning app that enables users to create and follow routes based on riding type and ability.

Designed to help users explore new places and discover new routes, as well as provide ride recommendations through its ‘community’ of riders, Komoot is one of the most popular route planning apps on the market and has many functions that aim to make route planning an easier experience.

As cycling has shifted more towards adventure riding, exploration and gravel riding, Komoot has proven popular with cyclists thanks to its easy interface and robust route planning algorithm. It is included in BikeRadar’s list of the best cycling apps and is compatible with the best bike computers.

What is Komoot?

Complete guide to Komoot

On Komoot’s website, you can filter Tours by duration and difficulty.

Komoot is a route planning and navigation app. It allows you to plan routes on your mobile or computer and will generate routes based on riding type, surface and rider ability.

Using a start and endpoint, Komoot will tell you the distance, elevation profile, road surface, fitness level required, difficulty and estimated time needed to complete the route.

You can use these routes to navigate via your mobile phone or GPS cycling computer without an internet connection.

If you have access to an internet connection or mobile data, Komoot also allows you to reroute when you are out on a ride if you decide you want to head somewhere different or just change course.

The app also has a strong community focus. This means you can discover places other users like to ride or visit (‘Highlights’ in Komoot parlance), such as particular climbs, cafes or points of interest and integrate these into your ride. You can use routes they have planned too.

Komoot is available to use on desktop via the Komoot website. You also download Komoot for iOS or Komoot for Android.

How does Komoot work?

Screen grab of Komoot website search function

Komoot lets you filter Tours by location and riding discipline.

Komoot uses the open-source OpenStreetMap database for its base mapping but then uses its own algorithms to establish the best route depending on activity type, selected waypoints and points of interest.

Komoot provides map overlays including an Open Cycle Map that shows national cycleways and a Google satellite map. You can also upload GPX or FIT route files to Komoot.

Once a route has been selected, Komoot will give you onscreen and audible navigation in an offline mode to save the battery on your device. You can also send routes created on Komoot to your compatible cycling computer for navigation.

When riding, the Komoot app will tell you speed, distance travelled, distance remaining and let you alter the route on the fly.

When you have completed your ride you can upload it to your Komoot profile and add photos.

Komoot will also feature local highlights, as suggested by users and Komoot ambassadors.

Komoot can be used on a computer (PC or Mac), iPhone, Android phone, Garmin, Wahoo and most wearable devices, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear.

How do I get started on Komoot?

Komoot on a Garmin

Komoot has a proprietary app for Garmin that means you can download Komoot routes from your account on your Garmin computer.
Victor Lukas / Komoot

To start using Komoot you will need to set up an account.

On a Mac or PC, you can do this via Komoot’s website. On a smartphone, you can do it via the Komoot app, which you can download from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

You can start using Komoot for free straight away, planning routes and navigation. You can also pay to download maps for offline use.

Komoot also offers a Premium account that is aimed at adventurers and those looking to complete multi-day trips – it also offers discounts on products.

Once you are set up with a Komoot account and the app, you can integrate Komoot with your Garmin or Wahoo to send routes to the device.

Komoot has a proprietary app for Garmin that can be downloaded through the Garmin Connect IQ store.

For Wahoo, all you need to do is go to your Wahoo app, head to connections and login into your Komoot account. You will then be able to access routes and sync your rides to the Komoot app.

Komoot vs Strava

The main difference between Komoot and Strava is that Komoot allows you to plan routes using the free version of the app whereas Strava now requires you to subscribe to access its route planning service. 

Komoot also offers an enriched map experience thanks to its Highlights feature but Strava has a similar feature in the form of its heatmap.

Strava’s heatmap is more focused on what routes and roads are popular, though, whereas Komoot is more focused on landmarks and places of interest. 

One of the most popular features on Strava is its segments where you can compete for the fastest time and win KOMs/QOMs. Komoot doesn’t have this feature, but you can still use Komoot to share, like and comment on rides, which is very similar to the social aspect of Strava. 

Where Komoot is focused on route planning, Strava straddles route planning and training. If you subscribe to Strava you can unlock its training plans and see how your fitness is building over time. You can also import heart rate and power data which the app will analyse to tell you how hard you are working.  

Ultimately, which app suits you best will depend on the type of riding you do. But you can use both for different purposes, and many cyclists do. 

How do you plan a route using Komoot?

Screen grab of Komoot route planner

When you plan a route in Komoot it will show you waypoints and highlights along the way.

To create a route on Komoot go to the Route Planner tab on the website or in the mobile app.

Then search for a destination and a starting point and the Komoot algorithm will calculate the best route either as an A to B journey or round trip.

You can select your chosen riding discipline (road, gravel or mountain bike for instance) and Komoot will adapt the route to best suit whatever bike you’ll be riding.

Adjusting fitness level on a sliding scale from Untrained to Pro will also affect how long Komoot says the route will take you.

You can add additional waypoints to your ride – for example, if you want to pass through a particular place or complete a certain climb – and Komoot will suggest the best route to include these.

The Komoot map also shows points of interest, amenities and highlights submitted by users (shown as red pins with bicycles on them). If you add these to your route, Komoot will adjust the route to include these too.

Komoot will use its own mapping based on activity type to decide on a route, but you can plan a route using an “Off-grid” function that will let you ignore Komoot’s network.

This won’t always be useful – and might be better if you’re using Komoot for running or hiking – but it could be good if you know a path or road exists or you have seen one on another map or satellite view.

Komoot will show a breakdown of how long the route will take to complete, elevation, descent, its difficulty and the distance spent on each way type and surface.

Once you have decided on your route, with as many added features, waypoints and detours as you desire, you can save the route to your profile. It will then be available to use for navigation, send to a device, download as a GPX file or share with your riding buddy.

Desktop vs app for route planning

You can plan routes on Komoot on either a mobile or desktop device, but it is probably worth considering using a desktop for in-depth planning because this gives you more room to see your route and it allows you to dive deeper into the functionality Komoot provides.

How do you navigate using Komoot?

Close up lifestyle shot showing Komoot route on a phone

Komoot is popular with bikepackers because you can plan multiple stages of your adventure.
Chris McClean / Komoot

Komoot can help you navigate in a number of ways, either by linking up to a cycling head unit or directly on your mobile phone.

Phone navigation

If you are using a mobile phone, you simply select the route you wish to follow and hit the “Start Navigation” button.

Komoot will then give you visual and audio turn-by-turn directions, so you can either listen through headphones or use a bike phone mount for onscreen directions.

Komoot provides one free region for users that will provide navigation offline, but if you are venturing further afield you will need a data connection.

Alternatively, you can buy maps. This is particularly useful if you want to save the battery life of your phone, save money on data when cycling abroad or explore places without phone signal.

If you want to change where you are going while riding you can simply select the location on the map and Komoot will reroute for you.

Cycling computer navigation

Once you have synced your Komoot app to your cycling computer, you will be able to follow any routes you have planned via your head unit.

Any changes you make to the route via the app will be updated on your device, even as you go. You just need to replan and resync.

Picture showing cyclist use Komoot on a phone with a Wahoo in the background

You can alter a course while on a ride and it will update the route on your bike computer.

How do you upload your ride to Komoot?

Once you have completed your ride it will automatically sync to your Komoot profile as a private activity, or as Komoot calls it a “Tour”.

You can then go into the Tour, name it, add photos and share it with other Komoot users. You can also select certain points on the ride and make it a highlight, playing your part in the Komoot community.

Our list of 12 lesser-known UK cycling highlights has links to relevant Komoot routes to give you an idea of what sort of rides you can discover when using the app.

What is the Komoot community?

Since it was founded in 2006, Komoot has grown to over 20-million users worldwide.

Referring to users as a community might seem like a stretch, but it begins to make sense when you consider that Komoot’s power really comes through input from its users.

As already mentioned in this guide, the Highlights function on Komoot lets you find out about particular climbs, roads and points of interest wherever you’re looking on the map.

Users are encouraged to add these highlights and to include pictures and descriptions to help other users find out more about an area they may not know, which is particularly useful for bikepacking.

Other users can then add their own descriptions – almost like reviews – and pictures to these highlights, and can upvote or downvote the highlight too.

Komoot also allows users to explore routes or Tours created by other users, seeing highlights and images from a ride as well as descriptions too, and use these for their own rides.

Komoot may appoint a particular user as a Pioneer. Pioneers are users who find “the most beautiful Highlights” and “share their expertise” helping other users in the process.

As the number of users increases, Komoot should become a richer and richer resource for route planning.

How much does Komoot cost?

Image showing interface of Komoot premium on a laptop, mobile and Garmin

Komoot Premium lets you organise Tours into Collections.

Komoot is free to use as soon as you set up an account, but there are various packages and in-app purchases you can make to enrich the experience.

Komoot maps

Komoot maps is the free version of the app. You can plan routes, upload rides and create highlights and use the social aspect of the app to comment on and like other users’ activities. Navigation is also free but only with a data connection.

You can download maps of regions to navigate and reroute offline. It costs £3.99 / $3.99 / €3.99 for a region and £8.99 / $8.99 / €8.99 for a bundle of regions.

You can also pay £29.99 / $29.99 / €29.99 to unlock maps for the whole world. This is a one-time purchase and lasts indefinitely.

Komoot Premium

Komoot has a premium subscription service that costs £4.99 / €4.99 per month and is billed annually as £59.99 / €59.99.

The Premium subscription has a number of additional features which include:

  • Multi-day planner that allows you to plan a complete bikepacking trip in one route and break it into daily segments
  • On-tour weather that gives you an up-to-date weather forecast for your trip
  • Sport-specific maps that overlay features such as mountain bike trails or cycling networks
  • Personal collections let you group routes and highlights into your own collections so you can find your favourite tours more easily
  • Discounts in 14 countries on products from 900 different brands

The Premium service includes maps and if you have already unlocked world maps you can get Premium at a discount price.

Currently, Komoot offers an insurance policy in its Premium package for users in Germany and Austria and plans to make this available in other countries soon.

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