How do you find exciting, new road and gravel routes nearby? How do you plan a bikepacking adventure in an unknown region and how can you reliably navigate from A to B on unfamiliar paths? The answer is simple and it’s called Komoot! We’ve been using the app and wrote a guide to help you get the most out of it.
GPS bike computers and digital bike navigation are nothing new. Generation Z only knows paper maps from the old and dusty libraries of their grandparents. Apps like Komoot use modern smartphone capabilities and the mobile network to allow every smartphone user to navigate without having to buy a dedicated GPS device and at no additional cost. Of course, the app can also connect with GPS bike computers and smartwatches, offering a very convenient link between your PC, smartphone and GPS devices for route planning, navigation and tracking. Besides road, gravel and mountain bike riders, Komoot also cater to hikers and joggers. We had an in-depth look at how it all works.
Komoot’s discover mode in detail
Discover or plan: in principle, Komoot can be divided into these two modes. In discover mode, you can view individual routes in and around a city or region of your choice or even entire collections that contain a selection of individual routes. In addition to defining and adjusting the perimeter of your desired riding location, you can also set the tour duration, whether it should be accessible by public transport and the difficulty of the route. Tours and collections are either uploaded by users from the community, by Komoot partners – such as tourism boards – sponsored athletes specialising in a certain discipline and Komoot employees. You can leave the route as is or adapt and shorten or lengthen it to your liking, adding your own intermediate waypoints. Thanks to the massive community and ever growing Komoot team, the selection of available routes has grown tremendously and you’ll be spoiled for choice in many regions around the globe.
Creating your own tours in route planner mode
Route planner mode gives you free range to create a tour from scratch and it works intuitively enough even for beginners to try out. One click on the map is all it takes to create a route starting point and/or destination or an intermediate point to include in your route once you’ve defined point A and B. Alternatively, you can enter an address or use your current GPS location as the start and/or finish. Depending on the selected discipline, a route is then created that guides the user along the best possible paths. You can also work your way forward step by step, especially if there are certain stretches or stopovers along the way that you don’t want to miss. The best way to do this is to zoom in on the map and look for individual highlights. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can also look up the names of known places (places of interest, refreshment stops, huts, etc.) via the address search bar. All intermediate stopovers or highlights (which are often based on excellent tips from locals and are an indispensable route planning resource) are then defined as waypoints along the route. The user interface works the same whether you’re planning a route on your desktop PC or on your smartphone. This is a practical function especially for bikepacking, click here for our detailed Bikepacking 101. Unfortunately, you’ll have to sign up for the paid membership to save or transfer the created route as it isn’t possible to do so on the free basic plan. We’ll give you an overview of all the offers and features of the premium membership further down below.
Which maps are available?
Komoot’s maps are very well laid out and available to all users in HD quality. They are based on data from OpenStreetMap, among other sources. You’ll only find routes that have been created and saved by actual users or, for example, by local tourism boards, and you can rest assured that all of the routes are legally accessible to the public. If you want to be routed via a known point that hasn’t yet been mapped out, you can do so by clicking on the location on the map, clicking on “Include on Route” and unchecking “Follow ways.” Thanks to the huge community, you can easily find the best lookout points, cultural and culinary highlights or other sights in the region when planning your tour.
Navigation on the go
Nothing is more annoying than having to pull a smartphone or – worse still – paper map out of your jersey pocket at every turn to look if you’re still on route. Not to mention dangerous, especially on a trail, aboard a gravel bike or on a fast asphalt descent. It’s all the better that the Komoot app offers voice prompts if you’re using your smartphone to navigate. Otherwise, you can have the route transferred to a GPS bike computer of your choice. Transferring a route to a Garmin, Wahoo or other GPS bike computer only takes a few seconds and you can even have the route displayed on a smartwatch on your wrist. Of the three options, we definitely prefer turn-by-turn navigation using a GPS bike computer as this is the easiest to read and the voice prompts can be a bit unclear depending on the weather and your speed. Occasionally, the voice prompts were delayed due to a slow network connection, telling us to turn left ten metres after we’ve passed the junction.
Take your friends on an adventure
Thanks to Komoot’s community, you can discover, save, retrace and follow the adventures and highlights of others and also share your own activities. This is particularly useful when planning your next tours with friends or training partners. You can collect badges, create your own profile page with an introductory blurb about yourself and your statistics and follow other users; you can share a tour with your friends even if they’re not on Komoot, via email, WhatsApp or on Facebook.
How much does Komoot cost and what are the premium features?
It doesn’t cost anything to familiarise yourself with Komoot and you don’t have to register either. As such, you can play around with the route planner, get inspiration from collections and explore the map. However, you have to register to save a tour. To save a tour for offline use, you’ll have to pay a one-off fee of least € 3.99 per region. You can buy a bundle of several regions for € 8,99 and it costs just € 29,99 for offline access to maps of the entire world – a fair price, we think. Of course, these are the prices at the time of publication and we recommend checking the Komoot website for their current offer.
Komoot Premium is an additional offer over and above the standard Komoot service. As a premium user, you can plan multi-day tours, create your own collections, view the weather forecast for your planned tour and switch back and forth between maps for specific disciplines. The membership also includes an extensive insurance package. Komoot’s premium annual subscription works out to just under € 5/month, or € 59.99 for one year.
What alternatives are there to Komoot?
There are numerous alternatives to Komoot that also offer good navigation and routing features. In addition to the most popular app, strava.com, it’s worth mentioning ridewithgps.com and outdooractive.com. However, none of these come close to the intuitive and user-friendly interface, value for money and the number of features offered by Komoot.
Concluding thoughts on Komoot
Without Komoot? Without us. Now that we’ve used Komoot, we would sorely miss its functions before, during and after a tour. Planning every detail of an upcoming ride couldn’t be easier with the app, and the tour collections and suggestions provide plenty of inspiration for your next adventure. Thanks to its compatibility with smartphones, GPS devices and smartwatches, you don’t need any additional hardware and the subscription offers good value for money.
For more information about the App, visit komoot.com
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Words & Photos: Philipp Schwab