Frustrated New User: Is Xert primarily an indoor training platform?

I’ve been passively using Xert, having my ride data feed in from Strava, but never really considered the training guidance, so I decided to explore this as a replacement to my coach program and came across these hurdles in trying to adopt the training program and I’m wonder how other users in my position work around this.

My prefs:
Headunit: Garmin 1040, 830, Hammerhead - Default 1040
No Indoor trainer
Apple User iPhone/Mac
TrainingPeaks User

Here at the limitation that I’ve learned that have made the experience frustrating from an end user perspective.

Garmin Data Screens
While the platform offers data fields to use in the data screens of the Garmin, and I find them helpful for freestyle riding, but you cannot do a SMART workout with them, let alone any XERT workout.

Device Support
I’m trying to understand why there is more focus on building for the mobile app, as far as I can tell, most serious cyclist aren’t mounting their cell phones to their bike in place of their head units. I assume the cell phone apps are mainly for indoor training.

EBC Player App in the Garmin. On the 1040 the UI is so small and very difficult to read in varying light conditions. You CANNOT use ANY feature of the Garmin, while using the EBC player, meaning, no guidance by map, no time of day, nothing. You have to quit the EBC player, and start a ride on the garmin to access the other fields. XERT has made this clear it’s a limitation of Garmin. I understand, but at least fix the UI for the larger displays and add more data fields similar to what’s in the mobile player.

Because of this, I cannot use the EBC player for my outdoor rides, unless I mount my phone to my bike and that’s not happening.

The suggested workouts are great, and this is where I have major problems.

In order to leverage the adaptive SMART technology you have to use:

  1. Garmin EBC Player App
  2. Mobile Phone App
  3. Web Browser Player

So I am willing to settle for the structured workout, so how do I get that into my headunit to work of off?First, you can only download the TCX file, but Garmin only allows .FIT files into their structured workouts. I was able to download the ZWO and convert to FIT, send that FIT file to my Garmin, by plugging in with a data cable and dumping the file into the head unit. But, the FIT file does not contain my power values, they come in as static custom values that are incorrect.

Why is this so difficult to just download a workout and get it into my head unit?
If XERT can use the real time player to update the data fields, why can’t they feed in the workout steps, watts and timer into a data field?

In summary. I can’t go to XERT, get my workout, send it to my device and go ride. It’s not that simple, and it seems they’ve done everything else to cater to the indoor market then riders who actually go out and ride a bike with bike computers.

So how are other Xert users who don’t train indoors navigating this and is this something Xert looking to even improve?

I use my iphone with a garmin mount on my out front stem :man_shrugging:

You can buy a very good adhesive garmin mount and stick it on a cheap phone case or buy a phone case with a garmin mount already made on it (Be sure to go with the better quality print if you go this route).

Hi Christopher. I have been on board the XERT platform for about two years. Personally, like many others, I don’t like carrying around a KG (OK, I’m exaggerating ;O)), of smartphones. For indoor sessions, I use the iPhone with XERT EBC, but, during outdoor sessions, I use my Garmin Edge 1030/1040 with XERT Player for Garmin. In my humble opinion, it contains everything you need to train in a concrete way. On the other hand, when, always outdoors, I go out for free, such as for several-hour jobs (over three hours), I simply use my Garmins, or the 1030 or 1040, with a page I specially created. Obviously, once at home, I download the synchronized data, (indeed… to tell the truth, it does it automatically), on XERT: these are the first ones I go to see to verify what type of work I have performed and how the I ran, (generally for long rides I use zones 2/3 of my power). Again, XERT allows me to view everything I need, from the power curve (very useful), to the data and the type of training I’ve done, despite being a free ride. I agree with you that it is not serious (apologies for the term, I don’t want to sound offensive, this is not my intention), to carry a smartphone on your bike, I just have an old iPhone 4S for any telephone calls. Initially I struggled a bit to understand that all the data I needed was represented by XERT Player but once I understand this, I really don’t need anything else. In any case, XERT Player or Garmin ‘smooth’, upon return, all output data, I’m going to read them on my XERT profile. As regards the visibility of the characters/numbers of XERT Player, yes, indeed, (especially for those who have some white pen in mind like yours truly), contact lenses make it a little difficult to read (for example), if they are in SMART or PWR mode, but XERT, over time, has always responded to the feedback received, so I have no difficulty in thinking that, even in this case, some changes will be applied. A warm greeting and good rides. :bike:
Corrado, Italy. :it:

PS) I use Google Translator, I apologize for any errors.



If you want to perform the prescribed workouts then the head unit works great. I feel that intervals etc are relatively unsafe outdoors for most people and traffic lights, stop signs etc can be a pain too. I like to ride to XSS and Focus outdoors on my Garmin 830 headunit, as prescribed by XATA. The physiological adaptations wanted are close enough. Be safe!


I use XERT outside a lot and almost all the time in the summer. I use a Garmin 530 and the fields MPA/Power and Carbs/Fat most of the time. I do endurance rides using the Fat/Carbs field keeping it red on fat usage so in the fatmaxx zone and heart rate at VT1 and below LTP, though for 1:4 hills that can be difficult. For VO2 intervals I use MPA/Power with power setting at 3 secs so it doesn’t vary too much and try and bring my MPA down for break throughs and will extend an interval if I’m close to a breakthrough until I get one (legs permitting!). I keep heart rate at below 92% max for these. I also do tempo rides using the FAT/Carbs field and try and ride 10 watts below the power where FAT usage=carb usage and heart rate at 82% max. All other unstructured rides like group rides I don’t really use them. So outside usage is simple enough once you’ve done it a few times

One caveat, if you load up a training ride, make sure that you program in the need to hit the lap button before each interval so that you can start them where it is safe to do so i.e at the beginning of a long hill/long flat section! I do this in Garmin Connect but someone on here may show us how to do it in XERT

I’ve been using Xert for a few years now and It took me a while to grasp how to use it the way it’s intended to. I was introduced to structured training via Training Peaks then some Zwift Training Plans. Xert is structured but not rigid like other plans. Here’s how I use it:

  • When indoors, I will generally use my iPhone and Xert EBC to guide my training - so it takes full advantage of the smart features.

  • If I do an outdoor training session, I refer to XATA prior my outdoor ride (Look at the interval target and workout XSS goal) and use the Garmin Xert fields on a Training Profile on my Edge 1030. It’s less structured but I try to hit the specified interval target and remain in my specified Focus target.

I rarely use the Xert Garmin app because I find it hard to follow the exact intervals and juggling traffic and changing road conditions.

Have a look at these videos made by Xert. It’s really a good way to understand how Xert works.

Happy training!


I ride 90% indoors using EBC in the off-season and 90% outdoors in season, also with EBC.

There are three Xert workouts players. A Connect IQ app for Garmin devices and EBC for iOS and Android phones. All three players are designed to work in conjunction with the Session Player running in a browser window on a PC/laptop/tablet. No indoor training means you’ll be missing out on that core function of the platform but it’s certainly possible to use Xert strictly outdoors.

Many of us free ride to focus outdoors (left side of Training page advice) instead of trying to ride an indoor workout outdoors. That is too often impractical due to terrain and traffic.
Free ride to focus (once learned) achieves the same strain goal for the day as riding an indoor workout. Of course, it’s not the same thing but focus duration and XSS are your main goals. The Xert data fields for Garmin support this function by monitoring Focus, TTE/TTR, XSS and Difficulty. Same when you use EBC on a phone as your head unit but with the added benefit of the rainbow gauge.

Some of us do indeed mount our phones on our bikes. Once you get used to it and move beyond the stigma, you’ll wonder why you’ve carried it in your jersey pocket for so long. At least while training.
I started with the extra mount Garmin provides for a stem mount (easy on/off with rings). Now I have a permanent stem cap mount in addition to my head unit’s forward mount. I occasionally ride with both mounts in use. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Both the iOS and Android apps provide core Bike Computer functions. Some of us use a small Android phone as our head unit for this purpose (no SIM). Karoo users can install EBC from the Hammerhead app store.

The Connect IQ player for Garmin is limited in scope due the environment it was written for.
A number of Garmin users run the Connect IQ player for their indoor workouts.
If you want to successfully ride Xert workouts outdoors the more likely scenario would be to ride to an area conducive to performing the workout portion uninterrupted. Switch to the Connect IQ player to complete the workout preloaded from Xert then switch back to Garmin to finish the ride.
If you have a Karoo the better choice would be to install EBC from the Karoo app store once you register a Xert connection under your Karoo account online.
In either case the workout you select on XO ( is automatically loaded to the device. The Karoo requires a Wi-Fi connection for this step while a Garmin device requires Garmin Connect on your phone paired to the device to sync the workout. Neither device requires a connection while on the road.

Another option is join the Basic Workouts Library. These %FTP workouts aren’t SMART but again the goal is focus duration, difficulty and XSS for the day. These workouts consist of simple patterns to execute which can be done by rote memorization alone (no need to load onto head unit). They’ll also teach you how riding to focus can accomplish the same goals for the day.


I’m probably just going to repeat what has already been said here, but what the heck why not. I think I’m probably like you: I do >95% of my rides outdoors since I live in a part of the world where that’s possible year round. I too ran XERT in parallel with other coaching platforms (including human) for about a year before I made the jump to relying entirely on XERT for workout guidance. That was about 18 months ago. So far so good. My head unit is a pioneer so I don’t even have the options of including the custom XERT data fields or apps. And no offense meant everyone who does this, but I could never stomach bolting my monstrosity of a phone to any of my bicycles. All this means is that I have to be selective with the workouts I choose which is not a big deal, particularly since XERT’s upgrade a few months ago includes the “Suitability” rating for each workout. My other challenge is that I live in a suburban environment such that finding continuous uninterrupted (lights, stop signs, etc…) stretches of road that are safe to do some of the workouts is tricky: some XERT workouts just aren’t reasonably/safely do-able in my outdoor environment. That’s ok though because there are always some that are ‘optimal focus’ or ‘near focus’ suitability rated that I can do here outside. I used to obsess over loading workouts to my head unit but eventually I got to the point where I just picked workouts that were easy to memorize so that all I need is my lap button and a data field on my screen showing lap avg power and I can do the workout I’ve picked.

Yes, my approach here precludes me from doing the dynamic SMART workouts as well as some of the more complex interval structures, but that’s ok because there’s always a big variety of other options that fit the bill for me. Am I missing some of the great tech in XERT? Sure. But I still get great workout guidance with a comprehensive library of workout options and a price that I consider very fair. That’s how I’ve been able to ride almost exclusively outside and still rely entirely on XERT to get the guidance and analysis I need. This is probably not the answer you were looking for, but maybe it helps think about ways you can make XERT work for what you want.