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Trailforks Introduces Paid Trailforks Pro Option

Aug 28, 2020 at 17:09
by Trailforks  

Press Release: Trailforks Mapping Inc.

Trail mapping app Trailforks is introducing a paid option in order to continue improving its mapping and trail management capabilities.

Signup for Trailforks Pro

Trailforks was created with the goal of providing the most up-to-date and accurate trail maps available, and it has always been intended as a platform that trail builders and trail associations benefit from as well. The platform now gives millions of users access to over 300,000 trail maps for mountain biking, hiking, and other sports worldwide, as well as GPS recording, emergency location, heat maps for popular trails, Garmin basemaps, badges, and much more.

For the past five years the Trailforks team has designed, developed, supported and hosted features like trail reporting, route planning, and other mapping and management tools on our own dedicated servers. As usage has grown dramatically in the past year, we find ourselves in need of more resources to keep the current infrastructure running and to build new features for associations and users.

So today we’re announcing a new pricing structure with TRAILFORKS PRO.

We started Trailforks as primarily a trail management platform that was available as a website in a computer browser. The website remains free, as do the Trailforks trail association tools, but full access to the Trailforks App now requires a subscription. Users still can use the app for free, but will now be limited to a local area. Many other functions of the app also remain free, such as checking trail status, reports, events, contests, badges, and recording and viewing your personal ridelog. The free area is a square with 60km (38 mile) sides , which equals to 3600 square kilometers (1400 square miles) is pre-set automatically, but users can adjust this area once to their choice. It's intended to encompass their most used riding area, even if that area is far away. The map is still usable for basic navigation outside this free area, but the background and trails are greyed out with limited info.

Trailforks Pro now costs $1.49 per month (Billed Annually) for early adopters, or $2.99 per month (Billed Annually) for users who sign up afterwards. Users who sign up for Trailforks Pro before the end of September 30th receive a 50% early adopter discount forever as our way of saying thank you. Existing and new users to the app also get to use Trailforks Pro for 7 unique days.

We have tried to strike a balance between free access and a sustainable payment model. Our view is that users actively participate and contribute to Trailforks in their local areas, so that should be free. For users wanting access to Trailforks Pro worldwide, we hope they see enough value to spend the equivalent of a couple of post-ride beers at the pub.

The revenue from Trailforks Pro will enable us to hire more staff, develop additional features, and improve our infrastructure. Subscribing to Trailforks Pro is your way of supporting Trailforks and it's continued improvement and operations. With your support, we’re excited to make Trailforks even better!




What do I get with Trailforks Pro?

Trailforks Pro provides you access to all trails and features that Trailforks offers everywhere. If you travel or ride outside your local riding area you will need Trailforks Pro to explore and navigate the trails fully within the app. There are also select current and future features that will be Pro only.

- Trailforks Pro gives you worldwide access to all of Trailforks great features:
- Unlimited access to over 300,000 trail maps worldwide
- Heat maps so you can quickly figure out popular trails
- Download trail and route GPX files
- Unlimited wishlist items

Upcoming features:
- Trailforks for wearable devices
- Offline basemap download.
- Contour basemap in imperial format.
- Trail management improvements.

As new features are completed you automatically get full access as a Trailforks Pro user.

User's without Pro will have the map and trails in their app greyed out with limited info, but still visible for basic navigation.

To be clear, the website and access to maps and trail data remains free on the website. Only the map outside your free area in the Trailforks app will be greyed out unless you become a PRO subscriber.

We are excited to have more resources in the future for new features, some of which will be Pro only. But the website will remain largely unchanged and a lot of the app's functionality still works as a free user.

Is there a free version?

The Trailforks app is still free in your user customizable free area. Within this area all trails are fully accessible for free.

The app will choose your free area automatically but you can adjust this area once to your choice. The free area is a square of 60km (38 mile) sides, which equals to 3600 square kilometers (1400 square miles). This area can be positioned anywhere you like and does NOT have to be centered where you live. It's intended to encompass your most used riding area even if that area is far away from where you live.

Many other functions of the app also remain free. Such as checking trail status, reports, events, contests, badges & your personal Ridelog recording & viewing.

The trail map is only restricted in the Trailforks APP, the website maps remain free and open.

Can I still record my rides?

Yes! Ride/activity tracking still works with the free version anywhere in the world. You can also view your own rides in any region.

Can I still view race course routes?

Yes! Race organizers and participants can still load race course routes on the map, even on the free version of the app.

Can I still earn badges and participate in contests?

YES! A Pro subscription is NOT required to record your ride and earn badges or participate in contests.

How does the 50% discount work if I sign up in the first 30 days?

If you sign up and become a member in the first 30 days you will receive the discount. It is our way of saying thank you for using Trailforks over the past 5 years while it was free.

How long is my discount valid?

As long as you stay a member you will maintain that discount into the future.

Are there discount codes available for industry?

There are so many riders that participate in the industry and it would require complicated approvals, so we have decided to offer the 50% off promotion to everyone who signs up in the first 30 days rather than any industry specific pricing.

How can I pay?

You can either pay directly on the Trailforks website, through the Apple App Store, or Google Play.

What does this mean for your trail associations and local admins?

We greatly appreciate the work local admins and ambassadors have put in to help map trails, as well as manage and curate the content in their areas. It's a vital piece in making a global platform like this work.

To recognize their continued efforts we are providing five free Trailforks Pro subscriptions per trail association, which are intended to be used by trail administrators. Also, members that are set up as local region admins on Trailforks can get a free Trailforks Pro subscription. They must have at least 10 Trailforks contribute points, meaning they’ve helped contribute some data to the platform. Local admins apply for free subscription here via the Trailforks website (not the app).

In addition, all the great tools, data & widgets are still available for free on the website for trail association usage.

How is Trailforks related to Pinkbike?

Originally Trailforks was a section of the Pinkbike company and website. While we will remain sister sites, Trailforks is now it's own company named Trailforks Mapping Inc, and will have its own independent systems, servers, and people.

What if I am upset that I now have to pay?

We truly appreciate all the support of our users over the last five years that Trailforks has been free but in order to continue to be great, we have to start charging. We would encourage you to sign up in the first 30 days and take advantage of our 50% offer which reduces the cost to just a few beers a year. If you maintain your membership we will continue to give you the 50% discount as a thank you for helping us make Trailforks great.

Every premium service has to find a way to pay the bills eventually, we had 3 options, plaster the website & app with advertising, charge trail associations, or charge users. We dislike ads and the tracking of users across the web it involves. We have never and don't want to sell user data, or even force users to have an account to use the app & website, thus tracking them even more. And one of the core missions of Trailforks is to provide tools and data for non-profit trail associations, so charging them doesn't align with that. So we decided on a reasonable yearly subscription for all users, which can be purchased even without an account.

Every time the app is used, external services ( map tiles, Google maps, satellite imagery, elevation data, weather data, and more ) have a cost associated with it. We have been able to absorb the cost until now, but as more and more users use the app we just can't absorb this indefinitely.

Can I try Trailforks Pro for Free?

YES! When a user first installs the app, everything is fully unlocked as if they were a Pro subscriber. Each user gets 7 unique days of usage in trial mode before the map locks and they must choose their free unlocked area or subscribe to Pro. This is not 7 consecutive days, but 7 days of use. So if you only ride each weekend, you could potentially be in trial mode for 7 weeks. Giving you ample time to see what features and data the app has to offer.

Additionally once you subscribe to Trailforks Pro there is a one-time 7 day trial via the Apple and Google app stores.

I Paid For Trailforks Pro & My App Doesn't Recognize It

If you made a new purchase or have switched to a new device and your app doesn't recognize your Pro subscription you can try to restore.

- In the Trailforks app open the main side menu.
- Go to "Settings".
- Click "Restore Pro Subscription"

There is more info available on the Pro FAQ page, which we will keep updating.

Signup for Trailforks Pro on the website or within the Trailforks app by clicking the "Get Pro" menu item.

Author Info:
trailforks avatar

Member since Mar 25, 2014
20 articles

  • 347 54
 I saw this pop up over the weekend and immediately signed up for Pro. $1.50/mo to support a great app is absolutely nothing, especially if it leads to better features.

TrailForks isn't perfect, but damn if it isn't already the best MTB/Trail map app/site out there.
  • 25 9
 Same here and well said.
  • 213 2
 FYI If any iOS users plan to sign up, Apple presumably takes their 30% cut when you sign up through the iOS app as required by the terms of the App Store. I recommend signing up through the website if you want all of your money to go to Trailforks.
  • 16 0
 @dlxah: useful intel Beer
  • 34 21
 Yup. No one complained TF was collecting the trail data when the platform was free....and the base product still is. Now people are losing their gawd dang minds over $1.50!!...how dare they charge us the upgrade cost of guacamole at your local taco / burrito shop for a slick product. Damn you 2020!!
  • 108 18
 We tried to make the app use as reasonable as we could.
The website and all the management tools are all open, but like we mentioned in the faq, as so many users started using the app, and every time a user uses the app we have to pay for external services ( google maps, tiles, elevation data, weather data, etc ) on behalf of that user, the costs became more than we could absorb. Thanks for your support.
  • 4 1
  • 2 0
 @dlxah: isn’t companies trying to skirt the fee a huge thing right now? I find it hard to believe that Apple will let users have other options for long. That or Epic Games didn’t think hard enough about it.
  • 14 39
flag wobblegoblin (Aug 31, 2020 at 9:26) (Below Threshold)
 @trailforks: I must be R-Worded cause I find the Trailforks app incredibly difficult to use when compared to the much more intuitively designed Mtbproject app.
  • 54 5
 Less than $20CND a year!! I don't know how some one can think this is a bad deal. Living in Vancouver and riding the Shore I constantly see people from out of town getting lost: mtbikers, hikers, runners. I tell them to get trailforks. The world wide access to find trails is crazy.

I also make sure I join trail societies for any place I ride in a year; so NSMBA, SORCA and WORCA, TORCA (every year) plus anywhere I go for a trip in a given year. This should just be part of our riding culture. We pay so much for the bikes and kit but get the actual trails we ride mostly "for free"; in our minds. Just one day in many bike parks can cost more than a membership in several local trail societies who maintain the trails and ADVOCATE for all of us so we don't lose those trails. Numbers in the societies matter to governments on all levels.

Ride long, ride safe and ride with the community!
  • 15 4
 Noticed this while out on a ride. Paid up on the spot, TF has earned my loyalty.
  • 39 5
 I have no problem with the pricing, but it will limit number of available trails, since the number of users will decrease and the willingness to upload trails goes with them.
I think the free/pads features have been wrongly chosen. This free option is basically useless, you need TF to explore new trails. This means that free users will abandon the app.
  • 24 4

Could there be an option to disable those external services, to save you some money?

For instance, I can’t remember ever using the weather data or functionality. And I’d gladly give that up to reduce the costs.

And I am glad the cost is relatively reasonable. I’m just not a fan of subscriptions. Any chance you’ll ever offer the ability to purchase maps by state/region/trail system?

Finally, is the home region size set in stone? I live in the greater Seattle area, and a 38 mile square doesn’t cover what I’d think of as the region. In fact, that doesn’t reach from my home trails, down to raging river or tiger mountain.

So I have to choose between having maps for local trails, or the most popular trail networks in my region.

And that’s not even counting Bellingham, which I also ride.
  • 10 2
 @dlxah: Thanks for posting this, because of the current Epic/Apple lawsuit situation, we know that vendors cannot disclose this fact as it violates Apple app store TOS, so it is great when consumers know it and go direct to vendor to avoid Apple's ridiculous 30% skim.
  • 14 1
 @trailforks: I love the app of course and have no problem paying to use it. However, (and this is constructive criticism) the “road” map never works. It’s just a blank screen with trails. It’s very helpful to see streets and cities so i know where I am looking. I find myself switching between “satellite” view on Trailforks and Google Maps just to get the names of places. Am I the only one experiencing this?
  • 1 0
 @samdeatley: all eventual i guess
  • 5 0
 super cheap for something of its quality - should get better with time
  • 2 2
 @dlxah: I can't seem to find anywhere on the website to purchase Pro. Is there a link? Or will it be the same (apple won't take 30%) if we just upgrade to Pro through the app? @trailforks - Is there a link we could use to bypass Apple's cut?
  • 3 1
 @chubby5000: I couldn't find it either, but there's a link in the article: www.trailforks.com/pro
  • 2 1
 @dlxah: Thanks buddy!
  • 4 3
 just bought it as well
  • 1 1
 @samdeatley: you sign up for the pro version via the website, not the app. So I don't know if it applies
  • 13 2
 Sure it sounds good, but that's all volunteer data. I put a tonne of effort in to convince people to come ride my trails. Now they can't even see them without paying and its my own data. Thanks for the push back to OSM.
  • 13 10
 @willtriv: isn’t MTBProject free? It’s a hundred times better than Trailforks anyways.
  • 2 2
 @unrooted: if lacking a significant amount of trails (Trailforks has over 8k trails in CA vs MTBprojects 3.8k), poor site navigation and beaurocratic trail submission process Is better. Then yes, go with MTBProject.
  • 3 0
Dang samsquantches! Yer so bloody honest! Sign me up. Smile
  • 1 0
 @trailforks: does this mean that I will get better recording on my phone? If your check out my ride logs you’ll see that so many of them screw up and skip recording half the ride. I have to import my Strava gpx in order to get anything recorded. And my app/trailforks profile doesn’t give me the option to sign up.
  • 4 0
 @Jvisscher: You might need to update your app? There is a yellow "Get Pro" item in the main side menu.

We released an app updated at the start of August which seems to have greatly improved some peoples ride tracking results.
  • 5 1
 @trailforks: Why is there no Paypal option? Most people outside of north America dont have a credit card.
  • 3 1
 Signed up and paid, now I need to figure out how this thing works Wink .

Either way, I like this model of how you pay for what you're getting. Instead of the alternative (quite common) business model where you don't pay money but give the geeks/creeps unlimited access to whatever they want to take, process and distribute.
  • 5 0
 @trailforks: why are you using google maps and not openstreetmaps base? There are many free and open source maps available, same for the other types of data. Is it a licensing problem?
  • 8 2
 I’m happy to pay so that you don’t have to sell my data. As I’ve heard many times before: on the internet, if an app or site is free, you are the product. Thanks for not turning this into a data mining app.
  • 3 0
 I have used this app a lot over the years. It is my go to for people visiting my area who want to know about our trails. I use it when I go to new places. A small price for a great app.
  • 3 0
 @canadaka: thanks and done.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: Very true...might be a good thing as well
  • 2 0
 @yman98: and how many of those “trails” are just paved roads??? A lot.
  • 6 0
 @whambat: what makes you believe that they aren’t selling your data?!?
  • 5 0
 I wouldn't pay one penny for Strava, but I will definitely be signing up for Trailforks.
  • 1 0
 @samdeatley: My understanding is that Epic wanted the *only* payment method to be outside the AppStore. Having an *alternative* payment method outside the store (as long as the app itself doesn't send users there) is fine. (Or at least it was - things may have moved on)
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: from the article “ We have never and don't want to sell user data,”
  • 6 0
 @whambat: I'm no IT expert, but my webbrowser does notify that when on trailforks.com, parts of the website try to track me. Also, there is a google analytics javascript running so even though Trailforks doesn't make money selling your data, Google still does.
  • 6 1
 @vinay: It's getting/asking your browser for your location, just like a multitude of other websites do so that we can display the map in your geographical region. We are not tracking you so we can sell the data.
  • 1 0
 @markholloway: Thanks for clearing that up!
  • 4 0
 Will also get more expensive with time.
  • 3 0
 @Mikevdv: maybe. Or competition from IMBA project might keep it in line. If enough people bail from Trailforks from the cost, IMBA will get more trails uploaded to it. There is nothing stoping IMBA from being as good except user uploads. It’s hard to compete with free.
  • 7 2
 I think Trailforks should pay trail builders $1.50/ month for all the joeys they sent down the trails.
Nothing wears a trail out faster than being on Trailforks.
Can we pay $1.50/ month to have our trail system not on Trailforks?
  • 3 3
 @Yaan: yeah. I was never a Joey. I started out pro. On a trail I built myself. Screw them all. Humph.

Sincerely, Donald.
  • 2 0
 @lastminutetech: Mmmmhhh, guacamole!!
  • 1 0
 @trailforks: i paid for the app and it’s still not letting me view trail maps. it keeps telling me to upgrade to pro even though i already have. what should i do? i’ve already tried deleting and re downloading the app.
  • 2 0
 @frigofff: I believe it. I went ahead and paid for it until something better comes along for free next year or it hooks me on it's trail drug.

As soon as I paid, it started glitching and wouldn't pull up the trail right down the road from me in the search tool....just the spinning wheel of "waiting".
  • 1 0
 @frigofff: There seems to be an issue with Apple purchases at the moment. We have an app update in review now to fix the issue.

You can fix your subscription by going to the "Settings" page in the app then click "Restore Pro Subscription"
  • 1 0
 I’d imagine Local trail organizations aren’t stoked on the Heatmap function. @canadaka:
  • 3 1
 @ocnlogan: yes, they could use Openstreetmap for maps and Openweather for weather. They are making excuses for charging. "Only $30 a year." Except Strava went all premium, and a few other are now charging. So all these little monthly charges add up during a depression.
  • 1 0
 @willtriv: Backcountry Navigator is a great app for map viewing and downloading for no data areas that uses OSM
  • 1 0
 @frigofff: get a refund, download the Aptoide app, then download the old Trailforks version. Easy
  • 1 0
 @trailforks: Wait, you aren't using MapTiler>Open Street Map as it states on the map service? Maybe add those pay for external services in the pro account and leave the free user generated content in the free version. Seems like a weird way to package extra bells and whistles into a subscription.
  • 1 0
 @canadaka: I ended up buying it twice. Totally worth it if there's a Trailforks Apple Watch GPS tracking app soon. Can't wait to get rid of Strava.
  • 1 0
 @goffboy: $36 actually
  • 1 0
 @Kiwimatt: So how much are you paying a year
  • 2 0
 @slave1: I ended up paying something like $17/year. Definitely worth it for me.
  • 318 74
 Only issues with this:

1. Took the community's submitted trail data, monetized it for their own profit.
2. Ran any competitors out of the industry before implementing charges.
  • 112 9
 Yeah - It's the classic .com business model. Burn cash and use crowd sourced data until competitors are out of business then once a monopoly has been established monetize.
  • 38 3
 Might be cool if we could earn credits towards the annual fee by submitting status and trail updates, although I'd be worried some users would start spamming useless or incorrect info to get free membership.
  • 30 1
 This. But it's our own fault. If anyone here is in the IT space, you probably know of stackoverflow, which did a similar thing in the Q&A space for tech. The difference: ALL of their data is available for free under a CC-SA license as they rightly admit the community built their network. If a billion dollar company can do this, can Trail Forks admit the same and provide an ongoing data dump of the trails we gave them for free?
  • 64 13
 To be fair to trailforks the pricing model is VERY reasonable. Cloud infrastructure is not free, and trailforks has started to explode out of being a predominantly PNW app to a much larger global userbase while also expanding outside of cycling. We are conditioned to think that stuff in the cloud costs nothing because of business models like youtube (which now is more digital billboard that service) but the reality is cloud based apps at scale have overhead costs (not including the cost of paying developers).

They are also charging for convenience only (the app format) and putting no paywall whatsoever around the data which can still be accessed freely through a browser. You can still plan your whole ride, get GPS info and view trail data before your ride there is just a charge to use it on trail on your phone.

In a sport with such a high cost of entry $3 a month seems pretty reasonable for the service offered and in my opinion MUCH better than having to view ads while trying to access the information.
  • 43 10
 Yes, they profit from data they receive for free. But the data are basically worthless unless aggregated, analyzed, and effectively presented back the community. There is a significant cost to that whole process, and that is what we are being charged for. I would appreciate an ad supported option or a flat one time fee because I'm so burned out on all the subscriptions out there, but this is fair. Think of it this way, most riders probably only travel few times a year. You could subscribe for a couple months out of the year and use Trailforks on your trips for the cost of a decent burrito. Seems okay to me. Although it would be cool to see some sort of incentive for significant contributors.
  • 76 12
 As a GIS pro and industry professional who has added a great deal of TF content, this is dismaying. The business model is still, volunteers generate and administer content, but now Pink Bike cashes in on my time?
  • 50 4
 It's almost like Pinkbike is a business.
  • 80 9
 I feel stupid for putting so much work adding all the trails in my region.
  • 29 8
 Another way to look at it might be. Provided an expensive platform for users to share trail data at their own cost for years and now are trying to find a way to recoup some of that cost. Maybe the competitors just weren't as good.
  • 67 0
 As an end-user, I'm happy to pay for the pro version. $36/yr is a very reasonable fee for the value I get out of Trailforks.

BUT - I have two concerns about how they've chosen to deal with free/paid content.

First, if the app isn't free, doubtless fewer users will add/update trails. So, in the long term the data-quality will suffer.

Second, Trailforks has gotten lots of mountain bike associations to use them as their official trail maps. In fact, our local association switched from a "Become a member to access GPX maps" to "Everything's free on Trailforks" model within the past couple years.

That model doesn't seem nearly as appealing if now, those trail maps are gated behind a paywall on mobile devices from a 3rd party company.

I'd love to hear from the Trailforks team what discussions they've had with local MTB associations that use Trailforks as their primary trail maps, and how they feel about the switch.
  • 8 5
 @UnWiseOwl: I think the point is that the infrastructure costs a lot of money and they can no longer do it for free. We have all contributed but that's the whole point of all of these apps to provide a community we can share and build.
  • 37 35
 I deleted the app as soon as I saw this. Too many better options out there for me.
  • 17 0
 I don't begrudge them an income stream. How else is this platorm supposed to be viable? I have personally spent hours working on trail descrptions and updates in and around my home town and am the Trailforks admin in the area. I look at it as my contribution to my local riding area and trail association. That said I probably won't sign up for the pro version as I rarely travel far with my bike.
  • 18 23
flag cxfahrer (Aug 31, 2020 at 9:28) (Below Threshold)
 Deleted. I found the app useful in places where I dont ride very often, but it is really bad when you bike away from LTE, because the basemap does not load. So when you are looking for that superduper trail out there in the woods, and there are soo many trail entries but you dont know where and which, it is useless. I waited soo long for offline loadable basemaps, osm based - now they may come but only when I pay for it. No! First the maps, and then I may think about it again.
  • 20 8
 @RoboDuck: No shit! I'm about ready to give up on smartphones altogether because every single thing in the app store is borderline unusable because of ads. Trailforks is pretty much the only thing I use my phone for that I couldn't do with a flip phone, and I'll gladly pay $3 for that.

To all the whiners: sure the data was "free" (minus the cost of developing a way to submit it), but development and hosting is not. In fact - this might come as a shock - developers cost money; in fact, they cost more than your gps tracks.
  • 8 2
 @UnWiseOwl: As a GIS and industry pro, how much does your employer spend on Arcview licenses? Compared to the value of the time you've spent contributing to trailforks?
  • 6 1
 @cxfahrer: All of the basemaps are saved on your device for out of service viewing. It has been this way for years.
  • 12 1
 @Weens: Hello fellow oldster. It's not called ArcView any more Wink
  • 35 3
 @atourgates: I'd like to see a commitment that the underlying data will be available to the public, for free, perpetually. Like many, I have spent plenty of time uploading and editing data. Charging others for what has been provided freely by volunteers smells wrong. Better yet, spin TF into its own nonprofit entity, like Wikipedia for example, so that the data generated by the public is owned by the public. This looks like PB pulling a bait and switch to get their users to build a resource for them to monetize.
  • 10 3
 @Whipperman: Why? the value for other people is still there. Why should Trailforks be expected to put the whole system together for everyone for free?
  • 12 3
No they dont. At least two times I had blank screen with only the trail and my location marked, nothing else. When approaching LTE or at least 3g, the map was bck again. I did not find anything in the menu to change this. All regions were preloaded on my phone.
I am using osm on orux asan alternative with preloaded trails and maps,this always worked (since 2011 or so).

I am really pissed off because I contributed a lot of trails around Europe and uploaded fotos etc., over the last years.
  • 21 1
 I'm a bit disappointed in the news that Trailforks is coming out charging people for the map feature on the mobile apps. The data points are basically mapped by users who want to share the routes and they're mapped on OpenSource GIS maps that are supposed to be free for all to use! Now, they're going to limit that by region? I think if I'll start to look at other options such as MTB Project or if I'm pissed off enough, I'll create my own trail mapping app using MapBox or OpenStreetMap - this is what Trailforks use or have used for displaying the map interfaces.
  • 21 2
 So who's going to make a copyright claim for their data and trails first?
Or maybe bill them for your work?
  • 16 5
 @CSharp: and mapbox will charge you every time your users use your app, just like it does trailforks. As does every other service. Never mind the infrastructure to run 1000s of requests per second.
It comes down to if one thinks that trailforks Is building the system well and efficiently or not.
I think we go to great lengths to do so.
  • 21 1
 Easy resolution here: Reward the trail contributors with free months for contributions, retroactively and for future contributions.
  • 2 4
 I'd say the payback for the users' participation in collecting data is that, at most, you pay $36 a year.
  • 5 8
 I make +$36/hour as an engineer.
  • 18 1
 @radek: Mapbox is based on OpenStreetMap, which is Open Source - API and all should be free for anyone mapping and viewing the maps. However, if Trailforks starts charging people for using the maps, of course the licensing agreement changes with Mapbox or OpenStreetMaps - everyone wants a piece of the pie if monetary value is involved. It's like any software development, if the GPL states that an API is for non-commercial use for it to be free to public use. Once money is involved the agreement changes.

It's great that the maps that Trailforks displays on the computer and mobile apps work as intended, but the navigation and some quirks have gotten me lost quite a few times. I stopped using it ever since I got a Garmin unit, which is able to load different map API's. My main issue with Trailforks is that the navigation pointer always point in the opposite direction to where I'm facing and the map remains static north, even when I push the compass to try and rotate the map so that the pointer points to the direction of heading. However, the recalibration interface comes on and makes the map turn north again. Just a pain in the butt! On the Garmin, it's fine when you're moving, but when you're stopped, the map is shown in the North orientation. You can rotate the map so that the pointer points in the direction where you're facing, but you shouldn't have to do this! If mobile navigation apps such as Here WeGo, Maps.Me and Magic Earth can correctly navigate with downloadable maps for free, I can't see why Trailforks can't do the same with similar business strategy.

Your comment on "1000s of requests per second" occurs if the maps are accessed like Google Maps where a section of the map is loaded as it's moving. Trailfork GPS "map" info are downloaded but not some of the layers, which are streamed if you have data. So, if you're not using data, you'll see the routes on your phone, but no layer images that overlay the maps. So, any rivers buildings and green areas are not shown as opposed to downloaded maps from other navigational apps. So, this can be avoided if the layers are included as part of the downloadable map regions, thus saving thousands of requests per second - which is unnecessary.
  • 3 0
 i figured way back that it was the way, but i never saw any ads. used it all the time. for $18 per year i have not problem specially if it will get better.
  • 3 1
 Ah, Trailforks is out there riding the trails too. I was surprised when he was in the Shed riding trails. Looks like he did the whole Shed plus many trails that riders didn't not know about or didn't use anymore as the focus was on new trails with new TFF's. Trailforks probably rides during the day and does IT at night so $1.50 is not even a pop or beer!
  • 12 0
 @CSharp: Open source data + code does not mean free API access. Just because your code is GPL doesn't mean people can throw as many requests at your server as they want. Completely orthogonal topics.
  • 4 0
 @atourgates: They discussed in the article:

"To recognize their continued efforts we are providing five free Trailforks Pro subscriptions per trail association, which are intended to be used by trail administrators. Also, members that are set up as local region admins on Trailforks can get a free Trailforks Pro subscription. They must have at least 10 Trailforks contribute points, meaning they’ve helped contribute some data to the platform. Local admins apply for free subscription here via the Trailforks website (not the app).

In addition, all the great tools, data & widgets are still available for free on the website for trail association usage."
  • 1 0
 @Whipperman: Lol, same here!
  • 6 11
flag kurtmac2 (Aug 31, 2020 at 14:18) (Below Threshold)
 Only issues with this: the amount of ruts Marxist tears created.
  • 34 3
 If it wasn’t crowd-sourced data, it would be $50/mo and always out of date. There’s a service being provided and $1.50 or $3/mo is plenty cheap enough. Think of it as buying the good folks running the servers one cheap pint a month.
  • 7 1
 @Auto-XFil: ^^^^^^this^^^^ have all my up votes
  • 4 0
 Pretty much all the actual trail location data (not reports or photos) is just open street map data. Open street map is what literally every mapping service pulls from (including giants like google maps). Open Street maps stated purpose is to democratize access to map data to enable individuals and companies to produce things like this
  • 2 1
 @BiNARYBiKE: because they built an app, they didn't build any maps. We could have chosen OSM instead. In fact, I kept all my gpx for OSM submission too.
  • 9 0
 @radek: eehhhh how big are these requests? there is a big differences between 1000 hits on in memory counters and comments vs total trail history of a province summing the daily total of new KM added per day. I feel like its pretty efficient, but you guys are charging for the wrong things and are ultimately gonna give away the crown because of the non-local BS. No one needs TF at home and there are already too many people not using it.
  • 4 3

“We greatly appreciate the work local admins and ambassadors have put in to help map trails, as well as manage and curate the content in their areas. It's a vital piece in making a global platform like this work.

To recognize their continued efforts we are providing five free Trailforks Pro subscriptions per trail association, which are intended to be used by trail administrators. Also, members that are set up as local region admins on Trailforks can get a free Trailforks Pro subscription. They must have at least 10 Trailforks contribute points, meaning they’ve helped contribute some data to the platform. Local admins apply for free subscription here via the Trailforks website (not the app).
  • 5 2

“We greatly appreciate the work local admins and ambassadors have put in to help map trails, as well as manage and curate the content in their areas. It's a vital piece in making a global platform like this work.

To recognize their continued efforts we are providing five free Trailforks Pro subscriptions per trail association, which are intended to be used by trail administrators. Also, members that are set up as local region admins on Trailforks can get a free Trailforks Pro subscription. They must have at least 10 Trailforks contribute points, meaning they’ve helped contribute some data to the platform. Local admins apply for free subscription here via the Trailforks website (not the app).
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: that's going to be some pretty drunk server admins...
  • 1 1
 @atourgates: in the article it says they have 5 free memberships for each trail association so that the people who put the most into their local trails get to use the app for free
  • 2 0
 @sweaman2: this. This alone makes me want to bail on trailforks and pinkbike. Super lame on their part.
  • 3 1
 Trailguide has the much leaner and faster interface anyway. Uninstlled trailforks right away and will never again.
  • 2 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: they also have popular trails in one gpx track and you only see the uphill if you select the trails. Trailforks for some reason has every trail cut into tiny pieces which sucks for downloading and orientation on the main map. I hope trailguide fills in the gap.
  • 1 0
 @Docster: why? Just revert to an old version with Aptoide. Takes about 60 seconds
  • 3 0
 @Docster: name one app that is better. The rest are trash. Trailforks is one of the most used apps on my phone. $1.50 is nothing
  • 2 1
 @mtshakira: trailguide is not a real app that you can use offline but I never really used tf offline anyway because it's shitty to navigate outdoors with it. For me trailguide is better because it isn't bloated with info I don't need. There is just one gpx track for a good trail that's worth exploring. I download it with a few clicks into oruxmaps and off I go. If I want to do the same with trailforks I often have to download multiple segemts that are named differently to what the trail is usually known, have to deal with the sluggish interface and uphill segments that are shown even if I'm primarily interested in dh trails.
  • 171 21
 So, we gave you all your data, and now you want to charge us for it? Sorry, nope.

Don’t need to looks at trail maps of my local area where I spend 90% of my ride time, cuz I know ‘em already. No value there -at all.

Do need to look at maps when riding new areas, but I’m only in new places maybe 10% of the time, so it’s not worth paying a monthly subscription for something I only use occasionally.

You need to match the revenue model to the usage cases. For example, I’d pay a one time charge ($5 or $10) to download a new ride zone when I visit it, (with free updates for a year), but I’m not signing up for a subscription model I won’t need regularly- especially during Covid times when travel ain’t happening.

It was good while it lasted. Sigh.
  • 17 2
 These are good points. I like the idea of renting map areas; how about 99 cents per year? Then if I'm planning a trip I buy a few areas ahead of time, get any updates over the next year and I'm done. I don't have to pay monthly for something I don't use all winter, The guy renting bikes to tourists can give recommend the free app or buying a specific region, and that dude in the comments above who loves TF for his local area can keep tracking "new features and re-routes" (he must have more up-to-date data than me). You can even share the revenue with the trail orgs in their areas!

Are we still paying for data we provided you? yes, but it seems way more in line with how most will use it; there's a direct link between what /how/when I pay and the value I get from it.
  • 21 1
 Also, if you don’t want to see a full ground stop on new content, you need to figure out a way to give uploaders free access forever to their own uploaded content. I,e if I contribute to a trail’s content in any way, then that trail Is not greyed out for me. Otherwise, why should I waste my time working for you guys and not getting paid something back?

In fact, you should design an entire incentive system around contributions. The more TF points you have, you get full access to a new region free. Award new regions, or months of full access subscription based on TF points achieved.

Also need to figure out a way to support trail associations and give them a reason to care about TF rather than just publishing their own maps and GPX on their own websites. For example, you join a trail association at a certain level, you get full Trailforks App access to all their trails as long as you remain an active member. I usually throw some $$ to the local trails group when touristing in their area. Fit a TF access/download into that equation.
  • 23 2
 Totally agree. You should be able to purchase a region for a one-time fee rather than paying a monthly subscription. If I want to download Colorado trails, or even SW Colorado trails, charge me $1.99. Let those data be downloaded for one year and then disappear. If I don't go back next year, that's fine because I'll pay $1.99 for the Sea to Sky corridor download when I go there. Etc. This system would be very similar to Avenza Maps App. It would be much better than a subscription.

About a year ago, when Trailforks announced they wanted to be the "all trails" app and start cataloging hiking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, etc., etc. trails, I got worried. They started as a mountain biking trails app, and they were good at that. Now, after users have given them tons of info mountain biking trails, they want to shoot the moon, but they've spread themselves too thin and can't do it without our monthly payments. I wish they would have stuck to what they were good at and originally intended to do. Frown

Yeah, it's not expensive. The subscription model is just disappointing.
  • 7 0
 @zwa2: $1.99 is the perfect pricing for limited time regional access when traveling. When I thought about it, my original off the cuff $5-10 was way too high, but no way to edit comments.Thx!
  • 9 1
 Agree 100%. Not opposed to paying, though it will piss me off in the short run, but the structure they’ve built just doesn’t make sense to me at all.
  • 6 0
 Couldn't you just subscribe for one month, pay the $2.99 and then cancel until you travel somewhere again?
  • 2 1
 @zwa2: Totally agree all of this!
  • 1 1
 Agree with the above points 100%
I don’t need my local area need it for areas I visit. C ya
  • 2 0
 @MattyBoyR6: No, that's far too logical. We don't accept logic in the comment section.
  • 4 2
 Nsteele hit it right on the head. I don’t need trail forks for my local trails. Why the hell would I pay monthly for something I “need” so rarely. Trailforks and Strava, both deleted from my life this summer for the same reason, and doing so caused exactly zero impact on my life.
  • 3 1
 @SirShralpsAlot Maybe you continued to read the comments, maybe not. If you did, or if you have already signed up, you'll know that it's not actually a monthly charge, as advertised, but rather an annual charge of $18. So, unfortunately your "logic" doesn't work here. Wish it did, but the TF crew is one step ahead of you.
  • 6 0
 At the end of the day, I’d be sufficiently happy if they just offered an additional option to purchase 1 month of access for $1.99. When traveling to a new area, happy to buy access for that period at that price.

Totally get that they need to generate revenue somehow. It’s not a big expense, obviously. It’s the recurring, largely-unused subscription-that-you-forget-about-and-pay-forever type thing that’s most irritating.

Keep your annual subscription option. Just give us an additional, reasonable short term access price structure, so we can buy it when we need it and not have to give you money in the months when we don’t. That would be easy to implement, and gives your users more control in choosing how to consume your product. Stave off the revolt now!
  • 8 0
 @MattyBoyR6: do you mean theoretically, or as it is now? They are actually charging annual but keep quoting "per month" to make it sound super cheap. Subscribing (and then cancelling) on a monthly basis would be a major PITA. I wish they would just sell regions as one-time or limited-time with updates for $X. I won't subscribe annually but I sure would buy 2-3 regions for every road trip. that might be $20 each year vs. zero under the subscription model.
  • 2 0
 @mtallman2: My guess is that it makes sense from a technical implementation - it's pretty easy to restrict functionality (i.e changing areas) at a global pro/ not pro level. Managing a user's distinct set of purchased data would be far more invasive on their existing code base and take more infrastructure, plus new code for finding, purchasing, updating etc. That said, enough push back combined with those who buy a subscription might give them enough time & money to implement the changes required by this far superior licensing model... Anyone listening @trailforks ? Experienced Dev Manager with SaaS experience happy to give you my (not so) free advice!
  • 4 3
 Aaaaand, buh-bye Trailforks. It was so handy. Frown
  • 9 1
 This is EXACTLY my thought. If you can't match the licensing model to how users actually use the product...its a management failure. I've nearly every permutation of this over the last 10yrs as a software sales person and this isn't appropriately modeled to fit the use-case of the users. Most no one cares about maps for their local area anyways. Yes subscription revenue is nice and predictable...but it needs to be done correctly and fit the use-case. They've only opened the door for other tools now rather than protected their user base, reaped some cash and provided a premium experience. They are providing nothing substantially new for this "premium experience"...they are just monetizing it and saying they'll do some cool stuff in the future. That's bush league software management. I like the tool and use it for sure. It opens doors for the sport and when in new areas is so helpful. It likely has saved life or two with people getting lost as well. But this was a misstep in my opinion.
  • 4 2
 @Svinyard: They are allowing free use in your home area and providing free subscriptions to trail builders and associations So you don't have to pay to ride your local trails. You only have to pay if you travel outside your home area so it is like buying a trail map when you need it. From my perspective it is a pretty good match to where users should see value and pretty fair. Unlike Strava who just put everything behind a pay wall.
  • 6 0
 @notdentist: Why would I need a trail app for my home trails tho? They are my home trails...my kindergartner knows half of them. I literally only ever use Trail Forks when I'm somewhere new-ish and I think that is probably the main usage aside from newbie riders.
  • 1 1
 @Svinyard: Sorry I am really confused now. I thought your original point was they weren't matching the value of paying to the user value profile. I was trying to highlight that you only have to pay in areas that you don't know and should see value in paying for. Which is a perfect match to the licensing model.
  • 3 0
 @notdentist: Yeah but I'm stuck paying monthly for it even tho I'm not riding new areas all the time where I need an app. Its not like Spotify where I use it every day/week to consume tons of music. The few times I need it at a new trail system (when traveling)...I spend about 10 mins in it and thats it. Then there is winter. Do I now go and shutdown the monthly subscription during the winter ski season? So now its a hassle that I have to go and turn the thing on and off...otherwise I'm paying for nothing. The monthly thing isn't a good fit.
  • 2 2
 @Svinyard: I believe Spotify is $10/month. Trailforks is $18/year which is basically the cost of a trail map or two. Which I used to always lose and have to buy over and over. Should they have charged $10/month and then allowed you to cancel each month you don't use it? That sounds like a pain.
  • 5 0
 @notdentist: 36$ a year for an app is silly (normal cost)...especially considering I use it about 10mins a month. If you think that's great, then that's fine but I'm not in that group.
  • 2 2
 @Svinyard: Its only $18/year if you sign up now. Personally, I am happy to pay to support and app I like in a sport I love. Cheers
  • 1 0
 @plyawn: & others, I was not aware that it was an annual charge, not a monthly charge as stated in the release write up. I guess this is the same way I determine if I want to buy a new part, its cheaper if I break it down by per expected mile used but I still need to shell out $400 up front.
My other cheapo way would be to just use the desktop version on my phone, but that wont give me exact location on the trail I don't think. But since I use it on my phone 1-3 times a year I doubt I'll feel much impact by not using it and having to navigate like its 2010.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: this is the big problem. $36 up front for something I use maybe 2 total hours a year on my phone? No thanks.

If it was Spotify changing their model and asking for $110 for a year, yup. I know I'll be using it more than enough to justify that.

And really that kinda highlights the issue with a monthly sub to tf. The "cost per minute used" is actually insane, it would be higher than any other subscription I've ever had.
  • 113 14
 why would i need an app to tell me about the trails in my most-ridden area?
  • 6 9
 Useful if you move cities.
  • 14 17
 You never travel? You never ride other trail network?
  • 4 3
 @Boodwiser: Or just visiting a new area
  • 30 1
 Oh I get what you mean, the free one are the one in your area... yeah kinda pointless.
  • 18 0
 @ybsurf: you only get the option to set the square once. if you want to see any trails outside that square, you gotta pay. the app becomes useless unless you subscribe
  • 8 3
 Conditions updates, re-routes, new features or entire new trails, usage data, etc. I look at it for my local trails all the time, just not for navigation.
  • 26 34
flag brianpark FL Editor (Aug 31, 2020 at 9:40) (Below Threshold)
 Also, new riders just joining the sport.
  • 65 10
 @brianpark: Is it possible to remove the trails i made and uploaded from TF?
That would be fair now.
So if you decide to monetize and that was a one sided decision, then i should be able to remove my trails if i want. Trails i physically made.
  • 10 0
 @brianpark: that's great if you're a new rider in pemberton or fruita, but if you're new in my home of Portland OR, you'll struggle to fit more than one trail system into that square.
  • 2 0
 @ybsurf: That is the point that tpg is trying to make. You need trailforks when you are outside of your local box and it is hard to pinpoint where you might need it.
  • 14 1

I'd want to do the same. I'm a software developer but hate the current trend of hoarding data and monetizing after the fact.
Subscriptions are also hardly worth the price for every user.
  • 1 0
 @Boodwiser: how would I’d know if you’ve moved to another area or if your on vacation?
  • 3 3
 It kind of says in the article, doesn't it? People building and maintaining trails typically do so in their local area. So if they want to log that, they can do so without paying. If you want to use Trailforks for exploring trails outside your local area, that is what you pay for. I think it is super fair.
  • 19 3
 @vinay: People building and maintaining trails typically do so that anyone who maybe come to they area can enjoy that trails too. So if you come to Croatia, to my town, you can ride the trails i build for free, because i was naive enough to publish trails on platform which started as free, and deceivingly turn to payed mobile app, harvesting my fruit of labor without asking me if i'm ok with that.
TF invested they say...Yes, so did I, tools, time, money, blisters, sore back, argues with my wife... Never asked back for anything, just wanted to contribute and share.

So OK, TF fooled manny, good luck with that.
  • 6 0
 @tpg512: sea to sky bubble these guys no idea how the rest of the world needs to work harder to find decent trails to ride.
  • 11 19
flag SirShralpsAlot (Sep 1, 2020 at 7:09) (Below Threshold)
 @Toninhohr: Trailforks invested millions, employed several people with real wages, spent over six years and countless hours developing their product. I've built many trails for free and had free advertising for years from trailforks, and still do. Comparing your small amount of man hours to the enormous amount of work required to create, market, maintain and grow a product like this is ridiculous. Building trail is something done as a past time, for recreation and for fun. Having a legitimate business like trailforks have it advertised for you is gravy.
  • 10 2
 @SirShralpsAlot: I think you have your argument completely backwards, @Toninhohr put the hard physical work in and shared it freely with this community of riders and trailforks took that and placed it behind a paywall that he doesn’t get any benefit from.
  • 4 0
 @Peskycoots: Isn't it all still freely available from the website? I'm not too familiar with Trailforks (yet) but I thought it was possible to download the .gpx files to transfer them to GPS watches etc. If so, anyone can still transfer them to whatever platform they prefer.
  • 8 13
flag markholloway Mod (Sep 1, 2020 at 8:32) (Below Threshold)
 @Peskycoots It is a misconception that Trailforks is behind a paywall. The website can still be used to view and search for new places to ride. The website and all the trails that have been added are available to everyone to view whenever they want. The app can still be used for basic navigation outside of your free region. The trails are all still visible as grey lines, you can still see trail descriptions, reports photos, and videos. Trailforks being behind a paywall is just not true at all.
  • 10 4
 @SirShralpsAlot: Well, TF found their way. Hope their mind and conscious is at peace like mine is. Just bare in mind, no trails, no TF.
I logged out, uninstalled the app and go on like before TF. Not my kind of project anymore. Learned something, though.
  • 7 4
 @markholloway: that’s all semantics, you didn’t physically dig the trail so what benefit is trailforks pro to the trail builder? They get worn out trails they have to rebuild by hand which benefit’s you with subscriptions to your app yet the trail builders get nothing. I understand you wanting to charge for the app but a subscription will lessen the users which lessens its usefulness. Sell us an app, don’t paywall user submitted app features.
  • 3 4
 @Peskycoots: I have built many trails, which I have mapped and submitted to trailforks. The benefit of trailforks to the trail builder is having your trail used and appreciated which is exactly why it was built. Us builders don't expect anything in return, that's not the point. The point is satisfaction in the work you have done and seeing others enjoying it. Its inevitable it will need maintenance over time, if you as a builder don't like that, building trail might not be for you. Like @markholloway said, there is no 'paywall'. You can still view any trail on the webpage whenever you choose to.
  • 2 1

So does that mean that instead of using the app you can just use your web browser on your phone while you are on the trail?
Free workaround?
  • 3 0
 @TheDoctoRR: Yes, but you need an active internet connection for that to work. But I think you can also download the GPS tracks and use them in a GPS watch or a cellphone.
  • 1 0
 So that it is easy for users to keep populating their local trail system with new trails and reports.
  • 4 1
 @Peskycoots: Hi not to jump in here but I don't believe trail builders are building for Trailforks. They are building for themselves, their buddies or their communities or because they just like it. Trailforks isn't charging for people to ride their trails but providing a platform to allow people to share their trails with their community and the world. It helps keep people find rides at their level, keeps them safe and allows them to record their rides and progress. That platform is what they are charging for like most other apps.
  • 4 0
 @notdentist: I get that, but a subscription service is off putting as the trail builders are providing the service yet Trailforks is getting the money. I would happily pay for the app once but I’m not subscribing to yet another app with, in the grand scheme of things, minor functionality. And the trailforks community will suffer as it will put off users. And I can’t imagine subscribers double dipping and pumping cash into their local trail builders.
  • 2 1
 @Peskycoots: My point is the trail builders are not doing the work for Trailforks. They are doing it for other reasons like building a cool trail to ride. Trailforks is getting money for the platform to allow you to share your trails with others. They are not charging people to ride the trails you built but rather sharing them for you. They also provide essential information to trail associations to allow them to manage the land owners which keeps trails open for all of us to use.
  • 7 0
 @notdentist: they are profiting off of the labour of others. If they want to charge for the app they should share that wealth with the trail builders and those that upload the trails.
  • 8 1
 @notdentist: Actually the more i think about it the more it annoys me. Why is it that the trail builders and the people that upload them are “just doing it for fun and for the community“, yet if you make an app it’s perfectly fine to charge people a subscription to access all that work others have done “for fun”. Like f*cking app making is legit hard work and digging trails is just something people would do anyway. Pay the trail builders for the work they have done or share it freely the way they have done with you.
  • 4 10
flag canadaka FL Mod (Sep 2, 2020 at 16:23) (Below Threshold)
 @Peskycoots: Certain people enjoy building trails and ask nothing in return. Just as certain people enjoy mapping trails and cataloging things, myself included. Creating an app and website to the scale and features of Trailforks IS hard work and has high costs to develop and run. Every user that opens the app or website costs us money.

It's not the job of a small app company of 4-5 people, that has already gone above and beyond to support trail associations, to pay trail builders for their work. This is something the entire bike industry has to tackle but more so local governments and their tax base. How much do we spend on our expensive Carbon bikes that are useless without the trails? How much do local governments spend on rinks, fields, pools and so on. A trails gps track and full info is still available for free on the website and partially in the app even without Pro.
  • 3 1
 @Peskycoots: I think you are missing the point here. You build trails for yourself or your association, friends, whatever.
You didn't have to build them and Trailforks didn't ask you to do it. You then decide you want to share your fancy new trail with others. They built a platform to do that and it costs money. Its like publishing a trail map but way more intricate and valuable. Perhaps you should charge the riders on your trails that would make more sense to me than this argument.
  • 5 0
 @notdentist: POINT is that is questionable how much people would contribute if it was not free app.
Since we all know that mobility of it is important.
Me first would not be contributing and that is why i feel deceived.
Free and social friendly nature of plaform is why i contribute ma trails on TF.

Nobody said that developing and maintaining TF is easy or free.

So in my eyes, TF done unfriendly one sided move leaving the one nice model and shifting to money making.
  • 6 0
 @notdentist: I don’t understand how you can miss the point that someone is making money from someone else’s work. Sure an app takes work but so does digging and mapping trails. Why is only one getting paid? Because they can. That’s all. It will be the undoing of this app and community which is why I’m speaking out against it. If they revised their model it could work, seriously they are not gonna get a significant amount of subscribers for something so niche and all that’s gonna happen is killing the community. Be honest, the app is shit, the best thing about it is the trails which were built and mapped by others.
  • 2 1
 @Peskycoots: We all ride and build trails because we love the sport and Trailforks built the app because they love the sport. I totally agree that the user generated content is key but without the app you wouldn't be able to see that content. That is what you are paying for. I don't disagree that people should get paid for building trails too but don't see it as Trailfork responsibility. It should be the local trail association, municipalities or cities or parks. Trailforks are just looking to get paid for their contribution and effort to the mountain biking ecosystem.

From my perspective Trailforks platform has made riding better because:

1) We can find new trails and explore new areas
2) We can record our rides so we can find the great trails again and to see how many we have done
3) We know where we are when we make a wrong turn
4) You can view videos and photos of new rides to check them out
5) We know our location in case of an emergency

For me it has absolutely changed my riding. It has opened up new terrain and made the sport fun again. I got out of the rut of riding the same trails over and over.

Also, for builders and Trail Associations it also adds a ton of benefit and provides them with:

1) Ability to share and manage trail maps easily with their community
2) Management tools to input and remove trails as required
3) Trail reports to help manage the trail maintenance
4) More safety for riders in their association
5) Information on usage that can be used to demonstrate to land owners and government the relevance of our sport to their communities. This helps keep trails open and hopefully will open up more land for us to use.

This information has completely changed the perspective of mountain biking in the eyes of governments and communities. We are no longer seen as a bunch of yahoos building crazy trails for our own use but more as an important part of the recreational profile for the community. While this may seem off putting for the more exclusive among us but it is super important for keeping trails open and us not getting shut out of trail systems by better organized and politically connected recreational groups (ie hikers and dog walkers)

For all of this I am very very happy to pay $1.50 per month and submit data and participate in the Trailforks community. It seems like a no brainer. I paid up the first day it was available. No offense if you don't agree this is just my own perspective. Also, remember it is totally free if you ride in your home area so no need to pay if you don't have to. Cheers
  • 3 0
 @notdentist: I’m not trying to convince you otherwise, I’m just saying from a trail builders perspective this is a raw deal and I expect that will have a knock on effect. This is not strava, these trails you want to ride have to be built by hand by people that aren’t seeing a penny from trailforks. Not sure why they will want to contribute to someone else’s bottom line.
  • 2 1
 @Peskycoots: yess

I'd be way more likely to pay a monthly fee for a service I "need" 4 times a year if a significant amount of that fee went towards building and maintaining trails.

As it is now, I'd much rather stop in a local shop and buy a map and get local advice.
  • 2 2
 @BasedGawd: Those company that prints and distributes those maps, do they actually contribute part of their income to trail maintenance?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: maybe, some do. Almost a guarantee the shop that profits too does tho.
  • 1 0
 @Peskycoots: fair point
  • 119 31
 This might be an unpopular opinion, but I am more than willing to pay for Trailforks. It's an amazing tool. Thanks for all the past work. If Trailforks continues to improve through the years, I'm happy to pay.
  • 28 6
 no problem paying for useful software, but the thing that makes TF have current and ongoing value is the trails. They don't pay for that. Make it a one-time payment that reflects the value of the base app, then make the app better to entice me to upgrade and continually give you money.
  • 7 1
 I'm with you there. It takes money to build and maintain something like this, and the app has been incredibly valuable when traveling, and after moving. I'm glad they are going this route versus turning into some horrible add supported privacy invasion like everything else.
  • 12 11
 I knew the reaction of pb-ers would be what we're seeing, but it's still dissapointing. Almost everyone I know is happy to pay over $100/month for a cell data plan, which doesn't really do anything useful, but ask them to pay $1.50 for something they use, people loose their shit. You can't even buy a cup of coffee for that.
  • 15 3
 Not quite the same analogy though - If I'd help to build the cell towers etc, etc then my willingness to pay would be different. Trailforks is monetizing crowd sourced data.
  • 10 1
 I would happily pay for a premium tier of trailforks that consisted of new features or enhancements to the existing app. trailforks is great and i get a lot of value out of it, and i'm happy to support the apps that i use. But getting everybody to submit their trails to an app with the understanding that you're contributing to a free shared resource for riders, and then slapping a paywall on that data that was provided in good faith isn't cool. Unless trailforks is going to pay all the people who have submitted trail maps over the years, they should only be charging for the extra stuff they add on top of the trail maps, not for the maps themselves.
  • 6 5
 @notatoad: It is a misconception that Trailforks is behind a paywall. The website where users actually add the content is still open and free. You can view and search for trails and create ride plans nothing has changed on the website. You can still use the app outside of your free region for basic navigation, the trails will just be grey. You can still see reports, trail descriptions, photos, and videos. The app is only one aspect of Trailforks. Trailforks being behind a paywall is not the case.
  • 9 4
 @markholloway: "The website where users actually add the content is still open and free"

lol yeah, exactly. "give us stuff for free so we can charge you for it"
  • 3 0
 @markholloway: If you're "in the biz" you know that mobile is where it's at though. I'd love for @trailforks to share their metrics but willing to bet more than 80% of trailforks usage is on mobile with the vast majority via the app. They may offer different ways to consume but they're charging for the way most get it maximum value. Nothing wrong with this, but the complaints around how they implemented this and how they structured payment are still valid.
  • 2 2
 @notatoad: theyre Charging for the convenience of having all of those maps and trail data in the palm of your hand WITH gps guidance. Theyre not charging for the trail data as the mod literally just stated. You can still view all of it in the free version.
  • 73 1
 Interesting that *profit* is not mentioned anywhere as a justification. They note that this is needed to pay for external services, which they have absorbed until now. Given their own counting of users and the subscription cost, this will generate $15M-$40M/year. Hard to believe they were absorbing costs on that scale.
Profit is not a shameful incentive. But implying these changes are only to improve the app, and support the community, etc, etc is disingenuous when the primary motive is obviously profit.
  • 21 1
 My Guess: TF has a huge investment in time and effort from a relatively small handful of people. They either right from the start or early on discussed the idea of spinning it out as a separate entity and giving them a piece of equity. I don't think this will be the next unicorn, but it has the potential to be a nice earner and let them continue to live and work their prefered lifestyle - isn't that most peoples dream?

How they've gone about this transition shows some inexperience however. They seemed to have focused on purely the "value for your money" mindset, which is true but completely ignores a bunch of other factors, ranging from the emotional (it was free until you could get away charging for it) and the intellectual (you built a product on the back of your community then tricked them).

I give them the benefit of the doubt that they want to meet certail goals: low cost, no ads, still value in the freebies - but they have a very vested interest in providing a single narative. Unfortunately once you destroy trust in your community it's almost impossible to win it back. I think TF will survive and might do OK under this model but I predict (1) a huge reduction in participation and potential market, (2) some significant rollbacks and changes to these new policies, (3) a lot less excitement towards new PB-esque initiatives.

In the end, we all loose.
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: With Strave valuation at $350M+, this will certainly be a huge payday for anyone with equity in the spinoff.
  • 7 0
 @Inertiaman: It could, though I don't think they compare straight up. Strava charges more, targets a bigger audience and most importantly really sells the gamification aspects. TF could do all of these but I sure hope not. They seem to be dipping their toe in similar areas (expanding beyond MTB, the social & sharing aspects). It must be hard to resist transforming the modest value that comes from building something really valuable for a small market when faced with the opportunity of huge F.U. money, especially when the errosion happens over time.

I'd love the people behind TF to all get rich - they've built something really good. The key is not to destroy it in the process.
  • 12 0
 Industry standard for freemium models is a 3-6% upgrade rate. 15-40M is wildly overestimating how much revenue this will produce.
  • 1 0
 @cdel: I was wondering if that was a wild overestimation of 100% participation/upgrade. Thanks guy.
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: is Trailforks different ownership than Pinkbike?
  • 13 5
 Corporate greed strikes again! The same thing that happened to every other website/app we've forgotten is going to happen to TF.

If the app costs too much to run throw some ads on it and charge for an ad-free version. By putting a subscription model on it (the most bullshit model of monetization) they're just going to lose a MASSIVE chunk of their user base.

Nothing about Trailforks is genius, singular, or irreplaceable. People will just start using the next free alternative. The only advantage Trailforks currently has is they've now spent years stealing all our submitted data, but once that dries up the quality will plummet.
  • 1 0
 @cdel: Valid point. I went out on a limb to assume that $18/yr might yield a much higher upgrade rate. If one interprets their "millions of users" claim as 2 million, and assuming $27/year (averaging between the $18/yr early adopter and $36 normal) that results in $540k for every 1% of users who upgrade. Now we can all place our bets on future subscriber rate. I'll admit that the 28% upgrade rate needed to hit my $15M number is a longshot.
  • 2 0
 @plyawn: I wasn't suggesting that TF would equal Strave, but it puts it in context. Besides, t seems that fake cycling is more profitable than real cycing: can you believe that Peloton's valuation is at $25B !?!? Yes, that's a $B.
  • 78 17
 Are they not adding functionality and simply blocking use to incentivize payment? Come on Trailforks. Terrible product decision
  • 15 5
 It says IN the story that they need to do it to push through more features. Got to have cash flow for development. It sucks its not free anymore, but i feel they explain their situation pretty well. This costs less than two weeks worth of shit coffee, if they're going to give me more to play with, send it. Most hiking apps cost $80-100 a year. This is a bargain and I'd rather this than adds all over my screen.
  • 13 0
 AKA - the Strava model.
  • 6 1
 Yeah this is my problem with it, we put all the work in mapping our trails then they take away access to our work and sell it back to us as a subscription. At least Komoot is free unless you want extras like offline navigation.
  • 3 0
 @TheBrosCloset: what features?? It's a f*cking map!
  • 2 0
 @miff: Yea, a map with staff that needs to get paid and bandwidth to put out. There's ton of free maps, just try finding all the good trails while GPS locating on them in a new riding area without having try to meet locals the first time there.
  • 90 32
 Thanks for uploading all the trails for free! Now pay up, suckers!

In seriousness though, Trailforks Pro is kind of bad for our riding community. We are a high traffic, high tourism area with MANY, MANY trails that Trailforks has the courtesy of letting us self-manage and keep them off. These trails appearing on riding apps is bad for the community. Trailforks Pro pushes many casual users to other free apps which have fewer features, but show pretty much every type of trail and wherever they are. This summer, I've seen a lot more people come in to the store to ask about such trails, with apps that show where they are. Pro is just going to make these trails easier to access, which I guess is too bad.

Also, I know Trailforks won't sell personal user data, but what about aggregate data? seems to me that this is more lucrative than any of the three options presented by you.

Trailforks has encouraged donations to Trail associations in the past. Do you think that switching to a subscription model will impact the rate that people donate? If more, why? If less, do you intend to create trail grants or similar to combat this?
  • 24 12
 increased ridership this year has very little to do with map apps.

Local protectionism was pretty big circa 2000 ... MTB is evolving bro.

People support local trail orgs because local trail orgs do things like support trails... trails that you dont wont published .. but you still want the $$$ from the mapping apps?

Get of my Lawn.
  • 12 2
 To be clear there's a few things going on here. The trails that our local trail associations are keeping off Trailforks are illegal trails. We aren't protecting them for the sake of oldschool "keep non-locals off", but more so when they get ridden hard and shuttled with large groups, non-riding neighbours and farmers come knocking at our door and giving us shit when it was a huge group from out of town that pissed them off. The trail association doesn't want donations/support to develop these trails. They are illegal and not managed. The trail associations try to distance themselves from them. But they still impact the community one way or another. Don't assume that my points are linked. They're separate for a reason.
  • 10 0
 What are these other apps? Maybe it's useful to support some trail forks competitors.
  • 2 0
Mtb project is one
  • 100 42
 Can somebody hold my $10 craft beer while I do a quick polish of my Kashima coating on those $1200 38's I really needed, just so I can calm down before I start ranting about a very useful app that will cost me a $1.5 per month now... It used to be free
  • 88 5
 To be fair, no one is complaining about the amount they're charging, more that your good buddy who you just helped move offered you a beer, than tried to charge you 10 bucks after you'd already drank half of it.
  • 12 17
flag sampep (Aug 31, 2020 at 9:20) (Below Threshold)
 Haha so true. Get over it TF is amazing.
  • 19 9
 Right?! It’s 1.50 a month for an app that I’m sure costs a bunch of money to run. The entitled reactions here are laughable. “I updated the trail status once and said there was snow, I deserve this for free forever.... Trailforks would be nothing without my contribution”
  • 17 3
 I'm fine with paying.
For features.

But for 5 years they've had unpaid workers do their job.
Some people get a $30 subscription as pay.
  • 5 2
 @plyawn: Great analogy. Ethically they should have stated right from the beginning that there would eventually be a charge. Of course they don't have to, so they didn't. The value of monetizing far outweighs the users they are likely to use. The question for me is has trailforks created an app worthy of helping them achieve a monopoly over that business. Tbh it probably has.

You may be pissed that your buddy is charging you 10 bucks for that beer but if you were insanely thirsty you just might pay to finish it anyway, you just wouldn't be friends anymore Big Grin
  • 4 0
 @friendlyfoe: I think you're right. I'll be angry & sad, but will likely answer PinkBike's 2am booty call...
  • 10 3
 @plyawn: Actually the better beer analogy would be this. Your friend has awesome parties and you and your buddies party there all the time. The booze, the dj, the house, etc is all free and you all have a good time. But the parties get bigger and bigger and your friend goes, hey I can't cover all the booze that everyone drinks anymore, how about you kick in a couple of bucks and we can keep the party going and it's all you can drink. And actually cause you guys are early adopters you have to only kick in half the amount. And even if you don't kick in, you can still have one drink.
But you say no, that's bullshit. You let me party and drink here for free all these years, how dare you ask me for money for my next beer! It's not my problem that you have to pay for the booze I drink every night. Greedy f*ck. You can't ask me to pay for something that I once got for nothing. After all, without people like me coming to the party, there is no party.
I think that sums up both sides.
  • 2 6
flag friendlyfoe (Sep 1, 2020 at 18:44) (Below Threshold)
 @WILLISAWSOME1166: Mmmm more like your friend used to have these little get togethers and you offered to DJ at one of them to liven things up. People loved it and told all their friends. Now your friends party is huge, has a rotating list of DJ's and is the talk of the town. You show up one night when you're not the DJ and for some reason you're not on the guest list. You get a hold of your friend and they say you're welcome to come in but you have to pay admission like everyone else.
  • 7 1
 @friendlyfoe: But as a normal app user you're not a DJ, we're predominately party goers.
To run with your DJ analogy. Your friend is a DJ, and you go to listen to him spin and more and more people are stoked what he does. But then the DJ put's on a festival for lots of people ( has to pay for insurance, and toilets, and staff, etc ), but you refuse to pay admission because you know, you consumed his music when he was smaller so of course you're entitled to his music forever.
  • 6 2
 @WILLISAWSOME1166: I'd say more accurate if you changed that to say that your friend is now charging admission to the party but isn't paying the DJ.

Is trail forks going to start paying people who contribute content?
  • 5 0
 @friendlyfoe: I imagine most of the users of this app don't contribute anything to trailforks. I just use it.
  • 2 1
 You're describing a minority of mtb riders. The average Joe has a 3 year old used demo he got for $3k. Not cheap, not a poor person's sport, but in line with other middle class hobbies. And that's important!

Lots of people are into something but don't have endless income to sink into it. That monthly fee could have been a new saddle, replacing worn out pads, etc. Maybe your 5 year old kid's $300 bike needs a little work. There's always somewhere else to spend your money in the world of MTB. Why does TF deserve a cut of those limited dollars? That's not how capitalism works, there simply isn't enough of a demand over other products to justify (another) monthly fee.

I have plenty of spare change to throw at TFpro, but that's not a reason I should. And that's never how a market bears out. I'd rather spend my money where it's useful to me in some tangible way.

Paying to see user generated trails on google maps? Not overly useful to me. Id be more likely to pay google if they did the same thing.
  • 3 1
 @OTB-Raspberry: "I'm sure costs a bunch of money to run"

Yeaaaahhhh no. Servers do cost money, but the user rate is pretty low. This isn't a popular app. 500k android store downloads means there's a cost, but it's not like the average tf user is going to open it more than once a month.

And I'd happily pay a more flexible model to actually pay for what I'd use, but I'm not about to start feeling charitable towards a data organizer app and pay wayyy more than what I'll ever use.

It's also not actually available monthly, all of you are just dividing the cost. This isn't brazzers. It would be so much better to at least be able to pay for premium for say a week long riding vacation.
  • 51 1
 This was a fun surprise when I was offline in an area I'd never been before and it wouldn't let me access the map on Thursday...and I couldn't upgrade because I was in zero cell service. Smart business move, I suppose. Get everyone hooked on it for free then ask them to pay.
  • 15 37
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 9:08) (Below Threshold)
 This should not have happened, sorry it did. Each user should get 7 unique days of use from the app, with the map totally unlocked and unchanged. Your free 7 days can end prematurely if you delete the app and reinstall it though. Because of technical limitations on iOS with how we can track unique devices.
  • 14 0
 @canadaka: How do you explain that there is zero indication that you’re on a free trial when a new user opens the app?
  • 8 0
 I read a few comments about that too. It's weird that I just used it yesterday to find a new trail I hadn't ridden locally and it didn't prompt me to kiss off. Maybe cause I'm near my local?

But not giving users any sort of advance notification and the ability to plan accordingly is kind of like giving a Boy Scout his free compass and then sneaking in at midnight on his camping trip and taking it out of his pack.
  • 4 0
 @canadaka: exact same thing happened to my friends yesterday. They were in a new area and got totally lost without access to TF. I get it...... we live in a crazy time where we depend on virtual maps, but that's the thing, a LOT of people do actually DEPEND on them as they have been consistently and reliably for years.

now to counter this, I actually sent TF crew an email a few years ago asking where I can send a donation - they've allowed us to go on multiple vacations and find great rides! so I'm not opposed to paying for pro subscription at all, but massive fail on the way this feature was coded and rolled out as is blocked access to some when they actually needed it.
  • 3 0
 Same thing happened to me over the weekend. In a remote area with zero possibility to buy the pro version and couldn't access my downloaded map. Luckily it was a relatively simple alpine trail network with good signage.
  • 8 24
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 @Hairymountainbeast: It should give you free 7 days. But it's possible if you never opened the app after it updated it never verified this. and since you were offline it defaulted to assuming the trial should be locked. This is a corner case bug we will have to address. Normally it knows the last time the app has checked your current pro and trial status and if gone offline will let you be offline for 7 days without verification. But it it's NEVER verified, this is probably the bug. This would never happen o a new app install, but if your app updated in background and the first time you used it was offline, I can see how it happens.
  • 4 0
 @canadaka: not trying to stir up he said. she said, just letting you know exactly what happened so you can trouble shoot.

Location was one of those places that has VERY spotty coverage. one bar on 1x or 3g, but no LTE coverage.
3 people had TF already installed an had been using for many years. Their app locked up as it was pinging towers just enough to tel the app to not work due to your new policy. they were unable to get enough access to actually sign up.

2 other people in same party tried to download the app. Apparently they had coverage at some point in the day since the app did download in the background while riding, but there was no 7 day free trial option showing up on home screen, and again not enough service to get it registered.

All 5 had a loooooong day in the woods. Again, if asking for $$$, these are exactly the kind of things people expect to be dialed when paying for something.
  • 6 14
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 17:00) (Below Threshold)
 @jayoutside: There is no free day 7 trial option. If they installed the app fresh the map is just completely open. There is no free area box with the rest of the map & trails greyed out. There is still a "Get Pro" link in the menu to subscribe before the 7 days of use ends. But it's not something you start or signup for, its automatic.
  • 3 0
 @canadaka: I had a similar experience when upgrading the app to latest version.
It showed the "local area rectangle" and no trails outside of it. However there was a "RESTORE_PRO_SUBSCRIPTION" menu item that I had to press to get into the trial/admin subscription. Now the rect is not showing any longer.
  • 3 0
 I had the same experience. Got super lost in the woods, and thank god I had brought a light. It also didn't help that I was pretty angry thinking about all the time I had put into updating and uploading new trails the day before (and for the past few years). Found myself wishing I had put all those contributions into my own database instead.
  • 49 0
 I'm happy to pay for apps. Also happy to pay for TF on a subscription model for added value. What I'm not happy about is That TF is not what I thought it would be. We have spent a huge amount of time in our trail org adding content to help people navigate. I have sometime spent several hours a day for long stretches of time. Time that is now hidden behind a paywall for visiting users. Things might be completely fine, or it's a slippery slope. All in all I'm a bit worried
  • 10 1
 Same guy. My goal was to make or trails more accessible to beginners and entrants to the sport. I fear some newbie who had a hard time justifying the money on a helmet won't get the experience I worked for them to have.
  • 13 39
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 13:02) (Below Threshold)
 @schofell84: We had the same concern, that's why we give new users totally unlocked unrestricted access to all features of he app for 7 days of use. And even after that they get a 7-day trial through the appstore.

visitors can still research your location on the website ahead of time as well.
  • 10 0
 @canadaka: How can a trail org or land manager now point to a paid app for navigation when there are free options available? I'm working right now on a new trail system in an area without established trails or community and we were going to point to TF for new users to navigate. How can I justify it to the land manager to now include on signage pointing towards paid product?
  • 1 0
 @pcarrier: can you point them to google maps page with your data on it or not practical?
  • 4 0
 @delamar: Getting to the trailhead isn't the problem. Navigation within the system while on the trail is where we are trying to aid new riders as much as possible. Land manager wanted to use QR codes to pull up pdf maps. Trailforks or MTB Project is an existing and better solution. I will likely upload the areas to both, but I don't think that we should suggest users at the trailhead to use a paid app for navigation.

Unfortunately I'm sure MTB/Mtn Project are also headed this direction eventually. IMBA, Access Fund or another non-profit should partner with or purchase those apps to keep them sustainable. I'd happily pay and continue to upload trail info and data knowing that my funds were going to a non-profit with the goal of serving the individual recreation communities.
  • 3 0
 @pcarrier: local trail builder puts his stuff up on google maps. Most of the trails in Sedona AZ are on google also from what I remember about my trip last time.
  • 2 0
 @delamar: use Openstreetmap, anybody can edit it. Backcountry Navigator is the app I use to view OSM. It has MTN bike specific maps, hiking specific as well. Just takes a little effort downloading the tiles but it's a gorgeous map.
  • 51 4
 If we put a trail that we built / rebuilt, can we now remove it again? Kinda sucks being expected to pay for an app that we provided the content for.
  • 12 1
 Thank you for removing the trail as requested.
  • 2 0
 throwing out a guess - the data is retained.
  • 2 0
 @dvbwn: yep. Trail is hidden, not deleted.
  • 1 1
 Associations/regions put the trail builders in their association group which is then free.
  • 4 0
 @radek: "To recognize their continued efforts we are providing five free Trailforks Pro subscriptions per trail association, which are intended to be used by trail administrators." There's probably 100+ active builders here in Squamish.

FWIW, I don't disagree with charging and the price is fair. It's just a shame that it had to be done in 'squares' rather than keeping extremely basic features free and charging for the 'extras'. When I put 18 months into a trail and put it up on TF for the good of the community, it smarts a bit being expected to pay best part of $40 to not get lost riding around Pemby once a year! Smile
  • 3 3
 @wallheater: You can still use the map outside your free region square for basic navigation.
  • 3 0
 @canadaka: this has really gone well huh ????
  • 51 9
 I understand the attrraction of the subscription pricing model, but it's kind of a BS move. The thing that warrants monthly payment is new routes and trails, but that's not what PB is funding. If the base app was constantly improving I could see paying for that, but by many accounts it's actually getting worse.

This is a classic "build a community but own the infrastructure" play - if they're going to pull this move than the data should be released with some sort of CC-SA license for other apps to consume.
  • 44 4
 I'm fine paying for the App, the route planner and other features.

But not the trails nor Open Street Map.
People spent thousands of hours adding the data, for free.
Now the admins gets a free pro account!
Who's willing to work for $30/year for administering a region, while the developers have a full salary?

Paying trailforks is like pissing on everyone who's contributed.

I understand that things cost to run.
Put ads on the web and in the app, have pro remove them.
Paywall the things _you_ have created.

Go out and map you own trails.
Or pay people to do it.

  • 7 8
 "I'm fine paying for the App, the route planner and other features."
Isn't that exactly what TF Pro is? All the data is still available completely for free on their website, but if you want to use the app and all its features now there is a (very reasonable IMO) fee for that extra convenience.

"Paywall the things _you_ have created."
Uhh ... they created this whole damn system for sharing/finding trails and are still only asking people to pay for access to part of that system.

"Put ads on the web and in the app, have pro remove them."
I do agree with you here, I think an ad supported free tier would have been a smarter move.
  • 53 14
 As something I’m constantly recommending to my customers to use so they don’t get lost, many of them first time users, not regular riders. The number one reason they are willing to use is the free part. This really isn’t cool. The platform was ideal already, it’s going to be very difficult to convince people to pay for an app after they just paid for a rental, and a shuttle. I’m in Moab, your free square won’t work here, our area is too big. Not cool, not cool, not cool. People are going to end up using REI’s shitty free app and get lost and turned around. Ugh.
  • 13 23
flag nvranka (Aug 31, 2020 at 8:37) (Below Threshold)
 ...it’s a few bucks. Lol.
  • 23 23
 The app is still free to download. The free area would cover all of Moab. But if you recommended it to new users, they get 7 ride days of totally unlocked free usage, that would likely cover their trip. Additionally the map is not completely locked out, you can still see the trails for basic navigation, view recommended routes, trail conditions.
  • 3 0
 Why won't the free square work in Moab? I just drew one out on the existing trailforks map and it covers everything from Klondike Bluffs to Amasa Back comfortably. The entire Whole Enchilada is in there as well.
  • 2 5
 @nvranka: lol seriously.
  • 3 2
 @nvranka: tell that to the tourists
  • 14 8
 Your customers are going to pay hundreds of dollars for a rental and shuttle and balk at $3 for a map? Wow. That's their problem, not Trailforks's
  • 9 2
 So the app that stops people getting lost is a bad thing? Customers bought maps in the old days (I did), now they can buy Trailforks. The fact that it gives recommended directions is brilliant. They have earned my money and will continue to get it.
  • 5 1
 @adj227: exactly this. There’s always been a nominal charge for knowledge.
  • 1 1
 Maybe Trailforks can offer a one month/week/day/whatever pass that shops could give out to those renting bikes? A little more inconvenient than just downloading an app, but better than nothing.
  • 9 2
 @5afety3rd If I'm on vacation, the last thing I need to do is flush precious time down the toilet getting lost and hunting down trails.

If someone's too stupid to see the value in a few bucks to make sure their holiday time isn't squandered (especially after booking a rental and shuttle) - well, that's just a lesson they need to learn.
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: is there a way to see how the basic navigation will work without waiting 7 days?
  • 3 3
 @kjaer: Not currently, unless you are in iOS. If you delete and reinstall the app your 7-day trial will end. Otherwise I posted a few screenshots in the article.
  • 1 2
 @canadaka: good hint, i will do it on my wife's phone. thanks
  • 5 0
 @adj227: Yeah, people sold maps. On Vancouver Island there was an awesome guide and map put out every few years. But TF put out a free map for years, bankrupting map makers, eliminating any competitors and now charging people for a product that they represented as being open access.
  • 5 0
 @wtroost: exactly

There used to be trailmapps for Squamish, whistler, and Pemberton. - they were 10 bucks each and I found the interface nicer to use then teailforks. Unfortunately they stopped updating a few years back and now there is no other option then trailforks.
  • 2 0
 @adj227: I bought my cellphone, all these apps come with it for free. And if they charge, I just revert to the old app version. I did pay a few apps a one time small fee to remove ads, but a yearly charge to use an app that was always free? No thanks. They can stop using Google and switch to Openstreetmap to lower costs. Openstreetmap is free and always has been, people all over the world use it, and there are no ads.
So I won't be updating Trailforks, that's why I have auto-update turned off.
  • 1 0
 @MountainAddict: Just pay for one account and split it between 5 of your friends. Problem solved.
  • 48 12
 In the Month of July people donated over $6k to EMBA in Washington, thru the trail forks app. The TF crew worked hard to make sure that money went to the right places. They didnt take a cut, but they helped make sure the proper Trail Associations got the money.
I've worked personally with the guys at Trailforks helping set up my local trail network. It's been valuable for reporting issues and responding to the them quickly, or just seeing how things are currently running. No other app is going to do that for you. Spending $1.50 a month to help them grow is much better then seeing ads pop up every time i'm trying to look at a trail.
I dont get all the upset folks complaining about a tool that actually works well and is to the point where you can rely on the data and not just "hope" it is somewhat accurate. Take a look at your local trails on "Alltrails" and i bet there are "routes" sending hikers up downhill bike trails and riders into illegal areas because somebody post a game track they found one day. People need to quit complaining and go ask mommy to raise your allowance by $1.50 so you dont get lost and miss curfew.
  • 36 2
 So $1.50/month is misleading. You can't purchase it by the month, only annually. Why obfuscate this fact with literally ALL fhe mentions of cost being tied to per-month?
Its $36/year, or $18/year if you sign up in next 30 days.
  • 2 0
 Openstreetmap is free and always will be. I use Backcountry Navigator to view on mobile. It has mtn bike specific, hiking, regular city maps and the ability to add or remove landmarks like restaurants or 15 other options.
  • 34 1
 Next step: Garmin or Strava buys Trailforks Mapping, Inc, ends all Trailforks subscriptions, folds them into their own paid schema, and all this user generated content will be sold back to us for $18/month.
  • 3 0
 can i borrow your looking glass??
  • 40 8
 “Hey man, bust out Trailforks and see if we are on the green trail or the double black diamond trail.”

*in app purchased required*


“well, it’s been nice knowing you...”
  • 11 6
 if you can't tell the difference....
  • 6 3
 You'd probably be able to tell the green from the double black fairly quickly by glancing down the trail Wink
  • 10 10
 "Wow - I can't believe we spent the past 5 hours of our vacation wandering around lost, and finished up on the crappiest trails imaginable."

"I know! And because I took a massive digger on that double black trail, those stitches / hospital bill set me back a few hundred bucks. Not to mention the $500 bucks of damage to my bike."

"But thank god we saved ourselves from paying $2 bucks for the app! We learned those guys at trailforks a lesson!"

  • 26 1
 Is there any data about how much money has been sent to local trail associations so far?
The trail associations are the ones creating the resources being mapped in trail forks. Without that there is no trailforks.
Wold love to understand if the subscription model will put more money into the trails.
  • 10 1
 Totally, as a trail builder, trail association administrator, and content creator/submittor this kind of hurts.
  • 17 10
 While we greatly appreciate all users who contribute data it's not the normal that trail associations create the content. Some do for sure, but more often then not it's power users to do the majority of the mapping on Trailforks. The majority of the trails added to Trailforks is done actually be a fairly small number of users. Just 4 TF staff members have done over 10% alone. Many trail associations take control and manage their region after the data has been input, which is what we want. We have given free Pro subscriptions to the vast majority of users who have contributing the most amount of content or help manage it. There is opportunity to give incentives or rewards to users that contribute that don't fall under our free subscription criteria.

Our Trail Karma month and all it's promotion last month raised $148,000, we will continue to promote Trail Karma feature and have more ideas around this for the future, helped with more Trailforks resources to put behind it! We absolutely have always been concerned with helping support the trails and trail associations that advocate for them.
  • 13 0
 @canadaka: good to know, but it's not the content or the act of mapping that's the subject of my query.. it's the cold hard dirt on the ground.. the actual resource.
I guess my question or concerns is that once users begin a subscription based service, will their be less incentive for users to donate more of their money back into the trails or will trail forks continue to push the trail karma program?
I recognise PB and TF are cash contributors in some communities but as I said without the trail associations volunteer hours, getting money to build and maintain trails, there is no trailforks.
  • 4 0
 @canadaka: This is definitely anecdotal, but all trail submissions in my area have been made by members. Maybe not admins, but local club members.
  • 39 16
 OK, how about the TF give me a 4$ a month for making 2 trails for all the bikers who want to ride it for free?
Or send me a 1$ for every ride on trails i made, registered though TF?

C'mon... monetization, dollars...never enough, ha?

I dug 2 trails, almost 5km by hands. Maintaining them too.
Never asked, never got a cent.
I consider MTB as more of a social concept, so don't approving this move from TF.
  • 21 7
 charge everyone $1.50 a ride on your trail! Problem solved.

Of course you'll need to hire someone to stand there at the trail and collect the fees.

Hmmm....turns out running a business costs money.
  • 10 4
 @tincancharlie: No buddy, I'll rather make it the way TF did.
To someone else do the job.
They made the platform (trail), people ride it (uploading, building, free with ad's) and now need to pay for that.

I just say' this is not fair. Or let me remove my uploads.
  • 6 8
 @Toninhohr: you don't "need" to pay for it. It's 100% optional.

And we all volunteered to upload that info - we don't own it even if it's a trail we built with our own hands.

Trailsforks had options (monthly vs one time fee vs ads) - they chose the one that fit best for them. They knew that some people wouldn't like that particular choice - that's just a fact of life. Some people appreciate the choice they made. Some don't.

There was zero way they were gonna please 100% of people (except to continue to pay their own money to provide us with a free service)
  • 25 4
 Makes me a bit sad but will put my energy into finding a younger and hotter version of you TF. It was a good ride while it lasted. You are like a girlfriend I really like but don't love. Once the talk of buying a house, having kids or getting a dogs starts its time to move on.

I'd take adds over pay for service.... Hopefully all the areas that used TF as their trailmaps will make " free" maps available somehow. The best things in life are free as the old airmiles tagline went. AllTrials for me locally as it has all the unsanctioned trails and shortcuts. Used trailforks mostly on trips so I guess it will be on-off service for me when I go on trips without good free map options. All the folks doing free work for TF should now start charging them to send them data. Oh you want a trail update or new pics, gimme a free month. Oh you want Whistler bike park's latest data give us 4 months of banner adds you said you didn't want but now have. You want our trail association in your service we want 10% of revenue from all riders that use our trails network. Sorry we can't afford to honor our " founders" pricing your new pricing is the same as everyone else now we have a business to run after all.
  • 22 1
 Any tool that grows to a significant size needs to be paid for. "It used to be cool until it got popular" happens a lot on PB. If you want the services of a data aggregator you have to pay for the operation of it. Pay for things that bring you value.

You can still aggregate your own data on Google Maps (guess how you pay for that free service).

I just hope this new mapping corporation flows the vast majority of revenue into outstanding service delivery, support, and employee salaries!
  • 32 12
 This still seems like incredible value to me. If you travel anywhere to ride your bike Trailforks is so useful to plan your rides and figure out the terrain - and if you don't, great! Free model is perfect for you.

People seem to have this weird entitlement to thinking everything in mountain biking should be free and there is obviously a cost to maintaining and updating this software. If you think $1.50 a month is outrageous you are either out to lunch or haven't been riding bikes long enough to appreciate this is the cheapest accessory to enhance your MTB experience.
  • 23 10
 read the comments and open your mind a bit - it has nothing to do with a piddly $1.50 ..
  • 20 1
 Signed up. It’s a good value, especially with the early adopter price. Dislike another subscription, it seems like death by subscription lately but I get it, I’m in software too.

Now get that Apple Watch app going!

To all the haters the reality is running something like this takes significant expense. The content provided for free is certainly of value but the real costs are in development and keeping the infrastructure running. You can choose to volunteer hours to trail marking but one can’t volunteer to pay for the infrastructure required to keep this going. All the 3rd party services they use likely have a per-ping charge that they are currently consuming. This is no different than any other crowd sourced website out there that relies on community contribution (all social media and even Strava segments).

As long as TF keeps the trail karma going I see this as a valuable tool for local orgs to contribute to.
  • 24 3
 I use this app so much, I have no problem paying a bit for it as long as it remains add free.
  • 22 7
 There will be ads eventually. People want more money... Ads show up. Give it a couple of years.
  • 29 18
 @sancho-ramerez: Trailforks could have added ads anytime in the past 5 years, but did not.
  • 9 1
 @sancho-ramerez: I think that was the choice they made. Paid subscription or ads. I don't think you will see both.
  • 6 1
 Yeppers, I have had so much use out of this, will def sign up now, $18 a year is cheap IMHO.
Can always cancel if its not working out.
  • 7 0
 @sancho-ramerez: put ads on it and leave the basic version for free. Pro version with subscription gets no ads.
  • 21 3
 I have recommended Trailforks to so many beginner riders that were lost and asking for directions, those are the people this is going to affect. Sure hardcore MTB riders will pay, but beginners on $500 bikes are the ones getting shafted here.
  • 10 22
flag nvranka (Aug 31, 2020 at 8:34) (Below Threshold)
 It’s a few bucks a month dude.
  • 7 3
 @nvranka: A lot of these people don't even own helmets. It presents another, although small, barrier.
  • 12 34
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 10:01) (Below Threshold)
 @schofell84: New users get 7 unique days of free usage of the app, they won't even notice there is a paid option. And after that 7 days use they can still subscribe and get a 7-day free trial via the app store, where they could cancel their subscription for no charge.
  • 33 3
 @canadaka: New users not realizing that they’re going to have to pay in seven days is a positive feature for you?
  • 4 13
flag nvranka (Aug 31, 2020 at 12:10) (Below Threshold)
 @schofell84: LOL and your point? If you don’t own a helmet, you don’t need trail forks.
  • 15 1
 THIS. This is by FAR my main issue with the move.

Even though I'm part of a trail association, I'll probably pay out of my own pocket, because as a power user, I'm getting so much value out of TF.

The issue is for our trail association: we really populated and used Trailforks as the main vector to distribute our trail network to people of all skill levels. I, too, have recommended many time TF to beginner riders lost on their first ride.

@canadaka "after that 7 days use they can still subscribe"? They 100% won't, at least here in NZ. Sure, the experienced rider travelling across the country to ride on their Santa Cruz will, but the beginners or the cash-strapped rider, they simply won't.

And now as an association this means we will need to find a new way to reach them.
  • 5 5
 @nvranka: I live in and help operate a mountain biking club in the poorest county in NY, and possibly one of the poorest per capita east of the Mississippi. Keep the elitist nonsense to yourself.
  • 4 9
flag nvranka (Aug 31, 2020 at 14:31) (Below Threshold)
 @schofell84: and they need trail forks to get out and ride? Tf is your point?

I have friends from the bottom of the barrel to the top...they all find a way to pay their subscriptions for shit they enjoy.

No idea where elitism came into this.

It’s a few bucks.
  • 8 12
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 20:41) (Below Threshold)
 @dirtologist: It is a concern that some places or people won't be so enthusiastic to promote or recommend Trailforks, but a risk we had to take. But again, these beginner riders can still use the website to research their ride or find a route to follow. They can still use the app fully in their free region, which likely will be that town. New riders often aren't doing big MTB trips until they invest in the sport. They can still sync routes to a Garmin device to follow, of which might also have a Trailforks basemap included. And they can still use the app even outside their free region, for basic navigation, seeing the trails as grey lines. Can even still lookup trail descriptions, reports, conditions, photos. popular routes in the area. People thinking all of Trailforks is somehow behind a big paywall simply isn't true.
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: I understand where you're coming from, but the reality is that as a trail association, thsi brings uncertainty and adds obstacles to reach users. So we will probably go and try to find another solution.

Even though TF will always be in the mix, I'm not sure it would be easy for us to make it our primary "conduit".
  • 3 3
 @dirtologist: So you would prefer to find a financially unstable solution rather than go with the proven platform. Its only $1.50 per month if you travel so all members of your association won't have to pay unless they go to a different associations region. It also adds the huge utility backend for trail associations for FREE.
  • 35 14
 Fuck Trailforks leaching off the community by using their data for free and then moving to a paid model.
  • 9 18
flag gnarnaimo FL (Aug 31, 2020 at 9:20) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah! How dare a business try to recoup costs and make a profit! For shame
  • 6 8
 @gnarnaimo: I too like to ride my $10000 yeti. working as a high powered dentist on Wall Street. There shouldn't be more financial barriers in this sport. In fact, on principle, TF is profiting off the data freely provided by the mtb community.
  • 20 2
 Very well written piece on this subject In regards to Strava. At the end of the day trailforks is a great App that is super useful and takes a ton of work to run. Do people think you can just run a robust app like this for years with no plan for revenue? 18 bucks for a year is a pretty small sum in a sport as expensive as mountain biking. Always have enjoyed using trailforks for exploring the trails around the southwest and am happy to pay less than the cost of a bottle of sealant per year to support that.

  • 5 0
 Link is to a CyclingTips article on why its good to support things like Strava and trailforks if you use them
  • 2 2
 @OTB-Raspberry: You do realize PB owns that too right?
  • 1 0
 I pay for Stava because they give insight on segments and efforts, paired with Veloviewer it's awesome. But the data TF provides is all public information, all can be found on Openstreetmap. Or even MTB Project
  • 20 1
 Would prefer a pricing option for a one time payment method. Would be happy to pay $50 once to have permanent access, but I won't sign up for yet another subscription.
  • 43 26
 So lets think about this. This is an expensive sport. You drive to your riding area gas cost $10, you buy food $10 you buy some beers and coffee another $20. You hop on your $5000 mountain bike that costs you $200 a year to maintain. You also spend hundreds of $$$ on the coolest new gear but somehow you find it so offensive to pay $1.50 per month to support an app that makes your ride way better. You are safer, you can record your ride, you can find features and routes. Guys stuff can't be free forever. How much do you think they spent building it and maintaining it over the last 10 years. Get off your wallets and stop being whiners. It is embarrassing. Way to go Trailforks and thanks for building a great product!! Please use the money to make things even better. Cheers
  • 12 0
 200 bucks a year on maintenance? Haha I’m definitely doing something wrong down here in Arizona. Everything down here wants to destroy bikes
  • 13 5
 My riding area is outside my door. I don’t drink. I cook my own food. I saved up all winter to buy my used $3000 bike. Will I still pay? Probably, but don’t lump us all into a group of people who don’t know how to budget.
  • 4 0
 @OTB-Raspberry: I was thinking the same thing haha. New tires for the year and I am over that price.
  • 8 2
 @GBeard: If you're riding area is right outside your door, the free zone should cover you pretty well, yeah?
  • 10 1
 @pmhobson: Yeah if I only rode there. My point was I am not an idiot who spends $30 on coffee, beers and food in a single day.
  • 4 2
 @GBeard: Sorry my point was just to demonstrate the fact that we all spend tons of money on this sport. Especially if we drive/travel to new trail areas so $1.50 per month shouldn't seem like a lot to optimize your experience. It was not meant to be an indicative budget or to insult anyone. I also don't spend that much every ride but sometimes I do. Cheers
  • 4 0
 @notdentist: No, I should be apologizing. Been working too much lately and I have been stressed. I know that's not an excuse because everyone else is dealing with the same shit. Going to take a break from posting anything on the internet for a while because lately I have been looking for an argument every chance I can get.
  • 3 0
 @GBeard: Hey man. I feel you on that. You're in the US. Holiday weekend coming up. Let's all take a day to be thankful for what we have and hopefully get some relaxing riding in.
  • 17 0
 Lots of opinions on this, and I don’t actually thing anyone is wrong. On one side $1.50/month is certainly reasonable compared to other subscriptions. The 2 problems with this though are that its actually annual so I’m having to pay for something I might only use once or twice a year when I go on a bike trip, since I already know the trails in my area. The ability to adjust “my area” once does not address this since I’m going to go visit different areas when I go on trips typically. The other problem with the cost is the inevitable creep. Sure, you can get it for $18 annually now, but already it jumps to $36 if you don’t sign up early. What will it jump to next year? Or the year after that? People are right, there are so many subscriptions out there now and it all adds up. And MTBs and parts also are getting costlier every year. People only have so much money to spend. If the goal truly is just to fund the infrastructure which certainly is expensive then an adfree paid version vs a free one with ads might be the better solution. Or a one time payment that only covers updates for a year. The app would continue to work, but if you wanted to get the latest trails you would have to pay for the update. I really, really hate monthly and annual subscriptions. I like buying something once and owning it.
  • 12 0
 I think that is the issue for many... the subscription model. Its hated by all on the purchasing side of the economic equation. Continuously paying for the something that should be a one time purchase.

Its like any other GPS based app... you just need to load and store the map(s) once... buy them again when you want a different region or the latest updates.

Charge for the app, charge for the maps... ongoing charges/fees is a sure way to drive economically aware people away.

But its just $2.99/mo... then the next service, and the next, and the next. Now you have hundreds/mo. in reoccurring charges.. regardless of use.
  • 18 1
 I see a few comments to this costing "less than a cup of coffee" etc. That may be true in an isolated case, but all these monthly fees can really add up. Trailforks, Strava, InReach, Apple Care, Spotify, Netflix etc etc...before you know it these 'cups of coffee' can equal a car payment each month.
  • 6 1
 Exactly, that’s my issue with subscriptions. Sure it’s only xx per month, but when you look at the amount of subscription services these days it can add up real quick.
  • 4 2
 Dude you only need Trailforks ;-)
  • 3 0
 @joostd: What about Strava? If Trailforks could add Strava functionality, I would be willing to pay. However, neither app offers the complete package... so I cant pay for either right now.
  • 4 2
 @Baller7756: what kind of Baller are you that you can't afford $1.50 CDN a month for trailforks Smile
  • 18 1
 No issue with paying for the app - It is a good service.

There is no mention though of how trail societies are going to benefit from this though. You've shifted to a for-profit model and are now directly profiting of the the backs of volunteer trail builders and cycling clubs. What is the kick-back structure to trails groups who are the entire reason that your business can even exist? There is a demonstrable increase in out-of-town ridership all across our trail network since Trailforks took off (where as before it was fewer out-of-town folks limited to a couple of our better known riding locations).

And before you say "Trailforks provides the options for users to donate to the trail society", zip it & STFU. Our club as received a total of $15.00 in donations from this feature in the last 5 years and we manage over 250 world renowned trails in our network.

If Trailforks is getting paid, its time for you to pay the piper (trail societies & trail builders).
  • 10 18
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 14:28) (Below Threshold)
 Trail associations have benefited and will continue to benefit by having a platform to map their trails, manage trail data, trail conditions, planning, work logging, collecting trail usage statistics and so on. All for FREE. Many would pay for these types of things, but we have always wanted to support trail orgs and that continues as a core aspect of Trailforks. Many orgs have used Trailforks usage data and other tools to directly help them receive more funding, apply for grants or plan projects without a single cost to them. They also do not have to invest in creating their own mapping or reporting platforms for their website or member base. And having someone actively maintain it for years on a volunteer board with turn over. This is just a sample, many trail orgs have benefits from Trailforks and will continue too. Some have not utilized it to its potential, but we can't help that. There are many trail org specific features on our todo list for some time, but not the bnadwidth to work on them, hopefully that can change now.

Saying that your towns increase in out-of-town ridership is because of Trailforks is also not accurate. Have you noticed the entire sport is growing, or the entire BC tourism industry? Sure Trailforks probably plays a part in your towns increase, but it is not THE reason.

Trailforks does not need to do things like create tools for trail orgs or provide free data for their benefit, or encourage and build up a feature like Trail Karma. We do it because we are riders too and care about the trails. We hope with more resources we can help promote these things more and have some more ideas in the future regarding that.

While agree the amount of Trail Karma donations Nelson (assuming that's where you're from in profile) has received for such awesome trails is low, your claim of $15 is no where near the truth though. There is $1400 that has been donated to Nelson.
  • 2 0
 I'll be in Nelson next week. Will be sure to throw you some Karma....
  • 6 1
 @canadaka: Sounds like my $$$ was severely outdated... But $1400 to date, isn't very much at all. Less than 7 days for one person on the trail crew... 7 days worth or maintenance got skidded off the trails last week from tourists skidding to a stop to check their TF app. I might be mistaken, but I read higher up in these comments that a club got $148,000 in Washington!?

I agree MTB is exploding, but what I was saying is that we have way more riders in zones they never went before. Pre-trailforks there were two or three areas where tourists went to ride. Now the whole network is on the table.

How about a kick back structure like Spotify? If someone uses the TF app in a cycling club's jurisdiction, then a portion of that user's subscription fee gets kicked back to the club? Like if I navigate in Squamish using TF on Saturday, SORCA would get $0.25 (I have no idea how you'd price it exactly)?.
  • 4 5
 @skimtb1: Trail Karma as a whole brought in a an impressive $148,000 in July. No one single club received this amount of money.
  • 16 0
 @canadaka: $1400 is nothing compared to the $10,000 PER YEAR we used to make off of paper map sales. While I like using trailforks a lot more than I like using a paper map, the shift has had a big impact on our ability to raise funds for general maintenance. We are very good at getting grants for major projects, but it is a struggle to get funds for basics like clearing trails of blowdown, insurance, project admin, and work on private land trails (like Mountain Station). Trailforks has made this situation worse, not better. Trail Karma contributions are insignificant. I will email you to follow up, but I’m disappointed that we have less money for our trails as trailforks increases profits off of our volunteer work... (and Adam, if you read this, maybe we should check the PayPal account - there might actually be some money in it this time).
  • 8 7
 @skimtb1 We won't rule out some sort of revenue sharing with clubs in future, but we can't commit to anything at this time.
We are equally getting requests from clubs that want to pay us to unlock the trails in their region for visitors.
There is also complications with revenue sharing, not every region has a single trail association, or have many independent builders who work outside the system. There is also the risk of users thinking that paying for Trailforks because the local trail association gets a kick back is a substitute for buying a club membership or donating.

@debramac We have had this paper map debate before. I'm sorry you have lost that revenue, but I really don't think it is a direct correlation to Trailforks. Whether you like it or not, whether Trailforks existed or not, paper maps and their usage was on the decline in the age of the smart-phone. If it wasn't Trailforks, other platforms would have popped up and ones likely not as concerned with the needs of trail associations.

Trailforks is hardly making profits off of your volunteer work. Every single user that opens the app or website costs Trailforks money. We have to pay 3rd party services monthly for each usage. We have to pay for our own servers and hosting costs, let along development and support costs. Pinkbike has already spent millions developing, supporting and promoting Trailforks, we are a long way from making any profit. You and other contributors work is still available by multiple means, website, widgets, free app region and greyed out simplistic map.
  • 5 1

There are a few obvious benefits to using Trailforks to manage a trail network... Real-time network updates, trail closures, ease of access for the public, etc. But these are all things that don't actually benefit the actual riding on the actual trails - they are strictly administrative. I'm not sold on the usage/metrics stats either... I'd go trail counter if I wanted that data.

Regardless, folks are now literally paying $$ so that Trailforks can hold their hand and gently navigate them through the wilds of our volunteer-maintained trail network. It's a great product and makes previously daunting wilderness experiences accessible to those who would otherwise have been unwilling.
People pay Trailforks & Trailforks guides people on unknown trails. But for some reason the club has been left out of the deal? I mean the club is the sole reason for the trails existence in the first place, and trails that weren't previously receiving big numbers now require big maintenance. It just feels a bit exploitative that there isn't a little cherry on top for the club (and $1400 over 5(?) years does not qualify as a cherry).

I mean we could always go back to the old way... Bare bones Trailforks content and selling paper maps or georeferenced pdf's for those who want a heads-up display on their phone. But I don't think that is a super desirable option either...
  • 5 3
 @skimtb1: One can't direct correlate increase in riders in an area or trail to Trailforks. The entire sport of mountain biking has been growing for years, so many more people riding and travelling. In fact the entire tourism industry in BC over the past 10 years. Sure Trailforks is a piece, but it is not THE reason.

Trailforks does more than any other trail related app for trail associations or trails, building free tools for them to use, free data, promoting the local clubs, encouraging users to donate to them and facilitating that. Hearing their concerns. No other platform does... any of that. Nor do they need to. Trailforks does because we are riders first and care about the sport. And we'd like to be able to do more, with revenue in future, hopefully we will be able to.

Sure having a map of trails is handy, but what about all the companies that build and sell the bikes and parts we use to ride those trails. Companies with REAL money, profit and directly benefit from having trails, those are the ones not doing enough for local clubs and trails, with a few exceptions.

It's not Trailforks job to solve the trail finding gap, or really bike companies. IMO it should be local governments. How much tax dollars do we spend on rinks, fields, roads? Using some of the data and tools provided by Trailforks and the increased number of riders, making this argument to local and regional governments hopefully becomes easier.
  • 2 1

Hey I'm just telling you how it looks from the other side of the fence. It would be great if "corporate MTB" gave back more, the the reality is that Trek or Specialized are not paving the yellow brick road to our trails and diverting increased traffic our way. Not all jurisdictions are looking for more ridership...

But back to potential solutions... What if Trailforks implemented a feature to "black out" or severely restricted a certain jurisdiction's trails until a given user provided an adequate Trail Karma donation to the club? Shit, TF could even charge a transaction fee and make a little cash on the side. But if a user wanted to access our trail data on the fly, then they'd be required to donate $5 or $10 to the club to unlock "our" trails in their app.

Sounds like a win-win-win!
  • 4 0
 @canadaka: thanks for your thoughts. I agree that paper maps are relics of the past. The concern that I have as a club president is that we paid money to get gps data and written trail descriptions to make our last map book. Then we paid money to get one of our trail crew staff to upload and share those data with Trailforks because we recognized that as a free app with a goal of supporting clubs, it was a good product. It still is a good product, but now we have essentially invested more money in trailforks than we have received! Trailforks has actually cost us money... we would not have given all of our data for free to a service that charged money for users. I know we can do better by working together. Answer me back on the PM I sent you, and let’s see if there are ways to support your costs while also helping to raise some funds for the Nelson trails. I love trailforks and I want to find solutions that help the Nelson Cycling Club continue to maintain all of our trails to the increasingly high standards expected by riders and land managers. Talk soon!
  • 17 2
 If you really want to make a difference in the MTB community, make Trailforks Pro free (or at a dramatically reduced cost) for a year to anyone who donates $50 or more in trail Karma or buys a membership in a local mountain bike association.
  • 20 3
 Can I get a little bit from the money for all the trails and poi I added. The pro funktion for free is also an option .
  • 14 4
 You should be able to earn a subscription based on TF points or trust score.
  • 19 2
 Trailforks is a great service that I'm happy to pay for. Keep up the good work!
  • 15 1
 While I'm initially a little grumpy about change (in general) this move isn't necessarily the worst thing. Managing a service with a website, app, connectivity to other sites and apps, with dedicated staff, all costs money. We as users need to pay for that one way or another. Either we will see tons of ads, or our data will get sold, or we pay something out of pocket. $1.50/mo for something I use multiple times per week is pretty darn minimal. I dropped $5 this morning on a coffee and donut and didn't bat an eye (It's a glorious apple fritter and after yesterday's ride, I earned it. Or so I tell myself), so I'll support an operation that provides me something I tangibly enjoy.

Idea for admins: have you considered making Trailforks a non-profit? That would ease some of the concerns about profits/cash-grabbing. You are absolutely providing a service to riders worldwide. @trailforks
  • 2 1
 This for sure. This is a maturation of the internet problem. If the product is free, then you are the product.
  • 1 1
 You pay $5 for one coffee? Lol I pay $7 for 40 days of coffee. Buy a coffee maker and stop comparing shit to your coffee habit that costs $35 a week.
  • 2 0
 @MountainAddict: I'm sorry your coffee tastes like crap. Big Grin

Seriously though, that was a $2 cup of good locally roasted organic coffee, a $2 donut, and a $1 tip. It's a weekly splurge for me.

On normal days, I make coffee at home from the same brand of beans as the donut shop but I pay ~$0.25 per 8oz cup. Eating out or buying coffee at a shop is a treat for me, but I don't balk at spending a frivolous $5 once a week and neither do most people on here. So $1.50/mo on something I really value is NDB.
  • 15 1
 I will sign on with the subscription because the app is so useful for travelling, but I'm confused about the way Trailforks has developed recently. It used to be an app for mountain bike trails, now they have spent a bunch of time and money into adding all these other sports which I don't believe are even used by that demographic. Why not stay focused on your main market - mountain biking - and keep the app free for your users? I suppose it's too late now because all that time and money has now been spent. Blank Stare
  • 4 0
 Exactly! I don't understand either.
  • 8 8
 So many trails are multi-use and so many trail associations manage more than just MTB trails. We were getting a lot of requests from trail orgs and users to support other trail types. It was already happening unofficially and creating a mess so decide to support it officially. Supporting other trail types needed to happen, other user groups wanted a platform like Trailforks.
  • 5 1
 £££££ is why they did it. They want to increase the value for when they sell it on
  • 4 2
 @canadaka: "Supporting other trail types needed to happen" ???

Not if Trailforks is a mtb app.

So you're collecting money and data from the mtb community so you can apply "our" resources as a launching pad for expansion into other sports? This is a slippery slope.
  • 5 0
 @tripleultrasuperboostplusplus: I understand the situation is quite different in your country but i do think it is one of the best development Trailforks made recently. Around here 90% of the riding is done on public hiking trails that are shared with hikers, bikers and trailrunners. Having all those activities on TF is great asset to promote trail tolerance and trail sharing. It's also easier to promote Trailforks to resorts/destinations as you are providing a mapping solution for all trail activities.
So when you say "apply our resources", it might be correct in your region, but in my region it's the opposite. We as bikers are using hiking trails without giving anything back (resources wise).
  • 16 2
 Working in this industry I totally understand the need to start charging memberships. Trailforks is paying money for every one of us to use the app, as they mentioned. It was only a matter of time before they crossed that threshold of users that it wasn't sustainable anymore. I'm happy to pay what is one of the lowest subscription models out there and in time we will probably see even more great features as a result.
  • 14 0
 It's not just about collecting data. it's about managing and making this collected data accessible and useful for all the users on its final purpose. And TF has been doing an impeccable work since I've started using the app, I have no doubts that the service will keep improving and somehow makes happy to support the developers, specially for such reasonable price.
  • 17 3
 Great to see how many people in the comments don't mind helping keep Trailforks viable by paying a low fee for an awesome app. Even at $20 per year or whatever it ends up being, that's like two maps for a new area you might be visiting. It saddens me how many folks still comment negatively about how it was the community that built the platform. Yeah, you might need the community to get all your trails in, but it is incredibly underappreciated how much time and money it takes to build and maintain a platform like this. Perhaps the trailforks folks could open up about this a little bit to illustrate it for the many here who may never have been part of a website / technology / app development? How many FTEs work on Trailforks?
  • 18 5
 Sorry, but if you’re using my GPS data to build your platform and then start charging me to access it: I’m going to remove your access to my rides and cease using Trailforks in favor of the other free applications out there.
  • 2 1
 That "other" free app is great only if you live in the USA. One of my favorite places to ride is Fernie, BC. Go load up MTB project and check those trails out...
  • 2 0
 @Dlakusta: that’s a problem for Canaderanians
  • 13 0
 I posted this on MTBR but I figure it's more likely to be read by the TF people if I post here. After sitting with this for a day, I've reached some conclusions. First, TF really boned the implementation of this pay for pro thing. There was almost no warning that this was coming. I learned about it when I opened trailforks on my ride yesterday and suddenly the app wouldn't work unless I paid them money. I figured out how to set the free area and was able to get going, but still, implementing this with zero warning to users was pretty stupid.

Second, the fact that TF made what was originally a free service into a pay service without adding anything is really a poor marketing tactic. It should have been very apparent to anyone planning this that there would be an immediate negative reaction. This ties into the first conclusion - there should have been a better plan with more lead time before springing this on users.

Third, $18 a year is actually a very good deal for this, and something I am definitely willing to pay. I am concerned that a lot of volunteers are no longer going to contribute, and that will diminish the usefulness of the app over time, but if that happens then I can always cancel. But I would hope TF is very aware of the danger here and does something to encourage participation (credit toward subscriptions, for instance).

Fourth, the biggest concern I have is what is in store in the future. Is trailforks going to get bought by garmin or someone else who makes more changes? Is the price going to be increased over time? Will we end up having to shell out $20 a month for this down the road? Who knows, but again, I guess when the time comes I can always bail.

So I guess for now my conclusion is that I'm going to pay for the subscription. But I don't really feel that good about it, and it's largely because TF screwed up the implementation. Reading the forums, there are many who seem to feel this way. The damage done to TF's goodwill may diminish over time, but it could also make TF very vulnerable to a competitor in the near term.

One final thing - if I could make one suggestion to TF on how to proceed from this point forward, it would be that TF should make all user-submitted data available for free on the app. That means the ability to browse any map content submitted by users and what people have posted about those trails (descriptions, difficulty level, etc). Then require a pro subscription for using GPS location, map overlays/topo, recording, ride logs, profile leaderboards, etc. I imagine most who would be willing to pay would do so just to get GPS navigation. But allowing the user-submitted data to still be accessible to all for free on the app would go a long way toward mollifying the bitter taste left in many of our mouths from the way this was done.
  • 2 6
flag notdentist (Sep 1, 2020 at 9:38) (Below Threshold)
 I do think everyone isn't giving enough credit to is the free home area. Within the home area everything is free and fully accessible. That should mean that all your data is fully available to you for free.
  • 9 0
 @notdentist: My data being free to me is not the issue. I already have my data. I had it before TF. The issue is that many volunteers who uploaded data did it so it would be free to other people visiting their community.
  • 40 26
 Before the whiners get in here: I paid for Pro. For all the content that TF gives me, I think the price is more than fair. Think of it like buying a bunch of trail maps.
  • 16 6
 every month, regardless of if you're going to use them that month
  • 21 4
 ... that disappear if you don't re-buy them every month.
  • 13 2
 Just that you have to pay for the rest of your life. I prefer one time investments á la Komoot or ... trail maps.
  • 8 4
 @laxguy: it's really per year, the monthly number is to make it look even lower. And the maps are constantly updated. You pay for paper maps whether you use them that month too.
  • 16 1
 @k-n-i-x-o-n: You do pay for paper maps whether you use them or not . . . but you pay ONCE, and you probaby didn't submit the data that made the map before it was sold back to you.
  • 1 1
 @k-n-i-x-o-n: nice job intentionally ignoring my point Smile
  • 5 0
 @Inertiaman: Trailforks also doesn't sell us the maps. With Trailforks Pro they are selling the convenience of having that information in your pocket. The website is still free.
  • 1 0
 How did you pay? Mine doesn’t give me the option, both on the app and the website.
  • 4 1
 @Jvisscher: Your app probably isn't updated. check the app store updates. You can also subscribe via the website www.trailforks.com/pro
  • 2 0
 @Inertiaman: Maps are maybe a bad example as the production of the base maps is usually financed by tax money.
  • 15 2
 Hey TF - how about a subscription for "Ad-free" and then hammer the tightwads with non-stop, irrelevant banner ads? Growing up in the ecosystem of PB I'm a little skeptical about how much you hate ads...
  • 3 0
 This is another viable option @trailforks. Have the free version with basic functionality and tons of banner ads, and then the paid version with more features and no ads.
  • 4 4
 Personally I'd much rather have a feature limited version than an add supported version. I'm having a lot of trouble expressing my feelings about this without sounding hyperbolic, but in short I believe adds are a terrible model for the long term health of the internet.

Trail Forks: Thank you for making the choice you did. I plan to subscribe.
  • 1 0
 Who even sees ads anywhere these days? Adblocking is ubiquitous at the OS level and certainly in browsers. If you’re seeing ads, it’s pretty easy to do something about that.
  • 11 0
 So the online website remains free with all content accessible? These fees are only for the app on phone? That's an important detail, since most my research before travel is done on my laptop.

And what about the Garmin basemaps that were sold to me on the Edge 530? Will those continue to be updated perpetually? Or will I be forced to pay the Trailforks subscription to retain the Trailforks data on my next device firmware update?
  • 4 0
 "The website remains free, as do the Trailforks trail association tools, but full access to the Trailforks App now requires a subscription." So yes, the limitations are only for the phone app Wink
  • 9 1
 There is no change in the Garmin functionality or on the website. It all is open.
  • 3 0
 @JackyStyleTom: And it looks like you get all the features and functionality inside your "home" area
  • 6 2
 @JackyStyleTom: for now.
  • 16 5
 At first I was put off, particularly since a lot of data is community generated. But...how are they supposed to keep the lights on, pay people etc without some sort of revenue? I prefer no ads and pay a few bucks a year than have to deal with distracting blinky shit taking up space on my trail app. The half price deal is a no brainer.
  • 10 0
 Please consider selling one-time squares. $5 for 10x10km, $10 for 50x50km, something like that. As others have stated, bike shops recommend this app to new riders who only need a map reference for their first ride. They’ll either not ride again (visiting the area), or just repeat that first ride over and over for years to come.
  • 3 0
 What about even "renting" riding areas at say 99 cents per year, with updates over that time? Trail orgs could then get a share that reflects the popularity and usage, visitors are unlikely to balk at buying the maps they need for their trip.
  • 2 0
 @plyawn: yes I love the idea of the local trail orgs getting in on the money.
  • 4 0
 @plyawn: I initially thought trail orgs should get a piece of the TF subscriptions directly >

But, having thought further, I don't think its a great idea. Associations need members, community engagement, and direct donations. If people think that "oh well part of my app subscription goes to the trails", its likely to be a disincentive to donate in other ways, which are likely to be more significant.
  • 1 0
  • 3 0
 Agreed. I'd pay per download, like buying a regular map. As it is, I don't travel enough to justify a yearly subscription. Especially since I actually like paper maps and the process of visiting local shops to purchase one.
  • 16 6
 Terrible. We get to use the app for free in our local area, that we already know and have helped add data for? I live in a mountain biking destination and I am sure a lot of visitors will pay for the app while here. Why not incentivize data maintenance by giving people free subscriptions if you live in a high use/high revenue generating area or if you regularly provide trail info to the app?

I certainly won't be paying for the app and definitely won't be updating any local information any longer.
  • 10 3
 I heard this was coming so I downloaded a bunch of regions, turned off the apps access to data and ensured it won’t update. I only use the map so I’m not missing out on any features this may restrict and it works as it did prior to the paid app
  • 6 5
 You have some great ideas for a much better app, I guess you can develop your own app then! Imagine using something for free for YEARS and then complaining when provided the OPTION to pay $1.50 a month!
  • 4 3
 @flyry: another way to look at it is we have all been contributors to it and now are asked to pay for the information we provided collectively. By the way I am a geomatics engineer and do make myself free maps from various sources all the time.
  • 6 1
 After my intial complaining I subscribed because whether I like the new format or not I use this app regularly. We will see how this goes. Feels like a slippery slope. I hope it's not a sign of things to come. How long before we have to pay for the buy and sell function on the website? Hope I'm wrong.
  • 5 6
 The majority of users who contribute the majority of the trail data already have access to a free subscription. And we are still working on how best to cover a wider range of contributor outside that umbrella. But we have to do it in a smart way as to not encourage users to just contribute low quality data or game the system to get free subscriptions.
  • 4 1
 @rebel12: That's for your support with subscribing.
  • 4 0
 @canadaka: I appreciate you taking the time to reply. In my opinion the value is in the data and maintaining the quality is key. I look forward to seeing how you incorporate some type of rewards system.
  • 10 0
 The other thing I wanted to say is it would be nice to get clarity around whether TF is pursuing a not for profit model, or looking to build a successful business a la Strava. If its the former then some rough financial figures to support the pricing structure would be nice, eg. we expect to pay X people the following salaries, maintaining the cloud infrastructure costs X dollars per year, etc. I support people getting paid for the time and effort they put into this, but if the goal is profit / grow the business I think I am much less likely to subscribe because we inevitably will see subscription costs rise.
  • 12 2
 The same approach as everyone (Strava etc). Build the client base and then pull functionality unless you pay. Kinda frustrating. I was involved in helping trailforks get started by sending them gps and kmz files for the trails in the rec site we ran. Now 5 years later they are going to get $ from it. We sent them the info because we wanted to promote our clubs area and see more people on bikes. Maybe they can kick back a good portion of this to the clubs as a thank you.
  • 10 0
 I don't mind paying because TF has saved my bacon on numerous occasions....biking, dirt biking and even hiking. However, I wish they had a "one time fee" that I could pay up front and just be done with it. Kind of like the early adopters did with Sirius/XM radio. I soooooo wish I would have jumped on that bandwagon ion day one.
  • 10 0
 As the original uploader of at least 3 complete riding area's and trail systems near my home, semi-regular contributor, and the de facto maintainer of a system for a local trail group who'd probably give me one of their "free accounts" I just payed up anyway. I'd say the comments that this rollout was bumpy have some merit, but in the end I'm pleased to offer a small bit of $ support for this great resource which despite it's faults still beats the alternatives by a mile.

I have the good fortune to have travelled and ridden trails in many parts of the world. In the places that Trailforks _doesn't_ have great coverage and I have to search around for the locally preferred alternative, if it even exists, the user experience is consistently worse. Nothing's perfect, and there's always room for improvement, but warts and all Trailforks is still best in class.
  • 11 0
 It's funny, the only time I use the trailforks app is when I am travelling outside my home zone. Props to them for keeping the monthly fee low (*cough* strava)
  • 9 0
 Either you pay for a product or you are the product! Maybe both. Could this be a conspiracy with the governments around the world to ruin mountain biking for ever? They will be tracking us and charging us through a special tax for trail use. Oh wait, northwest forest pass, discovery pass, snow park pass. Then we will have to find out our own recreation. Dang, local evergreen associations.
I personally donate $5 per run to my local group. I buy hunting tags every year for stuff I’ll never try for too. It’s ok to participate. You can always cancel if you don’t like it.
  • 3 0
 I really like the conspiracy angle. If you align the release above properly you will see that they are planning to change the name to eTrailforks presented by Specialized.
  • 9 0
 @Trailforks. The app might have taken off in some parts of the world, but here around Toulouse, France very few people use it and its only just starting to be picked up (as the tourist industry is realising there is no snow in the pyrenees anymore and they need another way to bring money in). If people have to pay they just won't use it. Are you applying the policy worldwide?

Personally if it had the level of support it does in other areas I wouldn't mind paying for the App provided that money is going in to make the product better for mountain bikers (and not mountain bikers funding trailforks expansion into other sports, leave that to investors); however since I have added 157 trails, i.e. the majority of the ones in my area (well beyond 60km), I am pretty pissed if I would have to pay to access my own data. I am an admin so it looks like I would get an account, but I think if people contrubute lots of trails they should be given a PRO account free. I am sure I read an article a few years ago saying that trailforks would always be free and it was one of my motivations to add trails to support the community and not to help profit making...
  • 5 10
flag canadaka FL Mod (Aug 31, 2020 at 13:43) (Below Threshold)
 We will slowly expand who can qualify for free or discounted Pro subscriptions. We have already targeted the majority of the users who contribute the data with our current criteria. We have to be careful not to do it in a way that encourages some users to try and contribute low quality data or game the system to try and earn points to get a free subscription. Access to the trail data is still free on the website, widgets and file downloads. Also the trail gps lines are still visible in the app, just greyed out. So if you want the convenience of the full experience on mobile and want to support future features and some niche pro features, then you can subscribe to Pro.
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: I fully agree on the data quality, its key.

I've read some of your comments and I don't think the article itself stresses enough the costs associated with TF running the app which you mention in your comments.

My only concern remains whether the app will expand in this part of France as a paid service, and I'm not just adding all these trails for myself!

Thanks for taking the time to reply.
  • 11 2
 Ahh, this is crappy news. What makes the app great is the large amount of user inputted data. I worry that this will push users away, making less up to date trail reports and ratings. Why fold it into its own separate entity? Couldn't this be something Pinkbike provides for the community and funds using website ad revenue? Regardless, I personally would prefer a free version with ads and a 'Pro' version without ads.
  • 11 12
 I think many people don't fully grasp the cost to build a global platform like Trailforks, the staff, the cost of servers, advertising to grow it. The cost of paying 3rd parties for use of map tiles and other services and how much those costs start to ramp up once you start to scale to millions of users. We are talking millions of dollars spent on Trailforks and those costs just increasing as usage and user-base grows. It's hard to ask Pinkbike to fund this forever and even harder to put more resources into it to keep up with growth, support, let alone continue making improvements and new features which we want to create and users want.
  • 4 1
 @canadaka: Exactly! Thanks for all the hard work. Some of your other responses here also really show how much thought has gone into this move, and the platform in general. +100!
  • 3 1
 @canadaka: Ok, I understand your position on not having Pinkbike front the bill. Why not have a free version with ads and an ad free paid version?
  • 10 1
 It costs money to operate a service like TF, even if some of the information/content comes from users.

$36/year is peanuts. No one is getting rich off this - it's just an attempt to make the service sustainable.
  • 15 4
 Vancouver to Squamish is 64km. Well done F***ers
  • 6 2
 YEP, that was done on purpose 100%
  • 5 0
 There is trails in Downtown Vancouver???? You can manually position the free area, you can cover all of the Shore, Squamish and a lot of the Sunshine Coast.
  • 1 1
 @canadaka: what about someone in the valley? now we are out of the squamish, pemberton, whistler area in order to keep our trail zone around our local mountains
  • 3 1
 @crysvb: Well your gas bill for those rides with be at least $50 each from the Valley so if you ride 3x per month outside your area your TF cost would be only $0.50a ride. I am not sure it is worth being upset about.
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: Yes thanks I dd that already. Lion's Bay. But after hitting Whistler, Sun Peaks and Kamloops this year I'm disappointed.
  • 3 2
 @TH3MACK: so you are happy to spend $100’s on gas but $18 to find the best trails disappoints you?
  • 4 3
 @notdentist: it's the principal, strava wants our money, trailforks wants our money. we contributed to building trailforks and we already have a sport that keeps our wallets nice and empty lol everyone wants a piece
  • 6 0
 @crysvb: Because these things cost real money to create and operate. Every single user that opens the app or website costs Trailforks money. We have to pay 3rd party services monthly for each usage. We have to pay for our own servers and hosting costs, let along development and support costs which are increasing fast. Pinkbike has already spent millions developing, supporting and promoting Trailforks, we are a long way from making any profit.
  • 2 0
 @crysvb: It's really not a fair comparison to Strava. First, Strava users only define segments. Strava does the rest with tracking rides and maintaining leader boards. There is nothing on Strava approaching the level of effort that TF contributors have put in. Strava also has years of history of ignoring user requests while instead squandering fund on things like reordering peoples feeds because an IG exec they hired thought it was a good idea. Strava squandered $ and pissed off users, and then took away features to get people to pay up because they were running out of $. TF seems sincere, but communicationally challenged. They are not recognizing the cost to them with this move in terms of lack of trust going forward, and what that could mean to their place in the market and their supply of data from contributors.
  • 7 0
 While 18 USD a year looks like a reasonable deal, trailforks only covers a fraction of regions where I ride most (Switzerland). This means I already have another paid subscription for a map service (that in turn does not offer trail conditions, comments and so on). Also I donnate to local trail associations.
All in all a two sided sword, potentially channeling a bigger part of the money to a transnational service and away from local and regional initiatives.
  • 2 0
 The coverage in Switzerland is growing rapidly depending on the region you are in and overall the trail density is very high (6800+ km). You also have to understand that most of our trails are public hiking trails, maintained with your/my taxes via the municipalities, etc.. While donating to local associations like Züritrails is very important, you have to remember that it's only a fraction of the trails you ride.
Adding content on Trailforks will help smaller municipalities and resort to have some visibility, something not possible at the moment with our approval system for national and cantonal routes/trails (it's totally out of sync with the current mtb practices). It is also reducing strain on a lot of trails that were popular due to Ride Mag and similar publications.
You see it as a two sided sword, i see it as an opportunity. With more development money pouring in, TF devs can create a more attractive app and more way for our foreign visitors to discover the trails currently on the Trailforks website.
  • 4 0
 @inversedotch: I hope part of the revenue goes to people like you who contribute a lot of trails and information to trailforks. I still fear donations to trail organisations will diminish with the new pricing model.
  • 4 0
 @inversedotch: but will that continue when those volunteers data is being used for TF to make a profit from?
  • 3 0
 @CM999: With the costs involved (development, servers, base map access, marketing and communications, etc..), i don't see how a project like Trailforks can keep growing without any injections of funds. If you don't want to be profitable you'll soon hit a plateau and loose your base (contributors, investors, etc.) anyway.
From all the reasonable ways to turn a profit, the Pro subscription makes the most sense for me. The website is still free for everyone (even from mobile phone), the services are still provided ad-free and users data is not sold.
Finally, i don't personally use the application much but i'm sure that with a larger dev team, a lot of the great ideas they didn't have time to work on will be implemented soon.
I can't speak for all the country Admins, Ambassadors and prolific contributors, but this move will absolutely not change the way i contribute - freely - to Trailforks. Without money there will be no platform to contribute to.
  • 3 0
 @OhrhO: I won't speak for the other Ambassadors / Admins but i'm not in it for the money. With the amount of time i/we spend on the platform it would be a complete madness.
If you look around you will see that the development team and the Ambassadors/Admin are all riders and very passionate about sharing curated and accurate content to help grow our sport / destinations / regions, etc..
Karma donation in Switzerland is a very difficult subject (and here is not the place to talk about it). That's why i don't have any idea how this application-only subscription will change anything for donations outside of Switzerland. Wink
  • 7 0
 Its kind of a weird feeling since I have been actively promoting TF in our riding community. I'm the web-master for our local IMBA chapter group and have integrated TF's widgets into many of the pages. I have also been trying my best to get our people off of FaceBook (since FaceBook blocked API access and we can't pull event data to our .org site a few years ago). I hope the API widgets remain free and uncluttered for local groups to reference their own maps. I'll pay for the TF version since I hate ads so much.
  • 6 1
 Website, Widgets and API are unchanged with this. In fact going to a subscription modal for some of the mobile app features ensures those other resources that trail orgs use stay free and uncluttered by advertising and tracking of users, or selling aggregated user data.
  • 9 1
 Trailforks has proven to be such an invaluable tool for expanding my riding that I don't particularly care what extra features (if any) Pro offers, I'll do what I can to support the app.
  • 10 2
 I don't even care what Trailforks Pro offers... I'll happily pay the $1.50 because of all of the value Trailforks has already offered me for free. Really is an amazing product.
  • 12 4
 OH MY GOD, I AM SO FREAKIN' MAD AND I AM GOING TO SCREAM IN THE COMMENTS!!!!! ... Oh wait ... no I'm not. Heck, I pay more than this to have the ads removed from my weather app. This is a fair deal.
  • 14 7
 As trailbuilder and contributor, i uninstalled the app from my fhine. If i could delete the account i would do that too. Take the data i gave, trails that i build and live vith the fact that you cheated people. I would never contribute if i knew it will be monetized. Untill free again, this is goodbye.
  • 11 4
 guess I did the right thing and never uploaded a single inch of local trails. I was sure TF would capitalize on user data soon as there's critical mass.
Over here in the old world, aka Europe we're lucky that TF is not the market leader (yet), most trail data sits on xx different platforms.
Hardly ever used the app in any way - deleted. Not a big loss at all.

Until recently, there's been a brilliant web tool and app called gpsies.com, used to be great source for trail data (mtb, road, hike etc), but sold out to Alltrails. Guess what happened? Most gpsies users have NOT migrated to Alltrails, did NOT accept the business model and simply deleted the data they've accumulated with gpsies. So did I.

@PB/TV Fully agree - server space, IT services and support cost a lot, bills need to be paid.
But don't forget - your dealing with community generated data, user contributions and all was free of charge. You could have handled this topic in a much better way.
No bad feelings, but that's a lame stunt aka Strava style.

Folks - manage the data you've provided to TF as long as you can. Delete.
  • 13 7
 We are all for it. Love the app and recommend it to all our customers! It was a little weird to be out riding this weekend and planning on using Trailforks App to navigate only to find out we don't have access anymore. Luckly the trail network had good signage!
  • 16 6
 Great now dentists even have a better trailforks than us...
  • 7 2
 Lets hope their ibis can(’t) handle those double blacks
  • 13 4
 Right? Dentists be putting in mad overtime just to afford that $1.50 a month
  • 7 1
 Ugh. Don't know if I can pony up the cash for this. Might have to downgrade to Milwaukie's Best. Only other option is going to be asking a local on the trail. Don't know if I can go face to face with the long haired locals up in Bellingham... Furry psuedo Canadians with their long locks and mischievous mustaches.
  • 6 0
 I appreciate the low monthly cost (and will subscribe), as that is why I have left Strava.... but:
1. What about riders in areas that you cannot ride for 4-5 months of the year due to weather? There's virtually no riding where I live, within the 38 mile square, between November and April.
2. It seems disingenuousness to monetize information that was provided largely by the very community of riders you are now charging, which leads me to
3. What about the people who have contributed to the trails, conditions, etc? What incentive is there for them? Now they have to pay to see the very information that they have contributed?
4. What about rural areas where trails are spread out? I live in Aspen, and this means Glenwood Springs would be off the free map. Which is part of the same community I live in.
  • 6 9
 The article and FAQ page mentions that trail association board members or trail crew staff can get free Pro subscriptions, along with Trailforks ambassadors and region admins. That probably 90% of the users who have added trails to Trailforks. For other large contributors that fall outside this, we may look at giving them a discount as well.
  • 11 1
 @canadaka: perhaps looking at that before rolling this out would have been wise.

A pay per month option should also be added. But mostly, make the data open source since you received it all for free.
  • 5 2
 @ACree: Trailforks Ambassadors and local admins get free accounts and we will expand that to other large contributors. We don't want to promote that too much and get users just adding low quality content to try and get free subscriptions. So we are still considering how best to manage that. You would definitely qualify though.

You can still download the trail gps data you added from the website for free. But there is value added to that original gps track, through many of the tools and data provided by Trailforks, the data is improved over time. Also just raw trail gps points is kinda the easiest part of the equation. Not hard to find and eventually many apps could have similar coverage. Its more about what you do with that data, what value add you give, what tools you create to manage the data, the user base you spend years and millions of dollars to grow.

Also not all the trail data is free, we have paid for trail data dumps and we do have paid staff that have contributed huge sums of trails themselves.
  • 6 2
 @canadaka: I agree that it is what is done with the data that adds value, and I don't take offense at TF addressing a need for additional funding. I think your model is somewhat flawed though, and your rollout of it even more so. First, charging is a complete 180 from what TF has been saying from inception, so that causes distrust right at the start. Second, the means of charging, and the local area setting are less than ideal. IMO, charging everyone for the app vs hoping they subscribe would have been better, and/or offering weekly or monthly passes to buy when traveling. The rollout has been a morass of miscommunication, and kind of seems like a premature announcement of a half baked idea. I am concerned that contributors are going to lose faith in TF, and thus TF will lose its value.

It is disconcerting that the commitment for data to always be available for free (even from the website) has been removed from TF forums.mtbr.com/gps-hrm-bike-computer/trailforks-pro-new-app-subscription-service-1150421-post14956905.html#post14956905
  • 3 2
 @ACree: Lower cost short term passes like week or month is something possible with the app stores. So something we can consider in future.

The website maps remain free, non-profit trail associations can bulk download their trail data. Along with a lot of value added data that Trailforks has generated. That is not changing with these changes.
  • 4 4
 @ACree:Trailforks has provided massive value to our sport by creating a platform for us to use. Do you think that was free? Potentially you contributed some time which I am sure was appreciated but did you take any risk to truly create anything. Also, if you were a true trail contributor you would qualify as such and have free access
  • 9 2
 I paid - in recognition of the value that I've gotten from it in recent years. If we're doing annual subscriptions though - we need to see real improvements and features continuously
  • 8 11
 Trailforks has continuously been improving and that's with limited staff and resources. Things won't change instantly, revenue takes awhile and finding the right people. But it's the goal.
  • 3 1
 @canadaka: I think that's the key - it's been improving in the status quo. The hope is with a paid tier that the cadence for improvements/features is faster.
  • 6 3
 @canadaka: @trailforks Focus your improvements on MOUNTAIN BIKING. Now that I'm paying, please stop trying to add content that's not mountain biking-related. I don't care about snowmobile trails, etc. Also, why a subscription vs pay to download a region?
  • 2 0
 @joewlo: a service doesn’t gut it’s free option to then later improve the premium version. Maybe if they can come up with improvements to attract a new user base or pull in new paying customers, we just have to hope it’s a benefit to us.
  • 6 0
 I'm happy to pay ~$20 a year to support Trailforks. I don't feel like its just a giant corp trying to monetize user generated data (*cough* strava *cough*), rather it feel like supporting a hand full of developers who have worked really hard on this and deserve to be able to make a living from it.

That said I hope the move to paid allows them to build out a few things . Namely 1. please make drilling down to the leader boards easier and 2. please chunk out the trails into segments with segment leader boards. Its only thing i miss from Strava (ya i know its shallow to want to know whether i was in the bottom 10% or bottom 20%th percentile of riders on that segment but its stil fun to track improvement relative to your previous rides and relative to peers).
  • 6 0
 I think paying for something is better than a situation where you and your data are the product like facebook, google etc. Where advertisers and other parties pay facebook, google etc. to manipulate you.

I am willing to pay a subscription and the price isn't outrageous.
If you are paying for something then the providers don't have to scr_w with you and use you and your personal information just to survive.
One concern I have is that many groups and people have contributed to trailforks data understanding it as something that their group would be able to access for free. Its worth paying for things that are well done and serve useful purposes, however its unfortunate that their work will now not be as available to new casual users who may balk at paying a subscription the first time they ride.
I also worried that the data will become less up to date if less people decide to use it. In Campbell River where I ride most of the time the data is fairly incomplete for some areas (although still more usefull than nothing). I wonder if it will slow the amount of data added.
I looked at MTB Project it seems absolutley useless for vancouver island
  • 9 0
 Just subscribed as a thanks for the last 5 years of guiding me all over the world, look fwd to trailforks on my fenix watch!
  • 7 1
 A buck fifty is less (per month) than most people pay for coffee in a single day. Even as a region admin/Trail Association, I'd be more than happy to fork out LESS THAN $20 per year for something like this, that allows riders to explore our trails, leave reports and feedback, and generally provide some kickass PR.
@trailforks Thanks for all your hardwork over the years, we will continue to support this platform.
  • 10 4
 Folk need to chill out. You're not paying for the data you've collected, you can still get it for free on the website. You're paying for the convenience of being able to access it from the phone in your pocket, plus the costs of hosting it, developing the app etc. All the data you've collected is WORTHLESS without an trailforks collating and hosting it.
  • 5 2
 I think this is a really important point that everyone is overlooking (or choosing to ignore). There would be nowhere for people to upload their data to without the work these guys have done and nothing has changed on the website.
  • 7 1
 I don't work for free so... Fair enough trail forks! I'll pay up. The satalite base map in Nanaimo is super outdated... So I'm hopeful you can get a newer one up. Thanks for the great product.
  • 6 1
 This is one of the types of services we have to pay to use, it's not free. We will be able to justify paying for better or alternative satellite imagry providers in the future if we find it a better option.
  • 5 0
 Makes total sense, I work in the industry and I’ve always wondered how Trailforks affords all mapping licenses and sever costs to host the massive amounts of data and users.

I’m so happy to pay the premium to keep Trailforks moving forward and even online. (I’ve noticed as of late performance has been down.) Thanks TrailForks, life before you had me riding the same so-so trails!
  • 6 1
 Super fair price. Happy with the choice not to pester me with advertising. Thanks for supporting trail associations. I hope PB and TF continue their outward support of local trail associations into the future as they have done in the past. It really is the best platform out there and I couldn't understand how the PB team was funding TF as a free model all these years. For the cost of a nice lunch or two BigMac meals I'm sure everyone will survive....
  • 18 10
 the limited radius is a pretty crappy move... god forbid anyone leave a 38 mile radius to ride...
  • 14 2
 Time for someone to start a new trails app project. If anything the app was most useful for non local unfamiliar trails, there goes that use case. I'd rather you guys use advertising supported revenue or a one time buy, but no thanks on the subscription. I know you all want to capitalize on that sweet recurring revenue but you just cracked the door open for someone else to serve the market now.
  • 3 0
 @chrenda: how are you going to fund the project?
  • 9 2
 At least it's better than the Strava 'upgrade'. I live in the Okanagan so a good part of that city size square is going to be lake Okanagan.
  • 17 12
 Thanks for the transparent press release guys. Im sure plenty of people on here will be upset (same people still upset about 26" wheels going awau), just like they were when Strava moved to a paid premium version. Bottom line, I'm sure like most of you, I've used the app hundreds and hundreds of times and never paid a dime. $3 per month is a small price to pay to ensure this app remains relevant, up to date and continues to add value when out on the trails. Thanks for all the hard work, I look forward to new features given the additional resources you all will now have.
  • 9 0
 My only complaint is the press release didn't come before the changes. I arrived at a location with no cell service completely oblivious to the changes, "sure I'll pay." Oh shit, no internet, just grey trails.

Had I know before my trip I could have paid in advance. Obvious I have internet now and it seems it defaulted to the 7 day trial once I had internet, so crisis averted.

I read on daily. I expected to read about these changes before they happened.
  • 5 5
 @eh-steve: that sounds like a bug, it should not have locked you out like that before you used your 7 days—even if you were offline. We’ll look into it and get it fixed. Doesn’t help you now though. Sorry for the inconvenience.
  • 1 0
 @bentomas: I'm not even sure what happened, so sorry I can't file anprooer bug report. Definitely an edge/corner case that would be hard to predict.

I may have had some connectivity but super slow. In any case the trails around me were grey and I had no ability/option to change that.

I'm also curious about how to set up the free area as I can't see that in app (now with my trial). I suspect since it's a fixed square I'm gonna get a lot of water in my free area.
  • 7 1
 Hmm. There are no Trailforks trails within 60km. I really liked the app, but have been using it mainly on holliday. Probably not gonna spend the money for that, and make do with another app.
  • 12 9
 Your free unlocked area doesn't have to be centered at where you live. You can move it to the riding network you most commonly visit if there are no trails near your home.
  • 4 0
 Pick the area you holiday most often in!
  • 7 0
 Let's all be real, this was was too good to be free for that long. It was only a matter of time before they needed to cash in, they just waited for Strava to do it first.
  • 7 2
 I’ve used trailforks pretty much every ride, and used it numerous times when planning somewhere new to ride. Yeah it sucks they’re moving to a subscription model, but the price they’ve launched this at is insanely cheap for what we’re getting.
  • 8 3
 This looks amazing and these features will improve my life every day! I can't wait to use it with my $6000 mountain bike. Don't know about $1.50 per month though, Can I stack coupon codes or hack something to get it for free?

  • 5 0
 I find it a little unfortunate that it comes shortly after Strava's similar move which wasn't very well received, but Trailforks pricing isn't offensive or anything! I just hope it'll bring us a little more bug hunting and overall app quality but only time will tell, it does take some manpower (person power?) to make a decent app so I hope this'll bring in the resources to make it greater than merica Smile
  • 11 3
 It's a super fair price, barely inconveniences me at all. But, it is a big fuck you to loyal users.
  • 6 5
 Exactly, USERS and not customers. Users means you paid nothing and got to use something for free, all they are asking for is the OPTION of paying $1.50 a month if you go outside their radius. How is this a big F U?
  • 8 2
 That's why existing users get 50% off now. and the most loyal users who are big contributors of trail data or help manage their local regions get free subscriptions.
  • 5 1
 @canadaka: This is a great deal for loyal users and acknowledges their contributions by providing free subscriptions, win win!
  • 8 1
 Take all my money, Trailforks. You do great stuff.

@canadaka Glad to hear (from the comments) that you're planning to overhaul the route planner.
  • 8 0
 TF saved my butt when I got lost once. I'll pay and eat out literally one less time/year.
  • 8 0
 £10.40 im happy to pay some one less that an hours pay not to miss out on trails id heard about
  • 9 0
 I’m in. Paid! I’m all for supporting the makers.
  • 7 1
 The pro version was too cheap for me to get upset over and much much cheaper than all my other trail dues/memberships/etc. I generally prefer to just pay a small amount than start dealing with ad injections.
  • 9 0
 Paid up for the year, I do not mind paying for something that is useful.
  • 7 2
 I would gladly fork over a one-time payment for a particular region.  I just hate subscriptions.

I've always thought that all the efforts that users put into TF was a missed opportunity for local non-profit mountain bike associations, such as Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, WMBC, ect. When TF was first becoming popular, a lot of MTB associations were also making efforts to upload trail info onto their own websites (they still are).  Had users focused their trail data and updates onto the non-profit sites, those groups could have kept that data free and available to all users.  Perhaps they could have sold sponsorship ad space to local breweries, bike shops, ect., and put that money back into the trails.
  • 5 5
 The data is still free and available to their local users. It's not really in the expertise or budget for trail associations to develop mapping apps and websites platforms. And i'm pretty sure they would not be very good and who knows if they would be updated or maintained. After that enthusiastic board member that built it moves on.

Phone OS's and API's are always changing, these things require constant maintenance. Also as an end user, installing hundreds of different apps for different locals all with different quality, interfaces and features is a big mess.

Trail associations can sell trail sponsorships and promote the local companies that do so on Trailforks, for free.
Trail associations can also still use the Trailforks widgets embedding the maps on their own websites, where they can ad space if they so choose.
  • 5 0
 I'm surprised they are not selling the data. In fact I'm not sure I believe they are not selling the data!

I don't use trailforks enough for free/not free to be an issue but I admit the mostly user supplied content makes it seem a little janky to charge for it. The fact that it is not much money is not the point.

That being said, I will pay if I need to use it.
  • 10 1
 Upgrade to PRO and get... nothing new. Brilliant!
  • 5 0
 Short sighted move. While BC has had wide adoption and most trails mapped other regions aren't. My brother lives in Cali and maybe a quarter of his trails are mapped out. Who is going to pay in regions like that?

With a paywall these regions will probably never get mapped reducing the useful of the app.

Also if 1 out of 15 pay, this is saying TF can't make 10 cents in advertising revenue per user. Seems like it would be pretty easy to meet this low threshold.
  • 1 0
 California is well mapped, it's just most of the trails are illegal. There are more trails hidden from the public map then not in California. They have major land use issues down there Frown
  • 4 0
 "The app will choose your free area automatically but you can adjust this area once to your choice. The free area is a square of 60km (38 mile) sides, which equals to 3600 square kilometers (1400 square miles). This area can be positioned anywhere you like and does NOT have to be centered where you live. It's intended to encompass your most used riding area even if that area is far away from where you live."

So, if I go ride BC, I can't use trailforks for the North Shore and Squamish and Whistler? Or closer to home - I can't see trails in Chapel Hill and then in north Raleigh, or in Brevard and then Asheville. Can this free area be repositioned between uses?
  • 7 0
 no - my understanding is it "gueses" the first time, then you get one chance to correct it. Repositioning kind of defeats the entire point.

I see no value in having detailed trail conditions for your home area. Where I need it is when I go to somewhere I'm less familiar. They definitely know this.
  • 2 0
 @plyawn: Yeah, that's what I assumed too. It's cheap, but I'm not sure how I feel about the stravafication of trailforks.
  • 4 0
 Building a place where users can contribute to a community costs money. If you dont want our contributions going to something that is paid, then do you want to pay for trailforks to send out scouts riding and updating? I imagine that would cost more than $1.50 a month per user to support. A platform for crowd sourced data is arguably more complete and more cared for. I'm all in.
  • 6 2
 I think it is important to remember that Trailforks has never been free, these guys have just been footing the bill for us for 5+ years. For those of you who are frustrated because you've contributed data and don't think that data should be behind a paywall, I get it, but that data can still be accessed for free on the website. I don't think enough credit is being given to the Trailforks team for developing and managing the platform we are all using. Personally, I am happy to support them because I believe in paying for things I get value from, and if this allows them to build out more features faster that's even better.
  • 6 1
 Thanks for making it easier to discover new trails! But what would be real Pro is stopping the incessant banner ads for trailforks app on mobile browsers. Real annoying. Otherwise, ride on!
  • 7 2
 Just read about the zone feature. That’s lame...
  • 6 0
 Trailforks is on my Garmin Edge 530. What are the implications of Trailforks Pro for this system?

Signed: a-not-so-tech-savvy-user.
  • 2 0
 None. Web and GPS apps work the same as they did before. This only applies to the mobile (iOS and Android) app.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: Thank you.
  • 1 0
 What´s it like on the Garmin? Like the mobile app? Minus the community stuff? Minus anything useful? Or just as good and on the device mounted to my handlebars?
  • 4 0
 @JohSch: The Garmin app enables the following workflow, whether you're paid up or not:

On your computer:
* navigate to www.trailforks.com
* look at all of the trails they have a on the globe
* plan a route
* save it

On your Garmin:
* open the Trailforks IQ app
* selected your newly created route
* load it onto your basemap & ride it
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: oh, well then...thanks anyways!
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: you forgot one step on the Garmin. Wait 25-30min for the device to “calculate” the route.
  • 1 0
 @mitochris: hahaha. I never "navigate" the route. I just pick a color and tell my Garmin to display it on the map.
  • 5 1
 Ready to sign up. One question - will we ever see turn-by-turn navigation? I love Trailforks but would love not having to pull my phone out of my pocket every time I get to a junction. Turn-by-turn on wearable devices would be amazing too - an Apple watch that tells me where to turn? That'd be real neat. Any plans?
  • 1 0
  • 7 0
 60 degree left turn 100meters ahead, then accelerate to 15kmh for a tabletop jump, then change to lighter gear and bring seat up for short uphill, then..
  • 11 3
 I would love to add some turn by turn and wearable apps. I had started working on some turn-by-turn stuff years ago, but got side tracked. So many things to work on and competing interests when we have been such a small team. Hopefully now we will be able to hire more people in the future to make stuff like this possible, or happen sooner.
  • 13 1
 @canadaka: I'm super-sincere when I say this: please put some deep and introspective thought into where the core value of TF exists before you go off in a million directions. Focus on the conceptual integrity of the app and question if you need to compete with every other near substitute, on every dimension. Things like core app experience, battery consumption, map & location accuracy. Things like turn-by-turn directions or calorie counters or leader boards are distractions that are technical challenges that erode the true value.
  • 2 0
 @OhrhO: Trailforks Co-Pilot
  • 2 0
 @canadaka: Nice! I keep looking at smart watches but haven't pulled the trigger, but I think that would push me over the edge. Please put my $1.50/month towards turn by turn and wearables guy or to yourself.
  • 15 7
 I have zero problem supporting PInkbike and Trailforks for $1.50/day
  • 5 0
 per month*
  • 5 0
 buck-fity a month, not a day
  • 5 0
 @pmhobson: yup, thats what I meant, I suck at typing
  • 4 0
 I don't pay for any ride tracking apps but I'd GLADLY pay $3 at least for the following feature:

Automatic trail conditions.

Right now, everything requires a user to manually update trail status. There has to be a way to calculate a trails condition based on weather, average ride speed vs days ride speed, amount of users, etc.

What I have found is that the best way to determine a trails condition is to see who has ridden a particular trail on a certain day via STRAVA leaderboards. Usually if it's muddy or generally poor riding conditions, someone will include trail conditions in their ride title, description or with photos. It's not exact and requires a little lurking but it I've found it more accurate than trail status updates. Although now you have to pay Strava for leaderboards which I don't think is worth it given the amount of manual labor.
  • 10 1
 @Paddock22 " calculate a trails condition based on weather". This is exactly what's on the table right now.
We are looking at taking into account rain history, cloud cover, sun, wind, slope of the area, foliage and along with some parameters for ground rain absorption for regions and even per trail, we should be able to get some info on if a trail is too wet or too dry. This would help associations in that people would not ride the trails when too wet or too dry ( and usually less fun ) and more likely to damage it. Having it all automatic you could look at a trail x days after rain, and it would basically tell you if it's going to be muddy.
Also we would be able to predict "hero dirt"!
  • 3 0
 @trailforks: Well then I'm signing up for Pro so that I can help fund such a feature!
  • 2 0
 @trailforks: awesome idea, I can't wait. In the PNW certain trails are very sensitive to heavy rainfall, while others drain very well, so some type of factor to account for trail surface would be needed. I paid for Pro this morning and am excited for new features. Thanks!
  • 13 6
 So.. Any other coders want to make an open source version of trail forks? dm me.
  • 18 15
 Do you have a couple million dollars to build that up and then run it and support it, in perpetuity... Wink
  • 11 3
 The best trails aren't even on Trailforks.
  • 7 0
 Here in Germany it just keeps kicking off slowly, sad this might kill it here Frown
  • 2 1
 Nevertheless I subscribed, I do hope I’m wrong with my statement
  • 5 1
 I think most people aren't noticing this only affects the app and not the browser version of trailforks. If you still want global and free trail maps you can simply use trailforks on your computer or your phone's browser. Simple.
  • 8 4
 Some pretty entitled opinions in here. Frankly even if they were gonna make some profit off of this I don't care. That's what a business should do. 18 bucks a year is nothing and I feel like I should pay it for all the use up until now. It's a bargain.
  • 8 4
 Perhaps Trailforks should also be giving those who uploaded data the opportunity to determine if they still consent to their data used now that it's behind a paywall. Also, deleting sentences from the Trailforks website about website use being free is extremely greasy.
  • 1 0
 I believe website use is still free?
  • 10 6
 Isn't it enough you got all the info we uploaded for free?
all this apps are the same, being nice in the beginning let us use the app for free just bring on your info, then the business greed taking control. what is the difference to drug dealers?
and like a violent parent hitting the users with bill but apologising with a discount.

on top of this it came in the "best" time economically while the whole world is suffering the effect of COVID.

Trailforks you are not nice.
  • 4 3
 @luriaguy So did you actually upload any trail data yourself or have you simply enjoyed the app for free like 99% of riders? If you are one of the few people who WILLINGLY contributed large amounts of trail data to Trailforks, why don't you email them directly, state your case and ask for an exemption to NOT PAY $1.50 per month?
  • 7 3
 The problem I have with this is that it's clearly about profiting from user data. Trailforks could have formed a non-profit and charged enough from users to support the operation and pay those that work on it a fair salary. The fact that they did not do this and are simply putting user data behind a paywall makes it clear that a few people will profit heavily from this move (and that it was always the plan).

The whole claim about "needing more resources" falls apart once you ask that question: why not make it a non-profit? This is about a few investors/people at the top profiteering, and the image of 'community' was always just a front for them. That's why I can't support it.
  • 2 3
 From what I understand is that they have been building this over ten years and have paid for all the costs. Including the charges they have to pay to other companies for map data (ie google).
  • 4 1
 @notdentist: Well first it is 5 years. Second, their costs do not include reimbursing all the trail creators and associations that input data. What would TF be without the 300,000 plus trails that users submitted? It would be nothing, an empty front end. The fact that they are restricting access to all the trails on the app (besides the little home area) shows that they are monetizing the user data, not the app functions. It is the user data that has the value (and TF has shown they understand this based on their model).

If they want to foster a community, they can put all their finances out in public and we can do the math together on what they need to run operations and come up with a fair price. The fact that it is private and for profit just shows they're like every other bait and switch company.
  • 4 3
 Profiteering? I don't like paying for things that used to free as much as the next guy... but this is the way the world works. Trade goods and services for compensation. There is nothing evil about that.

Every product requires some resource... in this case the user data, and efforts and infrastructure to compile and present that data.

Is your issue that you were not compensated for your input? I think... they are trying to compensate those folks by giving them an opportunity for a 50% discount... $18/yr for your data.
  • 2 1
 @angoleiroc: I think the app has been out 5 years but the website and development are longer. Trailforks is a platform that people contribute to like most apps (ie Strava). The value is in the data we all share with each other that wouldn’t be possible without Trailforks. You are paying for the platform.

Also, the tiny home area is not that small. I would argue that most of us ride in a smaller area and that any real trail data we provide is likely in a smaller area that is all still FREE!! So you have complete and free access to the data you have provided.
  • 4 0
 @Baller7756: "...the way the world works" is really saying "I don't know of any other way." It doesn't mean there ain't one. Tell me why going the non-profit route doesn't fly.

As to value, their numbers are based on how much profit they want to make and what they think most people will pay, like any corporation. I can tell you right now that I charge $50/hr for my time, but for you I'll lower it to $25/hr. That doesn't mean I put $25 in your pocket (this is the same scam that retailers use for their 50% off sales, by the way).
  • 4 1
 @notdentist: The point is not the size of the area, the point is that we came together as a community to create something bigger than an individual can accomplish, and now a few individuals want to profit off the effort of the community.

If I'm paying for the platform, let me pay $10 one time fee (or whatever price it is). There is a reason they put the trails behind the paywall and not the platform.
  • 2 1
 @angoleiroc: "the way the world works" is really not a concept or idea... its evolutionary... its the natural course. Non-profit is a forced concept... For-profit supports the natural human instinct of survival.

The cost of the goods or service is what the market will bear. If there is a comparable and cheaper option, the market will not support TFs target price... and they will adjust.
  • 6 2
 One problem with this is that: I have spent hours and hours of my own time pouring over this website, adding reports, correcting tracks, I have even gone for very specifically planned rides just to collect data to add to the website (new tracks etc) because I thought that we were all chipping in. now that we're paying, I expect a top quality service to be provided by the authors. Why would I add time and energy into something that then charges me. Seems like a win win for TF. I don't create music for spotify to sell back to me. @trailforks
  • 3 3
 @wideopennewzealand " I have even gone for very specifically planned rides just to collect data to add to the website"
Isn't that the fun part?
Look Trailforks is not charging you anything except for the application outside of an area you choose. The website is totally free to access even on your phone's web browser (and ad-free). I don't know how you use the app/website, but i never need a live map of the trails i already know and added myself to TF.
To go back to your Spotify analogy, i don't think you will listen to your own track via Spotify. And if you did you could always log-in to your creator account and listen for free to the content you added. Well i guess, i don't use Spotify. Wink
  • 7 4
I didn't read every post, and only skimmed the article.
I'm on the fence with this.
Can you post a link to any articles over the last five (5) years that have discussed how the intention of the Trailforks App was to build it up, primarily by users, and then move to a "subscription" format?
Thank you
  • 3 8
flag flyry (Aug 31, 2020 at 22:27) (Below Threshold)
 @Jimmymike Or you could just pay $1.50 a month to support the app, instead of demanding they build a case (which they already attempted to do in the article) just to convince you to pay $1.50 a month
  • 31 23
 Back to MTB Project
  • 10 6
 Exactly my thought. Trailforks has more features, but for my needs I could care less about most of them. `The MTB Project trail inventory had been weakening as Trailforks gained critical mass in the past couple years, so it will be interesting to see if that trend reverses.
  • 5 1
 never heard of this so I went and looked. It's unclear how they license data or monetize the app. All they say is "crowd sourced" which is essentially the same as TF, just not popular enough yet to charge. Why won't this end up in the same place if they're successful?
  • 4 2
 @plyawn: Conceivably it could go the same way eventually, but I believe it is co-owned by REI and IMBA so in theory monetizing it would be outside their normal model.
  • 1 0
 @Inertiaman: interesting - I might reach out to them to see how they manage ownership of the data. In an "open source" version of crowd sourcing, the contributors give the org essentially a global, irrevocable, perpetual license to the data, and the org provides some sort of non-commercial, attribution required data dump. Compare this to say, FB that by using you give full ownership for all purposes and then they use it to sell ads back to you. Not sure how the MTB project is set up.
  • 7 4
 MTB Project is a private company no longer owned by REI as of 2020 and no direct ties to IMBA, that ended years ago.
  • 5 3
 @canadaka: However they have a long history as mountain project prior to REI and IMBA (remember when IMBA had a full time staffer adding content there - and they still didn't charge users?) involvement and AFAIK have never resorted to selling users their data back to them.
  • 1 3
 @ACree: So they sold out to REI for the profit and now you think they bought it back to run it for free? I think you need to give your head a shake.
  • 1 0
 @notdentist: I think you should look at the history of their products, which have been around since 2005 without charging users.
  • 1 2
 @ACree They are a business and will need to make a profit since they are no longer part of REI
  • 4 0
 Hey Pinkbike. I bought a Garmin 830 over other devices, in part for its trailforks integration. Am I now going to have to pay a subsciption fee to get that to work outside of my local area?
  • 9 1
 Everything works on the Garmin devices as before.
  • 8 1
 @trailforks: Your clarifications on this point are very present tense. Will it remain this way in the future?
  • 6 1
 Yes, now people can keep uploading our secret tracks, wich they dont even know the names of and that are secret for a reason, but in pro ...
  • 5 1
 Would be great if they added a function to delete/report unofficial, illegal trails that don‘t need more traffic than they already have
  • 8 4
 Lots of thoughts about this. They could have pursued some other more forward thinking methods for revenue which would have further contributed to the community and sport. Instead of just going the status quo tricks. Booo
  • 4 6
 Yes, you have some really great ideas for the perfect mountain bike trails map, maybe you should develop your own?
  • 7 3
 @flyry: You don't have to be an automotive engineer to look at the 3 wheeled car (Reliant Robin) and say "that's a terrible design" same idea applies here.
  • 6 3
 @skierdud89: Exactly! Also don't need to be an engineer to understand when your info/input/data/effort/labor is being sold as a product back to you and others for another parties gain.
  • 5 2
 @cthorpe: yup. I realize the desktop website is still 100% free but I won't be surprised if a lawsuit comes out of this given that the data was collected and submitted via the mobile app.
  • 3 8
flag flyry (Sep 1, 2020 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 @skierdud89: I don't know what a 3 wheeled car has to do with Trailforks. Pay the $1.50 a month and support the app, or don't and get lost in the forest. It's as simple as that.