Indoor rollers vs. trainer

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by jrschultz, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. jrschultz

    jrschultz Member

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    Hello all!
    The last couple of winters I have used a indoor stationary recumbent style exercise machine to replace cycling. I'm kind of sick of it. This coming winter I was thinking of buying rollers or a trainer. What do all of you prefer for indoor cycling using your own bike? I am kind of leaning towards the rollers, because maintaining balance will add a degree of difficulty.
     
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  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I switch back and forth between a set of Al Kreitler rollers and a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine 2 fluid trainer during the Winter.

    I have used magnetic and fluid trainers on and off over the years, but mainly an infrequent user until a few years ago. The fluid trainer I use now is a hard workout and simulates road riding Wattage vs. speed closely. It's also damned boring. It allows multiple riding positions with zero risk of crashing. It is easy to watch the computer or television or read a book while working out. Despite dire intarnetz warnings I've noticed no appreciable tire wear using cheap road sew-ups...much easier on the tires than being out on our shitty roads.

    I have owned rollers since 1974. Rollers take focus. I'm a decent enough roller rider that I can add or subtract upper layers without crashing...starting in a cold garage or basement and pulling a jersey over my head after warming up and pulling it back on for warm down. There can be no real sprinting on my rollers and intervals require a longer wind up and lower maximum RPM's or the risk of coming off the rollers gets pretty real. I experience less boredom on the rollers and since I don't have a mag, fan or fluid unit on my rollers the workout I get is less than with the fluid trainer unless I push the envelope.

    Rollers will accentuate poor position on the bike and setup / fitting errors.
     
  3. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    Campybob summed it up. I bought a set of rollers last fall. Aluminum with resistance, a hard workout can be had, you will sweat, but max efforts tax a lot of concentration. I used a speed sensor and wasn't sure how accurate it would estimate my speed. It was more accurate than expected, average speed was close to my typical road average. My garmin will show me cadence, hr, and speed.

    I get bored on the rollers at about the same time my focus starts to slip. 30 minutes to an hour is my preferred time on rollers. Don't be intimidated by fear of falling off. I just started riding last year and lets just say, my skill wasn't great... I got decent at the rollers in about 3 weeks time and falling off isn't to painful or scary as long as you use them in a clear space.

    I've never used a trainer, but may get one this winter to use with Zwift.
     
  4. jhonson45m

    jhonson45m New Member

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    hi all! I think you are right. Me too i m using rollers because is having a degree of difficulty.
     
  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Campybob, you said back in Jan 24 2014 that trainers did wear out your tires; you said this to be exact: "Magnetic, fan and fluid stationary trainers do cause some accelerated tire wear, especially if insufficient roller to tire pressure is set by the rider. Tire traction slippage and general heat buildup at the drive roller are the culprits. Use a cheap, throwaway tire or one of the 'trainer tires' if you encounter wear, are a powerful rider doing sprints and jumps, do long, high speed sessions, etc."

    Which the tires you talking about in the above quote, clinchers or sew ups? I wouldn't think there would be a difference between the two types...but maybe.

    I've found that insufficient roller to tire pressure to do what you said it can do, but I also found that too much pressure can wear out the tire fast and actually leave small fragments of tire tread all over the floor. Which is why it's best to follow the directions that came with the trainer you bought.

    I simply use an old tire that I have deemed not road worthy for trainer use, I first pick out any debris stuck in the tread, then clean the tire really well; dirt and debris will damage the roller on a trainer. I never find bits of rubber either if I do install it correctly.
     
  6. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I did not state in any way, shape or form that my trainer "wear out" my tires. And before we get into a discussion into the opposite end of this point: Of course they will and do 'wear out' if used long enough.

    I stated they do cause "some" (as in: A range from minimal and acceptable to melt down stoopid user with rubber shards all over the living room floor) accelerated wear and specified the condition(s) that exacerbate that wear. As a generalization or point of discussion i think most find this to be a true statement.

    I did state that slippage and the associated heat causes the tire to wear faster. As can having the roller pressure set too high. Which causes carcass deformation, squirm and...heat in addition to possible damage to the trainer's roller bearings due to excessive radial loading. I have neither condition in either extreme or enough to cause my own results to warrant a dedicated trainer tire or need multiple tires per indoor season.

    The disclaimer: My personal results may or may not reflect the experience of others.

    My recommendation was the same as yours 'if' a rider encounters unacceptable tire wear: use a sacrificial tire (or buy that dedicated trainer tire if you want to).

    My roller is warm to the touch after a session, but not hot. There are no 'black stripes' on my pressure roller. The cheap sew-ups on my track bike do wear, of course, but wear less than if they got outdoor miles on our rough road surface. I call the wear I'm getting on the fluid trainer 'no appreciable' wear or maybe more accurately 'more than acceptable wear'. I won't split hairs on this, but I am plenty satisfied with the tire life I'm getting on my trainer.

    The instructions, such as they are, that came with my Kurt Kinetic fluid trainer are somewhat fluid themselves, as far as tire-to-roller pressure goes....telling the user to bring the roller into contact with the tire (which is never perfectly concentric with the axle) and then add 2 to 3 more revolutions of the pressure knob...then add or subtract in quarter to half-turn increments 'if needed' or as required to eliminate evident tire slippage induced by a tug on the wheel using a hand.

    Well..duh!

    Then, Kinetic offers this: "Do not over-tighten the roller tension knob. Over-tightening will cause both tire and unit damage. Tighten only enough to avoid tire slippage."

    Well...double duh!

    ...and how much is that? I'm being facetious, but only a little. Frankly, knowing how many people have difficulty tying their shoes I am skeptical of the number of users that train with their units with incorrect setups.

    I think even a weak rider can out-power a sharp pull of the hand with a standing sprint and do it many times during a hammer session, inducing some slippage.

    I've found what works for me by trial and error and offer the caveat YMMV with no tire wear pun intended.

    I'm not sure anyone can print out a hard and fast 'rule' on how to set up a trainer as the contact patch size can really vary due to tire pressure, tire size, rubber compound, tread design, etc. And different rubber compounds will, obviously, offer different coefficients of friction and react differently to heat (as will the carcass). General guidelines can be offered, but beyond that...
     
    #6 CAMPYBOB, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  7. jrschultz

    jrschultz Member

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    Thanks for the replies and helpful information so far.
     
  8. Uawadall

    Uawadall Well-Known Member

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    In terms of rollers/trainers wearing out tires, they do, but it depends on many factors as stated by the post above. In my experience, the tires will look different the first time they are used on rollers, but its just a superficial difference. My advice would be to put crap tires on your spare wheel set and just swap wheels. I find swapping wheels way less annoying then swapping tires, but thats just me. Plus, if I fall, id rather land on crap wheels than my good ones.
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Kurt had (I think they discontinued it) a 'crash replacement' plan for their trainers. I can see it happening, but only in 99% oxygen debt, going blind and still trying to stay on top that 135" gear while your nose is leading front of the front tire by two feet.

    The evening disclaimer: Yes, CampyBob has sprinted off his rollers on at least two occasions he will admit to. He will also admit to having potato-chipped the rear sew-up rim of his first track bike in one of those falls and to referring to himself in the third person in internet threads. If you are offended by either the roller falls or the grammar, get over it. I did.
     
  10. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I use the CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer, and I don't notice anymore wear then I do riding on the street! I adjust the trainer like the Kurt advises and never have any issues with tire wear which is why I use old tires. The CycleOps Fluid 2 is now considered the best trainer on the market and it costs less than the Kurt, see: http://bestreviews.com/best-bike-trainers

    Although this site rates Kurt and CycleOps tied but the Minoura rim drive higher which I tried and didn't like it, anyway see: http://www.bicycleadvisor.com/best-bike-trainer/
     
  11. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I bought the Kinetic for the heavy 6-pound flywheel and the optional 12 pound Pro Flywheel add-on if I wanted it. After I'm dead and buried I'll let someone else worry about what it cost. Kurt options InRide, but I went with power meters. Yeah, those cost money too. Oh well. InRide is a decent option for those that prefer going that route and I'm guessing CycleOps also offers a similar power add-on option.

    Kurt has one of the most stabile and linerar powerr curves of any fluid trainer...at least according to DC Rainmaker. And I trust his product evaluations. The feel and ride translation factor is very road-like IMO. The response to power, the coast down, the steady state over a long workout all just replicate road power requirements pretty darned closely.

    Mine was purchased from Modern Bike IIRC and it arrived off the UPS truck with a broken pivot plate. Oopsie! Someone played 'United Breaks Guitars' with my trainer. I called Kurt up and they they didn't even ask for a receipt, a serial number or where I bought it. Just my name an address. They just sent me a new unit...no questions asked.

    They still offer their lifetime warranty and based on what I've experienced with Kinetic's customer service and how the trainer has worked and has required zero maintenance I highly recommend them.

    But in the end it is just a trainer. CycleOps, Kurt, Minoura, Elite, Tacx, Nashbar...and many other brands are equally good and all the reviews from the various re-sellers are mostly positive. All of them are equally boring and why I rate the noise level they produce at the bottom of my priority list. I'm going deaf to the tunes cranked to 11 trying to maintain sanity on the boring torture device.

    All trainers are somewhat loud and LeMond's direct drive unit is about 2 decibels less than a jet engine spooling up for takeoff.
     
  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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  13. 6fhscjess

    6fhscjess Member

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    No tire slippage on my Lemond Revolution trainer since no tire required but as CampyBob said it can get loud when really cranking. I recently bought an Elite trainer at a very good price so I could use my Lezyne unit for speed and cadence since the sensors are on the rear wheel and chainstay but I've not used it. I used to have a set of rollers with fans that gave good resistance and of course improved balance etc. They were loud but I liked them.
     
  14. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    The Lemond Revolution is only slightly less loud than the Space Shuttle at liftoff.

    But that's really an irrelevant point unless you live in apartment or have a wench for a wife or a baby that needs to sleep, etc. Most of us don headphones or buds and go deaf to the tunes we workout to.

    My Kreitler's are fairly quiet and the Kinetic fluid trainer is about as quiet as it gets. I need to borrow the Db meter from work and see where they are. I know the two cooling fans I use generate as much or more noise than the rollers and the one fan is right at head level. No wonder I'm going deaf...

    Many of the fluid trainers leak. The roller shafts drive the fluid turbines. The shaft seals fail and they leak.
    Many trainers use inferior fluids in the resistance turbine chamber. The resistance level drops as the temperature goes up.
    Many trainers use low quality bearings.

    Kurt has a separate fluid chamber the is magnetically coupled to the drive. No shaft seals to fail. That and breast implant grade silicone that offers the least amount of temperature rise thinning make Kurt about the best choice in trainers.
     
    #14 CAMPYBOB, Oct 15, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
  15. SBDU

    SBDU New Member

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    I came here looking for info on the O-ring size needed for the 'belts' on my ancient 'Big Yankee' Rollers. The belts are about 40 years old, still OK, but.

    The comments about noise got my attention. The Yankees aren't bad, but if one has ever ridden Cinelli rollers, on the second floor of an apartment building, well the folks downstairs will describe the affair as unforgettable...

    Thanks for bringing a smile to my face!
     
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