Newby needs help with rollers

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Eddy Clifton, Nov 17, 2011.

  1. Eddy Clifton

    Eddy Clifton New Member

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    Hi All.
    Newbie here to the forum. I have a few questions regarding training rollers. I have just acquired a second hand set of rollers with no instructions or info, I don't even know what make. But they have 4 inch alloy rollers.
    I am finding it is harder to ride than being on the road. My tyres are 700C35 and was wondering if these may have something to do with it. I have been reading some of the posts here that people are achieving 40 mph on their rollers.
    Can someone shed some light on what I am doing wrong.
    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Start by making sure the rollers are set to the right length to match the wheelbase of your bike. With the rear wheel nestled between the rear rollers the front axle should be directly over the center of the front roller. If a plumb line dropped from the front axle falls behind the top center of the front roller the ride will be very unstable as you'll have changed your bike's steering geometry for the worse (reduced the effective trail) if a plumb line dropped from the front axle is in front of the top of the front roller there will be a tendency to ride off the roller during any quick accelerations and it will also feel less stable.

    Assuming the wheelbase is set correctly it's best to start riding rollers in a narrow hallway or in a doorway so you can easily support yourself off the side walls while getting used to the sensation of riding rollers. Start out in a moderately large gear and try to spin smoothly at a moderate to high cadence (e.g. 80-90 rpm). Look six to eight feet out in front and don't stare down at the front roller and try to relax your upper body. Don't do any hard steering and make subtle adjustments with body weight to correct if you start to drift to the side of the rollers. At first you can keep a hand on the doorway but once you're up at speed it's best to put your hands lightly on the handlebars and relax while concentrating on smooth quick pedaling and smooth body motions.

    The good news is that falling off the rollers isn't nearly as bad as we might think. There'll be a lot of clattering but even when your wheels are spinning at 20 or 30 mph you're not actually carrying any forward momentum. That basically means you don't hit the carpet and go rocketing through the TV set, instead you fall over and make a ton of noise and more likely bruise your ego than actually hurt yourself (make sure your riding area is clear of coffee tables or other hard or breakable objects you might otherwise land on).

    Sure good roller riders can break 40 mph, but don't expect that to happen right away or without a lot of confidence building first. Try to roll in the low to mid 20 mph range to make things easier but you don't really want to spin your brains out or try for really high speeds until you've very comfortable on the rollers. The good news is that it gets much easier with practice. Also don't use your brakes while riding the rollers or at least don't do any hard braking or you'll shoot right off them to the rear.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
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  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I am just starting out with rollers too - perhaps its my weight, but there is much more resistance than I was expecting. I can get a pretty good sweat going riding from 20 to 25 mph. I have not used my HRM yet as I am concentrating on balance and form before doing any really hard workout.

    If you want do see what folks can do on rollers - search youtube for "stupid roller tricks" they are pretty entertaining. I also gather from watching those videos that their rollers coast much longer than mine. Perhaps the drums have more inertia or their lighter weight results in much less rolling resistance.
     
  4. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    yes those tires are too wide, that means more surface contact and friction and less speed, road bikes use mostly 700C x 23 for example,
     
  5. Eddy Clifton

    Eddy Clifton New Member

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    Thank you all very much for the replies.
    I will look into the replies and get back to the forum with the results
    Again thanks to all.
     
  6. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    I still lose focus and fall off from time to time, just keep pedaling if you get in trouble and try to work your way out of it.

    I fell off a couple times last year and could not figure out why it smelled like a burnt sweeper belt, then I found the nice burn marks from my tires in the carpet, so I would be sure to give the rollers a go somewhere you are not going to piss your wife off if you mess something up (i.e. the basement or garage)
     
  7. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    here's a roller question for the experts.

    i was riding tonight and noticed that my rear wheel travels, wobbles, left and right along with my pedal stroke. the amount of travel varied with my pedaling force. its keeping me from going much over 30. my front wheel is dead center and stable. the flooring is pretty stable - whats the most likely cause of the wobble: normal, technique, bike or trainer?
     
  8. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Some motion of both front and rear wheels at high power and especially at high cadences is pretty normal. But from what you describe with your front wheel staying fairly centered and your rear wheel noticeably tracking left and right with your pedal stroke I'd think you may be rocking your hips side to side or otherwise introducing some upper body motion when you pedal hard. I'd double check your saddle height to make sure you're not rocking with each pedal stroke and to work on a quiet and stable upper body while riding hard or fast efforts but it's not necessarily a problem to have a bit of motion under really fast and hard efforts unless it becomes a limiter like bouncing in the saddle can for folks trying to spin faster or harder than normal.

    -Dave
     
  9. Not Sure

    Not Sure New Member

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    If you want to get going fast, the first thing you should do is elevate the back end so they are tilted forward.
     
  10. dannomyte

    dannomyte New Member

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    Here are my three cents

    1. Using a push and pull pedal stroke will help you stabilize your ride. I have found that both rider and bike are much more in control when utilizing this technique.
    2. This has been mentioned already, but it is important so I'll mention it again. Look ahead, not down.... at least until you get the hang of it. This was the most important habit for me when I started on my rollers.
    3. This is an obvious one, but make sure your tires are pumped up to their maximum rating.

    Hope you're having fun!
     
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