Rollers for Indoor Training

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Randy Bosma, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Randy Bosma

    Randy Bosma New Member

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    Hello All,

    I've been loaned an old set (~10 years) of American Classic rollers to use during the extra-snowy and usual-cold winter we're having in the midwest. The company exists ( www.amclassic.com ) but no longer sells the product, although replacement belts are in stock. For me, the process of learning to ride them was fairly simple, but these rollers have quite a bit of resistance which makes a session on them like riding up a 5% grade or into a 15mph headwind. No 'recovery rides' on these rollers.

    If I can solve the resistance issues, I'll take these off my friend's hands (he offered them for a very decent price). OTOH, a bit of research on these interwebs has netted me a bit of a desire for some new really nifty rollers.

    So the question is: How do you select a set of rollers?
    • What size rollers are best; big or small?
    • I see that metal is better than plastic.
    • The e-motion unit gets rave reviews; big bux though.
    • Any comparison reviews out there? i've not stumbled upon one yet.
    • Your comments based on experience would be welcome.

    Thanks,

    Arby
     
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  2. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like your freind's rollers either need a little lubrication or to have the bearings replaced. I like bigger rollers but roller size is a matter of what you are comfortable with. It is easier to mount and dismount rollers that are smaller because they tend to be shorter and they are easier to store as they take up less room.

    Get metal, they last forever with minimal care. I can't give you any reviews because the Minoura rollers that I have are nearly 20 years old and are not made any longer.

    Try to get a set of rollers with an adjustable resistance unit that can be adjusted from the handlebars. This will allow you to vary your resistance while you are spinning to better simulate real conditions.

    One word of caution, do not ride your rollers while watching your big screen plasma TV/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif.
     
  3. tafi

    tafi Member

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    • Small diameter drums provide more resistance than bigger ones.
    • Aluminium drums with steel end caps is the best combination, followed by aluminium drums with aluminium end caps, then aluminium with plastic end caps (caps can separate from the Al after a while), then all plastic. Plastic rollers definitely go out of shape much easier and you need rollers to be really round to avoid vibration.
    • E motion does get rave reviews but I have no idea what they are like (apart from being either extremely expensive or not available where I live).
    • There arent too many comparisons but they are all a much of a muchness (materials and drum diameters not withstanding)

    Most rollers are fine but I would probably go for metal drums next time round. My Tacx ones are like riding on cobbles now. Once I have some cash together for a new set I might go with some Minoura AC pros. Very sturdy looking. I'd love a set of these with a resistance unit attached but I'll probably need to fabricate my own.

    I used to do all my wet weather / indoor stuff on rollers but now have switched back to the trainer (at least until I can afford both).
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Lot's of good advice above, metal drums are definitely the way to go and it sounds like you've got bearing issues with your current rollers, I'd pull them apart see how the individual bearings spin and replace any that are rough.

    I've ridden lots of different rollers over the years, the Kreitlers are fantastic but even the aluminum Travel Trac rollers that Performance often has on sale: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1028745_-1_1549000_20000_400134?cm_mmc=froogle-_-shopping-_-cpc-_-product are pretty nice though they lack an inertial or resistance unit both of which make rollers more versatile for different kinds of training.

    I'm currently riding e-motion rollers, and yeah they're worth the extra bucks. They have both an inertial unit so you can coast a bit without losing wheel speed too rapidly and have an adjustable magnetic resistance unit so you can do easy spins or do really hard intervals on them but they're real value is the floating frame design and safety bumpers. Both features make them a lot easier to ride with abandon and to do things like full bore out of the saddle sprints without worrying about crashing. Even if you get lazy and drift the front wheel to the edge of the drum it just rolls off a nicely positioned roller blade wheel that helps you recenter and keep riding. I've played with banging off the bumpers from side to side and have accidentally drifted over and hit a bumper while riding hard in the TT aero bars with no issues at all. Similarly I could stand on my previous rollers for short periods if I was very gentle about it but on these I just jump out of the saddle to stretch my legs or to sprint and it's no big deal and doesn't require any special handling skills. The four or five inches of fore and aft free floating frame that allows the entire roller assembly to move with your body motions makes it a piece of cake to ride them aggressively.

    Anyway, I really like the e-motion rollers and if they're even remotely in your budget I'd give them serious thought.

    -Dave
     
  5. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    I am considering getting rollers for next Winter's training. I am currently using a trainer with my mountain bike along with spinervals videos. My plan is to use one of my road bikes on the rollers and simulate my road riding instead of the interval training I am currently using. The Travel Trac is one of the Rollers I am considering and waiting it out to see how much of a discount I can get it for during the off season for indoor training.
    With that said I have a few questions.

    Do you need to use trainer tires on rollers?

    Are there any training videos that simulate rides? Quite concerned about this after KD's comment.
     
  6. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I don't and wouldn't use home trainer tires on rollers. Rollers already feel a lot like riding on ice when you first start, I suspect a hard trainer specific tire would only make that worse. Luckily rollers don't seem to chew up tires nearly as fast as most trainers.
     
  7. Randy Bosma

    Randy Bosma New Member

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    Thanks to all for the useful information and discussion.

    Originally Posted by kdelong .

    Sounds like your friend's rollers either need a little lubrication or to have the bearings replaced.

    Yes, that's kind of what I was thinking. I may have time this weekend to give them a bit of attention.

    Originally Posted by kdelong .

    Try to get a set of rollers with an adjustable resistance unit that can be adjusted from the handlebars. This will allow you to vary your resistance while you are spinning to better simulate real conditions. One word of caution, do not ride your rollers while watching your big screen plasma TV/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif.


    I haven't seen rollers with remotely adjustable resistance -- yet. My guess is that since the bike is not clamped in, any cable between the control and the resistance unit could be a source of injury in the event of a fall. I've watched a small screen (laptop) but would be unlikely to to try a really big screen - visual and mental overload.

    Originally Posted by tafi .

    • Small diameter drums provide more resistance than bigger ones.

    Good to know. Thanks!
     
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