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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-08-09, 10:17 PM   #1
bigun83
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Trainer or Rollers?

I'm trying to decide whether to get a trainer or rollers for those rainy days and this upcoming winter. I'm leaning towards the rollers for a few reasons: 1) improve bike-handling skills 2) I've heard that rollers simulate a more "road feel" 3) also, I'm thinking that I wouldn't get bored as much vs. using a trainer. I know there will definitely be a learning curve and it will take me a while to get use to them. Is there any reason that I shouldn't get them and just go with a trainer? Anybody got any advice or first hand experience on either/both? Thanks!
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Old 06-08-09, 10:25 PM   #2
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First hand experience with both:

Rollers: can be a challenge initially, will improve your spinning and straight line riding, may be too big a challenge if you're not already comfortable riding a pretty straight line(like staying on the 4" wide road marker), will always require your complete attention while riding. There are a couple new roller designs that make the "staying on" issue much less, but at a cost.

Trainers: may or may not be loud depending on resistance type and tire used, provide a thoughtless way to get on your bike and burn calories whilst your feet go round-d-round, allow you to read a book or magazine whilst doing so,

If you're concerned with developing your spin and straight line skills=rollers
If you're more interested in working on conditioning and riding to some level of exhaustion=trainer
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Old 06-09-09, 02:58 AM   #3
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Fred, Thanks for the reply, I was wanting to know this also. Will these rollers work on MTB's? Would I gain from the roller over the trainer on my Rockhopper? Big mentioned getting bored, this is my buddies and my biggest fear, losing interest this winter. Thanks again!
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Old 06-09-09, 05:03 AM   #4
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You'll get bored w/either. Rollers are better because of developing all the extra skills while still giving you a workout. Get a set with a resistance add-on.

However, you generally have to sit the whole time, getting a numb bum. With a trainer, you can stand up to relieve pressure.
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Old 06-09-09, 05:32 AM   #5
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I use a trainer. I've never been on rollers so I can't give you first hand account of differences between the two. I can tell you that if you go with the trainer vary the workout to try to make the time on it somewhat interesting. Generally my workouts are 30-60 minutes. I like to vary cadence and resistance during the workout. Try to simulate hills and sprints with recovery time between the harder efforts. I find that when I do that and have some good music going on the ipod it keeps me from getting bored quickly.
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Old 06-09-09, 05:44 AM   #6
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I use rollers as well. I had my wifes hybrid on them to see if that would work and it was perfectly doable. So your MTB should fit just fine onto rollers. I suggest to use some slicks tho.
Also on my rollers the resistance with tires and 53x12 gearing it provides a workout up to 300W. Perfect for 2x20 intervals, which hurt. Alot.
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Old 06-09-09, 08:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
First hand experience with both:

Rollers: can be a challenge initially, will improve your spinning and straight line riding, may be too big a challenge if you're not already comfortable riding a pretty straight line(like staying on the 4" wide road marker), will always require your complete attention while riding. There are a couple new roller designs that make the "staying on" issue much less, but at a cost.

Trainers: may or may not be loud depending on resistance type and tire used, provide a thoughtless way to get on your bike and burn calories whilst your feet go round-d-round, allow you to read a book or magazine whilst doing so,

If you're concerned with developing your spin and straight line skills=rollers
If you're more interested in working on conditioning and riding to some level of exhaustion=trainer

I can stay on the white line if I really focus and keep my eyes about 20-30 yards in front of me. It does require constant concentration though. I'd hate to not get a good workout just because I'm having to stay that focused the whole time. I'm mainly in it to burn the calories and get in better shape. Sounds like a trainer might be the best thing to go with right now but I am definitely going to keep rollers on the back burner. BTW, What are the new roller designs that you mentioned? Do you (or anybody) have any suggestions on particular models for trainers (or rollers, for maybe later on down the road, pun intended ) Oh, I have a road bike with 700 x 23c Continental Ultra Sport tires if that makes a difference.
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Old 06-09-09, 08:34 AM   #8
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I have both and spend vastly more time on the trainer. I usually watch a bike race DVD while riding and am able to zone out a bit when mashing in hard gears.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:23 AM   #9
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I have a fluid trainer and it is fairly quiet. I use it during the winter when there is too much snow/ice on the roads, but it is BORING. Depending on your tolerance for cold, I would recommend getting outside during the winter whenever possible, it's very invigorating.

I do not have any experience with rollers however.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:32 AM   #10
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I bought a Kurt Kinetic trainer, which is supposedly one of the best, to use during the winter before last. I got a great deal, but it was still an expensive piece of equipment. Discovered that it's so boring I couldn't stand to be on it for more than a half-hour. I probably only used it a half-dozen times and solid it the following spring. Last winter, I bought a nice Gore jacket, Gore windproof bibs, and some other cold-weather gear and continued to ride outside. I didn't ride nearly as much as I do during the summer, but I got a lot more use out of the winter gear than the trainer.

If I were looking to buy another indoor training device, I'd buy rollers this time around. If I could afford them, the E-motion rollers would be at the top of my list. Given how expensive they are, I'd probably have to opt for a home made setup, however.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:44 AM   #11
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I have used trainers and rollers. Both are boring but rollers less so due to the concentration necessary*... although I never tried watching TV while riding, and that is not really doable on rollers.

The last time I was on my rollers (a few weeks ago) I had my iPod on and I was planning on doing an easy 30 minutes... I figured about five or six songs... but I wound up hammering and doing intervals during the chorus and stuff for about an hour and a half.

My wife has also taken up riding the rollers and we are probably going to get another set so we can roll together.

Trainers are very boring but you can get the most kickass workout of you do it right.

*the concentration necessary for rollers is basically to not fall (as if you were riding) and to keep your vision focused well ahead of you - I put a fan 10 feet in front to cool me down and give me something to look at.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:44 AM   #12
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The e-motion rollers would be nice, but they are pricey. I made something that works similar to that with my regular rollers. I used two bungie cords, 4 rollerblade wheels, 4 bolts to attach the wheels to my roller frame and a few pieces of scrap wood that I had around to make a frame to roll on. With my current setup I can ride with the "poor man's emotion rollers" (they do work, but you don't have anything to keep the bike from sliding off the front or back of the rollers. This isn't a big problem because the rollers can move with respect to the ground.) I can flip them over and use the rollers with their legs fixed in place, and next to that my spare bike is on the trainer (usually set up for the wifey to ride).

I spent most of my time last winter on rollers. I would even switch between free-motion and fixed. If I was planning a long workout I would even spend time on the trainer to work more resistance. It as nice to be able to change it up every 20-30 minutes.

If you have any questions about my setup, I can post pictures.
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