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  1. #1
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Got a set of rollers ... any advice?

    First, does it matter which bike I use on these? Does it make sense to use my CX bike to avoid wear to the drive train in my nice road bike? I don't think so, but can the front damage a carbon fork or bars?

    Craigslist got me a set of rollers for $40 - I was actually trying to find a deal on fenders or a rack to Fred the CX bike up. I've only ever been on a trainer for bike fittings, so this is pretty new to me. The rollers are a bit twitchier; if you don't keep the bike perfectly straight when you peddle, you can feel it in a big way.

    I'm hoping they'll help with my technique a bit, but I got them for high cadence / anaerobic practice. I bike (outdoors!) throughout the winter, so these probably won't be for long "rides." They're incredibly boring.



    There doesn't seem to be a way to increase the resistance, beyond shifting, which only gets you a little. Would it make sense to put a door mat or something under them? Probably a good idea to wash it first...

    They seem pretty quiet. Should I assume the people downstairs don't hate me, until I get a chance to ask them directly?

    Do concepts like "distance" and "speed" make sense on these things? Obviously cadence and saddle time are real, but is there any reason to move the speedometer to the rear wheel?

    Anything else I should know, or advice on how to get a good workout with them?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    It is possible to use knobbies, but just starting out, you'll want to use smooth tires on them.

    They will make noise, just not as much as a fan, etc... Put a towel or mat under them to catch sweat.

    As long as they're set-up properly, they won't damage your bike, no. (Front roller directly under the hub of front wheel, rear rollers balancing the rear wheel between them. Set the rear up first.)

    You should measure all your riding in terms of hours/minutes anyway. It's hard to get out of the saddle on rollers, so you'll want to stick to 15--20 mins to start, then go longer as you can.

    Rollers are not for the resistance they give. They're for speed and smoothness on your pedaling technique. You'll still get a cardiovascular workout (most likely base-building), but that's secondary. If you're looking for anaerobic, you definitely don't want resistance. Use your cyclometer w/cadence function to measure.

    Rollers are a great tool. Use them for 20-30 mins after you get back from a ride outdoors during hte off-season, and maybe once in awhile during season. They'll really help.

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  3. #3
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Unless there's some sort of resistance device attached to it, I'm not aware of how you'd increase your workload on them. I've never used them myself, but I seem to recall from my years and years of accumulated worthless knowledge that the primary benefits of roller use are developing smooth form (dished rollers were considered "cheating") and getting saddle time. That's why resistance trainers were able to hit it big in the market when they were first introduced. They filled a need that rollers weren't able to.
    Craig in Indy

  4. #4
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    From the OP, I'm unclear if he's really talking about rollers or a trainer since he talks about moving the sensor to the rear wheel and worries about damage to the fork. Perhaps he has rollers but with a stand for the clamping the front fork in place?

  5. #5
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    From the OP, I'm unclear if he's really talking about rollers or a trainer since he talks about moving the sensor to the rear wheel and worries about damage to the fork. Perhaps he has rollers but with a stand for the clamping the front fork in place?
    +1
    If you use rollers, you don't need to swap out the sensor because your front wheel will be turning.

    Using rollers for cadence practice is good, but realize that high-cadence on rollers needs to be smooth. You start bouncing and you risk hopping off the front. Unless you're really smooth at high cadence, using static rollers for anaerobic training is going to be tough without a resistance setup.

    DO NOT put anything underneath your rollers to increase resistance. If you want to up the resistance, look at getting a Kreitler Headwind Fan. Or getting smaller radius roller drums. You risk damaging the drums or having your "resistance unit" (a.k.a. carpet) jam up and send you sailing otherwise.

    Rollers don't damage the bike. They're smooth drums that simulate road riding, and the only way you'll do any damage is if you fall off them. Practice in a doorway for starters, until you learn your balance on them. Then move to having them next to a wall, then you can put them in the middle of a room and use a bench for a footrest.
    To keep from wearing out good road tires, I suggest getting either a cheapo pair of Forte road slicks, or spend the money on a pair of high-wear trainer tires (those fugly red ones). The offer some increased grip on the drums (especially if you have large radius steel drums).
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ultraslide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Got a set of rollers ... any advice?
    Don't look down. Work on high cadence intervals to improve your balance and spin. Just use your road bike. The speed/effort ratio will be out of whack on the computer. Normally I ride around 18 mph but on the rollers the same perceived effort gets me to 21 mph. Keep that in mind. If you want more resistance, shift. If you have run out of gear and still don't have enough resistance for smooth 120 rpm intervals then you are Superman. Congratulations.
    All I'm saying is ... large pigs can run faster than you think.

  7. #7
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    SF, Keep the cats out of the room when using.

    Brad

  8. #8
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Rollers are useful for high cadence workouts. Like +100rpm for like 20-30 min.
    Training for improving your pedal stroke and your snap from high cadence to your max cadence.
    e.g. pedal at 110rpm for 1 minute and then go all out for 30 seconds to your highest cadence you can muster without bouncing off the rollers... somewhere in the range of 140-180rpm's depending on how good your pedal stroke is.
    Wash, rince, repeat.

    BTW... rollers with small drums definitely have enough resistance for 20 min. power tests. At a 52/12 combination it takes me around 300Watts to turn a 90rpm cadence.
    And with the killer headwind attachment I've got enough resistance that in the 52/17 I need over 300Watts to turn 90rpm's.

    Now all out sprints with max power do not work too well on rollers, I stationary trainer is better for those.

    When I try to sprint on my rollers standing up, I can maybe put between 500 and 600 Watts down before the rear wheel starts slipping and I'm loosing control over the bike.
    Gelato aficionado.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    From the OP, I'm unclear if he's really talking about rollers or a trainer since he talks about moving the sensor to the rear wheel and worries about damage to the fork. Perhaps he has rollers but with a stand for the clamping the front fork in place?
    Thanks for forcing me to be clear.

    It's a "machine" with two rolling drums in the back, that narrow into a single metal pipe with a groove for the front wheel, and a stand that goes on either side of the fork. The top has a ... thing ... that attaches to the handlebars. It's not really a clamp, more like supports on the bottom, and hooks on the top. The hooks are meant for a 26 mm clamping area, though, and both my bikes use 31.8 mm bars, so I've simply been setting the bike in place, and either trusting the grooves, or holding the stand that's part of the rollers for really high cadence work.

    I'm sure a pic would make this a lot more clear, but, sadly, my camera is dead.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  10. #10
    Genetics have failed me Scummer's Avatar
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    Essentially you got rollers with a fork stand. Quite different than 'real' rollers because keeping the bike straight is not required anymore.
    Gelato aficionado.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I can't hit the same level of exertion ( or cadence, I suspect ) on the rollers that I can on the road. In real riding, if I shift to 34x25 and spin as quickly as possible going down a hill, I've seen the computer say 180 and I can feel my CV system working as hard as possible. But I can't hit that point in the living room.

    Is that the rollers themselves, or is it in my head - that "cycling" in the living room is boring and I'm not applying myself as much?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  12. #12
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Check with your neighbors before using, they may be whisper quiet to you, but in an apartment setting, the trainer can shake the apartment below you like there is small earthquake happening..

  13. #13
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    I had a set of rollers with no resistance fan years ago, so I folded and taped 2"x4" bits of paper (coupons from a local dry cleaner) around spokes on opposite side of the hub to turn an old front wheel into a resistance fan. At the beginning of the winter season I'd place the rollers in a doorway so that I could bounce from forearm to forearm while getting used to them again.

  14. #14
    35 years of newbie CatfishRacing's Avatar
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    If I need more resistance on my rollers I let a few PSI out of the tires.
    Not sure if it's a good idea or not but it works.
    Also, when I first learned on them I put them in my hallway so I had support on both sides.
    Last but not least they are a lot louder to the people under you they they are from the saddle.

  15. #15
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatfishRacing View Post
    If I need more resistance on my rollers I let a few PSI out of the tires.
    Not sure if it's a good idea or not but it works.
    I don't think that that is a good idea, I used to do that with narrow tires and the sidewall of the tire wore out.
    I would suggest for tire longevity and rideability that you get wide slick tires.

    As others have stated that the rollers really help develop form and balance.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
    I would suggest for tire longevity and rideability that you get wide slick tires.
    I've been using my CX bike on it, to keep the road bike's drive train nice and young. It's got 28 mm tires on right now, but they're starting to wear, and now that I've got two bikes, I'm thinking about 32s for the CX. I used to do long city rides on it, and wanted a balance... Anyway, since wide tires came up, any guess how much difference to expect for rolling resistance on the street?

    On the rollers, it feels like shifting to higher gears adds quite a bit more resistance if you're starting from a dead stop, but not so much if you're already moving?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  17. #17
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I've been using my CX bike on it, to keep the road bike's drive train nice and young. It's got 28 mm tires on right now, but they're starting to wear, and now that I've got two bikes, I'm thinking about 32s for the CX. I used to do long city rides on it, and wanted a balance... Anyway, since wide tires came up, any guess how much difference to expect for rolling resistance on the street?
    32mm isn't a bad street tire for longer rides around here, since you can't pick a long route with pristine pavement for the entire way. I switched from 28mm to 32mm this season and wouldn't go back for long rides. The comfort of rolling on a 32mm tire at 90psi when the road changes from rough asphalt to chip-seal is astounding. The 32mm has enough cushion to soak up the nastiness, and (at least my Pasela TGs are) just flexible enough that they don't feel slow or squishy.
    I've gone out with the Woodinville Bicycle Thursday night group (moderate hills, 18mph average) and not felt like I was drag-assing compared to the group.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I've been using my CX bike on it, to keep the road bike's drive train nice and young. It's got 28 mm tires on right now, but they're starting to wear, and now that I've got two bikes, I'm thinking about 32s for the CX. I used to do long city rides on it, and wanted a balance... Anyway, since wide tires came up, any guess how much difference to expect for rolling resistance on the street?
    I don't know much about this but I wouldn't expect there to be much more rolling resistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    On the rollers, it feels like shifting to higher gears adds quite a bit more resistance if you're starting from a dead stop, but not so much if you're already moving?
    That is probably true since it take more effort to get both wheels to a higher speed but with the wheels moving it is just a little effort to increase the speed.

    I do like Rondabike's idea of putting paper on the front wheel to create resistance (kinda like a schwinn aerodyne) but I would use cardboard since it would not flex as much.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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