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  1. #1
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    Trainer, rollers or both

    I wanna get into track racing and i am currently looking into winter training and was thinking about buying some kreitler rollers (2.25 or 3). I have read that some mag trainer like the cateye cs-1000 can be useful to train standing start. I don't know yet if i am gonna be more into mass-start, time-trial or sprint events and want all option open. I know that the kreitler rollers can have a flywheel and fan added for supposedly 2000w of power needed to ride at 45mph ( http://www.babol.co.uk/pdfs/kreitlerwattage_chart.pdf ). What are you guys and girls are using and what are the pro and con of the equipment you use ?

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Simply put, a mag trainer will be most useful for winter training indoors.

    Large Barrel (3.5 inch or larger) Rollers are great for:
    - Warmup
    - Cool down
    - Fine-tuning your body position on the bike to find a comfortable position that doesn't waste energy.
    - Quickly hopping on and off while at the track (as opposed to putting your rear wheel in the vice of a trainer etc...)

    A trainer is simply more useful:
    - No need to balance (useful when you are blown away after hard efforts)
    - Variable resistance at the flip of a switch
    - Easy to use.
    - Usually slightly smaller than rollers but more difficult to mount the bike into. Not an issue if you are at home using it.

    Rollers are closely associated with track racing because you see athletes on them all the time at track events...but those athletes aren't training on them. They are simply warming up or cooling down.

    You can honestly spend your entire track "career" and never get on a set of rollers. You can do your warmups on the track or by using a trainer. Actually most local racers use the track for their warmups. Only at big events where the track may be really busy or is closed to warmups (like nationals) is where rollers will be handy.

    So, go with the trainer for sure. Rollers are a nice luxury. Do not get anything but large barrels. For track, you don't want resistance during your warmup and cool down. You want your legs to flow freely at the desired cadence without load.

  3. #3
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Carleton's post is well-reasoned. I do most of my winter training on a trainer for many of the reasons he points out.

    But, rollers provide valuable, high-cadence, low-resistance, real-bike-riding stuff that trainers just can't provide, and for that reason, I know a lot of people (especially trackies) who only use large-drum rollers and rarely if ever use trainers.

    Rollers make you better at riding your bike. High-cadence, low-resistance work that works the lungs is possible on rollers in a way that just can't be replicated on a trainer even with light resistance. It's just not the same.

    This winter, as always, I'll use both. If I had to pick one, it would be a tough decision but I'd probably go with good rollers. A road bike in a large gear can provide sufficient resistance if necessary, and I can do both road and track workouts.

    That said, I'm glad I don't have to choose one. I like mounting my road bike to my trainer, turning my brain off, watching a movie, standing up, doing unpleasant intervals, etc.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

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    I only have rollers at home, mostly because I couldn't find a trainer that fit a track bike and I stopped shopping for them after I got my road bike. Maybe I should bother buying a trainer too, hmmm.

  5. #5
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    When I'm feeling really fancy, I warm up on my rollers then do efforts on the trainer (a Kurt fluid trainer), then cool down on the rollers. That way I can use my track bike for everything. But that's only when I'm feeling real fancy. Usually I do speed work on the rollers with my track bike and power work on the trainer with the road bike. But you can definitely make use of both. And as Carleton said, you'll want the rollers for warming up/keeping warm between heats at the races.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I have both a fluid trainer and, well actually 2 sets of rollers, one small-ish diameter (3.25") and one large diameter (4.5").

    Most of my winter training is done on the 3.25" roller and consists mostly of just long-ish rides. I got really fit (when I was a road racer) and had my two best road racing seasons doing 2 hour rides on those rollers 2-3 times a week with a 4-5 hour ride on the weekend.

    Frankly, I haven't used the fluid trainer much at all in recent years since I started track racing. But, the fluid trainer is great for VO2max to FTP intervals. Not so great for sprint efforts though. With a track bike, I've been experimenting with a 47/18 gearing doing tabata intervals, with the "on" part of the interval at high rpm. The gearing is low enough that the "off" part of the interval allows me to spin easy.

    The large diameter rollers are for staying warm at the track. The large diameter is good because you can use them to spin easy while in a race gear, something you have a hard time doing with a trainer. It's a bit too little resistance for training anything other than perhaps speed work (though I'd argue that speed work should be done under power, behind a motor or down a hill, rather than spinning without resistance).
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  7. #7
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    The most flexible would be 4.5" rollers with the fan, flywheel and a fork stand and the acreage needed to set it all up. The larger rollers are good for just spinning and easier to ride than smaller rollers. The fan adds a variable resistance and noise level that can be disconnected when desired. The fork stand allows you to zone out while riding longer intervals. Resistance can be added on the rollers by putting heavy duty tires on the bike with lower pressure, a magnetic resistance unit or some people use a towel rubbing the roller but this seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
    But the cost and space is high for the setup, so getting a set of rollers to warm up at the track, then a trainer for the road or track bike is probably less than the full blown roller setup. For high torque training like standing starts I think it is hard to beat the direct drive trainers like LeMond or Wahoo with a road bike which eliminate the whole tire/roller interface as long as you are not strong enough to break the road bike.

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    What are yalls thoughts on doofy spin bikes for training?

    I have my mag trainer but have been using the weirdo spin bike at the gym since lifting and then an hour drive home leaves me pretty unmotivated for the trainer.

    Posted from a doofy spin bike warmup.

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    Senior Member TrackMonkey7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McRussellPants View Post
    What are yalls thoughts on doofy spin bikes for training?

    I have my mag trainer but have been using the weirdo spin bike at the gym since lifting and then an hour drive home leaves me pretty unmotivated for the trainer.

    Posted from a doofy spin bike warmup.
    I like using doofy spin bikes at the gym for warmup for lifting weights. It's nice to see what my cadence is, because I'm old school and none of the bikes I own have any kind of telemetry. Otherwise, I'd rather use a rowing machine and let the cardio-bunnies have their dust-catchers. For trainer stuff, I'd just use my own bike in a trainer.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    If the question is "which do you need" the answer is probably Both.
    If the question is "which one will you use" the answer is probably Rollers.
    If the question is "which one should you get first" the answer is probably Rollers.

  11. #11
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    About the question of rollers and high intensity intervals, wouldn't you want to do them on rollers to ingrain in your mind the act of holding your line perfectly ? Wouldnt that help build core and stability and make our body used to have that stability and core strength for when you gonna put that same wattage on the track ?

    Everyone seems to recommend to get larger rollers (3.5 and plus) but kreitler use the fact that the usa track team was asking for smaller rollers for their training to sell their 2.25 rollers, could there be any reason why smaller rollers are actually useful in training and warmups ?

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godsight View Post
    Everyone seems to recommend to get larger rollers (3.5 and plus) but kreitler use the fact that the usa track team was asking for smaller rollers for their training to sell their 2.25 rollers, could there be any reason why smaller rollers are actually useful in training and warmups ?
    Do you have a source for this information?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Velocirapture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    I have both a fluid trainer and, well actually 2 sets of rollers, one small-ish diameter (3.25") and one large diameter (4.5").

    Most of my winter training is done on the 3.25" roller and consists mostly of just long-ish rides. I got really fit (when I was a road racer) and had my two best road racing seasons doing 2 hour rides on those rollers 2-3 times a week with a 4-5 hour ride on the weekend.
    4-5 hour rides, on rollers..
    "All this talk of climbing is making me feel kinda queasy..." -- Baby Puke

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Do you have a source for this information?
    The 2.25 drums have approximately 90% more resistance compared to the 4.5 drums. Only the strongest of riders are able to ride the 2.25 drums. The 2.25 rollers were originally designed for the USA Cycling Team when they were looking for smaller rollers for travel that also provided enough resistance for interval workouts or sprint warm-ups. If you do not routinely average over 20-25mph on your solo road rides, look to the 3.0’s or 4.5’s.
    That is straight from their us website and it's there also on their uk distributor website.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocirapture View Post
    4-5 hour rides, on rollers..
    No. Two hour rides on rollers. 4-5 hour rides outside on the weekends.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  16. #16
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godsight View Post
    That is straight from their us website and it's there also on their uk distributor website.
    That quote has been around for years. Anecdotally, I've never seen more than a couple of photos of elite riders at world-class events riding narrow rollers.

    I'd go off of what you see in action not what a sales person tells you

    Also, I believe that the "hot dog" rollers were designed for the US National team. These are 4.5 inch barrels, but are only 10 inches wide. I had a pair. They travel VERY well...but require a lot of concentration to stay up on.



    http://www.babol.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=KHOTDOGROLL

  17. #17
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Like almost everyone else who has ever bought a set of those 4.5" Hot-Dog Drums...
    I have a set for sale!

  18. #18
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    Ok, so narrow drum are a no-go unless i have a godlike concentration. 4.5 diameter drums would be the most versatile with the fan attachement. Is there a trainer that could have the same versatility that a 4.5 rollers with the fan have ? Also for track bike, is there a problem with using the kreitler compact frame or i should go the safe route and take the normal frame ?

  19. #19
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    Those narrow things suck. "Cooling down" on them is more stressful than racing!

    Edit: Unless you have mad skills, then by all means buy Quinn's set!

  20. #20
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    How much Quinn?
    http://www.pedalroom.com/bike/unknown-psx--16196

  21. #21
    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    @Baby Puke probably remembers me riding off my 3" Hot-Dogs 10minutes before my Team Sprint at Nationals in T-Town a few years ago..
    Detonated both tires on my race wheels with what sounded like shotgun blast..

    As for the compact frame with the 4.5's- it basically doesn't work. Not enough clearance. I shimmed the rubber feet with some washers and rode them a bit. But clearance is insanely tight.

    Hit me up @sbs z31
    Last edited by Quinn8it; 12-05-14 at 11:59 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    @Baby Puke probably remembers me riding off my 3" Hot-Dogs 10minutes before my Team Sprint at Nationals in T-Town a few years ago..
    Detonated both tires on my race wheels with what sounded like shotgun blast..
    I do. The following year at CS, I was doing TS with Carleton and our man two did the same thing, but just a rear went. Didn't you also wind up with a flat from the rollers that week, Carlton?

    That was the first time I tried riding those things. And the last time. Rollers should be easy, in my opinion. That said, there's a guy at Hellyer, a machinist and fabricator, who has made his own set that are even narrower​. I don;t know how he does it, but he seems to like them and I haven't seen him fall off yet.

  23. #23
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    I do. The following year at CS, I was doing TS with Carleton and our man two did the same thing, but just a rear went. Didn't you also wind up with a flat from the rollers that week, Carlton?
    I can't recall...but probably. I got all kinds of random flats using Conti Steher tires.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by McRussellPants View Post
    What are yalls thoughts on doofy spin bikes for training?

    I have my mag trainer but have been using the weirdo spin bike at the gym since lifting and then an hour drive home leaves me pretty unmotivated for the trainer.

    Posted from a doofy spin bike warmup.
    I use one frequently ---- have one in my home workout room, a LeMond. Chief advantage is its very quiet, making it great for long low intensity fat burning type sessions where i can flip on the tv and pound out an hour or so
    Its also multi user friendly (not that anyone else uses mine) --- in theory, my wife could use it too and have a ride just like she gets at the gym

    Have a Concept 2 rower as well, -- i use for cross training for my other sport, motocross. Great full body workout

    Back to the original question though , -- if i could have only one, i'd take a rear wheel mount trainer (mag, fluid, whatever) over the rollers, but if budget/space is not an issue, there's room in the training arsenal for both

  25. #25
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    Kindve on topic/slight hi-jack

    instead of using the spin bike at the gym tonight in a rush (shuts at 8pm, finish work at 1830) - can i use rollers for a longer upper tempo session? (2x10 @ upper tempo)

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