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  1. #1
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    What size rollers?

    I plan to purchase a set of rollers.
    One of many questions I have is which size rollers do I get? Either the 3" or 4.5" Kreitlers.
    How do I determine this?

    Looking at some of my riding log entries, I seem to average high 16mph (16.8mph) averages on solo rides of 1-3 hours.
    I'm looking to ride a minimum of 1 hour on the rollers when I can't get outside.
    Maybe up to 2 hours...
    In any case, which size rollers will give me the right amount of resistance without killing me and without having to purchase the killer headwind unit, assuming it's not the way to go (cost-noise) and something I'm not going to outgrow, assuming that's even possible?
    Or, do I want the easiest to use (4.5") and get the killer headwind unit later if it turns out to be too easy or I get better and faster?

    I'm 42, not a racer, just completed my first century last month, in reasonable shape and would hope to ride for the next 15 years. I also mountain bike.

    I've searched almost every thread for the answer. Either I missed it or it's not there.

    If you have personal experience with the 3" and/or 4.5" rollers, and/or the killer headwind unit...help me out please.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
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  2. #2
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Ok, A thread that I can relate to (not that this has
    stopped me before tho ).
    I have 4.5 in. rollers without the headwind unit, I like em
    I can spin easy, or use gearing to increase resistance.
    I just bought my wife a set of rollers with resistance
    units, I don't like them. Its not that they are more
    difficult, they just don't feel right to me.
    What I would do if I was going to do it all over again,
    is get the 3 inch rollers (dyno-lytes?) which are between the 4.5 and the 2.25 in terms of difficulty, then
    if I got to the point where I needed/wanted extra resistance I'd get the headwind unit (or the new flywheel). That would give you the best of both worlds.
    BTW letting the pressure down on your tires a bit will
    also increase resistance.

    Hope this helps,
    Marty
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  3. #3
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply.
    Not to beat this into the ground, but...

    You mention having the 4.5" rollers without the headwind unit. That you like them, spin easy, increase resistence using gearing.
    If you had to do it over you'd get the 3" and if necessary you'd get the headwind unit.

    Why not just get the headwind unit for the 4.5" and or let the tire pressure down?
    Is it that you don't like the resistence unit?
    Do you, can you spin out on the 4.5" using just gearing?

    What do you mean about the 3" being between the 2 and 4.5" in terms of difficulty?
    Is that resistence?
    And, what level of riding are you at to be able to use the 3" rollers?
    What size rollers is your wife riding and would she be able to eventually use the 3" rollers?

    Thanks,
    Mike
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
    ______________________________________________________________________
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  4. #4
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble

    Why not just get the headwind unit for the 4.5" and or let the tire pressure down?
    Is it that you don't like the resistence unit?
    Do you, can you spin out on the 4.5" using just gearing?
    Someone once told me that rollers were not meant to be used with
    resistance units, that they are for spin, cadence, balance etc. I guess
    I've always had that thought rattling around somewhere, so no
    I don't like the resistance unit (at least the ones on the wifes rollers,
    an older tacx model). I do use gearing or let down tires if I want a more
    difficult session. I can get spinning too fast on the 4.5inch rollers to
    bounce around which can be problematic (read not stable).
    Quote Originally Posted by trouble
    What do you mean about the 3" being between the 2 and 4.5" in terms of difficulty?
    Is that resistence?
    And, what level of riding are you at to be able to use the 3" rollers?
    What size rollers is your wife riding and would she be able to eventually use the 3" rollers?
    Kreitler has 3 diameters for their rollers, 4.5 inch, 3 inch and 2.25 inch.
    the 3inch (dyno-lytes) are more difficult (more resistance) than the 4.5 inch
    rollers (alloy and challenger) but less difficult (less resistance) than the 2.25
    inch rollers (dyno-myte and poly-myte). I can use the 3 inch rollers its just a
    bit more work, I can't imagine trying the 2.5s with resistance. I don't think
    its a question of level of riding when moving between the different size rollers
    (except the hot dogs, 2.25 inch diameter, 10 inch wide rollers, yikes!). I
    don't think it takes any more skill to ride them, just more of a workout.
    The tacx rollers (wifes) are 4 inch poly rollers, not as smooth as Alu rollers IMO.
    Yes she eventually could use 3" rollers, the only reason for 2 sets is we tend
    to work out at same time and she was getting tired of the cyclops trainer.

    Hope this helps,
    if not ask more questions, thats what we are here for!
    Marty
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  5. #5
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    It helps a lot.

    Seems like I'm leaning towards the 3". I'm thinking it's similiar to my level of riding - high 16's average over all and when I'm just cruising on the flats I'm usually riding along in the low 20's.

    What are some of your ride speeds?
    How would you rate your level of riding/fitness?

    What I'm trying to do is see if there is any correlation between road riding (solo) average speeds and/or sustained speeds on the flats, and size of rollers.

    I most definately want a work out on the rollers. I don't want any unnecessary strain on the knees, kinda like going out for a road ride and starting out cold with a 4 mile long hill and I don't want to spin out and start bouncing.

    I'm hoping that it's like starting out in the small ring up front and 25 or 23 rear and as I warm up I can keep the same cadence (85-100) and maybe make it to the 14 or 15 and just keep a nice cadence going, staying in the zone.

    Too bad Kreitler doesn't have a loner program.

    Mike
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
    ______________________________________________________________________
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  6. #6
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Lets see, I believe at last years Hotter than Hell
    I averaged 18mph including the last 10 miles where
    I was dying like an animal.
    I'm fairly fit, my lactate threshold (tested last year) is
    164 (I think thats right).
    I don't think there is a correlation tween avg/sustained
    speed and size of rollers.
    Rollers won't strain your knees but they will tax your balance,
    spin and cadence, thats for sure. After a while
    you will be able to spin up to high cadence without bouncing,
    thats what Rollers are for (in my not so humble, very biased opinion!).
    Can you go to LBS that carries Kreitler rollers and test ride both 3 and 4.5 inch rollers?

    Marty
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  7. #7
    Dude who rides bike BikeInMN's Avatar
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    One vote for the 3 inch Kreitler rollers.

    Why go with a 4.5 inch and purchase the fairly expensive headwind unit when you can get a similar workout with the mid-sized 3 inch model.

    As for wattage at speed, with 110 psi in the tires, my Powertap registers around 200 watts at around 24 mph on the 3 inch Kreitlers. Bumping it up to 30+ mph, the effort rises to 300+ watts needed to sustain the speed. Plenty of resistance IMO to practice your balance and spin.

  8. #8
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeInMN
    One vote for the 3 inch Kreitler rollers.

    Why go with a 4.5 inch and purchase the fairly expensive headwind unit when you can get a similar workout with the mid-sized 3 inch model.

    As for wattage at speed, with 110 psi in the tires, my Powertap registers around 200 watts at around 24 mph on the 3 inch Kreitlers. Bumping it up to 30+ mph, the effort rises to 300+ watts needed to sustain the speed. Plenty of resistance IMO to practice your balance and spin.
    Not knowing what your age or fitness level is, are you able to ride at say 20mph at a reasonable cadence (85-95) in a 39-15 gear for an 1-1½ hours?
    I have no way of knowing wattage.
    My concern is that I don't want the 3" to be too difficult to get a 1-1½ hour workout and the 4.5" to be way too easy to spin out. I agree with you, I'm not trying to get a headwind unit. I hear they're loud. If I get hot, I'll use a fan.

    I wish the LBS's had one or two set up for trying out.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
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  9. #9
    Dude who rides bike BikeInMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trouble
    Not knowing what your age or fitness level is, are you able to ride at say 20mph at a reasonable cadence (85-95) in a 39-15 gear for an 1-1½ hours?
    I have no way of knowing wattage.
    My concern is that I don't want the 3" to be too difficult to get a 1-1½ hour workout and the 4.5" to be way too easy to spin out. I agree with you, I'm not trying to get a headwind unit. I hear they're loud. If I get hot, I'll use a fan.

    I wish the LBS's had one or two set up for trying out.

    I guess I should have included that
    I'm a bit younger than you at 34 and my fitness level is high. I use rollers to keep some of my race fitness base during the long cold off season in MN. My roller workouts are alternated with twice a week interval sessions (2x20s) on a Kurt kinetic Road Machine along with the occasional outdoor ride with weather permitting.

    The three inch rollers should not be too difficult as even with the smaller drum, the effort isn't nearly as strenuous as the same MPH on the road.

    My roller session today went for an hour at an average speed of 24.5 mph and I consider this a recovery session as my HR was right at a 134 BPM average for the ride. A normal gear for one of these rides would be somewhere around 53/15 or 16.

  10. #10
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    There is a slight difference in effort between the two sizes, but unless you have a resistance unit attached - it's very small.

    I'm using a smaller size by Tacx and find it perfect. On a low gear, I can spin freely as if there's no chain attached. In the big ring, small rear... there's plenty of resistance for general riding, it's only in the sprints where a little more resistance might be nice.

    Overall, the size doesn't really matter. On either size, you'll be able to adjust the effort by simply shifting. Smaller rollers are easier to get on and off, but larger might offer a bit better ride as there is a larger contact area with the tire.

    By the way, excellent choice to go with rollers over a stationary. There's certainly a steep learning curve, but you'll be amazed at how your form, smoothness, and power increases. Do some one-legged excercises and you'll really get an appreciation for balance and even effort.

    Good luck!
    Mike

  11. #11
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I'm 42, not a racer, just completed my first century last month, in reasonable shape and would hope to ride for the next 15 years.
    Man, I hope you consider keeping going for more than 15 years!

    I didn't START biking until after you plan on stopping, and we have guys in this group in their 60's, 70's and one guy 82 who bikes 2,000 miles per year with one leg.

    So, set your sights for lifetime biking! It is probably about the best "lifetime" physcial activity there is, other than walking.

    Very interesting thread. I am not knowledgeable about rollers, using a trainer, and you have brought up some points I didn't even know existed!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Oak Park Biker's Avatar
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    I purchased Kreitler rollers with 2.25 drums about a month ago. It took several attempts to get the hang riding rollers. Like you I am in my 40s. The 2.25 diameter drums have just the right amount of resistance without killing me. My hill climbing has improved along with my spin and overall sense of balance. Good luck.

  13. #13
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oak Park Biker
    I purchased Kreitler rollers with 2.25 drums about a month ago. It took several attempts to get the hang riding rollers. Like you I am in my 40s. The 2.25 diameter drums have just the right amount of resistance without killing me. My hill climbing has improved along with my spin and overall sense of balance. Good luck.
    What kind of weekly milage do you ride on the road and the rollers?

    On an average training session, how long do you ride the rollers?
    What is your typical gear ratios during the ride?

    Where did you purchase the rollers?

    Considering that my riding skills and strength should improve over the years, it sounds like the 3" rollers might be the best compromise right now.

    This thread has and is providing me and maybe others with the kind of information needed to help make a decision on purchasing rollers.
    Keep it rolling...
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Oak Park Biker's Avatar
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    What kind of weekly milage do you ride on the road and the rollers?

    I cycle about 5 times a week for approximately 200 miles per week. I used to run 5 miles a day before a knee injury. Cycling has helped me drop 40 pounds in a year.

    On an average training session, how long do you ride the rollers?

    I started on the rollers at 1.5 hours to 2 hours per session when I couldn't get outside. I have cut this to an hour per session. Rollers are very sensitive to any movement by the rider on the bike. I have been having problems with my right arm going to sleep so I have to stop every 50 minutes or so to flex my back and move around. I think I may have started too aggressively so I'm trying to work into it at a more reasonable pace.

    What is your typical gear ratios during the ride?
    Where did you purchase the rollers?

    I warm up at 53x16 and move to 53x14 after awhile. This seems to simulate a 5% hill grade. You could use 53x21 or 53x23 for a nice spin and still have the option to increase gearing as you progress with your cycling. I doubt that the killer head wind will be necessary with the 2.25 rollers. Your local bike shop can order Kreitler Rollers for you. I got mind from Colorado Cyclist via UPS in about 3 days.

  15. #15
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meltable
    There is a slight difference in effort between the two sizes, but unless you have a resistance unit attached - it's very small.

    I'm using a smaller size by Tacx and find it perfect. On a low gear, I can spin freely as if there's no chain attached. In the big ring, small rear... there's plenty of resistance for general riding, it's only in the sprints where a little more resistance might be nice.

    Overall, the size doesn't really matter. On either size, you'll be able to adjust the effort by simply shifting. Smaller rollers are easier to get on and off, but larger might offer a bit better ride as there is a larger contact area with the tire.

    By the way, excellent choice to go with rollers over a stationary. There's certainly a steep learning curve, but you'll be amazed at how your form, smoothness, and power increases. Do some one-legged excercises and you'll really get an appreciation for balance and even effort.

    Good luck!
    Mike
    If this is the case, then the 3" rollers should be alright.
    Today during my road ride I kept looking down to see what kind of speed I was maintaining and it was around 17mph. So, if there is any kind of relationship between speed/cadence and roller size I'm hoping 3" rollers will work.

    What size are your Tacx's rollers, how much did you pay for them and do you like them?
    What is your age and how would you describe your cycling fitness level?
    The reason I ask is because while talking with this one guy who STRONGLY suggested the 3" rollers I learned he did the El Tour de Tucson (109 miles) in under 5 hours. That's flying IMO. My unofficial time was 7 hours, 8 with the delays. I use this as a reference of cycling fitness.

    Riding 200 miles a week while trying to maintain a house, yard, pool, job, relationship, kitchen, vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, pets, social life, etc. is almost imposssible...for me.

    The 2.25" I feel will be just too much resistence to ride a comfortable speed and cadence. Not that I even know, I just assume this.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
    ______________________________________________________________________
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Oak Park Biker's Avatar
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    You might try Sportscrafters, Inc. (sportcrafters.com) USA made with a good reputation and a lifetime warranty. They make a 3.25 diameter roller. I believe that Colorado Cyclist has them for about $179.99 which is inexpensive compared to the Kreitler (the best on the market).

  17. #17
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Trouble,

    I think you are getting too wrapped around the axle
    about the 3 inch vs 4.5 inch rollers and fitness thing.
    Both will work for you. Thats what I meant by there's
    no correlation tween speed/time and rollers.

    Marty
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  18. #18
    Sloth Hunter Trouble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotek
    Trouble,

    I think you are getting too wrapped around the axle
    about the 3 inch vs 4.5 inch rollers and fitness thing.
    Both will work for you. Thats what I meant by there's
    no correlation tween speed/time and rollers.

    Marty
    Marty,

    Just trying to sort through the multitude of "sound" advice and contradictory answers I've received from mail order businesses, LBS, and eBay sellers.

    I knew the one place I could turn to for truth, justice and the "American way" was here.

    Thanks everyone for helping me out with my questions.
    After I've used mine for a while, I'll be able to help someone else out with sound advice based on personal experience.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large.
    ______________________________________________________________________
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  19. #19
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Yeah, I kind of figured that out. I did the same
    kind of quest for the ultimate knowledge about rollers
    before purchasing mine. I found I got too wrapped up in
    the information. I think you will be fine on the 3 inchers and wonder what the big deal was.
    Did you ever write to Kreitler?
    I wouldn't trust much in the way of e-bay sellers, after
    all they are trying to sell you their goods, "Sure these
    2.25 hotdog 10inch wide rollers will work for you" what they neglect to say is they will work for you if you ride
    on the US track team.
    Good luck with the rollers, if you need riding tips we
    are always here!
    Marty
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