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  1. #1
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Rollers or regular trainer?

    Someone at my LBS suggested rather strongly that instead of getting a trainer that I get rollers. His argument was that it trained you better, resulted in smoother riding and better focus (because if you don't focus, you slide off the rollers). He also said it would be more appropriate because I ride a lot (about 7600 miles last year).

    I've read comments from people about rollers before, but since I wasn't seriously looking into trainers at the time, I only have vague recollections about them. Seems a lot of people didn't like them because it took so much concentration. So I thought I'd get some opinions here.

    Oh, my apartment is small - about 600 sq ft total - so do rollers take up more space than other trainers?

    Bob

  2. #2
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    I started riding rollers this year. The first ride I couldn't let go of the door way, I couldn't believe anyone could keep their balance on those things. The second ride I was actually able to ride them with both my hands on the handlebars, wow, it is possible! Anyway, now that I know how to ride them I like them better than a trainer, mainly because a trainer is just way too boring, to me anyway.

    As for space mine fold up and take up very little room, unfolded they would fit perfectly under a bed so I don't think the space should be all that big of a problem.

    The only advice I have is when you are first learning place the rollers in a doorway that way you will have something to use to keep your balance. They also help when you are about to come off of the rollers, your boddy should hit the doorway before it has a chance to hit the floor.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  3. #3
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel
    I started riding rollers this year. The first ride I couldn't let go of the door way, I couldn't believe anyone could keep their balance on those things. The second ride I was actually able to ride them with both my hands on the handlebars, wow, it is possible! Anyway, now that I know how to ride them I like them better than a trainer, mainly because a trainer is just way too boring, to me anyway.
    Why would rollers be less boring? I understand they take more concentration, but everything else would be about the same, wouldn't it?

  4. #4
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Yeah, rollers are boring too.

    The differences are fairly distinct.

    Rollers:
    You can't really veg ...you gotta concentrate.
    Very good for form ...most everyone could use work on their form.
    Very good for developing a smooth spin.
    Limited where they get used in the house. I put mine between the bed and the wall.
    Spendy. Get aluminum drums ...not PVC. PVC will eventually wear and/or warp.

    Trainers:
    You can veg.
    Very portable ...like taking them to a race for warm up.
    Spendy. Get a fluid trainer. They're quiet and have better feeling resistance.
    You can stand and hammer. They're good for interval training.
    Doesn't force you to improve form.
    Doesn't force you to improve spin.
    Very flexible where you can use them in the house.

    If you're a real cycle geek and very serious, you'll end up with both.

    I'm half a cycle geek looking to advance to ultimate geekiness. Right now I just have the rollers.

  5. #5
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    I agree with telenick above. There are advantages to both. I have a set of aluminum rollers and my wife has a magnetic trainer that I use also. Space wise, my rollers fold onto themselves so they are about the same size as her trainer.

    The rollers definitely help with balance and form and require you to hold your line within about an 16 inch width, thus improving your ability to ride in tight groups when on the road. However, you really can't hammer on rollers, at least I can't. I have seen resistance units for rollers, but I don't have one and I'm not sure how useful they are. Especially if you also have a trainer.

    Since you can really crank on the trainer, it will allow you to build strength. Most trainers have various levels of resistance also which allows you to simulate climbing on different grades.

    Buying both is a pricey option, but if you can afford it, go for it and get the best of both.

  6. #6
    BloomBikeShop.com BloomBikeShop's Avatar
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    Rollers are frickin awesome! I'm so glad that my trainer broke and forced me to buy rollers!

    At least to me it feels like riding out on the road, even if you don't go anywhere. I think I rode on them for 3.5 hours before.

    And: I get more resistance from my rollers than I could get from my magnetic trainer.

  7. #7
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by telenick
    Rollers:
    Very good for form ...most everyone could use work on their form.
    Very good for developing a smooth spin.

    Trainers:
    You can stand and hammer. They're good for interval training.
    Don't see myself ever having both (considering expense and space available!

    I can see a big advantage with the trainer being able to stand and hammer - isn't that at least part of a training regimen?

    But what about this form business? Does it really make much difference if you aren't racing where every detail matters? I could see it if it caused a half mph or more improvement or some other obvious advantage, but if it's like gaining 20 seconds in a 20 mile ride, it wouldn't seem to be very important for non racers.

  8. #8
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgant
    The rollers definitely help with balance and form and require you to hold your line within about an 16 inch width, thus improving your ability to ride in tight groups when on the road.

    Since you can really crank on the trainer, it will allow you to build strength.
    Oh, okay. First thing I should point out is that I almost never ride in any kind of group. I can think of just 2 times in over three years that I even rode with two other people and maybe 4 times I rode with one other person - other than the occasional meeting up with someone on the road and those only lasted for short distances before one of us just out-paced the other. So if rollers and good form mainly help with that, maybe it's not such a big deal for me?

    But I do want to improve my strength and be better able to do certain training things - I have so many traffic lights, etc, that it is hard to even get an uninterrupted 60 second interval!

    Bob

  9. #9
    Rider in the Storm
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    I contend that good form can make you faster and can increase your endurance.

  10. #10
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by BloomBikeShop
    Rollers are frickin awesome! I'm so glad that my trainer broke and forced me to buy rollers!

    At least to me it feels like riding out on the road, even if you don't go anywhere. I think I rode on them for 3.5 hours before.

    And: I get more resistance from my rollers than I could get from my magnetic trainer.
    I suspect most any trainer will give me more than enough resistance - I'm not all that strong! If I was, I could regularly cruise closer to 20 mph or so (I have to make a speciall effort to do that now unless aided by a hill or wind).

    Other than the feel, is there any major benefit to rollers that I would really notice as improving my riding over a trainer (speed, speed over longer distances, or something I can't think of)?

    Bob

  11. #11
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChezJfrey
    I contend that good form can make you faster and can increase your endurance.
    I was wondering about the endurance - but how does it help (assuming you don't have really bad form to begin with)?

    And for speed, like I mentioned in another post, a lot of things that improve speed - such as less weight - often make only real tiny improvements, important for a race, but maybe not for ordinary riding. So how much can you gain from better form?

  12. #12
    Da Big Kahuna
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    As I've been doing research, I came across a comment by one person who said 30 minutes was about the limit for riding on rollers! While I saw someone else commenting that they rode 60-90 minutes each time, so obviously 30 minutes is not a limit, this did get me to wondering about whether there was more of a limit on using rollers compared to a trainer. Any comments?

  13. #13
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    I generally ride my rollers for an hour at a time. I try to average around 25 - 27 mph during that time. I always end up with a great workout. In cycling developing a nice smooth spin is one of the most important things. Efficiency is key. A trainer does not really help develop a spin at all. You can just mash the pedals the whole time you are on it. If you do the same thing on rollers you will fall off.

    Don't get me wrong, a trainer is a great thing to have. In my opinion rollers are better for basic training though. Trainers definately have their advantages, for example you can ride them without having to worry about falling over.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  14. #14
    Rider in the Storm
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    I was wondering about the endurance - but how does it help (assuming you don't have really bad form to begin with)?

    And for speed, like I mentioned in another post, a lot of things that improve speed - such as less weight - often make only real tiny improvements, important for a race, but maybe not for ordinary riding. So how much can you gain from better form?
    LowCel's got it: efficiency is key. Endurance is the ability to "go long"...higher efficiency should enable that. An efficient stroke/good form will allow one to go faster and longer with a given effort. As for how much can be gained? Who knows. I'm sure this will depend on your current form and deficiencies, strength, how well you can adopt better form....I'm sure many variables. I'm just saying that better form will likely improve results given a similar effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    Oh, okay. First thing I should point out is that I almost never ride in any kind of group. I can think of just 2 times in over three years that I even rode with two other people and maybe 4 times I rode with one other person - other than the occasional meeting up with someone on the road and those only lasted for short distances before one of us just out-paced the other. So if rollers and good form mainly help with that, maybe it's not such a big deal for me?
    Good form/holding your line is not just for riding in groups, but helps with safety on the road. I used rollers this winter and on my first outside ride I found my bike handling had improved in every way. I could make micro-adjustments that kept me from bigger wobbles, even on hard efforts. I was able to relax my grip on descents and go faster, and was able to thread a line through potholes and road wash on a climb while being overtaken by a truck, no worries...remaining predictable in direction and motion is important around cars as well as other cyclists.

    By the way, when I got back on the rollers after riding the road, my form was a little less good...maybe an occaisional tune-up is called for even when the weather is good.

  16. #16
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel
    I generally ride my rollers for an hour at a time. I try to average around 25 - 27 mph during that time.
    I have seen people sometimes comment that their speed on a trainer is not the same as they get on the road. Do you find that to be the case with rollers (I'm certainly impressed by your speed above!)

  17. #17
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    Your speed will certainly be higher on rollers, because you don't have any wind resistance!

  18. #18
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    I only have the rollers and I can say that it helped my spin a ton. I realized that my "square" cadence on a roller had me moving all over the place. Now when I'm on the rollers, I find my spin is much better and I stay in the center pretty easily. I usually stay on about 45 minutes to an hour and don't pay any attention to the speedometer since there is no wind resistance. For short bursts I can get my cadence up to 130 rpm or so.

    On the road, it has led to better control and better manuevability around obstacles which has given me more confidence around tight roads. I mostly ride solo but having control has helped makes me feel much safer.

    On the flip side, I have no experience with trainers to give you a comparison.

  19. #19
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    I have seen people sometimes comment that their speed on a trainer is not the same as they get on the road. Do you find that to be the case with rollers (I'm certainly impressed by your speed above!)
    My average speed on the road is no where near 25-27 mph. On flat roads I'm lucky to hold 25 - 27 mph for 2-3 miles. My average speeds on a 2 - 3 hour road ride is around 18 - 19 mph, there are too many climbs around here for me to be able to get it much higher.

    I don't really ride the rollers to get stronger, I'm sure they don't hurt though. I primarily ride the rollers to become a more efficient rider, which in my opinion is more important than gaining strength.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    my 2 cents? Get a Kurt Kinetics with his new computer that measures watts. Trainers and rollers are great, but being able to track your progress accurately is hard to beat. Btw, check the stats, his trainers can absorb an enormous amount of
    power, 3000 watts.Also feels more like the road than other trainers I have tried ( I have never tried rollers ).

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/reviews_l...4feffe65bdf7ac

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