My old windtrainer has died. What are the advantages of rollers over magtrainers or visa-versa? I know all about keeping balance and spinning abilities sharp and avoiding boredom, and tht magtrainers are generally less expensive. But do rollers have any inherent resistance, or must I buy some sort of add-on to get resistance? What about different roller materials: aluminum, ABS, PVC?
They sell a variety of rollers, most with attached resistance units. A couple hundred $$$ (US) will get you a high-end set. I've noticed two interesting trends: 1) Drums are getting larger. The old small-diameter drums were hell on tires. Big rollers also "feel" more like road. 2) Front end supports. Okay, purists might take offense, as anything that holds you upright while rolling kind of shortcuts the purpose of using rollers, but if it saves you from a faceplant into your television set, then it's a good thing.
I've used rollers, and they're great... when I'm in the mood. Presently, though, when the weather turns really nasty, I use a mag trainer, a big pedestal mounted electric fan, and a supply of videotapes.
I currently reside in the US southeast, so there's not much weather that's impossible to bike through...
If you do get rollers, be sure they will work with, (match), the wheelbase of the bike you plan on using. I recently had to swap rollers with a friend of mine because the rollers I had would not adjust to my race bike's shorter wheelbase.
As far as materials- I don't know if it makes much difference anymore, metal rollers have been considered superior in the past
There are advantages and disadvantages for both. If you wish to do power testing, trainers are more economical. The biggest disadvantage of a trainer is that it decreases the fatique life of your frame considerably. So, ideally you should set up a trainer with an old heavy frame which is not used for anything else.