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Rollers?!

Old 09-01-23, 03:55 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by tcs
The term from the old days was 'souplesse'. Conversely, every spring you can spot riders who spent the winter on a fixed exercise bike: stomping at the pedals, bobbing their torsos and swaying their shoulders.

Your brain will imagine when you ride off the edge of the rollers you'll go zooming across the room - but no. You and the bike have no momentum, and the momentum in the spinning wheels isn't enough to even budge you forward.

It was said that Dan Henry (yes, THE Dan Henry) could strip down to his skivvies while riding rollers, and he would demonstrate this at bike rallies.
I saw him do it in person.

You will crash, and as stated it will be a zero speed crash from slightly higher than normal. Probably a real hilarious looking incident that might involve minor injuries.

The incredible boredom of riding rollers in the winter convinced me to gear up and ride outside. I made my own studded tires with sheet metal screws. Riding in the snow is a super workout; all that sliding around helps bike handling skills.

God I had rollers.

Have fun.
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Old 09-02-23, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Dirty little secret about riding rollers --- riding no hands looks impressive but is easier than riding hands-on.
I was thinking about this comment recently (during a nice long smooth ride) and remembered another tip worth mentioning. Keep a very light touch on the handlebars. Whenever Iím having tracking trouble (F wheel wandering too much) I realize I have more of a death grip on the bars vs a light touch, One reason riding no hands may be easier is youíll not be annoying the bars with your hands. The front wheel is doing its thing without you. Hmmmmmm. IDK as I cannot ride no hands for very long. Iím still too stunned that I can do it at all.
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Old 09-02-23, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Triplecrank92
  1. DO NOT LOOK DOWN. Look down ahead 5 to 6 feet. Use your peripheral vision to make sure that you are staying on the rollers and not drifting to the edge.
This is VERY sound advice, you can look further ahead if you wish. I found looking at the wall ahead worked for me. You will pile up in the doorway at some point. For me, watching Moto GP whilst riding the rollers was ill advised.
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Old 09-02-23, 06:16 AM
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Coming Of Rollers

Back in the winter of 75' I was riding rollers in my racing buddy's living room and suddenly came off and sailed into his kitchen. Luckily no damage or injury.

The suggestion of using a doorway is good. My experience has been you're more likely to come off the front than to fall over to the side. I gave up on them years ago and switched to a stationary attachment.

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Old 09-02-23, 06:30 AM
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For newbies I take two 6’ pieces of string.
Lay the strings out straight in front of the rollers about 8” apart.
Then have them ride between the strings.

It gives them a aim point and stops some of the panic trying to remain in the absolute center of the rollers.

Barry
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Old 09-02-23, 11:27 AM
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This thread reminded me that I'd seen something about a new design for rollers five years ago, so I did a search.

Crown rollers were introduced at a bike show back around 2018. "Crown" refers to the roller design; they're largest in diameter in the center of each roller and smallest in diameter at the ends. Seems counter-intuitive, right? But apparently, that's how rollers for belts used in industrial applications are shaped, to ensure that the belts stay centered.

Incidentally, the design also places the rear rollers a bit higher than the front, so the bike is level instead of having the front wheel elevated, as in all other roller designs.

Just looked around for updated info. The company did a Kickstarter campaign, but I can't find any evidence that the rollers ever shipped or that the company is still in business. (There's a Facebook page link for Crown Rollers, but I don't do Facebook.)

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Old 09-03-23, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
. "Crown" refers to the roller design; they're largest in diameter in the center of each roller and smallest in diameter at the ends. Seems counter-intuitive, right? .
Iíve read about (but have no experience with) larger diameter rollers being easier to turn (less pedaling force) than smaller diameter rollers. IOW harder workouts on smaller diameter rollers. So maybe Crownís idea used that for self centering, encouraging rider to stay centered as itís easier. THAT seems counter-intuitive. Something thatís supposed to train the rider for excellent bike handling skills takes away the need to have excellent bike handling skills.

And those roller experts in the film take their product to a trade show for people to see and try out but they have no mounting blocks nor anything to hold onto while getting on their product. Interviewer must hold on to the flimsy low curtain wall between booths. Huh? Iíd walk right on by.

Iíll stick with my vintage 4Ē Kreitler rollers. Killer certified.
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Old 09-03-23, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Prowler
I’ve read about (but have no experience with) larger diameter rollers being easier to turn (less pedaling force) than smaller diameter rollers. IOW harder workouts on smaller diameter rollers. So maybe Crown’s idea used that for self centering, encouraging rider to stay centered as it’s easier. THAT seems counter-intuitive. Something that’s supposed to train the rider for excellent bike handling skills takes away the need to have excellent bike handling skills.

And those roller experts in the film take their product to a trade show for people to see and try out but they have no mounting blocks nor anything to hold onto while getting on their product. Interviewer must hold on to the flimsy low curtain wall between booths. Huh? I’d walk right on by.

I’ll stick with my vintage 4” Kreitler rollers. Killer certified.
Killer was the name of the little dog Kreitler carried in the pocket of his shop apron, I believe, as shown in early ads.

I bought my first set of rollers around 1975, branded Rolltrac [sp.; might have been Rolltrack]. Extremely rare; can't find any trace of them on the internet. Sold them as soon as Racermate issued their first bike trainer stand (with hamster cage wind resistance).

Maybe rollers do help refine your pedaling smoothness a bit, for whatever it's worth, although that wasn't why they were invented. Anyway, studies have shown that professional cyclists have a choppier pedaling style than amateurs, probably reflecting the difference in average power output, which suggests that pedaling smoothness is likely somewhat overrated.

I've seen photos of early-20th-century rollers whose cylinders must have been two feet in diameter. Here are some whose diameter might have been around 10 inches.


Last edited by Trakhak; 09-03-23 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 09-03-23, 05:51 AM
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Ah, rollers

I had almost forgotten rollers.
Had a set in the basement, using the stairs to hold on while mounting.
The best part of the setup was a large poster of Felice Gimondi taken from behind.
I was constantly on his wheel.
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Old 09-03-23, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Killer was the name of the little dog Kreitler carried in the pocket of his shop apron, I believe, as shown in early ads.
I got a photo of Mr. Kreitler and Killer at the Chicago bike show in 1996. Pretty cute.




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Old 09-03-23, 07:43 AM
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my Kreitler head fan has the little dog sticker on it.
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Old 09-04-23, 12:08 AM
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Good advice above. I have a stepstool adjacent sometimes, other times I use the wall.

I set up my rollers in front of a window. Looking out is nice, and the reflection is just enough visual feedback of being centered, and puts the eyes out front instead of down.

I build a front-back tracked roller system under the rollers to make it a "freeride" system...once the regular rollers stopped being terrifying. I find it does help with standing without feeling like I'm going to pop the bike over the front roller.

But it turns out that keeping in the 20" ish width while standing is a challenge. I thought I was stable!

Ditto drinking from a water bottle. Scary weaving!

I have crashed. As others mentioned, there isn't a lot of forward momentum. I do think I damaged a spoke as the front wheel went off to the right and bike leaned left and my foot went down. I broke a front spoke the next time out afterwards. That was an adrenaline spike!

[Edit: spike/spoke]

Last edited by tgot; 09-04-23 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 09-04-23, 08:58 AM
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Brief update: Iíve gotten on them twice and had what Iíll call encouraging results. Mrs. ascherer suggested using them in a hallway which worked nicely, I could easily reach out or even lean against a wall. I put a small step stool on either side and after I remembered to look ahead, not down I was able to get the feel of them for a few short stretches.

Weíre about to have a hot spell so it may be a while before I try again. Thanks for encouraging my behavior!
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Old 09-04-23, 10:46 AM
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For those new to rollers, think of it this way: If the gyro effect of spinning wheels wasnít strong, you wouldnít be able to ride on the road. Trust the physics. Just relax and keep spinning and you will get it.
I had an old set of Nashbar plastic rollers for a couple of decades. Eventually the cylinders fell apart. I found a great deal on FB for some Kreitlers. What a difference. Try to find good ones.
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Old 09-04-23, 04:31 PM
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You don't need the gyro effect to ride on the road or on rollers. In both cases, you are just steering the bike underneath you. It's pretty easy, I think most people will get the hang of rollers pretty quickly. Just have a wall handy to lean on.
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Old 09-04-23, 04:49 PM
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I used rollers religiously for a couple of winters. Like others, I divested myself of them when I realized how much I would rather ride outside.

I occasionally see killer (heh) deals on full Kreitler setups--~$300--but I can't convince myself to spend the money on them.
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Old 09-04-23, 06:11 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by noglider
@tcs that reminds me of how I heard of the same benefits from riding a fixed gear ó with a low ratio ó in the winter. So I tried it. And itís true. I rarely ride fixed anymore, but the skill stays with me. Riding fixed in the winter has other benefits: 1. Since youíre always moving, it makes you warm, and 2. Itís more work, so you get more of a workout per distance.
Yup. I rode rollers only once. For three or four weeks the winter after my head injury. When it became apparent I cold ride them as long as I wanted I was given the go-ahead to return to road training. But, yes. Rollers are such a fine tuner of riding skills. The fix gear also (as long as you keep the gear low and/or incorporate fast downhills).
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Old 09-04-23, 07:27 PM
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I spent hours on rollers in the eighties. All good pointers given.

While training for PBP, I would spend both sides of one cassette tape each night on them. Because a lot of night riding is involved in Audax rides, I'd train with the generator bike lights on and the room lights off. I did this on a noisy set of Performance plastic rollers that I still have and my wife can't stand. I've ridden Kreitlers, they're much nicer. Nice enough to do a century on. Once.

I dusted off the Performance rollers when we moved to our new place in 19. I rode them for 15 minutes, then said, "Screw this". Haven't touched them since.
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Old 09-05-23, 04:15 AM
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Mine are “winter work” only as I’d also rather ride outside, even down to 30įF. But I draw the line at ice, snow, slush and sloshy road salt n brine. Last winter brought none of that. This winter, who knows. I’m glad to have the option of both rollers and a stationary trainer. I’d much rather ride indoors than go to a gym. That’s just me.
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Old 09-05-23, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
You don't need the gyro effect to ride on the road or on rollers. In both cases, you are just steering the bike underneath you.
Well, this sort of blows my mind, because I know that you understand bicycle mechanics, and evidently I know even less than I thought I did. This was something I was told ages ago, and I felt like it made intuitive sense, and explains why riderless bikes stay upright for a considerable distance when given a sufficient push, and why itís so much harder to track stand than it is to, say, ride a bike. So, how do I make sense of this new universe I am living in?
(edit) I hope that didnít come off as snarky. I am genuinely confused, and curious.

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Old 09-06-23, 04:54 AM
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>> I know even less than I thought I did

You do, and it's true for just about everyone else, certainly for me.

When I looked into it years ago I was shocked to find out how little is known about the mechanics of cycling.

There is a Brit (of course!) who has made it his life's work -- or at least the work of his spare time -- to prove wrong all the things people know™ about cycling.
I read this so long ago I don't have a link, but he built all kind of backward forks, counterrotating discs next to the front wheel to cancel out gyroscopic forces... and then he happily rode them all.

As far as straight-up cycling goes, keep in mind there are these things called ski bobs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skibobbing) that are quite rideable, and they have no gyro forces.

Riding no-hands probably requires these forces, but I don't even know that.
Maybe there's a way to construct a frame with fork angles etc. that will steer a ski bob back on center by shifting your weight.
As a student, I was always impressed how quickly I was in the weeds in classical mechanics when the spinning top was studied. It's embarrassing.

cheers -mathias
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Old 09-06-23, 08:15 AM
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I used to train on rollers in the winter BITD. About a decade ago, I bought a set of used Kreitler rollers with the head fan. I searched CL for a while until I found a set and had big ambitions. However, they’ve seen very little use. I don’t mind riding in bad weather and the weather where I live is rarely that bad plus I’m at the point in my life where it’s not a big deal if I miss a “training” day. I don’t really train for anything; I just ride for enjoyment a baseline of fitness.
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Old 09-06-23, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by steine13
>> I know even less than I thought I did

You do, and it's true for just about everyone else, certainly for me.

When I looked into it years ago I was shocked to find out how little is known about the mechanics of cycling.

There is a Brit (of course!) who has made it his life's work -- or at least the work of his spare time -- to prove wrong all the things people knowô about cycling.
I read this so long ago I don't have a link, but he built all kind of backward forks, counterrotating discs next to the front wheel to cancel out gyroscopic forces... and then he happily rode them all.

As far as straight-up cycling goes, keep in mind there are these things called ski bobs (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skibobbing) that are quite rideable, and they have no gyro forces.

Riding no-hands probably requires these forces, but I don't even know that.
Maybe there's a way to construct a frame with fork angles etc. that will steer a ski bob back on center by shifting your weight.
As a student, I was always impressed how quickly I was in the weeds in classical mechanics when the spinning top was studied. It's embarrassing.

cheers -mathias
I did bump into this site, which looks interesting, but I havenít gotten too far with it. And I probably lack the background to fully absorb it.
https://ruina.tam.cornell.edu/researc.../overview.html
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Old 09-24-23, 05:50 PM
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I spent a little time on them today, following some brief sessions a few weeks back and Iím getting a decent feel for them. Iíve been using my Mercian which it the twitchiest frame I have. Next time Iíll use my PX10 which likes to go in a straight line, and see how that feels.

I still dislike indoor training!
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Old 09-24-23, 07:57 PM
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I rode my new Canyon endurace cf8 on mine for the first time and had not been on them in 7 months but came back pretty fast. thinking I might need to lower my stem a bit.
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