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Any thoughts on roller shape?

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Any thoughts on roller shape?

Old 12-05-17, 09:49 AM
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Any thoughts on roller shape?

I'm not riding as much as I should be, thanks to the weather, and the short days. (Sunset is 4:19 pm today.) I'm thinking about getting a set of rollers. I'm not really interested in Zwift, I'm doing squats etc at the gym for leg strength, I just want to do longer "rides" at anywhere from 100 to 300 watts depending on the day. I feel like rollers will be a bit less boring than a trainer, and I welcome any improvements I might make to my pedal stroke.

Some rollers are cylinders, some are parabolic - wider on the ends than in the middle. It seems like that would be nice when your mind wanders.

Which would you choose? Does it matter?
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Old 12-05-17, 11:08 AM
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I have an old set of Kreitler's that I used a long time ago (don't anymore). I just found that rollers require a lot of focus, especially the cylindrical ones like Kreitler. You can't really take a break, it's hard to adjust your position, you do have to concentrate on staying centered and your pedal stroke. I know the last part is good, but after a while, it gets tiring. Also, I admit I wasn't the most comfortable on them, and it was hard for me to get on and off of them. I actually ended up using them in a door jamb, in case my mind wandered enough to the point where I would have ridden off of them, and to help me stop and start, take breaks etc. I'm sure other riders are more comfortable on them, but I wasn't a fan. I'd rather use the monotonous (but safer/easier) trainer than rollers, but that was just me. Never used parabolic rollers, but I could see how that could make them a bit easier/better. I'd probably go that route if I were buying them today.
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Old 12-05-17, 11:09 AM
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Parabolic rollers sounded safer to me but after riding them a few times I'm perfectly fine with standard rollers.

I let my mind wander once when I first got them and fell. Won't make that mistake again. It does take concentration.


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Old 12-05-17, 11:19 AM
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I have cycloops alum cylinder rollers, they work great. Rollers do have quite the learning curve though, I'd personally only recommend if you already have a turbo and want to focus specifically on balance, as you'll likely get a better workout on a turbo, be able to watch some TV, not have to find the tiniest hallway possible, and not have to try as hard as possible to stay on while drinking from your water bottle.

Also, by "better workout" I'm referring to having the capability of sprinting out of the seat and finish workouts even when your form slacks a bit.
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Old 12-05-17, 11:30 AM
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I want these for maintaining my endurance and aerobic fitness over the winter. I prefer cross country skiing once the snow flies, but I can only do that on weekends and days off.

Does anybody have any thoughts on whether rollers with a forward/backward rocking motion are a good or bad idea? I'm looking at Tacx Galaxia specifically. I haven't found one locally so I'd have to order this one, I'm trying to make sure it's really what I want (or that it isn't) before I pull the trigger.

Originally Posted by TimothyH
Parabolic rollers sounded safer to me but after riding them a few times I'm perfectly fine with standard rollers.

I let my mind wander once when I first got them and fell. Won't make that mistake again. It does take concentration.


-Tim-
How do you do it? I keep reading "look forward not down" so it seems like it would be hard at least at first. Out on the road you have visual cues but I'm not sure how this is going to come together?

I'll either use them next to a shelf in front of the garden door, or if it's dry enough out on the deck in the garden.

PS, Tim, I read your thread from a year ago last night.
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Old 12-05-17, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I want these for maintaining my endurance and aerobic fitness over the winter. I prefer cross country skiing once the snow flies, but I can only do that on weekends and days off.

Does anybody have any thoughts on whether rollers with a forward/backward rocking motion are a good or bad idea? I'm looking at Tacx Galaxia specifically. I haven't found one locally so I'd have to order this one, I'm trying to make sure it's really what I want (or that it isn't) before I pull the trigger.



How do you do it? I keep reading "look forward not down" so it seems like it would be hard at least at first. Out on the road you have visual cues but I'm not sure how this is going to come together?

I'll either use them next to a shelf in front of the garden door, or if it's dry enough out on the deck in the garden.

PS, Tim, I read your thread from a year ago last night.


I rigged up free motion rollers (see many utube vids.) but the wheels on plywood had some friction.

Functioned OK but not very portable so took it apart after a while.

Have since upgraded to larger, heavier drum rollers, & can get out of the saddle pretty well.

My favorite workout is a 1 hr GCN video that works up & down a RPM sequence.

Those Tacx rollers look nice.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:25 PM
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Years ago (before they had the really nice trainers and computer hookups and the like) I had a great set or rollers. The drums were larger than that they make not, but the ting I really liked was that only the tops of the rollers were exposed and there was a platform to stand up to get on the bike. So many of them now are all open and the hardest part is getting on the bike because it is a lot higher up than when you are on the road, and there really is no comfortable place to stand. With my old set yo could not fold them up, but I was not transporting them anyplace.
I had a set for a while, but I just didn't like clipping in and out six inches off the ground. If I could find some like my old ones (that I stupidly gave away years ago when I quit racing), I'd jump on them but the trainer is fine for what I want.

The parabolic roller do keep you more centered when riding.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:39 PM
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Whatever you get, they should have some sort of quiet resistance. Rollers w/o resistance, standard rollers like Kreitlers, are nice but one can't do much on them except spin, which one can of course do on resistance rollers too.

I don't think roller shape is very interesting. Cylinders are fine. The back and forth thing is supposed to be nice for standing. Probably is. But proficient riders don't have a problem standing anyway. Resistance is more important IMO. I've been riding my set ~1000-2000 miles/year for maybe 20 years. Sealed bearings indoors are quite durable . . .

Ride them in a doorway or narrow hall at least for the first year. No problem getting on and off and starting. Your shoulders or the hinge on a folding set should be in the doorway.
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Old 12-05-17, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I want these for maintaining my endurance and aerobic fitness over the winter. I prefer cross country skiing once the snow flies, but I can only do that on weekends and days off.

Does anybody have any thoughts on whether rollers with a forward/backward rocking motion are a good or bad idea? I'm looking at Tacx Galaxia specifically. I haven't found one locally so I'd have to order this one, I'm trying to make sure it's really what I want (or that it isn't) before I pull the trigger.



How do you do it? I keep reading "look forward not down" so it seems like it would be hard at least at first. Out on the road you have visual cues but I'm not sure how this is going to come together?

I'll either use them next to a shelf in front of the garden door, or if it's dry enough out on the deck in the garden.

PS, Tim, I read your thread from a year ago last night.
I think it's fine to look down, at least at first. I have a line on the floor to center on when I look forward. A few days ago a friend walked in and I said "Hi!" and immediately fell off. Concentration.
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Old 12-05-17, 01:40 PM
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I have a set of relatively cheap Travel Trak rollers from Performance Bike. I'm fine with them, never tried the parabolic. I personally like rollers over the turbo as I don't like having the bike in a fixed position.

What I did starting out was put a chair on either side of the rollers. Started pedaling with one hand on a chair, one on the bars and practice taking my hand off the chair every now and then. Took me about an hour total between two days (30 min each) before I was comfortable riding with my hands fully on the bars. I have ridden off the rollers 3 or so times, but I keep a chair on one side to catch myself. A wall bench or counter would serve the same purpose. Parabolic rollers might help with keeping you centered, there are other rollers that have inline skate wheels setup to keep you fro riding off as well.

Typically I'd setup my iPad on a stand in front of me to watch Netflix until I got my power meter. Now I will hop on Zwift, which works fine with rollers and a PM. If you have/get aluminum rollers, you can add additional resistance with an array of magnets placed about 1-2mm from one of the drums. I can get 600-700W out of mine doing this with a magnetic broom.
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Old 12-05-17, 02:09 PM
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This is probably a dumb question but I’m open to advice.

Should or will I care about “miles” on the rollers? I have a power meter that also reports cadence, so I don’t have a speed and cadence sensor. Speed and distance aren’t that important to me, I’ve always been happy to leave that to GPS. It’s time and power that will matter to me when I’m using them. The only use I can think of for miles is maintenance, but I keep reading that rollers don’t wear your tire, and I don’t expect I’ll need to shift much with them. But if I’m going to want it, I might as well get the sensor ordered so it’ll be here by the time I pick a set.
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Old 12-05-17, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I want these for maintaining my endurance and aerobic fitness over the winter. I prefer cross country skiing once the snow flies, but I can only do that on weekends and days off.

Does anybody have any thoughts on whether rollers with a forward/backward rocking motion are a good or bad idea? I'm looking at Tacx Galaxia specifically. I haven't found one locally so I'd have to order this one, I'm trying to make sure it's really what I want (or that it isn't) before I pull the trigger.



How do you do it? I keep reading "look forward not down" so it seems like it would be hard at least at first. Out on the road you have visual cues but I'm not sure how this is going to come together?

I'll either use them next to a shelf in front of the garden door, or if it's dry enough out on the deck in the garden.

PS, Tim, I read your thread from a year ago last night.

Acceleration rollers are really interesting and I almost went for them but went with more traditional rollers when I found the Sportcrafters Overdrive Pro. Not trying to sell them to you but just offer my observation that the progressive resistance is reasonably realistic and intervals are possible (if not sprints). I also have the high-inertia drum for spinning.

I find that looking at the floor about 2 or 3 yards in front of the rollers worked best when I started and had to keep my head still. Looking around threw my balance off. I'm 53 FWIW and have had balance issues in the past. I also set the rollers up next to the stairs in my entry so that I could use the banister as a hand rail. I did fall the first or second time. Sofa cushions were then placed all around until I got confident.

Now I find it easy to stand out of the saddle on my fixed gear bike. Standing is easy. Sitting back down is the hard part. It fun to see how low I can get my cadence. About 35 RPM is the lower limit. I can look around, take one hand off the bar, reach for a drink, manipulate the cyclecomputer and so forth. Mounting is still a challenge and I still use the rail. My point is that you will get very relaxed after a while with some practice.

On the deck in the garden sounds great. The deck railing should help in the beginning.

Smart rollers are also interesting but nowhere near mature yet. I'm not a Zwifter but Zwift with smart rollers on a fixed gear bike is intriguing.


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Old 12-05-17, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
This is probably a dumb question but Iím open to advice.

Should or will I care about ďmilesĒ on the rollers? I have a power meter that also reports cadence, so I donít have a speed and cadence sensor. Speed and distance arenít that important to me, Iíve always been happy to leave that to GPS. Itís time and power that will matter to me when Iím using them. The only use I can think of for miles is maintenance, but I keep reading that rollers donít wear your tire, and I donít expect Iíll need to shift much with them. But if Iím going to want it, I might as well get the sensor ordered so itíll be here by the time I pick a set.
Rollers wear my tires faster than road. High pressure helped but Vittoria Rubino Pro III developed cracks in the sidewall on the front and I might get a trainer tire.

I find that time is more important than miles, especially with structured workouts.

Or I just ride for three Judas Priest albums.


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Old 12-05-17, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by roadwarrior
Years ago (before they had the really nice trainers and computer hookups and the like) I had a great set or rollers. The drums were larger than that they make now, but the thing I really liked was that only the tops of the rollers were exposed and there was a platform to stand on to get on the bike. So many of them now are all open and the hardest part is getting on the bike because it is a lot higher up than when you are on the road, and there really is no comfortable place to stand. With my old set yoy could not fold them up, but I was not transporting them anyplace.
You may be describing RollTrac rollers. I had a set in the 1970s. They consisted of a sheet metal platform with cutout sections only where the tires contacted the rollers. Great design! No idea why you never see rollers like that. Anyone with DIY skills could get some sheet steel or aluminum and fix up any current set of rollers. Even the most skilled rider of rollers would enjoy that setup, to say nothing of novices.
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Old 12-05-17, 02:28 PM
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I've used standard rollers for decades and can ride them in my sleep. When I first started, i set them up in a door frame, which made it easier to start and stop, plus kept me on them since my shoulder would hit before the tire ran off the end of the rollers.

However, with some experience I learned that you ride where you look so would watch TV while riding and never have a worry. As a added measure of safety I glued sandpaper strips to the ends as sort of a rumble strip in case I was getting too close, but it didn't make a difference. Once you get used to rollers staying centered is as unconscious as holding your line on the road, In fact it's easier, since there are no potholes to avoid.

BTW - a big help is to set up a milk box to the side as a step for starting and stopping.
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Old 12-05-17, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Whatever you get, they should have some sort of quiet resistance. Rollers w/o resistance, standard rollers like Kreitlers, are nice but one can't do much on them except spin, which one can of course do on resistance rollers too.

I don't think roller shape is very interesting. Cylinders are fine. The back and forth thing is supposed to be nice for standing. Probably is. But proficient riders don't have a problem standing anyway. Resistance is more important IMO. I've been riding my set ~1000-2000 miles/year for maybe 20 years. Sealed bearings indoors are quite durable . . .

Ride them in a doorway or narrow hall at least for the first year. No problem getting on and off and starting. Your shoulders or the hinge on a folding set should be in the doorway.
Yeah, I didn't get much of an aerobic workout on them because I didn't have a resistance unit. Apparently the smaller the drum, the more of a workout you can get, but I had to rev them up pretty good to get the heart rate up. The whole experience on rollers was more about concentrating on line and pedal stroke and balance than it was just a raw, unadulterated aerobic workout.
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Old 12-05-17, 04:26 PM
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My problem with parabolic rollers is the material. Not only is plastic more likely to get out of round than aluminum, but I was riding a friend's plastic rollers on my plastic bike and I kept on getting static shocks any time I touched anything metal.

I like Kreitlers... the old fashioned 4.5" dia drums. I've been riding rollers for years and don't really need much in the way of concentration to stay on and centered. The only times I've almost fallen was watching a particularly good play during a football game. If you set up close to a table (I use my workbench), you get a slight warning in the form of a touch to your hip if you get close to the table side edge.
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Old 12-05-17, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cthenn
Yeah, I didn't get much of an aerobic workout on them because I didn't have a resistance unit. Apparently the smaller the drum, the more of a workout you can get, but I had to rev them up pretty good to get the heart rate up. The whole experience on rollers was more about concentrating on line and pedal stroke and balance than it was just a raw, unadulterated aerobic workout.
Sportcrafter Overdrive Pro have very realistic progressive resistance.

Interval workouts are possible.
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Old 12-05-17, 05:13 PM
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Rollers are the better way to while away an hour or so. Setup a (wo)man cave with something on the TV/monitor directly in front of you, as well as a floor-fan. Even rollers without resistance, you can make them harder--lower your tire pressure from rock-hard and use your gears.

You can get folding Travel Trac rollers from Performance for $100USD even during winter.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
BTW - a big help is to set up a milk box to the side as a step for starting and stopping.
Some of the rollers I've looked at have a step built into the frame, others don't. I was thinking about a stack of hardcover books for this purpose. I suppose a milk box would be easier to move. Glad I'm on the right track, and thanks for sharing this.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
Rollers are the better way to while away an hour or so. Setup a (wo)man cave with something on the TV/monitor directly in front of you, as well as a floor-fan. Even rollers without resistance, you can make them harder--lower your tire pressure from rock-hard and use your gears.
I guess now is a good time to ask about wheels. I have two sets. I have the HED Ardennes that came with my bike, they're 28 mm, have tubes in them, and have no restrictions that I'm aware of in terms of psi. The other set is Enve 4.5 ARs, these have a max of 80 psi, and I'm running them tubeless. I'm using hydraulic disc brakes, so it's a minor pain to switch wheels. Is there any reason I'd want to, other than air pressure?

I'm heavy by roadie standards, apparently that means I'll get more resistance at the same psi and drum size.

I'm not looking to do intervals or sprints, just to maintain my aerobic fitness when I don't want to ride outdoors.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Some of the rollers I've looked at have a step built into the frame, others don't. I was thinking about a stack of hardcover books for this purpose. I suppose a milk box would be easier to move. Glad I'm on the right track, and thanks for sharing this.
just about the last thing you want is a stack of books that can and will slid around as you step on them. Whatever you use, it should be one piece and reliable. If you don't have a milk box, you might try flipping a big pot over.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I'm not riding as much as I should be, thanks to the weather, and the short days. (Sunset is 4:19 pm today.) I'm thinking about getting a set of rollers. I'm not really interested in Zwift, I'm doing squats etc at the gym for leg strength, I just want to do longer "rides" at anywhere from 100 to 300 watts depending on the day. I feel like rollers will be a bit less boring than a trainer, and I welcome any improvements I might make to my pedal stroke.

Some rollers are cylinders, some are parabolic - wider on the ends than in the middle. It seems like that would be nice when your mind wanders.

Which would you choose? Does it matter?
Get the parabolic for chilling, the straight - Kreitler Hot Dogs for skill training.

I've always had rollers (1980) and had the Kreitler 5" that Al (with dog Killer) delivered to the guy I got them from when I lived on the ranch. We spent a lot of time working on stuff (for Al) to make them brainless, but alas - you kinda got to pay attention. I like the quality and am brand loyal. I bought the Hot Dogs for my kid, but they take concentration. The rubberized parabolic ones of a teammate get most the use and he can watch a 2 hour movie while riding.
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Old 12-05-17, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
... HED Ardennes...
Ride those.

Do not ride hand made glued on tread tires. Rollers will de-laminate tread. Use a less expensive clincher. This is an area not to use a racing tubular. I won't let junior roller ride for race warm-up on tubulars.

The small dia ones offer more resistance, and destroy tires faster. Just go bigger - 5" and enjoy. You are doing the gym you said. Spin out and chill on the rollers.
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Old 12-05-17, 07:06 PM
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I second Doge and FB. Get good rollers, no frills and a good, solid simple stand the size of a milk carton. Rollers are a completely different game than trainers. On a trainer you need all kinds of stuff or you will never get on for the next workout. Rollers concentrate your focus wonderfully. (And not so gently remind you when your mind wanders!) You do not need anything else but a target to look at, as Doge said, is a real aid.

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