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  1. #1
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    Rollers or "trainer"?

    I'm going to try to "ride my bike indoors" a bit this winter, 3-4 hours a week. I have an old trainer that works fine, but damn is it boring, I'm debating getting some rollers as you do have to pay attention more than a trainer and that may make it less mind numbingly boring?

    Is it best to use the trainer and set up a laptop/TV and just watch a movie while you pedal?

    Thoughts?


    There are cheap rollers on ebay, $99 with free shipping...

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Conquer-Ind...XiV6:rk:3:pf:0

  2. #2
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    I think rollers are a much better workout. All the little muscles needed for balance get a workout that you just can't get on a trainer.
    You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts.

  3. #3
    Formerly of Kent
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    Buy a fan unit for the rollers. Or one with adjustable magnetic resistance.


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  4. #4
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    Hire some to yell and blow a loud whistle at you. That's what I need at least. Having a dedicated, driven personality type and/or a concrete goal seems to be a big factor in successfully sticking with indoor exercise, regardless of equipment, but both of those are hard for me

  5. #5
    the discerning hooligan
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    I got a pair of gym quality spin bikes cheap last year. I also have a fluid trainer, but the fly wheel on the spinner works nicely with replacement hips. There are a bunch of video workouts on line for free. Try GCN...


    https://www.globalcyclingnetwork.com...train-with-gcn
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  6. #6
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    I've used both (and hate both), but if you're looking for a harder workout (i.e., getting your HR high, intervals, etc.), go with the trainer. There's too much wasted effort and concentration in just trying to stay on the rollers.

  7. #7
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    I hate both, but found rollers better for maintaining interest since you have to pay attention or risk falling off, and you can mess around with learning to ride the rollers with no hands or out of the saddle. But trainer was better for me for doing specific interval workouts.

    Also, what bike are you planning on putting on rollers? Never rode my mountain bike on rollers, but can't imagine it would be all that enjoyable. You'd want to swap both tires out for slicks, whereas with a trainer you could leave a standard knobby on the front.
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  8. #8
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    IMO, a smart trainer. Follow a systematic training plan like Trainerroad etc using Erg mode. You can ride around in Zwift which now has some good training plans too. Helps keep it interesting and productive. You can do HIIT sessions on trainer that you can't do on a rollers.

    I have a Saris Hammer direct drive smart trainer (no need to change to a training tire/wheel) and am currently getting rid of my rollers.
    Do the math.

  9. #9
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    Rollers are great for smoothing out your pedaling technique and practicing higher cadence. Not so good for building strength. They're entertaining and somewhat dangerous at first but it won't be long before they're as boring as a fluid trainer.

    Without a doubt the most fun is using Zwift. Some days I choose Zwift over for an actual ride just so I can join a race or a group ride. I find I also get a much better workout because the racing, group rides and training sessions keep me motivated while still being fun instead of being bored out of my mind and suffering. I'm just using a Garmin speed/cadence sensor with a dumb fluid trainer. A smart trainer would be sweet but $1,200 is a steep price.

  10. #10
    Formerly of Kent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    Rollers are great for smoothing out your pedaling technique and practicing higher cadence. Not so good for building strength. They're entertaining and somewhat dangerous at first but it won't be long before they're as boring as a fluid trainer.

    Without a doubt the most fun is using Zwift. Some days I choose Zwift over for an actual ride just so I can join a race or a group ride. I find I also get a much better workout because the racing, group rides and training sessions keep me motivated while still being fun instead of being bored out of my mind and suffering. I'm just using a Garmin speed/cadence sensor with a dumb fluid trainer. A smart trainer would be sweet but $1,200 is a steep price.
    I just did a 355w, 6:00, 65rpm STANDING effort on rollers.

    If that doesnít build strength, Iím not sure what will.


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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    I have a road bike to run on the trainer or rollers.

    Iím not looking to ďget strongĒ over winter, just hoping to minimize/reduce loss. In light of that it seems my trainer is the way to go in conjunction with HIIT. The good news there is that I donít have to spend any money!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I just did a 355w, 6:00, 65rpm STANDING effort on rollers.

    If that doesnít build strength, Iím not sure what will.


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    That might, depending on your current fitness. Some riders have FTPs well over 355W. But there are many dimensions to fitness and methods of building on them.
    Do the math.

  13. #13
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    You can build fitness with rollers or a trainer. I use the Inside Ride E-motion rollers. On the spectrum of rollers, these are more geared towards fitness than pedaling technique compared to fixed rollers.

    In the winter I have a setup in a cold room with a fan and a tv. I watch tv during easy stuff and listen to music during intervals. In the end, whatever will get you pedaling is a great thing.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    IMO, a smart trainer. Follow a systematic training plan like Trainerroad etc using Erg mode. You can ride around in Zwift which now has some good training plans too. Helps keep it interesting and productive. You can do HIIT sessions on trainer that you can't do on a rollers.

    I have a Saris Hammer direct drive smart trainer (no need to change to a training tire/wheel) and am currently getting rid of my rollers.
    After being an outdoor-riding snob for years, I took up indoor training last year. The only way I could get myself to do it consistently was to use a Saris Hammer and the Sufferfest app. Crank the sound and just pedal to the tunes while the app/trainer handle the rest.

    I tried Zwift first for two weeks. I couldn't get into the video game style, and didn't give a shit about the social aspect of it. I like the UCI race footage that Sufferfest uses.

  15. #15
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    just get a surly log roller. its like mtb indoors



    I wanted rollers but I could not find any that fit the wheel base of my mtb. I have a trainer actually for summer not winter. after its 105-110 degrees outside riding is just not that much fun.
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  16. #16
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    The most entertaining and engaging indoor training videos I've used are Sufferfest (www.thesufferfest.com).

    The LBS has a Zwift Smart trainer. Wow. This is now on my wish list. Combine an Xbox with indoor training. Looks like a blast.

    I have a regular (not smart) trainer and a spin bike. I haven't used the trainer much since I got the spin bike. Too much effort to change the road bike's tire and hook it up.

  17. #17
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    ^Lordy, that log roller is fantastic.

    Would love to see a "baby head" version using decorative river stone.
    All Li es Matter

  18. #18
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    I have had both and if you are only going with one or the other, IMHO, I would recommend rollers. Especially if you intend to use a road bike. Thought you were smooth and had good balance, Ha! Be prepared to be humbled. Good advice given to me by a friend of mine when I first decided to try rollers, find a doorway to setup in. Trust me on that one....good advice. Once you get comfortable and not feeling like you are going to bust your a$$ every time you get on these things, you can try what Le Duke suggested for adding resistance. Although just running a high gear and lowering tire pressure can be much harder to pedal than most people would think.

    If your road bike that you plan to use does not currently have one, get a clock with cadence. Gives you an observable target to focus on. Being able to smoothly spin up to 130 rpm on rollers, is a skill that does carry over onto the singletrack.

  19. #19
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    I currently have a Kinetic fluid trainer. It's pretty nice. Following videos I can get a decent workout. However, I have a smart trainer on my list for this winter. It will be nice being able to ride other routes than my local ones and do races too.

  20. #20
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    I don't care for endless spinning while training and rollers don't provide enough resistance for interval training and sprints. I don't know of any rollers that can handle 1,000ish watts at a 100-130 cadence.

    Ideally it's best to have both. Getting a super smooth pedal stroke let's you use the power you have now more efficiently. A fluid or smart trainer will help you build more power if you use it right. Training apps will make training on either at least slightly more fun.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    I don't care for endless spinning while training and rollers don't provide enough resistance for interval training and sprints. I don't know of any rollers that can handle 1,000ish watts at a 100-130 cadence.
    Inside Ride - E-Motion Rollers

    These will handle 1000 watts at a 100-130 cadence. I have tested this and the limiting factor is me being able to hold 1000 watts for more than a few seconds.

    There are 4 resistance settings which I like to call: Easy, Hard, Ridiculously Hard, and Are you f'n kidding me?.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrishall314 View Post
    Inside Ride - E-Motion Rollers

    These will handle 1000 watts at a 100-130 cadence. I have tested this and the limiting factor is me being able to hold 1000 watts for more than a few seconds.

    There are 4 resistance settings which I like to call: Easy, Hard, Ridiculously Hard, and Are you f'n kidding me?.
    Sweet! I haven't seen those before. Definitely a great option then.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrishall314 View Post
    Inside Ride - E-Motion Rollers

    These will handle 1000 watts at a 100-130 cadence. I have tested this and the limiting factor is me being able to hold 1000 watts for more than a few seconds.

    There are 4 resistance settings which I like to call: Easy, Hard, Ridiculously Hard, and Are you f'n kidding me?.
    That's sweet. Have you tried other rollers? Kreitler in particular? If so, how do these compare? I appreciate they offer significantly more resistance, but anything else come to mind, comparison wise?

    I generally suck at rollers. I have used them but for whatever reason, they have never become as second nature to me as they have with others, and the almost zero resistance thing got old and tired very quickly.

    I am commuting 20km daily throughout the winter. I will have snow soon and the route is hilly AF. I don't need anything else. That said, this looks interesting and certainly offers a much more civilized option for those days when frostbitten nuts are a real risk.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackbombay View Post
    ...There are cheap rollers on ebay, $99 with free shipping...

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Conquer-Ind...XiV6:rk:3:pf:0
    I would steer clear of cheap rollers. The first set I bought were very inexpensive Tacx rollers. Stationary training is the shits at the best of times. Using crap quality rollers increases the shit factor exponentially.

  25. #25
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    I have the old performance bike rollers. They're not bad, and probably closing in on 10 years old. I still use them in winter.

    But rollers do require focus. I'm freakin beat after work and sometimes that mental focus isn't wanted. Sloppy riding the rollers means you're slipping off.

    I bought a spin bike last year and it's pretty awesome! No excuses, I can watch TV and zone out on the spin bike if I'm tired. I can hop on the rollers to mix it up too, but I'm finding I 95% of the time pick the spin bike.

    Mine was under $200.
    WTB: Small aluminum hardtail 26 or 27.5 frame. Pm me!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    That's sweet. Have you tried other rollers? Kreitler in particular? If so, how do these compare? I appreciate they offer significantly more resistance, but anything else come to mind, comparison wise?
    I have owned two sets of older Kreitler rollers. 2.25 (more resistance) and 4.5 (less resistance) drums I believe. They had different names back then. The 4.5 were for track bike use when I only have one huge gear and wanted to spin between races. The Kreitler were (and maybe still are) the standard for quality. The E-Motion is similar in high quality but a totally different experience. The Kreitler and all fixed rollers generally have an emphasis on smooth pedaling. The E-Motion with the moving platform has a more realistic road feel and less of an emphasis on smooth pedaling. Basically your crappy pedal stroke will be more absorbed by the rollers which also allow for easier out of the saddle sprinting. The roller learning curve is therefore easier on the E-Motion rollers. No fixed rollers will compare to the E-Motion in the sense of a more realistic road feel.

    For me, I only own the E-Motion rollers now and that is all I need. They are expensive, but worth it to me. My girlfriend has a fluid trainer we need to get rid of because since I introduced her to rollers, she hasn't used the trainer.

  27. #27
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    I have a Keiser M3 Plus trainer. It's pretty simple without a complicated interface and you can't use it with Zwift or other interactive programs but it's pretty high quality and, pace Le Duke, you can get a pretty good workout on it. I did a tempo ride at about 200 watts at 70 RPM for 90 minutes today and it felt like a lot harder work than just riding.

    I do intervals, too.

    I listen to the radio while riding. But I have the ability to concentrate for a long time without getting bored.

    I am really paying attention to my FTP and the like.

    When you think about it, half of every real ride is downhill. On a trainer the whole ride is under resistance.

    I'd like to do the Dirty Kanza next year or some other long gravel races. It's hard to train in Michigan in the winter.

    The other advantage of a dedicated trainer is you don't have to put a bike on it, it is ready to go all the time.

    I have mine set up with my usual saddle and pedals. I'm working on a way to attach my spare set of Jones Hbars handlebars to it.

  28. #28
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    You definitely need a fan, a pack of cotton rags from the auto parts store, and something like movies or music or Zwift to keep you from boredom. Doing specific structured workouts might get you more bang for the buck as far as time invested, and would be less boring than spinning and staring at the walls :P
    I'd recomend Zwift too, for me it has changed indoor riding into something I can do at all. Even in dumb trainer mode I think it can distract and entertain you or even be fun!

  29. #29
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    You can use Zwift with rollers too by the way. Best way is with a power meter but all you need is a speed sensor. The unsupported rollers in game are a typical set of low resistance rollers and max out at 400w. If you get rollers with resistance you'll have to do some trial and error with selecting different supported trainers until you find something that seems close.

    I've done it with my rollers and it's pretty fun but easy to slowly drift off the side of them while watching the game. Almost had a real life crash that way while playing Zwift

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