Choose rollers over smart trainer?


i have a Kickr but was wondering if structured training is also possible with a supersimple non electronic roller like the Elite Arion?
I like the kickr and the connectivity, but am missing a bit of the feeling all if us have outside… it feels bit static.
Would training of steep mountain climbs be actually possible at all on a roller?
whats your take?

I do 100% of my structured indoor training on eMotion rollers. They can absorb a lot more power input than I am capable of dishing out. It takes a bit of effort to learn solid pacing but is not difficult.

If you are looking to do extended high torque, low RPM work, in and out of the saddle, then probably best to have a fixed trainer for those days and rollers for the rest. But, it’s no problem to stand on the eMotions.


Would training of steep mountain climbs be actually possible at all on a roller?

How does this differ from normal training? Are you talking about low-cadence, high-force work? Are you talking about standing?

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emotions are Elite, right? are they comparable to the Arion lineup? Do they have a magnetic brake?
is one necessary or is a classic no gadget roller fine as well?

I do my workouts on normal rollers at the moment. What you can do on them depends mostly on the amount of power you can do on them. With a highish ftp, you’re probably limited to endurance rides, or you need some sort of resistance unit for them.

…skills might come into it too. Max sprints might be a bit tricky…


eMotion = InsideRide in the USA. They do, or did, have a tie up with Elite. Must admit I don’t know the Elite product line well enough to advise.

The eMotions trick is that they allow a small amount of fore and aft movement. That makes them easier to ride. Normal rollers are fine, but the movement is a big plus. Particularly if doing a lot of indoor training. I have static rollers as well (kreitlers with small drums) and the eMotions are worth the price. They are also very well built.

I consider resistance a must for rollers. The eMotions have a small magnetic unit. Mine are old and the resistance levels are controlled manually. They sell a remote which lets you toggle through the settings. That would be nice if doing a lot of Z4/5/6 workouts.

Short answer is yes, normal static rollers with a resistance unit are just fine for indoor training.

I prefer rollers over a fixed trainer (dumb or smart). But have been riding rollers for over 40 years so its second nature to ride 'em

Hope that helps.


so, training for high cadence low gear mountain rides are not the best thing to do on a roller?

I do all my training on a set of Elite E-Motion rollers. Using the Elite software I can pre program resistance up to about 10% I think. You should be able to do low gear, high cadence workouts on manual rollers due to the low resistance level.


I’ve been using Elite Arion Mag rollers for all my indoor training for 5/6 years and no issues. They have a 3 step (0, 1, 2) magnetic resistance. I ride on 1 and have never had an issue with any TR workout including high power anaerobic and microbursts.

With a bit of practise you can wind it up to high cadence (say 150 for short stints) and still do low cadence work (down to 40). Standing work is more difficult so I don’t usually but very little of the TR workout catalogue requires it. Isolated leg drills also need some practise, but I like training on them a lot.


Another e-motion user here. I do all indoor training, testing, and zwift racing on them. I had the dumb version for about 8 years and finally bit the bullet and got the updated version with smart resistance a couple years ago. Love them, very much like riding outside. Easy to get out of the saddle. Low cadence, high cadence. The only thing I don’t do on them is all out standing sprints. Only negative thing I’d say is erg mode isn’t very responsive, but I don’t use erg. It might be a setup issue, have not really messed with it much.


i am thinking of getting an Elite Quick Motion set. would you recommend this set?

I recently got the Elite quick motion. As a set of rollers, they work quite well. The small fore/aft motion allows for a bit more forgiveness than a standard set of rollers. I’ve been able to drink from a water bottle, stand and sprint/climb, briefly ride no hands, whereas on my old school rollers these were much more difficult/impossible. I’m a small guy w/ a lower (207) ftp, so I have only needed to put the resistance on level 2 (of 3 positions). I ordered their Misuno b+ sensor, but could not get it to pair with TR (FOR SALE: one slightly used sensor); however, recently got Assioma pedals and they work great. I swap btw the rollers and kurt kinetic wheel on trainer. I think everybody (esp triathletes) should use rollers of some sort, esp if the majority of their training is indoors.

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The ‘e-motion’ ones from Elite are often labeled as “Elite Real e-Motion Rollers”. They are ANT+/BLE/FE-C controlled rollers with red plastic drums and a floating frame. They were never sold properly here in the USA. (I have a set, in North Carolina — but that’s a different story). I love them. The floating frame works wonderfully, the ERG control works fine, etc. etc. For me personally, I can do just about everything below VO2/Sprint on them. They’re way more fun than a fixed trainer.

I use an Elite Driveo (first generation, that looks like a Star Wars AT-AT) for my fixed trainer work.

The ‘e-Motion’ rollers we usually see here in the USA are by InsideRide. They are not the same as the Italian brand Elite – but there must have been some kind of patent or licensing arrangement between the two companies. The InsideRide rollers have a similar floating frame, but otherwise are quite different in their approaches to resistance and their cow-catcher rails on the rear wheel.


Great, thanks - i am thinking of selling my Kickr… feels so static and dont want ro be guided by numbers and erg solely.

What kind of power is the limit of these rollers?

On my inside ride e-motions with smart resistance, I’ve hit over 1000 watts in a seated sprint and have held 700+ for short periods (limited by me, not the rollers). Certainly no problem doing any kind of extended interval. I did my ramp test on them thursday with the last interval at 408 watts and I was only running the rollers at 33% resistance and I wasn’t in my tallest gear.


Oh wow, yeah that sounds like they are more than capable.
They could be a good addition to the indoor quiver.

The elite version is basically a cost reduced version with the attempt to make them suitable for mass production. My understanding is that it was done under a licensing deal. I’m not saying the elite version is better or worse because I have not ridden them, but the inside ride version is extremely overbuilt and very “industrial” with it’s engineering. Aluminum drums vs. plastic, high grade bearings, and not many plastic bits.


Having ridden the Elite version for about 3 years, I’d say they’re pretty darn stout. Zero issues with mine and hundreds of hours on them. I think the naming/licensing is about the floating frame, not the materials or construction. The Elite ones had ANT+/BLE/FE-C control at least a year (or more) before Inside Ride.

But really, it doesn’t matter. Find some rollers you like, within your budget, and just get at it! They’re fun no matter what kind of power you produce or what name is stamped on the side. :slight_smile:

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