My first experience of rollers

So decided to get myself a pair of rollers - my main motivation for this wasn’t for training but a way to have some fun and spend some more time during lockdown with my 8 year old son.
The idea was to put his bike on my kickr, I’d use the rollers and we’ve have a leisurely ride round Zwift in a meetup mode where you can chose to keep riders together regardless of differing abilities.
What an eye-opener, no idea how Jonathan does all his workouts on rollers - bravo is all I can say! By the end of our half hour I was brave enough to put both hands on the bars but it really was like trying to ride on ice to start with! At the end of the day though, it had the desired effect - we both got some exercise, spent some time together and had fun even though my son was a little disappointed he’d not seen me crash!


You will get comfy on them dude. Remember pedalling a bit harder makes it easier to keep the bike upright and also setting them up in a door frame can really help so you can bump each shoulder off the frame. You got this!

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Keep up the good work! Some rollers are easier than others : those with side bumpers or a parabolic shape are (barely) easier, while those with just straight surfaces are more difficult. The material of the roller also seems to make a difference to me – the plastic roller material like on Elite models feels more secure; the aluminum roller material on my Kreitlers feels like ice.

I barely consider power targets beyond sweet spot when picking a roller workout. (On my normal trainer of course, that’s different). Just 45 minutes on rollers at tempo/sweet spot feels like 60 minutes on a standard fixed trainer.

Before you know it, you’ll be hands free and cooking an omelette.


It gets earier really fast mate, you will be amazed at how much smoother you will feel out on the road…

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I am glad I am not the only one feeling this. back on rollers again after destroying my Kicker. I am finding a 20/30w decrease in anything above FTP. I put it down to the smaller muscles focusing on balance and control at high intensity. Yep putting in 2hrs on these at once is brutal and leaves me smashed for a few days after at the moment.

Info i am on old school alu drums with a diy magnetic resistance set up.


It does get easier indeed. I’ve been at it for a couple of weeks now and I’m starting to really enjoy it. My main issue now is actually saddle pressure: I have to get off every 15 minutes or so, since I’m can’t shift in the saddle or get out of the saddle confidently yet.

The benefits on the pedaling stroke are also awesome if it you have some room for improvement there, and translate brilliantly on the road.

For me I’m aiming to ride on the rollers twice a week (on the easier rides) to keep improving that skill.

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Interesting replies - like I said I’m not looking to use for any serious training, just a way to ride inside with my son and a real eye opener regarding those that can perform workouts on them!

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it does get easier very quickly so persevere. A few tips that might help:

  1. hold the bars close to the stem in the centre of the bar. It makes it more stable and means very slight arm movements are much less likely to make you wobble.

  2. make sure you have a point in front of you to focu son - a picture or something in the distance - worst thing you can do is look down, so keep your focus ahead. DO NOT try and ride Zwift courses on your first rides where your eyes are drawn side to side or around corners

  3. keep a gear that requires some effort - getting your wheels spinning with some power eg SST effort, makes you more stable. You’ll probably find recovery effort levels harder than L3/L4

  4. the trick of starting in a door frame is a good one, or perhaps in the kitchen or garage with a work surface or bench next to you to reach for

  5. once you get the basics under control then spend some time doing drills moving from one side of the rollers to the other - get used to riding nearer the edge and then across the roller slowly to the other side - you’ll learn quickly how to have more overall control

  6. next drill is to try 1 handed spells - just lift 1 hand slightly off the bar for a few seconds and alternate. Gradually extend how long you keep it off the bars etc. Remember to keep looking straight ahead and do NOT look at the bars!

Just keep practicing and you’ll find you pretty much master it fairly quickly.

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I’ve done basically all workouts since November on rollers, having built up experience and then bought rollers with a magnetic resistance unit.

The advice above is good, I’d add that weirdly no handed is actually more stable than 1 handed, and will teach you how to steer with your hips.

It also definitely carries over - when I first learnt I got a bump in FTP, likely from a more efficient pedal stroke. I’d also like to think it makes you more stable outdoors, and haven’t fallen off so maybe that proves it!

The first indoor training I did was on rollers and I found when I went back onto the road I felt so much more stable, this was early on in my road cycling.

I’m excited that my rollers will (allegedly) be delivered tomorrow. I had Kreitlers a very long time ago (loaned to me at the turn of the century from a friend who broke his knee… he never asked for them back…), replacing an earlier set of Performance rollers I rode my mtb on (with slicks) in front of the tv. I’d spend 60-90min on my tri bike on the Kreitlers (not in aero). Good times :no_mouth: My 2016 Kickr is not thru-axle compatible and thus not compatible with my new road bike nor my gravel bike, though I only plan to use the road bike on the rollers and looking forward to relearning how to not fall off and hurt myself.

I’m also hoping to see a better relationship between my real world FTP / power output / ability to execute TR workouts on the road bike / roller combo than I’m presently seeing with my tri bike on the kickr (considering the different positions, of course).

Going full on necro here.

I’ve had rollers that my friend gave me (since he got a fancy direct drive trainer), Elite Arion, but i haven’t used them really… let’s just say i haven’t been doing structured workouts much since covid started and threw a wrench in everything. I tried the one-off rides on my single speed (with 28s) but in the future i’ll be using the roadie!

Anyhow, it’s time to get back on, i got a set of power pedals now so i can do these workouts but man, it’s challenging! As the OP said, kudos to Jonathan on doing all his workouts on them.

I’m thinking of taking it easy first few weeks before getting on a training plan, just to get used to it. Is it really worth it for me to change tires to trainer tires!? I already have one for my rear wheel that i’d use with the trainer previously

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I don’t see much need for special tire considerations on rollers. Make sure to inflate close to the max pressure on the tire sidewall and you are set. Might want to wipe the tires clean with alcohol and a rag before getting it on the rollers is all the prep I’d do other than pressure.


But only if you are not using hookless rims :grin: Found that out the hard way. My ears were ringing for hours.



Thanks, the trainer tire is a pain in the rear to mount anyways…

Ugh using the rollers is so humbling. I have different muscles getting tired when i use them. It’s so weird (and to be expected…but still, novel)


I just remembered that one reason I got rollers was I am so bad at getting the rear wheel back on! :laughing:

I do all my workouts with XC tires (Racing Ray and Thunder Burt) on the Elite Nero rollers. I just plop my hardtail on and go. No fiddling around with that thru axle and brake pads.

I’m still incompetent with standing sprints, but pretty much everything else is great. I hope you have fun!


Wow. Everyone in your neighborhood must think you are ripping lumber in your living room. :rofl:

It is fun! As for standing sprints, I got a lot better by following a progression that went from just unweighting the saddle, to hovering a few centimeters above the saddle, to being fully out of the saddle. Each step done at various cadences (i.e. from climbing to sprinting). I also made sure my head did not bob up and down. I’m not a coach but that seemed to work :wink:


You sir are a cycling god! :rofl: :crazy_face: though I feel sorry for any neighbors in earshot!

@bclarkson may try your technique as have a power meter on the way and was looking at doing workouts on my rollers.

Completely agree…

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I found the trainer tires to be marginally quieter but that’s about it.

I’ve been using rollers in lieu of a trainer for ages. It feels much better to me than fixed trainers. Also being able to ride in a really straight line is a useful skill.