Looking for a good set of rollers for training with TR. Had smart trainer before but the fixed rear gets very uncomfortable and boring after an hour.
Never rode rollers before but thought it’d a good skills to train for in addition to watts, any beginner-friendly rollers are definitely appreciated. I have Assioma duo pedals so maybe even “dumb” rollers will do the job well? Smart rollers are also welcome too if they’re better in ride feel or other aspects!
Lastly, I hope rollers are as long lasting as smart trainers, even with all the sweat they may get (whereas trainers get almost none). I’ve read multiple reviews on the Elite Nero rollers that after a year the unit stops working due to frequent use and sweat. So I hope any recommendation is robust enough to withstand use over time!
Ones with fore-aft motion are great for beginners:
The Inside Ride are what I would consider “bombproof” and built to last a lifetime. The Elites less so, with all the plastic construction, but have not heard of any real longevity issues with them. These are the original “dumb” roller from them where the Nero were the smart ones added recently.
I use my power meter and a set of Feedback Overdrive rollers. Unless I’m doing something that requires immense focus (testing, certain workouts) I prefer dynamic nature of rollers to the trainer. Keep in mind that learning to ride rollers probably doesn’t translate to better outdoor bike handling, (although maybe a little?) but it’s a fun skill to learn regardless. There’s a learning curve but it’s really not that hard, just keep in mind that you shouldn’t try doing VO2 max your first time.
I have inside ride e-motion rollers. Hundreds of hours over the last 12 years and they still look new. There is a belt that connects a rear drum to the resistance unit that I replace every few years as the inside gets cracks in it, but that’s super cheap and easy to do
Had e-motion rollers for years. Super reliable, engaging to ride and good for skills development (developing smooth pedal stroke). Have a kicker now for various reasons but I’d rather be riding rollers if just about the best indoor training experience.
I’ve had some Cycleops Alu rollers (Saris) that I think are sold in the US under a different name. Had them for many years and despite being fairly low cost they have been faultless. You can also get a variable magnetic resistance unit for them that means you can easily tweak the resistance to get the power numbers you want for intervals.
If I was replacing them I’d buy the bombproof Kreitler versions though - more money but serious bits of kit
I bought used Minoura rollers off ebay. Perfectly fine to get started on. Then upgraded with a resistance unit for them. They are a bit wonky, and if I was going to upgrade them and want to spend money, I’d probably buy Kreitlers. More likely I’ll just buy a new set of Minouras, I like them.
Sportscrafters overdrive with high inertia drum for me. Solid quality, great folks with superb customer service. Original supplier to Saris/Cyclops. They have a fork stand too for those times when you don’t want to have to concentrate:)
I built a floating platform for them that mimics the eMotions. Lots of YouTube vids on how to do it.
Kreitler 2.25inch full alloy, seem to resemble riding on the road, in terms of wattage vs speed, and there is nothing to go wrong with them. I had been concerned that they would be too hard, but nothing of the sort. If I whack it in the biggest gear, I cannot spin them out and get over 500w out of them (I am 65kg - you will get more if you are heavier). I replaced the bearings with Enduro units. Beware that alloy rollers make a ringing sound, at least with my Veloflex tyres they do.
I have Elite Quick Motion rollers, yes all plastic, but with the motion system and the three resistance levels, then also light and foldable … unbeatable in terms of easy to use, fun and versatility. Pricewise also quite well balanced.
I like them.
Btw, cant comment on the Nero, there is some electronics in there so… but the Quick Motion are a super simple construction, the bearings are quality made, i dont see what can break there through sweat…
I don’t have either, but I believe from everything I’ve seen one big different is floating (e-motion) vs stationary (TruTrainer). I’ve read about some folks having issues with the e-motion smart capabilities; haven’t seen that criticism of TruTrainer. Here’s one review to which I would give credence.
Elite quick motion user here. I have done all sorts of workouts on them, except for ones where I am going to be doing standing drills, as I “can” stand on them to stretch out, but I can’t really make a lot of standing power on them or I will crash as it’s not like you can just throw your bike around as outdoors. I don’t need or want ERG/Smart mode. With rollers it is very easy to lock into a specific power zone and hold it steady and I don’t do zwift or any other “game” apps…I think if you wanted to do zwift, you’d probably want smart rollers for the full experience, but then again, you’d probably be better off with a direct drive trainer for zwift if you want to be competitive.
I’m a TruTrainer Smart user for the past year. They are an amazing piece of machinery. I can’t compare to insideride e-motions having not ridden them but one main difference is that TruTrainer do not have that forward/backward sliding motion. TruTrainer do not need to be plugged in as your riding them produces the power required for ERG and sim mode (hills in zwift and other apps). I have a Tacx Neo2 but prefer riding the TruTrainer except when needing to do out of the saddle sprints. The flywheel momentum allows you to coast for a good amount of time and just feels to me more like being on the road than the Neo.
I think it comes down to how much I want the fore-aft motion on rollers. After that, the choices narrow down significantly. So how much difference does fore-aft motion make for adopting rollers and the ride feel afterwards? Is it worth getting that over (potentially) more robust static rollers?
For rollers, I think F-A motion is SUPER helpful. Don’t let the lack of F-A in any other fixed rollers be a limit. You can DIY a platform with relative ease. I have a video and there are many others that give plenty of ways to do it (Mine is the first result in the list and there are many more).
what @mcneese.chad said – both on it being really helpful, and that there are tons of DIY approaches out there. Mine is based on Chad’s upper frame. Rather than creating the channel-based lower unit I simply cut a piece of 3/4" mdf board for a lower platform screwed two lengths of baseboard I had laying around parallel to the long dimension of the frame inside the wheels. That keeps the frame running straight. Tension is with bungees like Chad’s.
You can skimp on rollers. I bought the cheap $100 ones, and they’re about as good as the more expensive ones. The pricer ones have quieter rollers, resistance, and fore / aft motion. If you haven’t tried rollers, just get the cheap ones - it’ll be the same experience.
To make life better -
start in a hallway of your house. You want two walls beside you.
take time to get the wheelbase adjusted correctly.
fat tires, low pressures - this minimizes darting
Try sitting more upright - this minimizes weight on the front tire and minimizes darting.
The bike will steer every time you bounce up and down or accelerate. The front tire has a choice of going up the roller or steering left or right. It will choose to give a steering input just about every time.
If you want to try the fore/aft motion, you don’t need to spend $1k or do a big rig build. Just bolt hardware store caster wheels to the roller frame. Just put wheels on it. If your floor is anywhere close to level, you’ll stay in place because of the wheels aren’t friction free. I might wander 3-4" during an entire workout on a hardwood floor. You can also put a ‘limiter towel’ down. If you do this, try to mount the wheels of everything is as low profile as you can get away with.
-A nice feature to have is that little step to get on the bike, so get that.
-when you’re setting up the wheelbase, try to get the front tire level with the rear. The rear sets in that pit, so you want to be level with that. Get it close, then use a towel to raise the front a bit.
-Most of the accessories will fit the generic brand rollers - Minoura specifically