Roller brands and experiences

Looking to purchase some rollers for some variation in my indoor training. I usually train on my NEO and will continue to do so for the more intense training. The rollers will be for Trad Base as well as some recovery & endurance rides.
I did have a set of Kreitlers a while ago and thought they were great - sold them due to a lack of use while doing a more intense training protocol and to be honest never got good enough on them to feel 100% comfortable.
Is anyone using a parabolic type either by Elite or Tacx? Id be curious to hear people’s experiences on the parabolic and as well if the plastic drum hold up well long term. Also open to other types and brands. Thanks.

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I have the basic Elite Quick Motion, and I suppose for rollers they are pretty darn good. There is not smart sensor on these, but there are three resistance curves that you can select on the rollers themselves, and then map them to virtual power within TrainerRoad. I think there is newer model of the Quick Motion that has a power sensor.

That said, I’m not really a fan of rollers at all. You have to be very (VERY!) focused–you’re not just spinning your legs mindlessly; you also need to keep your mind focused. There’s no sloughing off, and even things like grabbing a water bottle or a quick snack takes some skill.

I’ve only had success with TR and rollers doing a recovery-type interval (such as Pettit), but I don’t use them a whole lot either, so I’m sure I’d get better with more practice. My recommendation is to try them in a bike shop or borrow them from someone you might know in your cycling community before purchasing to see if they are for you. Knowing what I know now, I would probably not buy them again.

Edited to add that the QM has a slight parabolic form and this helps a bit to keep you on the rollers, but it’s not perfect. I haven’t used mine a whole lot, but other than some light tire tracks on the plastic, I don’t see any obvious wear-and-tear or deterioration of the plastic that would otherwise compromise the long-term integrity of the trainer. Elite also sells replacement drums (~ $30/each), if needed, but I doubt I ever will.

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I use rollers for pretty much all my road bike indoor training. First the cycleops basic aluminum one with the magnetic resistance bar and later (two years ago or so) I switched to trutrainers which have an internal flywheel. I prefer it over riding on a fixed trainer and once you’re used to it you don’t have to think about it that much. I’ve done all kinds of workouts on them.

I haven’t tried parabolic rollers but both sets had bumper wheels on the front drum (jury rigged on the cycleops and a stock option on the trutrainers). Those are nice because you can bump them and nothing catastrophic happens.

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I have a set of Tacx Galaxia rollers. They have no resistance, but I love them for easy rides and cadence work (and warmups at the track). If I gear up I can put out more power, but there is no way I could do any sort of intense workout on them. I never rode rollers before, which is why I got these. I am not to the point where I can ride without hands, but I really like them for easy stuff more so than the trainer. I can watch a show on them, but I will say that the only time I rode off the rollers was when I was watching a show and doing a high-cadence interval… and I didn’t pay enough attention to where I was on the roller. No harm done, but it definitely woke me up. I’d be interested in a set of rollers with resistance but I have too many other bike things that are higher priority that those will have to wait.

I’ve had the rollers for about 4 years now, although I’ve only used them considerably more heavily for the last 2. So far they seem to be holding up well, including when I’ve been transporting them to/from the track. I see a lot of other people at the track with these rollers, too, just FYI.

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I know it’s not the same for all rollers but what kind of power should I expect to output on a set of rollers with no resistance? Only endurance? Tempo but not sweet spot? Etc… I don’t see many power curves and am just looking for a general idea while I’m looking at. Thanks.

Simple rollers without a resistance unit, I’ve seen 300-500w ranges for peak. That is all very subject to type and inflation pressure.

If you want to pick rollers with more capability, I would suggest ones with a dedicated ajustable resistance unit. Or you can pick any ones with aluminum drums, that will allow adding an external magnetic resistance unit. I took the Nashbar rollers, and added CycleOps mag resistance unit, along with a hack to add a shifter so I could adjust on the fly.

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If I go to a pretty high gearing I can hit 200W. Whether that’s tempo, sweet spot, VO2max, etc., depends on your FTP.
I prefer to do endurance or very easy-type work because it takes a lot less focus to try to hit those power numbers.

Wow, that’s pretty high. That must just be for a sprint or something.

Admittedly, that is a broad range and a guess. I have heard some trainers may be capped at 200w, while others go over 700w. It is very subjective to the setup, so it’s hard to state known values without looking at all the various options.

Yeah I should have phrased it in watts rather than zones cause that is obviously specific to the person. But thanks for the general idea! And @mcneese.chad I have thought about adding a resistance unit on the cheap to a cheap Craigslist set so I may do that to get introduced to the rollers

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Have ridden rollers for about 40 years now.

First set was by Weyless (for other old guys who may have seen some of those).

Then an early set of Krietlers that I still have and keep at my parent’s home.

For everyday use today, Inside Ride eMotions are my choice and have been for about ten years. I have the manual resistance unit and it’s more than enough for my hardest indoor workouts. Have thought about upgrading to the remote resistance selector but I’m cheap. The new ERG unit looks interesting but I don’t need that. Anyway, these are not inexpensive but are worth every cent in indoor training happiness.

For race day warm-up and cool down, I have a set of Kreitler’s with the smallest diameter drum. Those are good for 300+ watts and good for my pre-race warm-up routine. For bigger / more powerful guys they might not have enough resistance. Added bonus, I had a drum defect and MRP was absolutely fantastic about warranty replacement.

Tru Trainer rollers have advocates and appear to be very well built. Not enough time on them to say more than “nice rollers”.

As a fun bonus, have also ridden some antique wooden drum rollers. Those are wild. Huge drums, almost zero resistance.

Good luck, get a good set and fall in love with rollers vs a fixed trainer. Its way more fun.

-Mark

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I had Tacx Galaxia rollers.

They were fine, and I could probably do about 300W on them.

I sold when I got an Elite Direto trainer so I could do intervals and Zwift etc (I did Zwift on the rollers, but it wasn’t the full experience I wanted).

Two years after selling my rollers, I’m looking at some new ones, but this time, at these

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E-motion rollers hands down the most advanced rollers made. They have the floating motion, flywheel, adjustable resistance, optional SMART resistance and my favorite bit, the rocking fork stand. You can use them as a roller or a trainer. Probably too expensive for most but I’ve had mine for years and keep upgrading them, so they really paid off in the long run. Couldn’t be happier and wouldn’t trade them for anything.

I’m a big proponent for rollers - it just exaggerates any poor mechanics you have on the bike and forces you to be controlled in handling and souplesse in your pedaling. I use them exclusively for 7 to 8 hours of training/week. I have the SportCrafters OverDrive progressive resistance drum on my rollers. I think that is a great invention, and the quality is high. It provides enough resistance that I’ll use it for any interval workouts that are >30 second sprints, and you can learn to sprint out of the saddle on rollers. I think Feedback Sports bought licensing for the OverDrive and sells them, which I guess means Feedback saw value in the technology too. SportCrafters has great customer service too. The owner Pete Colan is really solid

Honestly, rollers are wonderful, and I think the skill set definitely translates to the road. It’s a bummer how many people zone out and thrash around on fixed trainers then go outside throwing they’re bikes back to adjust or stand and messing up the flow of a group ride.

I bought a pair of aluminum Cycleops rollers over 10 years ago, and they’ve held up really well. I added the SportCrafters drum 6 years ago, I think my setup is great performance for the money.

Now, if I had $1,500 - I’d go buy TruTrainer immediately. Those look amazing.

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I replied below in more detail, but if you’re worried about resistance, check out the SportCrafters OverDrive resistance drum. I’m really pleased with it; the only downside is it spins down really fast, so not fun after a hard effort

They published a power curve for the resistance drum and also plotted the curve for a traditional drum https://www.sportcrafters.com/blog/testimonial-overdrive-pro-rollers

I was interested and bought the Tacx antares a few years ago. I hated the experience. I was hoping to use them for easy recovery rides, but too much mental energy was required to ride them. They were concave. The idea was that the concave shape would allow the wheel to trend to the middle but it didn’t seem to work out that way for me. I sold them after a few months.

About a year ago Crown rollers appeared with a convex shape. The idea with the convex shape is the the wheel is more likely to trend to the middle. Go figure! I’d like to give them a go but the price is a bit steep and it would be awkward to ship them to where I live now. Still, I might press the buy button one day.

I have a set of Jet Black R1 rollers that I use for warming up when I’m racing at the track. They are absolutely rock solid but if I was buying a new pair I would go with a set of Elite rollers as they’re so much lighter and more portable.

Like anything, getting proficient on the rollers is just practise - if someone with my minimal amount of bike handling skills can do it anyone can!

I stumbled on the Feedback Overdrive Rollers, I knew about their portable trainer but these kind of stand out as a very simple way to add resistance to a roller workout.

Any other feedback (oh man, pun) on your Sport Crafter version? There is very little in the way of a review on these, everyone is talking about the portable trainer version. I have a set of Minouras, and a set of Kreitlers - and was considering adding a resistance unit to the Kreitlers but the frame on those is beat down with corrosion. I’d rather get a new set at this point.

Thanks for any info,

Indoor rider who prefers rollers.

kreitler, used them a bunch, loved them; can smash so hard on them with smallest diameter drums.

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Sure - I’ve got more to add on SportCrafters! It’s one of those small brands that I can’t say enough good stuff about. You can email/call the founder Pete Colan, and he’ll get back to you fast with thoughtful advice. It’s a small brand out of South Bend, IN that’s very hands on and supports the bike racing community in northern Indiana

I’m pretty sure the Feedback Sports ones are just rebranded SportCrafters

If you have beat up Kreitlers now, I say just go ahead and buy new SportCrafters rollers with the OverDrive drum. The quality is great (SportCrafters used to make the aluminum rollers for Cycleops to give you an idea of build quality). I’ve never used Kreitlers though so maybe I’m missing out on something

My experience is the power curve on the OverDrive is a bit steeper than my Kurt Kinetic road machine trainer, so coasting is tough. But given the progressive resistance, I can just switch between big and little rings for work most interval/rest periods. They also have an accessory larger diameter drum with more aluminum that is supposed to create some extra inertia for an easier coast down - I never used it though but Pete suggested it. I’ve more than once had to unclip and catch myself after a hard VO2 interval because I didn’t anticipate the deceleration when I dropped to my little ring on them

Bit of background - I’m not affiliated with the brand, but I’m a huge proponent for rollers in general. I bought a used first gen OverDrive drum off of one of their employees in 2013 at a crit in South Bend. After a couple of years, the drum must’ve had something in the internal resistance mechanism break, and it got super noisy. I emailed Pete, and he mailed me a brand new latest gen one even though I told him mine was a second hand and had seen ~5 years of use. I found the latest gen drum is really quiet, and they stand by their product

This year, I started using the InsideRide e-motion smart rollers. I think the SportCrafters OverDrive setup is a better value for the money. I still use the SportCrafters for race warm ups since they travel so easily and are solidly built

SportCrafters publishes their power curve with the drum, but I use mine with a powermeter so I haven’t bothered to look at the speed/power correlation

Hope that helps!

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I rode Elite Arion rollers for three separate stints when using TR, I thoroughly loved riding them. They had a parabolic design which I didn’t really notice but I guess kept me centered. They have an internal resistance which I left on the hardest of three settings. I rode 28mm heavy winter tyres with standard road gearing. I got my FTP to around 4.3w/KG at best when using them.

Everything up to 30 seconds sprints was doable without major issue and the feel of bike moving under me and the focus needed made the overall training experience more enjoyable then the rear wheel smart trainer i have now.

Given the choice I’d go power meter on the bike with rollers over using a smart trainer,

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