Thoughts about using Rollers in addition to Smart Trainer

Anyone here use both rollers and smart trainer at the same time? I’ve been using a smart trainer for the last 2 years but looking at maybe switching things up and using rollers from time to time.

One limitation I understand (or believe) with rollers are they have a maximum level of power you can put on them. The older ones are just spinning legs but the one I am looking at does allow you to set a higher level of resistance. (Elite Arion Mag Roller). Not sure if the price point can justify maybe once/twice a week ride. I still think smart trainer will be my primary source of indoor training.


great idea - been doing it for years! In fact currently I enjoy the rollers more and use them pretty much exclusively, but having both is perfect as ramp tests etc are not great on rollers, and as you say, very high wattage intervals can be a challenge depending on your chice of rollers. You will find you need to fiddle alittle with tyre pressures and gearing combos to hit specific wattage targets but with variable resistance you’ll be able to do it surprisingly easily - I can get within 1-2w of my target wattages despite only having a few resistance settings.

I just find them so much more engaging for indoor work. The little extra mental and physical effort required, even when you have hundreds of hours on them, makes indoor work just a touch more enjoyable. Rememeber that out of the saddle is really hard unless you have floating rollers, but I dont find that an issue. They definitely benefit form as well.


I use rollers for any easier rides (Z2 and recovery rides). Works well. I found high effort intervals really difficult as I had to hit crazy high cadences - which are nothing like what I do when racing outside so felt it wasn’t helpful. I still use a smart turbo for interval work.

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When I used TR first time round in circa 2016 I used a dumb trainer for intervals and rollers for Z2 stuff. I’ve got too much stuff in my narrow pain corridor now so I tend just to use the Smart turbo now.

Rollers here too! I use a Kickr for the bulk of my work, but I use Elite Real e-Motion ANT+ (erg, resistance controlled) rollers for all the low intensity stuff. Way more engaging than a normal trainer, and almost always fun!

When I’m looking for a totally disposable workout, I’ll use my old Kreitler rollers. Non-floating, non-ERG, and 100% unforgiving.

Hi OP I had the exact same thoughts as you. I’ve been using a Saris H3 for 2 years and recently found some Elite Arion Mag rollers on FB marektplace for $250. My goal is to do 1 or 2 rides a week on them for endurance/recovery rides like Pettit.

I was super intimidated by the rollers and had a hard time just getting my hands off my doorway for the first few minutes. Once I got comfortable I managed to do about 20 minutes non-stop on my first ride. I’ll eventually work my way up to 1 hour and then use TR with my power meter for the rides.

They are FUN! It is such a nice change and I think well worth the price (especially if you can get a used set). Just remember that there will be a transition period and you likely won’t be doing 1 hour rides right off the start.

That sounds like a bad idea :grimacing:


For low zone 5 and below, i really like rollers, and totally regret selling mine when i got the kickr. I actually could do threshold intervals better on them, i assume due to the inertia of the wheels? Not sure. I hated them for zwift, i kept riding off them when the route made turns, but for TR seated intervals, they are good. I used inside ride with the 3 click manual resistance usually set on 1, the lowest resistance.

Last night I used my Cyclops with Overdrive from Sportcrafter and the original magnet bar to fine tune resistance. I think one jump on the bar for me is about 5% more resistance/power.

This was the session (over and under intervals):

I was in the 4th and 5th cog on the rear (something like 21) and 50 tooth on the front. Happily spinning around 83rpm (I like to ignore Chad’s 85rpm).

Rollers add an extra dimension of sideways movement. I also think I notice the bounce in the tyres and fore aft movement. They aren’t for everyone, I leant them to a mate who thought they were evil. But I’d definitely challenge the idea they don’t generate enough resistance.

I just got myself some old school rollers 2nd hand to mix it up. I tried them last night and I can barely get near my FTP so they’ll be used for the occassional endurance or recovery ride, all interval work will remain on the direct drive trainer.