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Track bike on rollers?(14 posts)

Track bike on rollers?Alex R
Jun 5, 2001 8:26 AM
I'm considering a set of rollers (if you lived anywhere near Chicago, you would be too) and I intend to use the track bike.

Call me cheap, but I don't want to wear out the expensive drivetrain on my road bike - campy chains and 10spd cassettes cost a fortune. Add to that the price of my good tires and, well, you understand.

My question - do you use many gears on the rollers, or can a guy just spin one powerful gear and get a nice workout? Also, do I need brakes on the rollers?

Thanks for the help,

re: Track bike on rollers?Delia
Jun 5, 2001 8:59 AM
Hey Alex,

I just got a great Fluid Trainer for my bike. It's a CYCLEOPS Fluid trainer
and it fits any and all bikes. You don't need breaks and it's very easy on
the bike. And aside from it being boring as hell, it's okay. Being in the
Windy City as well, I find myself using it way to often these days. What's
up with this weather anyway?
re: Track bike on rollers?RhodyRider
Jun 5, 2001 9:23 AM
As a Downers Grove native now living in southern New England, I can sympathize with your weather plight.
Regarding rollers, I think your fear of component wear might be a little unjustified. Consider this: riding rollers does not subject your bike to any of the normal 'outdoor' ride elements i.e. road grit, moisture, cars, etc. Theoretically, your components will last longer on rollers than in the real world. Tires, too; roller drums are ususally very smooth plastic or aluminum, and they inflict none of the wear & tear on tires that rough asphalt & concrete do. Plus no flats on rollers!
My roller workouts have utilized the full gearing spectrum as a way to compensate for lack of a resistance unit. I treat it sort of like a normal ride. I warm up with an easy spin, then move to progressively bigger gears and hammer & pretend to sprint, then cool down eventually with another easy spin. Even 20 miles on rollers feels like a huge effort this way. Try it with both your road bike using a variety of gears & efforts, and then also with the track bike.
One last thing: make sure you buy one of those terrycloth stem/headset/top tube protectors or you will drench your bike in salty (corrosive) sweat. Point a fan at yourself from the front if you can, too; it'll help keep you cool. Have fun!
You will, however, wear out tires. If you have those coolbill
Jun 5, 2001 9:53 AM
multi-material Vittoria tires, with the hand-glued strip down the middle, I understand that you'll fray them in a heartbeat. Use beater tires (or at least cheap training tires). Keep old tires on an old wheelset if you can -- you're not getting any benefit from your cool aero wheels on rollers.
As far as wear on the drivetrain, yeah, you switch gears, but, as another poster said, you're not exposing the drivetrain to outdoor nastiness, and your shifting, under very even loads, tends to be smoother, which has to be easier on the drivetrain.
When I first started using rollers, I thought that anyone suggesting that you needed more resistance was a bit nuts. As my conditioning has improved, however, I find that I'm getting a workout only in a 53/11 at 90 plus RPM's, and the rest is recovery (okay, maybe a 53/12, too). I've been thinking about a resistance unit.
I can't recommend rollers highly enough. They're not the same as climbing a big hill, for sure, but rollers have changed my whole perspective on cycling. That's no lie. You focus on your stance, on your balance, and on your pedal stroke. If you're doing something wrong, the rollers will tell you immediately (get out the Resolve, because there'll be another burn mark on the rug).
I understand that you spend the whole time in a huge gear...Alex R
Jun 5, 2001 10:40 AM
on the rollers, but do you need to ramp up to that gear? The track bike has one big honker of a gear (92 inches), but only that gear, and of course no brakes.

My question is - Do I need to shift through the stack to find that big gear to spin? Or, can I just stomp slowly on the big fella and spin that up to optimum cadence? Also, do I need to coast to slow down and stop?


I understand that you spend the whole time in a huge gear...RhodyRider
Jun 5, 2001 10:48 AM
My suggestion is to use your best judgement or go by feel on gearing. It becomes intuitive at some point - you will know when to go to the bigger gears by what your legs tell you. Just like out on the road. Don't worry about the brakes - the rollers will slow you down relatively quickly. They do offer some resistance through the 'rubber band' that connects the front to the rear.
B/c I have no clue how to figure gear inches, I'll do thebill
Jun 5, 2001 1:35 PM
best I can. I think that a 53/11 is something like 118 gear inches, and I'm guessing that 92 gear inches is like a 53/14 (?). A 53/14 would give me a nice little workout, but at a high cadence -- maybe 100 plus; I can't seem to manage much more than about 120 yet.
As far as ramping up -- nah. It's actually harder to roller at a lower gear - you lose the wheels' gyroscope action. I CAN roller with the wheels spinning at 15 mph, but it becomes comfortable after about 20 mph (spun the wheels just shy of 50 mph one day; more normally, I'm working out at about 30-35 mph, with brief efforts in the mid-forties). I typically warm up with a 53/16 or even 15, and then, when I want to get a sweat going, just jump into the 11, adjusting the cadence for increased or lesser intensity (whether I want to stay less then 80%, go to 85%, or go to 90% plus of max, I pretty much have been doing it in the 11 lately), then downshift to about a 53/14, 70-80 rpm for some recovery.
You know, if you're doing the track bike thing, I'm going to disagree with my brethren and say that, while there certainly is a learning curve, and you will need the Resolve, I'll bet rollers would be great. Shifting on the road is about reacting to the terrain and adjusting or maintaining your cadence in order to adjust your speed in order to maintain a certain wattage in order to maintain the highest speed possible. Indoor training in general has nothing to do with speed. It's about modulating your wattage to fit your workout goals, which is exactly the opposite. Instead of being more important to your goals, gears are less useful indoors than on the road.
In my opinion, you could stomp to your workout pace just fine. You won't need the brakes -- you either will coast to a rapid stop or burn the rug into a more rapid stop. Go for it.
bill, did you ever...JBergland
Jun 5, 2001 11:12 AM
... end up standing??:) I know, I know... get the Resolve!! That would be something to see... a set of rollers, a fixie, and someone standing up!! Someone post a pic of that!!

Take Care!!
I have lifted my butt off the saddle. But then the questionbill
Jun 5, 2001 1:37 PM
of why am I doing this always overtakes me, and I sit back down.
Rollers, rollers, rollers!!JBergland
Jun 5, 2001 11:06 AM
As a few posts have said, rollers can be VERY good for SO MANY things. Rollers will be much less wear-n-tear on your bike than most other in-door training. About the only thing that will wear-out is tires... and even that will be much less than on say a trainer.

Regarding your question about using a track bike. That would be a unique combo. and possibly a bit much. Rollers are great for working on your spin. and so is a 'fixie'. But the two of them together, IMHO, would not work all that well. First, there is learning to ride on rollers. a truly humbling experience!! There is a reason for mattress pads on all sides of a newly purchased set of rollers!!J The safety harness hanging from the rafters is optional, but strongly recommended!!J Only joking. but learning to ride rollers on a regular road bike can be tough, almost dangerous on a track bike. That is not to say it can't be done and isn't used by some cyclists. In fact, you have me curious enough to make it a point to try something like this next winter (ya, the winters are long where I live!!:). However, it's not something I would use to train on a regular basis.

Good Luck!!
Rollers or other trainers???notes_clp
Jun 5, 2001 1:57 PM
So what is better?? Rollers or the rear wheel type of trainers like a CYCLEOPS Fluid trainer???????
They're different. They accomplish different goals.bill
Jun 5, 2001 2:15 PM
Rollers develop skills, are great for aerobic development and, probably to a lesser extent, for anaerobic development and LT threshold and all that rot. Fluid trainers, when used correctly, probably are more versatile as a fitness tool, permitting you to strength train at lower cadences, get out of the saddle for real working out (as opposed to daredevil stupid human tricks to amuse JBergland), single-leg workouts, and mindnumbing endorphin oblivion.
Getting out of the saddle on rollers not a workout?!?Marlon
Jun 5, 2001 2:57 PM
Hey - you try and maintain a minute standing while on the rollers. Guaranteed pain any way you do it. If you're like me, you'll also have bought some nasty uneven rollers too
I have silky smooth Kreitlers. So what's my excuse? nmbill
Jun 5, 2001 3:20 PM