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Trainer or rollers?(15 posts)

Trainer or rollers?aet
Nov 16, 2001 1:24 PM
I know, more or less what trainers look and feel like but what about rollers? what additional benefit do you get?

is it hard to get going on them?
re: Trainer or rollers?mr_spin
Nov 16, 2001 1:35 PM
Rollers are just treadmills for bikes. The key is balance, so if you have a great sense of balance, you should be able to ride rollers fairly quickly. If not, the learning curve will be much longer and a lot more frustrating, but one of the key reasons to ride rollers is to develop a better sense of balance.

I'm no expert on rollers--I'm still an early stage user. But I found that it is a lot easier to do if I don't look at the front wheel.

The advantages of a trainer are that you can stand up and go harder, and you don't need to worry about hurting yourself (like you could on rollers).

I have both. I use both in Winter.
RollersKerry Irons
Nov 16, 2001 1:54 PM
While it is true that you will have an easier time standing and mashing on a trainer, most riders will get more benefit from improving their technique (while still getting a workout). Rollers are excellent for improving balance, a smooth pedaling style, spin, and the ability to control the bike. Trainers can, if not used properly, actually worsen your pedaling style. A smooth pedal stroke can really improve your efficiency and therefore allow you to get more speed out of a given amount of effort. Don't believe people who say that you can't get a workout on rollers.
If you can stand them.dzrider
Nov 16, 2001 2:58 PM
I had both and eventually only used the trainer. My stomach still feels a little funny when I think about getting on rollers.

To try to keep my pedalling smooth I did lots of one footed spinning on the trainer and almost never stood up. The inability to rock the bike while standing made it feel very unnatural. The big issue is getting your heart rate up and keeping it there, which can be done on either.
re: Trainer or rollers?pilot
Nov 16, 2001 3:10 PM
Rollers will teach you good cadence. Start out by setting them up in a doorway, align your elbows with the door jambs. Start pedaling with with your elbows tight against the door jambs. This will help keep you upright until you figure out the balance. Keep your speed up, you get a gyro effect from the wheels. This is what keeps you upright.
Once you get the hang of it, move the rollers in front of the tv or computer and watch a movie. Keep looking straight ahead, if you look to the side the bike will go in the direction you are looking.
When you run out of gears, Performancebike.com has a resistance unit for rollers.
go where i am looking? sounds scary. (nm)aet
Nov 16, 2001 3:17 PM
Rollersgiff
Nov 16, 2001 3:44 PM
I got a set of rollers about 2 years ago. I was concered as you are about getting use to riding them. The doorway method listed in this thread is what I tried and it worked out good. It took about 45 minutes before I could stay on them for more than a couple of minutes. I must admit in the first 30-45 min. on them I thought that I had made a poor purchase. I also have a trainer though it is an older fan type unit. My choice for indoor riding is the rollers. Like Kerry stated: form, balance, etc. are improved on the rollers. In addition the rollers are not as booring. Your mind has to be focused a little more on the ride, rather than just on sensless spinning. I can still watch tv just like on the trainer, and going no hands is do-able after getting comfortable on them. If I am cautious I can also stand up and spin, to rest my back end. I cannot, and I am sure others will agree that you cannot stand and sprint on rollers. You can work your way up to a fast cadence while standing but the bike cannot be thrown side to side as it is in a sprint.
what happens when you try sprinting? :-)kenyee
Nov 16, 2001 9:36 PM
what happens when you try sprinting? :-)Angus
Nov 17, 2001 1:02 PM
The faster the wheels rotate the the more balanced the bike/rider - unless the rider has a less than smooth style.

As part of my track training I do maximum cadence sprints on rollers where I exceed my computer cadence maximum read out of 199rpm without the security of any nearby supports. It is just gaining balance through experience. Crawling, walking and then running so to speak. It is challenging (and daunting at first) but it all comes together in time.

Make sure your rollers are reasonably level. And practice minor steering adjustments to correct movements. A lot of riders fall off because they overcorrect or don't consciously or unconsciously understand how a bike steers at speed.
Go RollersCoraB
Nov 16, 2001 6:35 PM
I am an early stage user as well (previous post) but I'd have to say rollers are much morefun than a stationary unit - in addition to the fact that you can develop technigue/form that will be used out on the road.
I did the doorway thing the first two rides and then moved out to the garage where I have some portable squat racks, etc. for winter training. It took me about 5-10 minutes the first time on the rollers before I was convinced I did the right thing.
As with other posters, I have a fluid unit as well - but so far I'm absolutely convinced that rollers will be the most beneficial.
Learning to ride the rollers was far less a challenge than I had previously been led to believe.
BTW - take a look at the SportCrafters alloy units - Branford Bike or Colorado Cyclist. Nice unit, very reasonably priced.
The first time I got on rollers, I thought it was a bad joke. Abill
Nov 16, 2001 8:47 PM
truly terrible joke. Like P.T. Barnum's "See the Egress." The people who told others to buy rollers just didn't want to be alone in their idiocy.
Then, after a few tries, it got easier, and after a week or so, it became entirely doable. Now, I am a huge fan. I actually look forward to the rollers. You really feel your pedal stroke, and it has done more to improve my technique than anything.
The hardest thing to do is to let go, trust the bike, and give up your death grip on the bars. You cannot hold the bike up. The bike will hold itself up. After you get that, you're good to go.
"death grip" LOL!bike_junkie
Nov 17, 2001 5:48 PM
I know the feeling! I got a new set of rollers recently and am very early in the learning curve. The death grip is hard to let go... But you're right, you must trust the bike and look straight ahead, and over time, you'll start to relax and just pedal. But man, the first few minutes on rollers are scary to be honest.
For a change of pace...Lone Gunman
Nov 17, 2001 8:56 AM
I put the rollers out in the garage with the door up so I can look ahead and it feels like riding outside and feel the effects of the cold air and not need to use a fan. Also turn the music on while doing this. All I need to do is control temperature with layering and pulling off clothes as I warm up.
re: Trainer or rollers?CT1
Nov 17, 2001 5:24 PM
If your desire is to just get a masher workout then the trainer is probably the better choice.

However, if you want a good solid workout AND you want to improve you "stroke" then the rollers are the ONLY way to go. That being said, some people (including VERY good road riders) just never get comfy on rollers.

Good luck
JohnG
Another option to the doorwayMikeC
Nov 19, 2001 6:01 AM
...is to start out on your back lawn while it's still warm enough. Your neighbors might look at you a little funny, but when you fall (and you will fall) you're less likely to damage yourself or your bike.
When I started on rollers, I placed a step stool by my side to grab onto if necessary, put an old piece of carpet under the rollers, went out on the back lawn, and pretended I was riding the road. I found it much less claustrophobic, and after a few rides was good enough to move to the basement for the really cold weather.