You’re here because you want to know more about Bike Trainers & Rollers. These resistance trainers make it possible to ride your bicycle without ‘actually’ moving forward.
Both offer a way of riding your bicycle indoors to stay fit during the off-season or warm up before a race.
- Bike Trainer (Sometimes also called a turbo trainer) is an equipment that is attached to the back axle of the bike to provide resistance when pedals are turned ( as if you are on a track )
- Bike Rollers on the other hand do not attach to the bicycle frame and the rider balances him or herself on the them while training.
|Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 Fluid Trainer, Green|
|Nashbar Parabolic Rollers|
|Magnet Steel Bike Bicycle Indoor Exercise Trainer Stand|
|Nashbar Reduced Radius Rollers|
Why Bike Trainers are better than Rollers ?
We usually recommend Bike Trainers for beginners because they are safer than Rollers as they allow the person to multitask ( such as watch TV or play game) without the risk of injury.
They offer a good way to train and stay fit during winter time.
There is no learning curve involved – You don’t have to first learn how to train on them as they are do not require balancing and you can also take breaks between intervals.
Also, they are really easy to setup in no time.
Bike trainers will also usually have a gadget that will allow you to change the resistance. This gives you the option to choose to do strength or power intervals.
As the trainers are stable, they allow you to do intervals where you can stand up – So you can get careless from time to time and don’t have to worry about hurting yourself.
Trainers are also relatively smaller in size compared to rollers so they are easy to transport. This is especially a nice advantage if you want to warm up outside before a race.
Another plus of these is that they are compact so are better if you have less space at home.
Types of Stationary trainers
There are various types of bike trainers and classified the way they provide resistance. Generally, the expensive the trainer is they more quiet it is. The list is not exhaustive.
- Wind Resistance – The resistance is basically provided by the fan powered by the bicyclist. The benefit of this type of trainer is that the experience is realistic as if you are riding on the road. However, they can be really noisy
- Magnetic Resistance – A magnetic flywheel creates resistance on the back wheel. These trainers are really silent but are prone to breaking. Also, the resistance has an upper cap.
- Fluid Resistance Trainers – The Most Recommended trainer. It has a fluid resistance chambers and also a magnetic flywheel to provide resistance. They are nearly silent but are expensive than the two mentioned before.
- Inertial Resistance – This is similar to fluid resistance trainers but more smoother and provides a better track like feeling. This is a future technology.
Why Rollers are better ?
Rollers are nearly as old as the bicycle itself.
They consists of usually 3 drums on top of which the bicycle rides. A belt connects one rear roller to front roller for the drums to move. They do not attach to the bicycle frame and the rider must balance him or herself on a resistance roller while training.
Riding off the rollers is an added challenge for the user & it requires much more balance and attention than trainers – You can’t be careless with these otherwise you can get injured.
However, to some cyclist more attention is a good thing as this can enhance performance and training. Most of the cyclist however do prefer more stable trainers.
If you are a racer, the Rollers are probably better for you as this would fine tune your balance – A helpful skill in a race.
If you are a beginner, you might find it easy to ride on a roller if you place it between door frame or near a wall ( as the picture shows ). This helps to control your balance, in case you get out of balance in any moment.
The Plus of a Roller is that they force you to practice your spinning technique. If you get a bit careless, you would immediately become unstable on a roller & would be forced to spin correctly.
Check out the video – Shows how the Rollers works :
The training on them is also very efficient – When you are on a roller, you must ride with correct technique otherwise you would not be able to ride.
Most of the rollers do not offer variable resistance – Therefore you can only work on your speed and not on your strength. This is a downside of practicing on a roller.
Also, you won’t be able to do power sprint while standing up as this would disrupt your balance.
However, it isn’t as scary as it sounds. If you ever get dis-balanced, don’t worry you won’t be flying into your T.V! With 5-6 sessions of training, you can perfect the technique.
Planning For Indoor Riding Session
- Make sure your bike is securely fixed to the trainer ( if you are using one )
- Make sure the room and surrounding is cool – Trainer or rollers both produce heat. You can turn on the fan or Air conditioner
- Consider placing a training mat on the floor under your bike to catch perspiration ( to protect your floors )
- Stay hydrated – Keep a water or juice bottle nearby
- If you are using a trainer, you could also watch tv, talk to someone on phone or listen to music – This makes riding less boring
More Tips that may be really helpful
- Avoid Boredom – They are no point in getting bored while riding. Make riding fun and this would increase your overall performance when riding. Watch TV, Play music or even read a book while using a trainer
- Train with other People – Encourage friends & family to join you while your train. This is a huge motivational factor which would help you train better
- Use Old or Inexpensive Tires – Trainers or rollers provide resistance which lessen life of the tires. There is no point in using new expensive tires to train indoor.
- Don’t touch equipment – They can get really hot and may burn your skin. Avoid touching them after a session.
- Bike computers
- Hybrid & Comfort bikes
- cheap fixies
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