Riding indoors is a drag. Time stands still and 5 minutes feels like an eternity. You’re riding the trainer watching a video and maybe checking your phone at the same time to distract yourself from the wall in front of you. Riding the trainer can be made more interesting with structured workouts or group classes.
However, if you want a more natural feel when riding indoors, rollers is an option. It requires balance and coordination. Rollers offer more bang for your buck compared to a standard trainer. You are forced to use your stabilizer muscles and smooth out your pedalstroke. Some riders are intimidated because you can fall off of them. What better way to entertain yourself riding indoors? Coach and Doctor Andrew Sellars from Balance Point Coaching advises “there is almost no downside to rollers with the exception of the first few times as you attempt to get used to them, and the challenge of doing high intensity sets safely. You also need to remain focused when riding them, and falling off is a distinct possibility. I use them primarily for longer steady state training.”
How do you ride rollers?
- Set them up parallel to a wall or a chair on your dominant side. Keep the bike centered on the roller drums.
- Start in a middle to lower gear to get the drums spinning
- Don’t look down at your front wheel or around the room. Look 4-6ft in front of you.
- Once you’re up to speed, take your hand off the wall or chair in a smooth motion. If you “fall”, you will likely just go off to the side and be able to grab the chair or tilt the bike so you can put your foot down.
- Once you get good, challenge yourself and your balance by taking one or both hands off the bars!
Word on the street was that the Kreitler rollers were the highest quality, so I decided to find out for myself. My findings were that they offered multipurpose options, accessories, and rode buttery smooth compared to my old set of rollers.
Kreitler’s website was easy to navigate when selecting a product and the rollers out of the box were very easy to assemble. They offer different drum sizes depending on the challenge you’re looking for and the purpose of the rollers you are getting. They also offer compact set-ups if you take your rollers with you; not a bad idea for race warm-ups or if you travel a lot. The 4.5s are the more versatile of options, but I went with the 3.0s for more of a physical challenge. As the drum diameter decreases, the resistance increases. The 2.25s which have the most resistance (90% more than the 4.5s) and are suggested for track focused riders and would not give the option for an easier ride if needed.
I talked with Coach Sellars about the trainer vs roller option. He said “core muscle recruitment patterns are engaged on rollers that do not happen on a trainer. Some trainers measure wattage and they can have a benefit over rollers. A wattage trainer for measurement purposes and high intensity intervals are great for training, but rollers simulate the challenges of balance and consistency.” He suggested that compared to a non-wattage measuring trainer, rollers give added benefit.
Kreitler’s accessories were even more appealing with the headwind fan, flywheel, or fork stand. Both the headwind fan and attachable flywheel add more resistance, and the headwind fan gives you a cooling breeze. The fork stand makes the rollers incredibly versatile, effectively turning the rollers into a trainer. The forkstand connects to the frame so you can attach your front fork. Turning your rollers into a trainer gives the benefit of not worrying about balance and steering is if you are doing an intense interval workout. If you’re tired, it’s easier to do an easy ride or watch a movie with the fork stand in place.
The Kreitler rollers fold in half for easy storage and have an easily adjustable front end for different length wheelbases. The alloy drums are quiet and smooth compared to the plastic counterparts of other rollers I’ve ridden. The drums have a polycarbonate or alloy end cap to choose from. The alloy end cap increases the mass of the drum creating more momentum and also has better durability. The 3.0s I rode had good ground clearance so I could use them over carpet.
Kreitler allows you to create a set of rollers from the ground up so you can have the indoor riding and possibly travel portability to best fit your riding ability and lifestyle.
Long days inside? Maybe give rollers a try to spruce up your winter indoor training.
For more information visit www.mountainracingproducts.com/kreitler.