Roller vs Turbo (sorry)

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  • Roller vs Turbo (sorry)
  • LardLover
    Member

    Had a little windfall, going to treat myself to a new trainer. I’ve had a turbo before (Bobby basic model) but never tried rollers.

    I’m quite drawn to the thought of rollers, better work out? Develop smoother pedalling style? (Or is that bollocks?)

    I’ve got my eye on some Elite Arion Digital Wireless rollers (extra discount at Ribbles). It’ll either be them or a Tacx Flow Multiplayer turbo.

    Anyone got any thoughts?

    I want buy something I’d not normally buy (haven’t had a turbo for years). Following an accident a few weeks ago which resulted in several broken ribs I’m just getting back on the bike now however my confidence has taken a massive nosedive, which sees me staying in rather than going out in weather that wouldn’t stop me in the past. Hence I’d rather spend the cash on a nice trainer, probably rollers but would appreciate some advice.

    hamishthecat
    Member

    New to rollers, and broken ribs. What could possibly go wrong!

    On a serious note though – I have only used rollers and actually quite enjoyed them – when I used them. They require concentration to keep going and so are supposed to be slightly less boring than a turbo. It’s pretty difficult (impossible for me!) to sprint on them. They do encourage a smooth pedalling style.

    Despite the fact a mate lent me his for about 6 months I used them very little as I just CBA and if I was feeling enthusiastic I went for a proper ride. Hence for me I’d probably spend my money on something I would definitely get value from.

    mtbtomo
    Member

    If you’ve got broken ribs, you might want the security of a turbo rather than rollers? Its quite easy to end up on the floor on those first few rides on rollers.

    Rollers with resistance are enough to get a good work out on, but bear in mind it is very difficult to out of the saddle efforts or low cadence stuff.

    When you first learn to use rollers, you will have to learn to pedal more smoothly, almost “legs only” because any slight twitch of the body can send you flying off. To get appreciably smoother at pedalling then requires a bit of work – you’ll know when you’re not pedalling correctly cos you’ll tend to bounce, but so long as you don’t do that, it needs practice to keep smooth at higher and higher cadences.

    Rollers need more concentration.

    BristolPablo
    Member

    I’m a big advocate of rollers, they make you stronger and keep you focused. Most people I know seem to switch off on turbo trainers and just grunt their way through a session rocking their body around with technique very low down on their list.

    Firstly, you dont have to clip in with rollers, just get used to them before you start using spds etc. Yes you will fall off, we all did but its part of the learning process, just stick with it for a few sessions and it will be fine. Most accidents are because people fail to realise how important it is to set the distance between the drums correctly. The front wheel should be just behind the centre of the front drum, most people have the front drum too far back and the ride is very scary. Just experiment with what feels right.

    As for getting out of the saddle, again it takes time but the most effective workout is to hover over the saddle barely an inch off it and just sit there, your core muscles will engage to hold you steady and it will start to hurt after little more than a minute, then hold it…

    Whilst they are no substitute to riding, I find rollers are perfect for just building up the cadence and the miles, people assume you cant do turbo-esque workouts on rollers but you can, it just takes time. There is no point jumping on a turbo and wrenching the bike around on the climbs just because its bolted in, you dont ride like that on the road so why do it in your garage? shoulders level, core engaged, let your legs do the work….

    The Elite Parabolic rollers have raised sides to the drums which gently nudge your wheel back in line, very useful! I’m not sure if this is a feature of all their models but its worth checking.

    LardLover
    Member

    My ribs have now healed, or at least they aren’t hurting as much when going about my daily routine. I’ll be starting off using the rollers inbetween a door frame (with a mattress against the opposite wall 😉 )

    I don’t think I am/was a ‘choppy’ pedaller before, liked to think I had a quite smooth pedalling style (this could prove me wrong though).

    As far as the money goes, as mentioned, I want to buy something I’d never buy, and a trainer is/was one of those things………until I had my accident. I think if I had a trainer of some description that I might have actually got back on the bike sooner (rather than the 4 weeks I sat around stuffing my face and off my t1ts on prescription pain killers 😯 )

    It’s either that or put the money down as a deposit on a pair of Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR’s………………… 8)

    LardLover
    Member

    Thanks BrisolPablo, very helpful 😀
    The Elite Arion also has parabolic rollers so that’s a plus.

    Picto
    Member

    I use rollers and a turbo. I find rollers are great for developing smoother pedalling action and building up cadence. I do feel a benefit from using them on the road. Not as sure off road, but I am no going off road so much at the current time.

    I still have a turbo for sessions where I want to focus more on power. I do find roller sessions much mre engaging than turbo sessions though. Good point above though about maintaining technique on the turbo.

    Herman Shake
    Member

    I use jetblack alloy rollers and have tried a number of turbos ranging from cheap to expensive. I much prefer the sensation of riding the bike on rollers and the way it keeps you engaged. When I’ve slipped off the tyre just buzzes to a stop on the frame.

    The key is to turn (gently nudge!) the bars to move across the rollers if necessary, leaning will get you nowhere as you’re not moving. It’s counter intuitive but becomes natural quite soon. You can also coast so can relax if things get a bit weird at high cadence. I have a computer fitted so I can train at different paces for set amounts of time and adjust my gearing to add another variable. Purposely spinning an easy gear smoothly takes some skill and seems to help with power in climbs. Instability shows itself on the rollers so you can see quite obviously whether you are riding smoothly or not.

    Rollers with resistance seem like the best of both worlds!

    Premier Icon bryan-g-
    Subscriber

    I tried turbo and rollers before I decided and I didn’t like the turbo but as I had a broken arm at the time it was all I could use. I bought Elite Arion digital rollers and with the my e training app on the ipad it takes the boredom out of it as if you are on a route you know and with the resistance constantly changing I find the time passes quicker. There is also an update coming for The real video app so it will work on Arion.

    Premier Icon mintimperial
    Subscriber

    with a mattress against the opposite wall

    Don’t worry, you don’t need that, you just stop pedalling if you go off the side or whatever, and you’ve got no momentum so you just keel over sideways. Starting in a doorway is a very good idea though, for that reason. Don’t try to steer at all, pedal as smoothly as you can, speed helps keep you upright and steady, look forward not down, think stable thoughts… 🙂

    Rollers are more interesting to use than a turbo trainer, but they’re still pretty boring. Good if you really can’t get out (looking after sleeping kids or something) though. I’ve ridden both with a cracked rib and it was ok, no more painful than normal riding was.

    LardLover
    Member

    ooh, tell me more about this etraining thing and the Arion please bryan-g-!

    Premier Icon bryan-g-
    Subscriber

    It’s a free app but you need to buy a wahoo or elite dongle at about £55, once you have the app and dongle you can create a route from anywhere in the world, type start wherever and finish wherever and it goes and finds all the elevation and distance details and adjust the resistance accordingly. Also you can follow yourself on satellite images on the road. The my real video lets you stick your phone on a bracket on your bike, film a route then upload and do the route on a tv or laptop, although this doesn’t work on Arion yet but I asked elite and it will be in an update soon.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    Check out TrainerRoad for taking the boredom out of it.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the parabolic stuff. I got the Planet X resistance rollers in their recent sale to compliment the turbo work. The first few minutes on it do seem a bit crazy but only took about 15 mins of riding on them to feel pretty solid. It’s definitely a different experience to the turbo, have to concentrate a lot more on what I’m doing, but suspect that’s just because I’m starting out.

    Quite impressed with the Planet X ones. Made by Sports Crafters. Feels like a quality bit of kit. I’d seriously consider these and TrainerRoad over the others you mention (450 quid seems a lot of money to spend on some rollers!)

    LardLover
    Member

    Thanks Bryan-g-, I’ll check that out.

    430 quid with the extra discount mrblobby 😉 ……………. 😳 like I said, this isn’t something I’d normally buy, so when I got the windfall I thought I might treat myself, especially after spending the day indoors when it was so icy out. Bit of a wasted day (although the house is now spotless!).

    Premier Icon bryan-g-
    Subscriber

    A wee screen shot

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