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I am looking at getting my first set of rollers. The little research I have done has led me to Kreitler and cycle ops rollers. Do you have an suggestions on which manufacturer gives the best product relative to price?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

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I'm heavily biased towards rollers, but also know that the return rate is very high for first time buyers. It's due to a number of reasons. And so I'd do as much research and really think through the purchase before buying.

The biggest issue is simply lack of use. Roller workouts are very different from riding a trainer. Until you're really comfortable on them (and this can take weeks or even months for some folks) it can be rather difficult to ride longer than 30 minutes. Some people really like to be able to multitask when training indoors... watching a movie, or reading a book... things that are technically possible while riding rollers, but very tough at first.

Another reason that they can go unused is noise. If this is going to be a problem in your home, you should absolutely test them (or at least talk to someone with the model you're buying) beforehand. The PVC rollers are quieter than aluminum ones, and because they rattle less, non-folding quieter than folding.

Kreitler is the gold standard for rollers, and the one hand, I'd say that if you know you want roller for sure and have the money -- you might as well buy them, because they are the smoothest and longest lasting. On the other hand, if you don't know exactly what type you prefer (aluminum vs pvc, folding vs non, wide vs narrow, small diameter vs large) then you might want to go with a cheaper set.

Compared to Kreitler, virtually everything else is comparable. Personally, I would buy a set from a trusted local bike shop, where you can see and try them (or at least get some good, honest, specific advice about a given company/model) and get help if they don't perform to your expectations. Minoura makes a very popular folding set, and it's often claimed to be crummy. But if you make sure to install everything correctly, tightening everything down, and laying down a dampening cloth or rubber beneath the frame, and ensure that the wheelbase is perfect -- they're actually fine. They're inexpensive, easy to learn on, very light weight, foldable, and now come in both wide and narrow widths. But the Cyclops/Nashbar/Elite rollers aren't bad either. I especially like the non-folding Nashbar rollers, which are far less convenient than the Minouras, but a bit quieter.
wow, thanks for posting that. i'm looking into rollers too but have no clue where to start. i had no idea the aluminum ones were so noisy
That was good knowledge, thanks for sharing. I never considered the noise factor and I live on the third floor of a three flat. Do you think aluminum rollers would be to loud for the girl below me?

I am more interested in rollers bc I enjoy the interactive part i.e. you have be alert or you can take a painful spill rather than being locked into a trainer.



J said:
I'm heavily biased towards rollers, but also know that the return rate is very high for first time buyers. It's due to a number of reasons. And so I'd do as much research and really think through the purchase before buying.

The biggest issue is simply lack of use. Roller workouts are very different from riding a trainer. Until you're really comfortable on them (and this can take weeks or even months for some folks) it can be rather difficult to ride longer than 30 minutes. Some people really like to be able to multitask when training indoors... watching a movie, or reading a book... things that are technically possible while riding rollers, but very tough at first.

Another reason that they can go unused is noise. If this is going to be a problem in your home, you should absolutely test them (or at least talk to someone with the model you're buying) beforehand. The PVC rollers are quieter than aluminum ones, and because they rattle less, non-folding quieter than folding.

Kreitler is the gold standard for rollers, and the one hand, I'd say that if you know you want roller for sure and have the money -- you might as well buy them, because they are the smoothest and longest lasting. On the other hand, if you don't know exactly what type you prefer (aluminum vs pvc, folding vs non, wide vs narrow, small diameter vs large) then you might want to go with a cheaper set.

Compared to Kreitler, virtually everything else is comparable. Personally, I would buy a set from a trusted local bike shop, where you can see and try them (or at least get some good, honest, specific advice about a given company/model) and get help if they don't perform to your expectations. Minoura makes a very popular folding set, and it's often claimed to be crummy. But if you make sure to install everything correctly, tightening everything down, and laying down a dampening cloth or rubber beneath the frame, and ensure that the wheelbase is perfect -- they're actually fine. They're inexpensive, easy to learn on, very light weight, foldable, and now come in both wide and narrow widths. But the Cyclops/Nashbar/Elite rollers aren't bad either. I especially like the non-folding Nashbar rollers, which are far less convenient than the Minouras, but a bit quieter.
In this case, I would certainly test some out -- either at a friend's place or in a shop. It's often not so much the noise that annoys people as the vibration.

There are a bunch of things you can do to quiet rollers. Make sure everything is super tight and properly assembled. Make sure your wheels are true and round and try to focus on smooth pedal form. don't bounce. Try different tires. Some of the super soft compound race tires, although they give you better grip on rollers, can be rather loud. In fact, old worn down tires are often better. You can dampen vibration by laying down a rubber pad. Consider small diameter rollers, or PVC rollers.

But to your point, besides being a good workout and part cycling tradition -- rollers training offers unique benefits to riders looking to improve their form, trouble shoot fit issues, etc. And, you know, it doesn't hurt that it looks super cool -- especially when you line up a half dozen teammates before a race side by side.

csears said:
That was good knowledge, thanks for sharing. I never considered the noise factor and I live on the third floor of a three flat. Do you think aluminum rollers would be to loud for the girl below me?

I am more interested in rollers bc I enjoy the interactive part i.e. you have be alert or you can take a painful spill rather than being locked into a trainer.

good discussion. I am also in the market for a set. thanks!
Just FYI, there's a thread titled "Trainers" a month or so back that might have some helpful information about rollers.

Here is a link to the top 5 rated trainers by Bicycling Magazine - there parabolic rollers are at the top of the list, thought you might find this helpful as a beginner.

http://thisjustin.bicycling.com/2006/11/spindoors_a_tra.html
Rollers sound like a good idea (all the things they improve that a trainer doesn't), but I will say that the learning curve is huge. I'm still nervous of riding with one hand while on my rollers....and it's been quite a while.

Also, if I went back and re-purchased rollers, I'd get 'em PVC. Maybe pink (come on J, I know you got 'em!). :-)
hey fyi I'm pretty sure my aluminum, not so pricey, small diameter rollers are actually less noisy than my cycleops fluid trainer (which is not by any means the loudest trainer). It's all relative, but if you choose a fluid trainer to be less annoying to neighbors, you may not really save any db's over rollers.

I know this will sound outrageous, but I'd consider buying both rollers and fluid trainer (used) to confront the winter. Even after a full winter on rollers last year I still split my time 70/30 with the trainer for sessions longer than an hour.
Are the alloy end caps worth an extra $75 over the poly end caps?
I have an add-on question. Do you recommend the 3 in. or 4.5 in drums and why?
Caps -- bottom line, poly are fine for most folks unless you are running a resistance unit.
Beginners should run 4.5s because they are the lowest resistance and easiest to learn on. But if you travel a lot with the rollers, the smaller diameters are nice as you can usually fit two folding sets in a typical car trunk.

Kreitler's FAQ covers all of these issues.

http://www.kreitler.com/product.php?section=product&item=which_...
But can I get a good work out on the 4.5" drums. I am more concerned about riding for heart rate rather than building power.

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