Bicycle Trainers & Rollers

All cycling enthusiasts have days when outdoor riding is just not an option. When you need to maintain your training or workout routine, consider bicycle trainers and rollers. These handy options give cyclists the benefits of a training workout without the worries of cycling in the weather outdoors.

What is a bicycle trainer or roller?

A trainer essentially turns your cycle into an indoor exercise bike for a virtual cycling training workout. It is a framework that your bike fits into. With most styles, the front wheel is held stationary, while the rear wheel rolls against resistance.

A roller is a narrow piece of gear that lies flat on the floor. It has three rolling cylinders that span the width of the frame. You simply balance your bicycle on the cylinders and begin riding.

What are trainers and rollers used for?

This cycling equipment allows you to ride your outdoor bike indoors. It lets you have virtual cycling training in all kinds of weather and without the hazards of traffic that a rider faces outdoors. Both types of equipment are also great tools to use when you want to have a workout while rehabilitating from an injury.

Should you choose a bike trainer or a roller?

There are significant differences between these pieces of indoor workout equipment that may affect which would better suit your training needs:

  • Balance: A trainer holds your bike in place, so all you have to do is ride. Rollers require you to balance and ride just as you would during an outdoor workout. If you have balance impairments, you might want to choose the first option. On the other hand, if you want a workout specifically aimed at improving your balance, bike rollers would be more helpful.
  • Intensity: You can stand on the pedals when your bike is in a trainer. This lets the rider duplicate the intensity that might be used when riding full-out while training. Roller equipment excels at being a virtual duplicate of the workout effort of long, steady cycling.
  • Wheel size: If your cycle has something other than a standard wheel, it may not fit into some bike trainers. You can ride with any size wheels on bike rollers.
What provides the resistance on trainers and rollers?
  • The most basic type of resistance is wind. The drag is imposed by a fan that is engaged when the rider pedals during a workout. The drag level cannot be adjusted. Both types of equipment can use the fan option.
  • Magnetic resistance is also available on both types of equipment. The difficulty level is variable on most magnetic equipment, making it useful for training. This option tends to be quieter than the air type.
  • Fluid trainers are like the magnetic option with the added benefit of chambers of thick liquid. This lets the rider choose a wider range of difficulty levels for a workout and offers an excellent simulation of road feel during a training workout. The roller type can also use fluid to provide drag.
  • Bike rollers may control drag by the diameter of the cylinders. The smaller the diameter, the greater the difficulty of training.