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Rollers V Turbo

bendeweybendewey Posts: 23
edited August 2008 in Training, fitness and health
Im new to this indoor training lark, wha is the difference between these two workout wise? Are rollers easy?
Thinking of purchasing one or the other.
What does everyone think?

Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Very different things. Rollers are great for developing balance and a smooth pedalling style.

    Turbos are better for interval work and you can really increase the resistance on them.

    My preference would be the turbo if you really want to train hard and not worry about falling off the darn things !
  • I'm weighing up the pros & cons of buying rollers v turbo too.

    I've never tried rollers, so how do you vary the resistance on them. Using the bike's gears I guess, but does this give a sufficient amount of resistance? How do rollers compare to say cycling on a completely flat, smooth tarmac road, is more or less effort required on the rollers for the same gear ratios?
  • SunWuKongSunWuKong Posts: 364
    Some rollers do have variable resistance.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,336
    I'm weighing up the pros & cons of buying rollers v turbo too.

    I've never tried rollers, so how do you vary the resistance on them. Using the bike's gears I guess, but does this give a sufficient amount of resistance? How do rollers compare to say cycling on a completely flat, smooth tarmac road, is more or less effort required on the rollers for the same gear ratios?
    You can get rollers with adjustable resistance.
    When comparing to riding on the road in the same gear, the rollers have less resistance, assuming that there is no wind. If the wind would be behind you at the exact speed you were travelling (to make the air essentially still relative to you), and the rolling resistance of the tyres on the tarmac is the same as that on the rollers, the effort will be the same. This never happens though. However, the really good thing about rollers is how much it helps your balance. You may notice when riding now that certain things cause you to swerve slightly on the road, for example taking a bidon, looking over your shoulder, etc. If you learn to do them on rollers, you'll keep going in a dead straight line. Your pedalling will also improve massively. If you just push the pedals up and down without paying much attention to the smoothness of your action, on rollers you'll fall off. They force you to adopt a nice circular motion, which is invaluable.
  • DavidBelcherDavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    cougie wrote:
    Very different things. Rollers are great for developing balance and a smooth pedalling style.

    Also much kinder than turbos to expensive top-end road tyres!

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • Ste_SSte_S Posts: 1,173
    I'd go for rollers. They keep you concentrating for a start, and pretty much anything you can do on a turbo, you can do on rollers. If you need resistance, let a bit of air out the tyres and change gears
  • Hi there.

    I've got both, and as much as I like riding the rollers, if I had to get rid of one then I'd keep the turbo.

    Yes the rollers are more convenient, no they're not easy to learn, but the benefits of smooth pedalling are worth it. Over the winter I did all my 20 min intervals on the rollers, on my aero bars. When I ride on the road my upper body is now rock solid on the aero bars. I also used them to practice getting in and out of my shoes for triathlon transitions...

    However, the resistance just isn't high enough for shorter intervals, plus the advantage of doing hard intervals on the turbo is that you can push yourself beyond the point where you'd fall off if you were riding the road or the rollers...

    Cheers, Andy
  • sergensergen Posts: 39
    Hi there.

    I've got both, and as much as I like riding the rollers, if I had to get rid of one then I'd keep the turbo.

    Yes the rollers are more convenient, no they're not easy to learn, but the benefits of smooth pedalling are worth it. Over the winter I did all my 20 min intervals on the rollers, on my aero bars. When I ride on the road my upper body is now rock solid on the aero bars. I also used them to practice getting in and out of my shoes for triathlon transitions...

    However, the resistance just isn't high enough for shorter intervals, plus the advantage of doing hard intervals on the turbo is that you can push yourself beyond the point where you'd fall off if you were riding the road or the rollers...

    Cheers, Andy

    Hi Andy

    Could you answer 2 questions for me?

    1) Can rollers give you enough resistance to do 2x20 intervals (i.e. the intensity that you would put out during a time trial?). If so do you need to use a 53x12 to replicate that intensity?

    2) Do rollers wear out tyres like turbos can?

    Thanks
  • DavidBelcherDavidBelcher Posts: 2,684
    sergen wrote:
    Hi there.

    I've got both, and as much as I like riding the rollers, if I had to get rid of one then I'd keep the turbo.

    Yes the rollers are more convenient, no they're not easy to learn, but the benefits of smooth pedalling are worth it. Over the winter I did all my 20 min intervals on the rollers, on my aero bars. When I ride on the road my upper body is now rock solid on the aero bars. I also used them to practice getting in and out of my shoes for triathlon transitions...

    However, the resistance just isn't high enough for shorter intervals, plus the advantage of doing hard intervals on the turbo is that you can push yourself beyond the point where you'd fall off if you were riding the road or the rollers...

    Cheers, Andy

    Hi Andy

    Could you answer 2 questions for me?

    1) Can rollers give you enough resistance to do 2x20 intervals (i.e. the intensity that you would put out during a time trial?). If so do you need to use a 53x12 to replicate that intensity?

    2) Do rollers wear out tyres like turbos can?

    Thanks

    Re. tyres - see my earlier post in this thread. I use my race bike on the rollers with its usual (Vredestein Fortezza Tri-Comp) tyres and there's been no excessive wear issues with these or the Conti GP3000s I've also used in the past.

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • sergen wrote:

    Hi Andy

    Could you answer 2 questions for me?

    1) Can rollers give you enough resistance to do 2x20 intervals (i.e. the intensity that you would put out during a time trial?). If so do you need to use a 53x12 to replicate that intensity?

    2) Do rollers wear out tyres like turbos can?

    Thanks

    Hi there.

    Yes, I'd estimate that on my basic tacx rollers I'm putting out about 300w (give or take 10%) when doing 90rpm in a 54x12 gear. This is about 30-32mph on the speedometer. I've got an option to go to 54x11 but I haven't needed it yet...

    No - they don't wear out your tyres quickly as the wheel is not clamped in place.

    Cheers, Andy
  • Roller resistance is dicated by many things:
    - some have variable resistance units attached
    - the diameter of the drums (smaller diameter is harder)
    - the material the drum is made of (alu runs smoother than plastic)
    - the quality of bearings
    - the tension in the band
    - the tyre pressure and type of tyre

    The difference in resistance between various types is huge.

    Tyres will hardly wear on rollers. Turbos however are very hard on tyres.
    Rollers are also much kinder on frames.

    They require more concentration to ride.
  • Rollers are also much kinder on frames.

    Just curious, how is a turbo hard on frames ? Never heard this one before, and would like to know if I'm causing undue damage to my bike...
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,336
    Rollers are also much kinder on frames.

    Just curious, how is a turbo hard on frames ? Never heard this one before, and would like to know if I'm causing undue damage to my bike...
    Because the frame is locked into position. As you ride along on the road or on rollers, the bike will naturally sway from side to side as you pedal, increasing as you increase your power. When the frame's locked in, it can't sway, so all the force must be absorbed by the frame. It's not normally a problem, but there are tales of frames snapping near the dropout on very high intensity intervals.
  • whyamihere wrote:
    Rollers are also much kinder on frames.

    Just curious, how is a turbo hard on frames ? Never heard this one before, and would like to know if I'm causing undue damage to my bike...
    Because the frame is locked into position. As you ride along on the road or on rollers, the bike will naturally sway from side to side as you pedal, increasing as you increase your power. When the frame's locked in, it can't sway, so all the force must be absorbed by the frame. It's not normally a problem, but there are tales of frames snapping near the dropout on very high intensity intervals.

    Hi there.

    You're generally ok if you stay in the saddle. Out of the saddle efforts can and will kill a frame on a turbo.

    Cheers, Andy
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,336
    Indeed. I was sure I'd put that in, call it a brief lapse of concentration.
  • Given the meager power I produce, I'm pretty sure my frame is safe for the time being.
  • derekwattsderekwatts Posts: 107
    I bought a set of Elite Ghibli rollers last year to use indoors on wet and nasty days / dark evenings in winter. They were great for all the things rollers are recommended for (I got very smooth on them and within a few days was riding hands off removing and replacing my jersey! :-) and I have to say, I could push myself pretty hard on them - well into the red. The only thing was finding any reasomable correlation between distance and calorie burn, speed etc compared to riding the road. Clearly there was a lot less resistance on the rollers.

    So I embarked on modifying them and built a frame that sat on pvc wheels, the whole thing sat in runners and was sprung at both ends to allow the roller frame to 'float' back and forth by about 6" each direction. I also bought and fitted a Kreitler Killer Headwind fan to up the load, and I have to say it is now much higher resistance than riding on a winds calm flat road. In fact go much above 20mph wheel speed and a kind of 'screech' comes from the rear tyre due to slippage on the pvc roller. You can do a hard session on it and it still requires good coordination and focus to stay on them when you're really hurting, so I won't be buying a turbo.

    With the fore and aft floating motion you can also get out of the saddle and sprint a little, and it won't hop out of the rollers. I'll post a picture if I get the chance...

    Cheers

    Derek
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