Turbo trainer / Rollers

slimboyjim Posts: 367
edited December 2009 in MTB buying advice

Having a 3 year old daughter and working shifts limits the amount I can go out on my bike, and I fancy working on my fitness a bit more so that, on that once a week that I do get to go out, I enjoy it more (I'm not too fit and have to keep stopping!)... I was therefore looking at a trainer I could use in the evenings when I am housebound babysitting. However I had a couple of questions:

1) What is the difference between trainers and rollers, and what are the benefits/drawbacks of each?
2) Do all trainers/rollers work with mountain bikes or are there specific features/makes/etc I should look for?
3) I have a Conti Raceking on the rear which is very low profile - would this be suitable or do you need a slick rear? I have an old rear wheel to use if necessary although would prefer to avoid the inconvenience of changing wheels over if possible.
4) Does anyone have any recommendations?

For information I have a Zesty and can train in my conservatory so noise is not too important (although quieter the better!).




  • 3) There are official home trainer tyres by Continental, which cope with the wear and heat much better than normal tyres.

    I'm on the lookout for a decent priced one myself, mainly to build up Mrs NitrousOxide's cycling stamina before spring (she does not know it yet, but she also has the choice of either B54 or bear-trap pedals, plus a pair of slick Big Apples tyres for her Zena2, as small Xmas additions! :twisted:
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
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    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • Just an update really - I realised rollers are not appropriate after seeing a video of them in use with a road bike. Realised that, with a fullsuspension mountain bike with a varying wheelbase dependant on suspension compression, it was a no go!

    Found wiggle.co.uk had a little buyers guide section in their trainers department and list for most trainers whether they are compatible with 26" tyres or not... I'm sure all are but it's a pain to have to send stuff back...

    Anyway I've taken the plunge with a Tacx Sartori (not yet arrived) and will update the thread if I remember!

  • Ok, I've now got a trainer so a bit of an update for those who are looking...

    It's a Tacx Sartori and it was a bit of a pain to put together as the instructions are rubbish. Once you get your head around it and with a little bit of trial and error it's not too tough though... Zesty fits fine although Conti Race king tyre is pretty loud (despite being practically a mtb slick :D ) so I will look to invest in a trainer tyre at some point. Luckily I have an old wheel I can use and just swap my proper and training wheels without too much fuss (stock rear wheel from an old GT Avalanche no less! Well heavy and bound to give me a work out!).

    Tacx website ( http://tacx2009.ilink2.nl/en/tacx-coach/index.dot ) has loads of training programs for individual sessions on the trainer although no information (I can find) as to how to effectively put them into a long term plan. I'm going to have to do a bit of searching on the internet/reading up for that. Only problem with the programs is (1) they are all road based so I'll have to do some bodging/calculations, and (2) they all use cadence. As there is no cadence sensor on my bike/the trainer I'll be picking up the cheapest cadence computer I can find soon. Some training programs use one leg only at a time, and as I use flat pedals this is not really possible, but I cannot blame them for that :D .

    Resistance does not feel too high even on maximum setting TBH (I thought it would be more) but I suppose it is more about endurance than short, tough slogs... May have to suppliment home training with squats, etc., if I can find the time and get all serious!

  • CraigXXL
    CraigXXL Posts: 1,852
    I got the Tacx trainer tyre from Evans for mine after the city jet slick left rubber deposits on the flywheel which in turn created vibration. Since then no problem.
  • You deffo need a slick - you can buy a trainer tyre as you suggest.

    Sometimes it's also worth having a cheap second wheel to use on the trainer, it saves you faffing with the tyre everytime you want to use the trainer.

    Good choice btw on the Satori. Nice kit.
  • Ordered a trainer tyre (Continental one was quite cheap - £20 or so) a couple of days ago which is a good thing really since I've today done a 45 min spin and found LOADS of tiny bits of rubber on the floor. Checked the back tyre and the wear is incredible! Standard mtb tyres, however slick, are not an option!

    I'm still working out the trainer really - I've found that in top (bike) gear you do need quite a push on level 4 on the trainer (level 1 is easiest, level 10 hardest) so I did a quick 15 minutes the other night and found my legs were knackered afterwards! There is, contrary to initial opinion, enough resistance to do a reasonable power workout in the future. I have to train in the big ring for it to feel even mildly difficult though - I suppose that these trainers are designed predominantly with road cyclists in mind and, as they have higher geared bikes, this shouldn't be a surprise...

    Concentrating on building a base fitness level at the moment so just spinning a relatively easy pace for 45 minutes every other day or so, since that seems to be what everything on the internet recommends doing! It's weird, as it feels too easy and that you are not working until you get off the bike. It is also boring, so I stole my wife's iPod and put bike vids on it - she's not impressed :wink:

    Currently thinking a basic heart rate monitor may be a better training aid than a cadence reading computer too - waiting to see what turns up in the sales now...

    Anyway, I do have a spare wheel in my loft for the trainer tyre so when it arrives no annoying swapping tyres on DT Swiss rims issues! Hooray!

  • Right, I've received my (£20 Conti) trainer tyre and chucked it on an old rear wheel I have. Set it up on the trainer and, bloody hell, the resistance is MUCH stronger. I can only guess that the mtb tyre must have been slipping (due to the irregular tread) causing a much lower resistance curve. This would also explain why the tyre was being shredded so quickly... Trainer tyre was a bit of a pain to fit (on an easy rim - not my 5.1's!) so, personally, I'm pretty pleased that I've my old rear wheel - I wouldn't want to be changing tyres regularly as I'm sure I'd soon get bored and stop bothering.

    Trainer tyre is also whisper quiet in comparison, and doesn't leave little pieces of black rubber all over the floor :shock:

    Moral of the story is you need to budget for a trainer tyre when you are looking to buy a trainer!

    Also, picked up a basic heart rate monitor which I'm having a play with now. Seems pretty straightforward (it has a display to show what training zone you are in) so should be pretty good. Seems much better than a cadence monitor since it will adapt to my improving fitness.

  • weedy1
    weedy1 Posts: 143
    Hope your enjoying :shock: your turboing.
    One thing to remember when using your HR monitor static on the bike is...
    due to no wind cooling you your HR will be higher for the same effort.
    Most people recommend a fan for when you're on the trainer so you don't melt.

    anyways good work fella