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Turbo or Rollers?

carl_pcarl_p Posts: 989
edited January 2010 in Road beginners
I know little or nothing about either of these, but am seriously giving it some thought, as it is now 5 weeks since I last went out on my bike.

Looking at some vids on Youtube rollers seem to replicate normal riding better, but I think I would feel distinctly uneasy with the bike constantly moving side to side. Do you actually notice this when riding on them?

Presumably with a turbo the rear wheel is slightly raised? Also does the bike have to be permanently attached via skewers or something? Wouldn't want this tbh, what with space issues. I suppose the upside is you have better stability.

As always your thoughts and advice would be appreciated.
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  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    Hi Carl,

    I have both: Cycleps Rollers c/w resistance & a CycleOps Fluid 2 turbo.
    You do notice the bike when moving from side to side, but just like being on the road, you are constantly steering it, which is why some prefer rollers to turbo, as it requires concentration at all times!
    The rear wheel is slightly raised in the turbo, but you either put a phone book under the front wheel, or a purpose made block, to level the bike up.
    The bike isn't permanently mounted to the turbo, there's a quick release 'gizmo' that locates over the ends of your QR and clamps it in place.
    There are no stability issues, which leads to boredom (very quickly), so an ipod is a Godsend, as is a big fan!
    At the end of the day, they're both very good for your training.
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • guv001guv001 Posts: 688
    The rollers I got haven't got any resistance, so I use them for recovery rides only. I would recommend a turbo over rollers if you plan doing intervals etc, but hey that my personal opinion only.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    For me time seems to pass quicker on the rollers. I have Tacx Antares rollers without resistance though you can buy a resistance unit for them now. I wouldn't do balls out intervals on them, but spinning in top gear provides more than enough resistance for most riders to get above 85% HRmax.

    If you just want to ride then I'd recommend the rollers, but if you want to do structured training and can only have either I'd go for a turbo.
    More problems but still living....
  • I've got the Antares as well and they're a great bit of kit. And they work well enough for intervals and I don't really find them that boring (yet). I think if you're finding it boring you're not pushing hard enough :wink: It doens't take long to become stable on them. You do move aorund a lot more then you would on the road but it's not as noticable as you might expect. Just don't try and steer to get central as the bike will come off the rollers.

    Another bonus of the roller is that set up is quick and storage is easy as you can just shove it behind a sofa or something.

    I've never used a turbo though.
  • I've got the Antares as well and they're a great bit of kit. And they work well enough for intervals and I don't really find them that boring (yet). I think if you're finding it boring you're not pushing hard enough :wink: It doens't take long to become stable on them. You do move aorund a lot more then you would on the road but it's not as noticable as you might expect. Just don't try and steer to get central as the bike will come off the rollers.

    Another bonus of the roller is that set up is quick and storage is easy as you can just shove it behind a sofa or something.

    I've never used a turbo though.
    same here
    +1
  • VelonutterVelonutter Posts: 2,437 Lives Here
    I have both, but find the turbo easier than the rollers, even with resistance.

    The rollers get my heart beat right up, whereas even with 5 clicks on the turbo it doesn't get as high as on the rollers.

    I alternate with both to avoid boredom, rollers make you very smooth, whereas turbo build muscle.

    Both keep you fit during the bad weather spell.
  • MikeWWMikeWW Posts: 723
    I've got both and I think it depends what you want from them
    For longer sessions the rollers work better and are far more interesting. Even without resistance spinning in a big gear will get your HR up
    For more intensive interval work the turbo works better and provide a good workout but I wouldn't want to just spin steadily for too long on it
  • redjeepǃredjeepǃ Posts: 531
    I agree with the two posters in that the rollers are more interesting and I also find that I can get my HR higher than on my turbo. There is some resistance and it feels much more natural compared with my turbo (Tacx sirius).

    I only got my Antares rollers just before Christmas, but am currently loving them and have been on them every day for the past week or so. I'm planning a turbo session for tonight though.

    However, if I had to choose between them, it'd be very difficult, but the turbo may win out. Just.

    I think the trurbo is easier to do structured intervals and just focus on that rather than balance and smoothness. I guess it all depends what you're looking for and the counter argument would be that you can do several things at once on the rollers. The rollers are definitely more interesting and I'm still too chicken to listen to music/ watch DVD's like I do on the turbo.
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    May be it's me that isn't very fit, but I get a hell of a workout from my rollers, yes most of it is in top gear but so what. It will also improve your balance, you can use any of your bikes on it. Turbo riders say they are boring, loose concentration on rollers and your off :oops: Keeping my hr to within 173 and 175 ,my mph to within about 0.3 waching the clock, balancing. Bored No. Knackered Yes. :lol:

    A typical session would be to warm up then do
    5 mins at about 85% hrmax
    2 min75%
    repeat 4 times and I sweat buckets.

    When you can do this, try changing gear, getting a water bottle, then take a drink :lol: now take one hand off the bar , now the other sit up straight look straight ahead and keep peddling now take your top off.
    Rollers are not boring :lol:
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
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  • eyebeeeyebee Posts: 257
    I went for the Tacx Antares. Great set of rollers for the price and the ability to add resistance if required. The resistance was a concern of mine before I bought them but personally I find the gears to be sufficient.
  • senojsenoj Posts: 213
    A tip for the Turbo,get a portable dvd player or laptop,play a film youve not seen and listen to it with head phones.
    Ive started doing this with the bad weather and dont get so bored as I did just listening to music.
    Just keep an eye on your cateye/heart rate monitor to keep your workout where you want it.
  • stubeestubee Posts: 25
    i also have both and prefer turbo (cos i fell off my rollers and nearly killed the dog!!) but i set mine up in the hallway in my house and watch the telly (exciting films make you pedal harder! eastenders makes me want to stop and go out on a real ride!!) but both are very good at keeping up fitness levels in the winter. Try ebay for cheap starter turbo. mine was second hand so unsure of brand but still works fine, a little noisier than the new ones i think.

    Stu
    Play for more than you can afford to lose.......then you will learn the game. (winston churchill)
  • flanners1flanners1 Posts: 916
    I have a set of Elite V-Arion resistance rollers they are a great piece of kit and give a full on workout! The settings allow a spin or try to mimick road riding.

    Have a Minoura mat underneath that works well keeping them straight on the slate floor and traps the sweat. Never had a turbo, the rollers took a few sessions to get used to but once learnt I can take my hands off now without going out of control. Feels like riding on ice at first, then it becomes second nature and is the closest to riding, I have found my pedalling and position on the bike has improved as well.

    Anyone know what to clean the rollers with to remove tyre deposits? Is it iso-propanol?
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  • carl_pcarl_p Posts: 989
    Thanks for all the comments fo far, keep 'em coming.

    I think I'm leaning towards a turbo rather than rollers (no pun intended) as the wimp in me is taking over. One concern I have is, do they put a lot of stress on the frame? I weigh about 76 kg and would use it on my Alu framed Giant SCR2.
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    Cannondale Synapse
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    Genesis Flyer Single Speed


    Turn the corner, rub my eyes and hope the world will last...
  • I am making the exact same decision at the moment, for the same reasons (my new Banchi almost unused due to inclement weather). How much do I love this forum? I dont even have to post threads, I can swing on the coat-tails of someone else's.

    I am thinking turbo to start with then get rollers later because I like the idea of both but am a bit chicken re rollers and think I'll need to work up to it.

    Any input on turbos for £200 ish. I am mostly interested in performance (obviously) but also noise (but I use a Concept rower alot and they're not exactly quiet), build quality, and not too complicated to set up out of the box as I'm a bit girly with the spanner stuff, and the husband is useless at anything bike-y.

    Your thoughts, wise ones, much appreciated.
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    Carl_P wrote:
    Thanks for all the comments fo far, keep 'em coming.

    I think I'm leaning towards a turbo rather than rollers (no pun intended) as the wimp in me is taking over. One concern I have is, do they put a lot of stress on the frame? I weigh about 76 kg and would use it on my Alu framed Giant SCR2.

    At 76kg, you're not exactly heavy!
    Your frame will be fine in a turbo. :wink:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    I'd get both if you can afford, but start with a set of rollers, as those have a 'skill' element which is good to possess.... unless you are undaunted by building up a TACX turbo out of the box :wink:
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've always used a turbo - apart from roller racing at the club - at which i was quite good (club champ one year) but I did require two strong blokes hanging onto the bike to keep me on the damn things.

    Turbo isnt fun - but its not meant to be - short and sharp - so you condense the hard parts of a ride into a set thats usually less than an hour. I know people sometimes do 3 hours on them - but thats crazy !

    As they say - with a turbo - you can go flat out - and thats just what you need to do.
  • My personal preference is rollers. The reason for this being that i don't get anywhere near as bored on them as i do on a turbo. I also feel it's improved my cycling on the road a great deal. And with the stability issues on the rollers i now feel so much more confident riding in a group.

    But everyone has there own opinions.
  • I'm a fan of rollers (mine are Minoura action advance £125 - The bike runs really well on the alloy drums). For me it's a tough enough workout in a high gear fast spin and I don't require a resistance unit. I also find keeping the bike balanced on the rollers really works the abdominals. With all this snow on the roads In the UK at the moment it's great to still be getting some miles in.
  • MattC59MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    I have a Turbo. it could be a little boring, but I just put my laptop in front of me and watch the iplayer.

    As I understand it, it's quite simple. A turbo is better for structures workouts, rollers are better for technique.

    I'm sure someone can expand on this, I just thought I'd add my simplistic 2 penneth :D
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  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    just started being able to read on rollers, sitting bolt upright no hands. Managed OK reading my training diary last night, so I'll try a novel tonight.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    Result :lol: after work out session I dropped a couple of gears to give me a 75% hr at about 90 rpm on the crank. I decided on the local paper rather than a book and I found it quite easy to read, I wobbled a bit turning the big pages but otherwise OK. I assume I was unconsciously using my peripheral vision over the top tube where I could see the roller rails.
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    John C. wrote:
    Result :lol: after work out session I dropped a couple of gears to give me a 75% hr at about 90 rpm on the crank. I decided on the local paper rather than a book and I found it quite easy to read, I wobbled a bit turning the big pages but otherwise OK. I assume I was unconsciously using my peripheral vision over the top tube where I could see the roller rails.

    You need to make a video and put it up on Youtube
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  • John C.John C. Posts: 2,113
    I would but it took this forum nearly 8 hours to help me upload pictures on here. I'm not quite up to date with 20 C technology never mind 21C
    http://www.ripon-loiterers.org.uk/

    Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
    Hills are just a matter of pace
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    I'd go for a turbo - though I do have rollers and do use them. Agree time seems to go quicker on rollers and there is a skill element to it, probably a more natural type feel which may make the training more specific too. The biggy is I wouldn't fancy doing absolute eyeballs out intervals on rollers - and I wouldn't fancy riding my TT bike on them either though if you are good enough that wouldn't be an issue.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • DaveyLDaveyL Posts: 5,167
    In terms of the resistance thing - I have just got a set of the Tacx Antares rollers and have found that I was putting out 370 W at 90 rpm in 50/12 - so you need to be a pretty good rider to find they didn't have enough resistance!
    Le Blaireau (1)
  • BrindyBrindy Posts: 45
    rollers for pedalling and leg speed and turbo for intervals and power
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiCdm5FsJpgThe quote at the start ... "Dad - you're such a dork"
  • I have had rollers since November, and I have been using them quite reguarly. However, I only use them for less than an hour because I have a really short concentration span, and it means that after the about forty minutes, I start getting pretty dodgy, and although I have not yet come off them, I know that it is not long until I will fall off!! I have just ordered a cycleops turbo trainer, and I am hoping to use them for longer rides.
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