The Best Bike Rollers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Bike rollers may seem scary, but they’re worth trying if you’re serious about improving your cycling skills.
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BY Andra DelMonico / LAST UPDATED ON February 8, 2021
Cycling outside is refreshing and lets you enjoy the freedom of the open road. But it simply isn’t possible to ride outside on the road 365 days out of the year. That’s when you need to find other ways to train or workout. You could hop on a stationary bike, but they never have the same body position or performance as your road bike. This means finding a way to ride your road bike indoors.
Bike rollers take some practice, but with a little effort, you can master them. It’s a simple frame with three rollers that spin. You’ll place your bike on the rollers and begin pedaling. As the rollers spin, you’ll get a workout while remaining in place. However, not all rollers are built or function precisely the same. This guide will help you know their differences and which ones right for you.
This top-quality roller has an alloy frame and a durable urethane belt. It has cartridge bearings for a smooth and quiet ride. On one side of the frame is a non-slip footpad.
- Folds into thirds
- Precision machined
- Adjustable wheelbase
- Unstable at high speeds
- Assembly required
These durable rollers come in either red or black. There’s an aluminum frame that’s adjustable in length. A durable PE nylon belt keeps the operation quiet and consistent.
- Anti-slip foot pad
- Anti-skid surface on the roller
- Weighs 17.5 pounds
- Not a true conical shape
- Less stable feet
This lightweight and ultra-strong composite frame holds three parabolic rollers. There’s a built-in step on either side of the frame for easier mounting and dismounting.
- One-step folding process
- Arrives assembled
- Adjustable length
- No resistance levels
- Smooth plastic rollers
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Benefits of a Bike Roller
- Portable. Most rollers are foldable and lightweight. This makes them portable and versatile. You could store them away when not in use inside your home. You can take them with you for warming up before a race.
- Better workout. Riding on rollers requires you to engage your core to maintain your balance. This gives you a better overall workout. You’ll also experience an increase in top-end cadence or speed.
- Builds skills. Cycling on rollers is more challenging to master than cycling on the road. It takes an accurate awareness of your weight distribution, pedal pressure, and handlebar weight. This can help you develop stronger cycling skills and the ability to become a better rider on the road.
Types of Bike Rollers
These are rider-friendly rollers because they have a slightly conical shape to the rollers. They are wider on the sides of the rollers and skinnier in the middle. This helps to direct your tire to the center of the roller and make it easier to keep it there. Beginners will appreciate this assistance because it’s easier to control your skinny road tire and stay upright on the rollers.
The rollers on this type are smooth and flat. They are the same width across the entire surface of the rollers. This makes them better for those who are experienced with riding rollers. The rollers do not provide any assistance for keeping your bike tire centered and wobble-free. You’ll find that the increased challenge develops your skills further than the conical type.
Basic rollers spin as you ride your bicycle. There’s no change in resistance as you change your speed. Electronic rollers are intuitive and can change resistance levels to respond to your change in pace. They’ll communicate with head units or training apps for a customized riding experience. They’ll also absorb the sudden change in movement to allow for quick stops that prevent you from flying over the edge.
Founded in the Netherlands in 1957, riders depend on Tacx for high-quality bicycle equipment. The company takes an innovative approach to cycling to foster a passion for cycling and all things related to the sport. The Tacx Galaxia Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers are portable and durable.
Founded in China in 2010, the Rock Bros brand focuses on producing dependable yet affordable cycling equipment. The company ships its products worldwide so that it can supply cycling enthusiasts worldwide. You’ll like using the Rock Bros Bike Rollers Adjustable because it’s versatile and can fit a wide range of bicycles.
Founded in 1974, Saris is a proud American brand that calls a 70,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Madison, Wis. home. It distributes its products to 60 countries across the globe. Its product line features racks and trainers. While not a set of rollers, the Saris CycleOps Fluid Indoor Bike Trainer is a great piece of training equipment.
Bike Roller Pricing
- Under $100: The rollers in this price range give you simple functionality. They’re made of durable materials and can be set to the perfect size to fit your bike.
- $100 to $200: There are dependable rollers in this price range. They’re perfect for everyday training and extended use. They’ll use durable materials for the construction and have smooth rolling functionality.
- $200 and up: These top quality rollers are designed for serious cycle enthusiasts. They’ll have the latest innovations and technology to make the riding experience more enjoyable and customized.
Look at the materials used and the construction method for the rollers. It needs to be strong enough to support the weight of you and your bike for extended rides. The best rollers are made from aluminum. Another great option is polyethylene. These rollers are lightweight and can reduce noise and vibration.
The rollers you buy need to fit the length of your bike. You should be able to set it once and never have to adjust it again. A versatile set of rollers is the best because you can adapt the rollers to your bicycle as you upgrade and buy new ones. Otherwise, you’re stuck buying a new set of rollers every time you buy a new bike.
The material, shape, and size of the drums will directly affect their durability and tire resistance. Parabolic rollers are shaped to help keep your tire in the center of the rollers. The larger the size of the rollers, the lower their resistance will be when riding on them. Whether you choose aluminum or hard plastic for your rollers depends on how you plan to ride and the training you want to do.
- Price. Try to buy the best quality rollers that you can afford. You indeed get what you pay for. It’s worth investing more for a better quality piece of equipment that will last through heavy use. The last thing you want is for your rollers to give out mid-ride, and it sends you flying.
- Portability. Some rollers can fold in half, making them easier to take with you. This is an ideal solution for when you want to warm up before cycling races or other meets. They also take up less room while in storage. If you have limited space and don’t want to leave your rollers set up all of the time, then this is a must-have feature.
- Resistance. Not all rollers will have the ability to create resistance. This feature tends to only be on electric or higher-end rollers. If you plan to use your rollers for training, then you’ll want to consider this feature. It will work with your head unit or an app on your smartphone to let you adjust the resistance level.
Best Bike Roller Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Start next to a wall or something stable. This gives you something to hold onto or keep yourself steady while you’re learning how to balance while riding on rollers.
- Adjust the rollers to fit your bike before you start riding. The front axle should be slightly behind the top of the roller. The rear wheel should be cradled between the second and third roller.
- Pick a focal point in front of you. Do not give in to the temptation to stare at your front wheel. This will have you staring straight down, which makes it harder to balance.
Q: Are parabolic rollers better than traditional ones?
Parabolic rollers can make it easier to learn. However, this doesn’t necessarily make them better. The learning curve is lower, but this also limits your development. Traditional flat rollers give you more of a challenge, which can further develop your skills and muscle strength.
Q: Are rollers good for training?
Yes, rollers are good for long-distance training. They give you a smooth pedaling experience and a smooth rolling surface for your tires. This lets you practice fluid pedal strokes for more efficient long-distance riding while also staying in place.
Q: Are bike rollers better than trainers?
It depends on what your goal is while riding. Bike trainers are better for aggressive bursts, while rollers are better for steady long term pedaling. Both will give you a great workout when used for their intended purpose.
For a solid cycling workout that builds stamina and weight, the Minoura Folding Trainer Rollers are perfect because they’re precision machined and adjustable. For a more affordable option, the Soozier Adjustable Cycling Parabolic Roller is easy to use with its anti-slip footpads and roller surfaces.