With the recent world health issues and restrictions, you might feel like giving up cycling outside for good. Fortunately, bike rollers are available to help you train at any hour or day. If you stick around, you’ll discover some of the best bike rollers on the market right now.
Not everyone loves bicycle training rollers. You might be one of them. But they can have great benefits. For instance, you can train all year round, without worrying about the weather. You have full control based on the demands of your workout, so it’s easier to track your progress.
We could go on and on about the benefits of using bike rollers, but we’ll just let these bicycle rollers do all the convincing.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Bike Rollers Review
- 2 How to Choose Good Bike Rollers
Best Bike Rollers Review
Tacx Galaxia Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers
The Tacx Galaxia Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers is a perfect choice for recreational riders or people who’ve never used one of these before. It’s designed to give you a realistic cycling experience, while keeping you safe and stable the whole time.
It features Tacx’s patented swing system. This system allows the rollers to swing when you’re sprinting to absorb the forward and backward movements of your bike, so you don’t get off the rollers and hurt yourself.
Not only that, the Tacx Galaxia Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers has a front drum that spins at the same speed as the back drums. This makes it easier to stay steady while your bike’s wheels are spinning fast.
The conical-shaped drums have a durable metallic core with rubberized coating. They’re tapered towards the center to make your practice rides simpler and safer.
The Tacx Galaxia Indoor Retractable Bicycle Rollers are foldable and retractable for easy transport and storage. (When folded, the unit measures 31.5 inches by 19.7 inches by 5.31 inches.) Plus, they don’t need any power to function, so you don’t have to worry about maintenance.
- Easy to get started (with practice and focus)
- Provides a good and an enjoyable workout
- Sits on rockers, which prevents lurching
- Works as advertised and made well
- Not compatible with standard bike trainer stands
- Can’t increase the tension
Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer with Tote Bag
Do you need a portable pre-race warm-up/cool-down tool when you travel?
Hate falling off from bike rollers all the time?
If yes, then the Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Trainer with Tote Bag might be just what you’re looking for. It’s designed to accommodate a variety of bike sizes, from a kid’s bike with 16-inch wheels to an adult bike with 24-inch or 29-inch wheels—thanks to its height-adjustable fork mount.
The Omnium works with the LIVE RIDE Technology™ for a more energizing and realistic riding experience. It’s equipped with magnetic rollers to provide internal progressive resistance, which maxes out at around 1,050 watts.
Note: Because of its low quoted max power, this isn’t suitable for you if you’re after the “road feel.” However, if you want to pinpoint and fix inconsistencies in your pedal style, this would be a good option.
Since it uses magnetic resistance, it’s incredibly quiet. That means you can crank out a workout in your upstairs apartment or hotel room all day, without worrying about disturbing other people.
But the biggest advantage of the Omnium is its compact and foldable design. It folds to fit into a small tote bag, so it’s convenient to bring with you anywhere or cram it into a tight-fitting space for storage.
Taking it out of the bag and setting it up is also easy and fast. In most cases, all of these take only a few minutes to do.
- Great for building leg endurance and speed, warm ups, and recovery
- Relatively quiet
- Extremely light, making it convenient to bring along with you
- Delivered fully assembled and can be set up fast
- Doesn’t provide different resistance levels for training
- Noisy rear drum
Kreitler Alloy Roller ‘Set
The Kreitler Alloy Roller ‘Set, the “Rolls-Royce of roller systems,” doesn’t just look good, but it’s also built to last. It’s proudly made in Colorado, USA and carries a Lifetime Warranty.
The alloy drums are masterfully machined from aircraft-grade alloy that’s known for its lightness and strength. They spin on ABEC-5 sealed cartridge bearings, allowing them to spin effortlessly and coast longer once you stop pedaling. Since the bearings are sealed, dirt and dust can’t go inside and affect the alloy drums’ performance.
The drums are available in different diameters: 4.5-inch, 3-inch, and 2.25-inch. All are 15 inches wide. The length is adjustable to accommodate a range of wheelbase sizes.
Note: The 4.5-inch drums are great for beginners and recreational riders, but they don’t offer much resistance. You might’ve to use a Killer Headwind smart fan, which provides adjustable resistance. As you progress to smaller diameter drums, you may no longer need the fan.
- Well-made, USA-manufactured bicycle rollers
- Makes you feel like you’re cycling on a road
- Can fold it up in half when not in use
- Generally easy to set up
- Can be pricey (but you get a high-quality, durable product)
- Some vendors include only the rollers and belt, not the frame.
Saris CycleOps Aluminum Roller for Indoor Bike Trainer
The Saris CycleOps Aluminum Roller for Indoor Bike Trainer is specifically designed for indoor and outdoor use. It’s foldable and compact (around 5 inches tall), so you can easily take it with you or store it in cramped spaces.
This is built using good-quality materials to give you years of service. The frame is made from steel that’s able to withstand rough use. The rollers don’t warp when exposed to direct heat or sunlight. And to make sure the unit stays in place while in use, the feet are fitted with rubber pads.
The aluminum roller drums are 3.25 inches in diameter, which is suitable for riders with reasonable experience. They don’t gradually become narrower towards the middle, so you really need to be 100-percent focus and work hard to maintain balance and control.
This isn’t the roller set for beginners, though. If you’re training for a competition or a serious rider, you’d want to choose a more expensive bike roller set. If you’re someone who’s looking for folding bike rollers, or perhaps you just ride bike for relaxation and fun, the Saris CycleOps provides excellent value.
The Saris CycleOps Aluminum Roller for Indoor Bike Trainer requires little to zero maintenance because it doesn’t have any moving parts. If you want to upgrade, you can add a resistance unit to the base model later on.
- Provides smooth rides (after two to three practice sessions)
- Provides effective workouts and promotes upper body strength
- Gives you more realistic rides
- Doesn’t take up so much space
- Difficult to use without some kind of support (at least at the beginning)
- Creates noise due to the vibrations
Elite Arion Folding Rollers with Mag Resistance
The Elite Arion Folding Rollers with Mag Resistance is one of the best road and mountain bike rollers for MTB and cyclocross riders. In fact, it has become a go-to parabolic roller trainer for many WorldTour teams.
Unlike the other rollers in this list, the Elite Arion features parabolic-shaped rollers (85 millimeters at the center and 100 millimeters at the edges). This means your bike’s wheels are always directed towards the middle of the rollers, and you’ll have more control over your pedaling after a few practices.
Your training sessions or pre-race warm-up exercises don’t have to be boring. The Elite Arion generates three levels of magnetic resistance to provide quiet and smooth rides, as well as to increase the intensity of your pedal strokes.
The Elite Arion Folding Rollers with Mag Resistance is compatible with mountain bike and road bike wheels. The front roller can be adjusted in ten different positions to make sure it fits the frame of your bike.
It’s foldable and light, so it’s convenient to take with you on any race or weekend adventure. It even has a built-in handle for easier transport.
Note: The maximum load limit of this bike roller for both rider and bike is roughly 253.5 pounds (or 115 kilograms).
- Simple to adjust to accommodate various bicycle sizes
- Solid build and offers good resistance
- Quiet operation compared with other standard exercise bike rollers
- Easy to store
- Easily cracked small roller (uncommon issue)
- Makes clunking noises in the middle roller (resistance level 2)
ELITE Nero Interactive Roller
If you’re looking for a bike roller that’s going to challenge you, the ELITE Nero Interactive Roller is the best way to go. It has everything you need to ensure every session is fun, stimulating, and productive.
It’s the first bike roller that has two flywheels in the rear rollers. With these flywheels in place, you can improve the efficiency—or roundness—of your pedal strokes.
The ELITE Nero Interactive Roller offers various interactive features, so you’ll feel like you’re riding outside. One of its newest interactive features is able to simulate slopes up to 7-percent. It’s compatible with different types of apps, such as Zwift, to create a real riding experience.
Although it’s geared more towards experienced cyclists, that shouldn’t discouraged you from trying the ELITE Nero. It has beginner-friendly features, such as a built-in step to assist the rider. There’s also Elite’s floating system that soaks up sudden movements and gradually returns them.
- Simple to set up and connect
- Durable construction
- Works great for the price
- Able to replicate different types of slopes
- Inaccurate measurement of power
- Not the quietest bike roller
How to Choose Good Bike Rollers
As you might expect, there’s a ton of bike rollers out there. Now, we don’t want you to waste your money on the wrong one, so we’ve compiled five key factors that you should think about before making your final choice.
This might seem pretty obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. Creating a budget forces you to think long and hard about what’s important for you and avoid impulse buying.
Compared to bike trainers, which could cost up to $2,500, bike rollers are more affordable. The starting price of this piece of equipment usually starts at $100 to $500.
Are the different roller sets worth the money?
It depends on your purpose and goals. For instance, if you want to improve your pedaling technique, rollers are great for the job. While they take a bit of practice, rollers provide a more realistic ride feel. They won’t wear out your bike’s tires (and other parts) as much as when you’re using a trainer.
An indoor bicycle roller trainer isn’t exactly “beginner-friendly.” Well, at least in the beginning. If it’s your first time to use this equipment, set them up on a spot that has a structure that you can use for balance (e.g. a doorway).
Or, choose a unit that has parabolic-shaped drums, which have a bigger diameter at the edges than the center. The shape of the drums prevents your bike from coming off the rollers. This is perfect for people who are struggling to balance and stay in the center while cycling.
Another great option for those who are just starting out is hybrid rollers. They eliminate the extra challenge of balancing on a bike without moving over the edge because the front fork is fixed to the machine.
You also need to pay attention to the diameter of the drums. The rule of thumb is the smaller the diameter, the greater the resistance. This makes it harder for beginners to get used to.
Amount of Resistance
Most bicycle rollers have three cylindrical drums (two at the back and one in front) that are connected together by a belt. Unlike bike trainers, they don’t provide a direct resistance option.
So, is there no way for bike rollers to create resistance? You can usually make your workouts more or less challenging by selecting a unit that has drums with a smaller or larger diameter. The average diameter of roller drums can range from 2.25 to 4.5 inches.
- 5-inch drums: These are best for recreational riders because the large surface area has low resistance. Aside from being relatively safer, they also allow riders to use larger gears for easier pedaling and maintain a high wheel speed with minimal effort.
- 3-inch drums: These are usually best for serious racers or someone with reasonable cycling experience. If you want more resistance (at least 40% higher than the 3-inch drums) to make your workouts harder, without using a Headwind smart fan, you’ll most likely be contented with this size.
- 5-inch drums: These are reserved for professional athletes, experienced cyclists, or someone who undergoes regular training. If your average speed doesn’t reach 20 to 24 mph (miles per hour), or if you haven’t done a 50-mile bike ride before, you’re better off with bike rollers with 4.5-inch or 3-inch drums.
Storage and Portability
These are always welcome features on any bike rollers. That’s why this piece of equipment is perfect for those who always travel a lot for competitions (or for whatever reason) or don’t have a lot of free space in their homes.
Most rollers weigh roughly 30 pounds. They’re a lot lighter than most bike trainers, which weigh roughly 40 to 50 pounds.
Plus, they’re easy to transport and store because they’re compact. (They could either come in a bi-fold or tri-fold design.) Hybrid bike rollers are even more compact because they don’t have a drum at the front.
Before you shop, don’t forget to measure its wheelbase since it determines the distance between the front drum and rear drums. The frame of the bike rollers should be adjustable to fit the length of your bike’s wheelbase. As much as possible, the front drum of the unit should be at least 15 millimeters longer than your wheelbase.
You can find the wheelbase range for the specific brand of rollers that you’re eyeing on the company’s website or other websites. (Be prepared to dig around the internet for this information, though.)
We hope our list and tips could help you make a wise buying decision. Admittedly, rollers for bike training aren’t for everyone. They need riders to have a good amount of balance and mental focus for extended periods. So, if you know someone who owns one, ask him or her if you could try using it to see if it really fits your requirements.
With that said, using bike rollers do offer you a solid option for training indoors, without breaking the bank. They also work great with many science-based tools, such as TrainerRoad and Zwift, which can help you increase your performance and reach your goals.