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I was recently made aware of the idea of bike rollers. I do have an exercise bike, but this looks like it may be a much better bet because you get to practice your riding skills as well (and looks a bit more fun than an exercise bike!). However, the guy in this video had trouble getting a mountain bike to fit, and when he did get it working, it really seemed to be shredding the rear tire quite badly. If you look closely at the video, when he's using the MTB the front axle is forward of the front roller's axle so it's obviously not properly on the rollers.

Is the rear tire damage the guy in the video was suffering typical of rollers or is it because of a poor fit of the bike on the rollers? Are there models of rollers that fit long wheelbase bikes better?

I have read that you can't use mountain bikes on rollers, but the reason given was the suspension causes the wheelbase to change as the suspension moves. My bike is a hardtail with a lockable front fork so would this be suitable for rollers?

The wheelbase is approximately 108cm

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Rollers (and trainers in general) chewing up tires isn't uncommon as indicated in this answer on a related question:

http://bicycles.stackexchange.com/a/10748/4239

As indicated, just use cheap tires for your rollers. I ride them in the winter and I've never really noticed that the rollers chew up the tires much faster than the the snow, ice, salt, and cinders on the roads do.

As far as the wheelbase goes, you can find the wheelbase range for rollers in the specs on some sites. You might have to dig around though. For example, nashbar.com listed the specs for these rollers even though the manufacturer's page did not. I'm sure it could be found in the product manual as well, but I didn't dig that deeply.

Also, almost any sort of tread pattern on your tires will make the rollers very loud. And of course, the bigger the knobs, the louder it will be. If you're going to put a mountain bike on them, you'll definitely want slicks.

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I'm a big fan of rollers, but for optimum training flexibility & outcomes you will be best off with a bike dedicated to the purpose, so that you can fit untreaded tyres and, to counter the lack of resistance and promote aerobic & muscular development, bigger gears. A second-hand road-bike of appropriate wheelbase will be cheap and ideal. Otherwise, pump your rear tyre up hard and use the rollers for easy/recovery rides or to develop high cadence pedalling.

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