I'm currently trying to choose between the CycleOps PVC roller and the CycleOps Aluminum roller. How big of a difference is there between them? I don't really care about riding the roller outdoors, so that difference is moot for me.
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The difference is this big... http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobmarley753/249120602/
Seriously though, after some research and asking friends, many who have aluminum rollers prefer them over PVC rollers
The unasked question:
Some of my friends have rollers that are cylindrical like the two you have linked to. When asked about their rollers, their biggest complaint is how often they end up riding off the side of their rollers. One even has gotten in trouble with his wife after riding off the edge of his rollers leaving burn marks on the floor. oops! With cylindrical rollers, more concentration is needed to stay on, which can be a good thing if that is something you are looking to improve in your form and concentration.
If I were to buy another set of rollers, I would most definitely purchase another set of parabolic rollers.
I love my parabolic rollers! They were really easy to learn on and I have yet to ride off the edge of them. Not having to worry as much about riding off the edge is really big for me as it allows me to ride longer, feel more comfortable shifting my hands to shift and readjust, and allows me to watch an occasional movie or two while riding. : ) If you are looking at getting a set of rollers, I would highly suggest adding parabolic rollers to your consideration list.
My thoughts about having ridden on plastic rollers:
Aluminum is more durable, but highly used PVC rollers have been seen to hit the decade mark so it's not really a big difference maker.
The other difference would be that PVC rollers charge up static electricity and it can be annoying to get zapped every time you ride your rollers. Now it's up to you to see if that's worth an extra 90$. It's most likely possible to ground the rollers to avoid the shocks and save some money.
(The main difference is that PVC rollers can't really be used outside, but it doesn't matter here.)
In addition to what has already been said, aluminum rollers tend to be smoother, easier rolling, and quieter. In a nutshell, they're far more pleasant to ride on. Try both, and you'll notice the difference right away.
A major consideration would be the weight of the rollers themselves. Heavier rollers are easier to ride because they have more inertia and are therefore less sensitive to the small changes in wheel speed related that occur over the course of a pedal stroke.