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I cycle a track bike and want to do some training over the winter. After a bit of research I've decided to go with rollers.

I haven't used them before but I'm sure with a bit of perseverance I'll get the hang of it.

My budget is €400 max inc. delivery and I think that resistence will be necessary considering the lack of gears.

So far I've boiled it down to:

  • CycleOps Aluminium Rollers with Resistance Unit
  • Elite V-Arion Parabolic Inertial Rollers with Integrated Resistance Unit.

I like how simple the CycleOps look and the option of using outdoors but am mildly worried that the non-parabolic rollers will be a lot more difficult and that I wouldn't be able to watch tv etc. eventually.

Would you say that parabolic rollers only lessen the learning curve and are much the same as standard rollers after, or are they always easier?

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. Stack exchange sites aren't well equipped to deal with shopping recommendations. Your question was a good one overall, so I have removed the final bit asking for specific recommendations due to its subjective nature. See this: bicycles.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask and this: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/11/qa-is-hard-lets-go-shopping for more information. –  jimirings Oct 4 '13 at 20:44
    
Roller workouts aren't focused on power, they're all about efficiency and form. For that, you actually do want the rollers to be someone difficult because it will translate to smoother form on the road/track. A traditional trainer is better for power-developing workouts. –  Angelo Oct 7 '13 at 18:32
    
@Angelo The question contained shopping recommendations in its original form. I edited that part out (see the revision history). In my first comment I was explaining to the OP why I had done so. –  jimirings Oct 8 '13 at 14:46

2 Answers 2

I've never ridden parabolic rollers myself but I do have a pair of cylindrical pvc rollers. It takes a bit of practice, but after a short amount of time I was able to watch tv quite easily from my cylindrical rollers. A bit after that, I was able to sit up, lean back down, take a drink, and ride with one hand or one foot while watching tv. Not all at the same time, obviously.

It is my understanding that parabolic rollers are easier to learn to ride simply because you can't ride off the edges. However, riding off the sides isn't a big deal. The bike comes to an immediate stop. The friction of your tires isn't enough to overcome your body's lack of inertia. You smell burnt rubber and may leave burn marks on your carpet, but that's about it. If you put a towel under the rollers, you won't have to worry about the carpet.

One other thing to consider is the diameter of the riding surface of the rollers. I believe that on average parabolic rollers are smaller than cylindrical rollers. Smaller rollers heat up more quickly and as a result are harder on tires.

I've really only addressed the issues between parabolic and cylindrical rollers here because that seems to be the brunt of your question. For a more comprehensive disucssion of rollers, see this question and the questions that are linked to in the accepted answer on that question.

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Rollers are simple to learn and parabolic ones shouldn't be necessary unless your TV-viewing is likely to be so diverting that you won't be attentive. Parabolic ones in those circumstances will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Rollers are noisy though; add in a decent fan (essential for anything over 20mins in my experience) and you'll need a very loud TV (or ear-phones), and distant neighbours.

One of the main attractions of rollers to my mind is their simplicity. Resistance units add complexity and not much flexibility (just two settings on CycleOps). You might want to consider an old road-bike, set up for and dedicated to, the rollers.

BTW, I myself blogged on such matters at here and here.

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While there's no official policy that I know of, URL shorteners are generally frowned upon on SE sites. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/99136/… –  jimirings Oct 5 '13 at 20:09
    
My CycleOps rollers have 5 settings for resistance. I rarely use it though, as I'm out of shape and there's no way to change it while riding. –  alex Oct 6 '13 at 3:35
    
I have the CycleOps Fluid2, which has no variable resistence. However, I've found that using my bike's gearing offers more than enough of a range to get a good work out. That being said, it would not be a good choice if you have a track/single-speed bike. I also second the recommendation of a fan. I have my trainer set up in my unheated garage for the winter, so I don't need one, but an hour long ride in my frigid garage can make me work up quite a sweat. It would most likely be unbearable in a room that's heated to normal temperatures. –  Kibbee Oct 6 '13 at 16:56

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