I'm building a bike from scratch and old parts for home-trainer and roller use only. Do I need brakes or can I cheap out?

  • 2
    Build it as a fixie, one gear is enough for rollers and you won't need brakes and shifters.
    – Carel
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 10:39
  • It's for both, trainer and roller. I'll have to move it around.
    – AzulShiva
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 13:26
  • Why should you have brakes on a home trainer?
    – Carel
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 15:21
  • 1
    I'd install brakes -- one day, you might end up needing to grab the bike and go out, and on that day you'll wish you had brakes. I also feel weird getting on a bike without holding one of the brakes.
    – Batman
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 2:57
  • 2
    Little anecdote, I once rode off my rollers, because I was watching a film, and managed to ride a full 360 degrees around a very small room before I had worked out what was going on and managed to unclip. Tweaked my back a little and then fell over trying to save myself in cleats on tile. The brakes don't help with things like that, but can give you something solid, that won't roll, to hold on to when getting on or off.
    – alex
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 15:02

3 Answers 3


No. For fixed trainer, it should be obvious.

For rollers, rolling resistance is higher on rollers than on flat surface. Wheels don't also have much momentum, so you can slow down by freewheeling for a few seconds. The only use for brakes is preparing to dropping off the rollers: rotating tires leave a nasty skid mark on the floor but brakes stop the wheel immediately.


I find brakes help with stability on rollers. When mounting/dismounting hold the brakes so your bike does not roll off the front or back of the rollers. Additionally, if you lose focus while spinning and begin to lose control, you can more easily correct when applying the brake.

As also mentioned, if you roll off the sides, brakes will help to immediately stop the wheels and avoid toppling.

  • They don't have to be great brakes - OP could use something that has been replaced or upgraded. Even some old single pivots would be adequate.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 21:37

If your bike is to be used on rollers only it would be wise to have some brakes but it is not an absolute necessity.

  • 3
    Why would it be wise?
    – ojs
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 19:34
  • 2
    This is a bit of a non-answer. Could you please extend it with the "edit" link and increase the content level? Something about why it is wise, and why its not absolutely necessary"
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 21:55

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