– Morning trainiacs. Trying out some rollers right now. Instead of a direct drive, the Wahoo KICKR trainer
that I normally use, we’re on, whoa, the Elite Nero Rollers, which sync up with Zwift. If you’re in the market for a trainer and you don’t know what to get, if you’re thinking rollers or a trainer, we’re gonna talk about the differences and what my experience has
been with the Elite Nero. I’ve fallen a lot more
than you’ve just seen. Way more. Woo-ee. (upbeat music) Alright, trainiacs, now that I’ve lifted these hundreds of pounds worth of
trainers into position here, let’s talk about trainers versus rollers. And in my opinion, there’s
about five big things that you need to consider if you’re making a purchase decision between rollers and a
more traditional trainer. Now number one, rollers
are going to require a little bit of a learning curve. So my first time on rollers, it’s not exactly what I expected. It’s not very hard to learn, the big thing is that you do
not wanna look down at all, you wanna just look forward like when you’re normally riding. A little bit tough to manipulate like, turns and things on Zwift or grab a water bottle with one hand. Try it now, but you see
that I’m not really able to, woo-hoo, look at you at all freely. Like, You’ve gotta work
for it the whole way. I’ve probably spent now about
three hours on the rollers. The first 10, 20 minutes
was a complete disaster, but after three hours now, I’m a fair bit more comfortable that I don’t have to think about it a ton. Still going from the
drops to the arrow bars is a little bit uncertain, but you can get to the point that it’s basically the
same as riding outside. Dr. Dan Plews, the guy that helped coach me up to Challenge Roth, he does all of his training on rollers, and he says that he uses really no more mental energy
than he would outside. Ride on them enough, and these can be basically
the same as riding outdoors. With enough time, you’ll get there, but when you first start trying them out, it is not going to be pretty. Wasn’t pretty for me. (mumbles) – Ooh, there you go. – Whoa. (laughs) Up next, the workouts on rollers is a little bit different than
what you get on a trainer. Whereas on a trainer, you
can do really sharp spikes, you can get up out of the saddle, you can sprint, you can’t really do
that as well on rollers. A, because sprinting is just
hard, it’s uncontrolled, it’s going to end up
rattling the bike around, likely jumping you off the rollers, and B, these are the Elite Nero Rollers, which are rated at 830 max watts. These high end trainers,
like the Wahoo KICKR, the Tacx, the CycleOps Hammer, those are rated for 2000 watts, so just a lower max wattage rating, and what I found is that
past about 250 watts, this didn’t really want to stay there for any length of time. So while I could get spikes up and have more power behind
that for a few seconds, it didn’t wanna stay there, it didn’t wanna allow me to crush out really high end VO2 max intervals. On the low end, it also
didn’t really wanna let me get down to that really easy cool down because I think the momentum
of the wheels themselves actually keep you from going too easy. So the sweet spot on this, was anywhere between 130
watts, and 250 watts. The sweet spot on this is anywhere from 50 watts to 2000 watts. I’ve never seen a point where this basically just sort of steadied out. Next, the workout on the rollers will actually make you mentally tougher. So if concentration is something that you’re struggling with, if you find that your mind wanders, or you start just getting kind of negative self talk going throughout a race or a long ride, this might help with that
because just riding in itself, forces you to concentrate. When I was down at the Zwift Tri Academy earlier in the year, what a lot of the athletes were saying was that they liked going into erg mode with a Wahoo KICKR on Zwift and just checking out. You don’t have that
option to check out here. And what Dan Plew said again about why he does all of
his training on rollers, is because it adds an
aspect of concentration, which is a really important thing when you get into a race. You don’t want to not have developed a mentally strong brain muscle so to that when you get into a race, all of a sudden you’re
getting mentally fatigued, which actually takes up a ton of energy. If you’ve trained that mental muscle with something like rollers, when you come into the race, it’s going to end up feeling like a shorter amount of time and you’re going to be able to stay mentally engaged in the work. Next thing, really quickly, if you tend to get saddle sores, you get a sore bum on a
trainer, that’s normal, because with a fixed trainer, the saddle is basically set up right there with maybe about a quarter to
a half an inch of wiggle room. But essentially, you’re just sitting on a stationary two by four. With this, I did not get a
sore undercarriage whatsoever because there’s always
that little bit of movement just like when you’re on the road, so it takes some of that
side to side pressure off your undercarriage, which I really appreciated. And then the final thing to consider is just what are you
using the trainer for? If you really want like, very, very specific workouts where you have to hit
certain power numbers, certain cadences, you wanna sprint, you need
to get out of the saddle, you need to do a lot of standing work, you need really high amounts of power, this is probably the trainer for you. If you’re looking for something that is more like recover rides, long steady rides, kind of, shorter, strength based rides where the cadence is a little bit low, maybe power is just a little bit higher, this is gonna be a really nice experience. Or if you like to just
be in front of the TV, have the TV on and ride away, this is also gonna be a
really nice experience. If you only have money
for just one trainer, I’d probably say get
a more typical trainer because you’re going to be
able to do more workouts. In an ideal situation, you probably might wanna have both. This, for your really specific work, this for your recover rides, this for your off season, for your base building season, where it’s just a little
bit easier on the body and that side to side movement forces you to actually
develop a nice, stable core and be able to control
your bike with the core, this is also a training
tool, just like this. Personally, I’m gonna go back to this, just because I only like having really one set trainer
around here at all times, and it’s gonna be that. Doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy this. These are actually the Elite
Nero Interactive Rollers that communicate with your Zwift, your preplanned workouts, your TrainerWorld, things like that. So if you do like rollers and you like the interactivity of Zwift and all those interactive training tools, this is one way to do
it that historically, rollers didn’t allow for. As far as rollers go, I really only have one
thing to compare it to. But I liked it, the learning
curve was fairly easy because there’s this small little lip on the edge of the, gonna
have to crop way in there, small little lip on the
edge of the rollers, keeping the bike from falling off, so the learning curve
was a little bit better, but there were those issues of not being able to get
up to really high powers or really low powers. But overall, thanks for
sending this out Elite, I learned a lot about rollers. This was very cool. Alright, trainiacs, if you like hearing about
things like Zwift and rollers, well, we’re coming up
fairly soon to winter, that means trainer season, Zwift season is right around the corer, so it’ll be a lot of content on that. Make sure to hit the
subscribe button below. Later.

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Dennis Veasley

12 thoughts on “Trainers vs. Rollers”

  1. If you have a power meter on your bike, you only need a simple set of rollers (mine cost $100) to use Zwift. I can sit comfortably between 50 and 360 watts. I also have a Tacx Neo, but do 90% of my Zwift rides on the Rollers (prefer the feel).

  2. I saw a roller wheee you fixed yesterday is fork to it so you still moved around but a lot less on the front – looked interesting

  3. Back in the mid 1970s I rode rollers. Discovered that they made my ability to hold a straight line much better. I ceased wandering from side to side.

  4. Hey Taren, it looks like the front roller needs to be farther forward (under the front axle). You'll find it much less twitchy that way. It's pretty much all I ride and can do pretty much anything except standing all out sprints.

  5. These rollers can be very easy to ride with that extreme width and suspension. Getting out the saddle is just practicing which would mean a very efficient sprinting technique.

  6. Hey Taren,

    When will you review treadmills? Have you tried the Trueform Runner? It looks awesome. There is no motor and you propel it. It’s supposed to be great for improving and maintaining good form. I would think that would be right up your alley with the Chi Running mention in one of your videos maybe a few years ago(?), which is a book that I read way back in 2007/08 right before I completed my first triathlon training plan and Olympic distance race. Also, I had a P2C back then. Whoa. Time flies. I wish your videos and current technology had been around back then! My triathlon interest might have survived German and IOWA winters. Great channel TT. You got me back into it. Can’t say thanks enough!


  7. I have no issues getting out of saddle on my rollers nor do I have any issues pushing upwards of 500+ watts over a short period on my rollers. I’ve also done upwards of 130 rpm on rollers. If you want to ride efficiently, get a set of rollers and learn to really ride a bike.

    It’s a shame this video is so uneducated and going to give people a negative thought on rollers

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