Long gone are the typical times when you only had one way to exercise on a bicycle. Today, thanks to advanced technology and innovative designing, there are plenty of different solutions and options in the market.
However, as great as that is, increased opportunities can lead to indecisiveness.
Plenty of people have a hard time figuring out whether they should opt for bike rollers or a turbo trainer when turning their outdoor bike into a stationary bike.
This confusion is understandable since both are great options, but not everyone can afford to get both.
So, we plan to help you decide which indoor cycling setup is best suitable for you by putting both the options side by side.
What They Are and How They Work
In simple words, bike rollers are a lot like treadmills.
The bicycle stands on top of drums, and a belt connects the second and third rotators.
There is a certain technique when riding on rollers.
As you start pedalling the bike, the rollers move underneath, and you get the same effect as that of a treadmill.
Initially, pop the bike on the roller and hop on. You can grab onto a surface on the side for support.
If you’re on a road bike, avoid pedalling backward as that will push your bike right off the roller. Start pedalling forwards.
Once you get into the flow, think about slowly letting go of the surface support. Keep your head straight, and your shoulders relaxed. If you want to stop the road bike, just stop pedalling or use the help on the side to stop the wheels.
If you’re on a track bike, slow down first and don’t stop bluntly.
Bike rollers give you a very natural road-feel.
Since you have to maintain the bike and balance it on your own, it is pretty similar to riding a bike on the road.
If you want more features like being able to do advanced tricks, opt for the superior rollers instead of the ordinary ones.
Bike rollers are comparatively lighter than a turbo trainer and are easier to transport here and there.
Plus, a lot of these rollers are foldable and lightweight, so they are storage-friendly as well.
This feature allows you to put the rollers away when they are not in use and clear lots of space. You can store the bike rollers in a cabinet or put them in the corner in the garage.
Plus, since they are very easy to carry around, you can place them anywhere in the house where you want to exercise.
Your bedroom, kitchen, lounge, or out on the balcony; you can set the bike rollers and cycle anywhere in the comfort of your house.
As ironic as it may sound, bike rollers can work out more expensive than a turbo trainer.
However, this depends on what type of turbo trainer you’re after – we’ll get to this in a second.
You can get your hands on a good-quality bike roller for a minimum of $60 and an average of $250. This price can increase though if you’re looking for something with a well-established name.
However, as they can be a large upfront cost at the beginning, they are usually a one-time investment. Hence, you must be smart when you go out to buy bike rollers so that you don’t waste your money and regret it.
Keep your priorities set and invest in a model that fits your criteria. This criterion could include the following features in your particular order of priority:
Setting a criterion will help you decide what features are your priorities and what you can compromise on; then, you can invest in bike rollers that fulfill your primary requirements while staying in the budget.
Doing this helps you get the ideal product that you need without overspending.
For a reliable, yet affordable set of bike rollers I would recommend the Tacx Galaxia.
Bike rollers are a bit tough, so they are ideal for expert cyclists and pro-level athletes who want to practice their cycling skills and improve them.
Plus, cyclists who wish to improve their balance and practice their on-road cycling skills will find training for bike rollers very helpful.
What They Are and How They Work
Unlike bike rollers, a turbo trainer holds the bike in place while you pedal. There are three significant types of turbo trainers:
- The basic trainer
It attaches to the bicycle so you can pedal. It does not offer any other features.
- The wheel-on smart trainer
It holds the bike and also adjusts resistance. By changing this resistance, you can decide what kind of workout you want to do that day.
This feature gives plenty of customizability to the cyclist.
- Direct drive smart turbo
This design removes the entire rear wheel of the bicycle and gives more stability.
Since the bike is pretty much already in a fixed position and you don’t have to do anything about developing and maintaining balance, your only job and focus are to pedal.
By increasing the resistance, you can measure the power and effectiveness of a workout.
Thus, these bicycle turbo trainers are beneficial as resistance exercise equipment.
They help you work your leg and back muscles and improve strength and endurance, mainly in your lower limbs.
Compared to bike rollers, trainers are very unnatural. The bike is in a fixed position, so it is extraordinarily stable and feels nothing like a natural road experience.
For people who don’t like the rocky road experience of a bicycle, getting on bike rollers with such smooth “movement” and maximum stability will be like a blissful dream!
Most of the bike trainers can be pretty heavy, big, and require a lot of storage space.
Only the advanced and modern designs of trainers feature a foldable and lightweight design, but these are very rare.
Hence, you cannot just store these away in a cabinet.
You need a proper place to keep them away from the rest of your furniture and stay nice and dry.
Plus, depending on the turbo trainer it may be difficult to move it around the house, so you must find a fixed place where you can exercise every day.
You can get a high-quality bike trainer with resistance adjustability and stylish design for less than $100.
You can go for the cheap ones that start from $50 or even go as high as you like.
Like bike rollers, buying a turbo trainer also requires a specific criterion that you can make beforehand.
This criterion would include features such as:
- Type of turbo trainer
– The basic ones cost approximately $100
– The wheel-on models can cost somewhere between $200 to $300,
– The direct-drive smart trainer can costs anywhere between $500 to over $1,000.
- The design and aesthetics
- The brand and model of the trainer
- Additional features and benefits
Since turbo trainers can be cheaper than bike rollers, you will be able to find a much better option in a more budget-friendly price range.
For a great, reliable and budget-friendly turbo trainer I would recommend the Sportneer Turbo Trainer.
Beginners and those who fear falling should start with a turbo trainer since it offers more stability and is more comfortable to ride.
Plus, if resistance exercise is your primary goal instead of improving balance, a trainer would be ideal.
A turbo trainer is also ideal for buyers who are on a budget but want an indoor cycling system.
Based on the information mentioned above on a Bike Roller and a turbo trainer, you can decide which one suits your lifestyle, requirements, and preferences and then choose accordingly.
Remember that even though one can be pricier than the other, both bike rollers and turbo trainers are massive investments most of the time.
But apart from this investment the fun and thrill is surely unmatched.
Hence, make sure you make an informed, thoughtful decision to avoid regretting the purchase later.