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  1. #1
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    Stationary bike vs. trainer vs. roller

    My riding time sucks now, it will get worse when cold weather hits.

    The Radio Shack commercial shows Alphonse riding to victory in the TdF on Lance's trainer. If that works for Lance and Alphonse, it is probably overkill for me.

    But, if youall would suffer more newbie questions:

    1: Is a stationary bike a reasonable substitute for your own bike on a trainer?

    2: If you put your one and only bike on a trainer, are you injecting any unwarranted wear on any of the bike's components?

    3: I gather from other sections that the rollers are better if one is more adept, a trainer is better for the newbie... but any recommendations for keeping in the mode for the off-season? (Packing to Las Vegas is, sadly, not an option....)

  2. #2
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    1. IMHO no, a stationary bike is unnecessary if you have a road bike. Why not train on what you're going to ride?

    2. Trainer's are notorious for wearing out tires and skewers, unless you get a steel skewer.

    3. Rollers and trainers are for different purposes. A trainers is can help build strength. Rollers focus on technique and balance rather than dropping the hammer. Determine what your focus will be.

  3. #3
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    More opinions:

    There are lots of different kinds of stationary bikes. They can be effective. It helps if they can be set up to get you close to your regular riding position.

    Trainers are great, and have the advantage of being small and easy to store. A stationary bike takes up more space when not in use.

    As the other respondent noted, trainers put some wear on tires. If you're not stable, and you move your weight around a lot, they can put unusual stresses on the frame (whether this is a problem is a matter of some controversy).

    Some kinds of stationary bikes eliminate this issue. I bought a spin bike (the kind with the heavy flywheel, like you see in gyms) years ago, and I like it. But it's big, and heavy to move from room to room. And it wasn't cheap. But I can pound on it, stand up and pretend I'm sprinting, whatever, and it doesn't even rock. I can get pretty close to my normal riding position on it.

    A magnetic or fluid resistance trainer is the easiest way to go. The inexpensive ones work fine, so far as I've ever heard.

  4. #4
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    What skizzle said, although the wear on tires and skewers can be exaggerated AND subject to user error. I use my trainer a lot and it doesn't seem to be horrible for wear.

    I use a trainer for resistance and rollers for endurance. I see minimal point of a stationary bike, especially since I have 3 bikes that are dialed in perfectly for me. Trainers and rollers fold up nicely, too.

  5. #5
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    What would I look for in a trainer? What elements do I avoid, what do I look for?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadent
    What would I look for in a trainer? What elements do I avoid, what do I look for?

    That's the hard question as no two trainers are built or designed similar. When I was looking at one the key thing for me was noise level. You'll hear alot of people mention loud trainers and that can be a deal breaker if you want to watch TV or train with cycling specific DVD. Robust build and good support are also key factors to look for.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_trainer

    http://www.ehow.com/about_5408065_ty...-trainers.html

    This gives you a breakdown of the types choose from. Based on RBR's review the 1upUSA seems to be the cream of the crop...and the price tag reflects it. I picked up performance bike travel trac fluid trainer and it's done me well for the price. I train with Spinervals DVD and play it on my laptop in the garage as I train. No complaints from the people so far of loud noise.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadent
    What would I look for in a trainer? What elements do I avoid, what do I look for?
    If you plan on training a lot and getting stronger, just avoid the cheapies. A reputable trainer like the 1Up and CycleOps Fluid 2 are very common among racers for many reasons.

    Try to look at it as a one time purchase.

  8. #8
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    I'll sell you my Cyclops Fluid Trainer - works great but I'm moving to a dedicated indoor stationary bike. Either the LeMond or the Cycleops. My wife wants to use the indoor cycle as well and taking bikes on and off the trainer just doesn't work for us.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brandtw
    My wife wants to use the indoor cycle as well and taking bikes on and off the trainer just doesn't work for us.
    Color me confused, but how so? I tend to leave my big heavy skewer in my road bike permanently and just take the bike off the trainer when I want to use it.

  10. #10
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    Adjusting the seat height, using my saddle is a hassle and uncomfortable, respectively. Indoor cycles adjust faster and have a wider selection of saddles for her.

    Also, bringing bicycles in and out of the house is a pain. Having an indoor cycle set up in the guest room on a heavy rubber mat makes for a really clean and no hassle exercise set up. TV remote in hand, fresh towels at the ready - get ready - ride...
    Last edited by brandtw; 07-15-2010 at 03:02 PM.

  11. #11
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    Won't you and your wife need to adjust the bike depending on who used it last?

  12. #12
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    Yes of course she will need to adjust it but adjusting a Cycleops or a Lemond or a spin bike takes a twist of a knob not an allen key and a super tight fitting seat post. Indoor cycles are designed for multiple sized riders and quick adjustment - you seem to have a bias for an outdoor bicycle on a trainer in the house. I much prefer a clean bicycle that never sees the outside that is designed for multiple riders and indoor training.

  13. #13
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    Hmmm... never heard of indoor cycles..is this a subset of the cycling world, or a generic term for cycles that are simply left inside for exercise?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by brandtw
    Yes of course she will need to adjust it but adjusting a Cycleops or a Lemond or a spin bike takes a twist of a knob not an allen key and a super tight fitting seat post. Indoor cycles are designed for multiple sized riders and quick adjustment - you seem to have a bias for an outdoor bicycle on a trainer in the house. I much prefer a clean bicycle that never sees the outside that is designed for multiple riders and indoor training.
    I suppose you could call it bias, but I'm a racer and log lots of time during the winter and a decent amount during the summer if work or weather don't cooperate. When you start riding about 20 hours a week, having every little detail dialed in is absolutely necessary. I'm not saying it can't be done on a stationary, but you're stuck with one crank arm length, no real stem, and different bars. They also lack the the ability to be transported to trainer classes and must be a pain if you're planning on using it to warm up for a time trial or crit.

    I already own 2 road bikes that have been dialed in for great distance. My TT bike is dialed in appropriately comfortable for a 40k. Something tells me that you're not as concerned as a racer about always riding a fitted bike.

    I honestly don't know any racers who use this over a trainer and rollers. Having a fixed seat post (trainer and stationary) is not how I'd want to spend my endurance ride.

    As for having a clean bike for indoors....clean it.
    Last edited by spade2you; 07-16-2010 at 06:35 AM.

  15. #15
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    JMO's, but I think if (for whatever reason) a rider is more sensitive to fit issues, a trainer offers distinct advantages over a stationary bike. Speaking from my own experiences, I know my knees aren't happy with even small changes (no matter the reason), so I prefer to ride my bike indoors and out. It took me some time and effort to dial fit in, so I see no reason to abandon that. As always, YMMV.

    As far as trainer versus rollers, both have advantages and disadvantages. Rollers offer the advantage of improving balance/ control and technique, while trainers offer the advantage of allowing the rider to train/ maintain fitness without being ever vigilant of losing control. Again my opinion, but if you've been riding any length of time, your bike handling skills are what they are (and if not, should be honed out on the road), so noobs may be the ones that benefit more from rollers.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352
    JMO's, but I think if (for whatever reason) a rider is more sensitive to fit issues, a trainer offers distinct advantages over a stationary bike. Speaking from my own experiences, I know my knees aren't happy with even small changes (no matter the reason), so I prefer to ride my bike indoors and out. It took me some time and effort to dial fit in, so I see no reason to abandon that. As always, YMMV.

    As far as trainer versus rollers, both have advantages and disadvantages. Rollers offer the advantage of improving balance/ control and technique, while trainers offer the advantage of allowing the rider to train/ maintain fitness without being ever vigilant of losing control. Again my opinion, but if you've been riding any length of time, your bike handling skills are what they are (and if not, should be honed out on the road), so noobs may be the ones that benefit more from rollers.
    While handling seems to be the most noted benefit of rollers, core strength and a non-fixed seat post position seem to be benefits nobody talks about.

    Without additional core workouts, it's easy to lose core strength on a trainer or stationary bike because you simply don't need to use it.

    While the seat post thing seems to be such an OCD gripe, it really translates to comfort on really long rides. On a stationary bike or a trainer, you're clamped into a very rigid position. On the road or rollers, the bike is allowed to gently sway, which is a heck of a lot more comfortable when you've got to ride long distances or lots of time on rollers.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you
    While handling seems to be the most noted benefit of rollers, core strength and a non-fixed seat post position seem to be benefits nobody talks about.

    Without additional core workouts, it's easy to lose core strength on a trainer or stationary bike because you simply don't need to use it.

    While the seat post thing seems to be such an OCD gripe, it really translates to comfort on really long rides. On a stationary bike or a trainer, you're clamped into a very rigid position. On the road or rollers, the bike is allowed to gently sway, which is a heck of a lot more comfortable when you've got to ride long distances or lots of time on rollers.
    Interesting. How do rollers benefit core strength? (I'm asking sincerely -- I have little experience with rollers)

    As for the last point about a rigid position, a solid stationary bike (e.g., spinner) allows me to stand up and hammer frequently (which I do on the road, too), which is the best comfort relief IME.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    Interesting. How do rollers benefit core strength? (I'm asking sincerely -- I have little experience with rollers)

    As for the last point about a rigid position, a solid stationary bike (e.g., spinner) allows me to stand up and hammer frequently (which I do on the road, too), which is the best comfort relief IME.
    The effort it takes to hold a straight line on rollers simply requires more use of core muscles. A trainer or stationary simply doesn't require much.

    Standing is obviously a good thing, but I'd probably say I don't feel the need to stand up as much since the bike position isn't fixed.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you
    I suppose you could call it bias, but I'm a racer and log lots of time during the winter and a decent amount during the summer if work or weather don't cooperate. When you start riding about 20 hours a week, having every little detail dialed in is absolutely necessary. I'm not saying it can't be done on a stationary, but you're stuck with one crank arm length, no real stem, and different bars. They also lack the the ability to be transported to trainer classes and must be a pain if you're planning on using it to warm up for a time trial or crit.

    I already own 2 road bikes that have been dialed in for great distance. My TT bike is dialed in appropriately comfortable for a 40k. Something tells me that you're not as concerned as a racer about always riding a fitted bike.

    I honestly don't know any racers who use this over a trainer and rollers. Having a fixed seat post (trainer and stationary) is not how I'd want to spend my endurance ride.

    As for having a clean bike for indoors....clean it.
    Ok - I get it - you race and the stationary doesn't work for you. Good - that's why there are different products. One isn't better or worse just different uses for different users. You race - I don't - stationary works for me, it doesn't work for you. There is no single right answer here - the OP wanted to know the pros and cons - I was simply giving my perspective and you are giving yours.

    No affiliation with Cycleops just a paying customer of their products - here is the solution we are getting - excellent product highly recommended by even racers...

    Last edited by brandtw; 07-16-2010 at 08:36 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you
    The effort it takes to hold a straight line on rollers simply requires more use of core muscles. A trainer or stationary simply doesn't require much.

    Standing is obviously a good thing, but I'd probably say I don't feel the need to stand up as much since the bike position isn't fixed.
    Okay, thanks. That makes sense.

    I like standing frequently. Jumping out of the saddle when I accelerate or hit a hard spot in a climb is second nature to me on the road (even more so since I started riding fixed a lot a few years ago), so I appreciate the way the spinner lets me do with that with no stability concerns.

    Different tools for different needs, I guess.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    Okay, thanks. That makes sense.

    I like standing frequently. Jumping out of the saddle when I accelerate or hit a hard spot in a climb is second nature to me on the road (even more so since I started riding fixed a lot a few years ago), so I appreciate the way the spinner lets me do with that with no stability concerns.

    Different tools for different needs, I guess.
    Definitely. I do the same on my trainer as well. Low cadence and high resisting climbing simulations, stomps (a sprinting interval), and power intervals so tough I almost want to pass out will never be attempted on my rollers.

    Once you "master" the handling, rollers make for good endurance training for when it's less than ideal to be outdoors. I tend to watch movies or old races to stay entertained.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you
    While handling seems to be the most noted benefit of rollers, core strength and a non-fixed seat post position seem to be benefits nobody talks about.

    Without additional core workouts, it's easy to lose core strength on a trainer or stationary bike because you simply don't need to use it.

    While the seat post thing seems to be such an OCD gripe, it really translates to comfort on really long rides. On a stationary bike or a trainer, you're clamped into a very rigid position. On the road or rollers, the bike is allowed to gently sway, which is a heck of a lot more comfortable when you've got to ride long distances or lots of time on rollers.

    How about splitting the middle.. for the core and lack of fixed seat position at least.. and going with something like the Kurt Rock & Roll?

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/rock-roll-p-112-l-en.html

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dysfunction
    How about splitting the middle.. for the core and lack of fixed seat position at least.. and going with something like the Kurt Rock & Roll?

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/rock-roll-p-112-l-en.html
    I'd agree this is a happy medium, though haven't ridden one. Not sure if these were around when I picked up my CycleOps.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dysfunction
    How about splitting the middle.. for the core and lack of fixed seat position at least.. and going with something like the Kurt Rock & Roll?

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/rock-roll-p-112-l-en.html
    Looks pretty damn nice. Might wind up a bit out of my price range though (like so many of the nicer things in cycling seem to be )

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you
    While handling seems to be the most noted benefit of rollers, core strength and a non-fixed seat post position seem to be benefits nobody talks about.

    Without additional core workouts, it's easy to lose core strength on a trainer or stationary bike because you simply don't need to use it.

    While the seat post thing seems to be such an OCD gripe, it really translates to comfort on really long rides. On a stationary bike or a trainer, you're clamped into a very rigid position. On the road or rollers, the bike is allowed to gently sway, which is a heck of a lot more comfortable when you've got to ride long distances or lots of time on rollers.
    As mentioned, YMMV, but I know from many off seasons riding a trainer that come spring time, my 'performance' (FWIW) is pretty much the same going into my riding season as it was at the end of the last. This tells me that I've maintained my level of fitness thru the off season riding the trainer.

    All things considered (mainly, age) I hightly doubt (and I mean highly) that riding rollers would do much to increase my core strength at this juncture. For younger, up and coming riders, maybe.

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