Best bike roller trainer

Cycling

For those new to bike rollers, try setting up in a hallway or doorway. Having a wall or post to lean on will assist with getting on and off, and can help prevent falling if you lose your balance.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which bike roller trainers are best?

When the weather doesn’t permit cyclists to ride or train outside, bike rollers provide an economical and effective means to stay active indoors. The ability to use your bike inside can save time and energy, while providing a more controlled, and even safer, environment.

A bike roller essentially holds your bike in place as you ride, with a pair of rollers, or drums, containing the back wheel and another one holding the front. It’s a simple design, but an effective bike roller needs to be durable and perform smoothly. Our top pick, Kreitler Alloy Roller Set, is ideal for all riders, though our guide will help those of all skill levels and needs find the proper bike rollers for them.

What to know before you buy a bike roller trainer

Size and adjustability

Most bike rollers can accept most bikes, but it’s important to identify the roller’s limits so that you’re confident your bike is compatible. Look for weight capacity and wheel width when shopping.

Drum size

Drums will vary in size. Larger drums provide more resistance, which is helpful for causal and intermediate riders. Small drums offer little resistance, and are best suited to skilled riders.

Material

Steel frames are ideal. While they cost more, they are also more durable and will stand up over time. The alternative is aluminum, which is lighter and less expensive, but may not provide the same longevity. Serious riders and trainers may want to opt for steel construction, while aluminum is adequate for those looking to ride indoors occasionally when the outside isn’t accommodating.

What to look for in a quality bike roller trainer

Foldability

Some bike rollers fold up to save space, which is especially useful if there are warmer seasons where you won’t often be using the rollers inside, if at all. Note the size when folded, as well as the weight, which will influence how easy it is to store. Foldable bike rollers are also easier to transport, which may be useful for those who may be traveling for competitions or races.

Tapered drums

Bike rollers with this design will protect you from drifting off the rollers. These drums will be narrower in the center and wider on the outer edges, which will help keep the wheels in the middle. This is useful for beginners, but also those who want to focus on technique and training goals.

Resistance

Higher-end models may offer the option of changing resistance. While this will come at a premium cost, it’s a worthy feature for serious, intent trainers. Similarly, such luxury bike rollers may feature smart technology, where they can track your training data and toggle resistance.

Smoothness and noise

If possible, it’s best to test out a bike roller first to see the smoothness of the ride. Models of lesser quality may vibrate, and those vibrations will usually get more noticeable as speed increases. If rollers are shaking, they will also wear down more quickly. Hand in hand with smoothness is noise output. Rollers that vibrate and shake will be noisier, which can be a nuisance to not only the rider but to those nearby as well.

How much you can expect to spend on a bike roller trainer

Quality bike rollers will run from around $300-$600. These should offer a smooth, quiet ride, and provide longevity for frequent use.

Bike roller trainer FAQ

Q. What safety precautions should I take when using bike rollers?

A. Riding on bike rollers requires concentration and practice. It’s much easier to lose your balance, fall off, or lose control than when riding on a flat surface outside. There are no speed cues, like wind, when on a bike roller. You’ll also need to avoid overcompensating should the bike weave or veer. You’re advised to wear a helmet.

Q. Do bike rollers have an effect on my tires?

A. While your bike tires will likely wear down when using a bike roller, they aren’t likely to wear down any more than they would when riding on a road. As the rollers are smooth, there will not be any unforeseen obstacles that hurt the tires as there might be when road biking.

What are the best bike roller trainers to buy?

Top bike roller

Kreitler Alloy Roller Set

Kreitler Alloy Roller Set

Our take: It features the all-aluminum drums and end caps that are beautifully machined, perfectly balanced, and feature a beautiful finish.

What we like: Smooth and quiet roller set. Foldable in half and put aside when not in use. Simple design yet very durable.

What we dislike: It is pricey.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top bike roller for money

Saris’ CycleOps Aluminum Roller

Saris’ CycleOps Aluminum Roller

Our take: Lightweight, compact roller set that’s ideal for occasional usage.

What we like: Rollers are easy to set up and transport. Aluminium construction offers a smooth ride. Inexpensive option.

What we dislike: Some concerns about durability.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth checking out

Feedback Sports’ Omnium Over-Drive Portable Trainer

Feedback Sports’ Omnium Over-Drive Portable Trainer

Our take: Uniquely designed bike roller best used by serious riders and those on the go.

What we like: Features two slender rear rollers; designed to secure the bike’s front fork. Doesn’t wear down tires. Offers smooth, quiet, authentic ride.

What we dislike: Design takes some getting used to.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.