Thursday, 26 March 2015

Tips of the Month : Trainers And Rollers by Jun Shen

Amateur multisport athletes or cyclists often face the dilemma of picking either a bike resistance trainer or rollers. I had the same headache doing research and asking friends for their opinion before finally bought a magnetic resistance trainer. Before I proceed to further details, let me explain the difference between trainer and rollers.
Cyclists are able to ride their own bike on rollers or trainer anytime and anywhere they wish. Both trainer and rollers are not a piece of cycling gym equipment; you’ll need a bike to do your workout with it.
Rollers are designed as simple as 3 rollers for you to ride your bike on top of it. It has no vertical support to balance, so it gives almost exactly the same “road feel”. However, newbies might take some time learning to balance themselves on the slippery rollers. You cannot increase the resistance.
Resistance Trainers securely hold the rear wheel of your bike and the tyre rests upon a little metal cylinder that generates resistance. Resistance trainer needs no balancing. Once the rear wheel is mounted, it is very stable and I could play with my phone or even eat pizza while cycling.
The set of 3 rollers are attached to a frame by a long rubber band that keeps the front and rear rollers turning at the same rate. They are very useful to improve balancing and pedalling technique. If you find it hard to balance yourself while eating energy bar in a group ride, this piece of tool will help to improve your bike handling skills. As a piece of advice, test your rollers next to a wall or any support that you can hold on. For balancing, I put a water bottle in front and stay focus to it to help me balance.

Resistance Trainer

Resistance trainer generates resistance in 3 different ways. The least resistance is the wind resistance; the magnetic resistance generates higher resistance while the fluid resistance produce the highest resistance comparatively. All 3 trainers allow resistance increment and is a very good equipment to build up strength.
Wind Resistance Trainer
Wind resistance trainers are the simplest and the cheapest, checkout local bicycle 2nd hand website for new/used wind resistance trainer at a super cheap price. Normally it sells at around RM 190 – RM 300. For entry level, it is good enough. The fan blades spin as the cyclists cycle while generating resistance through the fan blades’ movement. On the down side, I would say the resistance is a little too low, somehow I felt “no resistance” after hitting 35km/h. Also, the noise could wake everyone in the house!
Magnetic Resistance Trainer

Magnetic resistance trainer generates eddy current through electromagnetic induction which creates the resistance. I bought a Minoura magnetic trainer for RM 450, it offers me 8 levels of resistance. After 4 years of using it, I’m only at resistance 3 for my time trial training =p. The noise is very much lower compared to the wind resistance trainer.
Fluid Resistance Trainer

The silicon within the enclosure generates fluid resistance inside the chamber as the cyclist pedals. The major benefit of a fluid resistance trainer is the gradually increase resistance as the rear wheel spins faster. Due to the complexity of its design, the fluid resistance trainer is heavy but very stable. It is the most quiet among all the types of trainers. For that reason, the price is the highest among all. However, they are prone to leakage and also overheat.   
Whether rollers or resistance trainer, both equipment reduce a lot of risk and hazard cyclists normally face when cycling outdoor. Family need not to worry about our safety and we get to watch our favourite DVD while doing our training. Isn’t that killing two birds with one stone? =) Since I’ve explained the differences, now it is your decision whether to pick which type of equipment to suit your needs.  

Picture of me cycling with a Magnetic Resistance Trainer inside my cabin onboard Frigate KD JEBAT. 

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