The 7 Best Bike Rollers With and Without Resistance (2021) + Tips How to Get Started

The Best Bike Rollers

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This is my selection of the best bike rollers with and without resistance based on in-depth market research and reviews from riders worldwide.

It includes budget, mid-range, and even high-end interactive rollers for the most demanding riders.

You also learn how to choose rollers, what the market offers, and how to get started with rollers.

Let’s dive in.


What Are the Best Bike Rollers?

All rollers on this list are adjustable, so they fit bikes of various wheelbases. They are also foldable, improving their compactness and portability.

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Rock Bros Rollers

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Tacx Galaxia | Source: performancebike.com

Also available at performancebike.com and wiggle.co.uk

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Elite Arion with Magnetic resistance

Also available at competitivecyclist.com, performancebike.com, and wiggle.co.uk

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Skip to the comparison table…

Tacx Galaxia (Best Overall)

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Tacx Galaxia | Source: performancebike.com

Main Features

  • Resistance: No
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Weight: 8.2kg
  • Concave cylinders: Yes
  • Unique construction allowing forward and backward movement

Tacx Galaxia are the first rollers I had, and honestly, I think they are the best rollers for the money you can buy. Let me explain why.

They were designed differently than other rollers. The Tacx patented swing system ensures the rollers move forward when accelerating and backward when slowing down. Some riders don’t like it, but I found it pretty cool and helpful.

This feature contributes to a more natural feel and a better ride experience. It is also much easier to sprint out of the saddle on these rollers. It just takes some time to get used to it. But don’t worry, you will master it after a few riders.

Galaxia rollers have concave cylinders that help you stay centered and prevent you from riding off them. Thanks to this detail, they are more beginner-friendly.

Unlike other rollers on this list, like the Elite Arion, Galaxia are retractable (not foldable), so they take even less space.

Overall, they provide high-quality and extra features for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, they are not available in an option with resistance.

Also available at performancebike.com and wiggle.co.uk


Elite Arion with Resistance (Best with Resistance)

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Elite Arion with Resistance
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Elite Arion without Resistance

Main Features

  • Resistance: Yes (520W), also available without resistance
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Weight: 7kg (without resistance), 7.8kg (with resistance)
  • Concave cylinders: Yes
  • Compatible with third-party apps

Elite Arion are popular rollers that come in two options with and without magnetic resistance.

The version with resistance will allow you to set one of three resistance levels that max out at 520W. Therefore, Arion rollers are suitable for riders who need to train harder intervals.

The cylinders are concave at the ends, so you have more space to ride (unlike on Tacx Galaxia that are concave along their entire length).

You can even connect them to third-party indoor cycling apps thanks to the Misuro B+ cadence and speed sensor (not included). It makes your indoor training more engaging.

Arion rollers are super easy to set up, so you won’t waste too much time. You can also fold them to make them more portable or store them in a closet.

So, which one do you choose? With or w/o resistance?


Rock Bros Rollers (Best Budget)

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Main Features

  • Resistance: No
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Weight: 6.5kg
  • Concave cylinders: No
  • Available in two options – with black or white frame

If you look for affordable rollers, Rock Bros do the job. They are simple but functional.

One of their main advantages is that they are lightweight and portable, perfect for pre-race warm-ups and cooldowns.

The cylinders are not concave, so you have to be very focused and practice not to ride off them. But once you get confidence, you won’t have any problems with this.

Keep in mind these rollers fit bikes with wheelbases between 970 and 1090mm only. So make sure to double-check your bike’s wheelbase in advance.

They may require some maintenance from time to time (tightening screws, etc.) but considering their price, they are pretty hard to beat.


Saris Aluminum Rollers

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Saris Aluminum Rollers | Source: rei.com

Main Features

  • Resistance: No
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Weight: 8.6kg
  • Concave cylinders: No
  • Easy to set up

Saris Aluminum Rollers are simple but high-quality rollers that will last you forever.

Their cylinders and not concave, so you have to stay focused to not ride off them. So they may not be the best option for beginners but rather for more advanced riders or pros.

However, it is all about practice. I am sure that even if you are a beginner, you will learn to ride on flat cylinder rollers.

These rollers are super easy to set up and fold, and thanks to the rubber foot pads, they won’t be moving all around your room.

If you don’t need any fancy features like Tacx Galaxia or Elite Arion have, and you appreciate minimalistic style, these rollers are for you.

Also available at competitivecyclist.com, performancebike.com, and trekbikes.com


Elite Nero

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Main Features

  • Resistance: Yes (830W)
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Weight: 17.5kg
  • Concave cylinders: Yes
  • Gradient simulation: 7%
  • Interactive

If you look for advanced rollers, Elite Nero are the ones that should catch your attention.

They provide you with up to 830W resistance (this is enough for most beginners and intermediate cyclists) and interactivity elements.

Once you connect it to your favorite indoor training app, the rollers can adjust the resistance based on the gradient you ride in the app (up to 7%). This will improve your engagement.

Thanks to the nature of rollers, your indoor training sessions won’t be boring anymore because you will have to focus on the watts you need to put out and your balance.

The clever design allows you to fold them, so they don’t take much space. Yes, with 17.5kg, they are heavier than most rollers, but you will easily fit them into a closet, for example.

The main disadvantage of Elite Nero rollers is their price. It is similar to the cost of smart bike trainers. But if you don’t want to lose the benefits of rollers, Nero are worth it.

Also available at competitivecyclist.com and performancebike.com


Feedback Sports Omnium (Best Portable)

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Feedback Sports Omnium | Source: rei.com

Main Features

  • Resistance: Yes, also available without resistance
  • Foldable: Yes
  • Weight: 6kg (Zero-Drive, without resistance), 6.4kg (Over-Drive, with resistance)
  • Concave cylinders: No
  • Excellent portability
  • Progressive resistance
  • Mount for fork

The Feedback Sports Omnium rollers differ from other rollers on this list. They have a mount for your bike’s front fork (compatible with QR or thru-axle) to keep your bike fixed.

These rollers are popular for indoor training because they don’t require as much concentration as standard rollers so that you can focus more on your performance.

Riders also like them for their portability. They fit into an included carry bag, so they are perfect for pre-race warmups or traveling.

They exist in two options—Zero-Drive without resistance and Over-Drive with resistance. The Over-Drive features progressive resistance, so the more you pedal, the harder it gets.

Feedback Sports Omnium rollers are also pretty quiet if you don’t sprint. You won’t disturb your neighbors or loved ones during your training.

If you are curious whether or not are the two cylinders too narrow, the answer is no. Your rear wheel won’t slide off them.

There are two main downsides due to the fixed fork – you won’t be forced to use your core muscles as much, and you won’t benefit from improving your pedaling technique as on standard rollers.



My Verdict

The best budget rollers are Rock Bros rollers. They offer they are affordable, quality, and suitable for beginners or advanced riders.

The best rollers overall are Tacx Galaxia (also available at performancebike.com and wiggle.co.uk). Thanks to their unique design allowing forward and backward movement, they provide a more natural riding experience.

The best rollers with resistance are Elite Arion (also available at competitivecyclist.com and wiggle.co.uk). With up to 520W of resistance, they are suitable for harder intervals.


How to Choose the Best Bike Rollers?

When choosing bike rollers, you can consider features like foldability, resistance, weight, etc. Below, I explain what you can expect from rollers available on the market.

Type of Rollers

Depending on whether or not your bike is fixed on the rollers, there are two basic types.

  1. Standard rollers where the bike is not fixed on rollers. It depends on your skill if you stay upright or not. They are ideal for improving your pedaling technique and core strength.
  2. Rollers with fixed bike where the fork of your bike is attached to rollers’ mount. They are easier to ride and more beginner friendly. On the other hand, they don’t require you to keep your balance and engage your core muscles, neither improve your pedaling technique.
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Standard rollers | Source: rei.com
Feedback Sports Omnium Portable Bike Roller Trainer19
Rollers with fixed fork | Source: wiggle.co.uk

Resistance

You can also encounter three types of rollers in terms of resistance and interactivity:

  1. Rollers without resistance
  2. Non-interactive rollers with resistance
  3. Interactive rollers with resistance

Rollers without resistance are the simplest type of rollers. They are affordable and meet the demands of most riders. However, due to their limited resistance, they are not suitable for harder intervals.

Non-interactive rollers with resistance are ideal for riders who don’t want a bike trainer for some reason and prefer rollers. They allow you to train harder intervals.

Interactive rollers with resistance are the most advanced rollers. They can adjust the resistance based on indoor cycling apps adding an interactivity element to your training. Thanks to their resistance, they are also suitable for hard training intervals.

Foldability

The ability to fold (or retract) the rollers is important for people who have limited storage space. Riders who use rollers for pre-race warm-ups or post-race cooldowns also appreciate better portability.

Most rollers on the market are foldable or retractable. If they are not, they are more suitable for dedicated training space.

tacx galaxia rollers
Tacx Galaxia unfolded rollers | Source: wiggle.co.uk
tacx galaxia rollers1
Tacx Galaxia folded rollers | Source: wiggle.co.uk

Cylinder Concavity

The cylinder concavity influences how easy or difficult it is to keep your balance on rollers. When riding rollers with concave cylinders, it is easier to stay in the middle, and you are less likely to ride off them.

Standard vs. concave cylinder
Standard vs. concave cylinder

There are two types of cylinder concavity. Some rollers have cylinders concave along their entire length (so they keep you more centered), while some cylinders are concave at the ends only (they are better at preventing you from riding off them).

NOTE: Cylinder concavity is also called “parabolic rollers” by some manufacturers.


How to Get Started with Rollers?

Rollers are challenging for beginners. When I tried them for the first time, it took me a few rides to learn to stay upright and relaxed. So, here are a few tips that will help you get started.

Step 1: Setup the Rollers

First, you have to make sure the rollers are properly set up for your bike’s wheelbase. When placing your rear wheel on the two rear cylinders, your front wheel axle should be approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) behind the front cylinder axle.

The correct wheel position on bike rollers
The correct wheel position on rollers

Step 2: Place the Rollers on the Right Place

The best place to place the rollers is on a flat surface – for example, in a doorway. If necessary, you can lean towards it, and you don’t have to be afraid that you will turn over and fall.

A good alternative to the doorway is near a wall or a large closet. It helps if you need to regain your balance. You can put a mat on the other side in case you fall.

Step 3: Use Non Clip Shoes and Prepare the Right Gear

First pedal strokes on rollers are much more manageable with non clip shoes, so you don’t have to be afraid you won’t clip out on time.

Once you get more confident on rollers, you can put on your cycling shoes and start practicing with them.

Before you jump on your bike, prepare the right gear. I recommend a gear in the middle of your cassette. Too easy gear is not suitable because you would have to spin fast, and vice versa. Too hard gear won’t allow you to start to spin your legs easily.

Step 4: Jump on Your Bike and Start Pedaling

Alright, now you have your bike on rollers, so you have to jump on it. Hold the rear brake to prevent your rear wheel from spinning. Lean toward a wall or doorway to get some extra balance point.

Look ahead (don’t focus on your front wheel) and start pedaling. Be relaxed. Focus on your balance point and smooth pedaling. Don’t overreact if your front wheels start to wobble. Do minor steering corrections or start pedaling faster (switch to a harder gear and increase your cadence).

Step 5: Practice

The last step is to learn how to get safely off the rollers. Stop pedaling, apply your rear brake, and lean toward the wall, doorway, or closet. Then clip off and get one foot on the ground (be aware not to slip off if you use cycling shoes).

Now, you know how to start riding rollers. All you have to do is practice. Mastering rollers is easier than it seems. You just have to know how to do it.

How to ride rollers guide by GCN

Bike Rollers FAQ

Preview picture source: Saris

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