How to Choose a Rocker Plate in 2022? (Buyer’s Guide)

how to choose a rocker plate: Turborocks Realplate with a Wahoo KICKR and Specialized Tarmac SL7

Rocker plates are a nice-to-have accessory for indoor cycling enthusiasts. In this article, I explain how to choose a rocker plate so you spend your money wisely.

I went through RPs available on the market to summarize what it offers and what to expect from today’s rocker plates.

Continue reading to find out more.

Abbreviations used: RP – rocker plate, RPs – rocker plates

Types of Rocker Plates

I won’t bother you with technical details on rocker plates’ suspension mechanisms. Instead, I want to introduce you to the two basic rocker plate types/designs.

1. Rear-Wheel Only Rocker Plates

The rear-wheel-only rocker plates have only enough space for the trainer and the rear wheel. They come with or without another part that acts as a front-wheel riser.

Turborock's Realplate Mini Stealth on a wooden floor with a Wahoo KICKR bike trainer and a mounted Specialized Tarmac SL7
An example of a rear-wheel-only rocker plate (The Reaplate Mini Stealth) | Source: turborocks.com

They are more affordable, take up less space, and thanks to their lower weight, they are easier to carry around.

On the other hand, adding a fore and aft movement is more difficult. You will need a front-wheel riser to make your bike level, and they are not very suitable for gradient simulators like Wahoo CLIMB or Elite Rizer.


2. Full-Length Rocker Plates

Full-length rocker plates offer enough space for a bike trainer, and they also support your bike’s front wheel.

Turborock's Realplate Stealth on a wooden floor with a Wahoo KICKR bike trainer and a mounted Specialized Tarmac SL7
An example of a full-length rocker plate (Realplate Stealth) | Source: turborocks.com

These RPs are more suitable for the fore and aft movement, gradient simulators, and may not require a front-wheel riser (depending on the bike trainer you use).

The table below summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of these two rocker plate types.

Rocker Plate TypeProsCons
Rear-wheel-only• Cheaper
• Take up less space
• Easier to carry around
• Not suitable for fore-and-aft movement (but it is possible)
• Require rising the front wheel or a front wheel riser
• Not very suitable for gradient simulators
Full-length rocker plates• Suitable for fore-and-aft movement
• May not require front wheel riser
• More suitable for gradient simulators
• Take up more space
• More expensive
• More difficult to carry around
Comparison of the pros and cons of rocker plate designs

Choose the rear-only RP if you are limited by space or budget, and you want to keep your indoor training set-up minimalistic.

Go for the full-length rocker plate if you are serious about using other bike trainer accessories like a gradient simulator.


Realplate React rocker plate with a Wahoo KICKR and Specialized SL7

Realplate React rocker plate with a Wahoo KICKR and Specialized SL7

Realplate Stealth rocker plate on a wooden floor

Realplate React rocker plate with a Wahoo KICKR and Specialized SL7

Realplate React rocker plate with a Wahoo KICKR and Specialized SL7

Realplate Stealth rocker plate on a wooden floor

Check out TurboRocks.com. Their Realplate Stealth belongs to one of the most popular rocker plates on the market

Use this TurboRocks discount code ‘Cyclistshub‘ at www.turborocks.com during checkout to get 3% off your purchase.


Side-to-Side Movement Range

The main point of rocker plates is to provide a side-to-side movement. It eases the chafing in your intimate areas because the bike swings underneath you and is not fixed (so the saddle basically acts like sandpaper).

The fore and aft movement is given in degrees (°). You will find RPs mostly with around 12 degrees (6° on each side) movement.

Rocker plate - Side-to-side movement
Rocker plate – Side-to-side movement | Source: Saris

The more degrees ≠ the better riding experience. 6 or 7° is a sweet spot.


Side-to-Side Movement Adjustability

Some rocker plates, depending on how they are designed and what suspension mechanism they use for swinging, allow you to adjust the side-to-side movement.

For example, if the RP uses inflatable balls, heavier riders will need to inflate them to higher pressures to compensate for their weight.

The same applies to beginners who will likely prefer a tighter motion, and therefore, better stability.

Rocker plates with springs instead of inflatable balls are less user-friendly and require tighter/looser springs depending on what type of motion you prefer.

The looser the suspension mechanism, the larger motion, and the more realistic ride but also less stability.


Fore and Aft Movement Range

More advanced rocker plates add a fore and aft motion. It makes your rides even more realistic.

Rocker plate - Fore and aft movement
Rocker plate – Fore and aft movement | Source: Saris

These rocker plates are usually more expensive because of their more complicated suspension mechanism.

Some riders like it, some don’t. I tried both rocker plate types, and I belong to the first group.

Riders who don’t like the fore and aft movement argue that it decreases their power output. But I couldn’t find any tests proving this claim.


Bike Trainer Compatibility

One of the most important things to double-check before ordering a rocker plate is its compatibility with your bike trainer.

Luckily, rocker plates are often compatible with most indoor bike trainers on the market. Some of them are even compatible with bike simulators like Wahoo KICKR Bike.

RPs mostly have enough holes that allow you to attach your bike trainer with (Velcro) straps or clamps.

However, always double-check the compatibility with the manufacturer.


Price

When it comes to the price of rocker plates, it mainly depends on the RP type, suspension, and manufacturer.

Rear-wheel-only rocker plates cost around $350, while full-length around $500. Rocker plates with fore and aft movement are usually even more expensive.

There are also mass-produced rocker plates from companies like KOM Cycling, Lifeline, ZYING that are more or less the same but their price differs. So, make sure to always double-check the alternatives.


Rocker Plates FAQ


Summary

When choosing a rocker plate, consider its features like:

  • the type (rear-wheel-only or full-length),
  • side-to-side motion range (and its adjustability,
  • presence of the fore and aft movement,
  • compatibility with your bike trainer,

…depending on your budget and preference.

Feel free to contact me or leave a comment in case of any questions or:

Preview picture source: turborocks.com

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