The best bicycle rollers and trainers of 2020

The best bicycle rollers and trainers of 2020

In this article you will learn which are the best rollers and bike trainers of the moment, so you can make an informed buying decision and take your training to the next level.

Training rollers

Tacx Antares – Best Compact Roller

Type: rollers
Resistance: no resistance
Operating System: N/A
Connectivity: N/A

One of the special features included in Tacx’s bicycle rollers is the conical shape of the cylinders. The shape of its cylinders helps to make it easier to keep the bike in the centre of them. The Antares rollers are free, which means that they have variable resistance, plus that which is achieved with your gears.

The Antares is compatible with virtually any bike that uses 599 to 622 mm wheels, so you can use bikes with wheels 26″, 27.5″ 29″, 650 and 700.

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The Antares is super compact, occupying an area of 1350 x 470 mm. It can be easily stored thanks to its retractable system. Its dimensions when retracted are 800 × 470 × 135 mm. The total weight is 7.7 kg so it is easy to move for storage.

Tacx Galaxy

One step over the Tacx Antares

Type: rollers
Resistance: no resistance
Operating System: N/A
Connectivity: N/A

The Tacx is the big brother of the Antares model. The big difference is that this model incorporates a patented swing system. This system allows for forward and backward swaying when accelerating or pedalling out of the saddle. This way you can be sure that the bike does not come off the rollers.

The Tacx Galaxy is also compatible with road bikes 26″, 27.5″ 29″, 650 and 700.

The Tacx Galaxy is slightly wider than the Antares, occupying an area of 1350 × 500 mm. It is also a little heavier, but is still easy to move and store. Its weight is 8.2 kg and its dimensions when retracted are 800 × 500 × 135 mm.

 

Elite Arion Smart Digital B+

Best Smart Roller

Type: rollers
Resistance: electromagnetic with intelligent control
Operating system: iOS, Android, OSX and Windows.
Connectivity: ANT+ and Bluetooth

The Elite Arion is a smart roller with automatic resistance adjustment. Its magnetic resistance adapts according to the type of training you are doing. It connects via ANT+, FE-C and Bluetooth to iOS, Android and Windows devices. This means you can use it with indoor cycling apps like Zwift, FulGaz and more.

It has a 10-position adjustment so the system fits different bike frames. Plus, it’s compatible with a wide variety of mountain and road bikes. Recommended rides are from 559 to 622 mm.

The Ario Smart Digital B+ is very light and easy to store when not in use. It is designed to pay for itself in half so you can also transport it without any problems.

 

Feedback Sports Omnium Zero-Drive

Best Portable Roller

Type: rollers
Resistance: No resistance
Operating System: N/A
Connectivity: N/A

The Omnium Zero-Drive is a non-resistant training roller that is ideal to carry with you at all times. Due to its compact design you can take it on your business trips, to your races or it will be ideal if you need to train in a reduced space.

Weighing only 6 kg, the system is foldable and only has a pair of rollers for the rear wheel. The bike’s fork is attached to a tripod which can be adapted to different axle sizes by means of adapters.

Adapters are included:

9mm Quick-Release
Thru Axle: 12×100mm, 15×100mm & 15×110mm
Adapters available:
Cannondale Lefty
20x100mm (thru axle BMX)
8mm x 74mm (folding bike)

 

Trainers at the wheel

Kinetic Rock and Roll Smart 2

The best fluid trainer

Type: wheels-on trainer
Resistance: gradual by fluid
Operating system: iOS and Android
Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth FTMS

The Kinetic Rock and Roll is a trainer that generates a progressive resistance using a thermodynamically neutral silicone fluid. This means that the fluid does not heat up with friction, maintaining its characteristics throughout your workout.

The resistance with fluid, a cylinder with a larger diameter than other trainers and a frame that allows some movement recreate very well the feeling of a roll. Combined with the different applications of virtual tours you will achieve more realistic and fun trainings.

It has a built-in power sensor, so it’s ready to interact with your favorite apps without the need to install additional sensors. Communication is via ANT+, ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS, which also allows you to send information directly to your cycling computer.

 

Wahoo Kickr Snap

A Wahoo at a more affordable price

Coach Kickr Snap
Type: wheels-on trainer
Resistance: electromagnetic intelligent control
Operating system: iOS, Android and PC (Mac and Windows)
Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth Smart

Wahoo also makes inroads into wheels-on trainers, with the Kickr Snap. This is a cheaper trainer than Kickr and Kickr Core, but it is still one of the best smart trainers. It has Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, ANT+ FE-C connectivity and you can control it from your smartphone, tablet or Wahoo computer.

Like Kickr and Kickr Core, this trainer is compatible with accessories such as Wahoo Headwind and Climb. Best of all, you can combine it with your favorite indoor cycling apps. The Kickr Snap gives you 1,500 watts of power and is capable of simulating gradients of up to 12%.

It’s compatible with 650 and 700 tracks, in the case of road bikes. For mountain bikes, compatible tracks are from 26″ to 29″. In both cases, you can ride bikes with disc brakes.

 

Kinetic Road Machine Smart 2

More value for your money

Kinetic Road Machine Trainer
Type: wheels-on trainer
Resistance: gradual by fluid
Operating system: iOS and Android
Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth FTMS

The Road Machine is a wheels-on type trainer with gradual resistance generated by fluid. It is quiet, easy to use and economical compared to other similar trainers.

This trainer has a Kinetic inRide 3 power sensor which will allow you to use it with the vast majority of indoor cycling applications on the market. It has ANT+, ANT+ FE-C and Bluetooth FTMS connectivity that allows you to record data with your phone, tablet or computer.

 

Wahoo Kickr

The best smart trainer

Coach Wahoo Kickr
Type: direct-drive
Resistance: Intelligent control electromagnetic
Operating system: iOS, Android and PC (Mac and Windows)
Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth Smart

The Wahoo Kickr is the spearhead when it comes to smart trainers. It is a trainer with electromagnetic resistance, extremely quiet. Its design makes it extremely stable, so you can make your maximum effort during your indoor training.

This trainer offers a power of 2,200 watts and is capable of simulating uphill gradients of up to 20%. It is capable of turning any of your virtual workouts into the most real experience possible.

The Kickr trainer comes equipped with an 11-step cassette, which you can change without any problems. It is compatible with Shimano/SRAM cassettes from 8 to 12 steps. It is also compatible with bikes that use 650 to 700 (road bikes) and from 24″ to 29″ (mountain bikes). In either case, the Kickr is compatible with frames that use disc brakes.

Read our full review of the Wahoo Kickr

 

Tacx Neo 2T

The quietest direct-drive

Tacx Neo 2T Trainer
Type: direct-drive
Resistance: Intelligent control electromagnetic
Operating system: iOS, Android, PC (Mac and Windows)
Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth Smart

The Neo 2T has been completely redesigned to reduce vibrations and noise caused by air displacement, which has made it noticeably quieter. The transmission now offers a smoother ride, even in the most explosive training situations such as sprinting and climbing.

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The Neo 2T can be used connected to a power source or unconnected. The main difference is that the flywheel allows more power moment when connected, which gives a more realistic feeling when training.

One of the special features of this trainer is its ability to simulate different surfaces. This quality will give your virtual tours a more realistic feel.

 

Wahoo Kickr Core

The favourite for use with Zwift

Type: direct-drive
Resistance: Intelligent control electromagnetic
Operating system: iOS, Android and PC (Mac and Windows)
Connectivity: ANT+, ANT+ FE-C, and Bluetooth Smart

The new Kickr Core is lighter, more compact and cheaper than the well-known Wahoo Fitness Kickr. However, this new trainer keeps the flywheel and band system which allows quite comfortable and silent workouts.

The Kickr Core is the perfect complement for use with applications such as Zwift, The SufferFest, TrainerRoad and more. To make it lighter the Core uses a smaller flywheel, which limits it to 1800 watts, with a maximum slope simulation of 16%.

The equipment is designed for use with bikes that use 650 to 700 wheels (road) and from 24″ to 20″ (MTB). It is also compatible with frames that use disc brakes.

 

What to consider when selecting a roller or trainer

Before making a final decision you must consider the purpose you want to achieve. For example, if you only require equipment to warm up before a race, perhaps your best option is a roller or a coach to the wheel without resistance.

On the other hand, if you need to focus and make the most of your training with the roller, it may be worth investing in a more sophisticated trainer.

Types of Rollers and Bike Trainers

Rollers – the vast majority of rollers are free, i.e. they have no resistance, nor are they intelligent. However, it is possible to find some models with gradual resistance and even intelligence.

Wheel trainers – this type consists of a frame that allows you to hold the whole bike, pressing the rear wheel against a roller which will generate the resistance.

Direct drive trainers – this type of trainer replaces the rear wheel of your bike with a drive directly connected to the system that generates the resistance.

How resistance is generated

Gradual fluid resistance – this type of system is usually the quietest and uses some type of fluid that does not heat up with friction. Resistance is generated by beating a blade in a sealed chamber containing the fluid.

Magnetic step resistance – this type of resistance is generated through the interaction between magnets and coils. The higher the speed, the greater the current and the greater the resistance. It is the second highest noise level because it requires a ventilation system to prevent overheating.

Gradual resistance with wind – this is the noisiest system. It works by increasing the resistance as the blades of the mechanism move air as their speed increases.

Intelligent resistance control requires a system that contains different sensors to measure and control resistance. Smart rollers and trainers generally use electromagnetic control to achieve this.

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