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Product Review: TruTrainer—Not Your Conventional Rollers
 
By Imelda March
Date: 9/2/2011
Product Review: TruTrainer—Not Your Conventional Rollers
 

TruTrainer Premium Bicycle Rollers

Rollers have been used for over a century for off-track and off-season training. Even Major Taylor had a set of rollers, though they were made of wood.

In recent years, technology and craftsmanship have changed rollers and how we use them. If you live in a sunny climate, then rollers may sit in the corner gathering cobwebs. When it gets too hot—yes, you Arizona—or too cold--hello, Chicago!—then your rollers may get more usage. Many of us are still experiencing some lovely outdoor biking days, but the cyclocross winds have began to blow. So, some riders may be forgiven for wanting to set up rollers even in the middle of the family living room in front of the big screen TV.

Recently, I had an opportunity to try a top-ranked set of rollers that were sent to me. I expected a decent sized box but when the FedEx man offered to help bring it upstairs I accepted immediately. The box was actually about shoulder length held vertically and was heavy. The driver asked what was in the box, so I just told him “bike equipment.” He looked puzzled as I signed the electronic receipt pad. He left saying, “That must be some equipment!”

Indeed it was--TruTrainer rollers that looked like well-oiled machinery with solid craftsmanship, even before I placed my bike on them.

On three bike workout days, I tested the TrueTrainer rollers for consumer usability, handling, and purchasing decision making. The first day was 90 minutes of brisk riding coupled with speed efforts; the second, two hours of endurance work; and the third, 60 minutes of easy riding with spin ups.


Watch how easy it is to mount, dismount, get up to speed and coast on the TruTrainer premium bicycle rollers.

LIKES

The rollers are real smooth. Just imagine riding on a freshly asphalted road—that is exactly the feel.

While most trainers leave a metal film on your tire, the TruTrainer leaves zero residue, due in part to the rollers being hard anodized, so they also leave no black marks on the drums.

Another feature I like is the ability to coast during workouts and sprint out-of-the-saddle because the rollers are manufactured with a flywheel at the very back and a back drum distance of 14-15 inches/36.5-38.1 centimeters. I was able to do my threshold workouts and get out of the saddle without the fear of rolling off into the bedroom.

And, while conventional rollers decrease in speed rapidly after a rider stops pedaling, the TruTrainer elapse time between a rider stopping and resuming pedaling allows for constant speed maintenance.

DISLIKES

Three things that I didn’t like were the price (test unit, $949.90), weight (35 pounds/15.9 kilograms), and the noise. Once you ramp things up the machine whirs, clacks, whines a little but it won’t wake up the neighborhood. That said, because these rollers are like owning a trainer and rollers all in one, the price could be justified.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

I have become a TruTrainer believer—ready to ditch my current rollers for these.

Although extremely sturdy and offering great feel beneath the bike, the machine had a tension that was unexpected. It really felt more like a trainer than rollers in that sense. All the rollers I have used in the past lacked the tension that is typically part of indoor training. The TruTrainer drum load automatically increases as the rider accelerates on the bike. Riders can even reduce the roller tension more by removing the back tension cord, making the machine feel even more like most trainers.

If you are a diehard rider who hates the cold and/or rainy days, this trainer is for you. With its excellent design and workmanship, the TruTrainer will complement your indoor training and give you the feel of being on the open road.

PRODUCT FEATURES

♦ Front roller adjusts to accommodate wheelbases from 37.2 inches (94.5 cms) to 43.2 inches (109.7 cms) in ½-inch increments
♦ Unique system clamps roller shaft tightly for a stable, rattle-free ride, yet allows rapid adjustment with one 6mm Allen wrench
♦ Optimized rear roller position
> Optimally spaced for stability when sprinting out of the saddle
> Rear rollers are elevated to offset the cradling of the rear wheel, providing a nearly level ride
> Spacing can be optimized for either 700C or 650C wheels (different belt length required)
♦ Side rails are CNC machined and powder coated 6061-T6 aluminum
♦ Rollers are precision drawn, and hard anodized 6063-T6 aluminum
♦ Bearing end caps are CNC machined and anodized 6061-T6 aluminum
♦ Side rails are protected with durable, anti-skid rubber tread
♦ Fasteners are stainless steel
♦ High quality shielded ball bearings are used throughout
♦ Flywheel is 2-plane, dynamically balanced for smooth, quiet operation
♦ Designed by aerospace engineers. Patents pending

PRODUCT OPTIONS

Folding Option

With the ability to fold the machine for easy transport, this option is for the rider who needs to take the equipment on the road.

Platform Option

This choice allows the buyer to purchase a platform for ease of mounting and dismounting the bicycle. The platform works great without the reliance of a chair, assistant or a wall in order to use the rollers. The platform is machined and has an anti-skid rubber tread.

Flywheel Quick Release Option

This choice allows the buyer to have the flexibility of disconnecting the flywheel so the machine behaves like standard rollers. This option is ideal for warm-ups and cool-downs for fixed gear and/or track bikes.

PRICE

♦ Base unit $799.95
♦ Folding option $99.95
♦ Flywheel disconnect option $79.95
♦ Platform $149.95
♦ All the above: $1,130 (figure rounded up)

TEST MODEL PRICE

♦ Base unit $799.95 + Platform $149.95 = $949.90

WHERE TO GET IT

♦ Multiple retail channels in the U.S.
♦ Directly from Cycledyne LLC

BENEFITS & BEST USES

♦ On rainy, snowy, icy or extremely hot days
♦ Ideal for bikers seeking to work on pedaling skills
♦ Perfect if a rider has time constraints and needs to put in a workout without dealing with traffic lights and road hazards

TruTrainer is manufactured by Cycledyne LLC, which is run by Ross Belloni and Jeff Rhodes. These two jet engine designers have applied a background in aerospace perfectionism to their business and are fond of bike riding in Indiana.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of Cycledyne LLC, and all opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way nor am I a Cycledyne LLC employee, or a distributor or retailer of their products, who might be obligated to provide positive reviews. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.


About the author: Imelda March lives in Chicago and is a member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on women’s cycling issues and general peloton ramblings. Imelda is an experienced racer who also holds an MBA and is a marketing strategy expert.


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