Best bike rollers 2024: how to add variety to your indoor cycling

Here's our pick of the best bike rollers if you're looking to break up the dreary indoor bike trainer routine with something a little more rocking and rolling

A rider warming up on bike rollers.
(Image credit: Getty Images - Tim de Waele)
Best bike rollers: JUMP MENU

The best bike rollers make a welcome alternative to the turbo, breaking up your indoor riding routine and adding extra skill requirements and benefits to your session.

Cycling on a trusty, reliable set of bike rollers can be the best choice for indoor cycling. The variety and simplicity of rollers make them great for when you're spinning your legs inside.

Most cyclists need quite a bit of practice before they can complete their toughest interval sessions on the rollers, and when it comes to high-resistance efforts, the best indoor trainers still rule the roost for all but the most talented roller riders.

However, with a bit of practice, rollers can add variety to your training and they're ideal for high cadence sessions, tempo training, and easier rest days.

Very broadly, rollers can be broken down into two categories; 'smart' rollers that offer some level of power measurement and controllable resistance so that they are compatible with training apps like Zwift and TrainerRoad, and those that don't. We have looked at options in both of these categories below.

The quick list

Rollers with power

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Rollers without power

Rollers with Power

Best for 'ride feel'

Cycling Weekly's Sam Gupta riding the Wahoo Kickr Rollr.

(Image credit: Future )

1. Wahoo Kickr Rollr

Best for 'ride feel'

Specifications

Roller diameter: Not specified
Weight: 23kg

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent natural ride feel
+
Don't need to learn to ride as you do with traditional rollers
+
Easy to pair
+
Fairly quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty heavy for transporting

Wahoo's Kickr Rollr is an excellent option for those seeking the smart benefits and stability of turbo trainers – but with the natural ride feel and convenience of rollers.
Easy to set up, you don't need to remove the wheels, it's also an enticing option for those after a platform for warming up before an event.

Unlike traditional rollers which require a keen sense of balance, with the Kickr Rollr a clamp holds and supports the front wheel, making these very easy to get going with. You also benefit from a little bit of sway at the back, which makes the ride feel much more natural than riding with a fully 'locked-in' turbo trainer.

Out-of-the-saddle efforts are also possible, too, with our tester never experiencing any rear wheel slippage.

The Kickr Rollr simulates gradients up to 10% and is ‘smart’ but for the actual power measurement and controllable resistance (up to 1,500 watts), it has to be connected with a bike-mounted ANT+ power meter.

Read more: Wahoo Kickr Rollr first ride review

Best value bike rollers with resistance

Elite Arion Mag Rollers for indoor cycling

Best value bike rollers for training with resistance

Specifications

Roller diameter: Not specified
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Allows for high resistance on the rollers
+
Light
+
Quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
Power data overreads significantly

These rollers offer electronically controlled resistance. ANT+ is utilised to send power, speed and cadence data to computers, whilst Bluetooth connectivity means that you can use indoor cycling apps like Zwift and Trainer Road. Added to that, this impressive piece of kit can even simulate climbs up to 5% making us feel more involved when using Zwift.

The rollers are parabolic, with a slight lip at the edge. They're capable of managing up to 645 watts, and the resistance unit is electromagnetic. Like all the others, they're foldable and feature several wheelbase adjustments.

Read more: Elite Arion Digital Smart B+ E-Rollers full review

Best value bike rollers for simulating gradients

Elite Nero Interactive rollers for indoor cycling

3. Elite Nero Interactive rollers

Best value bike rollers for simulating gradients

Specifications

Roller diameter: Not specified
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Inbuilt BLE and ANT+ support
+
Can link to training apps
+
Can simulate gradients up to 7%

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to traditional bike rollers

When it comes to rollers, the Elite Nero is about as Gucci as they come. First and foremost, they are smart, capable of generating up to 830W of resistance and simulating a 7% grade. They are both ANT+ and Bluetooth enabled so the rollers can talk to any head unit or the training app of your choice.

Elite has also built what it calls a floating system which introduces a bit of fore and aft give into the rollers to absorb abrupt movement caused by changes in speed and prevent you from flying over the front or back. We felt that this worked well, improving the 'road feel' of the rollers.

Rollers without power

Best for 'ride feel' on a budget

Tacx Galaxia Rollers for indoor cycling


1. Tacx Galaxia Rollers

Best for 'ride feel' on a budget

Specifications

Roller diameter: 100mm
Weight: 8.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Swing system for better ride feel
+
Telescopic folding 

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to traditional bike rollers

Go one step up the rungs with Tacx and you can get their Galaxia rollers. These feature a patented 'swing system', which allows them to swing back and forth very slightly.

Disconcerting as this may sound, it allows the roller to absorb some of the forward motion when you accelerate, change speed, or otherwise stamp on the pedals and we felt that this gave a a nicer feel to the rollers.

All the rest still applies - and both Tacx units retract (rather than fold as most do) to 80cm.

Best bike rollers for stability

Feedback Sports Omnium Rollers for indoor cycling

2. Feedback Sports Omnium Rollers

Best bike rollers for stability

Specifications

Roller diameter: 4.25 inches
Weight: 6.4kg

Reasons to buy

+
Fork held rigidly
+
Increased resistance as speed increases

Reasons to avoid

-
Loses the balance developing benefits of traditional rollers
-
Takes longer to set up

The roller itself aims to offer a real-life feel, thanks to the use of 'Internal Progressive Resistance'. You could use this trainer for full indoor sessions, but for us, it really shone when it came to race warm-ups and the like.

A steel frame offers a sturdy attachment for the fork and will accept both standard QRs and thru-axles. Its length is adjustable to match the wheelbase of your bike and ranges from 840mm / 33in to 1200mm / 47.2in. The set-up comes with a heavy-duty, padded tote bag for transport and storage.

Best budget bike rollers

LifeLine RT-01 Roller Trainer for indoor cycling

3. LifeLine RT-01 Roller Trainer

Best budget bike rollers

Specifications

Roller diameter: Not specified
Weight: 8.5kg

Reasons to buy

+
Budget option
+
Slight lip to ends of rollers
+
Comes with spare drive band

Reasons to avoid

-
No power readings

These are a basic, entry-level set of rollers from Wiggle's in-house brand LifeLine.

The body is made from steel and plastic, while the rollers are polyurethane and the feet have rubber covers. Each roller is slightly raised at the end to help make it harder to ride off the edge, and we are happy to report that this seems to work!

There's a good amount of adjustment to allow for a variety of wheelbases, the bearings are sealed and these come with a spare drive band, which is a nice touch.

Best for transporting to events and storing

Tacx Antares Rollers for indoor cycling

(Image credit: Picasa)

4. Tacx Antares Rollers

Best for transporting to events and storing

Specifications

Roller diameter : 100mm
Weight: 7.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Parabolic drums help centre the bike
+
Support stand available
+
Small storage profile

Reasons to avoid

-
No power readings

The Tacx Antares rollers are particularly popular because of the conical shape of the drums - they dip in the middle, so it was easier for us to remain in the middle of the drum pretty much the whole time.

If you'd like more assurance, or perhaps a 'halfway-house' in learning to use the rollers, Tacx also has a Tacx Antares Rollers Support Stand you can purchase separately. This clasps the front wheel and lets you get used to the feeling on the rear before going all the way.

The Tacx Antares rollers are collapsible and have several wheelbase adjustments.

Best bike rollers for durability

Kreitler Alloy 4.5 Rollers for indoor cycling

5. Kreitler Alloy 4.5 Rollers

Best bike rollers for durability

Specifications

Roller diameter: 4.5”, 3” or 2.25”
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Durable build
+
Quality bearings 
+
Can add extra resistance

Reasons to avoid

-
Small rollers are harder to ride

Kreitler has been making rollers for nearly half a century, and once you buy a set, bar replacing the band every few years, they will probably be the only set you'll ever buy — which is good because they are not cheap.

Rollers with larger diameter drums are usually a bit easier to ride, especially if you're new to it, but even after having spent many years riding rollers, we still like the 4.5in diameter drums. They are made from aircraft-grade 6061 alloy and manufactured using a CNC lathe to be within two-thousandths of an inch of concentricity. Kreitler uses ABEC 5 bearings to keep the rollers spinning smoothly, and should you be after a bit more resistance has a weighted flywheel or Head Wind fan available as add-ons.

Best bike rollers for value

Saris AL Rollers for indoor cycling

6. Saris AL Roller

Best bike rollers for value

Specifications

Roller diameter: 3.25 inches
Weight: Not specified

Reasons to buy

+
Good width
+
Reasonably quiet

Reasons to avoid

-
No power readings

The Saris AL aluminium rollers are fitted with 16in wide aluminium drums that are precision lathed to prevent distortion from heat, and we found them pretty darn quiet too. There's magnetic resistance to up your effort levels and a fold-away steel frame with rubber footpads. You can swap the belt from the left to the right side, depending on which side you prefer to dismount but they won't natively offer power readings.

Information

What are rollers?

How do they work and how do you ride them?

Rollers generally consist of three cylindrical drums, connected via a belt which allows them to rotate beneath the wheels of the bike.

Riding the rollers requires balance – and it can take some time to master the technique. Learning how to do so is often a journey that begins between two door frames (where there's nowhere to fall), with the rider gradually reducing their reliance on the support of a solid surface as confidence grows.

The shape of rollers doesn't change that much between brands - but there are a few variables. Differentiating factors include how compact they are when put away, how easy they are to ride (some have grooves, higher sides or a curved parabolic shape to help you out) and the amount of variability in the resistance on offer.


Why should I buy rollers instead of a turbo?

What's the benefits to owning a set of rollers?

The fact that you don't have to attach the wheel or drivetrain means they're great for pre-race warm-ups; it's common to see WorldTour riders warming up on rollers ahead of big mountain days.

Former World Masters points and individual pursuit champion Andrew Bruce believes rollers are essential for building technique: “I got some old Tacx rollers and for three weeks I thought they were ridiculous, dangerous and couldn’t ride them,” the Scotsman said.

“But I eventually focused on learning how to ride them. You have 36cm to ride within so you can’t wobble and you learn the ability how to ride where you want to be riding. You can identify someone in the bunch who can ride on the rollers because those who can’t wobble everywhere.”

For further check out our pieces on rollers vs turbo trainers: which is better? and our videos with advice for riding rollers for beginners and experts.