Training rollers have seen a big rise in popularity recently. They’re faster and easier to set up than a turbo trainer and have a much more natural riding feel, which is why you see so many top track riders warming up on them before hitting the boards.
Elite’s innovative E-Motion rollers also tackle three of the biggest drawbacks of roller use. Small rollers either side of the front wheel drum and parabolic ends on each roller naturally nudge you back into the balance sweet spot if you get a wobble on.
And by mounting the ‘Free Floating’ roller frame so that it can slide backwards and forwards within a larger frame, you can stand up and give the bike some beans without ending up in a heap.
They also have an adjustable magnetic resistance engine in the rear rollers so you won’t spin out on a compact chainset before you start to break sweat. The rollers are quiet even at full gas and the rigid frame stops any twist between the drums.
True, you get all this on the ‘standard’ £750 E-Motion rollers, but what makes the ‘Real’ setup worth the extra £650 is the comprehensive PC interaction it offers. You can follow pre-recorded race footage, battle riders over the internet or duel against your previous personal attempts on downloaded routes or routes created using Google Maps.
Training software lets you view a massive amount of physical and speed-related data via the Real online page and you can create your own training sessions, conduct a proper Conconi deflection test – intended to measure your anaerobic and aerobic threshold heart rates – or choose from pre-programmed sessions.
Whatever route or session you choose to ride, the roller resistance is linked to contour changes or specific wattage brackets for surprisingly realistic and accurate workouts. The software was stable throughout testing, too, which isn’t always the case.
Setting up the E-Motion is a cinch once you’ve inserted the dongle into your PC, there’s a free ‘cockpit’ App for your smartphone and it even works out cadence without a bike sensor. And though it’s expensive, it’s a fair price compared with turbo trainers that offer similarly sophisticated features, which leaves only the bulk and weight of the fixed frame to work around.