For many people, using an indoor trainer is just not an option when it comes to staying fit. But due to outdoor inhibitors like weather or the dreaded job, it is a necessity. At the same time, some people will swear that riding in the living room can be as dangerous as riding on the crowded streets.
Enter E-Motion Rollers. The brainchild of Larry Papadopoulos, who has been designing his patented free-motion rollers since 2007, his latest version is the H-frame model that, contrary to conventional fixed rollers, glides back and forth with each pedal stroke, allowing you to ride rollers effortlessly without the fear of falling.
The new H-frame model is a closed aluminum frame, which encloses the undercarriage and protects the rollers’ track system. The non-foldable platform sits low to the ground; a flat surface is needed as there are no adjustable feet. The rollers are machined aluminum black drums, which are 3 1/4 inches in diameter and 16 inches wide; they run on cartridge bearings. The rollers come assembled, and no tools are needed to adjust the drums to fit the bike. Two in-line skating wheels are mounted laterally, preventing the front wheel from riding off the side. Stop bars in the back prevent the rear wheel from riding off the rollers. The belt tension is maintained via a spring-loaded device, which borrows from steam-era technology, allowing the belt to run light tension under low loads and tighten up as the load is increased with acceleration. The drums are driven by a urethane belt common to rollers and is said to last a couple of years. The rollers weigh in at 30 pounds, and each set is tested before it’s released to the buyer.
Starting on E-Motion Rollers is easier than expected, and it literally takes about three minutes for most people to master them. Beginners should start next to a wall for safety. Once the fear of falling is overcome, sprinting, climbing, standing and riding without hands become second nature. Granted, it takes some experience to trust the rollers, but whatever one is capable of doing on the road, the same can be done on the E-Motion Rollers. For example, you can sprint—not just a controlled sprint, but an all-out, standing, head-down, throwing the bike side-to-side sprint without getting ejected. A big plus is the offering of four levels of resistance thanks to a magnetic resistance unit. The easiest setting resembles riding on the road with a tailwind, whereas the hardest is like climbing at 10 miles per hour. You can look at your power meter or watch a cycling DVD without fear of crashing. Most of these things are not possible on traditional rollers.
One place you shouldn’t use these rollers is on an uneven surface, so bring your own mat and wedges if you are going to warm up on a dirt parking lot. Noise or vibration is not a problem; the aluminum drums and resistance unit are very quiet. For those living on the third floor who have grouchy neighbors because you train at 10:30 p.m. on your wind trainer, these rollers solve the problem.
The E-Motion's design makes it safer to use than conventional rollers.
The E-Motion Rollers are like having your own piece of road in your living room. The easiness and real road feel don’t let you get bored. These are the smoothest rollers we have ever ridden. Albert Einstein once said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.” The Inside Ride crew has created rollers that are simple and safe. Most importantly, these rollers are one more tool to train indoors and to safely enjoy the experience. On top of that, they enjoy a five-year warranty.
• Simple, safe, smooth, secure ride
• Security features allow intense efforts
• Adjusting the magnet manually is a pain
• Storage and transport can be difficult
Price: $850 (includes shipping)
Dimensions: 58" L x 20" W x 7.5" H
THREE WORKOUTS FOR THE ROLLERS
#1 - 3x10: Start with the resistance on the first setting and warm up for about 20 minutes. Once the legs are warmed up, then set the resistance to the second setting and do an interval for 10 minutes. For the second and third intervals, make sure to use the third and fourth resistance settings, respectively.
#2 - 40/20: Made somewhat popular by current Saxo Bank team director Bjarne Riis, who used these efforts in preparation for his Tour de France victory in the ’90s. The 40/20s are intervals of 40 seconds above your aerobic threshold and 20 seconds of recovery (kind of like what you would do to get a break established). It is best to use the second or third resistance setting (depending on your ability) to perform 40/20s. Try to do five 40/20s in a row and then recover. Do two to three sets, and, if done correctly, you will be cooked.
#3 - Big-gear spin: A favorite exercise on the E-Motion Rollers is to start riding using the first resistance setting and gradually increase speed and cadence. Before long you are pushing smooth pedal strokes and riding 30-plus mph. An hour passes before you even know it! This exercise is great for high-cadence pedaling efficiency or just spinning your legs out.