Rollers Update… Kreitler Gets Some Farkles

Well, I haven’t been able to do any riding since posting the last update which addressed the new e-Motion rollers, inside or out, as I’m still trying to get over my winter bout with bronchitis and a sinus infection.  Even as I did a couple of test spins on the e-Motion and Kreitler rollers yesterday and today I was quickly reminded that my lungs are filled with junk as I was out of breath in short order and spent the next hour hacking away.  I’ve got about 3 more days worth of antibiotics to finish and hopefully the crud will expire at the same time.  But, I digress…

The Kreitler flywheel kit arrived yesterday and it feels a lot heavier than it’s 7.2lbs would suggest.  The rear drum needs to come off to install the drive belt and the flywheel slips over the end of the Kreitler frame. The flywheel is locked in place with a grub screw knob and I opted to roll the belt onto the rear drum vs. trying to re-install the rear drum with the belt on as suggested in the instructions.  The added rolling resistance of the belt friction is very noticeable but so is the fluid feel of the ride once the flywheel gets going.  I’m thinking it will feel pretty good on the tandem… but not sure Debbie will enjoy the added resistance.  So, I suspect the belt will be derailed for her workouts.

The Minoura SuperMag magnetic resistance unit also arrived along with the Kreitler flywheel. You may recall from my Dec 29th rollers entry that I planned to see if I could retrofit a Minoura magnetic resistance unit to the Kreitlers rollers as a somewhat more quiet alternative to the killer headwind and something that wouldn’t kill Debbie while adding a little resistance.  Well, it took a little bit of farm-boy engineering, but it seems like it will work.  The unit was designed to clip onto the side rail of Minoura’s own Action Advanced rollers and used a simple bracket that bolted to the rear drum’s mounting bolt to put the resistance unit’s drive belt under tension.  The Kreitler’s side rail is about the same width as the Minoura rollers, but wasn’t as deep. The rollers also weren’t spaced as wide as the Kreitlers. So, to make it work required a pair of washers and a 3/4″ wide by 1/8″ deep piece of aluminum flat stock.  The washers were used to move the Minoura’s belt pulley more in line with the Kreitler’s rear drum’s belt track.  The flat stock was trimmed into three 5″ long sections that were stacked up and taped together to create a spacer for the side rail so that the Minoura would clip to the side rail with a snug fit and another longer piece was notched and bent to replace the original tensioning bracket.  Just testing, it seems to work fine and the resistance unit offers seven (7) progressively higher resistance levels.  The very short belt seems to get warm quickly — which is also true of the belt on the e-Motion rollers flywheel — so it will be interesting to see how long it lasts.

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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7 Responses to Rollers Update… Kreitler Gets Some Farkles

  1. Dances with Wiener Dogs says:

    We’re looking for a trainer, but being new to both tandems and trainers, we’re wondering what’s a good entry trainer? Rollers look like it would be good to have experience on a single rather than progressing right to a tandem. Thoughts?

    • TG says:

      As mentioned in my comments on an earlier rollers blog entry, “training” on a tandem would best be characterized as a fitness and social activity for couples who simply prefer to ride together vs. alone. The “riding together” thing would be good for couples who want or need that peer pressure and companionship to keep them motivated enough to stick to the indoor training regime. After all, the biggest challenge to any stationary training program is fighting the boredom and tedious nature of spinning in place without going anywhere. That’s where the training DVDs such as Spinervals and expensive, computer-based systems like CompuTrainer or the TACX iMagic come in to play. So far, just having the Spinervals and the ability to ride side-by-side on two different stationary systems has helped us… at least before illness and work hours combined to derail us. Hopefully we’ll be back on the saddles this week….

      Getting back to the entry-level trainer, a good CycleOps Fluid 2 will usually work on a 145mm rear spaced tandem, even a 160mm Santana… but that’s not true of all trainers. We have friends who use a set up like this with their tandem to get in some spin time, but just like riding a tandem on the street the “level of effort” that each rider contributes is relative and could limit one or both rider’s ability to actually “improve” or “maintain” fitness since the effort is shared. Riding and training on a single bike system eliminates that variability since each rider is being pushed to meet their individual performance goals.

      Rollers… traditional rollers… are “better” for some riders, noting not all cyclists can master them and also noting riding rollers isn’t exactly ‘fun’ or representative of riding a real bike. Also, without some type of added resistance it becomes a fitness tool more than a strength building exercise for all but the more focused and better roller riders who can honk without coming off the rollers. Again, if you read back through my previous roller entries you can see how using rollers with and without a fork stand can allow the best of both worlds and how e-Motion has developed a different approach to rollers that while not cheap, makes for a more enjoyable riding experience that can be used to build strength.

  2. James says:

    Can you detail the ‘feel’ of the kreitler rollers with the added Mag resistance unit? How does the inertial load feel. Would you say they are road like? What is the coast down time like?

    Thanks

    • TG says:

      It’s been so long since we used it for the tandem that it’s hard to comment. It was a lot more user-friendly for mere mortals than the Keritler resistance unit when it came to spinning-up; far more natural feeling and the adjustability was really nice. Spin down was also nice but the rolling-along-feel of the Kreitler’s massive resistance “wheel” can’t be beat for road-like feel. I ended up going to a set of eMotion rollers for my 1/2 bike and we just found it a lot easier — schedule wise and from a benefit standpoint — to do our stationary winter riding on singles. Debbie uses a CycleOps Fluid2 unit. So, the Kreitler’s and all of the resistance units are gathering dust.

      • James says:

        Thanks. Yes very old, but can’t find any other info on doing the same thing! I believe the minoura mag had 7 settings. When set to 7 or the near settings, how ‘open’ on the headwind fan would you compare it? I know that’s a hard thing. But I’m trying to get a grasp if it would offer enough resistance. Where you grinding away in the little ring when it was on 7, or just pushing the big ring reasonably? Sorry for a awkward questions! Just can’t find any information of the wattage demands when using the different settings.

  3. Hi,
    I was curious if you’ve done a spin down test from say 25-0 for your Kreitlers with the flywheel.
    Full disclosure, I’m the product manager for SportCrafters (www.sportcrafters.com). We sell a flywheel drum for our rollers and I have had some folks inquire about difference between the Kreitler unit and ours. We don’t have a Kreitler unit to test but I’d like to give people an educated answer. Feel free to respond directly via email if you like.

    ps. My wife and I are also tandem enthusiasts. I just came upon your blog but it looks very good!

    Thanks!

    Pat

    • TG says:

      I have not. Most all of our time on the rollers was tempo riding. The flywheel definitely did a great job of sustaining wheel momentum whenever we did coast down to a stop, but that’s about my only recollection. We ultimately found that we were better off doing our stationary training on our single bikes. Debbie opted to stick with the Fluid2 trainer and I ended up going to the EMotion rollers. The Kreitlers are in storage.

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