It’s been a bit over 6 weeks since I took delivery of my InsideRide eMotion Rollers, so it’s probably time to do some kind of update to my last entry, “Good First Impression“.
As I mentioned in a number of blog entries, I was hit with the crud throughout January and didn’t get fully past it until mid-February after a slight relapse. So, combined with 13-hour days at the office, I haven’t spent as much time on the rollers in the off-season as I’d hoped. However, for those days when I found myself with an hour or so, and riding out doors wasn’t really desirable, the eMotion rollers have been a nice alternative to the stationary trainer and traditional rollers.
As mentioned before, they’re ‘fun’ and make stationery cycling feel more like real cycling than anything else I’ve tried. In fact, I don’t think there’s anyone who couldn’t learn to ride these with just minimal effort, whereas traditional rollers… fogettaboutit. Traditional rollers are great and do a lot of good things related to smoothing out your pedal stroke, etc; however, they also require a lot more patience, finesse and focus and just don’t simulate an on-road riding experience the way the eMotion rollers do.
As for the negatives, there are three that come to mind. The biggest surprise was the noise, and I’ll be darned if I’ve figured out why the eMotion rollers are so much more ‘squeaky’ than the Kreitlers or even my old Tacx rollers. While they’re not as loud as some of the resistance units used on stationary trainers and rollers, the eMotion rollers have a unique squeak. I’ve included a short video, below, that lets you hear me riding Debbie’s Ritchey on the Kreitlers (rear wheel only with front in fork stand) and then me on my Dean riding the Emotion rollers: the difference is immediately noticeable. Lack of portability is the second, and that’s not a huge one if you don’t race or time trial where a portable trainer would come in handy for warm-ups. Sticker shock is probably the only other one. Frankly, I think they’re actually a very good value once you factor in all the features vs. a bare-bone set of rollers. And, once you start to add all of the accessories to other rollers — freewheels, resistance units, etc. — the price gap between the eMotion rollers and the others quickly narrows. Add in the value of free-motion, and the gap is gone… especially if someone finds they enjoy riding the eMotion rollers more than other trainers and end up using them more often and for longer periods of time.
Pros? Anyone can learn to ride these. They allow you to get up and out of the saddle and throw a bike around the way you really throw a bike around without putting yourself at risk of flying off the things… which is not true of traditional rollers. You’d have to try one to appreciate the value that the free-motion base adds. There’s also a lot of added value with the eMotion roller’s integrated flywheel and resistance units, features typically sold as accessories for Kreitlers that can quickly put the cost of a Kreitler training kit in the same realm as the eMotion rollers. Did I say they were fun? Yeah, that’s huge!
I should probably mention the Spinerval training DVDs, as that also factors into the equation. Yikes, I never realized how puny my performance was until trying to keep up with the tempo and gearing called out by Coach Troy in some of these things. Guess that’s because I’ve never really had a coach or a disciplined training program that pushed me as hard. However, in the context of the eMotion roller update, it’s been really nice being able to stand-up, sprint, and do all of the other on-bike exercises and stretch breaks called out in the video that while easy to do on a fixed wheel trainer, would be asking for trouble on traditional rollers.
Anyway, here is my low-quality, 48-second You Tube video where you’ll find two different demos — the Kreitler unit first, followed by the eMotion unit with three different scenarios in the eMotion video clip:
1. The first clip that follows the two intro banners is the Kreitler roller sound check. Note how quiet they are.. really, they’re quiet.
2. The second clip is a bit longer, but has three things to look for:
- The first is the ‘squeaky’ sound our unit makes. I get the impression they all make some noise, 1st generation, 2nd and the 3rd. Don’t know if it’s the anodized drums and softer tire compounds or what, but it’s always there even when you coast.
- Around 30 seconds in you’ll see me get up and out of the saddle without a whole lot of grace and my return to the saddle around 34 seconds was really ugly: this was intentional since it lets you see how the eMotion’s free-motion base moves fore and aft in response to jerky movements of the bike as you ride. Like I’ve said, don’t try that on conventional rollers.
- Around 40 seconds I start banging the front wheel into the roller blade wheel stops at either side of the eMotion rollers: it’s amazing just how sloppy you can be and still not come flying off the rollers in dramatic fashion. That’s not to say you can fall off the eMotion rollers… you can, but it also entails getting your body way off center from your bike.