8 Best Bike Rollers | March 2017
- magnetic resistance for varied training
- built-in step for easy rider mounting
- pricier than other models
- designed to keep you centered
- sealed bearings offer a quiet ride
- plastic hinges feel flimsy
- folds down to just 21 x 20 x 8.8 inches
- good for left and right dismounting
- comes pre-assembled
- durable urethane belt
- adjustable wheelbase
- high impact resin feet
- creates a smooth ride
- lightweight, portable design
- very easy to assemble
Before The Bicycle Roller
Long before the invention of bicycle rollers, there was the stationary bike. As difficult as it may be to believe, stationary bicycle machines have been around since the late 1700s. Though early machines such as the Gymnasticon may not have exactly resembled a bicycle, they used a nearly identical system. The Gymnasticon was composed of flywheels that spun in response to foot pedals or cranks, mobilizing and strengthening the user's body. One set of flywheels was attached to two large wooden pedals, while another set was attached to a hand crank for the arms. These machines paved the way for stationary bicycles and elliptical machines.
Exercise bikes have come a long way since the 18th century. Modern stationary bikes come with cutting edge features like integrated heart rate monitors and video display screens. Most exercise bikes are made to emulate a standard bicyle; equipped with a seat, handlebars, and two peddles attached to a drive mechanism. This drive mechanism will spin either an external wheel or an internal gear.
Most stationary bikes are also equipped with mechanisms to control the amount of resistance the user experiences when riding them; giving the user the power to increase or decrease the intensity of their workout.
There are downsides to stationary bikes as well. They are bulky items and when not in use, they simply take up space or collect dust. Stationary bikes do not feel exactly like actual bikes, and may work slightly different muscle groups than a standard bike. This is a big problem if the user is riding a stationary bicycle to gain muscle strength for riding their standard bike outdoors. Exercise bikes are also perfectly balanced. This is a necessity, as an imbalanced unit would easily topple and cause injury. This balance also means that the abdominal muscles of the rider are hardly engaged. On an actual bike, the core muscles act to keep the bike stable and balanced.
Why Bike Rollers Are The New Norm
The drawbacks of a stationary bicycle machine are the main reasons why bike rollers are taking over the realm of indoor cycling. The lack of stability when using a bicycle roller forces the rider to engage their core as well as their legs. This translates to a more effective workout and a more productive training regimen.
Bicycle rollers may seem like a new invention, but they have actually been around for over 100 years. The original models were made of large wooden rollers on a wooden frame, while modern models are made of aluminum alloys and durable plastics. However, the concept and application remains the same. Bicycle rollers provide the user with unequaled balance and coordination training, while allowing them to use their existing bicycle for indoor exercise.
Because the user is training on the same bicycle as they will be using outdoors, the same exact muscles are targeted during bicycle roller training. The rider also has full control over torque and resistance while using the gears of the bicycle. This gives the rider much more practical knowledge into things such as their ideal cadence and what each individual gear feels like. All while remaining in a safe, controlled environment.
When an exercise session is completed, the roller can easily be broken down and placed under the bed, in a closet, or behind a chair. For those looking to declutter their lives, not having a large stationary bike taking up most of the free space in a room is often reason enough to get a bike roller.
Bicycle Riding As A Low Impact Workout
Many people turn to bicycling as a form of burning calories, staying active, and getting in shape. In fact, the average rider can burn 650 calories in one hour of simple cycling. An avid cyclist may use different gears for a more intense workout and burn upwards of one thousand calories per hour.
Burning calories is not the only thing riding a bicycle is good for. Riding on a bicycle actually provides a variety of health benefits. Studies have shown that just 30-60 minutes of simple exercise a day can help prevent many serious health issues, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.
Bicycle riding is also a low-impact workout. Any aerobic exercise which offers a small amount of strain to the body is considered a low impact workout. Exercises like yoga, cycling, and swimming are great examples. These activities promote health by strengthening the body; but do so in ways that are not as harmful as high impact workouts.
In contrast, high impact workouts are aerobic activities which bring strength and muscle tone to the body; yet do cause unnecessary strain. Running is one such activity which has become synonymous with high levels of stress placed on the joints. The force created from a runner's body weight landing on one foot has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, this force often ends up in the knees, ankles, and hips of the body; wearing them down over time.
Simply switching to a low impact workout such as cycling can rest and actually strengthen the joints and connective tissues in the legs.