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As the icy roads have come early this year, I'm looking at indoor training, mostly for my son who is a lot keener than I am. We already have a very basic turbo trainer, on which he has done some hard sessions including getting out of the saddle. But having had to replace his frame (Ti, didn't last forever) due to chainstay cracks, I am nervous about him putting the new frame (carbon, Dolan, lovely, great value) into the turbo and hammering away.

Am I being too cautious? I can't be sure that the cracks weren't there before the turbo workouts and the Ti frame came to us with a lot of miles on it already. Should I let him use the turbo but not stand, or at least not get over enthusiastic? The ubiquitous pictures of G advertising Zwift seem to show him standing.

Hence I wonder about rollers, though have never used them myself. I've read lots of reviews, some mention resistance, some don't. Some seem to be all about trackside warm ups and almost load-free spinning, which isn't what he's after. How do I choose?

Should I look for a tatty used bike to go on the turbo instead (or use my 20 yr old rigid MTB which is mostly for shopping these days) and let him hammer that?

Santa's budget doesn't stretch to smart trainers and subscriptions by the way.

Sorry these questions are a bit open ended, and thanks to anyone who can share experience.

10 comments

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Drinfinity [279 posts] 1 week ago
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How old is your son?

British Cycling coaching advice is to use rollers for youth riders. Our club use rollers from about age 9. If you see the BC development squad at the velodrome, they will start with a very intense roller session.

lots of tips here

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/izn20141126-How-to-ride-the-rollers-0
 

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Drinfinity [279 posts] 1 week ago
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For older youths, then old MTB with a turbo tyre on it will be good. You can get Zwift free for U16. No need to have a fancy turbo  or power meter for that either - a cheap Bluetooth/Ant+ device on the rear wheel will work. Zwift will do virtual power, based on the model and setting of trainer you have.

BC also have a variety of training programs on their website.

 

(I'm a L1 coach and did the BC roller specific course recently hence the links)

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TheBillder [70 posts] 1 week ago
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Thanks so much - that's very valuable information. He's 13, and will be delighted to see Zwift is free for U16. I'll follow up that link as well.

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CXR94Di2 [2770 posts] 1 week ago
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Ive had my carbon frame bike on a turbo 5 years now. In the early days it would slightly creak in the mounts. After building a rocker board, no more creaking and the ability ride in a similar manner with side to side sway motion.

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hobbeldehoy [58 posts] 1 week ago
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My advice is to get a secondhand Carrera road bike and use that as a dedicated turbo trainer bike. I got one on Ebay for £150 inc the turbo trainer. You can get them for around £100 on Ebay, look for models, Virtuoso, Zelos, Vanquish. 

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mtbtomo [298 posts] 1 week ago
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If you're thrutching around on a turbo so much as to cause a frame to crack, then I would think your technique needs a bit of work. Power should be going to the wheels, not on slinging it side to side.

That said, I'd still be using a scratty old bike on a turbo as sweat rots bikes in super quick time

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TheBillder [70 posts] 1 week ago
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Thanks all, I think I have a plan:

1) Get ye olde MTB onto the turbo and aim for smoothness in workouts. Consider old cheap road bike too.

2) Get rollers from ebay and enjoy - if not so much for workouts against resistance, it's still very good training.

3) Get a speed sensor and try a basic Zwift set up (this will cause more domestic upheaval so is in 3rd place).

4) Weave the verb "to thrutch" into everyday conversation.

Very much appreciate the quality and speed of everyone's responses - thank you.

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mtbtomo [298 posts] 1 week ago
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Ha ha, love it #4  1

Rollers are a good fun way to break up the monotony of indoor sessions and quite a skill to get to one handed and no handed!

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IanEdward [382 posts] 1 week ago
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Rollers are a great warm up too before you jump on the turbo, I was doing 20 minutes on the rollers then jumping on turbo for  40 minute sweetspot efforts, a great workout together.

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dmack [56 posts] 1 week ago
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I just got rollers (Elite Nero Smart Rollers) for my winter training, to try something different, and work on my balance.  It was pretty easy to get going on them, but you definitely need to have support either side until you've got the hang of them, as they are pretty unforgiving if your concentration wanders!  Hardest part is cycling slowly, but it's given me two or three new skills to learn.  After 3 weeks of regular riding I'm pretty happy on them, and have started mixing in some high power intervals.  Haven't tried an out of the seat sprint yet though!  And I have to stop to have a drink, lol.

You don't say how old your kid is, but he'll probably pick it up much faster than me , like they do.  He's probably got a 40 or 50 year edge on me, lol.