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For racers who favour the open road to the turbo trainer, the Minoura FG220 Hybrid Roller is very good. It gives a realistic road feel, with the security of a clamped fork and improved portability over a dedicated set of rollers or turbo. The price, though, is too high for the limited use options, because it's also going to be too noisy for the majority of homes.
During the winter months, the temptation is to stay inside and turbo the cold weather away. Unfortunately, I just can't. The boredom kicks in after roughly 5 minutes and it's a miracle to find me still riding north of 20. I'd much rather don a jacket and head out into the rain.
But when it's time to go racing, things become a little more difficult. Cyclo-cross races in particular are problematic for warm-ups. The course is being used for another race and the roads around the venue can be very busy.
The question of where to warm up is usually answered by me sitting on the turbo. However, the turbo clamps the rear of the bike, giving an unnatural pedalling motion. Rollers, at the other end of the spectrum, provide a natural pedalling action, but are unstable for inexperienced users. Sitting in the middle is the Minoura FG220 Hybrid Roller. It's fixed at the front for stability, leaving the rear wheel free to travel as the body moves. It's a much more natural feeling.
Travelling to and from races, I found that packing the Minoura into the car is super-simple and very helpful when you have a small boot. The bag keeps everything compact and it's surprisingly easy to carry should you have to take it over to a starting area. The 6.1kg weight really helps here. The rollers can also be made super-narrow, for increased portability.
Mounting the bike is also an easy job. The FG220 roller will fit almost any road, cyclo-cross or mountain bike with a wheelbase size of 930-1,200cm and is compatible with 9mm and 15mm thru-axles. There's even the option for 15/110mm boost hubs for mountain bikes. You simply remove the front wheel and clamp the fork in by the dropouts.
During a warm-up, the feel of the rollers is perfect for loosening up stiff legs and getting the blood pumping. The resistance level is simply on or off. In the off position, the rollers go faster until you spin out your max gear. The on position is nowhere near turbo levels, but it did allow me to get up to threshold using my gears.
All good then, until I tried it at home for a quick 20-minute leg spin having been sat down all day. The noise it makes, especially in a confined space, will annoy anyone else in the same house. Riders living in a flat should almost certainly look for a quieter system. This rather limits its use – and makes the price start to look a bit steep. Fair enough, this system takes a bit more engineering than a simple set of rollers, and as a result it commands a higher price than many. And compared to similar systems, such as Feedback Sports' Omnium Rollers at £294.99, it's competitive.
You can, though, get attachments for a standard set of rollers if you aren't confident with a full roller, which gives you a very similar setup as the Minoura but for a lot less cash, though you do lose the ease of portability. For example, you can buy the Tacx Antares Rollers for £159.99 RRP (currently £129.95 at Evans), and then a fork stand for £43.99 RRP (currently £30.99 at Wiggle).
That would be my solution, saving a significant sum of money – plus you have the option of learning to ride 'proper' rollers. If portability is the key for you, though, and perhaps you already have a set of rollers for indoor use, the Minoura FG220 Hybrid Roller should take your money.
Best portability I've seen, but expensive for the narrow field of use
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Minoura FG220 Hybrid Roller
Size tested: Wheel size 26' - 29'
Tell us what the product is for
"For warm up and cool down" - Yep. This is their ideal (and pretty much only) use.
"Easy to bring anywhere with bag" - This is certainly the most portable home trainer system I've used.
"Simple on and off resistance levels" - Very easy to use and perfect for a pre race warm-up.
"Made for home or race use" - I can't agree with this. The rollers are just too loud for use at home.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
"Weight: 6.1 kgs | Wheel base 930 – 1,200 mm | Wheel size 26' - 29' | Warranty 1 year"
Front fork mount
9 mm and 15 mm through axle compatible
15 / 110mm boost hub is optional
Extremely thick 79 mm diameter roller for long life
Fits most frames
2 level of resistance. On for more resistance, off for lighter workout
The wipe clean surface on the rollers was great for muddy races. They're also really easy to fold up and pack away.
The rollers are really smooth. They are loud, but I was expecting that with all the load going through a smaller roller.
It's been treated to lots of muddy CX races, with mud flying everywhere. No issues, the rollers wipe clean easily.
At 6.1kg, it's very easy to carry around in the bag.
Not cheap, but it compares on RRP with similar systems.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. The smoothness of the rollers is brilliant for loosening legs before a race.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The feel; it's much more realistic than a turbo.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price is too high for a race-only warm-up device. For this money it needs to be much quieter for home use.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your overall score
Its portability is its greatest asset, making it ideal for pre-race warm-ups, but its use is limited by how noisy it is – which then makes it look too expensive. It is good, though, so I'm giving it a 7 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!