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Roller or Smart Bike: What is the best option for your home training?

Roller or Smart Bike: What is the best option for your home training?

The training Indoor It grows in followers and is already a cycling category with its own entity. A whole device and accessories industry moves around. For those of us who invest hours on roof, there are two good alternatives: interactive direct transmission rollers and the so -called smart bikes or smart bicycles. And here comes the question: What suits me more? What is the device that best suits my conditions and needs? Let's start by clarifying concepts. Are you clear what a direct transmission roller is? And a smart bike?

What is a direct transmission roller

[Captation Id = "Attachment_9386" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]Zwift Hub Smart roller. Zwift Hub Smart roller.[/caption] To define it very simple, a roller is a system that blocks the rear wheel of your bike with the help of a support and that allows you to pedal at home. At present, the most popular are interactive direct transmission rollers. They work as follows: the bike wheel is removed and mounted on the cassette installed in the roller itself. Once the bike is mounted, the roller connects to the electricity grid and a virtual cycling application, ZWIFT type or similar. After selecting a training or journey, the app controls the roller, applying more or less resistance and allowing us to consult our power, cadence and other values, in real time. The cyclist only has to worry about giving pedals. He doesn't even need to change marches. With the ERG mode, it is the roller itself that manages the level of effort. [IRP Posts = "5960" name = "How to choose the most appropriate roller to train at home"] [IRP Posts = "8781" Name = "Advantages of roller training"]

What is a smart bike or smart bicycle

[Captation Id = "Attachment_8808" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]Smart Bike Exercrycle Image: Smart Bike Exercrycle.[/caption] A smart bike is a bicycle designed to train indoors. Many people know the typical gym or spinning bikes, but this is different. It is a device focused on facilitating an experience as close as possible when rolling by bike abroad. Connected to the Correpondente app, each manufacturer interprets the question in a different way. For example, Tacx integrates a simulation system for land accidents on its smart bikes; Wahoo's kickr bike, meanwhile, leans to some extent to recreate climbing and descents. They are mounted with road handlebars. Resistance is generated thanks to powerful electromagnet systems, which offer a quick response and a feeling of realism. They also have integrated power meters. Whatever the path that each brand undertakes, they all coincide in the search for the same sensations that the cyclist has on their pedaling Outdoor.

What to keep in mind to choose between a smart bike and a roller

Next, we analyze various aspects that can condition the acquisition of one of these devices for your training. What is the best option in each case? Let's see it.


One of the capital issues when deciding on one or the other device is the price. Let's give an example. While the smart roller of direct transmission range of range From the Wahoo brand (Kickr Model) it is sold for about 1,300 euros, the available bike smart bike is put at 4,000 euros. A weight of weight to think twice before deciding on one device or another.

Space and portability

While they are used, both training devices occupy a similar space. The thing changes when we need to save them. Some direct transmission rollers have folding legs, allowing them to save them in a closet, under a bed, or in the storage room. Many also have regrets to transport them easily. Smart Bikes, on the other hand, require more storage space and are heavier. Therefore, it is better to have a specific training area so that the smart bicycle does not involve a hindrance in our daily lives.

Adjustment options

One of the great advantages of smart bikes against direct transmission rollers is their customization and adjustment capacity. A particularly interesting aspect if you want to share your bicycle with other people. Adapting it to each physiognomy is a simple and fast process. The opposite happens with a roller. By relying on a bicycle outside the system, geometry and size completely conditions the cyclist's performance. The alternative is to change bicycle depending on the person, which can be tedious, or adapt to the measures of another person, which is always a bad idea.

Market offer

Today, the offer of direct transmission rollers in the market is huge. The same does not happen with the smart bikes, a much more limited segment. Being a more specific niche product, brands are usually conservative in their offer.


Smart rollers are quite silent. In fact, it is normal for the transmission of your bicycle to make more noise than the roller itself. But nothing comparable to the silence of a smart bike. To this contributes the absence of transmission (chain-plates-cases), which is replaced by a belt, which is also cleaner and durable than a conventional bike chain. This feature allows smart bikes to be very suitable for pedaling in an apartment and for those who seek a silent training device that does not bother the people with whom it coexists. Nor are they completely silent, especially at high intensities. Keep that in mind.


One of the most complex issues of addressing with the use of the roller is that of instability. When we get up for a sprint, for example, a slight balancing of the system can be annoying. The best rollers use different techniques to try to neutralize this issue, but it is usually problematic. In this situation, a Smart Bike will tend to be much more stable than a roller. If in your training sessions at very high intensities are frequent, an intelligent bike may be more suitable for your needs. The smart bikes are heavy and have a generous base, which offers total stability.


While neither of the two devices requires special maintenance, the roller has a disadvantage: you have to keep the bicycle that is mounted on it. Although it does not move, a bike on the roller suffers wear in its components: chain, cassette, plates ... In addition, sweat becomes a great enemy, since its corrosive power can spoil both painting and components in the long run. To solve this problem, it is usual to have a bicycle for exclusive use inside. Many cyclists are concerned that the direct transmission roller can damage the bicycle with prolonged use. However, there is no reason to worry whenever the manufacturer's instructions are followed. Smart Bikes almost do not require maintenance, with the exception of cleaning sweat and dust from time to time. The manufacturers do recommend a thorough cleaning once or twice a year. In addition, they are cleaner devices than the rollers, since they do not use lubricant for the chain, which can be deposited on the ground or stain our equipment.


As for comfort, the world of intelligent direct transmission rollers is diverse. Some offer a balancing angle from side to side. This inclination reduces friction between buttocks and armchairs, which contributes to a greater march comfort. For their part, smart bikes are usually rigid, so a good idea is to use them in combination with specific platforms. The same can be applied to rollers that do not offer any flexibility. What are these platforms? They are a kind of tables that are mounted below the device and that provide an even more realistic pedaling experience, thanks to a certain balance range, similar to the one you can experience outdoors.

Easy to use

When you already have a bicycle mounted specifically for the roller, you just have to climb and start pedaling. It is a different thing to deal with the assembly and disassembly process, something inevitable if you only have a bicycle for all types of use, both in roller and for your routes Outdoor. Assemble and disassemble the bicycle every time you get on the roller can be tedious, a matter you don't have to worry if you have a smart bike. You will have a bike to train at home and another (or several) to pedal outdoors.

Pedaling sensations

The pedaling sensation that transmits a Smart Bike is indisputably more realistic than that of any direct transmission roller that is third. With the flexibility of adjustments that this type of bicycle allows, the coupling to the machine can be identical to the one you perceive when you whet with the bicycle on open road.


There is no more immersive experience to pedal on a roof than the one that provides a smart bike. Conventional bicycles are made to shoot abroad and the use of a roller is an adaptation that will always have some deficit, however. But a bike smart is different. It is designed thinking about Indoor cycling and all its development walks in that line. From this premise, the decision is yours. What is the device that best suits your conditions?
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