I must admit, I have never owned a set of rollers before and my only point of reference was a mag or fluid trainer. My mentor swears by them as the best cycling workout when you're time crunched.
When I was a stay at home mom, I was fortunate enough to ride 250-350 miles per week during the school year. Less in the summer.
Now that I am working as a personal trainer, my time is much more limited. I have to balance work and life with my rock-star of a daughter and amazing boyfriend.
Pavel, my mentor and gym owner is time crunched as well. He balances work-gym owner and general contractor-and family.
He has also completed an Ironman but utitlized rollers for the majority of his training.
I purchased, set up, rode these rollers and decided to write a Kinetic Z Rollers review from a beginners perspective.
Rollers force you to balance yourself. This engages your core muscles like riding your outdoors.
Riding on rollers also improves pedaling efficiency. you will notice every hitch or uneven point in your pedal stroke and naturally correct for it.
If you're a hard-core that measures watts, rollers are the way to go. They allow you to sustain much higher watts than a traditional mag or fluid trainer.
Pedaling on a trainer requires constant force. When cycling outside, there are natural periods of recovery during downhills, drafting, cornering, stop signs, changes in wind direction, etc.
The constant pedaling force indoors equals a more efficient workout than cycling outdoors for the same amount of time.
I did my research and opted for the Kinetic Z Rollers. They had great ratings from buyers and they weren't the most expensive or the cheapest.
I purchased my rollers from Amazon for $288.99. I love Amazon Prime. Free shipping and free returns.
A google search came up with on-line prices ranging from $260.10 to $309.00
On-line Z Rollers Sellers
The rollers arrived in the original box and were well packed with no loose pieces rolling around.
Out of the box the rollers were folded up in a sealed plastic package.
After removing the plastic, I see a black plastic tie wrapped around the rollers. At first glance I simply thought it was meant to hold the rollers together.
Thank goodness I decided to untie the line and not cut it. Turns out it's the belt for the rollers.
No where in the two whole pages of instructions - one page is dedicated to care and warranty - was anything mentioned about this is your belt, etc.
Set up is fairly easy and straight forward. You unfold the unit and make sure the belt is in the groove on the side of the rollers.
Once unfolded I grabbed my bike for roller positioning. There are sturdy plastic knobs on the side of the rollers you unscrew to move the rollers forward or back.
Kinetic Z rollers are designed to accept bikes with wheelbases 38.2 to 43.3 inches (97cm to 110cm).
These sizes translate to 48cm to 63cm for road bikes. Mountain bikes tend to have a longer wheelbase. Measure before you buy!
I set my bike up on the rollers but misread the instructions and had to adjust the roller position twice. It was pretty easy with the included wrench.
I moved the drum back to the original position and it fit perfectly! The axle was just behind the drum.
Z Roller set-up
Pedals, shoes, inflated tires, check. Time to try rollers for the first time. I was just a bit intimidated. I had heard stories of bikes launched over couches and into walls with riders unable to unclip.
I set the rollers in a wide doorway and hiked my leg over my bike. Over but not reaching my pedal. The bike was sitting 5 inches higher than I was used to. Check out this video for some riding tips from pro cyclist Rochelle Gilmore.
Clipping in was a awkward. The tires seemed to be be sliding around on oily drums. It takes a bit getting used to but once up on the bike I was ready to go.
I was gripping the doorjamb like I was on the edge of a cliff. It was like trying to stand on one leg on an exercise ball. Just try it.
I was beginning to think I was risking life and limb for the Kinetic Z Rollers review.
Just start pedaling. Just start pedaling. Don't let go. Don't let go. My HR was 148 and sweat was beginning to roll down my forehead and I had only just begun spinning.
Speed smooths it out. I got my cadence up but hesitated to move my hand away from the doorjamb. This is a heck of a workout just getting started.
The real trick is to just keep pedaling, keep the handlebars straight and release the death grip. If I started to wobble I grabbed for the doorjamb.
After 20 minutes if I started to wobble I pedaled a bit harder and straightened out. Slowing down is when it got the wobbliest and slid around on the rollers.
My core was working to keep everything in balance, my legs were spinning and my hands had a death grip on the bars. I was getting fatigued in the first 15 minutes.
Once up and running in a mostly relaxed posture, I checked out the rollers. There was no noise. Quite a change from the fluid trainer I had been using.
Smooth. That's the only way to describe the ride. I did keep feeling a bit of a bump but I think that was due to under-inflated tires. A quick pump up and smooth as silk.
The effort really did mimic riding outside. I had to keep my balance. I had to concentrate on my front wheel a bit. There was no mindless riding like a trainer.
What I loved most about the initial ride was how quickly time went by. I did have a TV on but having to concentrate on balance really made the time fly by.
The unit itself seems to be built with good materials. The rollers are machined aluminum with steel bearings.The frame is also made of aluminum with a hard plastic at the hinges.
The rollers fold up into a z-shape hence the name Z Rollers. The unit is small enough to be portable and you can store them virtually anywhere.
Everything seems really well made. I would take care with folding it up. Aluminum will bend and dent and plastic will break.
The rollers are easily adjustable and easy to set up. There were no mystery pieces or crazy hard to find adjustments.
Kinetic offers a few accessories for rollers like mats, clothes, bottles, training videos, etc.
They offer a training tire for $60 USD. A trainer specific tire is designed to last longer and grip better on the rollers than your traditional road tires.
For the price, I am running an older road tire on a spare wheel with cassette since I ride inside or out depending upon weather and time constraints.
During the winter, I would either invest in a trainer specific tire or use old tires until they flat. 3 or 4 tire changes over the winter is easier on the pocket book.
The Bluetooth heart rate strap is a great deal at $59. It works with iPhone 4s, 5 series and iPhone 6, the iPad 3, 4, Mini and iPod Touch 5th generation.
Pair it with your favorite fitness Apps using Bluetooth Smart™ such as Strava, Runmeter, RunKeeper, Cyclemeter, MapMyRun, Endomondo, Runtastic, and dozens more.
The 20Twenty bottle cage for $15 looks interesting. It claims to improve the simple act of grabbing a drink on the bike by a 20-degree offset left or right since natural arm motion removes and replaces a bottle at an angle of approximately 20 degrees off-center.
Kinetic recommends wiping down the rollers with a damp cloth to prevent corrosion. The steel bearings are sealed, requiring no maintenance.
You should always fold up your rollers or disengage the belt when not in use. This increases the life of the belt.
Always check the bolts. A loose bolt could potentially lead to dangerous situation or compromise the integrity of the frame and drums.
The Z Rollers come with an unconditional lifetime warranty. What can beat that? Take care not to dent the rollers. These are not covered under warranty. The belt has a two year warranty.
The website is crammed with videos and blogs with helpful tips on getting the most out of your rollers.
You can file a warranty claim online and order replacement parts. The replacement belt isn't listed but an email to support gets you the information you need.
Customer service is good. My initial email regarding replacement belts went unanswered but a follow up was responded to within an hour with an apology for overlo0king my email.
My Kinetic Z Rollers review is from a beginners perspective. I have no previous experience on rollers. I rate on a scale of 1 - 5 stars with 5 stars being the best.
Packing and shipping: 5. The rollers were packed well with plenty of molded styrofoam protection. No loose parts rattling around in the box.
Assembly: 4. The instructions were 2 pages total. One page dedicated to warranty and care. They have great video tutorials on the website but just taking it out of the box and using the included instructions was too minimal.
Build: 4. It is solidly built with machined aluminum and uses sealed bearings requiring minimal maintenance. Since it's recommended to store the rollers folded, there is a greater chance of tweaking the frame each time you unfold it.
Adjustability 4. It's easy to set up your rollers for the first ride. However, if you are adjusting between different wheelbases, I suggest having an extra set of hands to ensure the bolts don't get cross threaded.
Ride: 5. It's a smooth and quiet ride. No jet engine whirring like fluid trainers. It's tricky to get started but after 3 or 4 rides it becomes pretty easy to hop on and go.
Support: 4.5. I would give them a 5 but since I had to follow up on my initial unanswered email I had to drop them some.
Warranty 5. Unconditional lifetime excluding belt (2 years). But after inquiry about a replacement belt, they were set to ship me one at no charge. $10 after two years.
Overall 4.5. At a pricepoint of $289, these rollers are well worth the money. They overall exceeded my expectations.
I would recommend these rollers to anyone wishing to try them for the first time or ready for an upgrade to a smooth and quiet ride.
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