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Reader’s Rides: Building your Own Suspended Rollers for less than $150

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ASJ suspended rollers

As cyclists, I know there are a lot of do-it-yourself types out there. Why spend your hard earned money on something on something you could build yourself, for less? If that sounds like something you would say and you’ve been looking for a better way to train indoors this Winter, here you go. If you know what rollers are, you are probably familiar with the Inside Ride E-Motion rollers which are fantastic. Basically, the roller frame floats back and forth on a separate frame which combined with additional support rollers for the rear wheel and front wheel bumpers makes roller use easier and more enjoyable. While the Inside Ride version will ultimately be more portable, not everyone has $900 to drop on something they only hope to use on the worst days of the Winter months.

Ever since suspended rollers became a thing, there have been DIY versions but few have the detail of the plans sent into us by Adam St. Germain. Compiled on the Short Handled Shovel blog penned by ASJ and Noah Jacobs, the DIY instructable takes roughly $125 of raw materials plus a set of rollers and transforms them into an impressively functional set of suspended rollers…

Materials needed:

  • 1 set of rollers- you should already own these.
  • 8 rollerblade wheels w/bearings ($19.99) 70mm or bigger!
  • 2 21″ bungee cords ($1.99 ea)
  • 2 8′ 2x4s
  • 1 sheet of plywood big enough to fit under your rollers
  • 2 Paper making Conveyor rollers ($17.08 ea)
  • 2 sections of 1″x1″x84″ aluminum square tubing ($16.01 ea)
  • 1 piece of 1″x1/8″x48″ aluminum flat bar mill ($17.65)
  • 8 1.5″ bolts and nylock nuts.
  • 6 2.5″ 5/8″ bolts and nylock nuts
  • 2 4.25″ 58″ bolts and nylock nuts
  • 2 machine threaded hooks w/nuts
  • 2 wood thread 5 hooks, heavy duty.
  • 1 box of 100 count 5/8″ ID washers
  • 2 1/4″ deck screws or similar
  • Drill (or drill press preferably)
  • Circular saw or similar.
  • Hammer
  • Hacksaw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • 1/16″, 1/4″, 5/8″, 1/2″ drill bits
  • Safety glasses if you so choose and cherish your eye sight.
  • A broom and shop vac sure are handy as well.
  • Bonus materials- 2 fixed casters, 1 drawer handle, paint.

For the complete how-to, head over to Short Handled Shovel.

Thanks to ASJ for sending that in!

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Josh
7 years ago

Oh Adam.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago

I built a similar one like this. I started with the Nashbar rollers and mounted for motion like this.

I also added the Cycleops magnetic resistance unit that is compatible. Then I rigged an old XT 9-speed shifter/cable and some added aluminum bar on the magnet position control. It allows me to adjust resistance level while on the bike compared to the stock 5-position wheel on the Cycleops unit.

It’s a great setup that mimics road feel and the ability to stand and sprint far better than any fixed trainer I have tried.

I’ve been wanting to add the extra wheel rollers to hold the bike on the rollers under hard sprints. This helps a bunch for parts ideas. Thanks for the post.

Ryan C
Ryan C
7 years ago

love it!

Mr. P
7 years ago

If you put some cheese at one end, I’m sure you’ll trap some roadies.

P

uglyyeti
uglyyeti
7 years ago

I built one of these about 8 years ago with a cheap set of Performance rollers. Worked great, but roller training wasn’t compatible with my ridiculously short attention span. One thing I did differently from this design was putting the bungees within the roller frame rather than outside the frame – both bungees can be run from the ends to a single eye-bolt in the middle. That could help shorten the overall length of the structure. I also used adjustable length bungees to control the float tension.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago

@uglyyeti,
I did the same (springs inside) and it does shorten the size considerably which makes it lighter and easier to move around.

Chuck
Chuck
7 years ago

I have a pair of e-motion rollers, like uglyyeti I too am a bit too add for my own good. However these mixed with some trainerroad+sufferfest = a great way to train while child rearing. If you’re on a bidget, and have the space this style of roller makes rollers a LOT of fun.

Adam
Adam
7 years ago

I am less than $75 into mine (not including roller unit). Rare earth magnents from Ebay, casters from harbor freight and reclaimed lumber…

Slobike
Slobike
7 years ago

Thoughts on a lighter design. I would put the 2×4 box on top of the plywood (rather than under as in the picture) and use 2x3s (and maybe 2x2s, but might be inclined to twist) instead of 2x4s. Could also pass the bungees though a hole in the 2×3 and around a rod on the other side of the end of the end of 2×3 frame for the bungees, but I doubt any roller movement would overpower and pull out a steel eye hook. This would be lighter than the pictures, reduce the step height considerably, and reduce the strain on the plywood, meaning you could probably use a thinner plywood grade too since the floor would be the primary weight support instead of the plywood. Probably quieter too, since the box structure could resonate pretty loudly.

This would also provide mechanical stop in case of bungee failure.

Now I kind of want to get back into riding rollers…

Jamie flinn
Jamie flinn
7 years ago

I have a similar rig based on Nashbar Parabolic rollers – my frame is more like a picture frame (side and end rails made from pine with nothing in the middle) – each side rail is L shaped to hold the wheels. This way I can step THROUGH the whole unit to carry it around as if I am holding a suitcase in each hand – very convenient for getting it out of the way. The the main roller assembly is then only 3/4 inch (the thickness of 1 frame side) above the ground

uglyyeti
uglyyeti
7 years ago

@Stobike – Mine were open frame 1×3 and 1×2 oak. No plywood, no metal rails. Very simple, low profile, sturdy and light.

Chader
Chader
7 years ago

I posted pics and some details of my setup described above.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/chader/sets/72157650453016490/

santana338
santana338
7 years ago

Thanks for the inspiration. I just converted my rollers to suspended rollers. Of course as with any DIY project I had to put my own touches on it. So instead of bungee cord I used 4 springs (with only 2 I got too much torque and the wheels would jump over the guides. I used 3/4″ ply as a base since I had it lying around. I used vertical standard shelving bars as the guide. Works like a charm!

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