WHICH KREITLER ROLLER MODEL IS RIGHT FOR ME?

This is the most frequently asked question we receive at Kreitler. You are not alone! We offer 3 different drum diameters, 2 end cap options, 2 drum widths, and 2 frame types. Plus accessories! Please read over the information below, or skip to the bottom of the page for the Summary.

Step 1) Determine your objectives and assess your abilities:

Are you mainly interested in developing better balance and pedaling technique? Are you trying to increase your cadence? Do you want to improve your “spin”, your power, or both? Are you a first time roller rider, or are you a fierce competitor looking for another way to improve your training regimen? Something in between?

No matter how you answered the above questions, there is a Kreitler Roller system for you. Follow the steps below and you will become confident in your selection of Kreitler products.

Step 2) Select the drum diameter:

In the picture below, notice the six different drum types we offer:

Starting from left to right in the photo, here’s how they break down:
Alloy 4.5

4.5” diameter Alloy Drum with Alloy End Caps

Challenger 4.5

4.5” diameter Alloy Drum with Poly End Caps

Alloy 3.0

3.0” diameter Alloy Drum with Alloy End Caps

Challenger 3.0

3.0” diameter Alloy Drum with Poly End Caps

Alloy 2.25

2.25” diameter Alloy Drum with Alloy End Caps

Challenger 2.25

2.25” diameter Alloy Drum with Poly End Caps

As the drum diameter decreases, the amount of resistance increases. This is due to bearing friction and tire friction. For a given wheel speed, smaller drums rotate at higher RPM’s than larger drums, producing more friction in the sealed cartridge bearings. Smaller drums also create more tire friction because the roller has a smaller contact patch and indents the tire more.

The 4.5 drums have relatively low resistance. Most riders can ride in larger gears and keep the wheel speed high with relatively low effort on the 4.5 drums. Higher wheel speed enhances balance and provides a greater coasting effect if you stop pedaling momentarily.

Combined with the Headwind Fan, the 4.5 models provide the widest range of workload of any other roller combination. For easy spinning or intense interval workouts, you can do it all with the 4.5 drums combined with the Headwind Fan. The 4.5 drums are the easiest for learning to ride rollers, too.

The 3.0 drums provide approximately 40% more resistance compared to the 4.5 drums, making harder workouts possible without the addition of the Headwind Fan but not allowing the easy spinning that the 4.5 rollers offer. The 3.0 rollers are a good choice when higher resistance is desired, and at a lower cost than the 4.5’s w/Headwind Fan combination. Some smaller, but strong riders (under 120 pounds) may still find that the 3.0′s have too much resistance for warming up or for less intense rides. Higher weight riders have an easier time on the smaller drums because the inherent resistance of the drums is lower, relative to their power output.

The 2.25 drums have approximately 90% more resistance compared to the 4.5 drums. Only the strongest of riders are able to ride the 2.25 drums. The 2.25 rollers were originally designed for the USA Cycling Team when they were looking for smaller rollers for travel that also provided enough resistance for interval workouts or sprint warm-ups. If you do not routinely average over 20-25mph on your solo road rides, look to the 3.0’s or 4.5’s. Also, if you are a lighter weight rider (under 120 pounds), you may find the 2.25′s too hard, regardless of your speed outdoors.

For a numerical comparison of the different Kreitler Drums and accessories, please refer to the Wattage Chart (will open in a new window). The Wattage Chart is for comparison purposes only. Your actual wattage produced will vary depending on body weight, tire pressure, wheel aerodynamics, and other factors.

Step 3) Select Alloy End Caps or Poly End Caps:

The choice of end cap depends on several considerations. Our “Alloy” models have Alloy end caps. The “Challenger” models have Poly end caps. Alloy end caps are heavier than Poly end caps. The Alloy end caps create more momentum in the rollers and an increased coasting effect. The difference in weight is more noticeable on the larger drums. The Alloy end caps are machined from aluminum billet. The Poly end caps are molded polycarbonate. While the Poly end caps are high quality and built to last, the Alloy end caps maintain momentum better and are even longer lasting.

The second consideration is the use of accessories. The Headwind Fan and the Flywheel put a fair amount of friction on the belt groove of the end cap. The Headwind Fan and the Flywheel can be used with either the Alloy 4.5 or Challenger 4.5 drums, but with the Challenger 3.0 and Challenger 2.25 drums, they will cause premature end cap wear, which is not covered under the lifetime warranty. On the 3.0 and 2.25 drums, Alloy endcaps are recommended if the Fan or Flywheel are being used.

Step 4) Choose standard width drums or Hot Dog drums

Standard Kreitler Drums are 15” wide and are by far the most popular width. Hot Dog drums are 10” wide. Every model of Kreitler Drum is available in the Hot Dog width. Hot Dog drums are desirable for the most experienced roller riders who want an additional challenge or maximum portability from their rollers.

Step 5) Choose Standard or Kompact

The Standard Frame works with all Kreitler Drums and accessories, and covers a wide range of wheelbases. There are also two extension kits available for the Standard Frame for longer bikes such as recumbents and tandems.

The Kompact Frame is designed for the 3.0 and 2.25 drums, and works with bicycles with wheelbases from 38” to 42” only. The Kompact Frame is designed for maximum portability and lighter weight, and it will fold up very compactly in all wheelbase settings when used with the 3.0 or 2.25 drums. It is compatible with the Headwind Fan but not the Flywheel.

You can use the 4.5 drums on the Kompact Frame, but it will only fold up compactly in a very narrow range of wheelbase settings (39.5” to 41”). The clearance between the ground and the 4.5 drums is minimal, and may be insufficient on uneven surfaces.

Step 6) Consider the Headwind Fan and Flywheel

The Headwind Fan is an adjustable resistance unit providing a wide range of resistance options depending on how far you open the air inlet. The air flow can be aimed at the rider for a cooling breeze, or directed away if preferred. The range of resistance when used in combination with the 4.5 rollers simulates everything from a 2mph tailwind to a tough uphill climb into the wind!

The Flywheel increases the momentum of the rollers by adding mass. Additional momentum has a smoothing effect on the pedaling stroke and increases the road-like feel. The Flywheel also adds resistance, but not nearly as much as the Headwind Fan can add. Refer to the Wattage Chart (will open in a new window) for more details.

7) Consider the Fork Stand

The Fork Stand is an accessory that is useful for maximum effort sprinting, single-leg drills, or for sharing your Kreitler Rollers with someone who doesn’t want to have to concentrate as much on their balance.

Summary

The choice of Kreitler Roller model depends on your cycling ability and the type of workout you want. Smaller rollers are harder to ride. If cost and portability are lesser concerns, start with the 4.5 rollers. You can always add resistance with the Headwind Fan or the Flywheel. If you choose a 3.0 or 2.25 roller and find it has too much resistance, there is no way to make them easier to ride. Refer to the Wattage Chart (will open in a new window) for a comparison of the resistance of the various roller models and accessories.

The Kompact Frame gives users of the 3.0 and 2.25 rollers a smaller, lighter package for traveling or for warming up at races. Fits 38” to 42” wheelbase bikes only.

Please refer to the Compatibility Matrix to see precisely which combination of Kreitler Drums, Frames, and Accessories go together well (will open in a new window).