I was wandering around that rabbit hole that is Reddit.com and stumbled upon the video below. Having played on a trainer for a while now, I have always wondered about rollers, but have never really had the inclination due to the damage it would do to my hip pocket. When I saw DIY, the inner tinkerer in me went into a high state of excitement.
I contacted the bloke who put the video up, and asked him to get in touch, which he did with in a few hours. His name is Nick and he seemed happy to help.
I explained that I would like to feature the video on the blog and get some background information. Talk about delivering the goods. Nick got back to me with a stack of information. What a guy.
So, enough of the back story, here is the video and Nicks terrific email.
Some details about me:
My name is Nick Arend. I live in Portland, OR and am 32 years old. I have been cycling now for 6 years. I raced for 1 season but didn’t care for the amount of crashing around me. Crashing by yourself is frustrating, but someone causing you to crash is even worse! I started on a Bianchi via Nirone and rode that for a year till I felt I was ready to upgrade. Got a deal from a friend of mine on the Ridley Scandium you see in the video. I currently ride a Cannondale Supersix which has been my project bike over the last 2 years to get as light as possible. I’m currently at 15.12lbs (6.85kg), which I am happy with (for now lol). Hoping to see a Cannondale Evo in my future, maybe as early as next summer!
How did I think of this:
I am a fair weather rider. I don’t enjoy going on a ride and getting soaked head to toe. Living in Portland, OR it rains a lot, which means my riding can go weeks without riding. I tried a trainer but the excitement of having one wore off within a month. I sold it and went back to staring out the window wishing I could ride during those cold raining days. The thought of rollers always scared me since I had seen so many videos of people falling off, so I never gave them a second thought. 2 years later, a friend that works at my local bike shop (Rivercity Bikes) had told me about these motion rollers, which make it easier to ride on. All of a sudden I was excited about the possibilities. That is, until I found out how much they were! I wasn’t about to pay $700+ on rollers. Few months went by and I started doing some research about DIY motion rollers. I saw a couple really good ones, but looked way to complex for my handyman abilities. The rest seemed very cheap and not well thought out. Keep in mind I own maybe 3 tools in my garage, so the thought of building something on my own was a bit intimidating. I knew I would have to keep it simple, but it had to work if i was going to spend the money. I went to my local home depot and had an hour conversation with an old man who turned out to be a hardcore cyclist back in his day. We drew up 2 or 3 blueprints, but it still seemed way to complicated. I knew there was an easier way to build it, I just had to think about how to do it. Finally after a couple days of thinking, I came up with this design. Nothing fancy, nothing too expensive, just something that I felt I could build without cutting off a limb. First things first, I had to get some rollers. I hunted CL and local forums like crazy and one night was lucky to find a guy in Seattle who had some Performance brand rollers for $50. He was coming down to Portland that weekend for business and he agreed to bring them down with him. I bought them and brought them straight home. I figured I would give them a try without the DIY motion contraption first to see just how difficult it was. I tried for 20 minutes, but couldn’t get my balance. At that point I decided to get to it. I built them in a couple hours (still have all 10 fingers BTW) and figured I would video tape myself on my first attempt so I could see how I improved over time. It took me maybe 2 minutes to get the hang of how to balance myself while holding the wall and my front brake at the same time, but once I started it was easy as pie. What you see in the video is my very first time riding on rollers, No lie! To know that I was able to stand out of the saddle and crank it out like that on rollers was exciting. It felt so real, unlike the trainer I had years back. Before I knew it, I was out every morning riding when it was snowing, raining or to dark outside.
Since putting this video on Youtube, I have emailed 1,547 people the blueprints to these DIY rollers! It has been exciting to hear from others that they found this design to be easy for them to build, as well as be very functional. If you have rollers and want to improve your indoor riding experience or have simply been wanting rollers but weren’t sure if you could stay on like me, Give this a shot. It truly is amazing how much easier it is to ride on!
Here is the detailed Build list:
-I started with the rollers first and installing the wheels on each foot.(IF the feet of your rollers are flat it will be easy, if they are cylinder shaped, BE SURE TO DRILL THROUGH STRAIGHT AND LEVEL! if not, your wheels will not be straight and will not roll with ease). I used roller blade wheels so the diameter of the wheel was deeper than skate board wheels most people were using. (I think the roller blade wheels are smoother) whatever wheel you go with be sure to use something with a bearing. My first attempt I used casting wheels with no bearing. problem was when you tightened them down, since there was no bearing it locked the wheel. Loosen it a bit so the wheel could move and it didn’t role straight.
-Using the rollerblade wheels I measured 1/4 inch from the bottom of each leg. Started with a 3/32 drill bit, then 11/16 then 21/64 drill bit for the holes. be sure they are even otherwise your rollers wont be level.
-I used roller blades from my wife’s rollerblades (she still doesn’t know that ) so I also used the bolts that were on the blades to keep them in for my middle wheels. not sure what the technical name is, but it was basically the axle. one was long and hallow and the other part of it screwed into it. I used a 1/4″ washer on each side of the bearing. place the wheel on the outside of the leg. for the front and rear you need (4) 5/16-3 inch hex bolts (1 per wheel). 4 fender washers and (4) 5/16 hex nuts and (4) 5/16 nylon lock nuts. install in this order:
Starting from the outside:
3 inch 5/16 hex bolt, 1/4″ washer, wheel, washer, (leg), 1/4 washer, hex nut, FENDER washer (your bungee hook will go in between the fender washer and the leg of the roller here and the fender washer is large enough to keep the hook from falling out), finish with nylon lock nut tighten down.
Repeat with each corner wheel.
After your roller has the wheels installed you can work on the frame. (I say work on the wheels first so you know how wide to make your frame.
2-2×4’s (8 foot)
-cut them 24″ longer than the length of the rollers. (1 foot for each side.) (some brands are longer than the others)
I bought an aluminum L shaped rod that was for the wheels to role on and keep in line. I cut 6 one foot sections (because the wheels shouldn’t really travel farther than that)
After you cut the 2×4’s the length needed, mark the center. measure the center of the rollers and lightly mark that as well. line up your 2x4s put the rollers on them and adjust the width of the 2×4’s so they are about an 1/8 inch wider than the rollers. Measure the width at both ends of the 2x4s to make sure they are equally spaced.
-with the rollers on the 2×4’s mark where the wheels are and lay down the aluminum L rods that you cut down on the 2×4’s placing them all the way to the outside edge. I used 2 1/4″ screws on each end to screw them down. Once all 6 are screwed in take the remaining wood of the 2×4 and cut them the width of your rollers. I used 4 corner braces on the insides to bolt them together.
-I used 2 5/16 “half eye” bolts. On my receipt they are called “clothline” bolts. Pre-drill with a 21/64 drill bit through the center of the end 2×4’s. the clothline bolt should slide through. put on a fender washer on the backside of the end pieces and tighten down a 5/16 nylon lock nutt.
-use 24″ bungee’s (1/end). Put rollers on frame (wheels should be just inside of the L shape guides you installed). Connect the hooks in between the inside of the leg and the fender washer and then attach around the half eye hook. Repeat for the other side.
I used a 21/64 drill bit (pre-drilled with a 13/63) through the top of the frame about 1/4 back from the middle roller drum. slide from the bottom up a 4 inch 5/16 hex bolt and tighten down with a nylon 5/16 nut (put 1/4 washer in between the frame and nuts. Then use a nylon 5/16 hex nut and screw it down about an inch from the frame. Your wheel is going to sit on this nut and act as the bumper. tighten down with nylon hex nutt. (Its important to use nylon lock nutts or else they will vibrate lose and move. You will want to play with the height with how far down you put your bumper. I helped a friend build a set a couple nights ago and he put his bumper to low which caused an issue. I was hitting in between his rim and tire and almost gripping the tire and wedging it to a stop. I would set your bike on the rollers next to the bumper and try to position it around the braking surface. DON’T go to high or else it will hit your spokes and you will be screwed.
so install in this order:
bolt, 1/4 washer (frame),1/4 washer, nylon nut, (space), Nylon nut, 1/4 washer, wheel, 1/4 washer, nylon nut.
Repeat on other side.
Go to it!
I would like to thank Nick for his generosity.