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Shaft drive rollers?

Rollers don’t seem to be all that popular anymore. I don’t know why; I like riding mine much more than the stationary trainer. Rollers are not as hard on the bike and, in my opinion, are a lot more fun to ride (of course fun is a relative term when talking about indoor riding). Last night, I pulled my rollers out for a quick bit of spinning. Unfortunately, I found that the belt connecting the front drum to the rear was no longer there; my two year old apparently thought that the belt made a great toy on its own. I found the broken band and tried to melt it back together, but it just didn’t hold. Oh well, on to the magnetic resistance trainer.

Today, I searched the web for a replacement part. I found a place that sells the belts, but the product description actually said that I might need to splice and re-weld it with a propane torch. What? I already tried that. Today I started thinking, isn’t there a better way to connect the drums than using a flimsy rubber band? What if the front drum and the forward most rear drum had beveled gears? A rigid shaft could connect the two. With a sheet metal cover attached to the frame, the drive shaft would be completely out of the way. No more worries of snagged or broken belts. Maybe someone could even figure out a reliable way to add variable resistance using a system like this. Making them foldable might be a challenge, but I think it’s doable. Maybe I’ll even try to figure out a way to convert mine now that they are broken. OK, OK, not really, I’ll never find the time. I guess I’ll just keep using the good old mag trainer until I find a new belt that fits. It’s almost Spring anyhow.

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7 Responses

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  1. Flatman says

    Funny…I just sold an old pair yesterday. I’m not like you…the mag trainer is just easier for me…

  2. michael downes says

    Isn’t the issue to do with variable wheel bases? A stretchy rubber belt is a no brainer in that department. A shaft drive would have to be telescopic adding weigth, cost and complexity. Ditto for a chain drive.

  3. James says

    Yes Michael, that is a good point. Front drum adjustability is necessary and the shaft idea would probably not be cost effective anyway. I just threw it out because it was the first idea that popped into my head while I was trying to melt that band together with a propane torch. In retrospect, the universal rubber band probably is still the best solution; I was just ranting a bit because mine broke. I still think that maybe a removable cover over the band to keep it from getting snagged might be a good idea.

  4. jeanthibca says

    maybe you should begin with a chain. Way more simpler.

  5. tomwright says

    You are behind the times. I remember seeing a pair of rollers made out of wood. The drums were probably over 1 foot in diameter. They had a shaft drive front to rear, if I recall, as well as a cable drive that went to a large dial with two hands, one for each roller.

    Two riders would hop on, have the hands set to ’12′, and whoever got their dial hand around and back to ’12′ first, won.

    This was 30 years ago, at the Ridgewood Cycle shop in Ridgewood, NJ. And they were old then. I later saw this set, or another just like it, when I started to ride with the old North Jersey Bike Club out of Ridgefield Park. This was Mike Fraysee’s old bunch. He is up in Glen Spey, NY last I heard with some sort of bike resort. Maybe he still has them or knows where to find some.

    Funny, this is the second time today I have written about him in a blog, and I have not even THOUGHT of him for YEARS.

  6. James says

    Tom, thanks for the comment. I love seeing pictures of old roller races from the 60′s and earlier. I saw that someone in NY was staging similar races about a year ago, but I can’t remember exactly wherel.

  7. McAllister says

    To get the shaft to telescope a square pipe inside a slightly larger square pipe would work, and because they are hollow they would be lightweight. Thats my 2 cents.



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