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Kinetic Rock and Roll turbo trainer review

6 Dec 2016

Love it or hate it Kinetic’s Rock and Roll trainer is doing something different

As I write this, I feel vindicated in my first impression that the Kinetic Rock and Roll turbo trainer is a bit of a ‘Marmite product’.

That’s because a colleague has just called time early on a Rock and Roll turbo training session, citing a complete incompatibility with it.

This just moments after I had been extolling its virtues to a different member of the Cyclist team.

Rocking while you're rolling

Kinetic’s Rock and Roll is unique among turbos in that its patented design allows you and your bike to rock side-to-side whilst you train.

The upper portion of the turbo frame fixes your bike’s back wheel to a fluid resistance unit, just like a normal trainer.

But this section is connected to the base via a pivot that allows the whole upper section to move left and right.

Kinetic claims that this delivers a more realistic riding experience than a regular, rigid trainer, whilst also providing a better workout for your core, as you have to stabilise yourself in order to train properly.

Returning to my infuriated colleague, I can completely understand why he couldn’t get on with the trainer, despite my own positive opinions.

Some riders want a ‘purer’ experience on a turbo, where they focus on one goal, be it a power output, intensity or particular workout structure, and forget about everything else.

All about balance

This can’t be done on the Rock and Roll, because unless you are naturally perfectly balanced on your bike at all times, I found I started to lean left or right if I didn’t pay constant attention to my balance and pedalling technique.

But rather than put me off as it did my colleague, I found this enriched my experience on the trainer.

It encouraged me to work on my pedalling craft - a smoother, more souplesse-esque action made me more stable and better able to train.

For me, having to work on a skill turned what would otherwise be dry training into more engaging sessions that I think translated into real-world improvements to the technical side of my pedalling action.

The Rock and Roll’s unique design is well supported by a smooth, progressive and powerful fluid resistance unit that replicated road feel as well as I needed.

Set up with care

However, it is important to note that care must be taken during the set-up of the trainer to ensure the rear tyre contacts the resistance unit dead-centre of the roller.

Otherwise, a predisposition towards a left or right lean can occur that may be counterproductive to your training.

While the side-to-side flex is a great feature, the trade-off for a base stable enough to not tip over easily is a large footprint.

As such this trainer isn’t for those that are short on space. Also, I can’t help thinking that Kinetic have missed a trick by not including an insert to disable the rocking if desired.

It seems a simple enough fix (just a shaped wedge would do) and it would make the trainer appeal to a wider market.

That said, as-is the Rock and Roll is an unusual and useful training aid and Kinetic should be applauded for it’s bold approach to indoor training.

We are planning to bolt on Kinetic’s Smart Control Power Unit to the Rock and Roll in the coming weeks so expect an update on the souped-up trainer soon.

Verdict: Love it or hate it, and you'll almost certainly fall into either one camp or the other, Kinetic’s Rock and Roll trainer deserves credit for doing something different.



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