Review: Tacx Antares Rollers

Autumn is rolling in, which means shorter days, wet weather and colder weather. For some that means night riding, for some that means indoor training. I like to do a mix of both, and having borrowed a set of Tacx Antares rollers from a friend last winter when the weather got bad, I decided that adding a set to my training arsenal would be a great addition.

Mention cycle rollers and the blue conical drums of the Tacx Antares will often spring to mind; they are widely recognised to be one of the best value and best made sets of rollers available. They haven't changed a lot since their first incarnation, but they have been tweaked to make them a superb example of the product.

In this post I give a review of Tacx Antares, then in a subsequent post I will give you some example sessions that are perfect for rollers.

Built to last - Tacx have a strong reputation for building high quality products. Last year I reviewed the Tacx Tao Bottle Cage and Shiva Bottle and I can safely say I don't think I'll ever buy another brand of bottle cage; the Tacx Tao is a piece of kit that just works and continues to do so. I'm pleased to say the Tacx Antares is much the same; it uses high quality bearings in the rollers, and strong plastic and metal for the runners. This is an investment for your training regime, and it is built to last.

Adjustable runners - The key to a good roller set up is getting the right extension distance of the front wheel roller. Firstly, you need to make sure that it is the correct distance forward, so that the bike is correctly balanced and easier to control. Second, you need to make sure both runners are equidistant extended, otherwise you put strain on the bearings within the front roller and produce a horrible creaking noise. The Tacx Antares has a good system of a small metal button underneath each runner, this can be set to exactly the same distance on both sides (distances for wheel bases of your bike are provided in the manual), you are then guaranteed to avoid the dreaded creaking roller effect. Simple.

Value - The Tacx Antares is one of the cheaper models available on the market (though still retailing around £170); you can spend more and get added features such as "rockers" that allow increased stability when sprinting on the rollers, as well as resistance units that can be added to allow higher powered training. However, in my experience these are rather unnecessary for roller training; as you will see in my later posts, the best sessions for rollers are high cadence sessions, technique sessions and recovery sessions. Therefore adding resistance or an increased ability to sprint on your rollers is not really necessary; if you want to do really high powered sessions indoors, use a turbo instead.

Overall - The Tacx Antares has become the benchmark for cycle rollers for a good reason; they are well made, strong, easily transportable (especially with a Tacx Carrier Bag), and they provide everything you really need for roller training. In a subsequent post I will expand on these training sessions in more detail; considering how rollers can be used for warm-ups, technique, recovery and high cadence training.

The Tacx Antares Rollers are available from Wiggle Bike Shop (Link)


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