Introduction: DIY Free Motion Cycling Rollers

Picture of DIY Free Motion Cycling Rollers

This is a copy of the Inside Ride Emachine Free Motion Floating rollers. It works fantastically.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

-1-8ft section of 1.5" Diameter PVC pipe
-4-6 Rollerblade wheels, preferably equal sizes. Skateboard wheels could work also.
-2-3 2' 6" Metal rods the diameter of the inside of your Rollerblade wheels, mine were 1/4".
-4-6 Metal end caps the size of your metal rod. They look like little hats. One is shown in the picture.
-2-36" Black Rubber Tie-Down Straps.
-2 bolts with nuts. About 2.5-3".
-4 pretty large washers.
-Some screws and some nails.
-A hacksaw
-If your rollerblades came with small spacers, keep them, but if not it''s really not important.
-A countersink bit isn't absolutely necessary, but allows the screw head to lay flush.
-Wood glue if you'd like.
-Preferably small table saw, but jig saw could work with a steady hand.
-A basic set of tools would come in handy. A wrench, hammer, and screwdriver were useful.
-And obviously, your rollers.
-The first nine supplies(except the rollerblade wheels) cost me only $35 at The Home Depot.

Step 2: Split the PVC Pipe

Picture of Split the PVC Pipe

First measure the length of your rollers. Then add 24"to that because that gives 12 inches of rolling space on each side, this is how long you will cut your PVC, if it adds to more than 8ft(I don't know of any rollers this long) it is OK, as long as you have at least 8 inches on each side. Make the cut there so you have your length of PVC. Now run this through the table saw long ways so it splits in half, you may have to flip it over and cut twice if your blade is not high enough, I did. Just make sure you don't twist the pipe too much while running through the saw. If you don't have a table saw and only a jig saw, just do your best and tell me how it worked.

Step 3: Cut the Wood and Screw the PVC In.

Picture of Cut the Wood and Screw the PVC In.

First line the wood up with your rollers so they are even and mark in 3 spots where you want to put the wheels on each piece of wood, add 6 inches to each side of those and mark that off. Don't screw within those marks because that is where the wheels are going to roll. Place the PVC on the wood in the center with the wood laying flat. Countersink if you can then screw in. I put in 6 screws on each piece of wood and it is extremely sturdy.

Step 4: Drill Holes for the Axle

Picture of Drill Holes for the Axle

This is pretty simple. Whatever the size of your metal rod is, that is the size drill bit you will use. My rollers had 6 legs that I drilled into, you may have to improvise if yours are different. I know of some with only 4 legs, I would say that wherever the rollers contact the ground, put an axle. Just drill holes for the rod in two or three spots on both sides, making sure the holes opposite each other are in the exact same position, so the axle is not crooked. Now make sure the belt that spins the rollers is in the position it needs to be to function. I made the stupid mistake of not doing this and I had to take apart the assembly after it was complete. Then slide the axle through, you should have to bang it through with a mallet, don't use a metal hammer unless that's all you have, it will make it difficult for the metal cap placement. Also, the axle is not supposed to spin.

Step 5: Attaching the Wheels

Picture of Attaching the Wheels

First, measure 2 1/2 Inches from the side of the rollers to the end of the metal rod, cut there with a hacksaw. Repeat on each axle until they are all done. Then put the spacers on if they came, if not then it is not a big deal. Then put the wheel on, then pound the metal end cap on with a hammer making sure you brace the other end so you don't just push the axle through. Do this do every one then put the PVC-wood combo under each side and depending on the size of your wheels the axle may touch your PVC, mine did. I ran the PVC-wood combo through the table saw with the guide on and almost ruined the PVC by cutting it too shallow. SO DO NOT USE THE GUIDE WHEN MAKING THE PVC MORE SHALLOW. Do it by hand and only shave off a small amount. If you made a perfect first split then you shouldn't have to worry about it.

Step 6: Making the Frame

Picture of Making the Frame

First make sure your rollers roll in the PVC channel smoothly, and the two pieces of wood are parallel. Measure the distance from the outside of the two boards. This will be the length of the cross boards. Cut two of them and put them in place as shown in the picture below, vertically. Do this on each side. A brace in the middle is not necessary, i didn't use one and mine is sturdy, but you can place one if you want. Nail or screw these in and use glue if you want, I did, wood glue is very strong.

Step 7: Putting on the Rubber Straps

Picture of Putting on the Rubber Straps

Put the rollers in their place on the frame and center them. Use larger screws and the large washers to tie down the strap to the wood as shown in the third picture. Then you will need a the bolt to tie the strap the the frame. Stretch the strap out until there is no slack but not so tight to where there is a lot of tension. Drill a hole through the strap and the rollers the size of the bolt. Make sure you put it in a spot where it does not impede the function of the rollers. Do the same thing on the other side. Now your rollers are complete!

Step 8: Optional Bumpers

Picture of Optional Bumpers

Simply cut a piece of angle iron(4th picture), available at the home depot, cut as shown in photo 2-3. Do this twice. Now you have two pieces of angle iron about as wide as shown in picture five. Take the original axle from your rollerblades and put it through the short end of the angle iron. Pack it with washers to make it really tight, but make sure the wheel still spins. To ensure this you can use the spacers that came with the rollerblades right next to each side of the wheel and then put washers on. Put this on the outside of the rollers axle and replace the nut and you are good to go!

Step 9: Ride!


gregr (author)2010-02-28

Why does the front wheel turn?

mspringmann (author)gregr2014-02-15

The wheels on a bicycle are gyroscopes that keep you upright. They must spin, or you will fall over.

trayo (author)gregr2010-02-28

 If I'm not mistaken it's so you can control the side to side motion of the bike. It would feel more like your riding on the road and less like a stationary trainer bike. This is my first time seeing the free motion thing and it looks super cool.

pennachi1 (author)trayo2010-03-01

Exactly. Do you cycle?

trayo (author)pennachi12010-03-01

 I do cycle.

pennachi1 (author)gregr2010-03-01

 There is a belt between the first rear one and the front. It is clear though that's why you can't see it

crashman77 (author)2013-04-08

I'm just a tad confused with the wheel/axle assembly. Does the wheel just rest on the rod through it's hole? Or are there washers or something other than the endcaps involved? If there is, I obviously missed it. :)

jongscx (author)2010-03-01

You need to mount the FreeMotion Rollers themselves to a set of road tires so that you can take it outside and practice stationary cycling while moving outside...


jdlbb (author)jongscx2012-08-09

Confused...why not just run? Seems like there is a lot of wasted energy happening.

jongscx (author)jdlbb2012-08-09

Well, if your point is to exercise, it would actually be more efficient to do this because with all the wasted energy you will burn more calories traveling the same distance. Also, it would isolate you from the road surface irregularities.

All seriousness aside, this IS actually supposed to be silly. Cool but silly.

valhallas_end (author)jongscx2010-03-04

That...I really want to build one.  That would be the most hilarious thing to show up to work riding...

pennachi1 (author)jongscx2010-03-02

That's funny as hell.

csorrows (author)2010-03-04

 I'm confused. Where did the rollers come from? They are not mentioned in the parts needed. Is there something assumed here that should be explained?

gallamine (author)csorrows2010-03-04

 I *think* he purchased standard cycling rollers and then added the PVC slides on the site. So, still expensive :(

amdivoff (author)gallamine2010-09-24

i think youre right. theres no real benefit from this unless you already have spent the dough on the frame and rollers already.

Kubuntu (author)amdivoff2011-08-28

There are plenty of 'make your own rollers' guides out there. Try this one:

PS: I know I'm late to the party, but I wanted the link here for anyone who got here from Google and didn't notice it already.

M-26-7 (author)2010-03-04

I'd really appreciate if you could point me towards a site/store where I could buy some rollers (if you know of any).

Also what do you think of parabolic rollers? Would the build need to be changed for this? 

amdivoff (author)M-26-72010-10-16

I was told by a Saris employee that you are able to purchase rollers individually if you wanted...

pennachi1 (author)M-26-72010-03-05

This is the website of my rollers. I have the aluminum ones without resistance but any of them on the website would work. And the parabolic rollers could work except for the fact that the drums the bike rolls on are really close to the ground, not allowing much room for the axle. I am not saying they couldn't work but from the images online it looks like it could be tough. This was in the Elite brand I saw, I don't know of any other brands of parabolic rollers but I also don't know much of anything.

amdivoff (author)pennachi12010-09-24

@pennachi1 ? the link results 404 error. and has only racks.
anyone have a good working link?

alwaysworks (author)amdivoff2010-10-14

looks like that's the one the author was referring to.

amdivoff (author)2010-10-15

I bought Cycleops PVC rollers for 179 including shipping and no tax.

even though they are PVC, i found cycleops is the only one offering lifetime warranty.

Individual rollers for sale are way too expensive.

bobbelsekwol (author)2010-03-26

 I have a set of rollers and try to use them often, why would i need the bumpers, is it cos its easier to fall off on motion rollers. Surely the bumpers make it dangerous. Great idea though, off to the local B&Q store for wood and stuff, and my little girl doesn`t use her roller skates anymore. Well she won`t when i`ve finished butchering them!!!

evamen88 (author)2010-03-24

Thanks for the 'ible.  I was considering the e-motion rollers but this plus normal rollers will save me over $400.  As I'm new to rollers do you think fore and aft bumpers are necessary (as in the ones present on e-motion rollers)?  Again, great job!

sing1ejack (author)2010-03-07

Ok, this is pretty clearly intended for folks who are much more into cycling than I am.  Stipulated.  But what if I, a non-biker who has 6 yr old lawnsale bicycle used pretty much exclusively for trips to get milk, wanted to build one of these from the ground up?  I don't happen to have a set of rollers laying around and am not too keen on laying down a couple hundred for them.  Any reason I couldn't make some with some pipe and a couple more rollerblade wheels fixed to each opening?  Other ideas/improvements/cautions?

pennachi1 (author)sing1ejack2010-03-10

 If you are willing to try that then I say good luck. It seems that it would work if you could find the size pvc to fit a rollerblade wheel. Also you would need some sort of flexible belt to go between the 2 front-most drums. You can buy a replacement one (I think) and that would obviously work. 

centurion48 (author)2010-03-02

 Perhaps better to drill and fix the PVC half-pipes to the timber after the axle height is confirmed. The PVC pipe can then just be rotated (outwards) to allow the axles to clear the PVC then the pipe is screwed to the timber.
Good and simple design - I like it.

pennachi1 (author)centurion482010-03-05

 That's friggin' smart.

TFrosty (author)2010-03-03

where did you got your actual rollers as well as the frame you used?

pennachi1 (author)TFrosty2010-03-04

I just took it for granted that everyone understood that you need rollers to make this.

yomero (author)2010-03-04

but the actual thing where the bike rolls, thats store bought right?

pyro1324 (author)2010-02-28

what if you go one inch too far to one of the sides?!

Visitor (author)pyro13242010-03-03

Your front wheel falls off the roller, hits the  floor leaving a black streak of rubber and stops rotating. The rear wheel usually starts sliding in the opposite direction and before you know, your instincts have unclipped your shoe and placed your foot on the ground.

You will then take a few deep breaths to calm your racing heart and commence training.

No big deal. :) If you think about the forces involved, falling from rollers becomes much less horrifying. While riding on street, you will have a mass about 100kg going on at 30km/h. That is a lot of momentum. On rollers you have two 0.8kg wheels rotating. They just don't have the momentum to cause a serious crash.

pennachi1 (author)Visitor2010-03-03

Exactly. Some people are worried about being clipped in but I can clip out without even thinking about it, just as fast as not even being clipped in.

tealpsyclone (author)pyro13242010-02-28

 a new youtube smash hit

pennachi1 (author)tealpsyclone2010-02-28


pennachi1 (author)pyro13242010-02-28

I have done it before, but that was the first day I got it. You can fall pretty violently, but usually you stay on your feet. Now I am good enough to where I just don't fall. Also, there are side bumpers on so that doesn't happen.

patricksanford (author)2010-03-03

it's a rube goldberg suicide machine.
you're just missing the falling weights attached to coo-coo clocks and a watering bucket.

glenm (author)2010-02-28

nice. my rollers are just on their legs I will consider doing this. does it feel better? nice felt I think I have the same one.

pennachi1 (author)glenm2010-03-01

It feels amazing. Even the slightest back and forth motion  makes the ride smoother and feels just like the road. And mine is an F75.

Visitor (author)pennachi12010-03-02

This is a very nice, simple and functional execution of the idea! Congratulations!

People interested in free rollers should note that stationary rollers improve pedaling style. When the bike starts to bounce back and forth on stationary rollers, it is a sign of unsmooth pedaling technique. So, if you build a free rooller, remember to ride stationary too every now and then. It will improve your riding skills. :)

kissiltur (author)2010-03-01

I'm thinking that it would be a good idea to temporarily attach the uncut pipe to a length of wood to run along the fence. Two options:

1. hot glue
2. make the pipe longer and used screws in the ends

Apart from the twisting, this would also be safer since there is more for your push stick to shove at.

rimar2000 (author)2010-03-01

Awesome, I want one of these!

CementTruck (author)2010-02-28

That video is crazy cool. :)

I agree with pennachi1 regarding your table saw. You can make your own Throat Plate out of something like Phenolic if you can' t find a replacement plate online.

Get a piece of paper and a pencil. Place the paper on your saw and rub the pencil over table saw throat. This will give you the exact dimensions of the cuts you need. Once your'e done cutting the Phenolic you can drill holes for the screws (make sure to recess the screw holes). After the Phenolic is in place, fire up the table saw and slowly raise the blade. the blade will cut its own path into the material, giving you the tightest possible tolerance. Do this several times at multiple angles to get the wide range of angles allowed by your saw.

Congrats on your first Instructable. Cheers!

pennachi1 (author)CementTruck2010-02-28

That's a great idea. Thanks!

theRIAA (author)2010-02-27

that is amazing! but also looks dangerous /:

pennachi1 (author)theRIAA2010-02-27

It is alot of fun after some practice.

theRIAA (author)pennachi12010-02-28

if the rollers were just slightly wider on the outside, or had stoppers on the end, i think you could ride without having to look down...

pennachi1 (author)theRIAA2010-02-28

I can ride without looking down now. It just took some practice, also, i added bumpers and made a new video, check it out.

theRIAA (author)pennachi12010-02-28

Oh wow, those bumpers are perfect, nice overall design.

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