Introduction: DIY Motion Rollers


Since a knee injury, the best way for me to get exercise is on a bicycle. However, the weather isn't always great, and texting drivers makes it a little more dangerous than it used to be. Most cycling trainers are a fixture that you lock your back hub into and you spin against some sore of magnetic, wind, or fluid resistance. Unfortunately they don't give you any feel like you are riding a bike and they are EXTREMELY boring. Rollers allow you to actually ride your bicycle on the equipment, but if you have any fore/aft motion, you may come off regular rollers. That is where the "motion" comes in, the rollers are actually mounted on roller blade wheels and held in place with bungie cords. Now motion it transferred to the rollers and it is very smooth. The e-motion™ rollers are an outstanding piece of kit, but they are very expensive.

That is when I came across Ted Zuhlsdorf's Youtube video about building your own. I have been riding them for a little over a year and it has kept me riding through the year, made me a better bike handler, and provided a workout that requires your full attention and therefore keeps it interesting.

Step 1: Buy the Equipment

You need to buy two specialty items, the rest you can get from the local hardware store:

1. Bicycling Rollers (ebay)

2. Roller blade wheels (eBay)

3.(4) 2 1/2 X 5/16 bolts

4. (2) 3 1/2 X 5/16 carriage bolts

5. (2) 4 1/2 X 5/16 eye bolts

6. (14) 5/16 lock nuts

7. (8) 5/16 fender washers (large flat washer)

8. (16) 5/16 flat washers

9. (2) bungie cords

10. (2) 1 X 4 X 6 pine board

11. (2) 1 x 2 X 5 pine board

12. (2) 2 X 4 X 2 pine board

13. Drywall screws

14. Drill

15. 5/16 inch drill bit

16. #2 phillips head bit

17. Wood thread eye bolts (2 inch)

Step 2: Put Wheels on the Frame Legs

The first thing you need to do is mount the rollerblade wheels on the legs of the rollers. Mine came with 6 metal legs, so I drilled a hole through each one on the centerline approximately 1 inch from the bottom. The goal is to get the wheel to touch the ground instead of the leg. The four outside legs from the outside include: Bolt, flat washer, wheel, flat washer, leg, fender washer, lock nut. (see photo)

The center legs will also be the mounting points for the bungie cords. This one builds from the inside out, so the eye of the eye bolt is between the rails. It goes eye bolt, lock nut, fender washer, leg, flat washer, wheel, flat washer, lock nut.

If the wheels are too tight to the frame, you can add additional washers to build standoff. You need them to roll freely on their bearings.

Step 3: Build the Front Wheel Safety Feature

You will now mount two rollerblade wheels horizontally to keep your front wheel from coming off the front roller. You want the skate wheel to contact the tire/rim of the bike just behind the front roller so that it will "nudge" you back toward centerline.

With the trainer resting on the skate wheels, you will drill a vertical hole approximately 1 1/2 inches behind the centerline of the front roller on each side.

The build up from the bottom is carriage bolt, frame, fender washer, lock nut ---spacing(for height) lock nut, flat washer, wheel, flat washer, lock nut. (see photo)

Step 4: Frame

As you are riding, the frame will allow the training to roll forward and aft and is returned to center with the bungie cords.

The frame sides are built up using a 6 foot 1X4 with a 1X2 on the top with the outboard sides flush with each other. This will build a "track" for the wheels to ride in going forward and aft.

When the sides are built up, put the rollers on the inside of the 1X4 to get adequate spacing. The wheels should set in the middle of the single board (see photo). When you have it parallel and the wheels fit on the track, measure the distance between the boards.

Take the trainer off the wooden frame and flip it over. You want to screw it together from the bottom. Adjust the spacing of the parallels so that is is the same and screw the 2 x 4 to the sides from the bottom.

Now you have a rectangle that is held together with the drywall screws. Flip it back over for the last step.

In the center of the 2X4s, screw in a 2 inch wood thread eye bolt. This will hold the bungie cords at each end. The other end of the cords attach to the eye bolts at the center of the trainer. Adjust the length of the bungies so that there is resistance to movement in both the forward and aft directions.

Step 5: RIDE!!!

Now throw the bike on there and ride.


I have mine set up next to a wall. It provides an easier way to start and stop.

A fan in front of the rollers provides some cooling

A large TV in front of the rollers helps pass the time

It will be terrifying the first time that you get on, but keep with it, after a couple rides you will be good to go.

HAVE FUN and stay safe. You will be safer and healthier and you also won't get caught out with a flat tire :-)

**I built up the frame recently and covered it with astroturf so that I could put my feet down. Remember, you are higher than you are on a bicycle on the roads. Also remember, cleats on concrete are slippery (I may have taken a spill once or twice getting off.)

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