DIY Bike Rollers




About: I have a never-ending desire to try new things, build stuff, experiment, and learn. I don't really watch TV, or play video games - I prefer to get my entertainment from physically interacting with the world....
It is my personal belief that many people own bicycles, and that many of those people aren't interested in riding for pleasure / exercise when it is raining, snowing, dark, etc. outside, and that many of those people would ride their bicycle indoors if they had a fun and challenging device that allowed them to do so, and that many of those people would build such a device themselves if given the encouragement and advice to do so. Thus, if my calculations are correct, this Instructable my indeed be appropriate for, and benefit many people.

DIY Bike Rollers from Jason Sauers on Vimeo.

Some people prefer stands and other types of trainers over rollers, but to me there are a few appealing aspects of rollers vs others:

More enjoyable
Faster / more intense Workouts
More challenging / engaging
Better all-over body workout
No adapting or installation - just set the bike on and go

Some may argue that it isn't worth the cost (a new set can be bought ~ $200) and time to build your own, but that can be said about almost anything-
I enjoy building things, I had all the materials that I needed, and it only took a weekend to build.

The building isn't particularly challenging, so long as you are familiar with basic construction / projecting techniques, and have access to the necessary tools and materials.
I would not however suggest this as a first project, or for someone who does not have experience with similar projects.

P.S. I do not intended for this to be a set of step-by-step construction plans, as I feel that those who will likely have success in completing a project like this will be able to easily fill-in the b_a_ks that I may leave.

P.P.S. This is another homebuilt setup (much more sophisticated than mine) that I didn't find until writing this - however for me the free-motion feature isn't very important :

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Step 1: Parts and Materials

Again- my goal is not to create a set of building plans, but rather lay out some suggestions for others to build off of.
I know that there are improvements and tweaks that others will find as they build their own which will result in better and diverse versions.

Some material suggestions:
3" PVC pipe 3pcs @ 18"
8ft of low stretch webbing - or tubing, rope etc
6+ Ball Bearings
Steel Rod 3pcs @ 21"
Dimensional Lumber - or other material for frame
Traction tape

Step 2: Dimensions

The roller width can be as wide - or narrow as you'd like, but unless you have very good balance, I wouldn't recommend less than 14 or so inches. I built mine 18 inches wide.

The distance between centers on most adult bikes are fairly similar - but you may want to build the rollers to the bike you plan on using on it. Making it adjustable is also an option, but didn't seem necessary to me - I have rode four different bikes from full suspension downhill, to road racing on it and no adjustment was necessary

The rear tire will be centered halfway between the rear two rollers, and the center of the front wheel should be slightly behind the center of the front roller. So if your bike is 51.5" center to center, add a couple inches and make it 53.5" or ( (11 / 2) + 38)

Step 3: Rollers

I used 3" PVC for the rollers, you will want something large enough to give decent traction between the tire and roller surface. Also, the larger the roller - the slower the bearings have to spin. Again, I made mine 18" wide. You actually ony have a useable 16 or so inches with the webbing / cord that connects the front and mid roller.

You can also use logs if you like a rougher - more off-road feel

I cut rings of the 3" pvc and used them to create a channel to restrict the webbing from walking around on the roller

Step 4: Bearings

The skate board bearings are pressed in to plywood discs that fit snugly into the PVC, and are then held in place with a few countersunk flat head screws.

I cut the plywood discs using a jigsaw, and then sanded them to the compass mark

The recess can be made using a paddle bit of forstner bit

I then made retainers out of big fender washers to hold the bearings tightly

If possible, the bearings should be pressed into the discs tightly, if the bit you use doesn't allow for this, epoxy may be necessary to keep them from potentially wearing or slipping in the wood

Step 5: The Frame

The frame is pretty simple - you need two long pieces of material to hold the axles off the ground, and something to separate them the appropriate distance from one another.

I added a little standing platform on both sides just to make it easier to get on and off - but it isn't necessary

2x4 studs or other common materials will work fine - you certainly don't need to use hardwood like is pictured in mine

You will also want a way of pinning the axles so that they don't turn or try working their way out while moving.

Note the notch in the middle cross pieces to accommodate the webbing

Step 6: The Missing Link

The front roller should be connected to the middle roller so that it in turn spins the front wheel.

I chose to use some 1" webbing, since I had some lying around. Lots of different things could be used for this however, rope, rubber tubing, rubber strapping, etc. The important thing is that you can get it tight, and so that it doesn't slip on the rollers.

It is easiest to figure out how long it needs to be by assembling the frame and rollers, and then measuring and marking directly. It is also better to make it a touch small so that it will be tight when you put it together

The belt is a single piece of webbing - with the two ends overlapped and joined together.

The joint is preferably sewn, but gluing should also work - see comments on pic

Step 7: Putting It All Together

A clamp may help with stretching the strap to get everything to go together properly - a test assembly with-out the strap should tell you that everything is lining up properly before taking it apart and installing the strap.

I built mine without the stepping plates first, and then decided to add them afterword
They aren't necessary, but are nice

Some people also like the security of wheels on top to prevent the bike tire from tracking off the edge of the rollers - often seen on the free-motion setups - I didn't feel them necessary

It is nice to assemble the frame with strictly screws or bolts - as you may want to take it apart later to adjust, transport, etc.

Hope you found this helpful - Have fun if you do decide to build your own, and go get some exercise. For both your body and your creativity.

Step 8: Other People's Builds

I know of at least a couple people who have created their own version of a bike roller setup, and this step's goal is to highlight some of those other builds.

dhouggy also created an instructable, and those steps are visible here:

fuj1b1ke's build is shown below in some of the pictures

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    80 Discussions


    5 weeks ago on Step 8

    Great job you could also use the roller from an old lawn mower, treadmill or if cheap enough rolling pins ( kitchen ). Great presentation.


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Can you (or anyone else) explain why the front wheel needs to spin ?

    5 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Mabye it just simulates biking for real?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    If the front wheel isn't spinning, it is extremely difficult to stay upright
    (this essentially happens if the belt jumps off the roller or becomes overly slack)

    There are two main reasons that I can identify:

    1- If the front tire is not turning, it will not want to track side to side, and you wont be able to steer or balance well (you could set something up to hold the front fork fixed and steady, but then you would essentially have a stationary trainer)

    2- The added gyroscopic effect of the spinning front wheel helps you to balance. Rollers are reasonably difficult to ride on even with both wheels spinning... trust me. It takes a bit of practice

    Let me know if you need further clarification

    Hi Sky,
    nice stuff here--I'm prepping to do a version of this. But where did you find 3/8" bore bearings to be able to fit 3/8" rod? All the skateboard bearings I've found are 8 mm or 0.31"...

    The bearings I used were not actual skateboard bearings, but 3/8" ID bearings I had left over in my shop from something else.

    If you want 3/8" ID bearings, it looks like you can get them off ebay for ~$2 each

    dhouggy used actual skateboard bearings in his build - you might want to check it out if you haven't already:

    I guess my suggestion is to use whatever is easily accessible and fits within your budget - Im sure you can come up with a more clever solution than mine.

    Post some pics and send me a link when you finish it. I'd like to see it.


    1 year ago

    Hi. This project will be very useful once I have built it, but I have one query. I am just checking to see if you can adjust the resistance the rolling road puts on the wheel. If not would you please give me a comparison of what the resistance is similar to. Thanks


    4 years ago on Step 1



    4 years ago on Step 6

    A rotating wheel adds stability through gyroscopic precession. Check out this video for more explanation:


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome. All you need is a low-friction generator and you can charge your smartphone.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    nice homemade roller. how long did you build?
    I have also build roller, but it is metal.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. It was more than a couple years ago now, but I think that I built them in two evenings after work. I like yours also - At the time I had access to free lumber - If I were to make another set, It might be quicker to use Metal angle or tubing as you have. Cost might be higher for metal, depending on your source. Thanks for sharing


    Please could you email me some pictures of you DIY bike roller without the bike on so I can have a go at making it? email: Thanks,

    1 reply

    Are you looking for something different than this: ?
    Let me know -


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for this instructable! Great plans, I built one and it works great! I modified two steps. Instead of using a steel rod which spans the entire pipe, I used 4 inch 5/16th bolts which are fixed to the frame. Also instead of sewing the strap which connects the front and back roller, I used a series of velcro patches.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Sweet! Glad to hear it. I like your idea of using velcro - makes it easier to assemble/disassemble and its adjustable. Good thinking.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    The wooden inserts into the PVC roller.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    What do you have between the roller and the frame so the roller doesn't wander and rub on the frame? Im thinking somehting like this:

    |Frame| /\/\/\ |TW| |FW| |TW| |Roller| 

    /\/\/\ = Spring TW=Teflon washer FW=Fender washer

    ...and kudos on the wheels, I had a guy turn mine with a lathe for $25. (yours are still better)