Did you just pick up some rollers for the coming indoor riding season? Great choice! (I am a big fan of rollers over stationary trainers.)

Now you just need to set them up…

The good news is, rollers are very easy to set up. Even better, you only have to set them up once – there is no need to adjust them each time you ride! (If you use a stationary trainer, it requires adjustment each time you put your bike on it.)

Tools needed:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Plumb bob (optional)

Now let’s get started…


Step 1: Set the rollers on the floor.

Place the rollers on a flat surface. Unfold them if that is an option.

rollers set up for riding

If unfolding them, make sure the cable is resting in the grooves on the sides of the roller drums. This cable is vital because it connects the drums so they all rotate together!

rollers set up for riding


Step 2a: See if your bike fits.

This is the only real step in roller setup. You need to adjust the position of the front drum to match your bicycle’s wheelbase.

To do this, hold your bicycle on the rollers. Be sure to place the rear wheel over the two nonadjustable drums. The front wheel should rest on the single front drum.

rear wheel on rollers

Now look at the bicycle’s front hub and the rollers’ front drum. What you want to do is move the drum forward or backward so that the front hub is slightly behind the drum.

What has worked perfectly for me is dropping a plumb bob from the quick release skewer. I like it so I can drop a plumb bob from the skewer (which is the center of the front hub) and have it hit the back side of the drum. This means the center of the front hub is behind the center of the drum.

Note: If you do not have a plumb bob, you can just eyeball it.

front wheel on rollers

Why not center the wheel over the drum? If the front hub is directly above or slightly in front of the drum, it’s more likely you’ll ride off the front of the rollers!


Step 2b: Move the front roller.

Now, if the drum does need moved, grab the adjustable wrench.

To move the drum, just loosen the end bolts with an adjustable wrench, move the drum into a different set of holes, and re-tighten the bolts.

move front drum on rollers

When finished, make sure everything is tight, and take a test ride!

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  1. Excellent explanation and photos! Thanks!!!

  2. If you put the roller slight in front of the front wheel, wont it lessen the effective trail of the front wheel and make it twitchier?

  3. Purchased a used set of rollers and was going to use them as is, but the current setting has the front roller directly under the hub. Based on past experience something seemed odd. Your explanation with images reassured me. I’ll adjust them tonight (as I install a new belt) and give it a test. Thanks.

  4. “slightly” is not a number.

  5. also you could just measure your wheelbase (that’s what those numbers are on the rollers), and select the next higher up.
    this whole eyeballing and plumb bob business is really not necessary if you have a tape measurer.

  6. Should the wheelbase of the bike be the same as the contact point on the roller? To be more specific, should the point of tangentcy on both wheels be the same or is it enough to just have the front wheel somewhere behind the top of the roller?

  7. There are slots on the drum for the belt, on either side, but the photos show only one belt. Why? Should there be two belts? Where can replacement belts be ordered from? Thanks

    • @Philip

      You only need one belt. I assume it’s just easier for manufacturing and assembly purposes to make the drums symmetrical.

      You can buy replacement belts from PerformanceBike.com and other retailers. I point out Performance Bike because they made the rollers in the pictures, so that’s where I go to buy replacement belts ($5.99 each).

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