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Kit Review: Fusion Speed Mini Rollers

09 December 2014

Product

Fusion Speed Mini Rollers

Price

£55

Supplier

Fusion Aluminium Welding – www.fusionaluminiumwelding.co.uk
Fusion Sport is run by the parents of keen youth riders, and the idea for their Mini Rollers came about as a direct result of their youth circuit racing experiences. Instead of getting cold waiting for delayed race starts, the new rollers allow riders to turn their legs over to stay warm. It’s a brilliantly simple idea and you wonder why no-one had thought of it before.

What it’s for

Be clear, though, that these aren’t training rollers. A rider would still do their usual warm-up before a race whether on standard three-drum rollers, a turbo trainer, or on the road. The Mini Rollers are simply intended for use in the final five or ten minutes down at the start.

Some riders aren’t bothered at all about those final ten minutes and they’ll happily go from a standing start to flat out without keeping warm. Others, though, feel that they race much better if they keep their legs moving until the last possible moment.

How it works

The Mini Rollers are placed on the ground with the bike’s rear wheel sitting between the two narrow aluminium drums. The bike’s front wheel simply rests on the ground. A helper stabilises the bike & its rider by holding both sides of the handlebars firmly and by bracing the front wheel between their legs. The rider then simply pedals as normal.

Bikes with any wheel diameter from 20” upwards can use the Mini Rollers. During our testing we used the Mini Rollers with a road bike, a track bike, a cyclocross bike, and even a mountain bike with full knobbly tyres. We even used a Brompton!

Most of our testing was done with Under 12 riders, but we also tested them with older, much bigger riders too.

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Size and weight

The Mini Rollers are small – they measure just 26cm x 26cm x 7cm. They only weigh around 1.5kg too. So, they’re small and light enough to fit into a race bag or rucksack without a problem. It’s a lot easier than lugging around even the most portable set of full-size rollers.

Construction and quality

The two rollers themselves are 180mm-wide aluminium cylinders with plastic end-caps. They are 45mm in diameter. The box-section, aluminium frame has a protective black finish and four small rubber feet.

The quality of the bearings is good – they’re very smooth. The drums are very round and uniform.

The whole thing feels high quality and bullet-proof. We’d expect the Mini Rollers to last for many years.

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Resistance

You might expect that such a small set of rollers would have very little pedalling resistance but, in fact, there’s more resistance than you’d think. Just as with normal training rollers, small diameter drums mean higher resistance. Again, just like standard rollers, there’s less resistance if you use quality road tyres pumped up to a high pressure.

However, our tester used them before cyclocross races too, with knobbly tyres at a pressure of just 30 psi. Using low gears the rider could still do a final warm-up with the Mini Rollers as usual.

We’d expect any rider from Under 10 through to Elite seniors to be able to happily use the Mini Rollers for their final warm-up.

Stability

It’s easy for a helper to keep their rider stable on the Mini Rollers. It’s undoubtedly easiest to hold small, light riders who therefore have a low centre of gravity, but large seniors can be held easily too as long as they don’t thrash around on the bike.

The rider can also sit up riding “no hands” if they want to relax or stretch.

The Mini Rollers work best on a flat, even surface. We tried them at grass track events and quickly realised that they needed to be placed on a flat sheet or tray rather than directly on the ground. A grass surface is too uneven, and the grass itself interferes with the rollers. A PVC box lid happened to do the trick for us but we think a fitted tray underneath the Mini Rollers would be a good product accessory.

When using the Mini Rollers the rider might feel that they are riding slightly “downhill” because the front wheel is resting on the ground while the rear wheel is lifted 30mm or so off the ground. A small rider on a short bike will notice this more than a large senior rider. If you were using a turbo trainer like this you’d place a riser block under the front wheel to level the bike, but given the typical usage of the Mini Rollers it’s not worth bothering.

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Market and competition

As far as we know the Fusion Mini Rollers don’t have any direct competition. The alternatives are: using training rollers until the last possible opportunity; riding around near the race start if allowed; or simply not riding at all.

Value

Given the unique nature of the product, the relatively small production volumes (they’re British-built too), and the high quality of the components & construction we think £55 is a very fair price.

Verdict

It’s true that thousands of riders have managed perfectly well for many years without the benefit of last-minute warm-up Mini Rollers. However, if you’re the kind of rider who likes to arrive on the start-line fully warmed-up and ready to go, the Fusion Sport Mini Rollers might be perfect for you.

The product is an effective, highly portable, last-minute warm-up tool. The fact that it is good quality and decent value too means we can happily recommend it.

+ Clever design
+ Portability
+ Quality
– Needs an even surface

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Kit Review: Fusion Speed Mini Rollers

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