The JetBlack R1 Training Rollers are an excellent bit of kit for training at home or warming up/down at races or time trials. They spin quietly and smoothly, and the frame is adjustable and sturdy.
JetBlack uses a traditional layout: a square section steel frame and spun alloy rollers. The frame is adjustable for length, so it can accommodate a wide range of bicycles. Simply unscrew the two plastic knobs from the frame, slide the frame to suit the wheelbase of your bike, and screw the knobs into the frame to lock its length.
Rollers are the original static cycling training device, letting you pedal your bike indoors. For the uninitiated, training rollers consist of a rectangular metal frame with three rollers of 80mm diameter, which are fitted with roller bearings so they can spin with very low friction. One roller is placed at the front of the frame and two at the rear. The front roller is attached to the nearest of the rear rollers with a rubber band.
Bike and rider are freestanding, unlike on a turbo trainer where the bike is rigidly fixed to the equipment. Riding rollers is often seen as the black art of cycling, but although it does require balance and a little concentration, it isn't difficult.
The JetBlack R1 rollers spin smoothly and quietly, although just how quietly depends on other factors such as tyre choice and pressure, and the floor surface of the room you're in. Generally, rollers spin quietly. With full slicks on your bike, you could ride on the R1 in the next room to someone sleeping and not wake them. A gentle hum, changing in tone as you flick through the gears, is the only noise. My new(ish) LG washing machine, which is right next to it, makes more noise on an economy wash cycle.
Swap to treaded tyres, such as the Schwalbe G Ones I've been using recently, and they create vibration and a high-pitched buzzing. This will probably annoy those in the next room.
The stability of the R1 rollers is excellent. The stiff frame means there's no flexing or movement as you turn the cranks, even if you get out of the saddle for a sprint (yes you can spring out of the saddle on rollers). The rubber feet are height adjustable, and it'll even work on wonky flagstone floors.
For the first few hours of use the aluminium cylinders did leave a silver colour on my tyres, but this has since stopped. Similarly, the rear rollers picked up some small spots of rubber from my tyre, though these too have self-cleaned through persistent use, the rubber warming and peeling off the alloy surface.
And if you can't live without your smartphone – or even ride some rollers without one – the JetBlack R1 rollers are supported by a dedicated JetBlack R1 app (free at purchase of the Rollers or any JetBlack trainers). Download this to your smartphone and it'll allow you to monitor your fitness progress by pairing with whatever Ant+ or Bluetooth devices and sensors you have. The app can be configured to upload all data directly to either Training Peaks or Strava accounts as required. It's a simple set up process backed up with a short video.
Personally, I prefer rollers to a turbo. I'd rather spend 20 minutes being fully mentally and physically engaged on rollers than being sat on a turbo for an hour; rollers make me feel like I've ridden my bike, not just trained indoors on it. In six weeks of testing, I've put in somewhere between 30 and 35 hours on the JetBlack R1 rollers and I have zero complaints so far.
A cheap and effective way to work on condition, form and leg speed or to warm up/down for races
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Jetblack R1 Training Rollers + App
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
All cyclists, anyone who is interested in training or warming up/down with full body and mind engagement.
JetBlack says: "JetBlack products are highly technical, offering innumerable advantages over similar training models. They are supplied fully assembled albeit with folding frames for ease of storage or travel. The designs are clean cut and operating efficiency is beyond reproach."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The JetBlack R1 rollers follow the traditional construction and layout of rollers, with a metal frame holding three metal rollers connected with a rubber drive band.
The rollers are pre-assembled and ready to ride! Ideal for warming up and improving balance. Suited to both road and MTB bikes. Aluminium roller drums give a smooth and quiet ride. There is no chance of distortion from heat or sunlight. The high grade sealed bearings provide maintenance free service. Anti-slip feet ensure that the frame is rock-solid. and folds up flat for easy storage and transport.
Roller Diameter: 80mm
Riding Surface Width: 390mm
All JetBlack trainers come with a Life Time Warranty
Not under or over built. Should last a lifetime if looked after.
The unit deploys easily and you can be riding in seconds. Rollers are smooth and quiet.
I've had no issues with durability, and under normal use I don't expect any either.
Neither light nor overly heavy. Some weight is needed for stability.
The asking price seems fair given the quality of the item and its level of performance.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The R1 rollers are very good, performing as expected under normal training conditions. Stable, quiet and smooth running.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Performed very well across the board, with no one area standing out as exceptional.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some alloy residue came off the rollers and left my tyres silver for the first few hours of use. This then stopped happening. I also had some rubber spots stick to the rear rollers from my tyre, but again this seems to have cleared up – almost like the surface of the rollers had to bed in.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Overall, I've been impressed with the R1 rollers. They do what they're supposed to and they do it very well, so an 8 seems about right.
About the tester
I usually ride: My Seven Titanium, Turner Cyclosys cross bike, Ibis Ripley MTB My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, mountain biking, a bit of everything