The Riva Sport Adjustable Rollers have a stiff and sturdy frame with a decent level of resistance, making them a good choice for any race warm-up or spinning in the garage when it's too cold to go outside. There are a few basic flaws, though, which just take the shine off.
- Pros: Price, portability
- Cons: Vibration, setup guesswork
If my Strava feed is anything to go by then the majority of the cycling world has taken to the turbo to spend the winter riding around a virtual world, but in these times of smart trainers there is still a place for a set of humble rollers.
Set 'em up
As you've no doubt guessed from the pics and the name, the Riva Sports are adjustable, and will fit bikes with wheel sizes from 19in to 29.
To get the length set up, you undo the thumb screws and extract the inner frame from the outer until you get to the desired length. You then tighten the thumbscrews again, which pinch against the inner frame.
My only slight issue with this is that there are no indents or holes to line things up with, so unless you are really fastidious the front roller might not be running perfectly in line with the rear two. Not a huge issue but it can affect the tracking of the front wheel.
Once you've set up for the first time you can make a note of the measurement using the rule running along the side of the frame. Well, you can if you're on a kid's bike, but if you're setting it up for a 700C-wheeled road bike the rule would have been out of the inner frame a long time ago. Okay, it's just a case of moving the sticker, but it seems a bit of an oversight here.
Saying all that though, simplicity is the key and the Riva Sports certainly embrace that, being one of the cheapest setups you are likely to find, at just £100.
What you get is a frame made of steel box section, measuring 20 x 40mm, which creates a very stable platform no matter how hard you pedal. Obviously with the bike not being attached like a turbo, there is very little in the way of forces travelling through, but even at a very high cadence you don't find the frame flexing or bouncing.
There are six adjustable feet at the centre and corners so you can get everything level, plus the rubber feet stop the frame from sliding around on the floor.
The rubber band offers a decent level of resistance so you're not going to be in for an easy spinfest. You have to keep pedalling to keep things moving and you do get a pretty decent workout when using the gears on the bike to make things easier or tougher.
The nylon rollers run smoothly on sealed bearings, and being around 90mm in diameter there is plenty of material to sit the tyres on.
Another thing I like is the ramped up edges to keep you on the rollers should you start to drift as the radii edges allow you to flow up the edge and drop back down to the centre of the roller with just a little tweak of bodyweight.
You have a useable central section of the rollers of 260mm, so you have quite a bit of wiggle room.
My only criticism of the rollers is that even though the middle of the rollers have been finely turned on a lathe to narrow their trueness cylindrically, they don't necessarily translate that when attached to the framework.
Running a bit out of true means that at low speeds, say below 15mph, there is quite a bit of vibration through the bike. As speed increases and the rollers spin faster it is less noticeable but still there, and it's a distraction.
All folded away, the package measures 820 x 450 x 160mm, so it'll fit in a car boot easily if you're going to use it for a pre-race warm up or you're meeting up for an indoor training session. It only weighs 9kg too, so lifting it into the car shouldn't be too much of a hardship.
On the whole what you are getting for your £100 is okay. It compares well with the likes of the Tacx Antares at £159.99; on first glance it looks a much more refined product but it is 60% more expensive.
The Minoura LR700 Rollers we tested are a very similar, if again more refined, setup than the Riva Sports, but at £269.99 they are way, way more expensive.
Another option, especially if the portability aspect is the most important for you, would be the Rodool Compact Rollers that I've recently reviewed. Again, they are more expensive at twice the price, but they're much lighter and easier to set up. The Rivas are better for those really high-intensity warm-ups or interval sessions, though.
With all this in mind I'd say yes, the Riva Sports are a little rough around the edges, but when you consider the price they have got a lot going for them. The main thing for me would be to see that concentricity improved on the rollers.
Entry-level rollers at a decent price, but could do with some quality control to smooth the edges
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Riva Sport Adjustable Bicycle Roller Trainers
Size tested: 25 x 26 x 56 cm
Tell us what the product is for
Riva says: "Adjustable training Rollers that fit 16 - 29 Inch wheels, with a small foot step to help you mount easily."
The Rivas are pretty basic rollers that could do with a little refinement.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Includes a small foot step with grip to aid getting on and of your bike
Soft plastic rollers
Very Quiet (almost silent!)
Improved sealed bearings to avoid vibrating rollers during use.
Non-slip anti-scratch legs avoids damaging floor.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A decent level of resistance from the band.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They come at an entry-level price for rollers.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Vibration from the non-true rollers.
Did you enjoy using the product? It was okay.
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted some basic rollers.
Use this box to explain your overall score
As a basic setup they have a lot going for them. A lot of rollers are quite expensive so it's refreshing to see something around the £100 mark. The vibration from the rollers can be distracting at slower speeds, though, and they could just do with a little refining.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.