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The Meglio Grid Foam Roller uses a combination of smooth rectangles and knobbly ridges to get the soreness out of your legs. It costs a lot less than a sports massage, and it's pretty good value compared with other foam rollers out there too.
Fausto Coppi had a team of soigneurs who would carry him around his hotel during Grand Tours so that he could save his legs for attacking Bartali or Robic on the high cols. The rest of us have to make do with something like the Meglio Grid Foam Roller, which, with its cleverly designed knobbles and flat sections, actually does a great job of mimicking a soigneur's palms and fingertips to deliver a targeted massage. It will not carry you around your house, though.
Why use a foam roller? Foam-rolling your muscles is beneficial if you're a regular rider. You probably don't need me to tell you that myofascial release – aka massage – can speed up recovery, increase flexibility and iron out the tightness in your bike-riding muscles.
When I was writing this feature about indoor training during the lockdown, Laurence Plant, clinic director at the Henley Practice, told me: 'Any cyclist not foam-rolling their quads is going to develop issues around the hip, because they won't be releasing out their iliotibial band and their vastus lateralis, which is the lateral aspect of the top. Or, if they don't manifest at the top, the problems will manifest around the knee.'
For foam-rolling newbies, the Meglio might look scary. It is basically a hollow plastic cylinder with a sleeve of very dense, alternately spiky and smooth foam wrapped around it. It does not 'squidge' like a traditional foam roller – it's very rigid and does not deform.
That means that if your muscles are tight and/or you don't yet have a regular foam-rolling routine, it's going to hurt at first. However, since you only put as much weight on the part of the body that's being rollered as is comfortable, you can modulate the effect, sweeping the roller under the calf, for example, until you identify a trigger point, or tight spot, and then oscillate the knobbles underneath it until it becomes less painful. I found that because you can isolate a particular spot and then work on it with the knobbles, the Grid Roller was much better than a traditional, softer foam roller particularly for doing calves (mine are slightly cramp-prone) and quads.
At just 33cm long, the Meglio is on the short side for another of the exercises that's recommended for straightening out cyclists' hunched backs, where you lie lengthwise down the roller with the top at the base of your skull. I also found it a little too hard for this one – but those with less sensitive backs might get on fine with it for this exercise.
Build quality is fine – as it's a fairly utilitarian thing it's not beautifully finished and there are visible seams where the foam pieces are bonded together, but who cares about that?
So far it seems very durable and is definitely built to last: it has served as a doorstop in our house in between rolling duties to prove it, but even though it's robust it's still reasonably light and very packable: for this it has another advantage over a solid, softer roller – in a kitbag it takes up much less space because you can fill the hollow middle with clothing, socks, whatever.
Compared with most other cycling kit, the Meglio Grid Foam Roller is incredibly cheap, costing less than a pair of Café du Cycliste socks, and it's fairly well priced compared with competitor foam rollers too.
Incredibly, we haven't reviewed a foam roller on road.cc before so I don't have any other house reviews to compare it with, but a quick google reveals that it undercuts most similar grid rollers. The Trigger Point Grid Roller costs well over twice as much at £39.99. There are cheaper grid rollers though: the cheapest I've found is the PhysioRoom's at £8.99.
So the Meglio Grid Foam Roller is a very good investment indeed, arguably one of the best you can make if you can't afford that team of soigneurs, yet still – as Fausto urged us – intend to 'ride your bike, ride your bike, ride your bike'.
Literally gets stuck in and and irons out knotty muscles: this foam roller packs a great performance – with knobs on
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Meglio Muscle Massage Grid Foam Roller
Size tested: 14cm x 33cm
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?
Meglio says: "The Grid foam roller uses Matrix technology with three different textures that allow for three different types of massage methods. These three textures allow you to target specific areas and help channel blood and oxygen to the muscles.
"The Grid foam roller can be used for your hips, calves, IT band, hamstrings, back, quads and shoulders. The foam roller targets large areas of muscles, so is more suited when you need to address larger muscles in the body. To use the foam roller, roll slowly over the foam roller with affected muscles for between 30-60 seconds, it's important that the movement is slow in order to benefit the soft tissue. The foam roller can also be used as part of your core work out.
"Meglio Grid Foam roller is for anyone who exercises regularly or has muscle tightness, imbalances or a history of injury, the self-massage washes the acid away by recruiting fresh blood and nutrients to the fatigued muscle groups, equally proven to help speed up injury recovery."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Meglio's website:
14cm x 33cm
Made from a combination of EVA and ABS
Colours – Orange, Black, Blue & Pink
It will probably outlast me.
It's light enough to be portable – packs in a kit bag easily since it's hollow.
It's not meant to be comfortable but the more you use it the more bearable it becomes.
An excellent investment if you're not a pro and don't have your own team of soigneurs. In terms of grid rollers, you can get cheaper, but some are much more expensive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For 'targeted myofascial release' – in other words, getting the knobbly bits into the areas of your legs that need working on – it's excellent.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The knobbles – pain and pleasure.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We've never tested another foam roller on road.cc, but the Meglio grid roller is fairly competitively priced for a grid roller. The Trigger Point Grid Roller costs well over twice as much at £39.99. There are cheaper grid rollers, though: the cheapest I've found is the PhysioRoom at £8.99.
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 overall score
The design of the Meglio Grid Foam Roller is great, enabling you to isolate and work on those trigger points in your muscles with its knobbles. It's also very tough, durable, packable and reasonably light, making it portable. The price is also very competitive. A well deserved 'exceptional'.
About the tester
I usually ride: Racer Rosa custom alu My best bike is: Colnago Master Olympic
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, School run on a tandem