A bomb proof, leak proof, fluid trainer with a unique slant on indoor cycling.
We like this trainer a lot, some people may find the weight and overall footprint of the Rock and Roll too much to handle.
Among the best trainers we've tested. Top-notch construction, excellent stability, and a little built in cushion for the pushin'.
There's one thing most triathletes can agree on, winter can be a real pain in the ass for training purposes. Unless you're fortunate enough to live someplace where the sun never fades, the winter months will likely leave you indoors on the trainer for the bulk of your cycling duties.
The Rock and Roll trainer is the flagship trainer of the Kinetic lineup, and one of the trainers we've been testing out this winter. As the name suggests, the Rock and Roll trainer does a bit more than the average trainer by adding a little rock to the traditional roll we're all accustomed to. Kinetic has built a reputation on making fluid trainers with a completely leak proof design along with bomb proof construction, and the Rock and Roll is no exception.
The Rock and Roll 'system' consists of a pivoting trainer and a variable height turntable riser, which Kinetic recommends, in order to get the full benefit of the side to side action it provides..
If you're unfamiliar with Kinetic's fluid trainers, the design is actually incredibly smart. Rather than using a typical drive shaft that penetrates the housing that contains the trainer's fluid (which has the potential to leak), Kinetic uses a magnetic impeller drive system which 86s the need for a traditional drive shaft altogether. This allows the fluid chamber to be completely sealed and should give you miles and miles of worry free trainer time without the worry of any premature fluid leakage:)
Speaking of fluid, the Kinetic trainers use a thermodynamically neutral medical-grade liquid silicone which provides consistent resistance regardless of how much the temperature heats up as the workout progresses. Basically a constant viscosity = a consistent resistance. To help keep heat build up to a minimum the Rock and Roll uses 80 cast aluminum fins to help the generated heat dissipate.
The Rock and Roll also uses a nice large stainless steel roller that's 2.5 inches in diameter. The larger roller should help reduce tire wear and also help with heat build up since the larger diameter means less revolutions compared to a smaller roller at the same speed.
That's Just How We Roll
The most obvious difference with the Rock and Roll and your average trainer is at the back of the trainer which provides the 'Rock' portion of the Rock and Roll trainer. The R&R uses elastomers which allow the trainer to pivot from side to side.
The amount of play is easily adjustable by tightening or loosening the bolts that run through the elastomers. Tighten them up to decrease the action or loosen them to provide more freedom.
The design is meant to do several things, for one, it allows a more realistic feel, I suppose we would agree with that statement. Not that being able to move from side to side on a stationary piece of equipment is all that realistic, but certainly more so than the average trainer. We think there are several 'by-products' of the design that are actually more impressive. The side to side motion is especially noticeable when out of the saddle and really applying power like you would during an interval session. There's a good bit of action to the trainer, but the extra wide stance allows it to feel super sturdy at the same time. The more beneficial part of the side to side motion in our opinion is when you actually try to limit the action by keeping the bike steady. The Rock and Roll engages the core, especially if you have the tension adjusted where there's a lot of play and the side to side action is pretty free, that coupled with the turntable riser gives enough instability to where you really have to maintain correct balance. In our experience, this instability also feels a bit more exaggerated while in the aero position. It's not that you'll fall off, like with a set of rollers, but just enough that you have to maintain balance much like you do out on the open road.
The main reason the movement is more noticeable when riding in the aero position is the turntable riser, which is the second piece of the Rock and Roll system.
Since the front wheel sits on a riser that rotates, you obviously have a little less stability when your hands are off the bars and you're down in the aero position. The riser forces you to control the front half of the bike with your core, stabilizer muscles, and good pedaling form.
Some of the negative reviews and comments we've seen regarding the Rock and Roll have to do with the 'excessive bouncing' up and down of the trainer while pedaling. We couldn't disagree more, and feel that any excessive bouncing is more an indication of an inefficient /poor pedal stroke than anything else. While the trainer will move a bit up and down, due to the way the trainer is situated on the elastomers, with efficient pedaling, it's minimal. We actually found the cushion the elastomers provide quite nice as it tends to absorb a good bit of the vibration and softens the ride. Something we really appreciate for those extended sessions in the saddle. We also feel like you'll be able to stay on the trainer longer with less fatigue as a result, which is an added bonus of the design.
The Rock and Roll comes standard with a 6.25 lb flywheel, which is what our demo unit had. There's also the option of upgrading to the pro flywheel which will put you up to a total of 18 lbs. The pro flywheel attaches to the standard flywheel so you can easily add or remove it depending on the desired workout. Even with the standard flywheel the momentum and feel of the trainer is excellent.
The Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer is by far the most stable platform that we've seen on any trainer we've tested to date. The Rock and Roll sports a pretty massive base with legs that curve out substantially.
All that stability comes with a bit of a penalty in the amount of space that's required. If cramped quarters describe the spot where you will be setting up the Rock and Roll trainer you may want to pay attention to this section. The R&R trainer has a significantly larger footprint than the standard trainer.
However, if you have the room, we feel like the larger footprint is a tradeoff that is well worth whatever space you have to give up.
The Rock and Roll trainer uses a lock ring/quick release retention system that we really like. One side has an adjustment knob and lock ring to retain the position and keep it from accidentally loosening up.
Once you have the position dialed in, and the bike centered up, removing and reinstalling the bike is as simple as flipping the quick release to the open or locked position.
The quick release side also has a threaded cone cup to make bike positioning a snap. You'll want to make sure you have the bike as centered as possible to avoid any lean to one side or the other. The tire tension is dialed in with an adjustment knob at the rear of the trainer. A system we prefer over the flip lever type of system of other trainers we have used.
The knob makes it much easier to get the desired tire tension, and is also much easier to adjust.
All this fun doesn't come cheap the MSRP of the Rock and Roll is $569.00, putting it at the top of the range. The sealed design, beefy construction, and unconditional lifetime warranty make the price tag a little easier to swallow.
TriBomb Bottom Line
An expensive, but well built trainer that will outlast many of its lower priced competitors. If you need a lightweight, portable trainer, this isn't it. If the trainer will likely stay put, this is one of the best designs we've tested. We've put a butt load of miles on our demo unit without issue. While the extra motion you get with this design is certainly not a necessity for a good workout, we found it be a nice change of pace over the traditional trainer design.