Cycling: Cycling on rollers: Influence of tyre pressure and cross section on power requirements

Raoul Reiser, Jon Watt, Michael Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The resistance against a cyclist while riding on rollers is due mainly to rolling resistance produced by the deformation of the tyre as it rolls against small diameter drums. Resistance is then combined with wheel speed to set power output. The effect of tyre pressure and cross‐section on power was investigated by systematically altering the pressure (552 kPa, 690 kPa, and 827 kPa) in a 20c, 23c, 25c, and 28c tyre of the same design while riding at a wheel speed of 45 kph. Average power over 1 minute was measured with a Power Tap Hub (Tune Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) on five occasions. Statistical significance was evaluated at p < 0.05. Power requirements increased significantly with each reduction in tyre pressure for all tyres and pressures except the 25c between 690 and 827 kPa. The 20c tyre required significantly more power from the cyclist at each tested tyre pressure when compared to the other tyres (which were not different from each other). The differences in resistance from tyre size were not observed when ridden on the road. Additionally, a slightly different tyre design from the same manufacturer responded similarly in the 20c, but was significantly different in the 23c size. It was also observed that power requirements increased significantly when both the wheels were ridden on the rollers as compared to just the rear wheel. These results indicate that the power requirements may be significantly altered by the cyclist by adjusting tyre pressure, tyre cross‐section size, tyre type, and with the number of wheels contacting the rollers. However, the magnitude of these power requirements may not be suitable for intense workouts of trained cyclists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalSports Biomechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Casing material
  • Indoor training
  • Rolling resistance
  • Tyre design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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