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Bike Works NYC
Bicycle Roller Racing Machine

Here's about Bike Works' racing rollers.
Vintage Quadruplet Competition Rollers with Dial Clock.

Past Events -- from 2001 to 2014

Roller Racing Info -- Technical Details on Rollers, Bicycles & Gearing

© 2000--2020 bikecult.com
Update Thursday January 9, 2020


Barelli Quadrulet Competition Rollers with Dial Face.
We got these rollers at Sotheby's bicycle auction in September 2000. The previous owner was Mark Mattei of Cycle Smithy in Chicago. Don't they look awesome? Except it's set up wrong. This picture shows the rollers facing the dial. The rollers are made to face away from the dial towards the audience. That's how it is for most competition rollers. photo © Sotheby's

There's always two sides to anything.
When we brought the rollers to the shop, they looked great but didn't work. The machine had only one red drive belt. And it was too loose. Mark Mattei provided replacements through Kreitler Rollers in Kansas. Teresa at Kreitler told us how to measure them, and we spent many hours calculating the proper size belts. I didn't get it right until she had us re-measure them over the phone. She made them and shipped them that day and they arrived, unbeleivably, next day. The equation for the belts: A+B=X+C-D. A is one-half the dial circumf.; B is one-half the cable cog circumf.; C is dial center to cog center times two; D is stretch variable of minus 15 percent. photo © David Perry

Inspired by the Goldsprints.
The kids in Zurich held a "Hometrainer Competition" at the Cycle Messenger World Championships in 1999. They dubbed it the Goldsprints. Everyone raved about it, so we had to do it in NYC for Metropoloco 2000.

Metropoloco NYC 2000 got us rolling.
A five-day Alley Cat including Cyclocross, Goldsprints and Track racing at Kissena Velodrome. We used identical Blackburn trainers (donated by Bicycle Habitat); two track bikes, an Atala (from Yac) and a Bianchi (Jared). Bike Works hooked them up with identical gears (50x16 freewheel) and wheels (Campag NR hubs, Ambrosio rims). Using cycle computers to record distance, Dan and Anais operated switches connected to a multi-color illuminated score board mounted behind the riders. A huge audience in bleachers saw Felipe beat Yac and Crissima beat Vicki. photo © New York Bicycle Messenger Association

Rejuvenation time at Bike Works.
Dan enjoys a spin on the Cortina rollers we keep at the shop. These replaced the old Cinellies long ago. Dan was the timer for Metropoloco Goldsprint. He rigged up the computers and lights. Dan's an expert bike recycler. His aluminum Schwinn (shown here), was brought back to life wiith an ingenious dropout-derailleur repair. photo © David Perry

1971 Ron Kitching "Everything Cycling" catalog.
Ever since I saw this 1971 Ron Kitching catalog, I dreamed of riding on competition rollers. The 4-roller set (ZH/52) cost £330.67 plus £69.19 VAT. The spare drive belts cost £0.69 each, and the spare transmission £3.21 each. At the same time, the top Cinelli all-Campagnolo road race bike cost £187.87. My first rollers were Cinelli from Cupertino Bike Shop. Once I did a team roller riding exhibition for my high school class. But I showed-off, riding no hands, one foot on handlebar, reading the newspaper, then a big wipeout. Another time I got the idea of rolling under water and my Cinelli's wound up in the swimming pool. And they were OK ever after. drawings by Daniel Rebour

Somethings to learn from roller history.
I found lots of roller pictures while researching the book Bike Cult. This one made us think we need to build a set of platforms between and around the rollers to make it easier to get on and off. photo © Popular Science

International Damenradrennen.
Fritz Gunthers all-women roller team, from a postcard with no date or publisher. This cherry competition set has three dials that go 1000 meters per revolution. Not long after getting the Barelli competition set, we found a set of Big Yankee rollers at the T-town swap meet. These are double-belted rollers with laminated mahogany wood cylinders. They're lathed with a slope towards the middle intended to prevent the rider from swerving.

Die Carmen von St. Pauli
More Dames Radennen in a German film. "This scene was filmed in a bar on Reeperbahn in St.Pauli, Hamburg, Germany. People could bet (wetten) on Four Women Teams (Wett-GeschŠfte). Jenny Jugo (1905-2001) is the star actress on bike number 2." --Manfred Nüscheler

Schwinn team exhibition machine.
Many years ago at the NY Antique show there was a large toy velodrome, with cyclist-figures about 12 inches tall. Maybe it was like this one, attached to a set of rollers. photo © Schwinn Bicycle Museum

Show-Offs, Skilled Stunts, and Striptease?
Cycling Champion Lorette Burke undresses her skirt while pedaling a chrome Paramount bicycle on wooden rollers In 1948.

Bicycle cherries from the past.
Twice I saw the club roller races that were held each winter in a New York City restaurant. That was cool but when I came with my bike to race it was too late. Next time, not enough folks came to hold a race. photo © NY Health & Racquet Club

Antique rollers with BSA on top.
Don't know the maker or date of these rollers. I guess they were made in U.S. in early 20th Century. Only the name, Congress Tool & Die Co. Detroit USA, appears on two pulley wheels. photos © David Perry

Each wooden cyclinder is made of seven pieces.
A central core is surrounded by six curved sections. These sections are held together with embedded screws and red-painted metal straps. Small lead weights on sides of cyclinders keep them spinning smoothly.

A relatively long wheelbase.
Racing bikes were a bit longer when these rollers were made. This set originally had a fixed wheelbase of 42.5 inches. Sometime between then and now, someone shortened the wheelbase, moving the front roller 2 inches back. The extended, notched axle on rear roller may have supported a connection to traditional dial clock.

Big Yankee rollers
Made in New England with mahogany rollers and gold-anodized extruded-aluminum frame. One of the few rollers that uses two drive belts.

Concave cylinders
These unusual rollers are designed to help the cyclist stay centered. Perhaps by swerving side to side one can simulate hill climbing.

Pogliaghi rollers
A folding set from the famous maker of track bikes.

ZZZing rollers
Super narrow rollers from T-town track racers, Stull Tool Co. Lewisberry, PA.

Paris rollers
1950s all-steel rollers made by Paris Cycles in London.