As I anticipate some substantial volume on the trainer this winter (12 to 16-hour weeks), upgrading my setup with a rocker plate seemed like a smart investment.
After all, winters here in northern Michigan are long, and riding outside (and logging quality hours) isn’t always practical.
I have played with making modifications to my trainer by attaching inflatable exercise discs to the bottom, to mimic a natural sway motion. But having spent a couple of weeks on my Velocity Rocker, this trending DIY concept pales in comparison.
The only other experience I have with rocker plates is testing KOM’s rocker plate at a bike expo. It was okay, but was never something I would consider buying. It seemed to be one of the few options on the market, next to Saris.
So when I caught wind of Velocity Rockers, I was keen on its advanced capabilities and that it is made in the USA. Fast-forward to now, and it’s my new favorite indoor training tool.
Setting Up My Velocity Rocker
When my Velocity Rocker arrived in the mail, I was a little intimidated by the size and weight of the box. “This thing is heavy duty,” I thought to myself, while also thinking it was going to take half a day to set it up.
But much to my surprise, the entire process took about 45 minutes from unboxing to being ready to ride. It could’ve taken less, but I deliberated on what size balls to use.
Because I weigh 190 lbs, I was right on the cusp of needing the 6” balls for added stability. I decided to try the 5” balls first, and I am glad I did. At about 5 PSI, the smaller 5” balls feel perfect for a good amount of tilt, especially for out-of-saddle climbing.
Aside from installing the balls, the only real setup involved is making sure your trainer is stable on the rocker plate. Because my KICKR has a heavy flywheel, I added a 5 lb weight to the opposite side to balance the weight distribution.
The Velocity Rocker has a built-in level, so you can clearly see which side of your plate is heavy and which needs a counterweight.
Small Details Matter
In addition to the built-in level, there are a lot of small details that go a long way in making Velocity Rockers a premium brand.
I immediately noticed that it’s built with support rails on the bottom sides of the top plate, which is a subtle but reinforcing touch for lasting durability and rigidity.
The rod and pillow block bearings are also a quality feature worth calling out, and the rocker’s use of compression springs is a huge competitive advantage against other models that use extension springs. The latter is notorious for having only a 5-7 year lifespan, whereas Velocity’s is built to last decades with proper maintenance.
The front end of the rocker plate is spacious, providing ample room for my 57.5cm gravel bike frame and 700c front wheel. There are plenty of ‘vents’ or velcro attachment points to secure both the bike trainer and your front wheel unless you’re using a front riser.
I also opted for the LED light upgrade. Along with the black finish, this combination has a sleek look that’s a lot of fun for riding in a low-lit room. My setup is in a dark basement, so I embrace hard sessions as little rave parties.
Almost as Good as Riding Outdoors
As someone who loathes riding indoors and finds 3-hour endurance rides to feel like an eternity, my new Velocity Rocker was transformational. Sure, anything over 2 to 3 hours still sucks indoors, but this rocker plate makes it way more enjoyable and realistic.
With the amount of PSI I have in each ball, I get about 13-14° of side-to-side tilt. The rocker plate is capable of 16°, which is superior to most competing models. But I feel like I have it dialed in for both steady climbs and hard out-of-saddle sprints.
I was surprised by how much I appreciate the fore-aft travel, especially when going in and out of the saddle. Velocity Rockers provides a whopping 9.5 inches of forward and back motion, which is perfect.
Natural, Niggle-Free Indoor Cycling
Last year, I would experience little niggles in my shoulders after only a 12 to 14-hour training week. This was my old rigid setup without a rocker plate. After two weeks at comparable volume, there is no shoulder pain to speak of.
This alone is a strong testament to the value of a good rocker plate like Velocity Rockers. Not only does feel like riding outdoors, making each pedal stroke feel more natural, but the movement helps minimize pain points in areas that need a bit of float–something you get when riding outside but not completely stationary.
You also get a little extra core engagement with the rocker plate, which is also something you don’t get when stationary. The side-to-side and fore-aft motion requires you to pedal more smoothly, rewarding fluid recruitment of hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes.
Experience Velocity Rockers for Yourself
After just a couple of short weeks of riding indoors on my Velocity Rocker, I can’t recommend it enough. Sure, it’s a premium product that costs a bit more than competing models, but the build quality is beyond contention.
Velocity Rockers is proudly built in the USA. And it shows. The level of engineering, consideration, and craftsmanship in these rocker plates speak for themselves. You can tell the folks at Velocity Rockers ride bikes and know their stuff.
But don’t just take my word for it. Experience Velocity Rockers for yourself, and invest in one of the best indoor rocker plates on the market.
To learn more, visit VelocityRockers.com
Endurance athlete, professional off-road cyclist, and avid blogger, Tyler Tafelsky participates in long-course multisport and cycling events. Today, Tyler competes in ultra-distance cycling races at the professional level. Since starting Better Triathlete in 2014, he has been the head of content for the site's editorial team. Learn more about Tyler