Review: Bespoke Rocker Plate R1 Black Edition
The Bespoke Rocker Plate R1 Black Edition is a high quality indoor training rocker for a good price. If you want to feel a bit more natural on the turbo and take a little bit of the stress off your bike, it’s an excellent investment.
COVID-19 and the lockdown has affected businesses in many ways. While it’s not a bad time to be running a cycling website (what else is there to do other than muck about on the internet?), it’s not such a great time to be in the exhibition stand building business, on account of there not being any exhibitions now and in the foreseeable future. The Bespoke Rocker Plate range is born out of a Bristol-based events company with plenty of good quality raw materials and some CNC machines to hand, and not much to do with them. And to be honest, it’s difficult to see how it could have made a better job of it.
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The R1 Black Edition is CNC-machined from Buffalo Board, which is what they use to make commercial vehicle flooring. It’s a heavy-duty plywood with a non-slip patterned vinyl coating, and it’s solid stuff: this R1 rocker weighs 18kg, so you’re going to need dedicated space for your trainer setup. It’s not the kind of thing you’ll be wanting to set up every time you want to ride indoors, although there is a smaller half-length board if you struggle for space.
There are two layers of board separated by heavy duty rubber washers held in place by good quality stainless hardware, and on either side of the rocker axis there’s an adjustable air-sprung toric rubber cushion; that sounds better than ‘wheelbarrow inner tube’. It’s perfect for the job, anyway: the valve is angled so it’s easily accessible from the top, and the heavy duty tube is hardwearing and simple to replace should it fail.
The R1 is drilled to accept most popular trainers. Out of the box it fits any Tacx Neo, Tacx Flux, Wahoo Kickr, Wahoo Kickr Core, Cycleops Hammer/Saris H3, Wahoo Kickr Snap, Elite Drivo or Elite Direto. If you’ve got a trainer that’s not on that list it might still fit fine: there’s a whole range of holes to choose from and it’s just a case of looping the supplied Velcro straps through the top plate and over the legs. If your turbo doesn’t fit, it’s possible to get a custom version.
In use, you want a rocker plate to feel solid but also offer enough movement to make indoor riding feel more natural and comfortable, and that’s exactly what the R1 does. Out of the saddle there’s plenty of side-to-side movement but the progressive nature of the resistance from the springs means it never feels out of control, and you can add more air if it feels too floppy, or take some out if it’s a bit rigid.
> Buyer’s Guide: 11 of the best smart trainers
The two straps are enough to keep the turbo (a Tacx Neo 2 in my case) firmly anchored, and it’s useful to have a longer one to hand to loop through your front wheel and riser; they tend to move about in use and there are holes drilled to accept a strap.
The movement makes the time on the turbo more comfortable: you don’t end up sitting in a fixed position and even small movements in the bike’s position help to shift the weight on the saddle about to stop you getting sore or numb. The fact that that the bike can move under you also reduces stress on the frame; that’s a good thing generally, but especially if your bike manufacturer doesn’t warranty your frame if it’s on a static trainer.
> Buyer’s Guide: 14 of the best indoor trainers and rollers
Overall, the R1 is really good. It’s especially impressive considering that the company has had to quickly pivot to making rocker plates from its normal line of business, but even if it had been making these things for years I’d be saying it was a high-quality, durable bit of kit and not really have that many complaints.
The only real negative is the finish of the boards, which is a bit rough in places, leaving some edges you won’t want to catch your ankles on. It could do with a bit more finesse in places, but in terms of function it’s hard to fault.
There’s a lot of space in the market between the Saris MP1 at £999 and the plethora of kits and ebay specials that you can pick up for around £100. There’s not a huge amount of competition in the mid-market for people who want a quality product and don’t want to build it themselves, and for the standard of materials and build £295 feels like a decent price. The most obvious direct competitor is the Realplate + at £349, which uses a similar construction. I haven’t used that rocker yet, but this one comes recommended: it’s nicely made, sturdy and adjustable for the ride feel you want.
High-quality rocker plate that makes turbo training more comfortable and natural
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Make and model: Bespoke Rocker Plate R1 Black Edition
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?
From the Bespoke Rocker Plate website:
Rocker Plate R1 – Black Edition
Is professionally designed and CNC machined out of high quality Buffalo Board (Coated textured surface)
12 Month Warranty Included (not including wear & tear)
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Confirmed Compatibility List
Tacx Neo (All Versions)
Tacx Flux (All Versions)
Wahoo Kickr (All Versions)
Wahoo Kickr Core
Cycleops Hammer/Saris H3
Wahoo Kickr Snap
Elite Drivo (All Versions)
Elite Direto (All Versions)
Rate the product for quality of construction:
CNC machined, good quality hardware.
Rate the product for performance:
The right sort of range of movement, adjustable spring tension.
Rate the product for durability:
Very high quality materials throughout.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Adds comfort to any training setup.
Rate the product for value:
Decent value given the high spec build.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Well made, adjustable action.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some of the plate finishing could be better.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The obvious direct competitor is the Turborocks Realplate + at £349, which uses a similar construction. We haven’t tested it so can’t compare performance, but the R1 is £50 cheaper for a similar build.
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
Hard to fault in terms of its construction and performance; £295 is a decent price too. Finish is a little rough in spots.
I usually ride: whatever I’m testing… My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura, Dward Design fixed
I’ve been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track