Thursday, September 1, 2011

Do you have the Kreitler vs. Travel Trac dilemma?

This post explains the reasoning behind why I chose to get a Travel Trac roller instead of a Kreitler roller.

Why do Kreitler rollers cost significantly more than Travel Trac?
Branding and material selection (1).  For a company to build its reputation and image, it needs to use a marketing strategy called branding.  Branding can be in the form of a logo or icon like the Nike swoosh.  This marketing technique can be seen on Kreitler rollers.  Branding can be expensive because custom printed parts need to be made.  Kreitler's come at a high price because of the custom printed end cap in each drum.

Unlike the aluminum frame used on the Travel Trac, Kreitler's steel frame can rust.  To prevent rust, a powder coat finish can be used. Although aluminum is strong and doesn't rust easily, most people don't know how strong aluminum really is and usually associates it as weak or fragile when compared to steel.  All of the most advanced lightweight automotive racing wheels like the Enkei PF01 are actually an all aluminum construction (2).  Knowing that the wheels can support a 3000 pound vehicle, brake heat anywhere from 750 - 1800 degrees Fahrenheit plus the g-forces around the corners confirms aluminum's strength.  Combine the price of the custom end caps and the powder coat finish and that explains the majority of the price difference.

Kreitler vs. Travel Trac... who wins?
In terms of performance as a roller, you can't go wrong with either one- they have nearly identical performance.  In terms of aesthetics, Kreitler wins for its custom made end caps and powder coat finish which would be nice to show off to friends.  In terms of price, Kreitler loses because of the extra cost it takes to custom print the end caps, add multiple logos on the frame and add a powder coat finish.

My advice?  If you're a penny pincher and like machined finishes more than glossy powder coat finishes, get the Travel Trac on sale for around $130 and use the money saved towards something else.  I used what I saved to get a Prologo Zero Ti 1.4 saddle and still stayed well below the price of one Kreitler roller.