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  1. #1
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    Will my new indoor trainer destroy my bike?

    I just dropped $170 on this trainer. I'd only been planning on using it for 40 hours this winter (since it's not the cold but the lack of daylight that's keeping me off the roads).

    Am I stupid to use my beloved Trek 2000 on a trainer? I've been told that using bikes experience excessive wear when used on trainers, but my wallet is not quite ready to go out and buy a whole new steel frame just for use on my trainer.

    For the amount of time that I'll be spending on this trainer, how much and what type of wear will my bike really experience?

    Anxiously,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    That's what ya get for buying dainty. My Ti bike is a tank.
    But... to answer your question... just get an old bike out of Goodwill
    to use on the trainer. Even if the frame wasn't an issue, wear and tear on all those lite and expensive parts would be.

  3. #3
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    You would be surprised how many bikes spontaneously burst into flames when attached to a trainer.

    Just kidding.

    Your rear tire will wear faster, and your gears and all will wear just like if you were riding on the road, other than that don't overtighten the clamp and you are golden.

  4. #4
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    very negligible, I have mine and use it last winter and this is the second winter that I will be using the same tire (Michellin Pro Race), the trainer you got is a good investment
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  5. #5
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    This is my second year on a trainer as well. No ill effects from the first year noted.

    I burn through a few rear tires each winter - so save your old ones. I do worry about the front wheel being torqued when I get out of the saddle and really crank on it.

  6. #6
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    I was just reading a chapter in Ed Burke's "Serious Cycling" this afternoon. I do believe, like he does, that the trainer does put some wear and tear on your bike- you may not see the wear, but if you want your bike to last years, why cut short its life span by using it on a trainer?

    At the very least, use a different rear wheel to protect the longevity of your rear wheel.

    Koffee

  7. #7
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by seely
    You would be surprised how many bikes spontaneously burst into flames when attached to a trainer.

    Just kidding.

    Your rear tire will wear faster, and your gears and all will wear just like if you were riding on the road, other than that don't overtighten the clamp and you are golden.
    The rear wheel will certainly wear fast. I guess this might be a result of too much pressure on the rear wheel and if that is the case, Koffee may be right in suggesting using a different rear wheel, preferably a cheap one.

    Gear and chain wear is different. About 90% of the wear is caused by road grit that gets on the chain and acts as an abrasive. If you clean your drive train before you slap the bike on the trainer, the gear and chain wear should be negligable.

  8. #8
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Aside from tyre wear (I use a rimdrive trainer so that doesn't happen to me), I can see a trainer possibly adding large amounts of stress directly to the axle and dropouts if you rock the bike a lot or your pedalling isn't smooth. Additionally, your headset may see some heavy stressing unless you level out the front end. Several manufacturers sells wheel blocks that can be purchased for around $10. Some people just chuck an old phonebook under there. Also, it's advisable to buy a cheap replacement skewer for the rear wheel so that the trainer clamps don't mar up your pretty fancy QRs on your nice skewers. Also, you may want to place a towel over the top tube to collect your sweat which can be corrosive if left to pool up on your frame and components. Use a fan too.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  9. #9
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    One of my books, I think it's the one mentioned above, cautions against using one's racing bike on a trainer. His rationale is that the bike is in a fixed/rigid position which causes a high rate of bearing wear. His advice is to get a cheapo and make sure it fits you just like the good bike.

    It makes sense to me.

    Al

  10. #10
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khuon

    Several manufacturers sells wheel blocks that can be purchased for around $10. Some people just chuck an old phonebook under there.
    Or use a homemade block - 2x4x15" with two dowels - old table leg I had around cut in 1/2! (That cable is the variable tension adjuster going to the trainer on the rear wheel.) This is a cheapie ($290) Windsor Leeds Sora bike I got new on ebay for the trainer and other uses.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 11-22-04 at 07:18 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  11. #11
    Somewhere in CA
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    If you have a couple bikes set up similarly then why not use the cheaper of the two bikes on the trainer? Thats what I do. I can wear out a rear tire pretty quickly on rollers.

    cheers-
    jim

  12. #12
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    Biggest issue for me is corrosion from the sweat. That's why I use my old road bike in the trainer. I thought about the lateral stress on the rear triangle, but it's probably not much worse for the frame than climbing out of the seat.

  13. #13
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al.canoe
    One of my books, I think it's the one mentioned above, cautions against using one's racing bike on a trainer. His rationale is that the bike is in a fixed/rigid position which causes a high rate of bearing wear. His advice is to get a cheapo and make sure it fits you just like the good bike.

    It makes sense to me.

    Al
    It makes no sense to me. The rear axle is supported by the frame of the trainer so the only force on the rear bearings is from the roller against the rear tire. Unless you really crank down on the roller adjustment, this force should be less than the force your weight would normally exert on the bearings. Wear on the rear tire sems to be greater on a trainer because the roller has a smaller contact patch than the road so it must apply a higher pressure on the tire in that spot than the road does. To minimize tire wear, set the roller pressure to the minimum that does not let the tire slip during your workout. Also, get a cheap tire with true slick tread layer. The slick will minimize noise significantly.

    Wear on chain, cogs, BB, etc is going to be similar to normal riding. Wear on the front hub bearings and headset is zero. If you really pull the bike from side to side, you might induce some greater lateral stress in the frame because the trainer holds the rear triangle fixed. However, you hit fewer potholes on a trainer so it's not so simple to say whether you are shortening the frame life more or less quickly in a trainer vs. riding on the road. However, if you are planning to put so many miles on your bike to fatigue the frame, a few hours on a trainer are not going to be significant anyway. Most of us buy a new bike long before we exceed the fatigue life of our current one anyway.

  14. #14
    Spanish Elite cyclist lukylukecyclist's Avatar
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    Maybe you should have to know that I have just partially broken a tube of my frame. It coud be derived of putting very often my bike into the rollers.
    However, I don't know exactly if it was really caused by the trainer. In fact, my frame is 7 year old and it has more than one hundred kilometres and several crashes. Furthermore, It has the crack in the upper horizontal tube, ten centimetres far from the steer tube.
    I would also want to comment that it is a Columbus Genius frame, whose brand is Mendiz.
    Good mornings from Avilés, in Spain;
    Lukylukecyclist

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    It makes no sense to me. .
    If you can rationalize that the forces on the bearings (or the frame) are the same when the bike is constrained as when it can move around in practically all dimensions to dissipate the forces applied by the rider, then it won't make sense to you. Me, I can't rationalize that, especially after some 35 years as an engineer. However, that doesn't prove anything one way or the other. In theory at least, I can rationalize greater wear on one part of the bearing race that would have been otherwise spread out over more surface area.

    Is there really more measurable wear? For that I will defer to a person (Ed Burke) with a lot more racing/training experience than any one here (best I can tell) until there's evidence otherwise. Of course, I don't have a trainer, never plan to have one, so I don't really care all that much.

    Al

  16. #16
    Member Gargoola's Avatar
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    On a side note of destroying bike, I managed to destroy my trainer with my bike. The fan it used was a centrifugal design, it must have imploded when I decided to crank it a bit...got to about 65kms and it blew, sparks and everything! Don’t go cheap!
    Cheers,
    Andrew
    www.blue-brontosaurus.tk

  17. #17
    It's good to be the king!
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    Everybody tells me using the trainer shouldn't put undue stress on the bike but I think it does. When I look down I see the lateral stress - it can't be good. Also, it seems everytime I take it out of the trainer and go out on the road I pop a spoke. I try to keep minimal pressure from the roller to the tire.

  18. #18
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    Having ridden indoors for several winters, I mostly notice the damage from sweat. After a long winter the headset bearings are usually in bad shape, and need at least a relubing. I have new bearings on the shelf for this April as my current bearings are nearly toast. Sweat is also hard on steel frames, so steel is not a good choice for a trainer bike. As mentioned, rear tires wear faster on a trainer. I usually buy $9.99 mail order tires for the winter rides. I'm guessing that it's the extra heat from the friction. Feel a tire after a hard interval and you'll see what I mean.

    As for the stresses to the frame. . . . When I do hard efforts on the trainer I can see the BB flexing back and forth, it is noticeable and disconcerting. But I'll bet the same amount of flex, or nearly so, happens on the road. Why? When you work hard on the trainer the rear wheel is laterally fixed. However, when you work hard on the road your rear wheel is still fixed. It doesn't scoot left and right on the road, though, there is movement throughout the rest of the bike. I'm not saying that the stresses are identical, as I do believe that the trainer puts more stress on the frame. My point is that it is PROBABLY negligible.

    In my opinion.

  19. #19
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    90 year old guy is talking to his Doc. He's engaged to a 20 year old gal. Doc says.. 'I hear you're engaged, I'm worried that if you go through with the marriage, someone could get hurt'. 90 year old guy says..'Doc, if she dies, she dies'

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by late
    90 year old guy is talking to his Doc. He's engaged to a 20 year old gal. Doc says.. 'I hear you're engaged, I'm worried that if you go through with the marriage, someone could get hurt'. 90 year old guy says..'Doc, if she dies, she dies'

  21. #21
    BloomBikeShop.com BloomBikeShop's Avatar
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    This is my first winter on a trainer, and I am getting the feeling that I don't like my bike on the trainer. If I pedal hard enough, the clamping part of the trainer flexes. Then the qr skewer will fall open. I tried some different levels of tightness with the trainer, which didn't help, but it did cause paint to chip off my rear dropout. (From stress, it wasn't at a metal/metal contact point.)

    If I stand I think the bike will fall apart...

  22. #22
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    I've just started using one, so no real experience yet. Somehow, outside of probably tire wear, I can't imagine that it would be that punishing. If road bike frames are that fragile, I'm gonna have to slow down to 5 MPH when I get on the road...

    Not sure if my cheapo mountain bike would fit, but I guess that's another possibility.

  23. #23
    Senior Member whitemax's Avatar
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    Why on earth would anyone buy a nice bike which costs all kinds of money and risk it. Seems to me that it is bound to shorten the life of your bike, especially in the case of aluminum which definitely has fatigue limits. Get a beater bike and put it on your trainer. You can usually get what used to be considered very good bikes with downtube shifters for cheap. Find one and use it instead of your best bike that you worked so hard to get. I ride a 04 Cannondale R2000 and you damn sure won't find it on my trainer.

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