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Is roller riding hard on tires?

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Is roller riding hard on tires?

Old 01-11-17, 09:42 AM
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Is roller riding hard on tires?

Unlike some here, I don't have a dedicated trainer bike for winter riding on rollers--I just ride whatever bike I happen to have handy, taking precautions to keep sweat off the top tube. I might ride for half an hour at a time, maybe four or five times a week. That's all the boredom I can stand.

I haven't noticed any effect in terms of tire tread wear, but what about wear on the tire casings? When you go over a short-radius bump in the road, the tire casing deforms to accommodate it, then springs back. But when you ride on rollers, both tires are continuously going over a short-radius bump--the sidewalls are deformed the entire time you're riding.

Is there any evidence that this shortens tire life?

Gosh, did I really say "evidence?" This is the internet. Is there any wild speculation that it shortens tire life?
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Old 01-11-17, 09:45 AM
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I only run beater tires when I'm on any sort of trainer.
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Old 01-11-17, 10:28 AM
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My rollers and (especially) trainers EAT tires. Evidence...you can see the rubber dust on the floor underneath. What black magic tires are you using?
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Old 01-11-17, 10:54 AM
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I dont use rollers, but have a trainer and we use old tires for the bikes that go on the trainer.
Tires get trashed on the trainer. It might be specific to ours- its a Cyclops Fluid, if that matters. Its like the roller has a carrot peeler on it to slowly shave down the tire.
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Old 01-11-17, 11:04 AM
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Old 01-11-17, 11:06 AM
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I never noticed any unusual wear and tear on tires while riding rollers. No rubber dust, no obvious damage, no weird wear. I only ever rode (cheap cotton training) tubulars on them. Perhaps sew-ups are different. No experience at all with clinchers on rollers.
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Old 01-11-17, 11:17 AM
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Rollers glaze tires very fast, so for that reason I run dedicated tires during winter rolling on dedicated bicycle. fwiw I use a set of retired commuter tires that seem to perform no problem. Like others mention you can see the rubber slough off via dust/glazing so I would not use them on the road or waste a new pair on rollers unless they are cheap and for that purpose.

edit yeah, boring describes it but actually time passes faster than a trainer and I cannot stand gyms with 70+ degree rooms (ride the rollers outside or in cold attic with temps averaging 0-25F during rolling season in attic)
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Old 01-11-17, 11:36 AM
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Thanks for that, but what's the roller pressure adjustment referred to several times in that thread? The pressure on my rollers is a function of the combined weight of my bike plus my body--I don't see how it can be adjusted in any meaningful way.
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Old 01-11-17, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by clubman
My rollers and (especially) trainers EAT tires. Evidence...you can see the rubber dust on the floor underneath. What black magic tires are you using?


Well, presumably tires leave some rubber dust on the road, too, although it doesn't pile up where you can see it.
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Old 01-11-17, 12:21 PM
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I just noticed that some currently available rollers are much smaller in diameter than the old ones I used to ride, ie., State Aluminum or Kreitler. It would not surprise me if these little itsy bitsy rollers are hard on tires.
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Old 01-11-17, 01:41 PM
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Great timing on this question Jon as I've recently faced reality and started on my trainers for the first time this winter. I have classic 4" aluminum Kreitler rollers but not much time on them yet. I'm just to the point that I don't fall off them anymore. I was hoping to not install separate tires as I want that bike ready to hit the road whenever its' possible (like today = 45deg, almost 60 tomorrow!!!). I'm real interested in the feedback you get. Thanks.
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Old 01-11-17, 01:44 PM
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In my experience rollers wear the tire about the same as riding on the road, maybe less. Trainers seem to wear the tires more quickly than the road or rollers.
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Old 01-11-17, 02:11 PM
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I've been wondering about this too as I consider throwing the bike on the rollers. Motivation to get that other wheelset built with a set of junk tires for rolling... See this is what being a C&V bike nut does...

1. I Think: "I should use my rollers"
2. Leads to: "hmmm will it harm my tires?"
3. and then: :Better spend precious time I could be exercising building new wheels!"
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Old 01-11-17, 02:12 PM
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Agree rollers should be nicer to tires than trainers, which run hot because the tire is always in the same spot. .
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Old 01-11-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Well, presumably tires leave some rubber dust on the road, too, although it doesn't pile up where you can see it.
Originally Posted by Salamandrine
I just noticed that some currently available rollers are much smaller in diameter than the old ones I used to ride, ie., State Aluminum or Kreitler. It would not surprise me if these little itsy bitsy rollers are hard on tires.
I used the large diameter Tacx rollers for a few years and I suspect this type is harder on tires because of the extra force the rollers put on squeezing the two wheels towards each other where as the angle and forces are less as the rollers get smaller in diameter. Also I've also bee a 200 lb rider so that may have something to do with it.

There's a reason why they sell dedicated trainer tires these days. Much tougher compounds.
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Old 01-11-17, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Thanks for that, but what's the roller pressure adjustment referred to several times in that thread? The pressure on my rollers is a function of the combined weight of my bike plus my body--I don't see how it can be adjusted in any meaningful way.
You adjust pressure by losing weight.

Actually, the references to adjusting pressure on the roller may be due to confusion between rollers and trainers.

However, while there's not much you can do about it, the curvature of the roller, especially those with smaller diameters produces much more contact patch distortion than flat pavement. Over time this constant deep massaging can be hard on the tires cad cause things like tread separation.

I don't use special tires, but my rollers have a 5"+ diameter and I keep the tires pumped harder than I would on the road, especially the rear tire. You don't really need much traction on rollers, just enough to deep the bike from dancing so, if you're seeing tire issues feel free to experiment with higher pressure.
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Old 01-11-17, 04:49 PM
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We won't forget that rollers wear two tires instead of one...duh.
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Old 01-11-17, 05:42 PM
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I put a beater tire on my bike on the trainer (just a rear tire; it's a wind trainer). I actually used it for the first time this winter the other day, and about 10 minutes into my "ride," I smelled the distinct odor of burning rubber. Hmm. I looked to see that my rear wheel had shifted in the dropouts and was snuggling up with the left chain stay. I adjusted, tightened down the QR, and continued my "ride."
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Old 01-11-17, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Unlike some here, I don't have a dedicated trainer bike for winter riding on rollers
Well, who's fault is that? :-)

On a serious note - I do not see any significant wear, I am usually using Conti GP4000 on plastic Elite rollers
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Old 01-11-17, 07:58 PM
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I do not think there's any wear issues with rollers (just trainers). I've been doing 4-5 roller sessions a week for the last few weeks of bad weather. Tire's are not wearing but I did get a flat somehow last night. The bike I use has not been ridden outside for a couple of months. Must have picked up a metal chip rolling it through the shop. Or maybe rollers wear out tubes..................
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