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Is your bike safe on an indoor trainer? (Mine wasn't.)

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Is your bike safe on an indoor trainer? (Mine wasn't.)

Old 11-01-19, 07:45 PM
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FlashBazbo
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Is your bike safe on an indoor trainer?

The thread generally comes up this time of year. The question is something along the lines of . . . does using a bike on an indoor trainer void the warranty? Or, is it safe to use a carbon bike on an indoor trainer? And the answers vary by manufacturer. BUT . . .

I bought my current gravel bike, in part, because the manufacturer said I could also use it on my indoor trainer. Cool. My road bike manufacturer voids the warranty if you use theirs on the trainer. I bought the gravel bike and decided that, since I then had a trainer bike, I could sell my old cheapo aluminum trainer bike. Everything was cool, until tonight. Riding along on Zwift, I think I might have had the first frameset-destroying crash in the history of Zwift. Without notice, my bike's stock rear thru axle snapped just inside the frame. The bike tilted farther, farther, farther . . . (slow motion crash) . . . snap! Crackle! Struggle to unclip before impact!

I unclipped before impact and wasn't injured. But the left seat stay broke in at least two places.

[UPDATE: I'm going to accept at least some of the blame on this one. It appears the thru axle had backed out a bit before failing. Although I torqued it to the proper value when I mounted the bike to the trainer (10 rides ago), I hadn't checked it since. Since it backed out, I'm pretty sure that contributed to the failure. Check your thru axles regularly -- maybe every ride!]

All that to say . . . as with every winter on this forum . . . be careful about using your bike on an indoor trainer. Even a wheel-off trainer like a Wahoo Kickr introduces forces that just aren't normal for a bike.

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 11-02-19 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 11-01-19, 08:27 PM
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Tough luck with you bike. A little ironic that one of the few bikes that says it's not a problem riding on the trainer breaks and all the other bikes that have disclaimers are fine. I think this is the first instance I've heard of a bike failing on a trainer.

Were you riding hard/sprinting at any point or just riding at a steady power. I've never really done anything more than steady state intervals on a KK fluid trainer but was planning to get a Tacx Neo this year and wondering whether higher power, up to sprinting, would be feasible.
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Old 11-01-19, 08:38 PM
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that's more a problem of faulty thru axle than trainer issue, how do you mount the bike to the trainer with the stock thru axle? there is nothing for the trainer to clamp to.
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Old 11-01-19, 09:18 PM
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Glad to hear you weren't hurt. For all the tens of thousands of times we've all clipped out, it's harder when you're not expecting to have to. Probably happened on the side you don't normally clip out first with.

I hope they take care of it for you - the manufacturer I mean.
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Old 11-01-19, 10:24 PM
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I have a cheap aluminum frame I fought used for $60.00 and a used drivetrain off of another bike. If something catastrophic happens, I am not out a lot of money.
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Old 11-01-19, 10:47 PM
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August '18 - your bmc team machine slr01 disc frame self destructed and required a warranty for a new frame. Dealer then went above and beyond to replace everything.

October '18 - Trek Checkpoint is ridden for hundreds of miles and the flexing seat tube isnt enjoyed so the dealer accepts a used frame at full retail credit and offers to build a different frame for free, while then having a random trek frame sitting around.

February '19 - Trek Checkpoint cant fit a 45mm tire though they claim it can. Then they change thebclaimed width. Then they change it again. Then you mention a non OEM component is partly causing the issue.
Ultimately, your bike shop is once again changing everything out for free and accepting a used frame at full retail credit.
A salsa Warbird is coming, but then you end up with an OPEN UP.

September '19 - your smart trainer is terrible and you are looking to drop hundreds on another bad smart trainer.

November '19 - you snap your OPEN frame.




1- I spent too much time on this, but the basketball game I'm watching is boring.
2- Is it acceptable yet to wish you an uneventful 2020 with regards to cycling products?


That blue OPEN frame is(was) so sharp looking.
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Old 11-02-19, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Were you riding hard/sprinting at any point or just riding at a steady power.
At the time of the failure, I was riding easy, steady, zone 1 recovery pace. But I have ridden intervals on this bike/trainer combination. I suspect this was a fatigue crack that was developing for awhile, but just happened to fail last night.

Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
that's more a problem of faulty thru axle than trainer issue, how do you mount the bike to the trainer with the stock thru axle? there is nothing for the trainer to clamp to.
You're correct that this was a thru axle failure and not a trainer issue. The trainer is a KICKR direct drive trainer. With this trainer, you use the bike's stock thru axle to mount the bike to the trainer.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Glad to hear you weren't hurt. For all the tens of thousands of times we've all clipped out, it's harder when you're not expecting to have to. Probably happened on the side you don't normally clip out first with.
You are correct. I normally clip out on the left and this happened on the right. It's amazing how the body grows accustomed to doing something and doesn't want to do it a different way. Fortunately, this was a "slow motion" crash. It came without warning. If it had fallen suddenly, I would have been head first into the floor.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Is it acceptable yet to wish you an uneventful 2020 with regards to cycling products?


That blue OPEN frame is(was) so sharp looking.
I never cease to be amazed (and a little creeped out) at how you track my posts, mstateglfr. To be accurate, you put in one too many Checkpoints -- it was just one, but it took a long time to get the replacement. And while I upgraded trainers this year, I never said the KICKR is a bad trainer. Much to the contrary. I think it's a GREAT trainer. But the Syntace X-12 thru axle is probably not the best product for this application.

And yes, please wish me an uneventful 2020 with regards to cycling products. The last year and a half have been, by far, the most "eventful" in my experience. But if you put tons of miles on bikes every year, you're going to have more equipment issues than the average citizen. I'm ready to go back to just wearing stuff out.

Finally (for now), thanks. Yes, the OPEN is/was sharp looking. I am confident it will rise from the ashes to ride again. (But I'm having doubts it will ever see use on a trainer again.)
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Old 11-02-19, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I have a cheap aluminum frame I fought used for $60.00 and a used drivetrain off of another bike. If something catastrophic happens, I am not out a lot of money.
Until recently, my trainer bike was a $200 Specialized Allez in baby poop green / neon orange. When OPEN assured me I could use this bike on a trainer, I sold the Specialized. Now, I wish it were still around.
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Old 11-02-19, 01:01 AM
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Syntace X-12 axle looks beefy and not weight weenie, must be a bad batch from the factory, any chance to post a picture of the axle crack? I am using Tacx Neo, and they force you to use a thin QR adapter that I have little faith on
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Old 11-02-19, 01:31 AM
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Looking at the way frames flex on trainers has always given me pause and the fact that some manufacturers void warranties underscores my concerns. Forces with a bike restrained by a trainer are not at all analogous to those on the road. I am glad my 20+ year old Performance trainer with resistance fans still works. Power meter pedals and Sufferfest have made indoor training much more pleasurable, plus doing high cadence workouts really forces good form!
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Old 11-02-19, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Until recently, my trainer bike was a $200 Specialized Allez in baby poop green / neon orange. When OPEN assured me I could use this bike on a trainer, I sold the Specialized. Now, I wish it were still around.
Why would you ever take a functioning $200 bike off a trainer? I have an old bike on my trainer & I never plan on removing it. Heck, I just don't want to continually move a bike to/from the trainer.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
Why would you ever take a functioning $200 bike off a trainer? I have an old bike on my trainer & I never plan on removing it. Heck, I just don't want to continually move a bike to/from the trainer.
I donít keep my trainer up year round. There are other things I like to do with that space. The bike went to a newbie rider who needed it more than I did.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
Syntace X-12 axle looks beefy and not weight weenie, must be a bad batch from the factory, any chance to post a picture of the axle crack? I am using Tacx Neo, and they force you to use a thin QR adapter that I have little faith on
It depends on which Syntace X-12 you have. OPEN provides a Carbon-Ti Superlight Syntace X-12. It’s probably more weight weenie than it needs to be but, if you look at my "UPDATE," I can't completely blame the thru axle. It appears to have backed out somewhat before the failure. I torqued it 10 rides ago, but it appears I should have checked it more often.

Last edited by FlashBazbo; 11-02-19 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Until recently, my trainer bike was a $200 Specialized Allez in baby poop green / neon orange. When OPEN assured me I could use this bike on a trainer, I sold the Specialized. Now, I wish it were still around.
I woulda kept it anyway.. just not have sweat dripping all over the new stuff.
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Old 11-02-19, 05:55 AM
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What bike manufacturers don't allow trainers to (voiding warranty) be used with their bikes anyway? If they sponsor a UCI or whatnot pro team, are all the team members supposed to warm up on a competitor's brand bike?
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Old 11-02-19, 05:57 AM
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Old is new again. Rollers, without a fork stand.

Inside Ride - E-Motion Rollers
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Old 11-02-19, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
Old is new again. Rollers, without a fork stand.

Inside Ride - E-Motion Rollers
No. Just no.
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Old 11-02-19, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
You're correct that this was a thru axle failure and not a trainer issue. The trainer is a KICKR direct drive trainer. With this trainer, you use the bike's stock thru axle to mount the bike to the trainer.


I never cease to be amazed (and a little creeped out) at how you track my posts, mstateglfr. To be accurate, you put in one too many Checkpoints -- it was just one, but it took a long time to get the replacement. And while I upgraded trainers this year, I never said the KICKR is a bad trainer. Much to the contrary. I think it's a GREAT trainer. But the Syntace X-12 thru axle is probably not the best product for this application.
FWIW, there's a whole popup window section on the OPEN website about trainer usage in the Specifications section here: https://opencycle.com/UP

Salient bit snipped, as there's no way to direct link to this:

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Old 11-02-19, 06:50 AM
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[QUOTE=Sy Reene;21191182]FWIW, there's a whole popup window section on the OPEN website about trainer usage in the Specifications section here: https://opencycle.com/UP


/QUOTE]

Yes, that's actually a little out of date. Wahoo now includes the thru axle adapters with the KICKR. But yes, OPEN openly encourages trainer use with their bikes. Before I bought mine, I sent an email to OPEN asking about using it on a trainer and one of the owners emailed me back, approving. (I'm going to look for the email today. I hope I didn't double delete it.)
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Old 11-02-19, 07:29 AM
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UPDATE: This morning, I decided to do an amateur forensic examination of the accident scene. I'm going to accept at least some of the blame on this one. It appears the thru axle had backed out a bit before failing. Although I torqued it to the proper value when I mounted the bike to the trainer (20 days / 10 trainer rides ago), I hadn't checked it since. Since it backed out, I'm pretty sure that contributed to the failure. Check your thru axles regularly -- maybe every ride!

And I wonder . . . since I use a KICKR Climb . . . did the Climb's movement help back out the thru axle?

Check your thru axles!
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Old 11-02-19, 08:18 AM
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For some reason, I always feel as though I am just one bad break away from ending up in a pile of carbon fiber and bones on the floor when I am clipped in on the trainer. I have never felt safe on that thing.
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Old 11-02-19, 08:22 AM
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No problems with mine, but I mostly use a 1980s steel road bike on my Cycleops trainer. Including HIIT and standing to pedal. The skewer end cap is conical and doesn't fit the Cycleops adjustable brace as snugly as I'd like, but so far the worst I've done is bend a skewer, easily replaced. It'd take a lot to wreck that bike.

I've used my Trek 5900 crabon fibber bike on the Cycleops a few times, mostly to check adjustments before a ride. Nothing asploded. Mostly I'm using it as a workstand to check drivetrain adjustments before a ride. No intervals. No standing to stomp the pedals. Just moving my feet around while shifting through the gears to be sure everything checks out.
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Old 11-02-19, 09:35 AM
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If there ever was a long term durability test for a carbon frame on a trainer it is my '91 TVT. The 28 year old bike did over 40,000 km on the road and then went onto the Kickr with used Ultegra components. It has done 25,350 km on Zwift as of this morning. I made a rocker plate from the start which probably helps. Just a regular QR done up as tight as I can, and checked every month or so. The drive train is getting worn so sometime next year the frame will get its 4th drive train. The TVT was never considered a stiff or strong frame with the carbon tubes bonded into aluminum lugs, so I believe most frame failures on trainers (particularly rear dropout breakage) are due to user error or pre-existing damage.
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Old 11-02-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
It depends on which Syntace X-12 you have. OPEN provides a Carbon-Ti Superlight Syntace X-12. Itís probably more weight weenie than it needs to be but, if you look at my "UPDATE," I can't completely blame the thru axle. It appears to have backed out somewhat before the failure. I torqued it 10 rides ago, but it appears I should have checked it more often.
it is good to check every ride.
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Old 11-02-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
UPDATE: This morning, I decided to do an amateur forensic examination of the accident scene. I'm going to accept at least some of the blame on this one. It appears the thru axle had backed out a bit before failing. Although I torqued it to the proper value when I mounted the bike to the trainer (20 days / 10 trainer rides ago), I hadn't checked it since. Since it backed out, I'm pretty sure that contributed to the failure. Check your thru axles regularly -- maybe every ride!

And I wonder . . . since I use a KICKR Climb . . . did the Climb's movement help back out the thru axle?

Check your thru axles!
I had my thru axle back out on my Madone going about 26mph on a century. Was about third wheel in a pack of at least 20. It completely locked the rear wheel as the chain locked up due to angle between derailleur and cassette. I just slid to a stop. Luckily I didn't go down and no one hit me. I had a bit of warning, but didn't put 2 and 2 together. Shifting was getting worse and worse. I guess as it slowly backed out.

I learned a lesson to always check the positioning of the thru axle. I don't physically touch it. I just look to make sure it's rotated in the same position.
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