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Bike trainer conundrum

Old 04-30-21, 11:46 AM
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rtkitters
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Bike trainer conundrum

Hi folks,

This is my first post on the forum! Cycling newbie here. I've been riding a Trek Marlin 6 for the last year and in love with the whole biking experience! I've decided it's time to get a bike trainer so I can get in better shape, up my biking game, and cycle on the (many) bad weather days in upstate NY. Buttttt .... I've run into some issues! Purchased a Kickr snap to use on Zwift, got it all hooked up to my Marlin, and only then realized that the knobby tires on the Marlin are a no-go. So I've got a few options but none of them seem really ideal. Can you more experienced folks help me think about what would be best?


Option1 - upgrade to a Kickr or Kickr Core. Downside 1 - need to buy and install an 8 speed 34 cog cassette, which is super hard to find! Downside 2 - the whole take the wheel on and off thing seems scary! Downside 3 - Have to take it on and off constantly if I want to bike indoors some days and outdoors some days.

Option 2 - Keep the Kickr Snap, buy another bike to go on it. Downside 1 - expensive Downside 2 - may take a while to find the right used bike. Upside - super convenient to keep a bike on the trainer!

Option 3 - Keep the Kickr Snap, buy a trainer wheel for it. Downside 1&2 - Taking the wheel on and off all the time Downside 3 - difficult to find a trainer wheel to fit my bike, do I need a cassette too and getting everything to be compatible seems hard! Upside - cheaper

Option 4 - Change my Marlin tire(s) to ... something else that works both outdoors and indoors. Downside 1 - what the heck kind of tire would this be? Slick tires would be bad because I like to ride on all kinds of rough trails. I saw some inverted tread/city tires (Drifter City?) - maybe these would work? Upside - cheaper

Option 5 - get an actual exercise bike downside 1 - want to use zwift, but bikes that work with it are super expensive. downside 2 - I have fairly specific bike needs because of a hip joint implant and overweight and worried that a exercise bike wouldn't feel right/fit well.


Any thoughts about options? I'm super confused. Thinking I may consult with my bike shop and see if they could figure out a tire swap (option 4) that may work but I'm worried we'll go to all that trouble and then either the tires won't be any good for rough trails or they will still not be right for the Kickr.
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Old 04-30-21, 11:59 AM
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caloso
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I'd just buy a cheap 8 speed wheel and throw a trainer tire and any 8 speed cassette on it. How often are you using your 34 cog on the trainer?
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Old 04-30-21, 12:02 PM
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Definitely get a wheel-off trainer. You don't need a 34t 8 spd cassette if you're Zwifting. You can get pretty much any 8sp cassette and just adjust the in-game difficulty setting downward if you need lower gearing. And taking a wheel off is really no big deal, just get comfortable doing it and you'll wonder why you worried about it in the first place.
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Old 04-30-21, 12:03 PM
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your easiest option is buying a new rear wheel that you can fit a trainer tire on. Then you can just change the rear wheel when you want to ride outside.
Down the road you may want to buy a bike just to use on the trainer.
last fall I upgraded my set up to a Wahoo Kickr Bike. An it has been great but I have been riding bike since the 1980ís. 😀
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Old 04-30-21, 12:27 PM
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Welcome to the forum. An option you didn't mention is to buy another bike. Depending on where you are upstate, you may have an easy time finding something used for $100 that's suitable. That's probably not much more than a wheel and tire. Doing so will enable you to avoid having to deal with wheels and other issues. And, if it doesn't work out you can resell it and get your money back.
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Old 04-30-21, 01:00 PM
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i would agree that getting another cheap bike might be the way to go. a Kicker is really an expensive option, a used bike should run much less than a kicker. also, a used bike in this case doesn't even need a working front wheel or brakes. a dented aluminum or cracked carbon frame can probably be had for pretty cheap on CL. they do show up from time to time.

sometime wheels turn up but usually around me they are more that a crappy bike.
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Old 04-30-21, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Definitely get a wheel-off trainer. You don't need a 34t 8 spd cassette if you're Zwifting. You can get pretty much any 8sp cassette and just adjust the in-game difficulty setting downward if you need lower gearing. And taking a wheel off is really no big deal, just get comfortable doing it and you'll wonder why you worried about it in the first place.
Thanks for the response! Just thinking a bit more about this option - let's say I buy a random 8 speed cassette. The one I see online that I could get quickly is an 11-28t Shimano. My bike is an 8sp 11-34t. It sounds like what you are saying is that I could get the wheel-off trainer (kickr core), install the 11-28t Shimano, and then there wouldn't be an issue with my putting my bike on it even though it currently has an 11-34 cassette? I was worried there could be a compatibility issue with the chain not fitting properly on the 11-28. I guess I don't really understand "adjust the in-game difficulty ... lower gearing". Could you explain a little bit more for a newb? Thanks for the vote of confidence about taking the wheel off - that's what I was thinking too, people do it all the time so I should be able to teach myself to do it and no biggie.
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Old 04-30-21, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rtkitters View Post
Thanks for the response! Just thinking a bit more about this option - let's say I buy a random 8 speed cassette. The one I see online that I could get quickly is an 11-28t Shimano. My bike is an 8sp 11-34t. It sounds like what you are saying is that I could get the wheel-off trainer (kickr core), install the 11-28t Shimano, and then there wouldn't be an issue with my putting my bike on it even though it currently has an 11-34 cassette? I was worried there could be a compatibility issue with the chain not fitting properly on the 11-28. I guess I don't really understand "adjust the in-game difficulty ... lower gearing". Could you explain a little bit more for a newb? Thanks for the vote of confidence about taking the wheel off - that's what I was thinking too, people do it all the time so I should be able to teach myself to do it and no biggie.
Your chain will be fine. Indoors there's not much downside if it's slightly longer than it needs to be. Only if you had larger cassette on the trainer would you risk damage by crosschaining big-big.

ZwiftInsider explains what the difficulty setting means much better than I could: https://zwiftinsider.com/trainer-dif...y-granny-gear/
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Old 04-30-21, 03:06 PM
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Thank you everyone, for your very swift and thoughtful responses!

I think at this point I am leaning toward the Kikr Core + Cassette and taking the wheel on and off. I do appreciate the suggestions to purchase a cheap craigslist bike and have it on the trainer 100% of the time. That is also a great suggestion and ticks all the boxes. The only difficulty there is that I have some fairly specific need for a certain fit/frame size/seat (due to my height, weight, and joint implant, it is super tricky!) There are fairly limited bikes available in this area on CL, but I think I can do the Kikr Core with my current bike for now and then long term look for a secondary bike I could use on the Kickr. Thank you all and happy riding!
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Old 05-03-21, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rtkitters View Post
Thank you everyone, for your very swift and thoughtful responses!

I think at this point I am leaning toward the Kikr Core + Cassette and taking the wheel on and off. I do appreciate the suggestions to purchase a cheap craigslist bike and have it on the trainer 100% of the time. That is also a great suggestion and ticks all the boxes. The only difficulty there is that I have some fairly specific need for a certain fit/frame size/seat (due to my height, weight, and joint implant, it is super tricky!) There are fairly limited bikes available in this area on CL, but I think I can do the Kikr Core with my current bike for now and then long term look for a secondary bike I could use on the Kickr. Thank you all and happy riding!
You'll be happy with the Core. I upgraded from Snap to Core last summer. It's a little better in a bunch of ways, including easier to get bike on and off, even with removing the wheel.
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