During this off-season, many bicyclists will get into indoor cycling. And that is exactly where the indoor bike trainers come into play. However, if you have just taken an interest in indoor biking, you might not fully know what bike trainers are. Also, if you’re an anxious person like me one common question might be running in the back of your head.
Yes, we are talking about the question that most beginners ask: do bike trainers damage bikes or not. Well, the answer is a straightforward no.
But there are some things that you should know about the trainers, which we will go through in this discussion.
Does a Bike Trainer Damage Your Bike?
Let’s cut right to the chase! Does a regular or turbo trainer damage the bike? Absolutely not! But there is so much to this topic. And in this segment, we will get to the bottom of it.
What Carbon Fiber Experts Say
One of the most prominent carbon fiber experts out there is Raoul Luescher. In an interview video, he talks about whether indoor trainers can damage carbon frames or not. He said none of the bikes under his hands had any damage due to being used with a trainer. Each indoor training system is actually built like that.
However, he did explain that one of the issues with the indoor trainer is the sweat damage. We will get to that later in this discussion.
Improved Technology and New Testing Protocols
There are a bunch of indoor trainer apps. And they are gaining a lot of popularity day by day. Well, this popularity of the bike trainer apps forced the turbo trainer industry to improve its testing protocols. When you put your bike frame into the turbo trainer, most of the forces get transferred to the rear triangle.
This force transfer of force might make you think that your bike might end up with turbo trainer damage. But the thing is, most bicycles come with a robust carbon frame. They will even have improved technology. For that reason, they can withstand this force pretty easily.
Some manufacturers will also cover their bicycles with a warranty even when you use them with a stationary trainer. For example, Canyon has fully approved their bikes for trainer use. And this is not only applicable to big brands. Some other brands have also integrated this into their warranty policy.
So, if you are really worried about damaging the carbon frame with the bike trainer, you can opt for those bicycles. On that note, for the direct-drive trainers, Canyon only approves the thru-axle models. Due to that, you should keep the warranty policy in mind while selecting a trainer for your bike.
What GCN Has to Say
Based on the experience and discussions of the manufacturers, GCN confirmed that bicycles are okay for trainer use. They further stated that you could safely carry on riding on the bike trainer in both the direct-drive trainers and on a wheel-on bike trainer. In short, according to GCN, riding on a bike trainer is totally safe!
GPLama’s Take on the Matter
Wondering who GPLama is? He is one of the most famous experts in the bike trainer community. He explains that it is totally okay to spring on a carbon bike while it is on a wheel-on trainer or direct-drive trainer.
Tips to Avoid Damage on Your Bike While Using Bike Trainers
At this point, it is pretty clear that bike riding on trainers will not do any damage to your bike. And that applies to both the road bike and mountain bike types. However, you can still do damage to carbon bikes if you do not use the trainers properly. For that reason, it is essential to keep these factors in your mind:
Consider the Tightness of the Resistance Bike Trainers
You might have heard about resistance trainers for the bike before. It is a trainer type that is gaining a lot of popularity. Whether you plan to hook your old bike or one of the new road bikes with it, you should ensure that the tightness on the rear hub is correct. You will damage the rear wheel if you overtighten the rear hub.
Mind Your Sweat
If you take a look at the trainer manufacturer’s instructions, you might see a strict warning regarding water and sweat. Here, the only problem would be sweat. As for the water, most of the bikers will use water bottles. But you can not really control where your sweat will drop while you’re in the middle of setting a new PR.
Now, when the sweat drops on the expensive components, it will make them corrode. And the corrosion can eventually end on the metal frame, rear skewer, rear axle, and other parts of the bike. For that reason, you should use a towel to wipe your sweat periodically while riding the bike. You can also use a sweat net to save wear.
Ensure That the Dropout Is Sitting Correctly
One of the common user errors of the trainers is that the user does not ensure proper placement of the trainer tire. Usually, the bikers will not properly make the quick-release seat on the dropout. That will make the trainer wear and might potentially apply unusual forces to your bike.
Considering that, you should ensure that the wheel is sitting in position before riding the trainers. You can significantly damage your bike if you are not careful about this.
Check the rear tire, the position of the front wheel, and the mounting mechanisms frequently. Conducting this periodic safety inspection can make you avoid any potential damage to your bike, especially the rear tire.
As you can see, the answer to the question of do bike trainers damage bikes or not is a no. But you should consider the tips we have mentioned above to make sure that you do not accidentally damage the bike while riding the trainers.
If you’re looking for a road bike to throw on your trainer check out this article for a road bike under $500!