Bike trainers are a lot more popular than they once were, especially because more and more people are opting for indoor biking nowadays. These are amazing trainers as they let you use your bike, along with other equipment for exercising, which makes life a lot easier. You don’t have to ride on the roads, so there’s no safety issue, no speed limit, and no bar on how hard you can push yourself.
However, bike trainers can end up damaging your bike if you aren’t careful with them. This is why it’s important to maintain caution while biking on trainers. In this article, we’ll discuss how trainers can damage your bike and how you can prevent that from happening.
Does A Bike Trainer Damage My Bike?
The indoor trainer won’t affect every component on your bike, but the number of potentially affected components isn’t low either.
In this section, we’ll take a look at the components that are affected by the most popular types of bike trainers, and we’ll also provide tips on preventing them. So, let’s get right to it!
Related reading: Best Indoor Cycling Accessories
Front Wheel and Spokes
You won’t need to turn the front wheel when riding on a stationary bike stand at all. This does take a significant load off of you, but it affects the spokes of the front wheel. As you’ll ride straight all the time, the pressure distribution across the front wheel spokes won’t be even. Thus, some spokes will start getting weaker over time while others are overloaded.
However, you can fix this issue quite easily. Just remember to turn the direction of the front wheel by a quarter before every session you go for. This will ensure an even pressure distribution across the spokes.
Rear tires, on the other hand, are a completely different issue.
Related reading: Do Bike Trainers Ruin Tires?
The rear skewer on your bike will undergo more pressure when it’s not moving. This is why there’s a huge chance of breaking them while using trainers. Even if they don’t break, the skewer may get bent under immense pressure, which will affect the performance of the bike.
Sometimes, the skewer can flex the quick-release axle, which can disconnect the frame from the trainer. If this comes to be, not only the frame but the rider will be damaged as well.
One major way to keep the skewer safe is to ensure that it fits well. Some skewers that come with the trainers don’t fit the bike well. These increase the risk of an accident or damage. If the provided accessory doesn’t fit your bike, we recommend shopping for a better fitting aftermarket one.
When you bike using a trainer, both the top tube and the handlebar fall in the splash zone of your sweat. If they aren’t cleaned after every session, the sweat will corrode any exposed aluminum components, including the top tube. They mainly affect the screws on these parts. Over time, this can be very detrimental to your bicycle.
You can prevent that from happening if you wipe the sweat after every session, so we highly recommend keeping that in mind. You should also consider getting a sweat cover.
Bottom Bracket and Downtube
The bottom bracket and the downtube aren’t safe from your sweat either, as gravity will ensure it reaches these components. Sweat can corrode the bolts on the water cage as well as the bottom bracket. If exposed metal parts are on the bottom bracket, they will corrode as well.
Our suggestion is the same. Identify the components where the sweat is reaching and wipe them clean with a dry towel after every indoor cycling session. This will prevent the brackets from corroding over time.
Another important component that your sweat can affect is the seat post. The aluminum on seat posts is usually exposed, so they are more vulnerable to your sweat than most other components. Plus, it handles immense pressure every time you use it, which is why there are more chances that it’ll get damaged.
Wiping the seat post won’t be enough this time. To keep it safe from harm, you need to apply grease on the seat post regularly. Instead of grease, using any anti-seize compound will do as well. If you want to avoid this entirely, we highly recommend swapping out the stock aluminum seat post with a carbon one. These are well crafted and don’t get affected by sweat.
Finally, there are the handlebars. We recommend swapping them out with carbon ones if you use aluminum handlebars. Aluminum handlebars get damaged very fast as they endure great pressure in every session and stay in contact with your sweaty hands throughout the time.
Even if you wipe the handlebars after each session, it won’t be enough to avoid damaging your bike. They’ll be in contact with your sweat long enough to corrode them. What makes things worse is that the failure of the handlebars during the sprint session can be catastrophic.
An easy solution to this is laying a piece of towel on the handlebars. Of course, this will make the experience a bit uncomfortable for some. If you want a comfortable experience, try the following suggestions.
Of course, you can try riding a pair of gloves to ensure the sweat doesn’t keep in contact with the handlebars. However, not everyone will be able to do this due to various reasons.
If you want to keep the handlebars long-lasting without switching to carbon ones, you need to change the tape on them at least once a year. Even better if you can do that twice. Whenever you change the tapes, check for corrosion.
To keep the bars corrosion-free, you can apply anti-seize compounds regularly.
Finally, just get carbon handlebars if you don’t want to steer clear of corrosion. You’ll have to spend some extra bucks, but it’ll definitely be worth it!
These are the major components of your bike that can be damaged while using a bike trainer. Even if the trainer doesn’t damage the component directly, it can allow other factors to damage it faster than usual.
We recommend following the prevention tips above to keep your bike fresh as on day one.