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What is a trainer tire and do you need one?

The importance of the brightly coloured indoor accessories

Photo by: Tacx

The indoor training universe is full of components and accessories you might not realize you need before you can get riding. Depending on your bike or trainer, you might need a thru axle adaptor, quick release skewer, speed and cadence sensors or a trainer tire.

What kind of trainer requires a trainer tire?

If you have a direct drive trainer you won’t need to buy a trainer tire, as you’ll remove your rear wheel entirely to attach your bike to the trainer. Most other trainers—fluid, magnetic or wind based—will make direct contact with your rear wheel to provide some kind of resistance. If a component of the trainer (most commonly a barrel) touches your rear wheel, you definitely want to invest in a trainer tire.

Photo: MEC

Why are trainer tires necessary?

Standard tires are designed specifically to grip the asphalt. The barrel roller which touches your wheel on a trainer is smooth metal, a complexly different surface. Instead of treads for traction, the trainer tire is smooth and grips to the metal.

As opposed to regular tires, trainer tires are heat resistant, which is important as it spins in the same place on a barrel consistently throughout your workout. As it heats up, a regular tire used on a trainer will quickly start to break down and could leave black rubber residue on the barrel or around your indoor setup.

Finally, using an indoor specific tire will ensure there isn’t any outdoor dirt left on your tire that could damage the barrel of your trainer.

Do I have to change my tire every time I use the trainer?

You have two options for your indoor setup. You can either treat the tire change as practice for improving your flat fixing time, or, you can buy a second wheel. Buying a cheap second-hand rear wheel with a trainer tire mounted on it is an easy way to avoid changing your tire every time you go from outdoor to indoor riding.