Keep Your Bike Tuned on the Trainer

Keep Your Bike Tuned on the Trainer

By Amanda Loudin 

Years ago, I stood on the sidelines of a local duathlon, cheering my husband on as he completed multiple loops on the bike course. A few loops in and I noticed he was riding with half of his handlebars hanging loose, almost flapping in the wind. I thought he was crazy for continuing like this, but he did and he finished.

After the race, we talked about what had happened. Turns out that after a winter of riding indoors on the trainer, his sweat had corroded his bars under the tape, and they just snapped. Gross, I know.

The point is, with his bike sitting indoors all winter, out of the elements, my husband had neglected to do any sort of maintenance for months. Clearly he paid a price for this move and in hindsight, he’s probably lucky that’s the only mechanical he had on race day. If you’re going to spend your winter on the trainer, here are a few steps to take to ensure your bike stays road ready when the snow clears:

Swap out the tire

While trainers have come a long way since the days when they used to shred tires, it’s still smart to go with a cheaper rear tire for your indoor miles. Tires are a big investment, so why not save your good ones for the road? Buy a cheap slick tire and move your better road rear to storage for the winter. Then spin away on the trainer without worrying about the wear and tear. 

Keep a bottle of grease on hand

You’re not out on the road and in the elements, so you might not think much about keeping your chain greased up on the trainer. But moving parts move better when they have a coating of fresh lube on them. Once every week or so, take a few minutes to properly clean your chain and apply some grease to keep it in good working order.

Cover your bars

Back to my husband’s story—you’re going to be sweating on your trainer and when you’re not moving, that sweat has nowhere to go. It will coat your handlebars, wires, gears, etc. if you don’t cover things up. Throw a towel over the handlebars to catch your sweat and protect your investment.

A little forethought and elbow grease can go a long way when it comes to keeping your expensive equipment in good working order. Don’t let up on bike maintenance when it’s on a trainer—otherwise, you may pay for it on race day.

FeaturedRachel Cochran