Maintaining Your Indoor Trainer
It’s cold and snowy outside, so your bike is living the easy life while mounted on its trainer indoors, right?
Bikes used on trainers still see wear, tear and dirt during the winter season. The chain, sprockets, chainrings and bearings still see plenty of action as you power away. Indoor dust and pet hair make their way into the drivetrain and bond with the lubricant from your chain. We recently had a customer who noticed loose ball bearings on the floor around his trainer. It turned out that the bottom bracket had completely disintegrated.
In order to extend the life of your drivetrain, it’s important to keep your chain clean and lubricated, and replace it once it becomes stretched from wear. Keep an eye on the health of your wheel, headset, and bottom bracket bearings just as you would with road or trail mileage.
While your trainer bike might be safe from the salt poured on the roads, there are electrolytes in our sweat which make their way onto the bike’s components. We recently had a customer bring in his very nice road bike for maintenance. Upon removing his old bar tape we found that sweat had corroded his aluminum handlebar to the point that there was a hole in it! This is a safety issue that we were very glad we caught before it was too late.
Wiping down your bike regularly and keeping corrosive sweat off of the handlebar, stem, and frame will go a long way towards keeping those components fresh once spring arrives.
Don’t forget your rear tire and tube, whether it’s a trainer specific one or an old street tire. Trainers develop a lot of heat during use, and with little moving air to cool things down we have a recipe for stressed rubber. The consequences of a failed tire on a trainer are less severe than out on the road, but can still be an unpleasant surprise.
Remember, just because your bike remains stationary while you train, doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting a good workout. The same is true for your bike!