Protect Your Bike From ... You!

author : Team BT
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Keeping your bike from being damaged on the trainer

The weather has finally turned cold and all but the hardiest commuters have taken their bikes inside to ride in “Pain Caves” all over the Northern Hemisphere.
My goal in writing this article is to help you as the rider and athlete take great care of your bike and establish a healthy relationship between you, your bike, and your favorite bike mechanic.
As you take your bike inside for the winter here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure your quick-release skewer is appropriate for your trainer. Many skewers that come with bikes have odd, aerodynamic shapes, and plastic caps on the nut which will most likely come off in the trainer and potentially cause a dangerous situation. If you have doubts, stop in your local shop and they will tell you if your skewer is appropriate or not. A traditional, old-school skewer with a metal cap will work best in a trainer. You can switch it out for your fancy aero skewer when you head back outdoors.

  2. Keep your tires inflated properly (especially the rear). 

  3. If you’re hooking your bike up to a trainer, consider a couple of tire options.  A trainer is pretty hard on a back tire. The stationary trainer puts a high amount of pressure in a small centralized area, which accelerates wear on tires.  One option would be to buy a trainer-specific tire which is designed to last longer and run quietly on the trainer (but not suitable to ride outside).  If you want a trainer-specific tire, you have plenty of options. Continental, CycleOps, Kinetic, Vittoria, and Schwalbe all make trainer tires ranging in price from about $35 up to $50. Your local bike shop will have them front and center in the store this time of year.  Another option would be to just keep your current rear tire on and wear it out this winter … but be prepared to buy a new one in the spring. We often tell people to put an old tire on and burn it up on the trainer and keep their good rubber for the road.

  4. Protect your bike…..from you! While your bike is set up in your trainer, you might be the most dangerous thing your bike is going to encounter. You’re going to sweat profusely while you crank out those watts. And what are you going to do with that salty, corrosive stuff? You’re going to drip and drool it right on to your beloved two-wheeled machine. I don’t think there’s any practical way to prevent all sweat corrosion to your bike, but it is a very big issue we deal with here in the repair shop. I think one of the best ways to protect your bike is to simply put a towel over the handlebars and stem area. Try and catch that salty concoction that’s dripping off your face and running down your arms before it lands on your bike. We see lots of corrosion on stem and top cap bolts, front and rear brakes, front derailleurs, and frame mounted barrel adjusters. I say ride hard and sweat hard, but don’t forget to give your bike some love too. Your bike would love you if you gave it a nice soapy rinse every couple of rides.

  5. If you’re in need of service for your bike, sometimes January to March is the best time to have it done. Many shops will have “Winter Service Sales” for the first couple of months to keep busy during the winter. You’re likely to find huge discounts on tune-ups, tires, parts and accessories, and there’s probably no wait for service. Give your local shop a call and see if they have any promotions during the winter.

Chet Johnson is the Service Manager at a BikeSource bike store in Columbus, Ohio. Chet specializes in performance bikes and triathlon bikes.


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date: January 30, 2016

Team BT