How to Set Up a Bike Trainer at Home?

How to Set Up a Bike Trainer at Home

Cycling has been around for more than a century and is best enjoyed on the road or around the open trails. However, the weather will not always cooperate with you and can result in slippery roads and muddy trails, although the latter is always preferred. It is during these off-peak seasons that knowing how to set up a bike trainer can be of great help as you can still train while you stay safe inside your home.

What Is a Bike Trainer?

A bike trainer is cycling-specific equipment that may be attached to a bicycle’s rear wheels and used while it remains in a steady position. Some forms of this equipment make use of both wheels and do not require to be attached, while a few are in quick-release form for added portability.

Bike trainers allow cyclists, professional and casual riders alike, to ride their bikes indoors while there’s unfavorable weather outside. Professional cycling teams even let their cyclists use bike trainers to warm up before a big event or check their performance by equipping it with sensors that monitor the cyclist’s cadence, heart rate and VO2Max.

Bike Trainers vs. Stationary Bikes

You might be thinking, “I am not a professional, I’ll just stick to my stationary bicycle. Thank you.” Well, it does have its advantages over bike trainers, especially when it comes to adjustable resistance and not having to bring your dirty bike inside the house.

However, bike trainers have several advantages over stationary bikes, and these include:

  • Portability

The majority of bike trainers are made of a single folding contraption which is very lightweight and can be stored or packed inside the trunk of a car or one of the cabinets in your garage. Unlike stationary bikes, you can bring your bike trainer anywhere, so it does not pose a problem for people who are constantly moving from one place to another.

  • Space-Saving

Since bike trainers are foldable, it would require very little storage space, and it can even co-exist in the same space that your bike is occupying. No need to move around furniture to fit a stationary bike in.

  • No Rider Adjustment

A common problem among cyclists is the user adjustment when they transition from stationary to an actual bike. Most stationary bikes can be modified to have the same seat to BB length, as well as handlebar to seat post ratio, but the measurements are not quite the same compared to a bike that you have built to fit your body type and riding style.

  • No Need to Take Classes

Stationary bikes can be expensive, so you most likely have to sign up for a gym membership to spin. Having a bike trainer at home means you don’t have to leave your house, and you don’t need to sign up for anything, well maybe life insurance but that’s about it. You can also pool bike trainers among friends and have your bike trainer class if you prefer having company while you train.

Types of Bike Trainers

Bike trainer models may look somewhat the same as the next one with minor variations in aesthetics and what not, but there are several kinds of trainers with the difference being in how they work. While it’s true that you just need to attach the trainer to your rear wheel, it takes more than that to give you the proper work that you deserve.

Here are the different types of bike trainers:

1. Magnetic

This bike trainer uses magnetism to provide resistance to your rear wheel. This trainer is very quiet although it can easily break if not used properly.

2. Wind

This bike trainer attaches a fan to the rear wheel that uses the motion from the user to provide resistance. The resistance is limited for this one as you can easily overcome the blades of the fan, and it is quite noisy as well, especially when the blades slice through the air.

3. Centrifugal

This bike trainer has pressure plates that are attached to the rear wheel, and they are specially designed to provide resistance as you pedal your cranks. This is another silent bike trainer with adjustable resistance.

4. Fluid

An offshoot of magnetic bike trainers, this type combines magnets and fluid resistance to provide progressive resistance to your training.

5. Utilitarian

This bike trainer combines bike training with another purpose, like washing clothes or generating electricity. All you need is to attach the bike trainer to the training wheel and then connect it to a dynamo, or you can connect some chains towards a revolving drum that serves as the improvised washing machine.

6. Direct Drive

This bike trainer replaces the rear wheel and can simulate real-world scenarios, adjusting as you shift your gears. This is quite expensive and not as portable as the other kinds of bike trainers.

How to Set Up a Bike Trainer

Bike trainers are easy to purchase, with several units available online for same-day delivery. However, once you receive your trainer, ask yourself this: “Am I equipped enough to set up my trainer?” This is in no way meant to scare you from getting your trainer, but rather encourage you to think about the skills that you have.

Here are the steps in setting up a bike trainer:

Step 1: Bring your trainer and bike together. Prop up your bike nearby.

Step 2: Fold out the legs of your trainer and lock it.

Step 3: Check for the stability of the bike trainer and if it’s really locked.

Step 4: Align the rear wheel of your bicycle with the bike trainer.

Note: Some trainers would require you to remove the skewers of your bike and install the skewers that came with the trainer. If this is the case, then proceed to the next step. However, a few would just require you to prop your bike in, and you’re good to go. If this is the case, then proceed to step 6.

Step 5: Remove the skewers of your bike and install the training skewers so that you don’t overuse your normal skewers.

Step 6: Align your bicycle with the bike trainer, and ensure that it snugly fits the axle clamps.

Step 7: Tighten the skewers as you orient the tires to be as close to the center of resistance as possible.

Optional: Place a riser block on the front wheel to have a leveled cycling experience. You can opt to have the rear wheel higher than the front wheel, but this can damage your fork and front hubs if you do this consistently.

Final Thoughts

Bike trainers make great training equipment for professional cyclists, especially if it comes with adjustable resistance and sensors to provide data that can be used for performance analysis. People who enjoy biking, but not in a competitive way, can make use of this equipment when the weather is not smiling in their favor.

You don’t have to be a professional cyclist to get the advantages that a bike trainer has. All you need is to know the different kinds of trainers and how to set up a bike trainer, and you’re good to go.

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