A bike trainer provides a convenient and affordable means of working out at home. But can you use a home trainer with a flat tire? Our guide has the answers.
Is there a problem if you use a home trainer with a flat tire? Are there any issues to using a trainer with a flat?
It’s not advisable to use a bike trainer with a flat tire. Most home trainers work best with higher tire pressures. So, you won’t enjoy an effective and productive workout with a flat tire. Second, you may end up damaging the rim if you use a home trainer with a flat tire.
In this article, we will walk you through some of the causes of flats when using a bike trainer as well as whether you can use a home trainer with a flat tire. So, if you are facing this situation, then this article has all the information you need.
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We’ve all been there before: You are enjoying a workout with a bike trainer at home and halfway through your ride, you get a flat. When this happens, you may be forced to cut your workout session short or end it prematurely.
And you may be probably wondering, what may cause this problem and is there a remedy? Can you continue using the trainer even with the flat? We will explore this issue and discuss it in detail in this guide. So, if you keep getting flats when using a home trainer, you’ve come to the right place.
Causes of Flats when Using a Trainer
Flats can happen to any person and at any time when using a bike trainer at home. And, they may happen due to various causes. Here are some of the main causes of flats when using a trainer.
Worn Out Tire
One of the main causes of flats when using a bike trainer is a worn out tire. If your tire is seriously worn out, the fibers and threads that the tire contains will eventually become exposed. And once these fibers and threads become exposed, the tire becomes highly vulnerable to puncturing and tearing.
Once the tire’s casing develops a tear, its flat protection will be significantly compromised and reduced. As a result, the tube may eventually end up stretching above the usual limits. And when this happens, there’s a high possibility that you will end up with a flat.
The only solution to this problem is replacing the tire. Once a tire’s threads become exposed, then it has already reached its limits. But, you shouldn’t have to wait until the threads have become exposed. You should replace it earlier than that, especially when you begin to notice that it has started losing its shape.
Damaged Rim Tape
Bike tires feature a series of spokes. And, these spokes usually press against the tube when the tire is inflated, meaning they can puncture it. To prevent this issue, tires are usually outfitted with something known as a rim tape, which runs the entire length of the tire.
This rim tape covers the edges of the spokes, thus helping to prevent them from cutting, tearing or puncturing the tire. So, if this rim tape is damaged, it will not cover the ends of the spokes completely. As a result, these spokes will tear, leading to a flat.
You will need to first deflate the tire and remove the tube, to determine whether this is the issue. If you notice that the rim tape is damaged, you will need to replace the rim tape. If possible, you should use two rolls of rim tape, as opposed to one. By doing so, you will significantly reduce the chances of a damaged rim tape causing a flat.
Your bike may also get a flat if the tube is patched. When you are working out with the trainer, the tire will generate a considerable amount of heat. And, this heat will eventually be passed on to the tube.
If the tube has a patch, the heat generated by the tire may cause the patch to loosen, thus causing a flat. Re-patching or replacing the patch won’t solve this issue. As long as you are using the home trainer, this problem will keep recurring due to the heat being generated. The only remedy to this problem is by replacing the tube.
Improperly Set Tire Bead
An improperly set tire bread can also cause a flat. And, this can happen on two occasions. First, it will happen when you are inflating the tire. Usually, if the tire bead is improperly set when inflating the tire, it may end up pinching the tube. And, this will cause a cut or tear on the tube, leading to a flat when using the bike trainer.
To prevent this problem, you should slowly inflate your bike tire. Once you’ve attained pressure of around 50psi, you should pull the tire gently away on both sides from the rib. Doing so will release any part of the tube that may have been trapped by the tire bead. From there, you can inflate the tire to the recommended pressure.
Second, a pinch may also happen if it gets caught between the bike track and the tire. And, once the tube gets trapped between the bike track and the tire, there’s a high chance it will get a puncture causing a flat later on.
To prevent this issue, you should first inflate the tube to around 50psi so that it holds its shape before putting it back on the wheel. You should then replace the valve and then position the tube in such a way that no part is resting outside the brake when it’s time to re-install the tire.
After the tube is properly seated in the wheel, you should then use your hands to snap back the tire in the wheel. Avoid using the lever as it may swing around and pinch the tube against the sidewall, causing a puncture. By using your hands, you will prevent the possibility of this issue occurring. In case you can’t manage to reseat the tire with your hands, you should a reseating tool.
Sharp Elements in the Tire
Debris or sharp elements in the tire may also be contributing to a flat when using a bike trainer. Usually, these sharp elements will puncture the tire, leading to a flat. And even if you patch the hole, they may still puncture another area of the tube, meaning you will be constantly dealing with this issue.
To solve it, you should deflate the tire, remove the tube and inspect the tire carefully. The chances are you will come across some tiny bits of debris embedded in the rubber. And while these materials may not cause a flat during your usual outdoor rides, the additional pressure exerted on the tire when using the bike trainer will drive them far enough in to cause a puncture.
Can You Use a Trainer with a Flat Tire?
While you can use a home trainer with a flat, it’s not advisable. Most bike trainers will only deliver an effective workout if the tire has optimal pressure. Furthermore, using a trainer with a flat tire may also end up damaging the entire rim system, thus necessitating a replacement.
A flat can happen at any time when you are using a bike trainer at home. And if this happens to you it will be highly advisable to discontinue your workout, diagnose the problem and then fix the issue.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson