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On my road bike, I have an old Cateye odometer and the sensor is in the front wheel. Therefore, when on my trainer, I can pedal away all day long and the odometer doesn't have any mileage added to it since the front wheel doesn't spin.

When I sell my bike someday, I want to be able to say "It has XXXX miles on it." But all the miles I put on it while on the trainer I can't keep track of. Is that negligible or do trainer miles not really count as mileage on the bike?

I recently purchased a Garmin setup where the sensor will be on the rear wheel by the chain stays, which would solve the problem but I just haven't put it on yet.

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Why would someone sell a bike?!?!?!?! –  heltonbiker Mar 9 '12 at 17:10
    
Because they are upgrading? –  Jakobud Mar 9 '12 at 17:12
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Are these really useful comments on the question asked? –  zenbike Mar 9 '12 at 20:45
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@heltonbiker: I got the humor. I just would like to see it be tacked on the end of something relevant to the question. We don't need to consider the concept of humorous comments on Meta. Just try to make sure you also comment on the question asked.... –  zenbike Mar 10 '12 at 3:14
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@zenbike - Comments can be silly or irrelevant, they're meant to be discussions. The system will automatically prod users into taking things to chat if they go on long enough. –  Neil Fein Mar 14 '12 at 16:29
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6 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Most bikes I've looked at (and purchased) via craigslist and other online listings don't usually state miles, just condition. I think most bicycle owners don't have odometers.

The mileage I keep track of is more for my own knowledge and maintenance scheduling. Keeping track of when I change the chain, or how long tires last type of thing.

That said, I won't get another sensor that only works on the front wheel, as I like the feedback (speed, time, mileage, cadence of my workout) when I'm on the trainer.

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plus factor in all the transmission and engine upgrades or engine failures... –  Matt Adams Mar 14 '12 at 3:49
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Mileage is mileage regardless of how it was incurred.However I think most people are more concerned with condition than miles.Five thousand miles of downhill with maintainence donsn't compare with 500 miles on a bike path while left in the rain and no maintainence.

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You don't need to worry about the mileage for resale value. So, don't bother to track trainer miles for other than your own purposes. Seriously.

Basically, you can't prove mileage; unlike a car, a bike doesn't have a built-in odometer. The only determination of bicycle mileage is whether or not the owner tracked it or not.

For resale value, keep the bike in good condition (as others have said). That is, no dents, few or no scratches, no rust, etc. An obviously well maintained bike will get a much better price on the used market than one that looks crappy.

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It is generally believed that trainer miles are actually harder on a bike than road miles because of the rigid frame position and because you drip a lot more sweat on the frame when using a trainer. I have an old steel bike showing rust, and it has never been ridden except on my CompuTrainer. I do use a sweat catcher, too.

Secondly, if you are just keeping track of your own mileage, a lot of people think trainer miles don't count, because you are not building riding skills - just condition. But it's still interesting. Electronic trainers can record your performance, including miles on a computer, so you don't need a cyclometer.

Eventually, though, components will wear out - and be replaced, which complicates the calculation further. But if I were buying a used bike, I would want some idea of how much trainer usage it had, or I would want to take it to a dealer for a good inspection.

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As others have pointed, there are some independent factors to consider when the bike is to be sold (or bought). I think mileage is not the most important since, as mikes has written, you can ride a lot while taking care, or can almost never ride while the bike rots in a basement.

Now for condition, I think painting is a very valued item in a bike, not only for it's direct show factor, but also because, usually, bikes with lots of scratches possibly had other types of misuse.

Another important factor, although not so visible one, is the stress to which the parts have been submitted. For a rigid mountainbike, for exemple, use in harsh trails or roads create stresses that might induce fatigue o frame, fork, handlebars and crank arms (mostly), overload bearings, and stress rims and spokes. Again, by visual analysis one can have a rough measure of the "stress condition" of the bike. In the other hand, road bikes usually get less dirt, but can get a lot of abuse, for exemple, by riding rough roads with superinflated tires.

At last, one almost invisible factor is "has the bike suffered a crash?". A violent one could induce micro-cracks that would only show negative results much time later, even if there is no visible damage.

As to your question, I think the trainer miles souldn't count, since they're mileage on very controlled conditions, and could only affect drivetrain, being mostly useful for maintainence schedule, and for personal training purposes.

Hope it helps.

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I think you'd say "The bike has XXX road miles and about YYY miles on a trainer." You can guestimate how many hours you spent on the trainer and work backwards from there to miles. Probably only accurate within a factor of 2 or so, but that's all that's needed (if, indeed you need even that).

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