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I got a hand-me-down home trainer and I want to use it with my disc road bike (with a rear dropout spacing of 135mm). To keep the budget low, I want to use an old 130mm wheel. My dropouts are for Quick Release

Can I use some kind of spacers (on the non drive side?) to achieve that?

Since it's on a home-trainer I don't need to brake, so there is no problem of rotor/caliper alignment. However it would be great if I didn't have to tune my rear derailleur each time I swap wheels.

Is it doable or should I just look for a cheap second-hand 135mm wheel?

  • Practically speaking, you can get away with flexing rear dropouts +/- 5mm or so on most frames with minimal difficulty -- spacers may help but are not required. – Daniel R Hicks Feb 28 at 22:28
  • Leave the rear rotor off completely. Use a caliper wedge (like what is fitted for shipping) Is it a QR based wheel? You're more likely to damage the old wheel than the frame, IMO. – Criggie Feb 28 at 23:09
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Can I use some kind of spacers (on the non drive side?) to achieve that?

TLDR: Try it, see if it works.

Full answer:

Maybe, depending on how much clearance your frame and rear brake have. 5 mm really isn't that much. But without redishing the wheel the tire will be about 2.5 mm off center. Given most newer road bikes are built to accept 25 tires and quite likely even 28s, you may have to stick to a 23 trainer tire, and even that might not fit.

If your bike is designed to handle 28s, you can probably get away with it without much trouble.

There's also the possibility that the 130 mm rear wheel interferes with your disk brake somehow. I don't see any way to work around that, should the wheel and disk brake caliper interfere, as any redishing would move the rim and spokes closer to the brake components.

And you'll be lucky if you don't have to tune your rear derailleur at all with such a wheel swap, but you likely won't have to adjust the limit screws. Some tweaks on the barrel adjuster will almost certainly be needed, as what you're proposing to do is should translate to a "normal" wheel swap, and such swaps often do require small adjustment to the barrel adjuster as the hubs on the wheels being swapped are just a bit different.

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    Also look at the axle - I presume it s a QR, will there side with the spaces have enough axle exposed to allow for easy installation of wheel? – mattnz Feb 28 at 18:58
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    Make sure you add some type of shim to the brake caliper to keep the pads apart. You want to make sure you don't accidently squeeze the brake and over extend the brake piston. – mikes Feb 28 at 21:26
  • @mikes I'm also assuming in this answer that the old wheel doesn't have a brake disk. – Andrew Henle Mar 1 at 10:29
  • I have some doubts about the stability and with that the safety of the conversion. Reason: on a friction trainer, which I assume it is, the bike is clamped via the rear QR holding the wheel and the rear triangle to the trainer. This connection is submitted to a lot of forces in many directions and must be bomb-proofed. Any play there might result in catastrophic failure. – Carel Mar 3 at 18:36

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