I'm starting to get a pile of what looks like tire rubber under my trainer. Could it be something else like dry chain lube coming off? Is this normal? Have I set up my trainer incorrectly? Do I just have to accept that my rear tire will need replacing in the spring?
Yes, its tyre rubber. People typically use either old/worn, cheap hard compound or dedicated turbo tyres for this reason with wheel on style trainers.
The bad news is that more typically sprays off backwards than down on the mat where you see it, so there's a good chance the rest of your room has a light coating of rubber particles too!
Road tires are not designed to be used on a trainer and they will wear more rapidly than when used on the road.
- Optimize your rig
- Use a tire designed for trainers to reduce wear
Here are some tips from "Coach Levi" on setting up rollers - the information should help in your setup.
Stationary trainers are known for eating away at rear tires because of the pressure used to press it against the drum. Since the bike doesn’t move or lean like it would outdoors, all this pressure is concentrated on a very small portion of the tire’s tread, leading to a worn out tire.
You can’t completely avoid this, but setting up the trainer properly will help maximize tire life and riding comfort.
First, make sure things are clean. Wipe down the roller surface using isopropyl alcohol. Wipe down your tires, too, if they’re dirty.
Second, inflate the tire to a suitable pressure. This varies depending on the tire. A good rule of thumb is to use the same as what you’d use out on the road.
Third, tighten down the roller.
Typically you tighten things down until the roller is just tight enough on the tire that it doesn’t skip when you ride. It should be no tighter than is necessary.
Start out by tightening it down some, just until the drum touches the tire. Then give the tire a quick tug and see if it slips. You should pull in the direction of rotation, i.e. up and back when pulling from behind. If the tire slips, tighten a bit more.
Once the wheel no longer slips when yanked by hand, get on the bike and ride. If the wheel skips, tighten the knob a bit more. Repeat as necessary.
Lastly, after your workout, loosen the drum so it’s not pressed against the tire. If you leave it tightened down when not in use, the tire will develop a flat spot and will ride terribly.
Even if everything is adjusted perfectly you will still get tire wear.
There are many tires designed to be used on trainers, for example:
- Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Home Trainer
- Continental Hometrainer
- Tacx Trainer Tire
- Kinetic by Kurt
- Schwalbe Insider
- Tacx Trainer Tire