MTB or Road bike on the smart trainer

Just setting up my smart trainer and have a quick question.
95% of my riding is mountain biking, so am i better off attaching a MTB on the smart trainer, which will require a different cassette, or can i put a road bike on that i don’t use anymore.
Will the gains in getting faster and fitter translate to the mountain bike from the road bike Trainer road sessions?
Thanks in advance.

Use your road bike and take measurements to make sure your seat height is the same and your seat setback from bottom bracket is the same.

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yes, I do the same, road bike on the trainer, MTB for outdoor rides. the road bike only sees the road a few times a year :slight_smile:

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I do it the other way around - old hard tail on the trainer and mostly ride road/gravel (trails). You’ll get the power but as others have said not the other muscle groups. I set mine up like @timon suggests matching the saddle height, set back etc.
You’ll notice the fitness gains you get when you’re out on the trails - when I get out on the trails on my full susser I can ride for hours now - where as the limiting factor used to be my fitness and ability to sustain hard efforts or repeats of them.
The other muscle groups you can touch up with outdoor sessions.

It makes it so much easier to have a bike you can hop on and off that’s in place already on the trainer and no bike on the trainer is going to work your upper body.

I’d also keep it in ERG node most of the time and the small ring and mid cassette to mimic the gearing of your MTB more closely. If you use it the big ring you get inertia “help” on efforts and there’s plenty of posts about big v small ring etc on the forum.

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If you’re specifically targeting mtb races you may want to put that on; but if you’re just wanting to get stronger and faster, you will with the road bike and that’ll give you the flexibility to still easily without too much faff still do your 95% mtb. If the mtb is fitted it can be too easy to get into the habit of not using it outside. Besides even if you’re racing putting the mtb on the turbo a little bit before them will work out fine. Go with the roadie for now :+1:

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I use my Trek Top Fuel on a Kickr w/Quarq. It keeps the numbers consistent between indoor/outdoor rides/MTB races. And I know I put the watts out on the trail because I’ve put them out on the trainer.

I have a SRAM Eagle rear derailleur that has the Cage Lock, so that makes it easy to mount/dismount the bike.

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I never ride anything but my mountain bike outdoor, and have my roadbike permanently fixed to the trainer. So far it’s been great! My fitness have improved drastically on the mountainbike! Other than the fit and riding position is a bit different, I see no problems with it.

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I’ve got my old roadie permanently mounted to the trainer. Position wise they are nearly identical now.

I’d 100% recommend the road bike on the trainer for the benefit of having your outside bike ready to go but also, the gearing is (imo) better on the road bike for the trainer. The MTB gearing and small chainring I don’t think is as nice on the trainer in feel, and for me it’s a narrower range.

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Thanks for all the input guys.

I’ve decided I’ll leave the road bike on there as i still plan on going out with friends on the MTB for 2-3 social rides.



Good choice and If you have your trainer in ERG on workouts try and find the gearing that most closely feels like your MTB - hard to describe but play around and see what it feels like. Hopefully you’ll understand…

I use hard tail mtb (not my main bike) with a slick tire on back. Since I am mainly a mtber I want the same geometry as my normal riding. It is generally the same fit as my race bike.