Setting up my MTB for the trainer - help

Hi All!

I’m finishing SSBV1 next week. I’ve been using my road bike on a dumb trainer. My training is all in preparation for the Leadville 100 in August (as well as Carson City Offroad and Tahoe 100k for B races). I also do XTERRA triathlons (although non this year) hence why I want to train on my MTB. I recently got a hold of a new dumb trainer that will fit my boosted Scott Spark. I purchased an axle from Rober Axle Project to place the bike in the trainer with. I will do a new ramp test for SSBV2 on the MTB, or the road bike. More below.

I just ordered a full GX Eagle drivetrain for my bike (currently 1x11). I have an old wheel that I plan to use with an old road tire on for training. So here are my questions:

  1. Regarding the ramp test. I recently read that the ramp test can be tough on a MTB with a dumb trainer because of the spacing in the gearing (i.e. the cadence goes way up and then you have to drop down in cadence at the critical moment). Should I do the ramp test on my road bike with the same tire and pressure as I will run on the MTB and then switch that over to the MTB for training, or just attempt it on the MTB?

  2. Is there any risk of over inflating a road tire on a MTB rim? I plan to run the tire at 90 psi (only because this is what I have been running on the road bike).

  3. Should have researched this sooner, but are there any cheaper options than a NX Eagle cassette ($100)?? I assumed the cassette would be much cheaper :sob: I don’t mind purchasing the cassette, but first I want to make sure all the “other” things above will work out.

  4. Should I just keep the road bike on the trainer.

Tell me what has worked for you!!

If you intend to train on your MTB, you should test on your MTB. It can certainly be tough to keep your cadence in an optimal zone with a MTB cassette, but that will also be something you deal with in your day-to-day training as well. Just get it as close as you can :+1:

One option that works for 11 speed setups is to install an 11 speed road cassette on your mountain bike when training on the trainer. This gives you the tight gear spacing of a road bike without requiring too much tinkering. This won’t work with 12 speed setups since there are no 12 speed road cassettes that fit on a standard splined hub. (I assume you have a standard Shimano splined hub since the NX Cassette you mentioned uses a standard Shimano Spline)

It depends on the rim. Typically if you look into the manufacturer specs, you can find the maximum recommended tire pressure If you are unable to find these specs, then I would recommend emailing the manufacturer just to be sure. I’ve had a road tire blow off of a Stans gravel wheelset at 100 psi. Luckily the only casualty was the tube :grin:.

Unfortunately, the NX cassette is the cheapest option for 12 speed eagle compatibility.

This one sort of comes down to personal preference. There is certainly an advantage to training on the bike you plan to race in terms of specificity and familiarity with your race bike. On the other hand, it is can get pretty complicated. You may have to switch rear tires back and forth, the gearing is sub-optimal, etc.

Personally, I race mountain bikes almost exclusively, and I have my cross bike set up pretty permanently on the trainer. That way my mountain bikes are always ready to ride and my “trainer bike” is always set up and ready to train.

I hope this helps!


@Bryce thanks, this actually helped a ton! I completely forgot that the NX cassette is setup for a Shimano splined hub. My spare wheelset for the MTB has an XD driver on it. I think I"m just going to keep the road bike on the trainer. After all the expense of trying to set up the MTB I could just put that towards a smart trainer down the road. :beers:

Best idea. I have my 2018 Scott Spark RC 900 on my 2017 Kickr Snap for a year now. It works great. I’d definitely save up for a smart trainer.

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That’d be my recommendation :ok_hand: