Should I be concerned about roller wear on tires?

I use rollers for my indoor training. Over the winter I switch to training tires that are made of tougher rubber to save the wear on my normal tires and cut down on the noise.

Now that the weather is getting nicer I switched back to normal road tires and this year for a nice set of racing tires bc I’m going to race crits this year.

Most of my training is outside now, but I still want to ride inside when the weather is bad, I’m time crunched, or the workout just isn’t great for outdoor training.

In the past I haven’t been ultra concerned with riding my outdoor tires on the rollers, but now that I have nicer tires on I’m wondering if and how much I should be concerned about riding the rollers with them on. Is the wear a lot worse then riding them out on the road?

I think you will find that because you are not cornering that the tire will wear a flat spot in the middle. This may make the tire more prone to punctures. Unless it’s a wheel on trainer heat is really not an issue. Keeping your tires inflated and surfaces clean will help with wear.

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@cschmitz I have personally put about 5 - 6 years of indoor training + outdoor riding on a Continental GP5000, and only just finally wore it out about one month ago. Just checked my G Connect: Apr 2023 - Mar 2024 2422km x 5 yrs = approx. 12,000km = 7500 mi.

This would be most, but not all, of my rides. I don’t record every single km.

My training is fairly aggressive, and fairly consistent, for an LV rider. I’m currently at FTP 185 - 195 ish. This matters. A lot.

130 - 250 ish W, and I think up even higher, to like 250 - 300 W, you get near zero / minimal wear. Thousands of miles. But, once you get over a certain W, especially in sprints during races, the tire damn near flies apart; after, you will see dozens and dozens of tiny flecks of rubber that have super-heated and flown off.

So it super depends on what your FTP is, how many hrs you’re gonna put on it around 250 - 300+ W, and how often you sprint / race.

I guess it also depends on how soft a compound your fancy crit tires are made of; if they’re durable, or super soft & grippy.

For me, I’m not gonna buy a tire every 3 - 12 mo. But for $20 - 45 every 1 - 5 years, I’m not swapping wheels every single time I want to take my bike outside!!! :slight_smile:

Hope this helps!

[Whenever I’m told I should buy something; see: Trainer Tires, I always ask myself who is telling me I should buy that thing. If it’s a doctor, or a friend who rides, I probably need to buy that thing. If it’s the person who wants to sell me that thing, the probability that I actually need to buy it, amazingly, plummets. Almost every time. It’s weird. I can’t figure it out! :wink: ]

[EDIT: Adding: Of course the tire will wear on the trainer. That’s not the point; the point is how long will it last? I don’t need to own a second tire, simultaneously to my outdoor tire , a $20 - 45 Trainer Tire, to save replacing that $ 20 - 45 outdoor tire every 1 - 5 years. This is… not saving money. That’s owning two tires at the same time, instead of replacing the one tire every 1 - 5 years.

Not to mention you now need to also own another wheel, and if you’re on rollers… what?? An extra set of two wheels, and two trainer tires? Is that… the alternative? Instead of replacing two tires every 1 - 5 years for $ 40 - 100, own a second set of wheels and tires?! I’m lost! :slight_smile: ]


Yes, riding rollers will hasten your tire wear…one only has to look at the tiny collection of rubber dust that can accompany riding some sets of rollers (or wheel-on trainers).

In addition, I have found that it can impact cornering grip, as well…you tend to get a a bit of a slippery “sheen” on the tires if you are riding them a fair amount inside.

How much it impacts tire life is dependent on a multitude of factors…roller type (ABS drums vs. aluminum), tire pressure, rider weight, etc.

Thanks for all of the replies. The replies are super helpful.

Some followups:

  • the tires I picked up are the gp5000s
  • I have aluminum barrel rollers
  • my ftp is 225, so sounds like I’m in the ok range for some workouts
  • I race track and this year I’ll be trying crits, so sounds like the v02 and anaerobic workouts aren’t a great idea on the rollers with regular tires

Good call on cleaning the barrels, I hadn’t even thought of that :grimacing:

And yeah I’ve been considering getting a second set of wheels and leaving the training tires on them specifically for indoor training. Aside from saving my road tires the noise reduction by itself is worth it in my opinion.

Thanks for the advice everyone :raised_hands:t5:

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I have noticed slightly accelerated wear on the rollers, but nothing comparable to using a wheel on trainer. Personally, I use a cheap allow training wheel with a worn road tire for the wheel on trainer, but I just use my regular wheelset on the rollers. The 5-10% extra tire wear on the rollers doesn’t justify the hassle factor of changing tires IMHO.

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I haven’t noticed really any wear on aluminum drum rollers over the years. I’ve used trainer tires, Gatorskins, GP4000s, the only thing they do is glaze over but that gets scrubbed off quickly outdoors

Nice, yeah I’ve ridden on my road tires during the warm seasons in the past and only switch to training tires when it gets cold and dark enough outside that I wouldn’t want to ride outside anyway. That’s worked out, but yeah now that it’s warm I’m not switching tires back and forth. Especially since I’m riding tubeless now so the mess is more than I’d like to deal with regularly :face_exhaling:

There is always the option to buy a used rear wheel.

I use Vittoria Corsa’s which crack and disintegrate on exposure to anything. Terrible tyres, so I have a bunch of them kicking around, waiting to be finished off on the turbo. Get a spare wheelset and ride that on the rollers/turbo. In the way you could have rotated tyres from front to rear, you could now rotate front to rear to trainer.

@cschmitz huh, that’s very interesting. I’d never heard the noise thing. Highly interested.

I’m only on a rear wheel, wheel-on trianer, so no noise from the front, but… hmmm…

I want to ask “How big a difference is it?” but I guess it’s not easy for anyone to describe accurately… have to sort of hear it in person?

But it’s big enough a difference that you’d drop $ 50 - 125 to have that noise reduction, even with your fan noise running?

Truly interested; bc I hate loud noise, but always thought 90 - 100% of the noise was coming from the trainer’s inner workings, never considered the tire friction noise…

It made a pretty notable difference for me sound wise, that said the tired I had on before were pretty textured.

With regular road tires it makes less of a noise difference, but that reduction plus not wearing out my road tires are a big enough difference to make me switch during the off season. I don’t bother during the spring, summer, or fall.

And it’s not cheap per se, but considering you can use them for years it’s not all that expensive in the long run. Like you’re not going to have to get new training tires yearly.

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