Trainer Wheel? Is it necessary?

I have a Wahoo Snap (wheel on trainer). Right now, I am just using my regular wheel for indoor rides. A few questions:

  • Is it necessary to get a Trainer Wheel?

  • If it is, any recommendation on what type I should get?


I’ve never spent the money on a trainer wheel. One (or two) of my previous season’s training tires are sacrificed to the trainer gods each year, and have never given me problems. It’s considerably cheaper than spending $$ on a trainer tire!


When I was wheel-on, I found considerably less slippage with a proper trainer tyre pumped up to 100psi (and it also left fewer marks on the trainer).

Which meant that I needed a different rear wheel. But you can surely pick up a rear wheel for little cost from clubmates / ebay etc.

I have a trainer wheel and I just use the previous seasons beat up tires.

I love having a trainer-only wheel. I found that when I didn’t (and had to swap tires whenever I took that bike on or off the trainer) I would maybe miss a trainer ride here or there just because I didn’t have the time or energy to change the tire over … which is a bit of a lame excuse.

Having the dedicated trainer wheel and tire means it’s really easy to take my bike on and off the trainer for an outdoor ride and then right back on for the TR workouts. No excuses for me :slight_smile:

My old trainer (Tacx Flow) would chew up regular tire and leave a dust of black rubber around the trainer, a trainer tire didn’t do that.

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I have a wheel-on trainer and a dedicated trainer wheel and trainer tire. I got the wheel on craigslist with a cassette for super cheap. It’s one less barrier to pulling your bike off the trainer and getting outside. You don’t need a trainer specific tire, but they are only $30 and last forever, are quieter, and don’t leave black dust all over the floor. Worth it, IMO.

I’ve had my trainer wheel on for 2 years now. No slippage and no destroying my road set.

I’m using: Continental Hometrainer Folding Tire

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I have old wheel that got bent and written off. I have to keep the back brakes open so it doesn’t foul but saves the faff of changing for a trainer tyre

I bought a wheel on ebay with a powertap in it. I liked using it over the Kickr internal power as it doesn’t really ever need calibrating and if I need to I can ride with it outside. I think it was around $250 and I’ve used it for years and years, been rock solid. That would be the reason I would want a trainer tire/wheel, but probably wouldn’t do it otherwise.

Over the years I’ve acquired a few different wheel sets, and as that’s happened I didn’t ride one or two sets at all anymore. I took what was a dedicated CX wheel and put a Conti Hometrainer on it, along with an inexpensive Tiagra 9-speed cassette and use that with my Fluid trainer.

I don’t know that I would spend the money on a specific wheel for the trainer, but if you have a wheel that you don’t ride or maybe rarely ride, I think it’s smart to set it up for specific trainer use. My trainer tire doesn’t ever slip, stays cool and has months and months of trainer use on it with little evident wear. I can look at every tire I own and tell which ones I’ve used on the trainer and which ones I’ve not used on the trainer… that’s not good. I’d recommend a trainer tire, for sure.

It’s handy, because it’s way faster to swap a wheel than swap a tire. I have had decent luck with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Home tire, but I only bought it because it was cheap. Many other tires would work fine; the advantage is not wearing out a “good” road tire, and not bringing in road grime/debris onto the trainer.

As for a wheel recommendation, look at online forums for people ditching their stock wheels after they upgraded to fancier gear. And you can use a wheel with a 10-speed freehub body even if you’re running an 11-speed drivetrain (put on an 11-speed casette, remove one cog, and use small spacers to minimize the fine-tuning of your derailleur).

Or, if you have a little more budget, get a nice set of road wheels and leave the stock wheel for the trainer.

i recently moved to a wheel off trainer but ran a dedicated trainer wheel for about 15 years. Why I loved my trainer wheel/trainer tire combo;

Over the years I had some issues with tread bits coming off regular tires and staining my carpet. All that tread you wear off is not evaporating, it actually goes somewhere . . . . Using as trainer tire stopped that
A trainer tire does seem to slip less and they last almost forever
I did not have to worry about switching out a worn tire when we got one of those surprise days in January when I could ride outside
Maybe not important on a smart trainer but on my dumb trainer, I liked a straight block cassette on the trainer but wider gearing outdoors

As for what to get, if your not ever going to ride it outside, just get the absolute cheapest wheel you can find. None of the things that make wheels expensive matter at all on the trainer so don’t pay for light or aero :wink: