What sort of bike maintenance do you need to do on a direct drive trainer?

Can I just leave my bike on there without doing anything? Do you still need to clean/lube your drivetrain? What do you do?

Clean and lube the drivetrain regularly. It may not get exposed to the dirt and grime outside, but the motion still creates wear. Frequency will depend on your total usage, but if you follow a similar timing to outside usage, you should be good.

Also, depending on your fans and cooling, if you are dripping even moderate amounts of sweat on the bike, you can ruin major parts. Things like head sets, wheels, and handle bars can all be permanently damaged from excessive sweat if left in place.

So, make sure you have LOTS of cooling via fans and cool air from outside if possible. If you still sweat on the bike, clean it and remove the sweat after EVERY workout. You may also want to remove and replace the bar tape each season, because it can hid dangerous corrosion that can lead to a broken bar.

Related threads:

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lube the chain regularly, replace the chain, cassette, and chainrings as needed.

clean the bike, keep careful eye on the front derailleur. I do get corrosion on it and it seizes over time. I only find this out, after the fact, when I decide to switch up the front ring on that rare occasion.

i don’t have shifter issues, cable seem ok after years. I don’t shift much, being ERG mode workouts.

I don’t actually have a full bike on there. I bought a cheap frame (some < $50 piece of junk) with bars and no tape, shifters, but no brakes. I still run 9 speed on it, whatever I have from the junk pile.

I get some odd buildup of grime on the front derailleur and drivetrain, that I don’t see on my outside bikes. It’s probably from the sweat that drips onto the chain.

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It’s not only the sweat you can see on the bike that you need to worry about, it’s the also the sweat you can’t see. Due to a lack of attention in my early indoor training days, I trashed a stem and my di2 shifter clamps. Luckily it was a relatively cheap and easy fix.

Left neglected, the sweat can cause havoc. Imagine going full gas and having a shifter clamp break on you? Worse still the bars. I’ve seen some horror photos of what happens below the bar tape, especially on aluminum bars (widow makers). Changing the bar tape every 6m is a small price to pay to make sure everything is good.

Nowadays I always have a thick towel covering the bars and stem. Prevention is better than cure.

My usual preventive measures…

And some below-the-bar-tape horror :skull:

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In addition to the above, I asked this question of Wahoo, and here’s what they said for my Kickr:
Since the KICKR uses sealed bearings, the unit is somewhat maintenance free. Here are a few tips.

Timing Decal

Timing Optical Sensor

  • (Gen 1 KICKR) Clean the optical sensor (small black dot on the small circuit board in the top cap) and black & white decal with a soft rag. Something as simple as dust build up or pet hair can obstruct the ability of the optical sensor from measuring speed properly. Please watch the video at the following link for instructions on removing and re-installing the speed sensor.

Every couple of thousand miles, clean and re-grease the free hub pawls. Also clean and re-grease the 2 spacers under the free hub body.

Belt
This video demonstrates how to gain access to the belt and adjust the tension:

Note: I have a gen 1 kickr (a pretty early one at that), and the only maintenance I’ve done on it is wiping down the outside, and cleaning the optical timing circle

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Yep, that’s why I use a bike with no tape. My stem is all messed up as well.