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Finding yourself spending more time pedaling indoors lately? Us too. Not because we’re scared of the cold (we’re still riding outside more days than not), but because it can be difficult to get the same high intensity training when the temperatures are well below zero. That, and sometimes it’s nice to not have to put on 30 pieces of clothing and get your lights charged up to go ride for an hour if that’s all the time you have.
If you are planning on riding the trainer this season, things may have changed since you last hopped on. Things like thru axles if you happened to buy a new bike recently.
That seems to be what David ran into, writing, “With the thru axle trend on road and endurance road bikes, are trainer manufacturers making an interface that will work with a thru axle? For example, I have had a Cycleops Fluid for several years… Using with my quick release road bike. This year I picked a gravel bike with thru axle and realized i can’t mount to my trainer.”
That’s a great question, and one I’m sure a lot of riders are facing lately. In terms of retrofitting your bike to an older trainer, your best best will be one of the Trainer Thru Axle adapters that’s out on the market like the ones from Cycleops or Kinetic. These simply replace the thru axle on your bike and are meant for mounting in a trainer. However, not all adapters are created equal – and they are bicycle specific, to a point.
The Cycleops adapters while designed exclusively for their Classic and Pro trainers (which sounds like what you’re looking for), are meant only for indoor use while on the trainer.
Adapters like the Kinetic Traxle on the other hand, are safe for outdoor use (and most trainers) as well which means you can leave it in your bike if you don’t want to be switching axles every time you want to mount it to the trainer. Kinetic also has an awesome sizing guide that you can print out and use to figure out what specific Traxle you’ll need to fit your bike. The chart highlights the lack of rear axle standards from thread pitch to length which makes it important to get the right size to fit your bike.
At this point, most trainer brands offer some kind of adapter that works with their trainer and possibly others. There are also brands like The Robert Axle Project that don’t make trainers, but do make trainer compatible thru axles that can also be used inside or out. The Robert Axle Project also has a convenient data base with a lot of bikes that will tell you exactly what axle you need.
Essentially, all these adapters just provide a mounting surface on the outside of the axle for the trainer cups to hold onto, and are strong enough to withstand the clamping force of the trainer. There are limits though – mountain bikes with Boost 148mm spacing may require special consideration due to the extra width. In this case, Cycleops sells their 148mm adapter with a shorter slide for the trainer to fit.
Of course, if it’s time to upgrade your trainer there are options there as well which don’t require a new axle. Most direct drive trainers like the Cycleops Hammer which are used without the rear wheel of the bike, are already thru axle compatible. This usually involves different end caps for the “hub” which then allows you to use a standard QR, 142 x 12mm, or even 148 x 12 thru axle.
Obviously, this is the most expensive route to get your thru axle bike on the trainer, but Cycleops does have a rather intriguing deal going on at the moment – trade in any old trainer at one of their dealers and you’ll get 20% off a Hammer or Magnus smart trainer if you do it by January 15th. Only the Hammer would solve your thru axle problems, and even at 20% off it’s still $960 so it’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s out there!
Long story short, yes, trainer manufacturers are keeping up with the thru axle trend and most current trainers out there can be used with a thru axle bike – as long as you have the right adapter.
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