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What’s the Best Tire to Use with a Kinetic Trainer?

Riders often ask us which tire works best on a trainer, and whether or not using a standard tire will have any adverse effects on either the tire or the trainer. For the best performance we recommend using a trainer-specific tire. We are obviously fond of the Kinetic trainer tire, but any trainer tire should work well. The difference between a trainer-specific tire and a standard tire is based on intended use. Standard tires are designed to grip asphalt, and to wear well when used on this very abrasive surface. The roller on a Kinetic trainer is machined aluminum, which presents a different set of requirements. Thus, the rubber compound on a trainer tire is a bit softer than some standard road tires, so it grips the roller better.

Here are a few tire tips:

  1. Keep a spare wheel: If you are using your bike both indoors and outdoors one option is to keep a wheel with a trainer tire mounted on it. If you upgrade the wheels on your bike this is a great use for the stock rear wheel.
  2. Your trainer tire works outdoors too: You can also ride our trainer tire outdoors. The color is a bit loud, but it will work fine on the road.
  3. Non-trainer tire guidelines: Some standard road bike tires will work fine as well, just try to avoid tires designed for puncture resistance or billed as high-mileage tires. They typically use a harder rubber compound, which doesn’t grip as well and results in slippage. The slippage causes premature wear and leaves rubber on the roller of the trainer.
  4. Smooth tread works better: Look for a standard road tire with a fairly smooth tread in the center designed for all-around use and it should perform reasonably well on the trainer.
  5. Keep your tire and roller clean: Whatever tire choice you make, it’s important to keep the tire clean. Wipe the tire and roller down with a bit of rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner on a rag to remove the grime that can build up—especially if you are riding it outdoors as well. Either solvent evaporates quickly and makes for superb tire contact.
  6. Fat tires? No Problem: Kinetic offers two trainer tire sizes. Our 700 x 23c tire can work on a 29-inch mountain bike wheel and offers a great solution for fat-tired bikes.

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