Cleaning your bike trainer roller

I recently put a new bike on my trainer and rode for 30 minutes. When I was done, I had black melted bits of tire stuck to the trainer roller. I was able to scratch some of it off with my finger, but I wasn’t sure what to use to remove it all.

I searched the Web trying to find a way to remove the black gunk from my trainer. I tried “clean,” “remove,” “bike trainer,” “tire wear,” and all kinds of other combinations. But I was unable to find anything that would indicate how to actually clean the trainer roller.

Unable to find a  a solution on the Web, I asked someone at my local bike shop about removing the rubber from the trainer roller. They see this on their trainer all the time from people trying out new bikes, getting fitted, etc. He told me to use 000 steel wool. Honestly, it works, and it doesn’t ruin the finish on the roller. The best part is that I didn’t have to use any special cleaning chemical to clean the roller.

See, it helps to know your local bike shop staff.

While on the subject, The other thing I would recommend for riding on a trainer is getting a tire designed specifically for riding on a trainer. I swapped the bike’s road tire for a Continental Ultra Sport Hometrainer tire, and it has made a remarkable difference. Riding on the trainer is slightly quieter. Also, the rubber doesn’t heat up and stick to the trainer the way the regular road tire did. Finally, I am (supposedly) saving the tire from buring out on the trainer roller.

Riding with the special tire doesn’t feel much different, though, and I still get a decent workout. The only problem is getting the new tire on the rim; it is difficult because of the rubber compound material. For this, I purchased a special tool called a tire bead jack tool, since I expect to swap the tire every winter. The tire itself is not too expensive (around $30-40); I personally think that it is worth the price.

When using the tire, remember to follow the directions and do not use the tire on the road (it has very little traction). Other than that, enjoy riding on a trainer (well, as much as you can enjoy pedaling in place).

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