Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Q&A: Trainer with Bolt-On Wheel, Fixie Fix

Q: Hi Jim,I bought a Bell Motivator Mag Indoor Bicycle Trainer and it came with a quick-release skewer. I heard that it's better to use that skewer than the one on your bike, so it doesn't mess up the original one. My bike doesn't have a quick release in the back wheel, only the front. My question is how do I put the skewer into the wheel? I have a hybrid Schwinn road bike. I looked all over the internet and couldn't find anything on how to replace the axle w/the skewer.
Thanks, Karen

A: Hi Karen,
I'm not experienced with the trainer you have, but in most cases, trainers today are designed to work with bicycles that have quick release wheels (with skewers) and ALSO with bikes that have bolt-on rear wheels (no skewer; like your bike). So, before converting your rear wheel to make it quick-release with a skewer, you should try the bicycle and see if it fits into the trainer as is.
Usually the two pieces on the trainer that screw in and hold onto the skewer on each side of the trainer are hollow (see photo), which means that your bolt-on axle will slide right in and the trainer's wheel holders will then press on the axle nuts and support your bike just fine. Give that a try.
If it doesn't work, you can convert your wheel to quick release, but you might want to have a shop do it for you. It's not hard but you need a few special tools so it will be cheaper to have it done than to do it yourself. They will simply remove your original axle set and replace it with a quick-release axle set with a skewer. The skewer that came with the trainer is only one part of the system. You need the entire axle set, too, in order to use the skewer. The other option is to replace the entire rear wheel, but that will cost even more. My best guess is that that trainer will work fine with your bike just the way it is so you won't need to spend anything at all.
Good luck!

Q: I have a question concerning my single-speed, Jim. I would like to convert to fixed gear without going through the process of getting a flip-flop hub. The hub I currently have has two sides meant for two different freewheels sizes only. Meaning, no step-down thread for Fixed Gear. My question is, would there be anywhere to lock the freewheel and make my bike a fixed gear?

Thank you,

A: It sounds to me like all that's needed to make your bike a fixed gear is to install a fixed-gear cog (also called a "track cog," instead of a freewheel http://www.excelsports.com/new.asp?page=8&description=Dura%2DAce+Track+Cog&vendorCode=SHIM&major=8&minor=6.
You don’t have the step-down threading on your hub, which is for the reverse-threaded lockring that holds on the cog. But, it's possible to ride fixie without one. What you can do is thread on the fixed cog and then on top of it, thread on an English bottom bracket adjustable-cup lockring from an older-style 3-piece bottom bracket.

The lockring is the same thread as your hub and the fixed cog, but having the cog tightened on and then in effect, having a nut on top of it, means the cog is held pretty well in place on the hub and won't come off too easily when you're riding. To keep things tight, when you install the lockring, put some blue locktite on it to help it hold fast and keep the cog from turning. You might also be able to install two lockrings if you have the room for it on your hub for double the protection from unscrewing.

Hope this helps you out,