Skip to content

Can You Use A Mountain Bike On A Turbo Trainer? What Other Bikes Can Be Used?

  • by
Can You Use A Mountain Bike On A Turbo Trainer

Is It Possible To Use a Mountain Bike On a Turbo Trainer?

When winter comes around, the thought of going outside to cycle with your mountain bike can be terrifying, and also, not possible if you live in a place with heavy snowfall, so you might be wondering what the alternative is that can allow you to use your mountain bike inside – a turbo trainer.

There is no reason why you can’t use your mountain bike with a turbo trainer, as long as the turbo trainer picked meets the requirements of your bike. You just need to ensure that you are using the correct tire for your trainer too and the trainer is the best for your fitness level. 

You can pretty much use a turbo trainer with any kind of bike, not just a mountain bike, however, the types of turbo trainers out there do differ in their features, as well as how much they cost, so to make things easier for you, we have put together a little guide below that will explain the types of trainers out there and which one is the best for your mountain bike, as well as why you might need a trainer, and what type of tire you should be using with your model.

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

Why Should I Get a Turbo Trainer For My Mountain Bike?

First of all, if your sceptical about why you should get a turbo trainer for your mountain bike, your are probably wondering what the advantages are to using one with your bike.

Turbo trainers simply allow you to exercise indoors when you can’t outdoors, being a great alternative when its dark or the weather is too bad outside. They are also great for warm-ups and warm downs and can be used with nearly any mountain bike or road bike out there.

The advantages of using these devices with your mountain bike mean you can retain your level of fitness over winter and have a more controlled workout which allows you to study your technique when cycling.

We have listed out a few other advantages below to use your mountain bike with a turbo trainer.

  • Allows for intense training – Due to there being no freecycling and variables with inclines, you have to be cycling the whole time while you are using a turbo trainer with your mountain bike, this makes your cycling much more intense and can make you fitter for when you go back out onto the road.
  • It can be interactive – Many turbo trainers can be used with interactive software’s that allow you to race and cycle in different places virtually, making your indoor cycle much more interesting and fun.
  • They are convenient – You simply just have to jump on your mountain bike to start working out, no prepping or variables to slow you down like they normally would to cycle outside.
  • Very time-efficient – An hour on your turbo trainer with your mountain bike is equal to maybe 2/3 hours out on the road, allowing you to get the same cycle in but with a shorter amount of time, leaving extra time to get other things done.

What Types Of Turbo Trainers Are Out There For Mountain Bikes?

As we mentioned above, turbo trainers differ in there types and resistance, meaning you need to be careful when choosing which trainer you want to use with your mountain bike as they will vary due to accuracy and how much they feel like you are riding your bike in real roads.

We have listed out the most common types of turbo trainers below and which one is the most suitable to use with a mountain bike to get you started.

Fluid Trainers

Fluid turbo trainers use a propeller with oil to make resistance for your mountain bike, this resistance will get harder as you pedal more, making it seem more gradual. This type of resistance tends to be much quieter and is seen on rear wheel attachment turbo trainers where the rear wheel is locked into place and pressed up against a cylinder on the machine.

Magnetic Trainers

Magnetic trainers, on the other hand, create resistance when the back wheel of your bike spins against the magnet, this resistance can vary and is easy to be changed with a lever located on the bike’s handlebars. These types of trainers tend to be very affordable and have a real-life-like feel when you ride your mountain bike with them.

Direct Drive

Direct drive trainers are fairly new and will require you to remove the back wheel of your mountain bike and mount it on to the trainer which has a cassette instead, this avoids you have to buy a special tire for your trainer and is very quiet, these trainers, however, do cost an expensive price but do have a very high accuracy level, so could be the better option if you are after a high-quality workout.


Rollers and drums on these trainers will help balance your bike and keep it stable while you ride, this mirrors real-world cycling as you need to keep balanced, making your work much harder, but meaning you would struggle to perform interval training on your bicycle.

Which Tyre Should I Use With My Mountain Bike Trainer?

Unfortunately, outdoor knobbly mountain bike tyres are not the best for using with a trainer, as they will wear down quickly and become very noisy when cycling due to the friction of it spinning around.

You will also feel a lot of vibration if you try to use your mountain bike tyre with a turbo trainer, as well as the potential for it slip on rollers during use.

Depending on your fitness level and what you want to get out of your trainer, you will either go for the options of; using a slick tyre, using a cheap spare road tyre, sticking with your mountain bike tyre, or buying a specialist turbo trainer tyre.

As I’m sure you can guess, going for the specialist tyre will give you the best results with your trainer, but, can be expensive and usually isn’t needed unless you are planning to go at constant high speeds with your mountain bike when using the trainer.

So instead we recommend going for a road tyre or a slick tyre for using your mountain bike with your trainer. We also suggest buying a whole cheap spare wheel, so as if you plan to use your bike inside and out interchangeably, you don’t have to change the whole tyre every single time.

Will My 29 Inch Mountain Bike Fit a Turbo Trainer?

If you have a mountain bike that has a 29-inch wheel you will need to make sure that your chosen trainer fits this size before buying. Most trainers can be adjusted to fit this and once the tire is changed to a slick tyre it should be able to fit anyway.

For roller and direct driver trainers, you don’t need to worry about the wheel size.

What Accessories Do I Need To Use My Mountain Bike With a Turbo Trainer?

Now we have covered the types of turbo trainers out there for your mountain bike and what tire you will need, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the accessories you will need too.

We have listed some of the essentials below –

  • Yoga mat – Having a yoga mat underneath your mountain bike with the trainer is a good idea as it will catch any sweat that drips down as well as keep your bike from making too much noise on the floor.
  • Towels – You will sweat a lot when using a turbo trainer, so having some towels on hand is a good idea.
  • Mobile phone mount – If you want to track your progress and you don’t have a smart turbo trainer that can do this then having a mount for your phone and a tracking app is a great idea to stay on top of your cycling.
  • Fan – It will get very hot when working out with a trainer, so owning a fan is essential to cool you down.
  • Entertainment – Using a trainer can be a little boring in comparison to riding outside, meaning videos and entertainment is a good idea.
  • Wheel blocks – Wheel blocks allow you to change positions and inclines like a real bike on your device.
  • Thru-Axle adapter – Most trainers will include this but if not, get yourself one!

Frequently Asked Questions About Using a Mountain Bike With a Turbo Trainer

What is a slick tyre and why do I need one?

Slick tyres are great for turbo trainers as they have little tread meaning that they are super smooth, don’t get worn down easily and reduce friction with your bike, meaning less noise and vibration.

Should I use a smart trainer with my MTB?

Smart trainers are great for passing time and make using your MTB inside much more pleasurable as they are interactive, allowing you to virtually cycle in different environments or race.

What’s the easiest trainer to use with my MTB?

The easiest trainer type to use with your mountain bike is a direct drive trainer, due to the fact you don’t have to remove the wheel, however, they are also the most expensive.

Last Words

Overall, it is very possible to use your MTB with any kind of turbo trainer you want, just make sure the trainer fits your bike and you have the correct wheel, also ensure you get a smart trainer if you want a more interactive experience when cycling with your mountain bike indoors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *