Can You Use a Trainer Tire Outdoors? (Potential Safety Issues)

Have you ever looked out the window and decided to go for a ride in sunny weather, only to figure out you have a trainer tire on your bike? I’m sure you thought about going for a ride with it.

A trainer tire must not be used for outdoor rides. It’s made of a harder material that does not offer sufficient grip. This makes outdoor riding very dangerous, especially on descends and corners. A trainer tire also doesn’t have reinforced sidewalls, making it unsuitable for high-speed cornering.

Changing a tire whenever you want to go for an outdoor ride is annoying. In this article, we will look at why this is necessary and try to find solutions to avoid it.

If you’re interested in the best trainer tire, you can find it by clicking here.

Is the trainer tire suitable for outdoor use?

When the trainers first came out, cyclists realized that tire wear was several times higher than when riding outside. Everyone fought against this in their own way, including by inflating tires correctly, until tire manufacturers responded to the need for a different tire.

Special trainer tires became available that successfully combat the increased wear and had a much longer lifespan than ‘regular’ tires. The problem was solved and everyone lived happily ever after.

Well, not exactly.

Solving one problem has created another. Switching between indoor and outdoor cycling suddenly became much more complicated.

The trainer tire is not made for outdoor riding and should not be used outdoors. Sure, the policeman will not give you a ticket if you use it, but you will endanger your health and the health of other road users.

DO NOT use a trainer tire outside!

The tire is made from a much harder material than ‘regular’ tires. This prevents overheating and slows wear and tear but also offers a very poor grip.

There’s a reason why conventional tires are made of softer material. It offers a better grip, which further improves once the tires warm up.

The trainer tire is, therefore, not suitable for outdoor use. It might work on flat terrain, but any descent and particularly fast corners would pose a high risk of an accident.

Outdoor rides would also wear out the tire, as it is not made for tarmac. As a result, you would be forced to buy a new one much sooner.

Why is it dangerous to use a trainer tire outside?

If you want to stay injury-free, use the trainer tire indoors only.

The main problem with using a trainer tire for outdoor rides is its danger. If you use it, you may just be counting down to a serious accident, which is almost certain to happen.

Less grip

The trainer tire offers a very poor grip due to the material it’s made from. Anyone who has ridden a bike for at least a few miles in the rain knows how hard it is to ride when the grip deteriorates.

The trainer tire offers an extremely low grip when riding outside. Imagine riding on a slightly icy surface all the time. The effects of poor grip are felt especially on descents and corners, where an accident is just around the corner (pun intended).

The wear and tear of the tire on the trainer further impair the grip. When you use it on a trainer, the central part of it becomes more worn than the rest of the tire, and as a result, the grip is even worse there.

Weaker sidewalls

The trainer tire is not made for cornering, so the sidewalls are weaker than on a normal tire.

Sidewalls are mainly responsible for tire stability in corners. The stronger it is, the more stable you will be. As there is no cornering on the trainer, the sidewall strength is not important.

As a result, a trainer tire would be completely unstable in corners when used outside. Add to this the poor grip, and it becomes clear that cornering with a trainer tire would be extremely dangerous.

Poor puncture protection

In addition to providing grip, a ‘regular’ tire also protects against punctures. Some more expensive tires even have a kevlar layer to prevent punctures.

There is no risk of punctures on the trainer. Therefore, the trainer tire does not have any puncture protection. If you use it outside, the inner tube can be punctured by even a small sharp stone that would not damage a ‘regular’ tire.

You’ll need to patch the inner tube often if you’ll use the trainer tire outdoors.

Although puncturing the inner tube is not dangerous, except in rare situations, it is still undesirable. No cyclist wants to change a tube during a ride, as many do not even carry a spare one.

The irony of a punctured inner tube during a ride is that it could have been avoided if the tire had been changed before the ride. But because you didn’t take 10 minutes, you now have to carry out the identical procedure somewhere far from home without the proper tools.

Simple solutions for switching between indoor and outdoor rides

I know that constantly changing your tire is an excessive procedure that you want to avoid. Unfortunately, riding outside with a training tire is out of the question, so an alternative solution has to be found.

Constantly switching between a ‘regular’ and training tire is the cheapest but least practical solution. Although it doesn’t take much time and gives you extra practice for one of the key cycling skills, it is still worth considering one of the other options.

Switching the wheel

Changing the whole wheel is a slightly more expensive but much more practical solution. You can find a cheap wheel on Amazon and fit it with a trainer tire, making it a dedicated indoor wheel.

When you want to ride outdoors, you change the whole wheel, and off you go. For $100-$200, you’ve successfully reduced the time to just a few seconds.

For just over $100, you can get a solid wheel that can be used only on the trainer. But don’t forget to buy an extra cassette as well.

Switching a bike

If you are lucky enough to be able to afford two bikes, then specifying a trainer bike and an outdoor bike is a great solution.

You can use a mountain bike, a trekking bike or a city bike as long as you fit it with a slick and narrow rear tire. Of course, a road bike offers a better ride, but other types of bikes can also be used with a trainer.

Buying a direct drive trainer

If you are getting serious about riding on a trainer, then it makes sense to consider upgrading to a direct drive trainer.

With a direct drive trainer, the rear wheel is removed and the bike is mounted directly on the trainer. In this case, the ‘regular’ tire remains on the rear wheel. When the sun shines and you’re tempted to do a few miles outside, you take the bike off the trainer, mount the rear wheel back on and you are ready to go.

The cheapest direct drive trainers, like the Tacx Flux S, are available for around $600.

Best training tires available

It’s recommended to use a trainer tire on a trainer. It will dramatically reduce the number of worn tires per season.

Below are some of the best trainer tires you can get.

Vittoria Zaffiro Pro


  • Durable
  • Quiet
  • Easy installation


  • The red color is not for everyone
  • Among the more expensive tires

Of all the tires suggested, I recommend Vittoria Zaffiro Pro the most. If you don’t mind the red color, it’s worth paying a few dollars more and getting a quality tire with which you can ride a few thousand miles.

Tacx Trainer Tire


  • Durable
  • Quiet
  • Good grip


  • The blue color is not for everyone
  • Among the more expensive tires

Tacx is one of the leading trainer brands and they haven’t disappointed when making a trainer tire. The distinctive blue tire is durable and quiet, two things that are essential for any cyclist. It also provides a very good grip on trainer, preventing the tire from slipping. However, it should be pointed out that it is probably the most expensive trainer tire on the market.

Schwalbe Insider


  • Quiet
  • Easy installation
  • Good price


  • The blue color is not for everyone
  • Less durable than competing tires

Schwalbe has launched a more affordable version of the indoor cycling tire. It offers a good grip and is very quiet. However, the slightly lower price brings some disadvantages. Expect to get fewer miles out of the tire than competing models.

Continental Hometrainer


  • Recognized brand
  • Durable
  • Quiet
  • Black color


  • The black color of the tire can make you forget you have a training tire on

Continental is probably the most famous tire manufacturer in the world. The proven quality has also been transferred to the trainer tire. Durable and quiet, it does the job very well and lives up to expectations. Many cyclists will also be pleased to know that the tire is black, so it doesn’t spoil the bike’s look. But this can also be dangerous, as it’s easier to forget you have a trainer tire fitted and go for a ride outside with it.

Luka Stular

Hi, my name is Luka. I fell in love with cycling back in 2014 when I broke my leg in the summer. The peak of my day was watching Tour de France, and soon I was hooked. Later I bought my first road bike, and now we're here.

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