Does Tire Pressure Matter On a Trainer? (Inflate them NOW)

Cyclists with wheel-on trainers need to pay attention to one additional thing compared to direct drive trainers – the tire pressure. But the question is, does it really matter?

Tire pressure on the trainer matters mainly because of the unnecessary energy loss and the higher tire wear. Under-inflated tires wear faster, while over-inflated tires can burst. Most manufacturers indicate the recommended pressure on the tire sidewall. This is usually 110 psi (8 bar).

Although tire pressure is less important on a trainer than when riding outside, it should still be checked regularly. Problems can be caused mainly by under-inflated tires, leading to unnecessary extra costs.

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

Why is the tire pressure on the trainer important?

It may seem that the tire pressure on the trainer is not important, and to some extent, this is true. It matters much less than when driving outside because you won’t hit any holes that could damage your wheel if the tire is under-inflated. You also don’t need much damping, so you can over-inflate them a bit.

Nevertheless, an under or over-inflated tire causes problems even on the trainer. These are different than when driving outside, but no less annoying.

Consequences of an under-inflated tire

Flat tire of a road bike

Higher wear and tear

The biggest problem with an under-inflated tire is higher wear. The tire is more compressed against the trainer and touches the trainer with more surface area. As the tire is more compressed, it has a larger contact area with the trainer. As a result, it overheats faster and wears out more quickly.

Tire wear is already greater on the trainer than when riding outside, and the wear increases even more with too low tire pressure. I suggest you use a special trainer tire, which is more resistant to overheating and wear.

In addition to higher wear, with lower tire pressure, you are also risking sidewall damage. Due to the tire compression, they are more likely to crack, rendering the tire unusable.

Increased noise

An under-inflated tire on a trainer makes much more noise than a properly inflated tire. The more tire in contact with the trainer, the more surface area that makes the sound, which can become quite loud.

You can reduce the trainer’s noise level considerably with properly inflated tires. The tire profile also affects the noise level, with a tire with less profile being quieter. The quietest are the tires that are made especially for the trainer.

Increased energy consumption

The flatter the tire, the more resistance you have to overcome. This means you must push the pedals harder for the same tire rotation speed and, consequently, the same speed in a virtual cycling app.

An under-inflated tire causes the resistance to be much higher than it would otherwise be, preventing much of the produced power from being converted into speed. So, with an underinflated tire, you are wasting energy unnecessarily.

More tire slips

An under-inflated tire also poses a risk of tire slips during rides. With lower tire pressure, the grip on a trainer is much worse. When the generated power exceeds the grip, the tire slips.

Tire slips are primarily unpleasant because the power generated is lost. This is particularly frustrating if you are participating in a virtual race, where such a slip, especially in sprints, can cost you a good final position.

But tire slips can also be dangerous. The tire spins to idle at that time, and the resistance on the pedals is reduced. Because the slip occurs when you push hard on the pedals, you can fall from the saddle onto the top tube. Guys know this can be very painful.

Consequences of an over-inflated tire

A man inflating a road bike tire

Less resistance

More inflated tires have a smaller surface area in contact with the trainer. As a result, resistance is reduced and riding is more efficient. The wear on the tire is also lower but still higher than when riding outside due to overheating. That’s why I suggest using a trainer tire.

Risk of tire burst

If the tire is over-inflated, the main risk is that it will burst. Although inner tubes are quite strong, the trainer still presses the tire with considerable force, which can lead to a punctured tube sooner.

If you over-inflate the tire, it will most likely burst before you mount the bike on the trainer. But it can also happen later if you press the trainer’s roller too hard against the tire.

What is the correct tire pressure on the trainer?

Cyclists differ in how much pressure in the tire suits us. Some prefer softer tires, others harder. The same is true on the trainer, although the differences are much less significant.

Finding the optimum pressure, therefore, requires some experimentation and finding out what works for you. However, the general rule is to use the same tire pressure on the trainer as you would when riding outside.

Use the same tire pressure on the trainer as you would when riding outside.

What does this mean in practice?

Each tire has a recommended tire pressure written on the sidewall. It also states the maximum pressure at which you can still use the tire without risking problems.

On a trainer, follow the tire manufacturer’s recommendation for the tire pressure. Normally the recommended pressure is between 100 and 110 psi (7-8 bar). Tire manufacturer Continental recommends 110 psi (8 bar), while trainer manufacturer Tacx recommends between 90 and 115 psi (6-8 bar).

Slight over or under-inflation is not critical as long as it is within the recommended values. This is because the trainer’s calibration also considers the current tire pressure and cancels out any deviation. It is therefore recommended that you calibrate your trainer regularly. I have written about how often calibration is necessary in one of the blogs, which I recommend you read.

The best tires for trainers

If you are serious about riding on a trainer, buying a special trainer tire is a must. Otherwise, be prepared to buy two to three ‘regular’ tires every year.

The trainer tire is made specifically for use on the trainer. It should not be used when riding outside.

The trainer tire is much more wear-resistant and much quieter. If you use it as instructed, you can get two to three seasons out of it.

There are quite a few trainer tires available on the market. Like outdoor tires, they vary in material quality and, consequently, in life expectancy.

I suggest buying one of the tires presented below.

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, 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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