Specific turbo trainer tyres use special compounds designed to stop the tyre overheating and make it last longer. They also have a smoother surface so that you get a better connection to the trainer and can use your power more efficiently.
Most turbo trainers, other than direct drive ones, have a roller which your rear tyre sits on. It is the contact between your tyre and the roller that provides resistance and give you the feel that you are pedalling against something.
The constant friction between the roller and the tyre will generate a lot more heat than you would ever get in a normal road cycling situation. As a result standard road bike tyres will quickly start to overheat and will then wear very quickly. We have seen people destroy normal road cycling tyres within a few weeks when using them on a turbo trainer. If you do this to a set of Kevlar folding types at £30 or £40 a go then a winter of turbo training will be very expensive.
The turbo trainer specific tyres are made of a compound which can handle the heat more effectively and which does not wear as quickly. They will also have a smooth surface to give maximum contact with the trainer.
As you don’t need to worry about grip in corners or damp road surfaces on a turbo trainer the turbo trainer specific tyres can do away with any surface features. This does mean that turbo trainer specific tyres can’t be used outside, one of the reasons why they are normally a bright colour. If you are going to be using your bike inside and outside during the winter it makes sense to invest in a cheap spare wheel so you are not constantly having to change tyres and pump them up.
Which Turbo Trainer Tyre to Buy?
Most of the turbo trainer manufacturers product their own tyres and quite a few tyre companies are also now doing turbo trainer tyres. The two turbo trainer specific tyres that we recommend are the ones from CycleOps and Schwalbe.
Available in yellow or black the CycleOps tyre is designed for use with their own range of turbo trainers. It is designed to be super durable but also to be as quiet as possible so you don’t disturb the whole house while doing your training.
The Schwalbe Insider tyre has been around for years and is a popular choice for use with all brands of turbo trainer. Schwalbe have designed the tyre to have much lower resistance than a standard road tyre so that you get the cleanest connection possible to your turbo trainer.