Could this indoor training trend void your warranty?
Concerns have been raised by the Wahoo Kickr Rollr
Launched earlier this year, the new Wahoo Kickr Rollr has raised concerns after at least one wheel brand has suggersted its use could void a user's warranty.
The smart roller - an alternative to a smart turbo trainer - aims to combine the ride quality of rollers, with the security factor of being clamped in - as per a turbo trainer.
Whilst the rear wheel is free to skim over the surface of the roller, the front is attached to an A-Frame, with a mechanism that clamps onto the front wheel to maintain stability.
The system carries the benefits of making swaps between riders, and bikes, easier, and making the experience of using rollers over a turbo trainer much more accessible.
However, questions have since been raised about the effect of the clamping forces on the front wheel, with Zipp publishing a statement confirming that ”Zipp wheels are not intended to be used on trainers that attach to the front rim or tire of the bike while the rear of the bike remains unsecured."
The brand added: "Any damage caused by such use will not be covered under Zipp’s warranty policy.”
Keen to hear what other brands thought about the risk factor, we asked UK wheel brand Parcours.
Its founder, and Oxford Engineering graduate, Dov Tate said the brand didn't have an official stance, yet. However he did add: "At present, we would not recommend using our wheels with this type of trainer as we have not yet been able to test the impact of the static lateral loading that appears to be caused by using the bike with the wheel still stationary.
"Riders should note that beyond just the wheel, we would need to test and investigate the impact of wheel, fork and axle combinations before certifying it as safe for use."
It's far from the first time that concerns have been raised around the effect of using indoor trainers, particularly with carbon bikes. In 2019, Canyon certified that a selection of its carbon bikes were safe for use for a turbo trainer, raising concern among consumers around the policies of other brands.
At the time (2019), we asked Lee Prescott, who manufactures his own bikes at Meteor Works, as well as building bikes for customers at Velo Atelier, for his thoughts.
“Most frames are fine if you're just spinning along, in the saddle,” Prescott told us, but he was less confident with harder efforts: “If you're doing pyramids, FPT tests, where you're starting to put more torque through the frame, if you have a super lightweight or cheap carbon frame, I wouldn't do it.
“Normally if you're out on your bike and put that level of torque through the bottom bracket, the physics of it is that the frame will just react against the force. When you're locking it into a turbo, you're essentially applying a big force that the frame can’t then get rid of. It’s having to absorb it through the material.”
However, despite these concerns, hoards of cyclists jump onto turbo trainers every day, and among Cycling Weekly's test team, we've yet to see any damage caused by use of a turbo trainer. Whether the Wahoo Rollr Kickr will yield a similar outcome after long-term use remains to be seen.
Asked for comment about the concerns raised by wheel brands, Wahoo told us: “Wahoo has tested and analyzed several wheels and found that the stresses imposed by the ROLLR trainer are all within acceptable levels or lower than stresses observed during outdoor riding. We are confident that the ROLLR will not damage wheels."
The brand added: "We are also working with additional wheel manufacturers to certify their wheels with the ROLLR since Zipp has taken this position and we plan to share our research with them.”
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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