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How to Turn a Bicycle into a Stationary Bike in a Few Easy Steps

Carlos Glover
September 2, 2022

There are plenty of ways you can turn your bicycle into a stationary exercise bike. The main principle as to how it works is by suspending the bike in the air. To accomplish this, most people use a trainer. It is easy to install, remove and use.

A couple of years ago I wanted to do this exact project. I thought it would be a huge undertaking that would end up requiring lots of time and hard work. Luckily, as soon as I started to investigate, I learned it was much simpler and could be done in a few simple steps. But most importantly, I learned that anyone can do it.

This article will focus on explaining the process of turning a bicycle into a stationary bike by using the two most common types of trainers (Bike Trainer Stand & Roller Bike stand) and how to install them.

How Can I Turn My Bike into a Stationary Bike?

Method 01: Using a Suspension Bike trainer/ Turbo trainer

An indoor bike trainer is a stationary bike stand that works by suspending the rear tire in the air and leaving the front tire on a special holder to keep the bike leveled.

yellow road bike

Materials:

  • Standard Exercise bike
  • Bike trainer stand/ Turbo trainer kit
  • Front-wheel riser
  • Quick release skewer

Step 1: Get All of The Necessary Parts

This step is straightforward. You need to collect all the materials before you start doing anything. Normally, you can get everything you need by ordering a stationary bike setup. You don´t require any special tools to install this piece.

Step 2: Install a Quick-Release Skewer

Installing a quick-release skewer is essential to being able to use the bicycle stand, as this part will join the trainer and secure the bicycle. If your bicycle has rim brakes, you most likely have this type of skewer. However, your classic exercise bike could have a thru-axle bike skewer, in which case you would need to switch it or buy an adapter so it can fit the trainer safely.

Step 3: Join the Back Wheel with The Trainer

You have to align the rear wheel skewer with one of the trainer´s sockets and then you´ll need to clamp the other side. Make sure the bike is tight and secure.

Step 4: Place the Front Wheel on its Holder

This step is self-explanatory. Just make sure the wheel isn´t moving and is in a straight position.

Step 5: Adjust the Smart Trainer

Located on the back of the trainer, there is a small piece that is used to regulate the pressure on the back wheel. You can set the resistance level to your taste thus making your workouts worthwhile.

Step 6: Give it a Try

To make sure everything works properly, giving the bicycle a ride is recommended. Give the wheels a good spin and pedal as fast as you can. It´s important that you can ride with good speed and power for a quality workout. You can use anywhere from mountain bikes to road bikes with this bike stand.

Step 7: Regulate Your Environment / Customization

Cycling inside the house can be really strenuous. It can get really hot or there simply just isn´t a lot of space. Make sure you are in a good condition for a workout by having enough space.

Furthermore, you can also customize your bike to your preferences, in regards to noise or comfort. This particular trainer allows you to train without the back wheel on. In the case you wish to ride with no additional sounds, you can always use a trainer tire, which has a flat surface.

man riding a stationary bike

You can also add cycling apps to your training regime for a more realistic feel and a resistance mechanism to increase the quality of your routine.

Method 02: Using a Roller Bike Stand

A roller stationary bike trainer works like a treadmill-like device, which consists of 3 rollers that spin in the opposite direction of the wheels to keep the bike in place. It is a bit more complicated for the rider to find good balance, but once you reach a good speed, it can be quite enjoyable

Materials:

  • Exercise bike or outdoor bike
  • 2 Wrenches
  • 3 Rollers
  • 3 Bands (Non Essential, only depending on the trainer)
  • 1 Fan (Non essential, only comes with certain trainers)
  • 6 Metal Nuts
  • 2 Frame Tabs
  • Measuring Tape

Step 1: Collect and Organize all of The Parts

All of the pieces you´ll need to assemble the trainer should already be included when you buy a trainer kit.

It is important that you know how many and which pieces you will need to assemble the trainer.

The best strategy is to keep everything in order and separated.

Step 2: Build a Frame

Insert the axle of one the rollers through one of the frame tab holes and tighten the bolts to a point where it is steady, but slightly loose. Repeat this process with the other side of the roller, and with the other two rollers as well.

The correct setup is two rollers for the rear wheel and one for the front wheel.

Step 3: Check If Your Trainer has Bands

Before you tighten on both sides, make sure the band around the roller. Every roller should have one band around it.

Step 4: Tighten

Once the whole structure begins to take shape and looks good, you can tighten the bolts to make sure the structure is steady and won´t fall apart.

Step 5: Adjust the Frame to Your Bicycle

The trainer is designed to adapt to any bicycle´s length, be that a road bike, mountain bike, a regular bicycle, or even exercise bikes. Extend the frame tabs until the front roller is directly under or slightly in front of your front wheel´s axle to avoid any movement.

Step 6: Tighten the Bands (In Case You Have Them)

Near the edge of every roller, there should be an uneven part, where the band is meant to be.

Make sure you have the right band in the right place and that it connects to it´s subsequent part (should be simple to deduce).

When you pedal, these bands should work a gears and get that fan going to keep you cool during your training and avoid sweat.

women's road bike in front of a blue wall

Step 7: Move the Trainer Directly Next to a Steady Surface

To use this particular trainer you´ll need great balance. However it is very difficult to get on. Therefore it´s recommended that you place your trainer next to a wall or in a door frame so you can keep yourself steady when getting on. Make sure you have enough space and feel comfortable while riding.

Step 8: Test It

It´s important that you give the trainer a try. To keep your balance on the trainer it is important you start pedaling and never stop . Try a variety of resistance options on your bike and see how you feel. Don´t forget to enjoy your riding experience.

FAQ

How can I turn my bike into a stationary bike without a trainer?

In short, you must build some kind of device or structure to keep your bicycle from moving. It is considerably more complicated that using a trainer, but it is possible.

How can I use my bike indoors?

As long as you keep your bicycle still, you can use it as long as you want. The best way to keep it still is by using a trainer, however you can you use any method that comes to mind, works and is safe.

Can I turn mountain bikes into stationary bikes?

Yes. It is possible to turn almost any type of bike into a stationary, from outdoor bikes, to exercise bikes.

Check out more tips & tricks

Summary

We´ve now established that installing or setting up a stationary bike trainer is not that difficult. You´ll only need that trusty wrench of yours and a few minutes of your time.

The are many types of stationary bike trainers, and if you are creative, you can even build one yourself. If you´re looking for a more practical solution you can try using a bike stand, which will hold your bike´s rear tire in the air while you pedal. Or roller trainers, which works as a treadmill for bicycle riders.

When it comes to choosing between the two trainers, both have advantages and disadvantages. It mostly comes down to preference and personal taste. However, If you´re a beginner, the stationary bike stand will be a more friendly option, due to it´s stability and guaranteed balance. If you like a bit of a challenge and more realistic movement feel the roller trainer is made for you.

Carlos Glover
About the Author
I took up cycling in high school and haven’t looked back since. My love of cycling eventually evolved into an obsession with bicycles. From road bikes to mountain bikes, I have tried them all – and have the scars to prove it! I love sharing my findings with the rest of the cycling world as unsolicited as they may be.
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