Wolf Tooth Axle Waltworks Trainer ELITE NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG
EDITORIAL | RE-REVIEW

Serendipity & Wolf Tooth's Axle Trainer-Adapters

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Mar 30, 2022
Reading time

Ugh.

I loathe riding stationary bicycles. Even the thought of my own beloved bicycle attached to some rudely stamp'd resistance unit makes me want to write an entire tragedy that, given the subject matter, could only feature at a local fringe festival or perhaps an 18+ theatre. I've bought and flipped more trainers than I'd ever admit to, sold on the promise of easily earned fitness forgetting the self-abusive boredom that I clearly blocked out from my last bout of blasé pedal priming. Hey, if it's your cuppa, have at it, but you won't catch me in the act of Zwifting.

Imagine then my overwhelming sense of joy when my physio told me the absolute best thing I could do at this stage of my Achilles rehab is to ride a stationary bike. The only thing that's worse than riding your own bike on a trainer at home is riding one of those ill-fitting, poorly maintained, spin bikes at a gym, so I decided I would purchase a trainer and a slick tire and then at least I could ride my Waltworks. On flat ground. In one spot. Ugh.

I had zero interest in anything that plugs in, charges, or wants to know my WiFi password and ELITE trainers are supported locally so I pulled the trigger on one of their basic fluid trainers. The next thing I did was go online and check the owners manual to make certain that there was no disclaimer saying I couldn't ride the thing outside, uncovered, in the next atmospheric river. I may have to ride a stationary bike but I'm sure as sh*t not riding it inside. Also, they open wide enough to swallow a Boost-148 axle, with thru-axle adapters, sans complaint. I don't think you're getting a Super Boost-157 rear end in there.

Wolf Tooth Axle Waltworks Trainer ELITE NSMB AndrewM (3).JPG

The drive side trainer adapter presses into the hollow Wolf Tooth axle. No tools required.

Wolf Tooth Axle Waltworks Trainer ELITE NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

The non-drive side trainer adapter threads on in place of the optional, replaceable, axle end. It uses an 8mm hex.

Wolf Tooth Components Rear Axle AndrewM

Here's what the, optional, axle end looked like before it did time on my Rift Zone, Alpine Trail, and Waltworks.

It was in the final act of buying my trainer that I realized the accidental brilliance of my bicycle setup. When I sold my Alpine Trail, I swapped the axle from my Waltworks and kept the Wolf Tooth axle I'd been running on my Marin. I like the little replaceable nub that sticks out a bit to protect my frame, and the fact that it's anodized purple, of course, gets me a bit hot. It's been pointed out to me that it's a bit silly on my single speed which has big bolts protruding from the swinging dropouts and no corresponding protection on the drive side where my derailleur's missing, but hear me out. One, anodized purple. Two, I think I'm conditioned to always protect my rear derailleur, even when I don't have one, because I more regularly scrape the backend of the non-drive side of my bike compared to the drive side.

After much digging through random parts bins, some blue language, more digging, conferring with my child, more blue language, and finally a frantic round of toolbox drawer opening, I managed to locate the trainer-adapter axle ends that Wolf Tooth makes for the axle. As you guessed, they were in a very safe place where I absolutely would not toss, I mean lose, them. It took at grand total of 1-minute to get them installed. The trainer requires a little bit of assembly, but the longest part of the whole setup process was recycling the cardboard box the trainer came in.

I don't know that anyone makes a hard rubber trainer-tire that fits a proper wide mountain bike rim, but I picked up a basic Schwalbe commuter tire than I can easily rehome once my trainer days are over. Between riding outside and ELITE's claims about their magical tire wear, and noise, decreasing 'Elastogel' polyurethane roller I decided it'll work fine. It's still a loud enough noise to summon the local racoon population to see what's dying but I just put Jungle Boogie on repeat and spin it to win it.

At any rate, it dawned on me that I would have never, ever, bought a rear axle previously based on its ability to be easily adapted to a stationary trainer but the plug and play nature of these adapters is a solid win. If spending some time off the mountain bike really is a matter of when, not if, then I'd even go as far as to say that if you're on the MB-1 program and in the market for a rear axle anyway, this is the one. Likewise, if you genuinely enjoy riding in one spot, having a second wheel with a slick ready to roll and swapping the ends on this axle will have you rolling fairly quickly. Even once I'm back doing a bit of XC riding, I can swap a cog or cassette and the rear wheel in a couple minutes max if I need to keep spinning on the trainer. Not bad.

For more information on the Wolf Tooth Axle setup check out my 2019 Review, or hit Wolf Tooth. Axles are 52 CAD, a fresh (optional) purple (or other colour) axle cap is 13 CAD, and a pair of axle adapters will run you 26 CAD.

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Comments

RAHrider
Reed Holden
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+6 Andrew Major kcy4130 Cr4w rolly khai imnotdanny

That was a really long article about two little dodads that clamp in a trainer - but i read it....Don't know if that says more about me or your writing.

In any case, you need rollers my friend. Way more enjoyable to ride than a trainer. Basic ones don't cost any more than what you got either. I picked up smart rollers and my fitness and pedalling efficiency have never had a better off season. just my 2 cents.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 kcy4130 Mammal

Thank you! (I think?)

I write what's on my mind and I know it doesn't always land, that's always part of putting yourself out there. 

Honestly, once I'm cleared to ride a moving bicycle that's what I prefer to do 12-months a year. I know riding a trainer (or rollers) can really help pedaling performance but I'm happy just riding to ride.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Mammal

I had the same thought, he wrote about riding a stationary trainer, the worlds most boring activity (I assume, never done it tbh), and it was an entertaining and enjoyable read. Well done Major, for your next challenge see if you can write something entertaining about watching paint dry.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 kcy4130

Cheers, maybe nothing quite that boring. I do need to vacuum my little shop this week, and it’s almost organized enough to take a photo of it… hahaha.

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kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Michael Klein Lynx .

You're brave to vacuum a shop, braver than me.... Tinkle tinkle: That characteristic sound the vacuum makes when it sucks up a small hard object. Was that noise just a tiny pebble or was it the irreplaceable hub spring (or similar) that I dropped months ago and was unable to find? Or was it that retaining ring backup for the bolt that holds the shimano brake pads in that I lost like a year ago? Or was it the last ball bearing from that loose ball hub on my dad's 90s mtb I'm trying to get to working well enough to cruise around town on. Dammit! Vacuuming is too stressful!

Edit: maybe I should stop drinking beer when I work on bikes.

Edit again: I need to glue a magnet to the inside of the dust collection bin thing of my vacuum. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that before now.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 kcy4130

Hahaha. So it’s a three step process. First, I toss a bunch of sh*t. Like the ends of the Chromag grips I cut for my daughter’s SQ24” how long ago?! Why did I throw those on my bench?! Did I have a use for them?!

At the same time I ‘organize.’ Put the tools away that I’m not even sure when I dug them out because I haven’t taken out an e13 bottom bracket in a couple years, but I know I’ve swept since. I’m also reorganizing right now so that my power tools (not for bikes) won’t all be stored in a pile in a bag. I treat my bike tools much, much better but I’ve been thinking a lot about battery safety lately. 

Then I’m going to sweep for the reasons you note. There are a couple springs that went missing last time The Clairebarian was ‘reorganizing’ my parts bins which I’d like to still have along with a whole set of P321 loud pawls that I have plans for which were together (magnets!) in the bins and are now presumably together not in the bins. I’d rather not vacuum that stuff.

After that, VRRRRRRRRRRRUUUUMM. Anything else had plenty of time to be found!

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 kcy4130

Oooo. Magnet is a solid idea! 

I’ve been thinking about reorganizing my space to eliminate my big work bench that just becomes a dumping spot. Plan would be to mount my vice on a butchers block on top of my big (not that big) tool box. My trying stand is already modular (wooden base bolted on with significant counter weight to hold it in place) and I have multiple fold out benches for when bigger projects need to happen (usually outside in the pit anyways because our place is small). 

But, I have one of the benches from Jeff’s original BikeRoom effort so it’s hard to part with. I even lacquered over the student ‘art works’ rather than sand them off first.

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mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Lynx .

I have a few t-nuts in my work bench surface - fits a vise and a truing stand, so I can attach the implement I need in about 43 seconds. Also fits a fork mount to hold my bike securely for rear brake bleeds, where the back wheel is on the ground and the front wheel is clamped up on the bench. Adds gravity.

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Shoreboy

I mounted my Park TS-4 next to a wall with just 1 bolt and wing nut so it can pivot it out of the way when I'm not using it. The vise gets a clear space and is securely bolted down as it gets some serious reefing on occasion.

When I broke my femur last summer I pulled out a trainer that hasn't seen use in a few years and got a Robert Axle Project trainer axle for my cross bike. I had to really juggle to get it in with a 142 spacing so hopefully the modern trainers are setup for wider axle spacing.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Do the t-nuts hold the vice tight enough for some legit reefing? I mostly use my vice to hold stuff for cutting/drilling or to put chainrings on Cinch cranks but occasionally I make the room creak.

I used to clamp my truing stand but it’s actually in a weird category of semi-portable tools that I end up using inside, outside, friends’ houses, etc and it just seemed limiting to have it’s function only optimized in one scenario (even the most common one). The goal with my base was maximum stability for minimal footprint.

I may actually write a little two-minute review on it because thinking about it I’d bet most folks home truing stands (even shop truing stands) are either hard mounted, awkward, or on a significantly bigger base.   My dad wielded a solid combination of engineer, technician, and function-over-form craftsman. My truing stand is like the sliding door we made by mounting a sheet of mdf to industrial ball bearing drawer runners… it’s solid and it works.

mhaager2
Moritz Haager
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Not a great idea when rehabbing an achilles. A quick jump off to prevent falling could undo all the hard earned healing.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

What’s not a good idea? Vacuuming?!

(I’m sure you’re talking about rollers? I’ve had some awesome watching people eat shit getting cocky on rollers experiences)

Reply

RideEverything
RideEverything
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Velocipedestrian Andrew Major

Great article! I just wish it was posted 2.5 months ago!

I fractured a bunch of bones in my foot on the second day of the season snowboarding. I got the okay from the ortho in the beginning of January to start spinning.

I did the same as you and bought a cheap trainer and crossed my fingers I could fit my HT to it. My axle kinda fit but it was ugly. I bodged a bit of a better contact point at the connecting points and I was off to the races going nowhere!

I did have one moment when spinning where the trainer stopped holding my bike and luckily I didn't accelerate straight into the wall when the rear wheel made contact with the floor!

The Wolftooth axle and trainer adapters would have made my setup so much better. Maybe I'll still pick it up as I like me some matchy-matchy coloured bits on my bike!

Last week I graduated to bike commuting to my modified duties job since I can't go back to snowboard instructing this season. Bike  commuting, even in the coldest crappiest weather, is so much better than spinning in my storage room!

Heal up, Andrew!

I know the mental and physical challenge you're going through. It takes so long but we'll both get there! My goal is to be healed and strong enough to do my summer season job as an mtb coach.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 RideEverything

Thank you. The goals being always to entertain AND inform, I figured I couldn’t be the only person who sort of discarded axle ends as “ugh, stationary trainer, I don’t do that” but in hindsight, even if I hadn’t ordered them up front, would have been excited to know that the option exists for rehab. Apparently there’s not a (recoverable) lower extremity injury for which spinning isn’t a key part of getting better.

I hope you’re back at it for summer! I hope (doing all the work) I’m back at it for summer. Mid-summer is what I’m hearing for proper pedaling. Some light XC with my daughter sooner. Maybe back wrenching a bit before that too. The worst part of the mental game is certainly the plateaus. 

Have a refresh commuter/gravel/light-trail project going on with my Walt V1 so hopefully will have that done for when I can pedal outside. 

Heal up!

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major silverbansheebike

Hows the ankle ? 

E trainers . Exercise with out the work .  Comes with a spray bottle of reverse osmosis water to simulate sweat.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Greg Bly

Things are coming along better than I could have ever expected, and also %#*! me does it take a long time to heal an Achilles.

This week I’m on the trainer everyday, walking around the block sans boot every day (with a cane), and not wearing the boot at home at all. Next week hoping to ditch the walking boot entirely (the $200 piece of sh*t is falling apart anyways - obviously not actually meant for walking). 

The goal currently is light XC riding with my daughter in a couple more months. 

Thanks for asking!

———

Remember when joking about stuff like e-powered stationary bikes was actually joking?

Now it wouldn’t even phase me if people started buying motor-assisted fluid trainers so they could achieve a higher Thetan count (or however you measure Zwifting success).

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Yes good news . Back on the pedals in perhaps in the middle of spring . Maybe modest thrashing on less than treacherous trails by Summer .  Positive mind is a huge healing factor .  

So please try not to let my gutteral satire affect your good nature . 

Luv the vintage bike upgrades.  Please include more . New and improved is more like smoke and mirrors .

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Greg Bly

Oh yeah, no worries, the inevitable doesn’t get me down at all!

Proper pedaling/descending by the end of July but will probably avoid jumping off any logs/teeters/skinnies/stunts until fall.

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joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

"Remember when joking about stuff like e-powered stationary bikes was actually joking?"

I saw a photo of Eli Tomac on a trainer with an e-bike to warm up for his moto last weekend. WTF!

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mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major kcy4130

So, ummm, is it safe to call this injury your Achilles' heel?

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 mrbrett

Ahhhh ha ha. I know a lot of dads… Guess how many times I’ve been subjected to this identical example of comic brilliance!?!

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mrbrett
mrbrett
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

It keeps getting more funny, right? Surely.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I've been through a few trainers and a set of rollers vainly trying to convince myself I just needed to give it another try before I became an indoor riding champion. Sadly [or happily?] that dream has died along with fronting a rock band, making the Olympics in any sport and an ill advised run at the Guiness record for eating Buffalo wings.

At the same time I have come to appreciate that I can get outside any time of the year and still have fun on my bike or on feet with judicious selection of gear. I'd rather be damp or cold outside than riding my bike in one spot inside. Perhaps my deep winter fitness isn't as high as if I was Zwifting my heart out, but my sanity is worth more than hitting a high VO2max.

We do keep a cheap trainer in the garage collecting cobwebs...it only gets pulled out for injury recovery purposes like in your current situation. I'll keep the WT axle in mind as now that I think of it I don't have a bike that can easily be setup with the trainer's QR axle. **fingers crossed** I don't need it anytime soon though.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

I have to laugh (though a bit darkly) as when the Dr was walking me through healing v. surgery for my Achilles he did question me on my plans for Olympic-level athletics.

This ELITE folds up relatively small so I can’t decide whether we’ll hang on to it or if that’s inviting bad injury-spirits into our place. I have had a couple people tell me that even for minor sprains/strains or to limber everything up the day after a big day on the bike there’s nothing like 15-20minutes spinning on the trainer. 

But yeah, the only bikes we have in the house that would fit the trainer At All without these Wolf Tooth ends are my bakfeits Cargo bike, and Claire’s 24” San Quentin. Neither of which is ideal. I wouldn’t necessarily run out and buy one if I didn’t need it, but if I was buying an axle anyways something with trainer adapters would now be a selling feature 100%.

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout

We've had this trainer for close to 10 years and only needed it twice. So at the very least it's not inviting more injuries. We have lent it out to a few other people so it seems worth hanging onto as it takes one item off the plate of anyone we know who needs some rehab and the cost/storage hassles are minimal.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Vik Banerjee

Hadn’t considered the karma potential of having a trainer around to loan to injured friends.

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shoreboy
Shoreboy
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

I was in the same camp for the longest time. Why would I ever want to ride inside when riding outside is so much better? 

Well this winter I decided to give the trainer thing a go, and I have to admit, its pretty good. Got a smart trainer and use Zwift. Currently have my mtb hooked up to it, but am actively searching for an old road bike to put on so I can get out on the mtb where it is supposed to be.  The fact is, I will ride the trainer on a dark, wet, cold night when I just cant stomach the thought of the three hours it would take to go out for a ride. 45 - 60 mins on the trainer gets the heart pumping and the legs a good workout (with different training programs its even better). Im positive my fitness this spring will be markedly better than it has been in the recent past just due to the consistency of being on the trainer. Dont get me wrong, id take an outdoor ride over a trainer ride anytime, but the convenience and advantages posed by a trainer in the dark and cold months are hard to argue.

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just6979
Justin White
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

"stamp'd"?

Also, another vote for trainer-ing outside. I've done it a bunch on my rollers when I had to be home for my kids but had free time during naps and wanted to keep the legs strong.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

rudely stamp'd: “roughly or crudely fashioned”

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velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Caught and appreciated.

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Sethsg
Sethsg
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

You should somehow set up a laptop desk thingy on your handlebars so you can write and work while pedalling. You would be less bored and you would be training at the same time.

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AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 mrbrett

I’d need to also add a puke bucket to manage my motion sickness. Answering comments on the bus is about as much as I can take without getting queasy.

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taprider
taprider
2 months, 4 weeks ago
0

+1 for Jungle Boogie 

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Lynx
Lynx .
2 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I seem to have missed this, sorry Andrew. Sadly I can SO relate to this crap. I borrowed a wind trainer from a friend in the early days after I broke my knee, but between the horrendous noise it makes when you really get cranking and just the utter boredom or turning the cranks to go nowhere, I didn't end up using it much. Even tried putting it in front he computer to watch some MTB videos and such while using it, but couldn't hear anything from the damn noise.

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