Yesterday I was feeling handy, and decided to build a device to place beneath my front wheel so I could steer smoothly while riding Zwift’s FutureWorks:Steering course.
Luckily I’m in the middle of a home remodel, so I’ve got construction scraps and various tools sitting around just begging to be used. I only purchased one item for this project: the turntable.
For less than $7 shipped to my door (thanks Amazon Prime), it was a smoking deal.
What You’ll Need
- Laminate flooring scraps
- MDF or similar trim scraps
- A few short screws
- Wood glue
- Brad nails
- Any turntable (here’s what I bought on Amazon)
- Miter saw
Location, Location, Location
The most challenging part of these steering devices is getting the angle right. You can simply place the turntable on the floor under your front wheel, but the results won’t be ideal. You will see your trainer’s legs wanting to “walk” forward as you steer, making it obvious that your steering is putting a lot of stress on your frame.
Your bike behaves this way because your front wheel does not pivot where it contacts the ground. Instead, it pivots at a point several inches ahead of that contact point–where your forks would hit your wheel if they kept extending out.
So your turntable needs to be centered on that pivot point. And although it doesn’t have to be perfect, the closer you get the less frame stress/trainer “walking” you’ll see.
So I started by measuring my fork angle with my iPhone’s “Measure” app. It said 25 degrees–easy enough. So my steering platform would need to be tipped up at a 25 degree angle.
Then I went outside to figure out how I’d build it. Quickly enough I devised a rough plan–use some stiff, thin leftover laminate flooring for the platform, cut angled boards for the sides so it’s tilted at the correct angle, then attach my turntable to the platform.
Once I got to work it took all of 20 minutes to piece together. I added an extra scrap to the end for stability, glued it all together, and the end result (before putting the top of the turntable on) looked like this:
Those extra scraps of laminate flooring are there to shim the turntable’s arms so they didn’t bend (and perhaps break) when screwed into the platform. I also cut a hole in the middle of the laminate so I could remove the turntable in the future without destroying it.
You’ll have to figure out how to best attach whatever turntable you purchase.
Here’s the finished product in my under-construction office/pain cave. (And yes, I know my tire is flat…)
I was curious whether there would be an issue with the platform sliding forward as I applied downward pressure, but so far it has stayed put. And the steering feels great!
Thanks for Reading
Hope this helps you out if you’re looking to build a simple steering platform.
Got other ideas for how this could be done? Share them below!
Eric: Excellent solution to the Zwift steering issue. I took your idea and simplified it slightly in that you don’t need the 25 degree slope on the turntable. What I did was purchase a similar sturdy lazy Susan turntable on Amazon for $15. I purchase a sold black Plastic 12” Disc that has the bearings on the outer circumference rather than in the centre part of the disc. I made sure that the diameter was sufficiently large enough so that the wheel rests on the outer portion of the lazy Susan, back about four or five inches from the centre… Read more »
I’d love to see pictures.
Hi could you send me pictures? I would like to make one as simple as possible and have no clue
I would love to see a few pictures. Sounds like an easy setup
I wonder about steering in Zwift if it would lead to add form on the road. I know that I lean and countr steer. Am I over thinking?
I’m not sure it’ll lead to bad form outdoors, but you are certainly right that road steering is nothing like “just turning the handlebars”.
Zwift’s steering feels “right” when you’re slowly climbing the steep hill near the end of Repack Ridge–because outdoors, at that speed, you would just turn to the right in order to turn right, etc. But it’s not a natural steering movement when you’re going 25mph around a nicely-paved turn!
Yeah, that’s true.I am fairly new to Zwift and find that I can actually ride stationary without grinding my teeth after 20 minutes and quitting altogether at 45. A friend told me about your site. A big thank you. He sent me a link to the plans for the plywood rocker plate. I started thinking about how to build it for our smart trainers, NEO Tacx 2s. I figured out how to securely mount the trainer. The springs are problematic. Anyway that is completely off topic. Back to the original question I find myself leaning into turns even though it’s… Read more »
I couldn’t order the thing from Amazon, so I found an Ikea alternative for 7 euro’s: the Snudda Lazy Susan. It has decent bearings and it comes with a big wooden plateau making it super easy to drill a couple of screws in. It has been holding up great so far and the steering feels good.