Question: I’ve been riding my bike on a trainer all winter and now I’m concerned that I’ve damaged the headset. When I lift the front wheel, the handlebar sticks in the straight-ahead position. Did I somehow mess it up? – Brady P.
Maybe. Pedaling your bike on an indoor trainer can cause flat spots that ruin the smooth rotation of headset bearings.
On the road, the handlebar is always moving at least a little, so pressure is distributed. But indoors the bar is stationary. As a result, your weight is concentrated.
I’m not sure this happened in your case. It’s a fairly rare occurrence, and you had the bike on the trainer just one winter. Maybe the headset was pitted previously or about to go bad. It took 10 years to wreck the Campy Record headset on my trainer bike.
If you intend to ride indoors a lot, find an old bike or frame that you can dedicate to the trainer.