My Turbo trainer is loud… and I’m not alone with this problem. After talking to other cyclists and internet research I have found ways how to make my indoor bike turbo trainer quieter.
I’ll be covering ways to quieten the resistance unit, silence the tires and reduce vibration through the floor.
My personal problem is the tires make too much noise, it’s so loud I can’t even listen to the TV. Other people using indoor trainers have trouble with family and neighbors because of the noise traveling through walls and floors but there are things that can be done to deaden these noises and vibration.
I have found that noise and vibration while training can come from one or all of 3 possible main sources:
- The Cycle trainer resistance unit
- The tires
- Vibrations through the floor
You need to know which of these could be your problem noise source before you can address it.
I’ll address each of these problems and let you know of any work around that people have found to work, sometimes curing on will help with another.
What causes cycle trainer noise? Do you have a noisy bike trainer?
The first thing I would do is to see if there is a video of your type of turbo trainer on YouTube and compare the noise produced by both. Some bike stands are noisy straight out of the box… see if yours is faulty or not.
During my research I listened to cycle trainer stands on YouTube and found that some of the machines are noisy almost deafening and it’s not just the cheap basic ones.
There are 4 main types of resistance trainers:
- Fan resistors – very noisy
- Magnetic resistors – Quiet to very noisy, with the most basic making the most noise.
- Fluid trainers – Quiet to loud with the tire making the most noise
- Cassette and flywheel – The unit itself is near silent with the bike chain making the most noise
There are older cycle resistance trainers that use a fan as a resistor, these are noisy and make more even more noise the faster you peddled. If you have one of these I’m afraid I could find no way to reduce the fan sound.
There are other resistor units which have incorporated a small fan to cool the resistor unit and unfortunately there is no work around for these either.
For the rest it appeared that the better the trainer the quieter they were.
I have found a video (below) where 4 different types of turbo trainer were compared for noise levels, and in this video you yourself can tell which type would suit you best
I have linked each of the trainers below if you would like to compare the prices of each type.
How to sound proof a noisy bike trainer.
The only ways I have heard to cure a noisy unit is to make a DIY box lined with foam which is used to cover the wheel and the trainer stand, unfortunately I could find no images to show this to you, but the people who made them say they were fairly successful and as a bonus the box also made the tire noise quieter.
The only other way to cure a noisy resistor unit is to bite the bullet and buy a better cycle trainer.
Tires are noisy… The more tread the louder the noise and vibration. I have seen people asking if they can use a mountain bike in a turbo trainer. The answer is yes but don’t use off-road knobbly tires, because the noise is horrendous, also they make the bike vibrate massively also they wear away very quickly.
The first and easiest thing to reduce tire noise is to check your tire pressure; a hard tire reduces noise and vibration.
The next is to fit the smoothest tire you can.
Old road tires are a good start, this should reduce the noise to a manageable level and you have the bonus that you are not wearing away your best outdoor road tires.
People with mountain bikes usually buy an old wheel and fit smooth tires to that, so when they want to train indoors they simply swap wheels and they are good to go.
If road tires are still too noisy then you may want to consider a dedicated slick trainer tire. These have the advantage of reduced noise levels, smoother vibrations and are long-lasting. Again people who go down this route fit these tires to a spare wheel for use on the trainer.
As a DIY fix I have heard of someone who wrapped electrical tape around his tire… He says it works but I myself would expect it to melt off in a sticky mess.
Stop the neighbours complaining.
Your bike and turbo trainer vibrate a lot, especially at high-speed and these vibrations are then transferred through the floor which could be even magnified by some floors, causing all around to complain about the noise.
Stop the vibrations.
Start with smoother tires. As mentioned above the smoother the tire the less vibration and when it comes to complaints from other people you do want to eliminate any noise so you can train any time you wish and not just when the building is clear.
Next and this will also make using your trainer a little more comfortable is to put a mat down under the bike and trainer stand. Most people start with a yoga mat which also has the benefit of catching your sweat which keeps you floor clean. But if there is still excessive vibration through the floor then you could get thicker interlocking gym mats.
DIY Vibration Dampener. Make My Indoor Bike Turbo Trainer Quieter.
For some people mats are not enough and I have heard of extreme length they go to make a sound proof floor.
Good news! I have seen an easy DIY platform used by drummers who have the same problem, and if it can stop the vibration of drums from disturbing the neighbours it must be good. All it uses MDF and tennis balls… See the video below for proof and instructions.
Here at biketrainerstands.com I do hope I have helped you with your sound and vibration problems and if you have watched the video above you will have seen it is possible to make my indoor bike turbo trainer quieter and train in relative silence.