How to make a quiet cycle trainer

Can’t use your bike exercise stand because of the noise, want to watch TV, listen to music or stop people complaining about the noise, then here are some simple tips to make a quiet cycle trainer.

There are 4 types of cycle trainer stands that use very different ways to resist your pedaling. I’ve listed them in order of expected noise from the unit itself, before you add in the tire noise.

  • Air resistor – very few of these around because of the noise they make.
  • Magnetic resistors – These are OK (I have one) the noise they produce range from very noisy to almost silent. It’s a case of what you pay for you get… Normally but not always the more expensive the trainer the quieter they get.
  • Fluid trainers Better than magnetic resistors – Most of these are very quiet but again the cheaper the model the noisier they can get.
  • Cassette  trainers – These are near silent and when in use the loudest noise is the chain!

The more you pay the better the quality of trainer and with  that comes silence.




The video below tests these 4 types of trainer so you can compare your trainer to these. If you can try to listen to the sound of the trainer and not the sound of the tire in the roller. If your turbo trainer is louder than these then it may be that you need a better trainer. However bellow I’ll tell you of ways to make your trainer quiet.

I have linked each of the trainers below if you would like to compare the prices of each type.

Tacx Blue Matic Training Base

Tacx Satori Smart Wireless Training Base

Tacx Genius Smart Trainer

Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer (with 11-Speed 11-28t Cassette)

Another large contributor to noise  is the tires fitted to your bike.

The more tread you have on the tire the more noise it will make at speed

If you believe that the tire is your problem then it’s time to get on with less tread.

I started my training on a bike with knobbly tires on… At first I didn’t mind the noise, I just put my headphones on and cranked the sound up. But when it came time to replace my tire I put a road tire on and the difference was outstanding.

Training on training standNot only was it much quieter but there was less vibration also. This made for a much more pleasing workout both from the noise levels and the smoothness (before the vibration didn’t bother me but now I would never go back to off-road tires).

While training with road tires is nowhere near silent it is much better… I can now listen to my laptop without headphones.

If you have road tires on and want to make these quieter, my friend who uses purpose made slick trainer tires can’t recommend them enough. Not only are they near silent but they are hard-wearing too.

To save time and effort he has fitted the trainer tire to a spare wheel which he swaps out  when he sets up his trainer.

The final and most annoying noise for other family members and neighbors are the vibrations that your bike makes. Not only does your training produce vibrations but your floor can magnify it massively.

Ways to stop vibration of turbo trainer.

The easiest way to deaden the vibrations is to place a mat or towels under your cycle trainer and bike.

To start with most riders use a yoga mat but if that is not enough you could get interlocking gym mats which are thicker.

I have linked them to Amazon if you wish to check out the price.

If mats are not enough to deaden the vibrations then you could look at the cause of the vibrations… Usually the tires.

Just as above with the sound deadening, getting smoother tires will reduce the vibrations a lot.

Using a good turbo trainer, slick trainer tires and mats you should be training in near silence, your bike will probably be the loudest noise now.

But even this may not be enough for some people and I have seen a video of a vibration deadening platform. It is easy to make and relatively cheap being just MDF and tennis balls…Yes really and it works.

 

If you are not already using one, start with a magnetic resistance trainer.

Unlike other trainers out there that either use air as a resistor (lots of wind noise) or a mechanical brake rubbing on a metal flywheel (mechanical noise and heat given off) but there is very little noise made from a magnetic resistance unit because there are no mechanical parts touching, just magnets pushing against each other.

On A magnetic resistance trainer most of the sound comes from the tire running over the resistance bar and making the whole bike stand vibrate. The surfaces of most bars have either a smooth polished finish or they have slight dimples for grip, they are made for quiet running, nothing on the bar will create a mass amount of noise it all comes from the tire!

Tips to make a quiet cycle trainer

So it’s the tire itself running over the bar that makes the sound, and there are things we can do to reduce tire noise.

If you have knobbly off-road tires change them for road tires, this will massively reduce the noise, the bigger the knobbles the louder the noise generated.

But if you don’t want to keep changing your tires every time you go out on the road (or off-road), you could buy a wheel with road tires on especially just for your cycle training machine. This is a relatively low-cost option.

To go one step farther you make your exercise workout extremely silent you can fit slick tires but these are expensive. (They do make slick tires just for cycle trainers)

A very cheap DIY route to silence your wheel is to make your own slick tires. Just cover the tread with electrical or masking tape. Personally I’d have thought the tape would fall off, but some people have had good results from this.

If you have not ridden your bike for a while pump up the tire to its normal working pressure. A hard tire will stop it from deforming against the resistance bar making it quieter and stop any juddering as the wheel spins round.

Another cheap option is to place your cycle stand upon carpet, to stop sound traveling through the floor, or there are even stylish purpose made cycle mats to deaden the sound while your bike is up to speed.

I am sure that using one or more of these tips will make a quiet cycle trainer and give you a quieter, more pleasurable workout.

If you still think it’s your bike trainer stand that’s at fault, check out my review of the magnetic bike trainer stand, Amazons No1 best seller.

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