Bike Trainer Noise Reduction: How to Quieten Indoor Cycling
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Staying fit isn’t the easiest task in today’s world. Let me tell you, being someone who writes for a living and thus works from home does not do you any favors when you start evaluating the best ways to shed a spare tire around your middle.
Hell, even just staying in generally good shape is a challenge. Who has the time, these days, to go to the gym, to take hours out of their day to devote to that?
It’s not impossible, but you tend to sacrifice a lot, and with my schedule and family obligations, it’s no mean feat. I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat, and that’s why we all decided to get a bike trainer.
Gloriously easy and reliable, extremely effective exercise. Seriously, here’s just a few benefits:
But then reality reared its ugly head. I’m sure you’ve all lived it too, it’s almost impossible to avoid.
The noise. It started right up. I'm going to be providing some general advice that I wish someone had told me when I had these problems.
That way, hopefully, someone else won’t have to struggle and try to come up with solutions to these issues. Because as great as a bike trainer is, unless you pay a lot or live totally alone, in a remote house, it’s going to annoy some people with its racket.
How to Reduce Bike Trainer Noise
First of all, let’s identify the types of bikes there are and what the possible causes of noise there might be with them:
Now, before we get into more concrete and specific solutions, let's cover some general tips and tricks to ensure you check everything possible. These are the things you ought to do before you explore the options listed after this:
- Check to see if the speed of your pedaling has anything to do with the noise and how loud it is. If it seems like that might be the case, make sure you check all the parts for damage.
- If there doesn’t appear to be any, try to find if your specific model is perhaps older and thus has either a resistor fan that causes the noise or a fan cooling the magnetic resistor. If that is the case, you might be out of luck, since those older models were discounted for that precise reason.
- A possible fix for this is to change up your workout, by increasing resistance and lowering the gear. You get largely the same results but by necessity, the noise produced is dampened, due to what you've elected to do.
- A generally useful tip is to look for your type of trainer online. Specifically, videos of it on YouTube so you can make comparisons. We picked out the 5 best quietest trainers here.
- There is a lot to be said about seeing if other bikes of the same model tend to be noisy or not. If the baseline seems to be less noise than you have, then exploring some more involved and invasive options becomes a certainty.
Here are my general recommendations for reducing or even eliminating your bike trainer’s noise:
1. Check the Tires
Tires are a noisy part of all 4 bike types. There’s almost no avoiding the fact that they will make some noise, even if comparatively little.
The higher the number of treads, the more ridges they have, the higher the chance of them producing a disturbance is. Keep in mind that tires being a bad fit for the bike and setup, in general, could be a major issue as well, even if it's all meant to be stationary.
Now, let’s look at some general tips on what to avoid and why:
2. Pad Everything Possible
This might seem like an obvious one, but vibrations can cause a lot of noise, which, trust me, the bike trainer produces. There’s simply no avoiding the fact that this might be a large part of your problem, especially if you have neighbors.
How do you stop these vibrations, however? Well, there are a few ways, and let’s explore them now:
3. Reducing Unit Noise (And the Chain’s Noise)
These are methods that have to do with either magnetic or wind type bike trainers, alongside rollers when it comes to the chain portion. Caution is advised when implementing any of these in order to avoid any mishaps or possibly causing a break somewhere.
So, let’s take a look at a general overview of how you can at least reduce the noise made by the magnetic resistance unit and the fan. Keep in mind that this method is something you need to be prepared to work on for a bit and it’s not going to be easy.
In both cases, you’ll need something along the lines of this. As an alternative, you can try to make a box and line it with something else you feel will dampen the noise well, that’s up to you.
When it comes to reducing fan noise, the trick is largely in finding out how to place your soundproofing in a way that maximizes coverage but lessens the impact on the fan’s output. You don’t want to end up with a fan that’s not really working as intended, because it’s too covered.
That’s why your best bet is to try and encircle the parts of the fan that aren’t actively blowing air in its capacity as a resistor. This, at least, allows for sound dampening while not making the efficiency of it a problem.
The magnetic unit is a bit easier since you can just cover it in the soundproofing. Be very careful of not using foam that's too thick, as that might interfere with the ability of the unit to act as a resistor. It's a balancing act to be sure.
When it comes to chain noise, you’re at least not given many options, nor are they tricky. Simply put, you need to make sure your chain isn’t too old, as a first step.
After that, you’re free to see if cleaning it and lubing it up will do the trick. If it doesn’t, look into whether the chain is a right fit for your cassette and whether you should consider changing it out.
Final Word: On Reducing Bike Trainer Noise
Don’t let the noise of your bike trainer worry you. As you’ve seen, there’s a lot of explanations and solutions for most types of commotions it could be causing you.