Having an indoor bike trainer is very convenient if you want to cycle without leaving the house. Not only is it convenient, but it also helps you work on your biking form.
Since you are not physically riding your bike outside on the different terrains and environments, this gives you better focus on your pedal stroke and posture.
The one major downside to using a bike trainer is the noise. Depending on the type of bike trainer you have, it can be very loud.
If you want to learn how to make a bike trainer quieter, then you need to identify the source of the noise. A general rule of thumb is the older the bike trainer, the louder it will be.
The noise will increase as you pedal faster and faster. This is mainly due to how the bike trainer is built. A trainer that uses fan resistors or magnetic resistors will be a lot louder than a fluid or flywheel trainer.
Not everybody wants to purchase a new bike trainer, so I’ve done quite a bit of research and found a few ways to help reduce the noise your bike trainer makes while in use.
Clean and Lube Your Bike’s Chain
A dirty and unlubricated bike chain can be a big contributor to a noisy bike trainer. A bike chain has many joints and moving parts.
All these areas of your bike chain can make noise A dirty bike chain can also cause your bike to be harder to pedal. If you’re asking when you should clean and lubricate your bike chain, then your bike probably needs it.
The short answer is every few hundred miles, but it’s always better to do it more often than that.
Most people do not bike every day, which means the bike mostly sits in storage. Dirt and debris will build up over time this way, even though it isn’t being used.
It’s best to lubricate your bike chain about once every other month to make sure it’s in the best shape possible. Make sure to use the correct lubricant on your bike chain, or you may risk damaging it.
Avoid using household oils or WD-40. This bike chain lubricant is specifically designed for a bike and works great.
Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to properly clean and lubricate your bike’s chain:
- Elevate your bike to where the rear wheel is off of the ground
- Use one hand to pedal the bike while your other hand uses a rag to gently squeeze the chain while it’s in motion.
- After a few seconds, go ahead and further clean the chain links one by one.
- Inspect your chain for any damage or signs of excessive wear once all the dirt and debris is cleaned off.
- Use one hand to slowly pedal your bike while your other hand drops lube slowly on the edge of the chain. Do a few passes of this, and you are good to go.
I found this very helpful video tutorial to show you how to clean and lube your chain.
Take a Look at Your Bike’s Tires
The tires that are used on your bike while on a bike trainer can highly contribute to excess noise. This noise is mostly composed of wind noises that are due to the tire’s tread.
Ake a mountain bike, for example. What do the tires look like? Mountain bike tires will most likely have lots of tread with a unique design due to the types of terrain the user will be encountering.
The more tread and designs on a tire will indeed lead to more noise on a bike trainer.
It’s recommended to use a tire that has less tread if you will be mostly using it on a bike trainer. This bike tire is specifically designed to be used on a trainer and has all of the characteristics needed for a quiet ride.
To further the noise reduction, it has a unique rubber coating with an inside shell which makes the durability high while keeping the noise levels low.
This is probably one of the most effective items you can purchase besides a new trainer altogether. I highly recommend that you get a tire and wheel specifically designed for a trainer that you can swap out if you also bike outdoors.
When it’s time to use the trainer, simply remove your rear wheel and replace it with the one specifically designed for a bike trainer.
This may sound inconvenient, and it can be if you ride outdoors often as well as use your trainer a lot. If you are very passionate about biking, then it would probably be best to have two different bikes.
One solely built for your trainer and one solely for outside use.
Make Sure Your Tires Are Properly Aired
Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper psi. Psi is the air pressure of your bike’s tire. All tires require a different amount of air.
How much air you should put in your tire is usually listed somewhere on the tire itself. Have you ever tried to ride a bike with a flat tire? It makes it extremely hard to use and also gives it excess air and rubber noise from the deflated tire.
Well, this correlates to a bike trainer as well. If you have a tire that is not properly inflated, then you will have a noisier and more difficult ride.
A flat tire gives more play in your tire, which causes extra rubber and wind noises. Not all tire gauges are created equal.
A cheap tire gauge can be of a few psi which can mean a world of difference if you aren’t paying attention.
I recommend getting this bike pump with a gauge kit. It has extremely good reviews on amazon by many users. It provides accurate inflation for the best possible results.
Use a Bike Trainer Mat
What you place your trainer on is a big factor in the amount of noise it will make while in use. The main source of noise this causes is reverberations.
Reverberations are just a fancy word for saying echoes. If you place your bike trainer on a hard surface, then you will most certainly suffer from a lot of echoes and reverberations.
Adding something underneath your trainer, like this bike trainer mat, will act as a sound dampener.
This mat was specifically designed to reduce the number of vibrations and noise from a heavy bike trainer. The mat is big enough to accommodate almost any size trainer on the market.
It can even be used for general stretching and aerobics.
Place Your Bike Trainer on Carpet or a Rug
If your bike trainer is currently on a wooden or tile floor, then this applies to you.
Using your trainer on wooden or tile floors is not the best idea if keeping quiet is your main concern. Even if you are using a bike trainer mat, the noise will still be amplified.
A hard floor causes her reverberations and echoes. This means any noise that you’re making on your bike trainer will be multiplied throughout your home.
The only two areas with hard floors that I see feasible to keep your bike trainer in are your garage or backyard.
Find an area in your home that has carpet or an area with a big rug. This will help lessen the reverberations and echoes.
If you don’t have any carpet in your home, then go ahead and place a big rug underneath your bike trainer along with a bike trainer mat for the best results.
The main thing to remember when it comes to reducing noise on the ground is to use an area that is shock-absorbing and dense.
Things like rugs, carpets, and mats all share the same structure.
They are all dense and soft, which makes them good to use for noise absorption as well as prevent reverberations.
Place Your Bike Trainer on Interlocking Foam Floor Tiles
If you don’t have soft flooring in your home, then using interlocking foam tiles is a great option for your trainer. These work great even if you place them on top of a hard surface.
Double this up with a bike trainer mat to reap the full benefits. Foam tiles work well because of how thick and dense they are.
They will essentially absorb most of the shock and dampen the noise by a large amount before it gets to the hard floor. Not only will this help with noise reduction, but it will also help protect your floor from damage.
It will also help keep your bike trainer in place while in use. The last thing you need happening is it to be sliding around on your floor at high speeds.
This can essentially cause damage to your floor or, in worst-case scenarios, cause injury. When your trainer is not in use, you can even use the foam tiles as an exercise or aerobics mat.
Listen to Music While Biking
If you live alone and the only person that your bike trainer is annoying is you, then get a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
When looking for a good pair of wireless headphones, you want to keep in mind the comfort and noise canceling. What good is it if you are uncomfortable the whole time on your trainer while using headphones?
These noise canceling headphones from amazon have great user reviews and are excellent at blocking outside noise while keeping the comfort of the user in mind.
You can listen to your favorite library or soundtracks to get your mind off of your noisy bike trainer.
Using noise-canceling headphones only really benefits the person using the bike trainer. If you have other people in your home, then I would suggest something a little more shareable.
You can try using a Bluetooth speaker like this one to play music in the background while you bike. Not only will it help drown out the noise, but other people around you as well can benefit from it.
Purchase a Quiet Bike Trainer That Uses a Flywheel
There are a ton of different bike trainers on the market. So how do you know which ones are quiet and also work well? Research.
A trainer that uses a well-crafted flywheel will yield the quietest results.
This bike trainer is priced well and has received numerous positive reviews. One user even stated that after several years of use, their product started to become noisy.
He made a general inquiry to the manufacturer and was sent a new bike trainer after he sent in a video showing the issue at no cost whatsoever.
They even provide you with the amount of noise this bike trainer will produce around 64 decibels of noise while going 20 mph. Decibels are what we use to measure how loud something is to the human ear.
Couple this bike trainer with a good set of quiet tires, and you, can lower the number of decibels produced even further.
When making a bike trainer quieter, it is important to tackle all the issues at once and not just one. Make sure your bike’s chain is properly cleaned and lubricated on a regular basis.
Use a tire designed specifically for a bike trainer or a tire that has a small amount of tread. The less tread, the quieter it will be.
Don’t forget to make sure the tire is properly inflated to the optimum psi levels. If you have the extra money, then go ahead and purchase a bike trainer with a flywheel instead of fan resistors or magnetic resistors, as this will be much quieter.
Last but not least is the area that you place your trainer in. Make sure to place it on a soft, dense material good at absorbing shock and impact noises.
If you don’t have carpet in your home then place a large rug underneath it instead as well as a bike trainer mat. If you want to spend a little extra money, then you can go with a good foam tile set up with a mat.
You want as much sound-deadening material underneath your bike trainer to help reduce reverberations as much as possible.