When it comes to bike training you can’t beat the open road.
Unfortunately the problem with the open road is that sometimes it is full of traffic and bad weather can make it dangerous and unpleasant to ride on.
If you're in a rush check out the table below for some of the best quiet bike trainers:
A turbo trainer is a perfect solution in these circumstances. Turbo trainers (also known as bike trainers) allow you to use your bike as a stationary bike in your home.
Turbo trainers can make a lot of noise, particularly if you live in a shared flat or apartment. The momentum of your bike wheel on turbo trainer rollers can create serious vibrations which are likely to disturb your flatmates and your neighbours.
It is a good idea to invest in a quiet turbo trainer, specifically designed to minimise noise and vibrations and allow you to train whenever you want without causing conflict with your flatmates or neighbour over the noise.
Hopefully one of those will fit your budget and training requirements.
There is a vast gulf in prices between high end and budget bike trainers but don’t worry if you only have a limited budget.
A lot of the higher end trainers have tons of features such as BlueTooth app connectivity which aren’t necessary for most people.
Instead, focus on noise reduction features - skip to read about the impact that different types of bike trainer have on noise.
Quiet Bike Trainer Reviews
If you’re serious about your cycling training and want to be able to train hard without causing a racket then here are the five quietest turbo trainers that you should consider:
1.The Tacx Neo
The Tacx Neo is the best turbo trainer on the market right now, it is a direct drive trainer which is super quiet:
- Realistic Outdoor Ride Simulation: Allows you to mimic different surface types and the motor even allows you to coast as you go downhill.
- Very Stable: The solid frame allows for excellent stability, no wobbling or falling off!
- Super Quiet: Even at max effort it won’t exceed 80dB, making it the quietest turbo trainer of them all!
Measured at an output of 300 Watts the Tacx Neo created 68.5dB of noise. The Manufacturer claims it won't exceed 80dB even at high intensity. Noise levels may differ depending on your bike.
Direct drive eliminates tire noise because your rear wheel is taken off. Also the Tacx Neo does not use any rollers or belts making it extremely quiet - in fact it is believed to be the quietest trainer available on the market now.
One of the main attractions of the Neo to serious cyclists is its ability to expertly recreate the sensation of outdoor cycling. It has a surface feature which allows you to simulate riding over different surfaces - just be aware if you set it to mimic cobbles then it won’t be very quiet at all!
For a full in depth review of the Tacx Neo read this article from bike radar.
2. The JetBlack Whisper Drive
The JetBlack Whisper Drive prides itself on how whisper quiet it is, hence the name. It has a very convincing road feel to it for an authentic training experience.
We don't have exact decibel output measurements for the JetBlack Whisper Drive, but it is very quiet and is comparable to the Tacx Neo. With estimated noise output of 66-70dB at 300 watts.
The magnetic drive mechanism is a direct drive trainer - this means you have to take off your back wheel and attach your bike to the trainer. This helps minimise vibrations making it incredibly quiet compared to non-direct drive trainers.
Check out the video below to see and hear it in action, the only noise you get are from the gears (it comes with a standard Shimano/SRAM gearset) and chain.
The Whisper Drive is quiet enough to allow you to happily cycle and watch TV with the family without irritating everyone!
It offers far more than just silent training. It is a serious piece of kit for the dedicated cyclist.
It comes with free access to their training app which is packed full of features to help you make the most of the trainer:
If you’re looking for a top end turbo trainer that is super quiet, can measure every cycling metric you could ever imagine then you can’t go wrong with the JetBlack.
If you want an in depth review of the JetBlack Whisper Drive check out this one from Cycling Weekly.
3. The Kinetic Kurt 2
The Kinetic Cyclone is a great option for anyone on a budget, it is significantly cheaper than the direct drive options above.
The Kinetic Kurt noise levels reached 69.5dB of noise (unfortunately the data we used didn't tell us at what wattage this sound was generated). Obviously noise levels will increase at higher intensities and noise output will differ depending on your bike.
It uses a fluid filled cylinder drive mechanism (filled with Kinetic’s own patented fluid).
If you check out the video below you will see that it is pretty quiet.
However please note that the camera used in this video looks like it was just a phone so doesn’t pick up every noise of the bike like the videos above.
Because it is not direct drive it is somewhat noisier and wobblier than some trainers leading to some users complained that their downstairs neighbours can hear them everytime they use it.
If you do want to buy this particular bike trainer we recommend pairing it with a treadmill mat or similar to reduce noise transfer through your floor.
4. The Elite Kura
A newcomer to the bike trainer market the Elite Kura offers direct drive training using magnetic resistance.
It claims to not exceed 61 decibels even at high intensities which would make it the quietest trainer on the market. However we haven't found many sources verifying this either way.
This trainer may be big and ugly but crucially it is packed with features and is super quiet.
It claims to not exceed 61 decibels even when being used at very high intensities which would make it the quietest trainer on the market.
This, to quote an old school meme, would be; Big, If True.
We decided not to mark it as the quietest in our list because we haven’t seen any independent reviews which verify this one way or another.
5. The Cascade Fluid
The Cascade is a fluid based trainer which, despite the lack of direct drive manages to do a great job of keeping noise levels down at a relatively low price.
It claims to output up to 83 decibels. Noise output will depend a lot on the tire tread you use.
Fluid trainers are usually quieter than their magnetic counterparts as the fluid helps to dampen vibrations travelling through the trainer.
This isn’t the most stable of trainers so be careful to maintain a central position on your bike (minimising wobble will also help minimise excess noise).
The Benefits Of Using A Bike Trainer
If you’re on the fence about whether or not getting a quiet bike trainer is for you here are a few benefits of using one:
- No Variables - You can stick precisely to your training plan without having to make exceptions for variables such as traffic jams, red lights and bad weather.
- Convenience - Want to go for a ride right now? You can, easily, slip your shoes on and go. You don’t need to drag the bike out of the garage, you don’t even need to put your helmet on. You can be on your bike and cycling in second, meaning it is a very time-efficient way of getting some training in.
- Technique Analysis - Ever tried filming your cycling technique on the road? Don’t - you’ll probably crash! The only way of doing it is to get a couple of friends to follow you in a car or cycle past a stationary camera multiple times. Not ideal. Using a trainer you can easily setup a camera and get great footage of your technique without the need for a film crew!
- Interactive Options - Many of the smart turbo trainers include Bluetooth connectivity features that allow you to track every conceivable metric imaginable as well as connect with interactive cycling platforms such as Zwift so you can go cycling in virtual reality.
Types of Bike Trainer
There are four different types of bike trainer which you could buy:
- Fluid - Silicon provides the resistance - these are usually the quietest.
- Magnetic - Resistance is created by magnets.
- Wind - A fan system creates the resistance.
- Rollers - These are the cheapest and the noisiest type of trainer. This is because your bike is not secured, your rear wheel balances on top of the spinning roller cylinders.
Fluid turbo trainers require you to clamp your back wheel into place.
Resistance is created by a propeller which spins around inside a chamber filled with fluid (typically silicon).
They provide very stable resistance combined with the useful ability to be able to adjust resistance simply by changing gears.
They are also the quietest type of trainer you could buy.
Magnetic trainers use (you guessed it!) magnets to create resistance, much like some of the quieter rowing machines and other ergonomic machines do.
The strength of the magnets can usually be adjusted through a switch which you can mount on your handlebars so you can easily increase or decrease the resistance.
Magnetic trainers are one of the quietest types of trainer available, though the ride is slightly less smooth than what you may get from a fluid trainer.
Fan trainers use a fan to create roller resistance. Typically resistance is adjusted by simply changing gear on your bike.
Fan trainers are often very noisy and have consequently become less popular in recent years.
Rollers are the cheapest and simplest indoor bike trainer available.
You don’t need to secure or clamp your bike into them, simply place your rear wheel on the rollers, jump on and get going.
They do require more practice to get used to than other types because balance is very important with a roller trainer.
A quick YouTube search reveals countless videos of people falling off bikes on these things!
If you are looking to improve your strength, balance, co-ordination and mobility then rollers can be a good choice.
In fact, professional cyclists frequently use them to warm up before a race as it means they can stay on the same bike without any need for adjustments.
The negatives to rollers are that there is no way to adjust resistance and they typically create a lot more noise than trainers where your bike is secured to them.
Other Bike Trainer Noise Factors:
- Stability - The stability of your trainer will impact the amount of noise it makes, trainers which rock and move, even marginally, with your movement will create much more noise than trainers which have a secure framework and are well anchored to the floor.
- Roller Sizes - Roller size is also a key factor in reducing sound, wider rollers require less rotations to reach high speeds, whereas a roller which is half the size will have to spin at least twice the speed.
The increased momentum will create more noise.
- Floor Surface - It is also a good idea to pay careful attention to the surface you put your trainer on, while a hard wooden surface may seem ideal, this is not the case as there is no cushioning to dampen vibrations.
Your downstairs neighbour will be able to hear every pedal stroke!
Instead place your trainer on a carpeted area or use something like a treadmill mat which is designed to sit underneath exercise equipment and reduce the transfer of vibrations into the floor.
- Tire Tread - If you're using a trainer which isn't direct drive (i.e you don't take the back wheel off) then make sure you use a tire with a smooth tread pattern to minimise noise.