If you use your bike for mountain biking or getting a good dose of cardio exercise, you will agree with me on this:
It sucks when it’s rainy or snowy outside.
Did you already drop thousands on your bicycle? Well, then you might want to use your bike all year round as well.
While indoor bike trainers are a great solution, most of them are a little noisy. I tend to work out most of the time when my little one is asleep, so it was indispensable that I buy a bike trainer that was not only efficient but also low-noise.
Besides, it’s also a great way to help someone learn a bike indoors.
Do you find yourself in a similar situation?
No worries, I’ll share everything I have learned to help you choose the perfect one for you.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Note: Serious about indoor workouts? You might also love my research on how to choose a quiet treadmill for at-home runs. It also features various tips to reduce treadmill noise.
1. Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart Trainer
Looking for a quiet fluid bike trainer and don’t mind splurging to get the absolute best features, this model from Kurt Rock and Roll might be worth a look.
The high-quality materials used in its making make them one of the most durable products. It is compatible with a wide range of different bikes like those with thru-axles, internally-geared hubs, and having wheels as small as 16 inches. The ergonomic rubberized knobs and feet make them very stable and reliable. Furnished with large diameter rollers that are scientifically proven to reduce tire wear—It’s built for the long run.
It generates about 72dB of sounds—which is relatively pretty acceptable. If you’re looking for an even quieter model, you might consider having a look at the Saris CycleOps Fluid2.
The fluid resistance of this fluid bike trainer can be regulated by shifting gears and speeding up or slowing down.
With the help of the companion app, the trainer transmits rider training metrics to your smartphone, tablet, laptops, or cycling computer. Due to this ability, no additional sensors are required. Some of the supported apps include Kinetic Fit, Zwift, TrainerRoad, Rouvy, Kinomap, The Sufferfest, and FulGaz.
It has its fair share of flaws, though.
The tires are prone to getting slightly polished over time. You might need some time to get adjusted to these bike trainers, especially if you’re a taller person. The power recording might not be that efficient too.
Nonetheless, it’s ergonomic design, performance, and low decibel-rating make it my favorite pick when it comes to a fluid bike trainer.
- Ergonomic design
- 72dB noise level
- Easy fluid resistance regulation
- App-based hence no sensors needed
- Compatible with many different bikes
- Tires are prone to wear out with time
- Power recording needs improvement
2. Saris CycleOps Fluid2
If you are looking for a high-quality fluid bike trainer that will not burn a hole in your pocket, this might be worth looking into.
This is the cheapest product on my list, yet one of the most efficient products. The price is about one-fifth of that of Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer.
The best part about this is that all its parts are recyclable and are rustproof. The noise produced by it at 20 mph is 64-68 decibels which are about 20% less than Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart Trainer.
It is an app-based trainer that makes using apps like Zwift, Rouvy, and other online training apps.
Due to the scientific design fo the clutch knob, a perfect roller to tire tension for optimum stability is obtained.
The product is foldable comes with three rear dropout spacing settings that are – 120mm, 130mm, and 135mm. Hence, storing it in your apartment after a workout is not an issue at all.
The footpads are adjustable which makes them one of the most stable products on any surface. This rust and corrosion-resistant bike trainer is made using rugged 2-inch round 16-gauge steel.
Despite being the quietest on my list, it does have a few downsides.
The rollers tend to overheat sometimes. Although you can easily solve this problem by using trainer tires which are specialized for this purpose. Another one is that it doesn’t come with a detailed instruction manual, so it might be a little extra work to set it up.
Despite its flaws, it’s rustproof-design and user-friendly features at an affordable price tag make it a great pick.
- Recyclable and rustproof
- Highly stable
- Rollers tend to overheat
- Instruction manual not clear
3. Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer
Are you in search of a premium and ultra-quiet magnetic resistance bike trainer? The Tacx Neo Smart might have everything that you need.
The direct drive system of the magnetic resistance bike trainer ensures that you enjoy a smooth ride no matter how uneven the terrain is. In order to get started all you need to do is take off your back wheel and attach the bike at the rear dropouts, in order to connect the chain to the cassette.
The noise emitted by it is just 64 decibels which are about 25% less compared to Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart Trainer.
It is compatible with different cassettes from Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM. It ensures better power transmission as it is devoid of flywheels, belts, and rollers.
The resistance is perfectly controlled with the help of a powerful electromagnetic motor. In order to connect to your gadgets like iPads, it makes use of ANT+FE-C and Bluetooth Smart protocols. ANT+ FE-C, with the FE-C, stands for ‘Fitness Equipment Control’. It is basically a protocol to control the trainer using your gadgets.
It has its downsides as well.
You need to take care while you fold these trainers to avoid getting your fingers trapped. Setting it up can be a bit tricky, but it shouldn’t be a big deal if you have help.
Another flaw is that though it is compatible with many different cassettes, it does not come with one in the package.
Despite this, if you’re looking to get a premium quality magnetic resistance trainer, the TacX Neo is hard to beat.
- Direct drive system for smoother rides
- Compatible with different cassettes
- Better power transmission
- Powerful electromagnetic motor
- Bluetooth connectivity and ANT+FE-C protocols
- Installation slightly tricky
4. Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer
If you are hunting for a direct drive magnetic resistance home trainer, Elite DRIVIO might be of interest.
At 200W, it produces about 71dB of noise. This is the third-ranking product on my list in terms of decibel rating.
The high max power output makes it ideal for power or cadence training sessions. It uses innovative pulleys and highly resistant transmission belts so every pedal effort is evenly transferred to the resistance unit, which makes it very reliable.
You can operate it using your smartphones, and other smart devices with the help of ANT+ and Bluetooth smart wireless communication protocols. ANT+ is basically a control protocol to control one device via other devices.
It is also compatible with many 3rd party apps including Zwift and Trainer road. The product is also foldable which gives you the ease of using it anywhere and at any time. The high max power output makes it ideal for power or cadence training sessions.
There are some downsides as well.
Installation isn’t so straightforward but it should be doable if you have some help.
The erg mode might increase the resistance sharply which might drain you severely. It shouldn’t be a problem since you can easily turn it off. Also, if you are looking for trainers that can be easily carried along with you then this certainly isn’t my first choice when it comes to portability.
- Excellent resistance
- Accurate training data
- Compatible with 3rd party apps
- ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
- Cadence and pedal analysis included
- Tricky installation
- Not the best choice in terms of portability
5. Kinetic Road Machine 2.0
Looking for a fluid resistance bike trainer which mimics outdoor ride feel? Consider having a look at the Kinetic Road Machine 2.0.
At maximum, it produces only 69 to 70dB of noise which is approximately 20% less than that produced by other products like Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart Trainer and Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer.
The large tire roller prevents overheating and hence reduces wear and tear of the tires. The ergonomic feet and knobs of this fluid resistance bike trainer are made of ABS plastic which adds to its durability.
Its frames are built from tig welded, powder-coated steel which makes them very durable. The fluid resistance can be regulated by the speed with which you pedal. The higher the speed, the greater is the resistance produced.
The frame accommodates 22” to 29” wheels and is highly stable. Also, the kinetic skewer is included in the box for wheels with a hollow axle.
The rollers need to be tightened at times though. The cadence measurement may differ by around 5-7%.
Nevertheless, its ergonomic design, extraordinary stability, and durability seem to outweigh all these flaws.
- Mimics outdoor ride feel
- Ergonomic feet and knobs
- Kinetic skewer included in the pack
- Rollers need to be tightened
- Cadence slightly inaccurate
6. Cascade Health and Fitness Fluidpro
Are you in need of a budget-friendly fluid bike trainer with heavier flywheel for better performance? This model from Cascade might be worth a look.
It features a precision roller to provide better riding experience and a non-slip tension adjuster for locking the roller.
At its peak, this fluid bike trainer emits about 83 decibels. It’s not the quietest on my list—but the noise levels are still certainly acceptable. In low-noise is of absolute priority for you, you might want to have a look at Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 which is about 25% quieter.
You can also adjust the height with the help of the riser block wheel which is included in the box. Three different height variations ensure maximum stability throughout your workout routine.
Storage is easy since it is foldable. The flywheel is large and weighs a whole 7 lbs for better performance. It is also easy to set up with the Quick Connect system.
It has got a heavy-duty construction that makes it extremely stable and durable. The fluid resistance is higher when you paddle faster. It has an extra edge over many other products since it prevents the fluid from leaking with the help of double seal technology.
Despite featuring so many lucrative features, it is not devoid of flaws.
The product is relatively heavier than the Saris CycleOps Fluid2 or Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer.
Even when folded the legs might swing, causing minor inconvenience. It’s not likely to be an huge issue though—as you can rectify it by using a lock to keep the legs in position.
- Heavier flywheel ensures better performance
- Durable and stable
- Heavy-duty construction
- Variable height
- Quick Connect system
- Slightly bulky and heavy
- Legs swing effortlessly when folded
7. STAC Zero Base Indoor Bike Trainer
Are you looking for a battery-powered magnetic resistance direct-drive bike trainer which is extremely quiet? Look no further than STAC Zero.
This magnetic resistance bike trainer is one of the quietest on my list and produces only 64dB of noise. This is about 25% quieter compared to Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer.
It works with Zwift and TrainerRoad in both ANT+ FE-C, Smart Bluetooth, and FTMS.
Confused what these protocols mean?
Well, these are just fancy names of the protocols used to control the trainer using your smartphones and other gadgets.
It is compatible with any wheel with a welded alloy structure and size between 25.5″ – 29″. This is one of the quietest bike trainers with almost zero percent of wear and tear due to the no-contact resistance mechanism used in it.
The power is a lot smoother and consistent since STAC measures power in one direction and it’s tangential to the wheel. The ERG mode helps to keep the pedal strokes smoother and makes the bike trainer extremely stable.
It includes a trainer skewer that is compatible with most typical road bikes.
Though this is really an amazing product which combines both performance and silence, it has got its own drawbacks.
Aluminum wheels should work perfectly, though you might have an issue with the ones that have a steel pin in it. Installation might be a little time-consuming, but it’s certainly doable.
- 64dB noise levels
- Lightweight and compact
- Smoother pedal strokes
- Smooth and consistent power
- Cannot be used for wheels with steel pin
- Time-consuming installation
The Buying Guide: Factors to Consider Before Buying
1. Types of Trainers
With respect to the type of trainers, there are five different options:
Fluid Resistance Trainers, Magnetic Resistance Trainers, Fan Resistance Trainers, Spin Machines, and Bike Trainers.
Here is a quick overview of each of these trainers.
Fluid Resistance Trainers
In fluid resistance trainers, the resistance is a result of a blade turning inside a container of fluid. The higher the speed with which you paddle, the greater is the resistance produced.
If you want an easy workout, then you may just ride in an easy gear and spin else if you want to have a really hard workout, then you shift gears and pedal harder to increase the resistance.
The ride provided by a fluid trainer is more road-like in feel and is very quiet compared to magnetic resistance trainers. Saris CycleOps Fluid2 is my favorite option in this category.
Magnetic Resistance Trainers
In these type of trainers, the resistance is produced by spinning a metal disk through a magnetic field. This generates Eddy currents which help in providing a quiet, smooth, and progressive resistance.
But a major negative aspect of it is that it is highly sensitive to heat and hence overheating is detrimental to its performance. Magnetic trainers have the heaviest flywheels which are known to better the performance.
They are better than fluid resistance trainers due to the fact that there is no liquid involved and hence there is no chance of leaking but they are less quiet compared to fluid resistance trainers. Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer is a great competitor when it comes to magnetic resistance trainers.
Fan Resistance Trainers
In this type of trainers, the required resistance is generated by spinning a bladed disk or fan through the air. It is competent in giving the users a smooth, road-like resistance.
The workout is made by effective with the help fo the flywheel which simulates the momentum of the bike and rider. These are usually the cheapest of all the other types of trainers. They are also much lighter compared to all the other options but a major drawback of this is that the fans might be a bit noisy.
Also, it may have very few or even no adjustments at all. There is also a risk of overriding the maximum resistance when pedaling too hard.
These stationary bicycles are amazing at getting a good workout. It includes saddles, pedals, and handlebars.
It is called spinning because it uses a weighted flywheel at the front. These produce a minimum amount of noise and are portable.
BIke rollers are a wonderful means of using your bicycle indoors for exercising without moving it forward. You may think of it as a treadmill for bicycles.
It consists of three rollers —two for the rear wheel and one for the front. The space between the two rollers can be adjusted according to the wheelbase of your cycle.
It boosts your attention and enhances balance since it is really a challenge to balance the cycle without riding off the roller. These are moderately quiet and do not produce a lot of noise. They are also very affordable.
2. Noise Level (Decibels)
Due to friction, all the bike trainers tend to produce some noise.
But the levels of sound generated are within tolerable limits. In general, the bike trainers emit about 60 to 80 decibels of noise. Fortunately, all the products on this list fall within this range.
On my list, Saris CycleOps Fluid2 is the quietest producing only 64 to 68 decibels of noise.
As you must have seen, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to buying a quiet bike trainer.
In general, the range starts from approximately $250 to as high as $1200. Hence, even if you are on a budget, you can still get a highly-quality bike trainer at a much lower price.
If you are on a budget and still wish to enjoy all the features of an excellent bike trainer, you may check out Saris CycleOps Fluid2 which is a perfect blend of budget and performance.
If you want to get the absolute best money can buy, then you may go for the Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer or Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer.
These are additional things provided along with the main product to provide more comfort to the user while they do their workout. Here is a list of a few of them.
- Bottle Stand – This is easy to attach to the handlebar and holds your bottles containing water or other energy drinks while you workout. I personally find these bottle stands are very useful.
- Kindle Mount- These are useful for holding your gadgets like tablets and also maintains a safe distance to prevent sweat from dripping on it. Tacx provides you with a good-quality kindle mount.
- Trainer mat – Doing a lot of hard work on the trainers can result in a lot of sweat dripping all over the place. In order to save your surroundings from sweat, you can use a trainer mat, which is large enough to cover the required amount of space.
- Speed or cadence sensor – These sensors keep you notified about the speed at which you are cycling. It also raises an alert whenever the speed goes very low.
- Dual-band heart rate monitor – while you exercise, these keep track of your heart rate and notify you about it.
- Trainer bag – These bags are provided for the user to keep all the accessories they would need. They are especially very useful when you carry your trainers along with you on your journeys.
- Skewer – These are quite similar to the ones that we use for bikes. Kinetic Road Machine 2.0 comes with a skewer.
It is crucial to assure that the product is highly stable and helps complete your workout without any hassle. The stability is mainly assured by the ergonomic design of the feet and knobs of the trainers and the broadness of the trainer’s base.
By purchasing a trainer with a broad base, you can be assured that the trainer will not crash while you work hard on it. The latest models also come up with leveling features for providing a safe exercising experience even on an uneven surface.
In this light, products like Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart Trainer and Tacx Neo Smart Direct Driver Trainer beat many other competitors.
Frequently Asked Question
1. Which Bike Trainer is the Quietest?
After evaluating the different products thoroughly and accessing the noise rating of each of the bike trainers, I could reach the conclusion that Saris CycleOps Fluid2 is the quietest.
These fluid resistance trainers produce only 64 to 68 decibels of noise which really a minimal amount when it comes to bike trainers.
2. How Do I Reduce the Noise On My Bike Trainer?
Here are a few tips to help you reduce noise on your bike trainer:
- Reduce acoustic noise – This can be achieved by switching to a direct drive trainer rather than a wheel-on trainer. This is due to the fact that the bike is mounted directly on the trainer without the use of a rear wheel.
- Reduce vibrational noise – This can be achieved by setting the trainer on a concrete floor which absorbs the vibrations completely.
- Use a training mat to attenuate vibrations
3. Which is Better: Magnetic or Fluid Bike Trainer?
In my opinion, fluid bike trainers have an upper hand over magnetic bike trainers. Here’s why:
- Fluid trainers are quieter
- Fluid trainers give a road-like feel due to progressive resistance
- Overpowering is never an issue in case of fluid trainers
In contrast, magnetic bike trainers are usually cheaper.
4. Do Bike Trainers Wear Out Tires?
In the case of tire-on trainers, the rear tire is positioned on your bike which generates the necessary resistance by pressing a roller against it.
This can severely wear out the tires. This can be avoided by using trainer tires that are usually made only to be used on indoor trainers, so the rubber is grippier and the tread is smooth.
These tires are heat-resistant, durable, and also very affordable.
The Bottom Line
After careful evaluation, I think the Kinetic by Kurt Rock and Roll Smart Trainer is the best indoor bike trainer you can buy. Its ergonomic design and perfect fluid resistance give you the ultimate experience of using a great bike trainer. It is great in terms of decibel rating too, generating only about 72dB of noise.
Saris CycleOps Fluid2 is another great option if you’re on a tight budget. This is also the quietest on my list. It is rustproof and highly stable too.
Elite DRIVO Interactive Trainer is a note-worthy magnetic resistance bike trainers with innovative pulleys and highly resistant transmission belts. It’s also foldable and hence easy to store and carry.