Can I get a quiet exercise bike?

Exercise equipment can be loud. While this isn’t an issue in a commercial gym, it can be if you work...

Exercise equipment can be loud. While this isn’t an issue in a commercial gym, it can be if you work out at home, as many of us live with other people: friends, family members, housemates, etc. You may also need to consider your neighbours too. 

Or maybe you keep irregular hours and like working out at unsociable times. Exercise bikes aren’t quite up there with drum kits for noise, but several factors, including type, build-quality, condition and location, can affect how loud they are to ride. So can the age of your building and whether the floorboards are level. Sometimes putting a stationary bike upstairs will also create significant noise transfer.  

Female in an industrial gym on a loud air bike

Are exercise bikes noisy? 

Some stationary bikes are noisier than others. Air bikes (also known as assault bikes) are very loud. It’s because, unlike other bikes that use electromagnetic or mechanical resistance, air bikes use wind resistance. They’re a great workout, but they’re also loud. 

Resistance plays a role in how loud other types of exercise bikes are, and we’ll discuss that further in the next section of this post.  

Older or poorly maintained equipment will also make more noise. It’s worth regularly checking your bike and ensuring its in good working order.

Equally, vibrations coming off the bike can also cause issue. As you ride the bike, small vibrations can transfer along wooden floors and even up walls, so where you place your bike and what you put it on can have a significant impact on noise.

Clipping in and out of the pedals will also make a noise as you walk. It’s something to think about if you’re using cycling shoes in an upper-level apartment with wooden floors. 

Because stationary bikes have no forward motion, they don’t generate a breeze like outdoor rides. Indoor cyclists often counteract this by adding a fan to stay cool. Be aware that some fans are very loud.

What type of exercise bike is the quietest? 

Avoid air bikes 

As mentioned above, if you’re looking for a quiet exercise bike then avoid the air bike.  

Choose belt-drives over chain-drives

You can also look at the bike’s drive system. A drive system connects and transfers power from the pedals to the flywheel.

Belt drive systems are quieter than chain ones. 
Although, chain drives are often used by outdoor cyclists because they’re better at recreating outdoor riding conditions. They’re preferred for their durability and strength even though they require maintenance including regular lubrication.   

Belt-drive systems also connect the flywheel and pedals, but they’re typically made from reinforced rubber which runs over two pulleys. They’re quieter and require less maintenance than a chain-belt but aren’t as durable. 

Choose magnetic resistance over friction 

Magnetic resistance is quieter than friction. Friction-based resistance uses a felt pad or brake which compresses the wheel, making it harder to pedal. This contact with the wheel makes a noise. Magnetic resistance which we’ll explain in the next section is quieter.  

Are magnetic exercise bikes quiet? 

They’re very quiet. The flywheel passes through a magnetic field which creates a force that resists the flywheel’s motion. Upping the resistance moves the magnets closer to the flywheel. Lowering it moves the magnets away, making it easier to pedal. Unlike friction resistance, there’s no direct contact between the magnets and the wheel so there’s very little (if any) noise.  


How do I keep my exercise bike quiet?  

If vibrations are the issue, putting a mat underneath the bike will reduce noise transfer. You can buy mats online. Some manufacturers offer them as an official add-on before you finalise your purchase, but it’s worth exploring different thicknesses depending on the type of flooring you have. Horse stall mats have been recommended by several people online. Other people use thick yoga mats or interlocking gym floor tiles.  

You should also check that the bike is held together securely. Loose screws, nuts, bolts, bearings, washers, etc., may need tightening, lubricating or replacing. You might also want to see if the floorboards in your house are uneven. One commonly reported problem is a clunking noise when the pedal is coming away from the bottom bracket. If you suddenly start hearing new noises, then it’s likely to be something needs inspecting.  

Vibration transfer can sometimes be reduced by removing the bike away from the wall.  


Are exercise bikes quieter than treadmills? 

Yes. Treadmills are louder than exercise bikes. This is largely because they have a motor which can get louder with age. You also have the noise of the belt rolling over the treadmill and the impact of running shoes hitting it over and over.

Vibrations can create noise too, and like exercise bikes older or poorly maintained treadmills can also be louder.  


Is an exercise bike too loud for an apartment?  

Not necessary. As we’ve already suggested picking a bike with magnetic resistance and a belt-drive will help keep noise down. Putting a mat down underneath should reduce noise transfer too. Once you’ve purchased a bike then regularly inspecting and checking individual parts can help keep it running quietly and smoothly for many years.  

Aside from the exercise bike itself, you may also want to factor in the type of building you live in and whether there’s anything in the flooring or layout that could cause issues. Also, you may want to avoid buying an air bike if you’re concerned about noise levels.  

Looking for a quiet exercise bike? The RE:GEN has magnetic resistance and uses a belt-drive to connect the flywheel and pedals. It’s electricity-generating too so you can charge you electronic devices every time you workout. Pre-order your RE:GEN today. 



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


Solutions for every setting