Motivating yourself to work out is hard enough when you don’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors. Even if you have the trendiest exercise equipment in your home, you may quickly discover that using it requires more patience than you’re willing to invest.
Personally, the moment my indoor exercise bike starts rattling or screeching at me is the moment I hop off and let the dust settle on it. But it doesn’t have to be that way — there are plenty of quiet exercise bikes you can use without disturbing your neighbors or damaging your own hearing.
Whether you can ride a bike or not, indoor cycling is the perfect workout for many different kinds of people. As a cardio exercise, it can help you improve your heart health and lose weight. However, if you adjust the resistance a bit, it can also help you build muscle mass. Best of all, it can do all that while you’re watching your favorite shows and movies.
I can’t imagine that any of this is news to you. But, after all that, you might find yourself wondering how noise comes into play here at all. How can an indoor bike start making noises?
Should You Get an Exercise Bike for Your Apartment?
Before you get too invested in this idea, let’s get the disadvantages of owning an indoor bike out of the way. Firstly: getting the wrong kind of exercise bike can instantly make you regret your decision. If the machine is too cumbersome, too complicated, or too loud, you’re not going to want to use it. And, if you don’t use it, what’s the point?
Even people who love biking in nature can come to resent their indoor bikes for one simple reason. Namely, riding a bike that’s not actually going anywhere can quickly become boring. However, there are ways to keep your every cycling session interesting:
- Play music, movies, or shows. Many indoor bikes have media docks that let you set up your tablet and read or enjoy videos to your heart’s content.
- Make your workouts short and frequent. Really, one of the major benefits of owning your own indoor bike is that you get to work out whenever you have time for it. You can cycle while you’re brewing your morning coffee and again when you’re watching your shows in the evening. The world is your oyster.
- Engage your whole body by following spinning workout tutorials. There are plenty of videos like this one on YouTube that can spice up your cycling session.
Ultimately, having an indoor bike in your apartment could end up saving you money, exactly like owning a treadmill would. After all, it would mean that you wouldn’t have to pay for overpriced fitness classes or gym memberships anymore.
Additionally, riding a bike doesn’t put unnecessary strain on your joints like running often does. Instead, cycling builds endurance through repetitive low impact activity. On top of that, cycling also elevates your heart rate, granting you all the other well-known benefits of exercise.
How to Find the Best Quiet Exercise Bikes for Apartments
Before I tell you how you can find the best quiet indoor bikes, you ought to know what makes exercise bikes so loud in the first place. Generally, it comes down to two reasons:
- The construction of the bike More specifically, if the flywheel or the chain is misaligned, they may start rattling. On the other hand, if the sound you hear is closer to a squeak, the noise could be the result of different metal parts rubbing against each other.
- The floor in your apartment. If some of your floorboards are loose or slanted, or if the floor is poorly insulated, your downstairs neighbor can probably hear every step you take, let alone a wobbling indoor bike. Still, there are ways to resolve every one of those issues, as you’ll see after my reviews.
Of course, most indoor bikes start out being relatively silent when you get them. Isn’t that the case with most new things? The real trick is in finding a bike that stays quiet.
While searching for the products on my list, I relied on both the manufacturer’s claims and user reviews to find the best quiet exercise bikes on the market. I’ve found that the noisiest bikes are the ones with air resistance, followed by friction resistance. Still, since friction-based machines are the most common ones, it’s best to learn to use them, rather than avoid them. However, if you’d like to find the quietest kinds of indoor bikes, you’ll want to stick to the ones with magnetic resistance systems.
Should You Get a Recumbent Bike or Upright One?
As soon as you start researching stationary indoor bikes, you’ll find that they come in two general categories:
- Upright bikes, which look exactly like regular bikes, except that they only have one wheel in the front. The flywheel can be covered or exposed — if you have kids, I recommend getting the former. You wouldn’t want to have exposed spinning parts in that case. Still, having an exposed wheel would help you determine if the chain is in place at a glance and adjust accordingly.
- Recumbent bikes, which allow you to sit back while you pedal, so they’re a great option for people who suffer from back, hip, and knee pain. Unlike upright bikes, which can get pretty wobbly, recumbent ones generally don’t create a lot of vibration. Consequently, they tend to be the quieter of the two — although they can’t give you an intense workout. If that’s what you’re looking for, go for upright bikes, which let you stand up while you pedal.
Of course, these aren’t the only features that can set an exercise bike apart from the crowd. Ideally, the bike should also have an adjustable seat and handle height as well as flexible pedal straps. There are other additional features you might want to see, like an LCD monitor or a tablet dock. However, they’re not strictly necessary for you to have a good workout.
The Best Quiet Exercise Bikes for Apartments
Now that we know the bare necessities of indoor exercise bikes, we can finally get to the good stuff. I wanted to present a balanced mix of recumbent and upright bikes. So to begin with, the first three products on my list will be more suitable for people with back or knee problems while the last four will work for anyone who doesn’t suffer from those issues.
1. Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike
Right off the bat, Schwinn recumbent bike looks pretty sturdy. Its base has 5 points of contact with the floor which greatly reduces the vibrations your downstairs neighbors will be able to hear. While the bike isn’t foldable, it does have wheels on the front part of the base, which means that it’ll be easy to move. However, the bike itself is pretty large and heavy — the 93-pound machine won’t slide across the floor no matter how fast you pedal.
The flywheel is boxed in, so there’s no danger of anyone getting hurt. The wheel is also weighted, allowing you to choose between 25 levels of resistance. Above the flywheel, you’ll find the LCD displays that control the machine’s Bluetooth connectivity and performance tracking app. Furthermore, the bike even had built-in speakers and a media shelf, so you can connect your mp3 player or smart device.
The recumbent seat is fully adjustable so people of different heights can comfortably reach the pedals, which are topped with flexible, adjustable straps. There are handles on the sides of the screen as well as the sides of the padded seat.
- Recumbent bike with adjustable seat
- An LCD display with telemetry and performance tracking
- Built-in speakers, a media shelf, and more
- 25 levels of resistance
2. Exerpeutic 900XL Recumbent Exercise Bike
Having just seen the previous machine on my list, you may not think much of this recumbent bike from Exerpeutic. Still, when it comes to weight capacity, it’s actually one of the most impressive products on this list. The fact that this machine can accommodate users who weigh up to 300 pounds is proof of its sturdy construction.
Unlike the previous machine, though, this one doesn’t have much in the way of padding between the base and the floor. Even the wheels at the front of the base are underwhelming by comparison. Still, they are perfectly functional, which is all that should matter.
The overall shape of this machine is quite similar to the previous product I reviewed. It has a closed flywheel, pedals with flexible straps, and an adjustable seat that can seat people who are between 5.3 and 6.6-feet tall. The flywheel uses a magnetic tension system that is almost entirely silent. However, it only allows you to choose between 8 tension levels.
The handles on the sides of the seat have built-in heartbeat sensors. There are also two smaller handles on each side of the 5-inch LCD screen in the front, which also doubles as a smartphone holder. The bike can be Bluetooth-enabled or not, depending on your needs.
- A recumbent bike with pulse
- Impressive 300-pound weight capacity
- Bluetooth-enabled performance tracking
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
- 5-inch LCD
3. Marcy ME-709 Recumbent Exercise Bike
For the final recumbent bike model on my list, I’ve decided to review the Mardy ME-709 bike. Like the other recumbent bikes, this one is not foldable in any way, though it does have wheels in the base. The closed flywheel uses magnetic resistance, so this product also has 8 tension levels, which you can tweak by turning the wheel on the front pipe.
Overall, the bike is 48 inches long, 24.5 inches wide and about 38 inches tall. It features adjustable pedal straps and the relatively small LCD display that shows your time, speed, and distance, among other things. Notably, though, it does not measure your heart rate. That’s probably why it’s a bit less costly than some other models.
The only other thing that’s a bit different about this bike is the shape of the seat which, although padded, may not be the most comfortable thing in the world. Still, it has to be better than most upright bikes’ seats, right? In any case, that seat still has a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds, which is commendable.
- A recumbent bike without a heartbeat monitor
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
- Performance tracking on the LCD display
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
4. ANCHEER A5001 Indoor Cycling Stationary Bike
The ANCHEER A5001 weighs about 90 pounds, though the massive flywheel accounts for 40 pounds of that total. Quiet operation is pretty much guaranteed thanks to the bike’s belt drive, especially if you compare it to models that use chains.
Unlike recumbent models, upright bikes tend to have a simpler design that’s more reminiscent of actual bicycles. This particular bike has vertically adjustable handles and vertically and horizontally adjustable seat — or saddle. Basically, anyone should be able to hop on, as long as they take the time to adjust the seat and the handles first. Speaking of the handles, they both have built-in elbow rests and heart rate sensors.
The saddle is well padded and covered with a quick-drying leather-like material — which is perfect if you’re planning on getting your money’s worth out of your bike. At first glance, the seat seems a bit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it has a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds, which is more than I could say about our previous contestants. Additionally, this product also comes in three different color variations: black, silver, and yellow.
On the other hand, this bike has plenty of familiar features as well. There’s an LCD display that shows the user’s stats, including their heart rate and the number of calories they’ve burned. Furthermore, the bike also has adjustable straps over anti-slip pedals, so your feet should be locked in from the moment you take a seat. Still, if you feel like your pedaling is getting a bit out of control, this bike also has an emergency brake at the front of the bike — that’ll be the red dial.
- Adjustable and comfortable seat and handles
- Stable pedals with toe straps
- Wheel braking system
- An easily accessible tension knob
5. YOSUDA Indoor Cycling Bike Stationary
The YOSUDA stationary bike is everything anyone could want from an indoor exercise machine. It’s fully adjustable for people of various heights. The handlebar can extend from a height of 35 inches all the way to 45 inches. Meanwhile, the saddle can move from an inseam height of 25 inches to 35 inches, as well as moving front to back.
The bike also has an impressive seat design with 4-way padding. Thanks to the sturdy steel construction of the machine, you should have a fairly comfortable workout session. However, keep in mind that this machine does have a weight limit of 270 pounds. The bike itself weighs under 70 pounds and can be easily transported by rolling it around.
Overall, this bike has a 35-pound flywheel which should spin smoothly enough to deliver a relatively soundless performance. On top of that, the bike uses a belt drive instead of a chain, which should make it even quieter. However, it should be noted that this product uses friction braking. Even though the brake pad itself is made of wool, which is another attempt to reduce noise, it still has the potential to start squeaking down the line.
In addition to everything I’ve just mentioned, the bike also has the requisite LCD display that tracks your stats. As far as I can tell, though, it can’t track your heart rate. But on the bright side, it does come with a tablet mount, so you’ll get to enjoy your shows while cycling.
- 270-pound weight limit
- Adjustable for various heights
- Anti-skid cage pedals
- LCD, tablet mount
- Quiet belt drive
6. XTERRA Fitness FB150 Folding Exercise Bike
Finally, I also wanted to include a few folding bikes for those among us who don’t have floor space to spare in our apartments. The XTERRA Fitness FB150 bike has a delightfully simple design. When you’re not using it, the bike will only take up 18 square inches of floor space. However, once you unfold the steel X-frame, it’ll come out to approximately 18 inches wide, 32 inches long, and 43 inches tall.
The flywheel is encased but even if it wasn’t, you could expect relatively quiet operation due to the use of magnetic resistance. However, while the bike does have a tension knob, it only lets you choose between 8 levels of difficulty. So really, this bike is most appropriate for beginners.
Still, the machine even has a 2 by 1-inch LCD display that shows you everything from your speed and time to distance, calories spent, and even your pulse. But, though it managed to fit most of the basic features you might have come to expect, this bike isn’t fit for people who weigh over 225 pounds. Furthermore, while the seat and the handlebar are adjustable, they’re only good if you’re between 4.1 and 5.1 feet tall.
- Foldable upright bike
- Adjustable seat and handlebar
- Uses magnetic resistance
- Data monitor
- 225-pound limit
7. Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike With Pulse
If you were saddened because you didn’t fit the mold of the ideal user of the previous folding bike I’ve mentioned, fear not. This Exerpeutic bike is just what you need.
First and foremost, this machine has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is truly an impressive feat for a folding bike. It has everything you might want from an exercise bike. The flywheel uses an 8-level magnetic tension system which means that it’s quiet and functional. You’ll note the heartbeat sensors on the handlebar and the LCD screen in the middle.
Furthermore, the bike itself is fully adjustable. When you unfold it, the bike is 31 inches long, 19 inches wide, and 46 inches tall. You can also adjust the height of the seat and the handles to accommodate people between 5.3 and 6.1 feet tall.
The seat is one of the biggest and most comfortable ones I’ve seen, especially for an upright bike. And when you finish your cycling session, you can fold it up to be 22 inches long, 20 inches wide, and 55.5 inches tall. Overall, if you’re looking to save some space in your apartment but you can’t exactly shrink yourself, this is the perfect folding bike for you.
- Foldable upright bike
- Fully adjustable
- Lightweight yet durable
- 300-pound limit
- Wide seat with thick padding
How to Make Your Exercise Bike Quieter
In essence, stationary exercise bikes are fairly similar to treadmills. Both types of machines have similar mechanisms that allow users to set their preferred difficulty levels. Treadmill users can do that by adjusting the incline and speed settings, while people who prefer bikes can set the tension. However, they both do it by using wheels and belts.
With that in mind, the overlap between the tips I’m about to dispense and the ones I shared in my article about treadmills should come as no surprise. Still, the implementation of these tips is going to be a bit different. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
Find the Right Spot for Your Bike
Whether you’re working out on a treadmill or on a bike, your downstairs neighbor won’t be able to tell a difference. Both kinds of exercise machines tend to transfer the force you apply to them to the floor below. On a treadmill, that happens because of the impact of your feet. One of the reasons why a bike might make a similar noise is if its base was unstable.
You can test to see if that’s the case by grabbing the bike and shaking it gently. If you feel it swaying, the people who live below you will probably hear you when you exercise. Unless you have implemented the proper floor soundproofing methods and fortified the surface from within, they might even hear your floorboards squeaking when you use your bike. So if you haven’t soundproofed your floor, you should get on it.
Even if your floor isn’t insulated, there are certain steps you can take to make sure your bike won’t bother your neighbors. For one, you can try to find a place on the floor that isn’t squeaky, which is usually close to the exterior walls. However, if you still happen upon a squeaky floorboard in those areas, there are ways to solve that problem.
Get a Floor Mat
If all else fails, and you truly can’t find a place you can set up shop in, you should put your bike on a mat of some sort. Generally, you’ll want to stick to slide-proof materials such as vinyl or rubber-based foam. Both of those materials are dense and malleable, so the bike should sink into the mat, evening out the ground and preventing wobbling. Additionally, dense rubber mats should stop sound and vibrations from seeping through the floor to the room below.
To begin with, you’ll need to find out how much floor space your exercise bike takes up. As you have seen, some of the bikes I’ve reviewed do have that information on the product page. However, if yours doesn’t, you can always measure the bike yourself. Once you do that, the easiest way to find the right floor mat for you is to look for it online.
One option is to use mass-loaded vinyl, which is supposed to block noise. If you already have leftovers from installing MLV in your walls, you might as well use it for this. However, you can also look for products that were specifically designed to provide a padded barrier between the floor and exercise equipment — like this SuperMats product.
Stay Up to Date on Bike Maintenance
Sometimes, no amount of floor soundproofing will lessen the amount of noise your bike is making. In that case, you’ll find that the bike itself is the problem, not the floor. Still, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the creaking.
Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that everything that shouldn’t be moving is fixed in place. That means tightening any loose bolts and securing the seat and the pedals. Basically, you need to make sure that the only things that are moving on your bike are the parts that should be moving.
If the creaking sounds persist while you’re tightening the screws, you may need to lubricate the areas where two metal parts connect. Most indoor cycling specialists don’t use WD-40 for this step. Instead, they might recommend using a Teflon lubricant.
After a while, you might hear a rattling noise coming from the front of the bike due to a misaligned wheel or a loose chain. Generally, those kinds of things happen as a result of leaving the tension high even when you’re not using the bike.
Either way, fixing the issues will be relatively simple. To adjust the chain or the belt, you just need to remove the chain guard and manually fix the problem. At that point, you might also need to apply the chain lubricant. As for the flywheel alignment, you can just torque the wheel nuts and be on your way.
Pick the Right Time to Exercise
If the bike you have is insufferably loud but you’re not in the market for a new one, the best thing you can do is use it when you know you won’t bother anybody. Ask your family, roommates, or neighbors if there’s a time of day when the sound of your bike is least likely to bother them. Generally, most people will be okay with you exercising while they’re at work or in school. But what if you’re also out during that time?
Well, you might be able to come to an agreement with your neighbors if you approach them politely. Ask them if you may use your bike at a certain time every day, or a few times per week. They might be able to put up with the noise if they knew it only came between six and half-past six in the afternoon.
Quiet Indoor Bikes Make Exercise Easy
Ultimately, it’s safe to say that an indoor exercise bike would be the most convenient addition to your daily workout routine. Hopefully, this article has given you the information you’ll need to avoid bothering your neighbors with your exercise, though.
Still, even if you don’t manage to silence your bike — you can buy one of those I’ve recommended. Remember, recumbent bikes are perfect for people with back or joint pain. However, they take up quite a bit of space. Still, since they’re larger, they tend to distribute their weight better and vibrate less than upright bikes.
As for those, you basically have your pick of the bunch. Ideally, the bike you choose should have a comfortable seat and a flywheel that can rotate relatively quietly. That shouldn’t be that difficult to find — especially since I got you started!
Now, get ready to spend endless hours working out while catching up on your favorite shows. Just don’t completely exhaust yourself all in one go!