Are you tired of the loud whirr of your bike trainer drowning out your favorite playlist or disrupting the household’s tranquility? If you’ve been searching for a quiet bike trainer enough to keep the peace, you’ve landed at the right place.

Direct drive trainer or called a wheel-off bike trainer
Direct drive trainer or called a wheel-off bike trainer

Mountain biking is not just an outdoor thrill; it’s a passion that often leads us indoors, especially during inclement weather. But training indoors shouldn’t mean choosing between your workout and a peaceful home environment.

In this comprehensive guide, I’m here to help you navigate through the labyrinth of options and find the top quiet bike trainers that not only stand up to rigorous mountain biking training but also respect your much-needed silence.

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to look for in a bike trainer that perfectly blends efficiency with quietness, letting you enjoy a silent workout without any compromises.

Balancefrom Bike Trainer Assembled on my Bike
Balancefrom Bike Trainer Assembled on my Bike

Importance of a Quiet Bike Trainer

I don’t mind saying that a noisy bike trainer will probably impede you from wanting to use it regularly. In fact, if you don’t swap out the back tire with a slick (assuming you’re using a wheel-on style of trainer), you can anticipate noise that’s louder than your standard dishwasher. We’re talking as much as 70 dB. I know because I tested it myself for my video, Best Budget Bike Trainer (Setup and Testing).

A noisy indoor bike trainer will be a nuisance, especially if you live in an apartment. That’s just one of many reasons why a quiet bike trainer is essential. I mean, you should never have to ride on something louder than your bike is, right?

However, not all bike trainers are created equal, and some are considerably more silent than others. So, I’ve tested and used all kinds of bike trainers, and I thought I’d write this to bring you the actual, on-the-floor facts about which trainers you should consider and which ones are best left well enough alone.

A wheel on roller trainer that was 74 db, that's loud
A wheel on roller trainer that was 74 db, that’s loud

Types of Bike Trainers

Bike trainers come in a variety of configurations and resistance types. Some forms are louder than others, and some types you may want to avoid, depending on your preferences. Here’s the essential low-down relating to noise level:

Horizontal Roller Bike Trainers

Feedback Sports Overdrive Roller Trainer
Feedback Sports Overdrive Roller Trainer

Horizontal roller bike trainers are those that do not attach to your bike. In fact, you set your bike on top of the rollers and balance and ride. Typically, you’ll find this trainer in many a road cyclist’s equipment collection. It’s not necessarily an MTB top pick, but don’t let that discourage you.

Although a mountain bike could work on these rollers, mountain bikers like you and I prefer to get a bit of a workout and not just simulate riding on a smooth, flat surface, which is what these bike trainers emulate the most. They are typically not very loud at all, but also usually don’t work well without slick tires, and also don’t offer the changing resistance of smart trainers or others.

Wheel-On Rear Axle Mount

Getting a workout on the Balancefrom Trainer
Getting a workout on the Balancefrom Trainer

Rear wheel-on bike trainers are the most common. The reason they are the most common is their simple construction and the fact that you don’t need to remove your rear wheel. However, there’s a catch: if you don’t have a slick tire on the back, these bike trainers can be quite loud.

Wheel-Off Rear Frame Mount – Direct Drive

Direct drive indoor bike trainer
Direct drive indoor bike trainer

My favorite type of indoor bike trainer is those that require the rear wheel removed from your bike, and you have to mount a cassette that fits with your bike frame. Then, you mount the bike (where the rear wheel axle mounts) to the trainer itself.

These can be the best trainers because they are pretty quiet and also typically ‘smart,’ so they work with bike apps like Zwift (see the model instructions for which apps they might mesh with).

Resistance Mechanisms

The mechanism chosen for resistance has a lot to do with how much noise it makes. Here’s a brief rundown of each type.

Magnetic Resistance

Magnetic resistance uses magnets and a metal flywheel or sorts. The level of resistance is set by how close the magnets are to the flywheel. Depending on the quality of construction, these can be reasonably quiet.

Furthermore, the electromagnetic form found in most smart trainers uses electricity to create a magnetic field. By controlling the magnetic strength with electronics, these trainers can offer programs that simulate how it would really feel to ride a particular route.

Fluid Resistance

Fluid resistance bike trainers use a viscous fluid that thickens as it heats up. The fluid heats up when the flywheel inside spins quickly. Therefore, the harder/faster you pedal, the more resistance you face. These forms of trainers are often relatively quiet. However, it has more to do with the overall type of trainer (and whether or not you have to use a tire).

What to Look For in a Quiet Bike Trainer

I already have a nice indoor trainer, and I’ll tell you about it in the next section. However, if I were looking to buy a new quiet bike trainer, I’d do so with a few things in mind. After careful thought, and considering I’ve already tried several bike trainers and own them, the following five factors are what I would use, if I were you, to decide.

Are bike trainers worth it
Are bike trainers worth it
  1. Noise – Obviously, we’re looking for a nice, quiet trainer, so this is at the top of my list.
  2. Sturdiness – A quiet trainer that isn’t sturdy won’t be quiet for long. It would be best if you had something with a bit of strength to endure your pedaling (especially when the resistance is higher).
  3. Features – I’m a big fan of indoor bike trainers that have features like app compatibility. In other words, a smart trainer is my preference.
  4. Ease of Setup – I’m a bit of a DIY kind of guy, so this doesn’t phase me, but if you’re not mechanically inclined, then the ease of setup is going to matter more. Rank this factor higher if you’re not into complex setups.
  5. Price – If your budget has a limit, then this is a limiting factor. However, I will state that you get what you pay for. When I got my first bike trainer, my budget was only a couple of hundred, but if you get a loud or annoying trainer, you won’t use it anyway. In hindsight, I’d say save up and get a good trainer. After all, you get what you pay for.

Top Quiet Bike Trainers: Reviews and Recommendations

As mentioned above, I prefer the higher-end smart trainers because they tend to be a lot quieter. My current favorite is the Saris H3. You can see my video where I cover unboxing, setup, and use here.

Trainer StatusBike Trainer ModelNoise RatingSturdinessFeaturesEase of SetupPrice
My top pickSaris H35/55/55/53/54/5
The runner upGarmin Tacx Neo 2T5/55/55/54/52/5
A close third placeWahoo KICKR CORE4/54/54/52/54/5
Fourth place finishSaris Fluid24/53/54/54/54/5
Fifth placeMagene Turbo3/53/52/53/55/5

Top Pick – Saris H3 Smart Trainer

My top pick is the Saris H3 smart trainer. I love this trainer. I’ll explain using our criteria set out previously.

Saris H3 Smart Bike Trainer
Saris H3 Smart Bike Trainer

Noise – 5/5

The Saris H3 bike trainer is not noisy. In fact, my bike makes more noise than the trainer does (and I keep up with bike upkeep).

Read more reviews and check prices with this shortcut link to Amazon 👉 Saris H3 Smart Trainer

Sturdiness 5/5

The H3 is small, but it’s mighty. I found that it’s sturdy and I have no problems with mine. It stays in place, even when I’m riding hard.

Features 5/5

The smart trainer is the way to go, in my opinion. You can use the H3 with apps like Zwift and Rouvy, which makes riding a lot more fun (and much more realistic). You can set the trainer to different programs using the apps, and that means it controls resistance for you, giving you the ride simulated to feel like the real thing.

Ease of Setup 3/5

Getting set up with the H3 takes a little bit of work. First, you’ll want to ensure that your bike frame size is compatible. Remove your rear wheel on your bike and measure to be sure. Once you have determined the proper cassette and used the appropriate spacers, it’s pretty easy to get your frame onto the unit.

Price 4/5

The H3 isn’t the most expensive, but it is one of the best. It’s one of the primary reasons I chose it as the best unit. Aside from how quiet it is, how secure it is, and how it works with apps, it’s probably the best bang for the buck for an indoor trainer, in my opinion.


Runner Up – Garmin Tacx Neo 2T Smart Trainer

My second pick is the Garmin Tacx Neo 2T Smart Trainer. Try saying that one three times fast! It might be a mouthful, but it’s a seriously quiet (and cool-looking) bike trainer.

Garmin Tacx Neo 2T
Garmin Tacx Neo 2T

Noise 5/5

The Tacx is quiet, really quiet. I think it’s on par with the Saris H3 in terms of how quiet it is. Typically, this is the trainer you’ll find road riding enthusiasts on, but it works for mountain biking too. Make sure you check the compatibility first, though, because it’s an expensive unit to get it wrong.

Read more reviews and check prices with this shortcut link to Amazon 👉 Garmin Tacx Neo 2T Smart Trainer

Sturdiness 5/5

Despite the weird plastic-futuristic design, I found the Tacx to be quite sturdy. It even folds up, which is nice because it works for smaller spaces (if you don’t mind taking your bike frame on and off it, that is).

Features 5/5

This 32 Neodymium magnet resistance smart trainer is about as smart as they come. It’s Bluetooth-compatible and works with most major biking apps. The smooth operation and large flywheel really help to simulate a nice smooth ride, which is nice.

Ease of Setup 4/5

Like many other smart trainers, the Tacx is a challenge for those not mechanically inclined. Furthermore, you’ll need to purchase a cassette to fit the trainer, so that’s kind of a nuisance given how much money the trainer is, albeit it is understandable that they would have to keep it separate.

Price 2/5

It is one of the most expensive smart bike trainers on the market. However, as Garmin makes it, it’s carrying the weight of a significant player in the outdoor electronics space, possibly inflating the price.

A Strong Third – Wahoo KICKR Core

Wahoo Kickr Core
Wahoo Kickr Core

It was a tough decision, but the Wahoo KICKR CORE is my third pick. It’s actually my second pick if we’re talking about price, as this one is about half the price of the Garmin Tacx. However, just because the price is half as much as the Garmin, doesn’t mean it’s half as good.

Noise 4/5

The Wahoo is a really quiet unit. I honestly thought it would be a lot louder, but it’s not. It is another bike trainer that comes in as quieter than my bike itself, so there’s not much worry about the noise with this unit.

Read more reviews and check prices with this shortcut link to Amazon 👉 Wahoo KICKR Core

Sturdiness 4/5

Don’t let the simple construction fool you. The Wahoo is relatively sturdy. I do recommend using a mat under the Wahoo, though, because the feet on it tend to rub on the floor, I found.

Features 4/5

The Wahoo KICKR CORE comes with the usual adaptability and connectivity that you’d expect in a smart trainer. It is compatible with 8-12 speed cassettes, making it pretty versatile. Although generally popular with road cyclists, many mountain bikes are also compatible. However, there’s a catch, which I’ll share in the setup notes.

Ease of Setup 2/5

The Wahoo is intended, for the most part, for road cyclists, so there’s a little work for some mountain bikes. The issue with the conversion is that you may have to remove parts of the Wahoo in order to install an appropriate cassette. Double check your measurements, otherwise this trainer could be unusable. That’s the catch with this one for us mountain bikers, but it’s an excellent alternative to Garmin for half the price.

Not to spin too much down on the Wahoo, but I also found that if you have a long fork, like those of us riding full suspension, then you might want to prop up the trainer on some 2x4s or something. That’s worth considering.

Price 4/5

The Wahoo has an excellent price if you have all the parts to make it compatible or you’ve got a bike frame that doesn’t need compatibility components. Keep in mind if you need to buy a cassette and other parts for compatibility reasons, it could increase costs, so do your homework first and get your bike’s measurements right.

Saris Fluid2 Indoor Bike Trainer

Saris Fluid2 Smart Trainer
Saris Fluid2 Smart Trainer

Fluid2 trainer is definitely worth mentioning. It’s compatible with bikes with 130-135mm and 142-148mm and is ready out of the box for a 700c (27.5″) wheel size.

Noise 3/5

Not bad, if you ask me. The Fluid2 is pretty quiet. It’s another direct drive (frame mount) bike trainer.

Read more reviews and check prices with this shortcut link to Amazon 👉 Saris Fluid2 Indoor Bike Trainer

Price 4/5

The JetBlack falls into the in-between category for pricing. It’s not as much as the Garmin TacX I discussed, but it’s also more than the Saris H3. It’s a good unit and worth the money as long as your bike is compatible.

Cons of Bike Trainers
Cons of Bike Trainers 👈 Do Trainers Damage Your Bike Frame

Magene Bike Resistance Turbo Trainer

Magene trainer is another option you might want to consider if you’re on a budget.

Noise 3/5

The Magene isn’t overly loud but not as quiet as the Saris H3 or the Garmin, so it falls behind slightly in this category.

Read more reviews and check prices with this shortcut link to Amazon 👉 Magene Bike Resistance Turbo Trainer

Price 5/5

This bike trainer is the cheapest of the bunch but is decent enough if you’re on a budget.

Popular Bike Training Apps credit-Zwift ROUVY and BKOOL
Popular Bike Training Apps credit-Zwift ROUVY and BKOOL 👉 Best Trainer Programs

How to Maximize the Quietness of Your Bike Trainer

One of the best tips I read before I got my trainer was to get a good mat. A decent floor mat can make a lot of difference to comfort, cleaning, and ensuring you don’t scar up your flooring. A rug also tends to dampen sound, so if a quiet ride is your goal, a mat is going to help.

Suppose your noise concerns are to keep the noise from bothering others. In that case, you might want to consider either a fluid resistance type in conjunction with a slick tire or a smart trainer like the Saris H3. It’s one of my favorites and is extremely quiet (my bike was making more noise than the trainer).

Quiet Bike Trainer FAQ Section

Have you got questions? I’ve got answers. See below.

  • How do I measure the noise level?

To measure noise, just download a noise meter app onto your smartphone. That’s what I used, and it was really accurate. You can see it in the image earlier in this article.

  • Can a bike trainer replace mountain biking completely?

Technically, yes, you could replace mountain biking completely, but why would you? Most mountain bikers I know love nature and truly enjoy their time out in it. So, until we have holographic rooms that have super-filtered clean air, I don’t see indoor trainers replacing the great outdoors anytime soon. However, suppose you’re in the city in an apartment. In that case, you may find you enjoy riding your bike trainer more than if you had to take a trip out of the city just to find a nice outdoor trail to ride. To each their own, as they say.

  • How often should I maintain my bike trainer for optimal quietness?

Always follow and adhere to recommendations in the manufacturer’s equipment manual. Common sense should prevail here, you know, wipe off sweat that drips down each time you ride to ensure it doesn’t cause issues over time. Ensure your bike is installed correctly to the trainer. Overtightening can do damage to things, so keep it tight, but follow the instructions, and you should be okay.

Roller bike trainer
Roller bike trainer

Final Thoughts Before You Buy

I’ve provided you with all the information I can about my experiences with some of the quietest indoor bike trainers on the market. I’ve shared my top pick, the Saris H3, and the other bike trainers I’ve tested. I hope you find the information I’ve shared with you helpful. Enjoy your ride!


David Humphries is the creator of DIY Mountain Bike. For me a relaxing day involves riding my mountain bike to decompress after a long day. When not on my bike I can be found wrenching on it or making YouTube videos at 👉 DIY Mountain Bike Read more about David HERE.