Indoor exercise bikes are one of the most convenient and popular exercise machines available today. They don’t take up a lot of space, and exercising on one has numerous health benefits. But is it alright to have one in an apartment?
You can have an exercise bike in an apartment if it doesn’t make too much noise and vibration. A quiet exercise bike combined with a bike mat on a solid floor will be quiet enough for apartment life. Keep your neighbors happy by purchasing a quiet model such as a fluid resistance exercise bike.
Read on to learn the caveats of having an exercise bike in an apartment and some tips on making it quieter.
What To Know Before Putting an Exercise Bike in an Apartment
If you enjoy cycling, having an exercise bike in your apartment may encourage you to exercise more. It’s convenient and saves you travel time to the gym.
However, I strongly recommend that you talk to your neighbors about this topic before you rush out to buy an expensive exercise bike because the last thing you want to do is make an enemy of a good neighbor.
Unless you are on the ground floor, the vibration caused by vigorous pedaling can be much worse for your downstairs neighbor than common apartment-dwelling noise that is expected. The constant vibration will likely cause a problem that could have easily been avoided.
So, if you have a good relationship with your downstairs neighbor, talk to them about your plans.
You may find that there are consistent times when no one will be home downstairs, or you could agree on a time when exercise would be less intrusive for your neighbor.
For example, perhaps they have a baby who naps from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and they would appreciate quiet during that time. Or maybe they do shift work and would appreciate quiet morning hours.
Working it out ahead of time may be easier than you think, and is always easier than dealing with bad relationships.
No matter what terms you established with your downstairs neighbor, there are still a few ways to make the exercise bike significantly less noisy, and that benefits everyone.
How To Make an Exercise Bike Quieter
If you haven’t bought an exercise bike yet, you’re in luck because you can still get one that makes the least noise possible, but first you should know the difference between recumbent and upright exercise bikes.
Recumbent bikes allow you to lean back and pedal, whereas upright exercise bikes are just like regular bikes, and the pedals are right below you.
Recumbent bikes make significantly less noise because you aren’t sitting on top of the bike, which means you’ll generate less downward force. Therefore there will be less creaking and squeaking.
Also, the type of resistance, whether your bike is a recumbent or resistance one, affects the noise levels significantly.
Here are a few types of resistance used in exercise bikes, listed from quietest to loudest:
- Fluid resistance bikes are the quietest because they rotate a blade inside of fluid to increase resistance.
- Magnetic resistance bikes use magnets to increase or reduce resistance, meaning less maintenance than other types.
- Friction resistance bikes use a heavy flywheel to create resistance against your pedals, and naturally make a lot of noise in the process.
- Air resistance bikes have a huge fan in the front that spins and uses air to make it harder to turn. Of course, a large fan will create the most noise and vibration.
In addition to the resistance mechanism, the drive system can create a lot of noise too. There are two types:
Chains used in exercise bikes are the same as on outdoor bicycles, so you already know that they make more noise than belts do.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Stationary Bike (on Amazon.com) is an excellent choice for apartment dwellers. It uses magnetic resistance combined with a belt for reduced noise.
As a bonus, it has a built-in phone/tablet holder, a performance monitor, and a bottle holder to enhance your exercise sessions.
After purchasing your exercise bike, there are still ways to make it quieter while you’re using it in your apartment.
Put a Mat Under Your Exercise Bike
A thick rubberized mat will keep the bike in place while you are pedaling, which will significantly reduce noise. I recommend a thickness of about 5 – 7 mm (0.20 – 0.28 in) for optimal results.
If you go thicker than that, your exercise bike will rock side to side. Less than that and you won’t get the same noise reduction benefits.
We like the dedicated CyclingDeal Bicycle Mat from Amazon.com. It is made of thick, soft, non-slip material, and it’s large enough to fit any exercise bike.
Alternatively, you can use these Interlocking Floor Mat Tiles (also from Amazon.com). You can use these tiles to create a larger exercise area, and the dense foam will block any noise and vibrations from your bike.
Maintain Your Exercise Bike
Make sure that you keep your exercise bike in good shape because the bike’s moving parts will get loose or break down, causing additional noise if regular maintenance is neglected.
If you bike already squeaks, you can eliminate the noise by doing the following:
- Clean and lubricate the chain/belt, bearings, and flywheel.
- Tighten all loose screws, both inside and outside the bike.
- Replace the chain/belt if it looks worn.
If you don’t want to do it yourself, your local bicycle shop can do this routine maintenance for you.
Check the Apartment Flooring
If you have a loose floorboard below your exercise bike, it can wiggle around and cause even more noise and vibration than the bike, itself, will.
If moving the bike elsewhere isn’t an option, here is a handy YouTube video explaining how to fix your floorboard:
You can use an exercise bike in an apartment as long as it’s quiet enough. Strike an agreement with your downstairs neighbors and use a bike mat to reduce noise and vibration. You should also maintain your bike regularly to reduce noise. Using an exercise bike in an apartment offers challenges, but they are easily overcome when you know these tricks.