Is doing WOs in the small ring quieter?

For the first time in 8 years I got a knock at the door during my last 12min block tonight. Its maybe just me being paranoid but my worry is that I was being too noisy. I should have answered it but I had cleared a space in my corridor by putting things behind the front door. The biggest difference I can see in my training is that for the last month I have been doing my training in the big ring. Would using the small ring on a DD Smart trainer be quieter?

I am maybe being paranoid (as usual) whilst there is an annoying click caused by a leg imbalance I think. I am in a ground floor apartment and I think the fans are louder.

  • YES, in almost every instance this is true. The typical noise level of any trainer increases as the system spins at higher RPM. Some trainers like the older Kickr’s (2017 and older) in particular get super loud at faster speeds because of the cogged belt & pulley system. The newer Kickr’s (2018+) and others with the ribbed style belts & pulleys are more quiet overall, but even more so at the higher speeds. Then you look at something like the Neo and it is more about the bike than the trainer. So the trainer in use can make a big difference to start.

  • This noise & speed issue applies to the trainer itself but also includes your own drivetrain on the bike. Every piece in motion emits some sound and vibration, and when you speed that up, it all gets louder. This will vary a bit with the specific gear in use, chain angle, and even condition of the drivetrain in terms of lube, cleanliness and wear state.

  • It’s a common reason that some people use the lower gearing (like smaller ring on road bikes), to keep the trainer revs lower and noise to a minimum.


I’ve never ridden the new Trainer Bikes, are they silent? I know the Peloton is. Wondering about the SB, Kicker, and Neo bikes.

I can only go by the reviews and comments from users here, but most of the dedicated smart bikes are generally quiet. Neo Bike and Stages SB20 in particular are really low, and I think the Wattbike Atom is also very quiet.

The Kickr Bike apparently has a bit of a “whine” at higher revs that is more pronounced compared to the others from what I read and see in the reviews.

For starters, they lack a traditional drivetrain with chain & gears, so they eliminate a half the noise creation right there. Then most of them use a ribbed belt & pulleys that are very quite, and that us often housed in a shroud that keeps sound down too.

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My Mrs says she could hear the noise and vibrations through the house in the big ring. She said it was barely noticeable in the small ring. My Neo is super quiet otherwise.


I think you just need to skip the battlecry next time!


Yes, that’s the case for virtually every trainer. Noise is a function of flywheel speed, and if you are in a bigger gear, the flywheel is turning more quickly, hence, your setup is noisier. I went from a fluid wheel-off dumb trainer to an Elite Suite smart trainer. I thought the Suito was much quieter, until I tried running them at comparable flywheel speeds. But I can run my Suito at much lower flywheel speeds (i. e. in easier gears to get the same resistance).

So if you want to avoid knocks on your door from unhappy neighbors, switch to the small ring and stay in a relatively small gear.

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Yes, on a smart bike you have one “true” gear. But my point is that resistance is not a function of cadence, in erg mode it is externally controlled. So you could do 300 W at 50 rpm or 300 W at 120 rpm, the former would be quieter than the latter.

Likewise, you could do 100 W at 90 rpm or 500 W at 90 rpm, the noise level, your panting excluded, would be the same.

On a fluid trainer, the resistance (= wattage) increases non-linearly with flywheel speed. So 600 W would always be louder than 100 W, no matter your cadence. That is because the flywheel speed at 600 W would be higher than at 100 W.

And if you have a bike plus a smart trainer, you can change gears to change the relation between flywheel speed and cadence. Going to an easier gear means your flywheel turns more slowly, and thus, your trainer is quieter.

I hope that makes sense.


I never thought of this before, allways thought “big ring= i’m stronger”…
No wonder my SO said she wakes up from the noise in the mornings :sweat_smile:

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My (relatively new) SB20 is freakishly quiet.

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The intro of Ray’s latest vid is fairly good timing for me (a Suito user) and echoes everyone above. I definitely should go back to the wee ring, Thanks everybody :+1:

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Yeah, the rollers looked very interesting … until I heard them. No way I can put them in my apartment. I will keep my Suito then (like you).


Definitely quieter in small ring (Elite Suito) which is main reason I use ERG for workouts.
Even with ear buds I can still hear the flywheel trying to take off when I use RGT for races/fun.

Then there’s the whole small vs big ring ERG training thread where you may or may not gain more strength training in small ring due to less flywheel momentum.
In the end if there’s training benefits then good stuff, and if not I value the lower noise output.

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Also, did you see the crazy bouncing of the rear end after he sprinted?

I was thinking initially maybe I could use my feedback sports warm up rollers instead of the Suito. Although they’re different from what Ray has tested, not dramatically so, I think I’ll stick with my Suito in my apartment too :+1:

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Did you see the crazy lack of movement on the Snap/Core/V5? Totally unrealistic. On the Rollr he sprinted up to 124rpm, and sat down at 120rpm. My own experience sprinting outside is that sitting down at 120-160rpm there is usually some level of bouncing. I’m usually bounce-free up to 105-110rpm.

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I hear you, but this was the bike kicking up, not his body moving with the torque. It was like a bull trying to buck him forward.

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Sure, and at least part of that is the key difference with a bike on the Rollr that can freely lift, compared to any other of the options where the bike is literally anchored to the floor by rigid connection to a 40+ lb trainer.

That’s not a small difference and must be considered.

Kinda get your point, but I get bike kicking and moving when jumping out of the saddle and putting down 1000W, and after hitting 30mph and sitting down at high rpms.

Was talking to the LBS manager yesterday and he experiences the same while sprinting (we were talking about his first P12 Criterium on Monday).

While it may not be completely ‘outside realistic’ on the Rollr, its more realistic than the rigid fixed non-movement on Core and V5.

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Interesting. I’ve never had a bike do that to me outside unless I was on a hardtail mtb going over roots. I guess it’s my weak sprint legs!

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