Paper thin floors and rollers

Hey folks:

Asking for suggestions here - just moved into a wooden building and the floor is pretty thin. Despite having a thick matt my downstairs neighbor still came upstairs and complained that my elite rollers were making her “head-splitting”. For the long term benefit of my neighbor relationships, I’m looking into options to:

  1. Use more insulation material underneath the roller to avoid the sound/vibration transfer - would a wooden palate kind of set up on top of the mat do the trick?

  2. Looking into buying the QUIETEST smart trainer in the world - what are people’s recommendations on this?

Right now I’m using my feedback omnium since it’s pretty quiet - the only issue is doing sweet spot intervals on it is dreadful due to low inertia… It’s like pedaling in the mud. Endurance rides and on and offs are a lot easier mostly due to intensity/durations…

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Saris H3 is much quieter than previous versions, but the sound will still travel through a wood floor to the apartment below.

Acoustics is my profession. If you’re in a wooden building, you pretty much have to get the tacx neo. Even still, some noise in the form of regenerated noise from vibration will make it through the floor.

Any trainer you get could be effectively isolated with a gym mat, but it’s work noting that unless the set-up is completely silent, there will always be some form of regenerated noise/vibration involved.

Worth keeping in mind that this also applies for any other noise and vibration activities you may partake in on a semi-regular basis (if you know what I mean). You’re about to get to know your neighbour quite well I would say.

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You should forget about rollers. I also would not recommend the Omnium, IMHO its primary purpose is to have a mobile trainer for e. g. pre-race warm-ups.

No matter what trainer you end up getting (the Tacx Neo is a good option, though), you should get a rubber mat and put that below your training mat. Depending on the trainer, you could also go one step further and rest the trainer on another shock-absorbent layer. That’s what I did: I bought three cheap, small wooden cutting boards and carpet tiles. The carpet tiles filter out a lot of vibrations and the cutting boards distribute the weight across a larger area of my trainer mat (and rubber mat below it).

As far as trainers are concerned, the cheapest nigh-silent smart trainer is the Kickr Core. The big Kickr and the Tacx Neo 2T are also very silent, but more expensive. In case you don’t have enough money for either, get an Elite direct drive fluid trainer. All of them are so quiet that your drive train and fans will typically be louder.

Would something like the Kickr with a real flywheel cause too much vibration then?

Thinking along the line of having a 2 inch gym matt under my bike matt would that help?

I had a similar issue, so I ductaped 2 1,5inch foam mats together to put directly under my direct drive trainer wich in turn is placed on a training mat. This solved the problem with serious noise.

Yep 2-inch pads ordered!

With wooden floors, even ‘silent’ trainers like the Kickr will transmit noise. I’ve got a 2018 Kickr and have had to get a 10mm thick anti vibration mat designed for washing machines to put underneath it. Even with that, it’s still audible. It’s kind of a low frequency humming noise which is still a bit annoying (according to my wife at least, it’s silent when you’re in the room with it!)

You might be better trying to work out a schedule with your neighbour so you can train when they’re not around (although that’s a lot more difficult in a pandemic!)

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Gym mats will help a little bit with the regenerated noise, which is noise that turns from vibration into audible sound downstairs. You have two issues though. There is the fact that the gym mats are obviously not designed to mitigate the specific vibration frequencies of your trainer, as well as the fact that you are fundamentally not addressing the airborne noise (so just the noise that travel through the partition).

Switching to a Neo will remove the airborne component, because they are effectively silent. However, the oscillation of any moving parts will generate vibration which will transfer directly into the timber from of the building. Gym mats are likely to be too broadband in their vibration absorption to do a great deal, but they will help a little.

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You can’t use rollers in an apartment. I would have thought this was common knowledge?

It’s not the noise, it’s the vibration. Especially if the building starts to resonate.

Only an low-vibration direct drive smart trainer is suitable for use in a wooden apartment building. And you still need to isolate it with a pad thats just dense enough to not compress but also soft enough to absorb the vibrations. And avoid training at absurd hours.

The ultimate solution is apparently to use several layers of material each with a different density to absorb different frequencies of vibrations and prevent the trainer from bottoming out on the floor.

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I would do as mentioned and put some absorbing/insulation layers under something like a core/kickr/Neo will reduce a lot of noise. It might also be worth scheduling an agreeable time with your neighbors and get it in writing.

Depending on where you are carpet stores sell excess carpet squares for pretty cheap you could put that under a small board and a gym mat to absorb some sound

I’ve seen quite a few people recommend the horse stall mats as they are super thick rubber and the right size for a trainer or treadmill setup. A warning though as many have reported it can take weeks or months for the “rubber” smell to go away. But it is a beast and might help absorb a lot of vibrations to help out.

Lesson learned: should’ve moved into a ground floor unit.

I have a Neo1 (currently broken) and a new Kickr Core and am astonished how quiet the Core is. The loudest part by much is now the drive train.

Even a Core has vibrations, though, especially if you run it at a high flywheel speed.

Gotta isolate unless you are on a concrete floor.

Cannot hear them/make them out when the headwind is on…