One of the most common concerns of people wanting to buy an air bike is the noise it creates. How loud is it and
How much noise a fan bike creates depends on the specific model and how hard you work out on it. Most air bikes create at most 70 Db to 75 Db of noise which is comparable to a vacuum cleaner or busy street. This level and type of noise is unlikely to be heard by neighbors or be distracting for other people in the house.
For more information on how loud air bikes are and some tips on what you can do to make them quieter, keep reading.
How loud is an air bike?
So how loud is an air bike exactly? Well, since the bulk of the noise comes from the fan blade moving, it really depends on how hard you’re training and therefore how fast you’re spinning the fan blade. Also, the specific model of fan bike has a big impact.
The faster the fan blade spins, the more noise it creates. So how much noise does an average fan bike make when working out at a relatively high intensity?
Many people report a peak noise level of 70 Db. to 75 Db. This is comparable to a busy street or vacuum cleaner. This is certainly not quiet and you’ll have to turn up the TV to understand dialogue.
It’s not at a level where prolonged exposure will cause hearing damage but it can be a bit tiring.
At lower intensity levels, the noise will drop off considerably and be more like a normal floor fan at a medium setting.
Where your bike directs the air also has an impact on how loud it sounds. Some bikes direct some of the air towards the user. That’s good to cool down but you’ll hear a bit of extra noise. Usually it’s easy enough to block those vents if necessary.
Type of noise
Decibels only tell half the story. It tells you how loud a noise is. However, the frequency of the sound also matters for how loud a sound is perceived.
There are two things that are good about the noise a fan bike creates;
- It’s constant
- It’s a ‘broad’ noise
Unlike a treadmill, there is no impact from feet hitting the belt or something similar. Since the motion on a fan bike (or any bike for that matter) is smooth, you don’t have any rhythmic impact. This makes it much easier for your brain to ‘filter out’ the noise. You’ll still hear it but it isn’t as distracting. Think about having a noisy street outside your house. After a while, you’ll start noticing it less and less.
The other point is that it’s a broad noise. It’s not a specific frequency like a beep but more spread out over different frequencies. This makes the noise less irritating. Most people don’t perceive air bikes to make an overly irritating or intruding noise although they are clearly audible when used.
Is an air bike too loud to use at home?
Knowing all that information, is an air bike suitable for a home gym or at least to be used at home?
It depends on a few factors;
- Your noise tolerance
- Room size
Some people are just more sensitive to noise than others. For some people any noise is too much. If that’s you, a fan bike might not be the correct choice. But, also keep in mind you don’t have to sleep next to it. During a workout, you’ll probably not notice it as much as when sleeping. Think about a commercial gym. Most people won’t have any problem working out there even though it can be pretty noisy.
In smaller rooms the noise will seem louder than in bigger rooms. Noise reflects back to you and has less space to dissipate in a small room. So while the amount of noise produced at the source is the same, it can sound louder in a small space. If this is a problem for you, you can try to add soft, heavy materials to the room like carpet, heavy curtains or even specialized noise insulation material.
Can an air bike bother the neighbors?
What about the neighbors? Could they be disturbed by you going hard on a fan bike?
If your walls are thicker than cardboard, it’s quite unlikely that your neighbors will ever notice you even have one in your house. The most likely noises to be transmitted to your neighbors ears are low frequencies and impacts.
Walls are heavy. Heavy objects need more force to move than lighter objects. Noise is vibrating air and moving air has a certain force behind it. This force can slightly move the walls or floor and transfer to the space next to it. However, low frequencies carry more weight and are therefore more likely to move the wall enough to be audible on the other side. An air bike doesn’t create many low frequencies so this isn’t really an issue.
Since the motions on a stationary exercise bike are smooth and don’t create impacts it’s unlikely that your neighbors will hear anything. The only thing that might cause some noise is the vibration. Using a fan bike does vibrate it and these vibrations can be transferred to the downstairs neighbors.
In short; A fan exercise bike is very unlikely to bother your neighbors even when working out hard. Adjacent rooms in the same house might hear something but it’ll be pretty minor.
Can you make an air bike quieter?
Are there some ways to make an air bike quieter so you can be sure your neighbors don’t hear anything and even make it a bit quieter for yourself?
There are a few things you can do:
The biggest source of noise is going to be the wind (and therefore air vibrations) coming from the moving fan. Having something around the fan will keep some of the noise inside.
Some models have special shrouds available that fit perfectly around the fan of your bike. If so, that’s great. They probably work the best.
However, the majority of this type of exercise bikes don’t have the option to add something like this from the manufacturer. In that case, you can just built something out of cardboard. It might not look nice but if it works it works.
One drawback of doing this is that you will probably create extra resistance. If the air doesn’t have anywhere to go, you’ll have to push it through the cracks. This creates extra resistance for you.
If this extra resistance becomes a problem, you can try to make some holes in your cardboard. Try to keep the holes reasonably small so the noise is still largely contained. Also, try to make the holes point away from you. The front of the bike would be a good option.
If the problem is that vibrations are transferred to the room below your air bike, it’s a good idea to put a rubber mat under it.
The rubber mat will absorb many of the vibrations so they don’t get transferred to the floor below. Having a rubber mat under your exercise equipment is always a good idea for other reasons than noise. A rubber mat is much easier to keep clean and hygienic. It also helps keep dust and dirt off of your equipment as well.
This is hard to do after you’ve bought the bike but; a belt driven stationary bike will always be a little bit quieter than a chain driven exercise bike. Chains make a little bit of noise when they roll over the sprockets and if they don’t get maintained properly, they get noisier.
A belt drive is almost completely quiet and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.
The Schwinn Airdyne series is the best line of air bikes with a drive belt instead of a chain. Check the Schwinn Airdyne out on Amazon.
Another thing you can do before you buy is to select a model with a bigger fan blade. Bigger fans move more air in a single rotation. That means it costs more energy to rotate it than a smaller fan.
A slower rotating fan will create a little less noise than a faster small fan. Also, bigger fan blades tend to create noise with a little lower frequencies which is a more pleasant sound to most people.
If you’re planning to watch TV or listen to podcasts/audiobooks or something similar during your workout, it’s best to use headphones. In-ear or even noise canceling headphones would be best. Because of the broad range of frequencies a fan bike produces, it quickly drowns out other sources of sound and makes them difficult to understand.
The noise level isn’t high enough to produce hearing damage so it’s not necessary for that reason.