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How noisy/convenient is a turbo trainer?

ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
I'm considering getting a turbo trainer for those rainy or very windy days when I want to get an hours riding in but really don't want to kit up and head out on the road.

I've never used a turbo trainer so there's two questions I need feedback on in order to make a sensible decision whether to get a trainer and if so, what type.

1. Reviews of trainers mention noise all the time and how some are quieter than others, but as there are no actual figures given just a subjective assessment I still don't know how noisy they are so I'd appreciate some opinions as follows for a typical middle of the road magnetic or fluid resistance trainer:
a) Can easily watch TV (at a normal volume) or have a conversation while cruising on a typical trainer
b) Would need to wear headphones to watch TV without turning the volume WAY up.
c) Might be noisy enough to bother neighbours if you live in an apartment.
Which is it?:

2. How convenient is it to put your bike on and off the turbo trainer? Are most trainers designed to allow you slot in your bike in a minute or two or is it typically a chore to set up for a session? I've seen comments that suuggest some people have a bike that stays in the trainer and another for their actual cycling. Just wondering if that's because it's a big deal to switch back and forth or if it's perfectly reasonable to have one bike that you use for both cycling and static training, switching over and back on a daily basis.

I'm sure all trainers aren't created equal but I'm just trying to get a feel for what's a reasonable expectation and what's silly, to get me started.

Thanks for any feedback you can give me!

Aidan

Posts

  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    I've got a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. You can watch tv at a reasonable volume but I do need to turn it up slightly when I do, when I really push it though the trainer does make a bit of noise. At that point I couldn't careless about the tv though. Not sure about neighbours, I use mine on the ground floor of my house, and have no connecting neighbours. I use a carbon bike on my trainer with a spare wheel with cassette and trainer tyre fitted. It saves wearing my road tyre and also without the hassle of switching tyres. It's easy to set up and I don't actually leave the bike in the trainer all the time, only when I'm on it.
  • bilirubinbilirubin Posts: 225
    I have the Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro, I use a spare wheel fitted with a cassette and turbo tyre and the following applies.

    Very easy to set up, from flat pack to me mounting the bike ready to ride approx time 2 mins

    Not noisey at all, I train watching sufferfest videos and I do not need to have the volume turned up to hear the sound track although I do tend to crank it up for my own benefit

    This Turbo would not disturb neighbours in adjoining apartments.

    Hope this helps
  • andyrrandyrr Posts: 1,503
    A chore to swap ?
    Not bad if you have either use the same wheel or have a spare with specific tyre installed on it.
    It's normally a case of reduce tension on the roller, release the spindle holding the rear wheel in place and voila. Under 60 seconds I reckon.
    Level of noise obviously varies quite a bit, I also have the KK (as rjh299) and that is known as a fairly quiet unit but even so my wife says she can hear me when I am in my garage and she is in the adjoining room - I think it is just the slight whirring/humming noise, it really isn't loud IMHO. With say a couple of layers of spare carpet,foam matting or similar then that would lessen the noise still more. I can watch a DVD on the laptop at a slightly higher volume but massively so.
  • SCR PedroSCR Pedro Posts: 912
    I have a Tacx Speedmatic, magnetic resistance trainer. I have a wheel with cassette & tyre on it, which I use only with the trainer. In my experience, the tyre makes the biggest difference when it comes to noise. The Tacx tyres claim to be a lot quieter than an old road tyre. I use a cheap Vittoria thing, and it's quiet enough.

    I also put a camping mat under the trainer to dampen the noise/vibrations.

    Pedro
    Giant TCR Advanced II - Reviewed on my homepage
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  • HerbsmanHerbsman Posts: 2,029
    If you can swap a back wheel easily then it's a piece of cake. Mine (Tacx Speedmatic) is very noisy but the house I live in has bare floorboards, which amplifies the vibration. The turbo is much quieter than the Tacx Antares rollers. I use a 10mm camping mat to help absorb the noise but it doesn't make much difference; I have to have my stereo really loud to drown out the noise. It's much quieter if you use it on a solid floor e.g.. in the kitchen
    CAPTAIN BUCKFAST'S CYCLING TIPS - GUARANTEED TO WORK! 1 OUT OF 10 RACING CYCLISTS AGREE!
  • ZachariahZachariah Posts: 782
    I have an Elite CronoMag Elastogel. The great thing about this range is you can pop any bike straight on (they provide a quick-release skewer for those who care about the pristine condition of their usual quick-release levers). No adjustment necessary and a wide range of resistance levels.

    Definitely not quiet though, unless you're going very slow. At reasonable speeds you need a very loud TV to be heard.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Thanks for the info guys. that's exactly what I needed to know!
    I think I'll go for it. Just need to decide which one. I was looking at the Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro and it was on my shortlist. I don't know the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, I'll take look.

    Thanks again,

    Aidan
  • SlimbodsSlimbods Posts: 321
    Amazon seem to be doing cyclops stuff cheap at the mo. I bought a £299 pro mag for £199 last week. Very happy with it, much more 'solid' feeling than my old entry level one.
  • rjh299rjh299 Posts: 721
    The Kurt Kinetic is a good trainer, resistance is adjusted by changing gear and it feels very solid and secure.
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    To me the noise of a turbo is totally irrelevant as no matter how quiet or loud it is it is drowned out by the noise of the industrial fans running at full speed.

    Yeah I could sit and watch tv at a fairly normal level on Kurt Kinect but then I wouldn't be able to do my intervals at sufficient intensity to make them worth while so the fan has to go on and when that's on the volume goes way up.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    doyler78 wrote:
    To me the noise of a turbo is totally irrelevant as no matter how quiet or loud it is it is drowned out by the noise of the industrial fans running at full speed.

    Yeah I could sit and watch tv at a fairly normal level on Kurt Kinect but then I wouldn't be able to do my intervals at sufficient intensity to make them worth while so the fan has to go on and when that's on the volume goes way up.
    For the time being I expect I'll be using it for mostly moderate intensity training on the days I don't get out for a cycle. (I'm very much a novice cyclist at this point)
    If I decide to use it for interval training or other high intensity work, I'm sure my concentration will be on the training not the TV, stereo etc so I don't mind if the noise levels rise at those times.

    Thanks again for the comments!
  • nmcgannnmcgann Posts: 1,780
    doyler78 wrote:
    To me the noise of a turbo is totally irrelevant as no matter how quiet or loud it is it is drowned out by the noise of the industrial fans running at full speed.

    Yeah I could sit and watch tv at a fairly normal level on Kurt Kinect but then I wouldn't be able to do my intervals at sufficient intensity to make them worth while so the fan has to go on and when that's on the volume goes way up.

    :lol: Yes, that's a good point - I have a pedestal fan and another small fan running (2 for peak summer heat - my shed is hot) and that is pretty noisy.
    --
    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • P_TuckerP_Tucker Posts: 1,878
    ai_1 wrote:
    doyler78 wrote:
    To me the noise of a turbo is totally irrelevant as no matter how quiet or loud it is it is drowned out by the noise of the industrial fans running at full speed.

    Yeah I could sit and watch tv at a fairly normal level on Kurt Kinect but then I wouldn't be able to do my intervals at sufficient intensity to make them worth while so the fan has to go on and when that's on the volume goes way up.
    For the time being I expect I'll be using it for mostly moderate intensity training on the days I don't get out for a cycle. (I'm very much a novice cyclist at this point)
    If I decide to use it for interval training or other high intensity work, I'm sure my concentration will be on the training not the TV, stereo etc so I don't mind if the noise levels rise at those times.

    Thanks again for the comments!

    Indeed. When training hard power ballads are a must.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    More expertise needed!

    I'm considering buying one of the following:

    - Cycleops Supermagneto Pro
    - Cycleops Jet Fluid Pro
    - Kurt Kinetic Road Machine
    - Kurt Kinetic Rock & Roll


    The first 3 are all around £250 but I suspect if I go for a cheaper one I'd soon be wishing I hadn't. I like the idea of the Rock & Roll but it's about £400 so I think I'll have to rule it out. If you've seen better prices do let me know!

    What's the criteria for choosing fluid over magnetic resistance?
    Am I correct to think fluid gives a better resistance "feel". Whereas magnetic is simpler and quieter but not as good at producing realistic feeling resistance?

    I think the Supermagneto Pro is looking like the lead candidate. There's a huge variety of comments on Jet Fluid Pro reviews regarding noise - some say it's extremely quiet and others say it's loud - makes me nervous!
    The Road Machine looks good but it's not as easy to find as the CycleOps ones.

    Anyone able to offer advice on choosing between these?
    In order of importance my criteria are:

    - Noise
    - Feels good to ride
    - Stability
    - Price & availability

    Aidan
  • kfinlaykfinlay Posts: 763
    My vote for Jet Fluid Pro as it was highly recommended by many on here and gives a realistic feel - think about being on 4-5% hill - so try going up that in top gear then it's hard to get a high cadence but lower the gear so you can ramp up the cadence. I run on the big ring at the front and use cogs 3-9 of my 9 speed cassette for 40-100% intensity.
    A must for turbos are the Sufferfest videos too - can't have you taking it too easy ;)
    Kev

    Summer Bike: Colnago C60
    Winter Bike: Vitus Alios
    MTB: 1997 GT Karakorum
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Here's all the info you could ever want to know:

    http://biketrainerreviews.com/
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Thanks for the comments and links.

    After a little more reading the Kurt Kinetic Pro is top of my list (may switch to a Road Machine if the Pro works out a lot more expensive). However, I'm having difficulty finding it for sale this side of the Atlantic. Vanillabikes.com and Biketart.com have the Road Machine and Amazon has the Rock and Roll but most of the sites I'm familiar with don't seem to stock the Kurt Kinetic trainers and I don't see the Pro anywhere.
    Anyone able to recommend any other sources especially anywhere that stocks the Pro? Anyone got experience dealing with Vanillabikes or Biketart?

    Aidan

    http://www.vanillabikes.com/Kurt-Kineti ... g-Machines
    http://www.biketart.com/collections/turbo-trainers
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    Here's the full dealer list for the UK:

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/dealers.php?code=gb

    There doesn't seem to be any of the major online retailers on that list so I would be looking for something fairly local where I could go and buy directly. Check the above out and se if you have anyone local.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I use a Minoura M70-R and mainly for reversed interval training. I have a spare wheel for my winter bike fitted with a turbo tyre to a) avoid wearing out road tyres and b) stop al the little bits of rubber flying around when the tyre gets hot. It's also a damn sight easier to just swap a wheel over than it is to swap tyres.

    Set up wise, mine's in the garage as it does get noisy. I live in a detached house but my family wouldn't be impressed with the noise and censored that comes off a tyre on a turbo if it were in the house. I have a large fan to help with cooling plus I can keep the side door open to let in some fresh air. I also have music and TV systems in there for me to listen to or follow a training DVD. In an apartment, unless it's a big old converted industrial unit, I'd say your neighbours above and below are going to get pissed off with the noise very quickly.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    doyler78 wrote:
    Here's the full dealer list for the UK:

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/dealers.php?code=gb

    There doesn't seem to be any of the major online retailers on that list so I would be looking for something fairly local where I could go and buy directly. Check the above out and se if you have anyone local.

    Thanks for this. I found http://www.thebikechain.co.uk from the dealer list and have ordered a Kurt Kinetic Pro Machine (£269). Post and packaging is £15 to Ireland which seems pretty good to me.
    I should have it in a few days and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

    I appreciate all the assistance guys.

    Aidan
  • I've got a pretty old Cycleops Wind Turbo and it's noisy at anything over a gentle spin, added to that the noise from the fan to keep me cool, so I have to turn the TV up pretty loud to hear it. I haven’t had any complaints from the neighbours (I live in a terrace) yet but the wife won't let me use it upstairs if she's down in the living room so I guess it must be quite loud.

    If your looking for some "motivation" I can highly recommend the Sufferfest range, really good workouts.

    On a similar note does anyone know if it's ok to use a carbon bike in a Turbo, someone I know suggested its not due to the vibrations, I've got my old Trek in it at the moment but want to ship that abroad and don't want to wreck my Carbon?
  • manxshredmanxshred Posts: 287
    I've just dislocated my thumb which broke off a small tendon so my hand is in a cast for the next 6 - 8 weeks. That takes me out of most of my events I have been training for but I need to keep moving as I don't want to lose all of my fitness. I have a Tacx Satori mag trainer but am thinking of upgrading to a Tacx Flow to train with Power, or a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll.

    I really like the idea of the KK Rock and Roll, but it is hard to justify the cost over the Tacx Flow. Dunno what to do really...
    Road - Volagi Liscio
    MTB - Santa Cruz TallBoy
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    manxshred wrote:
    I've just dislocated my thumb which broke off a small tendon so my hand is in a cast for the next 6 - 8 weeks. That takes me out of most of my events I have been training for but I need to keep moving as I don't want to lose all of my fitness. I have a Tacx Satori mag trainer but am thinking of upgrading to a Tacx Flow to train with Power, or a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll.

    I really like the idea of the KK Rock and Roll, but it is hard to justify the cost over the Tacx Flow. Dunno what to do really...
    I contemplated the Rock and Roll too but decided it was too much to spend, especially when I'm new to trainers and don't know how often I'll use it. The resistance unit is the same on the KK Road Machine and the Rock and Roll so if you got a Road Machine now and decided you wanted to upgrade to a Rock and Roll later that might be possible If they sell the frame without the resistance unit.

    Aidan
  • manxshredmanxshred Posts: 287
    The thing is I will be using it for the next 6 weeks plus I do use the trainer over winter. It is just the rock and roll vs Power measurement.... Although you can do the power using the KK computer, it means extra wires and expense.
    Road - Volagi Liscio
    MTB - Santa Cruz TallBoy
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    manxshred wrote:
    The thing is I will be using it for the next 6 weeks plus I do use the trainer over winter. It is just the rock and roll vs Power measurement.... Although you can do the power using the KK computer, it means extra wires and expense.

    No need for the computer, so long as you have one that already measures speed, as you can you use this guide to work out what speed you need to hold for a given reported power number. Of course not deadly accurate but the computer that you are talking about only uses that formula in the doc to do the calcs for you so a bit of a waste of money.

    http://www.kurtkinetic.com/powercurve.php
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