8 Tips for Improving Bike Comfort
Riding comfortably is an important aspect to enjoying your bike and getting outside more. But, an uncomfortable bike is far too common. While it may be the size of your bike that is causing issues, there are other reasons for your discomfort that can easily be mended. Here are a few tips to improve the comfort of your ride.
Find the right frame.
The first step to a comfortable bike is the right sized frame. Do you still have the same frame you had as a teenager? Have you grown in height over the past few years? The simplest way to measure if your bike frame is correctly sized is by saddling the frame. When you are saddling over the top tube you want there to be about 1 inch of space between your body and the top tube, or if you lift the bike into you, you should have about 1 inch of space between the tire and ground. If you wear cycling shoes, you should wear these when measuring your frame.
Adjust the seat height.
Adjusting the seat height is easiest to do by testing it out. It is best to use a bike trainer (a piece of equipment that mounts your back wheel so that you can pedal while the bike remains stationary). Otherwise find a friend to help you stay stationary while you mount your bike. After you’ve mounted your bike, put your heels on the pedals. Pedal backwards. When your leg starts to straighten, it should only have a very slight bend at the knee, you should be aiming to have close to full leg extension with a very small knee bend. If your hips rock from side to side while pedaling than your seat is too high. Adjust the seat higher or lower until you’ve reached the proper height that matches these requirements.
Replace your handlebar tape.
If your handlebar tape is falling off, or very thin, this can cause discomfort in your grip. There are many different types of handlebar tape that can add cushion and comfort. It’s easy to replace your handlebar tape on your own, or take it to your nearest bike shop for a quick fix.
Adjust the handlebars.
The proper positioning of handlebars should be fixed so that your back is at a 45 degree angle when riding. Adjust the handlebars higher for more comfort but less aerodynamics or vice versa. The handlebars should also be as wide as your shoulders.
Find the right saddle.
Add comfort to your saddle with a cushioned saddle cover. There are also many different types of saddles that can prove to be more comfortable, including wider or more padded options.
Level your saddle.
Aside from having a comfortable saddle, it should also be level to the ground. Some also find it comfortable to point the nose slightly upwards, but overall, the position of the saddle should be straight and pointed forward.
Wear the right gear.
Cycling shorts, compression apparel, and cycling shoes can increase comfort in your ride. Cycling shorts will prevent chaffing and help to repel moisture. Compression apparel also helps with muscle support and circulation.
Get bigger tires.
While they may limit your speed by a bit, bigger tires can dramatically increase your comfort. They will soften your ride and increase your balance.