12 best ways to make your bike more comfortable – smooth travel

12 best ways to make your bike more comfortable - smooth travel

This article concludes 12 best ways to make your bike more comfortable to ride.

Riding a bike is a wonderful thing, but discomfort due to substandard bike fit or setup will completely ruin this enjoyment.

However, there are many things you can do to make your bike more comfortable to ride, from adjusting your body position to carefully selecting components.

One change may be enough, or a combination of changes may do the trick.

No matter how complex the problem is, this article will help you identify and solve the problems and pave the way for a more comfortable, enjoyable and faster ride.

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    12 best ways to make your bike more comfortable to ride

    Here are the 12 best ways to make your bike more comfortable to ride:

    1. Adjust your handlebar height
    2. Try to change your handlebar to suitable one
    3. Adjust your seat position and height
    4. Adjust your cleat position
    5. Sort control positions and joystick ranges
    6. Replace the handlebar straps or grips
    7. Consider wider tires
    8. Lower tire pressure
    9. Try different kinds of bike seats
    10. Add suspension
    11. Improve your riding skills
    12. Consider cycling outfit

    Adjust your handlebar height

    Setting handlebar height is a balancing act between aerodynamics and comfort. The aerodynamic cycling is very important.

    First of all, handlebar height changes a lot of factors that can affect ride comfort.

    Obviously, how much you bend over while riding, and excessive bending can lead to lower back, shoulder, arm, hands, and neck pain.

    On the other hand, if more of a person’s weight is centered on the front wheel, the bike may handle, climb, and brake better and may be more aerodynamic, so there are tradeoffs to be made.

    Secondly, changing the handlebar height affects the distance from the seat to the handlebars, so it may be necessary to change the handlebar length to compensate, although the change is usually small.

    Handlebar height can be easily adjusted. It is worth considering fitting risers or flipping existing risers if you want the bar to be higher than the steerer tube allows.

    Adjust your handlebar height

    Try to change the handlebar to suitable one

    Installing comfortable road bike handlebars

    A flat top reduces pressure points and distributes weight more evenly. With road bikes, the shape of the handlebars needs to be comfortable for you in all grip positions.

    Most road bike handlebar designs now feature a shallow drop, making it easier to ride for longer periods of time – a necessary feature to make the most of your road bike.

    If your hands are uncomfortable, look for handlebars with a flat top rather than the traditional rounded profile, as it distributes pressure more evenly when riding on the top.

    Some handlebars have a forward or backward sweep, which can change the position of your wrists, arms and shoulders. A back sweep will bring your elbows more inward.

    Carbon handlebars are more compliant than aluminum handlebars and can be designed with built-in flex. You can also check the bike frame materials for your reference.

    Installing comfortable road bike handlebars

    Carbon handlebars are an expensive upgrade that helps with vibration dampening, but for increased comfort, a single carbon handlebar may not be the answer as it can limit adjustability, especially the handlebar angle.

    As with mountain bike handlebars, gravel bike handlebars are getting wider.

    This may also apply to road bikes as it provides more leverage, so you don’t have to hold onto the handlebars to steer, but as with mountain bikes, you may find it can cause discomfort in your hands, wrists, arms or shoulders, and may also require shorter handlebars to compensate.

    Also note that the extreme spread of some gravel bike handlebars can put the brake lever hood in a position that may be less comfortable if riding on the hood.

    Handlebars are designed to be most ergonomic in a near vertical position.

    Installing comfortable mountain bike handlebars

    The shape of your handlebars can change the riding experience on a mountain bike.

    On a mountain bike, the handlebars need to match your riding style in terms of width, elevation and swept back. The shape of the handlebars can also affect the way the bike handles itself.

    This is because it changes your position on the bike and steering geometry. Therefore, switching handlebar positions is a way to fine-tune your posture if it feels uncomfortable.

    The amount of backwash will also dictate the position of your hands and arms.

    Some riders find that handlebars with more swept back help reduce hand, wrist and arm discomfort.

    If installing wider handlebars or handlebars with different degrees of swept back, it may be necessary to swap the handlebars for shorter ones, as this will increase the effective reach.

    Installing comfortable mountain bike handlebars

    Adjust seat position and height

    The height of the bike seat is one of several ways to change the seat position.

    First of all, there is a lot of adjustability in the bike seat position and it is easy to make a mistake. Seat height affects how far you can extend your legs while riding.

    Next, the efficiency of pedaling and the amount of pressure exerted on muscles and joints when transferring power.

    You also need to make sure that the front and rear saddles are positioned correctly so that they sit above and not too far from the pedals.

    Finally, the angle of the saddle also needs to be correct so that you don’t keep sliding forward or backward while riding and need to pull yourself back to the center of the saddle. How to choose your best bike saddle?

    Adjust seat position and height

    Adjust the cleat position

    Adjusting the position of the locking tabs allows you to adjust the width of the stand-off distance on the bike.

    Because clipless pedal cleats limit the amount of foot movement a rider can have while riding, this can lead to sore leg muscles and joints if done incorrectly.

    All bikes of the same model have the same width bottom bracket whether riding a small 44 cm frame or a large 64 cm frame.

    This does not provide the optimal posture width (distance between feet) for everyone in this size range.

    There are only two ways to increase the width of your posture: mount the locking tabs more inboard, or look for pedals with longer axles.

    For example, Shimano Ultegra and Dura-Ace pedals offer a 4 mm road pedal axle option.

    Many brands’ pedals used to offer an axle length option as well, but are now standardized to one length, although with a lot of lateral adjustability for the position of their cleats.

    Adjust the cleat position

    Sort control positions and joystick ranges

    Knowing the correct lever position will help minimize hand fatigue.

    If you have to extend your fingers to reach the shifter or brake lever, your hands may get tired, especially when braking downhill for long periods of time.

    For mountain bike brake levers, it is usually desirable to have the levers approximately parallel to the ground.

    Rolling them too far forward will cause your wrists to bend unnaturally and will make it harder to control the bike in steep terrain.

    On road bikes, most people want control levers to be positioned so that they form a flat top surface that is a continuation of the curved top of the handlebars.

    This means that you won’t bend up or down too much when you rest your wrists on the hood.

    Sort control positions and joystick ranges

    The reach of the brake levers also needs to be adjusted so that you can reach them easily, which can be a particular problem if you have small hands.

    Many mountain bike grips feature tool-free reach adjustment.

    Both mountain bike and road bike brake levers have built-in reach adjustments, usually via a screw on the lever to adjust the reach.

    This ensures that the lever will not bottom out when fully used. Steering hydraulic disc brakes allow for a lighter, less strenuous braking action than older cable operated brakes.

    If it is desirable to be able to use the shifter without too much stress on the hands, a well-set, clean and lubricated chain pivot and cable pull will help reduce the stress on the hands.

    Although expensive, electronic switching is certainly the ultimate choice in this regard.

    Replace the handlebar straps or grips

    High-quality mountain bike grips can increase shock absorption. Hand comfort can be greatly improved by upgrading the handlebar tape or grip.

    In both cases, the quality of new bikes varies. Some brands install nice plush tape or ergonomic grips on their bikes, while for others it’s an easy item to save and save some money.

    The best mountain bike grip will add shock absorption and grip to your mountain bike.

    Most quality grips will lock so you don’t have to worry about them spinning in your hands. If you have large hands, a longer grip may also help with comfort.

    Replacing the handlebar tape, or even doubling it, can help reduce road vibration.

    Replace the handlebar straps or grips

    When it comes to bent handlebars, the best handlebar tape has the same impact on comfort as upgrading grip on flat handlebars, adding extra grip and vibration dampening.

    Quality handlebar tape is highly technical and usually features a core designed to increase comfort, wrapped in a grippy outer layer.

    The thickness of the tape varies greatly from one to the next – thicker tapes are softer than thinner ones.

    Gel pads, located below the tape, can also be purchased to provide additional cushioning.

    Consider wider tires

    Wider tires will help reduce any feedback from the track or road. Installing wider tires is an easy way to improve comfort on your bike, especially on road and mountain bikes.

    In road riding and mountain biking, tires have been getting wider over the years, with 28mm tires now standard on new road bikes, replacing the 23mm tires just a few years ago.

    Mountain bike tires are also getting wider, and it’s rare to see a tire smaller than today’s 2.4-inch size.

    It’s not uncommon to see wider tires on some electric hybrid bikes to improve comfort.

    Many hybrid commuter bikes now come with rubber 35 mm or wider, and most gravel bikes can be fitted with gravel tires 40 mm or wider.

    The added bulk of wider tires will help isolate you from imperfections and bumps in the road or track.

    More expensive tires – especially the best road bike tires – are also usually more compliant than cheaper tires, with casings that have a higher thread count, better quality rubber, and less stiffness, both of which make for a more comfortable ride.

    Bike brands tend to be more conservative about how wide they can travel, and it’s usually possible to fit wider tires in the frame without clearance issues.

    Consider wider tires

    Lower tire pressure

    Lower tire pressure can greatly improve the comfort of your bike.

    Why bike or e-bike tire pressure matters? When tyres have more air in them, wider tyres can run at lower pressures without the risk of the rim bottoming out.

    Lower pressures mean that tires can deform around road imperfections instead of bouncing off them.

    This reduces the amount of vibration transmitted to you through the bike.

    The recommended tire pressures for a road bike or mountain bike are lower than they used to be.

    This is partly due to running wider tyres on wider rims, but it is also due to a general shift in mindset across all disciplines.

    Lower tire pressure

    Try different kinds of bike seats

    Bike seats are designed to meet different uses and sciatic anatomies.

    There are hundreds of seats to choose from, designed to cater for different uses and, more importantly, different sitting bone anatomies.

    So, if a bike seat is not right for you, then it is worth considering replacing it.

    This doesn’t have to be expensive because seat brands usually offer the same seat profile at different price points, so if you’re not weight conscious, you can buy a new seat relatively cheaply.

    If you like it, you can always upgrade to a more expensive model later. 3D printed seats are becoming more and more popular, with some companies using your seat bone measurements for custom designs.

    Most bike seat brands have their own fitness systems. If you don’t get along with the seat, seat selection is also an issue that professional bike fitting usually addresses as well.

    Try different kinds of bike seats

    Add suspension

    If riding a road or gravel bike, there are a variety of components that can be purchased that are specifically designed to increase shock absorption.

    You can also check what’s the difference between all-road bike vs gravel bike?

    Carbon seats are usually more comfortable than alloy seats.

    First, carbon seat posts are generally more compliant than alloy seat posts.

    Narrower diameter seat posts will also flex more than wider ones, so if a road bike has a 31.6mm seatpost, replacing it with a 27.2mm seatpost with a spacer at the top of the seat tube may provide more seat comfort.

    In addition to this, there is a proprietary seatpost design that can be fitted to any bike designed for a 31.6mm seatpost.

    Add suspension

    Improve riding skills

    You can ride a bike more comfortably just by practicing your riding skills.

    Learning how to ride a bike, such as learning how to cross a curb and use the brakes effectively, will improve riding comfort.

    As one’s riding skills improve, one will have a better understanding of how to maintain a comfortable and relaxed riding position, which will help alleviate any aches and pains while riding a bicycle.

    Even learning to ride with your hands off the handlebars will increase comfort as you will see how core body strength can take weight off your hands, reducing arm and hand pain.

    Improve riding skills

    Consider cycling outfit

    What you wear can also affect bike comfort. Cycling discomfort isn’t always about the bike, sometimes it’s about what you’re wearing.

    If you feel sore after a ride, it’s worth considering whether you’re doing the right thing with your own cycling outfit.

    Wear padded shorts

    Bib shorts are widely considered to be the most comfortable riding shorts.

    The best men’s bib shorts and the best women’s cycling shorts may be expensive, but they usually come with a high-quality seat cushion that keeps people comfortable no matter how far they ride.

    It usually fits better than cheaper shorts and has features like flatlock seams, so it’s less likely you’ll encounter scuffs on the bike.

    Try gloves with padding

    Gloves with padding should help prevent white fingers.

    A good pair of road bike gloves or mountain bike gloves will also help improve handlebar comfort.

    They often have extra padding strategically placed to absorb vibration and shock and protect the nerves in the palms while still maintaining grip.

    Hands are also protected in the event of a crash.

    Consider cycling outfit

    Upgrade cycling shoes

    The fit of your shoes can affect not only your feet, but also the rider’s legs and hips.

    Replacing them can be costly, but the right shoe that fits the contours of your own foot, whether it’s a road bike shoe or a mountain bike shoe, can have a big impact on riding comfort, not only on your feet, but also on your legs and hips.

    You won’t be able to pedal effectively if your feet wobble in your shoes, and misaligned feet can lead to pain in the iliotibial bundle and hips.

    If the closure needs to be tightened to hold your feet in place, this can put a lot of pressure on the top of the midfoot, which again can become uncomfortable and lead to cramping.

    Conversely, shoes that are too tight can squeeze your feet, potentially restricting blood flow and possibly leading to cramps.

    Recognizing this, some brands produce larger and standard versions of some shoes.

    Replace the insoles

    Insoles can help improve comfort without the need to change shoes. A quality insole can also have a big impact on foot comfort.

    Typically, cycling shoes come with very flat, unstructured insoles. Since the soles transfer all pedal power to the bike, they need to be well supported.

    And when you walk or run, you bounce off your forefoot, which stretches bones and tendons, and this static position can be the cause of midfoot cramps.

    A high-quality insole can help alleviate this. It will be more structured, may have interchangeable arch supports to accommodate instep height, and often has a bump under the midfoot that helps keep bones open, which improves circulation to the forefoot.


    Above are the 12 best ways to make your bike more comfortable to ride. You can also contact us – SAMEBIKE to consult all your questions about electric bikes.

    Hi, I'm an experienced writer about mechanic and an expert on bike and e-bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. And of course, I love cycling.
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