How to Make Cycling More Comfortable: 5 Tips For a Smoother Ride
November 13, 2020
Riding your ebike isn't just a great way to keep in shape, it can also be a lot of fun. Thanks to thousands of bike lanes and trails across the world, it's easier than ever to enjoy riding an electric bike. However, even short rides can sometimes cause saddle sores, discomfort and pain in the neck, back, and body especially for newer riders.
If you're wondering how to make cycling more comfortable, here are five easy tips that can make a big difference for your ride. With just a few adjustments, you can avoid common health issues like back pain, sore legs, and knee pain.
If you're experiencing pain on the road or trail, or asking "How can I make my bike seat more comfortable?" - that means something's wrong. No matter how short or long the ride is, riding your ebike is meant to be fun, not painful. Luckily, there are several ways to improve your comfort. Consider implementing these tips to make your rides more comfortable.
How to make my bike seat more comfortable
1. Get Your Ideal Frame Size and Shape
Part of how to make cycling more comfortable starts in the shop before you even buy your ebike. One of the first things to remember about bike comfort is the frame of a bike, as the shape of the frame determines the stance of the rider. If the frame shape does not match your intended cycling stance, there is little that can be done. Most bikes are designed with a type of riding in mind or a specific purpose. Some may be designed to be ridden for performance where the bike frame geometry is meticulously engineered to position the rider so that they can get the most out of the bike while others are designed to give a relaxing and more comfortable sit-up-straight ride. There is a broad spectrum of frame shapes and uses so it is important to understand what each bike is designed for and what type of riding you prefer.
When shopping for new bikes at a local bike shop, take a brief test ride if possible to see how your body feels about the cycling stance. As a general rule of thumb, you should have one to two inches of space between the tube and your bottom. Additionally, you will also want to make sure the length of the bike is right for you. While you can make some improvements with a longer or shorter frame, bikes that are too lengthy or too short for your upper body won't fit well in the future.
No amount of adjustments will correct a bike that is essentially too small or too big for the rider. Before purchasing your next bike, start by making sure that the bike you want to purchase is the right size for you. Any quality bike shop should make sure you're on the right sized bike as part of the buying process. If you are shopping for Aventon ebikes online, take a look at the sizing charts on each of the product pages to help you determine the correct size.
An additional consideration when looking at bike frames on an ebike is choosing between a step-over and a step-through frame. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages but typically those with mobility issues prefer a step-through frame as it is easier to mount and dismount. To learn more about the differences of frames and choosing between the two types, check out this post: Step-Through vs Step-Over Frames: Which is Better?
2. Finding the Right Saddle Height and Type
A big part of how to make riding a bike more comfortable lies with your bike seat. A saddle height that is too low or too high can cause more than just discomfort in your body. While it might only seem like minor pain now, it could develop into further injuries down the road. To prevent this from happening, one of the first places you should look to adjusting is the saddle.
Let's look at how to make a bicycle seat more comfortable by properly adjusting the saddle height:
Place the crank arms so that they are parallel to the bike seat tube. Then, sit down on the saddle and place your foot on the pedal. If you are unable to reach the pedal with the current positioning of the seat, lower the saddle until you can. However, if your leg becomes too bent, lift the saddle until your leg is straight.
Bike seats are different for men and women, and it can take some experimenting to find out the right fit for you. In general, a compatible saddle style is more important than padding, as a large saddle is better suited for an upright stance, but a narrow saddle is better for a forward-leaning position.
3. Adjusting the Handlebars
Proper reach to the handlebar keeps you pain-free. Some of the issues related to the handlebar of a bike may include things like hand soreness and numbness.
If you're sitting comfortably in your saddle, the handlebar height should be set so that your elbows should be slightly bent, and you should be able to easily hit the brakes when you need to stop. Additionally, the lean of your torso should be held in a comfortable position by your center, and you should not be sliding forward or backwards on your saddle. The seat itself should be level or, at most, bend downward a few degrees from the front.
Handlebar height can also have an effect on the amount of comfort you have while riding. New cyclists typically have their handlebars set very high, which does not allow for much weight to be placed on your arms and, in turn, causes more pressure on your back. On the other hand, more experienced riders sometimes sit up too low on their bike, which can also result in back pain and decreased power.
If your goal is to take longer rides, you may need to lift your handlebars higher. There is no fundamental rule of determining the exact handlebar height you should ride at. The best thing you can do is listen to your body and try several heights for periods of time to get to a height that works best. Additionally, grips and bar tape can also be used to relieve pain or stress. If you have wrist pain, hand numbness, or grip-related injuries, you might also want to consider using thicker or ergonomic grips. Read our guide on how to raise handlebars on bikes for more information.
4. Consider Your Tires
Tires also influence the comfort of riding your bike. Choosing your tire type based on the type of riding you do can affect the comfort level of your rides. Much like the bike frame, tires are specifically designed for certain terrains and riding styles. So it is important to consider what kind of riding you primarily do as there are hundreds tire types to choose from, all with different treads, widths, and sizes. Looking at the tires your ebike comes with is often a good place to start in order to determine what kind of tires you should look into when looking to upgrade.
After you have decided on your tires, try experimenting with your tire pressure to find a balance between a smooth ride compared to one that is too rough and tough. For dirt trail riders, you may want to consider using wider tires and with lower tire pressure. This will increase the traction of the tires on the trail and offer you better stability and more suspension while also decreasing the amount of rider fatigue. Whereas for road riders, you may want to consider a higher tire pressure depending on your tire limits.
Above all, to minimize rolling resistance, you should not pump your tires beyond the maximum pressure recommended by the manufacturer. This can limit the ability of the rubber to withstand road surface imperfections and thereby transmits a harsh vibration to the rider.
For more information on ebike tires and other best practices to follow such as tire pressure and how to maintain them, check out this post: Ebike Tires Best Practices - Keep Your Wheels in Tip-Top Shape.
5. Purchase Cycling Gloves and Shorts
This one may seem obvious, but learning how to make cycling more comfortable also depends on how comfortable you feel in your gear. If you're uncomfortable before you even get on the bike, trust us, you're not going to feel more comfortable after you get on. This means that it's important to consider the type of gloves and clothing you wear while riding. One of the best things you can purchase for more comfortable riding are the appropriate shorts. Cycling shorts are designed to help minimize chafing, wick away moisture, and provide additional padding.
Additionally, cycling gloves are frequently ignored by most riders but serve a variety of different purposes such as shock absorption, better grip on the handlebars, protection from the weather, and safety in the event of an accident. Check that your cycling gloves fit comfortably on your hand, being neither too tight or too loose.
Make Your Ebike Experience More Comfortable with Aventon
If you have any comfort-related problems with your bike, try any of the previously mentioned tips to make your bike and your next ride more comfortable. It’s also worth mentioning that the more you ride your bike, the stronger you get, which means that you might be able to adapt to any minor inconveniences.
However, if you tried all our trips for how to make cycling more comfortable and are still having problems, consider consulting with a team of professionals who are experienced with ebikes.
At Aventon, we want you to have a comfortable experience with your bike. With our selection of high-quality and affordable ebikes, we are certain we can help you find the best bike for you.
Contact Aventon today to learn more about how we can find the right bike for you.