If you are in the market for buying a new road bike, you’ve probably wondered are road bikes comfortable at all?
Because to be honest they do not look like the most comfortable thing in the world, especially when you go into the full-aerodynamic position.
That’s why in this article I will try to break all the myths and give you some bonus tips that you can implement right away for a more enjoyable experience on your road bike.
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Are road bikes comfortable?
That’s the first question that comes up for many beginner cyclists.
In short, road bikes are very comfortable, not as much as other types of bicycles like mountain bikes or hybrids, but comfortable enough that you won’t have any major problems.
People think road bikes are uncomfortable just because they see other riders in visually awkward positions.
But that’s just a myth.
Yes, it’s true that other bike types like hybrid or mountain are more comfortable than road bikes.
They have wider and more comfortable tires, upright riding position (which many people prefer), shock absorbers, etc.
But as a road cyclist, I can tell you that a road bike is more comfortable than you might think.
Also, keep in mind if you are used to upright bicycle position you might have some issues in the first couple of rides. Just until you get used to it.
In which scenarios can road bikes get uncomfortable?
Here are three main scenarios where you can feel a little discomfort on your road bike.
- If your bike doesn’t fit well
- If you are cycling too much of-road
- Wrong tire pressure
1. If your bike doesn’t fit well
If you feel discomfort when riding your road bike, the first thing you should check is your saddle height and angle.
That’s usually a thing that most people overlook cause they think that it’s not that important while in reality, it can completely change your experience on a bike.
Poor saddle setup can cause knee strain, back problems, and you will not be able to achieve a full range of muscle movement in your legs. This means you are also losing some potential speed.
To set up your saddle height you need to sit on your bike like you normally would, put your hill on the paddle then rotate the crank arm as low to the ground as you can.
If your knee is bent you need to increase your saddle height.
But if you can’t even reach the paddle you need to lower it a little bit.
It’s that simple.
Now, let’s move to the saddle angle.
I personally like my saddle to be somewhere in the middle not tilted up not tilted down.
If your saddle feels uncomfortable your saddle nose is probably pointing up slightly.
You can check that by using a good old spirit level. Or If you don’t have one at home you can use any flat object you find.
I recommend you change your position gradually. Don’t rush with it, give your body time to adapt to all the new changes.
2. If you are cycling too much off-road
To be honest road bikes are not so great at handling off-road terrains.
When cycling off-road with a road bike it can be pretty challenging because road bikes have really thin tires and if you bump into some big rock you are done for.
But in some situations, you can’t really avoid it.
So ride carefully and always try to pick the smoothest line free from wholes, rocks, gravel, etc.
3 Wrong tire pressure
A road bike requires a totally different tire pressure than any other bicycle.
So it’s important to do it right cause it can increase your comfort, make your cycling easier, and also highly reduce the chance of you getting a flat tire.
Road bikes typically require between 75 to 130 psi ( 5.17 to 8.96 bar).
Also, you should take your body weight into the equation because the heavier you are, the higher the pressure needs to be.
If you don’t know how to check your tire pressure you can buy a bicycle pump with a gauge from Amazon, they are not even that expensive.
How to Get More Comfortable on your Road Bike?
If you still feel uncomfortable on your road bike, here are three tips you can implement that will surely help you with your comfort during a ride.
Buy a Padded Cycling Shorts
What you wear during the ride can have a huge impact on your overall comfort.
But one thing that helped me a lot when it comes to comfort is definitely padded cycling shorts.
It will absorb the pressure of your sit bones and thus reduce the chance of you getting a sore butt.
It actually feels like sitting on some sort of cushion.
Also, cycling shorts fit very tightly to the skin, which makes you more aerodynamic, an important consideration for you as a road cyclist.
Use Wider Tyres
Using wider tyres is an easy way to increase your overall comfort during the ride, especially if you are using a road bike.
Wider tyres reduce the amount of shock you feel when cycling, which is very important if the road in your area is not that smooth.
You don’t need to change your tyre width drastically, you can just add a few mm to your current width. For example, if you have a 23mm tyre you can upgrade to a 25mm, or if you have 28mm you can get a 32mm.
Try Different Saddle
If you have done everything in terms of setting up your saddle and you still feel discomfort when cycling I think it’s time for you to get a new saddle.
There are hundreds of different bike saddles on the market to choose from. Nowadays most companies offer a test period so you can see if the saddle actually suits you.
Every single person has different bone anatomy which means you can’t just get some random saddle and expect ultimate comfort. So choose wisely.
I hope this article was helpful!