Why is my bicycle so uncomfortable?

Whether a newbie or a long-time rider, you may be experiencing discomfort while riding your bike. Keep in mind that if you’re new to cycling or are working towards long-distance rides, you can expect to be achy as your muscles adapt. You may want to use a pedal-assist bike as you build up your strength. But if you’re experiencing repeated discomfort for extended periods, it may be a sign that your bicycle needs adjustment. If you’re asking, “Why is my bicycle so uncomfortable?” keep reading for potential answers to consider. 

Adjust Handlebar Height

For the average rider, maximum comfort is generally created by increasing your handlebar height to allow for an upright riding position. If your handlebars are too low, you’ll be bent over too far. Whereas sitting upright will help take the pressure off your lower back, shoulders, wrists, hands, and neck. Keep in mind that adjusting your handlebar height will also alter your reach. If your reach is off, you may be recreating some of the same problems you just solved. If you’re reaching too far, you may need to adjust the stem length. The stem is the component that extends from the steerer to the handlebars. The handlebar height may need to be adjusted differently depending on whether you’re riding a mountain bike or cruiser bike

Adjust Your Tire Pressure

Your bike tire is the first component that connects with the ground. Your hands, arms, and body receive the shockwave created by every crack, rock, pothole, or uneven service you ride over. Instead of filling your tires to the max psi, try letting out some of the air. Lower pressure in the wheel means it will have a better ability to flex around the deformities in the road, which reduces the impact on your body. Getting wider rims and off-road tires similar to those of the Apex 10 E-bike will also make for a smoother, less bumpy ride. 

Closeup of mountain bikers wearing cycling shoes

Adjust the Saddle Angle 

Another adjustment to consider when asking, “Why is my bicycle so uncomfortable?” is the angle and height of the seat. It might seem that the saddle should always be flat. However, angling the nose of the seat up or down may provide unexpected relief. Lowering the nose may relieve pressure around your sit bones. Raising the nose may help balance you out and keep you firmly planted in the seat. If your handlebars are relatively low compared to the saddle, you’ll tend to sit rotated forward on your pubic arch rather than the sit bones. Finding a happy relationship between the handlebars’ height and the saddle’s angle may provide the relief you need. 

Mudguards

Fenders are likely not the first answer that comes to mind when asking, “Why is my bicycle uncomfortable?” And for that reason, they are perhaps one of the most underrated protectors against rain and wet roads. Fenders will help keep you comfortable by preventing water from collecting on your backside should you decide to cycle in the rain or through muddy terrain. They also ensure you don’t have to wash mud out of your clothes.  Styles can vary from those that clip onto the bike frame, attach to the underside of the seat, or connect to the seat post. Before purchasing, compare your bike wheel’s width with the fender’s width. If the wheel is too wide to be completely covered by the fender, you’ll likely still get splattered. 

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