Since we just finished telling you all about customizing your bike, let’s move on to comfort. Non-bike riders might tell you that there is no way to make these things “comfortable”, but we know that just isn’t true! We’re going to hit on a few adjustments that will make bike riding better for you! Remember, you are only connected to your bike in a few spots, pedals, saddle, and grips.
Saddle – some people think that a bigger seat means automatic comfort, but it’s not about size. It’s all about where the seat hits your sit bones. All saddles are made with different shapes in mind – and there are gender specific saddles out there for ultimate comfort. Women’s saddles tend to be a little wider to accommodate their body structure. Measure the width of your sit bones and then compare that number to the width of saddles on the market. There are also different saddles for different disciplines. Are you a road rider sitting a lot and wanting a lightweight option, or are you a downhiller who needs some durability? It is important to find one to suit your discipline. Lastly, position the saddle to the correct height (your knee should have a very slight bend in it when fully extended) and position (don’t point the nose too far up or down and make sure it’s straight).
Grips/Bar Tape – if you’re riding with old grips or bar tape all those bumps in the road or rocks on the trails are immediately transferred to your hands and arms. Good bar tape can filter out all of that road buzz that heads straight to your wrists. Similarly, good grips are easy to change out and can make a huge difference in how tired you are after a ride. Grips are very personal. It may seem like a simple selection, but there are tons of options and actually some pretty interesting technologies that can make a difference.
Stem – these come in various lengths and angles and can help you adjust your body position. If you feel like your bars are too far away, get a shorter stem. If you think they are too low, get a longer stem, or add some spacers.
Handlebar – these come in many shapes and a couple of materials that might help create that comfort that you’ve been missing. First up, shape. This is dictated by three key measurements – rise, back sweep, and upsweep. The rise is the bar’s height, while backsweep and upsweep affect the angle. When choosing the best one for you, you need to take into consideration the stem angle and bar rise in order to get the perfect bar height. As for material, there is carbon or aluminium. Carbon is lighter and does a better job of damping or absorbing vibrations from trail irregularities, but it is more expensive. Aluminium is cheaper but transmits more vibrations to your hands.
Something to keep in mind – a different stem can make your bars feel different and different bars may require a stem change as well. Wider bars will pull you forward on the bike a bit, so often if switching to a wider bar, a shorter stem may be necessary.
These few things will make a big impact on the comfort of your riding, no matter what you ride. If you’re unsure about your riding style, or what item you want to adjust, get a second opinion from CBB. We can help make sure it is the right option for you. Stop in today to see what options we’ve got in stock, or let us custom order it especially for you.