Gravel bikes are highly regarded in the cycling community because they can be ridden on a wide variety of terrains, and can also be used for longer distance rides. After riding them for some time, however, you may begin to feel discomfort that can leave you enjoying your ride less. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can follow to make your gravel bike more comfortable to ride.
What can affect comfort when riding a gravel bike?
There are several factors to consider when trying to improve comfort levels while using a gravel bike. These include the type of handlebar being used, the type of grips being used, and the height of the saddle.
Consider the type of handlebar you are using
When you purchase a gravel bike, they are often equipped with drop handlebars. Drop handlebars typically offer several possibilities when switching between different hand positions.
However, these hand positions, especially those that help to create a more aerodynamic posture, can cause you to feel discomfort in your back if you ride the gravel bike over longer distances.
You therefore may wish to try using straight handlebars, similar to those that are found on utility bicycles or mountain bikes. Straight handlebars spread the hands further apart and the bar is fixed in a higher position. This allows you to sit more upright and can make the ride more comfortable if you are not used to drop handlebars.
Handlebar grips can prevent sore hands and wrists
Poor quality handlebar grips are often not designed with the shape of your hands in mind. These grips do not match the general shape of the human hand and can cause discomfort in both the hands and the wrists. To help mitigate this, you can use handlebar grips with a more ergonomic design.
Additionally, bar ends can be used to add a second hand position to straight handlebars. Having two options for hand positions instead of one will help to ensure that you will continue to be comfortable throughout your cycling adventure.
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Adjusting the saddle height may help to maintain comfort in your legs
There are two common mistakes when cyclists attempt to adjust the saddle height. There are those cyclists who lower the saddle too far and are forced to bend their knees excessively to continue the pedal stroke. The reverse of this, and the other common mistake, is when cyclists raise the saddle too far.
This causes them to overstretch the leg each time they push the pedals downward.
Each person will require a different saddle height for maximum comfort. Generally, you can test the saddle height by moving the heel onto the pedal while you are stationary.
If the leg straightens while the pedal is at its lowest position, and you can still place your feet on the ground, then the saddle height should help to improve comfort.
Handlebar type, the grips that you use, and the saddle height, can all have an effect on your cycling experience. With some small changes, you can easily make your gravel bike more comfortable.