Comfort Bike Buying Guide
Comfort bikes are all about the ride. After all, nothing beats a leisurely spin on one - and trust us when we say that you won't be able to stop at just a mile or two! But it doesn’t end with comfort – durability is key too: investing in a quality comfort bike means your cycling adventures will last for years to come. So, if you're looking for effortless fun without compromising on reliability, read on.
Comfort bikes are sought after for relaxed, leisurely, recreational rides. Whether you are taking a casual ride with friends or pedaling to the local watering hole, we love comfort bikes for discovering those simple pleasures buried in your daily grind. Common traits found on most comfort bikes include upright handlebars that position your body in a relaxed position, wider “comfort” saddles, and wider tires. Combined, the components of a well-designed comfort bike deliver a dreamy and relaxed riding position all the while ensuring pedaling to your destination is easy and nearly effortless. With that, let’s dive in and learn a bit about what makes a great comfort bike.
If you have been following along, you will realize why we prioritize comfort-- after all, it’s in the name. When you ride recreationally, your comfort bike should deliver an effortless, minimal-sweat ride, which translates to certain must-have features on your bike. This includes things like:
- A well cushioned saddle for ensuring your bottom never tires before your legs do
- Wide tires for rolling over anything the road puts in front of you
- Comfortable and grippy pedals – we recommend a grippy rubber inlay to ensure your feet aren’t slipping off the pedals regardless of what you’re wearing on your feet
- Ergonomic plush grips to alleviate pressure on your hand and wrists
Now that we’ve covered comfort, let’s talk easy riding. For us, there are two things to focus on here-- riding posture and gearing. When riding a comfort bike, it’s as much about seeing as it is about being seen. Racers can have their aggressive posture, but for comfort bikes, an upright and relaxed riding posture reigns supreme. This is most often accomplished with relaxed or sweptback handlebars which help to reduce the pressure on your wrists by shifting your weight to your bottom. As opposed to leaning forward, this will position your back more perpendicular to the ground.
From there, it’s onto gearing. While single speed comforts take the cake for simplicity, we’ll choose a 3-speed or 7-speed any day of the week to ensure we aren’t disrupting our ride with too much exertion. An ample gearing range allows you to effortlessly climb that bridge to a prized view and then get up to speed to ensure you’re still first in line at your go-to donut shop.
Safely Riding Comfort Bikes
While many comfort bikes may still come with a coaster brake (pedal brake), we have reservations as this creates a single point of failure should your chain become compromised. Instead, we favor rim brakes which are lightweight and provide ample front and rear stopping power.
And if your rides take place after dark, and we say they should, don’t forget lights for being seen. Also not to be forgotten is a bell to make sure you can be heard. Be sure to find one that will sound as sweet as it looks. And please, do not forget a helmet to protect that noggin of yours.
For more on bike safety, see our safe riding guide which dives a bit deeper into the key areas for staying safe on the road.
Make it your Own
Now for the fun part. One of the best parts of a new comfort bike is making it your own, AKA accessorizing! Bells, bike lights, streamers, don’t hold back here. Another common trait you’ll see with comfort bikes is their ability to be customized and upgraded. This can include accessories like fenders, lights, panniers and saddle bags, cargo racks, wicker or metal baskets, and more.
Last, but certainly not least, let’s ensure your new comfort bike lasts. Given that many comfort bikes are ridden recreationally, we heavily favor steel for its flexible and forgiving nature. In addition to the steel frame, ensure your other components such as cranksets, handlebars, seat posts, spokes and rims are all stainless, aluminum, or have an element of rust prevention. While this saves weight, it will also prevent your bike from becoming a rusty eyesore halfway through your first season with it. The same can be said with your bike’s chain, be sure it has some sort of rust-prohibitive treatment to ensure increased longevity. Our comfort bike collection features models equipped with KMC’s rust buster treatment which will keep your chain looking spiffy for years.
The last, but arguably most important thing - as with all bikes, we are huge advocates of having your bike professionally assembled. This gives you three distinct advantages:
- Properly adjusted bikes are safer (consider the importance of well-functioning brakes)
- Professionally assembled & dialed-in bikes have longer lifespans (consider the importance of proper lubrication and well-adjusted gearing)
- You’ll have a relationship with a local bike shop who’ll quickly and easily get you back riding, should something ever go wrong
Tooting our own horn, every one of our bikes includes professional assembly through our pioneering Buy & Ride Program. This affords you all the benefits noted above and of course also aligns you with a local shop should you ever need assistance with your ride or have questions as you embark on your riding journey.
Thanks for following along, now hit the road and enjoy the most comfortable ride of your life.
Craving more bike buying knowledge? We’ve got you covered there as well. Click HERE to get our “Definitive Guide to Buying a Bike Online” where we share six must know things to consider before hitting that add-to-cart button.
We build bikes for vivid lives—for taking adventures, reconnecting with old friends, discovering new neighborhoods and exploring hidden gems. Inspired by the streets of Brooklyn, our bikes are built for style, comfort, and durability. Made with top quality parts, crafted with care, and sold at an affordable price, your bike is yours for life. We scrutinize every component for maximum sustainability and performance, and every millimeter of the frame for ultimate comfort and style. We take pride in our process, in our products, and in the people who sell them.