Riding your e-bike should be a fun and relaxing experience. But, if you develop back or neck pain, saddle sores, or other discomforts, the experience can be a little less satisfying.
Instead of giving up your newfound freedom, why not try to make your e-bike a little more comfortable. Let's look at a few different ways you can do this.
Choose the Best Frame for You
An e-bike's frame will play a major role in determining your stance while riding. If the frame is designed for a stance that makes you uncomfortable, then it may be difficult or impossible to make the e-bike comfortable for you. However, don't despair because there are a great many e-bikes with a wide variety of frame styles designed for different styles of riding, so there is one out there for you.
Also, when buying a bike online, take a look at the measurement and ensure the bike is the right size for you as well. You may be able to adjust the seat height, but if the e-bike is too big or small for you, again, this can be difficult or impossible to solve. If you are buying in person, then take a test ride.
Finally, another large part of choosing a comfortable frame comes down to choosing between a step-over frame or a step-through frame. (For more on the history of these frames, take a look here.) There is no right or wrong between these frame types; instead, it comes down to your personal preference. Here is a little about these two styles.
A step-through frame does not use a top bar to connect the front and rear of the frame, and though this sacrifices some strength, it means that you don't have to swing your leg over the e-bike to mount it. Plus, the sitting position with these bikes is typically far more upright and natural feeling.
With a step-over frame, there is a top bar for greater structural strength, but you will have to lift your leg over the bike every time you want to get on or off. Also, the sitting position is more forward-leaning with these bikes.
Choosing the Right Bike Seat
The seat for your e-bike, also known as a saddle, is one of the first places to look if your riding is causing you discomfort. A seat that is placed too high or low may lead to serious discomfort and even injuries.
To determine if you need to adjust the height, place the pedals, so they are parallel to the main tube and then sit down on the bike seat. Place your foot on the lower pedal. If you are capable of resting your foot on the pedal without bending your leg significantly, then the height is fine. If not, adjust the bike seat up and down as necessary until you can.
Another factor is the style of the seat. There are a number of styles out there, and it can take a lot of experimenting to find a style that you like. To get an idea of what you should look for, remember that wide seats are generally best for an upright style of riding. Narrow seats are better if you prefer leaning forward while riding.
Adjust Your Handlebars
Ensuring that you have a good reach to your handlebars can prevent a lot of discomforts. Particularly pain and numbness in your hands.
To tell if your handlebars are properly set, sit down on your e-bike. Once you are seated in a comfortable position, you should be able to grip the handlebars with only slightly bent elbows, and it should be easy to operate the brakes.
Choosing the right position here is the tricky part. It is important to set the handlebars to work with a position you find comfortable, but that position could be causing you discomfort as well.
If you tend to ride upright, you will likely set your handlebars high and therefore rest very little weight on your arms. Instead, all this weight will be placed on your lower back and rear end. However, if you lean too much, this can place too much weight on your arms and upper back, causing discomfort as well.
There is no firm rule on how you should sit; instead, try paying attention to any discomfort you feel and adjust your posture and handlebars as needed. With a bit of experimenting, you may find a posture that feels right. Also, on long rides, it can help to take a break to adjust your handlebars and switch your riding posture up. This can give some parts of your body a break from supporting all your weight.
Choose the Right Tires
Your e-bike's tires are designed to work optimally with specific terrains, so if you ride on a different type of terrain, it may be time to switch them out. There are a number of different styles of tread and sizes, so take a look at what you have right now and see what changes you would like to make.
Generally, wide tires are well suited for riding on dirt trails. Narrow tires are optimal for riding on solid surfaces such as pavement.
Once you are settled on a tire, it's time to consider tire pressure. This can make a big difference in how smooth your ride is because a lower air pressure will typically absorb impacts better but also take more effort to pedal.
The best tire pressure also depends on the terrain you ride on as well. If you primarily ride on dirt trails, then a lower tire pressure is generally best for high traction and better absorption of impact. But, when riding on the road, generally a high tire pressure is preferable.
No matter what tire you choose, always remember to never inflate your tires to a higher pressure than they are designed for. This can reduce their ability to withstand damage and lead to a far higher vibration for riders.
Riding your e-bike should be a fun, relaxing experience, and it is hard to enjoy yourself when your bike is causing you discomfort. So, it is important to consider comfort both when you select your e-bike and purchase accessories. With a bit of work and planning, your next e-bike ride can be a comfortable, pain-free experience.