You’ve decided to buy a bicycle, but you want one that is comfortable. In fact, you may have even heard of these bikes called “comfort bikes”.
Is a comfort bike right for you? Which one should you buy? What should you look for in a comfort bike? Maybe you saw one for $90 at Walmart and are wondering if that would be a good purchase
In this article I’m going to discuss what a comfort bike is, and what you should know before you purchase one. I’ll also show you what I think are the 3 best comfort bikes you can buy online.
Comfort bikes are a variation of what we call a “Hybrid bicycle”, or a mix between a mountain bike and a road bike. There are a ton of variations of “hybrid bikes”, and we call this style “comfort” to help differentiate the fact that it’s main purpose is comfortable riding.
I’d dare say this model is the fastest-selling bike in the entire industry. For the rider who is adamant about getting in shape, these bikes offer an excellent way to workout without inflaming old back or neck injuries.
Some people think comfort bikes are only good for riding around the city. Granted that is what most people buy them for. However, I have even seen comfort bikes on a century rides (100 miles!). Purchase a quality brand and it can handle any amount of riding.Looking For Women-Specific Comfort Bikes? Click Here To read My Review Of Those.
Get one of these suckers and ride it 2-3 times a week. You’ll be amazed at your fitness and energy levels at the end of the month!
What Makes A Comfort Bike?
They sit you “comfortably”. A lot of the bikes on the market tend to lean you forward. While this is great for the aerodynamics of going fast, it adds extra pressure to your wrists and arms. For a lot of cyclists, an upright position is best, and comfort bikes deliver that.
They are good for both pavement and gravel. Currently comfort bikes come in two tires sizes: 26″ and 700c. 700c is a taller, narrower wheel and it tends to go faster, making it ideal for easy pedaling on the pavement. However, if you do a lot of gravel riding, then it might be wise to go with the 26″ tire that is a little wider and more stable on gravel and dirt.
They have shocks and cushioning. Many people shy away from cycling because it is uncomfortable. A good-quality comfort bike will offer shocks under the seat and on the front wheel to help absorb the bumps from the road and keep you feeling fresh and pain-free.
They Sit Upright. Most bikes lean you forward and this can be very uncomfortable on long distances or for those who have old neck or back injuries. I’ve seen folks who couldn’t walk without a cane because of their back pain climb on these bikes with very little distance. In one case, the bike riding helped correct the back issue and he has been cane-free for years.
They fit all sizes. In order to be comfortable, you need to get a good bike fit. Unless you buy a cheapo bike, your comfort bike is going to come in a variety of sizes to fit your body height and to allow you to pedal comfortably. The bike height is measured by the length of the tube under the seat.
Bike fit is incredibly important. I’ve seen so many 6’3″ folks who thought they could ride any bike they found on Craigslist. They have so much neck and wrist pain from being scrunched up on these tiny rides. Conversely, riding a bike that is too large for you can lead more to knee and lower back pain.
Finding the right size is simple. Just find your height on the list below!
Here is your comfort bike sizing chart:
- 4’11″ – 5’3″ = 13 to 15 inches
- 5’3″ – 5’7″ = 15 to 17 inches
- 5’7″ – 5’11″ = 17 to 19 inches
- 6’0″ – 6’2″ = 19 to 21 inches
- 6’2″ – 6’4″ = 21 to 23 inches
- 6’4″ and taller = 23 inches
The Best Comfort Bike
Now, I have seen some pretty ludicrously priced comfort bikes. There are people who will spend over thousand dollars for these.
Thankfully, we can keep you a long ways below that price point.
For my top pick, I’m excited to recommend the Diamondback Edgewood. This 700c ride has all the bells and whistles you’d want, with none of the expense.
If you are looking at the picture, you can see the black rubber boot under the seat where the shock is. The seat shocks do a lot to smooth the road and get rid of the jolts that can make cycling so uncomfortable.
And, of course you can easily see the front shock system as well. These shocks are different from the sharks the use on mountain bikes, as they want them to be lighter, and have just enough shock to smooth the road without making your ride overly bouncy.
One of the things I really like about this bike, however, is the reinforced wheels. In industry lingo these are called double-walled.
Bicycle wheels are probably the most vulnerable part of a bike. You put one of us out of shape humans on it, and then run it over a curb, and the impact can be absolutely destructive. Even worse, replacement wheels can cost a quarter of the entire purchase price.
So I am really pleased that they upgraded the wheels on this model.
The trigger shifters are another nice feature. The take just a second to learn since you have a low shifter and a high shifter for each hand. But once you figure it out, it is very intuitive, and extremely accurate.
Frankly, I like this bike so well I’d encourage you to not even read the rest of my reviews and hop right over to check it out.
Pick #2 – The Vilano C1
The Vilano brand is rapidly gaining of followers among those who want to get into riding without breaking their bank account.
We’ve seen more of their stuff be launched in the road cycling industry, it is refreshing to see them enter the urban and commuter markets.
The C1 is really a solid bike. No bells or whistles it is a bike that you could hop on and ride, get in shape, and hand off to a family member five years later.
You’ll notice that it has a front shock, but does not have a rear shock. This is not a huge loss, and you can always upgrade to rear shock later. Unless you already suffer from back pain, the seat shock is probably not as critical.
It does have trigger shifters for that easy, reliable shifting. However the rear derailleur – the part that shifts the gears on the rear wheel – is a fairly cheap part. If it ever breaks, you’ll want to spend about 40 bucks at your local bike shop to upgrade that piece.
As with the Diamondback, the C1 also has double-walled rims. So you should not have to worry about the wheels too much no matter how rough the road gets.
If I was buying the bike, I would probably take it to my local bike shop and pay the $60 to have them put it together. Make sure they torque the crankarms as there have been reports that the factory may not put them on tightly enough. While I headed there I would see if they could upgrade the pedals ($20) and install better rim tape in the wheels to help prevent flats ($12). You could certainly get by without those upgrades, it’s just what I would do.
Overall I think the C1 is an excellent value I can certainly save you some money over the diamondback. Plus, it has an excellent warranty as long as you register the bike on their site.
Pick #3 -The K2 Bikes “Hemlock”
However, it is hard to find it in anything but a small or medium-size. So I’ve moved further down on the list simply because it will only be available for a portion of my readers.
The K2 does not skimp on parts like the Villano C1 does – it simply doesn’t have as many parts!
For starters it is only a seven speed. Unless you live in very hilly country, this is all the gears will ever need. This makes shifting a lot less intimidating, it can reduce your maintenance costs since there is less to repair.
The shifters also a group shift, which is one of the simplest systems to operate. Simply twist it what direction to shift into a faster speed, and shifted back towards yourself for slower speed.
It also does not have any shocks. While we tend to associate the term “comfort bike” with the word “shocks” ridden bikes without shocks and they can actually be quite comfortable. After all, the tires do act as a natural shock absorbent to some degree.
If you are simply looking for a bike you can ride around the block, and on gently rolling hills, this is a great choice. It will also handle some light gravel with ease.
Finally, I really like the lines of this ride. The beefy, curvy down tube really adds a nice retro touch that I really appreciate.
For the right cyclist, the K2 is the best comfort bike. Click the link below to see other rider’s reviews and decide if simpler is going to work better for you.