Comfort Road Cycling Guide

Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by FAB Jim The Cyclist

Many people think road cycling has to be uncomfortable and is only for racing.  This isn’t the case as road bikes can be ridden comfortably for long rides even if you aren’t the most athletic or flexible.  Here are some helpful tips for comfortable road bike riding.


All road bikes aren’t the same, some have a more comfortable endurance geometry and others more race.  If you value comfort over speed, you should go for a bike with endurance geometry.  Adventure and gravel style bikes are a great option as they combine endurance geometry with wider tires.  The State 4130 All-Road is a great example of a bike that would be very comfortable.

State 4130 All-Road

State Bicycle


Because your butt is supporting most of your weight the proper saddle is important.  If after a few rides you find your butt is still not comfortable even with padded shorts, you probably need to check out a new saddle.  The saddles that I find comfortable are the WTB Rocket, Origin8 Pro Uno saddle, and the Charge Spoon or Knife (Spoon has same shape with more padding). 


Padded shorts or bibs are really a must have.  I road for a long time without, but I eventually would get a sore and that took some time to heal.  Riding with padded shorts makes my butt happy.  You may also want to try padded gloves. 

Shoes and pedals

For the sake of comfort, you might want to stick to athletic shoes you find comfortable and flat pedals to start.  I use cycling shoes and clip in pedals, but it took a while to get them set up right.  First, I had to get the right shoes which took a couple tries, then I had to get the cleats properly adjusted.  Various aches can develop if you don’t have your cleats adjusted for you.  Feet swell up a bit out on a ride, so you definitely don’t want to start with tight fitting shoes.  After I have been riding for a bit, I typically loosen up the Velcro on my shoes for more comfort.

Wellgo Pedal for cycling shoes


Everyone is a little different, so your bike might need a few tweaks for a perfect fit.  The best way to do this is a professional bike fit offered at the bike shop.  If you don’t have the extra dollars for that you can start riding and listen to your body.  If a certain body part starts hurting, you can do a search and try to find out why.  For example, I had pain behind my knees and determined it was because my saddle was slightly too high.  You shouldn’t have pain during or after riding if your fit is correct.  I have been riding for years with no issues.


The tires you ride can make a big difference in ride feel.  My most comfortable bike is riding on 32mm wide tires which do a good job absorbing the road bumps.  Some older bikes only fit thin tires but get the widest that will fit your bike for comfort.  Lower tire pressure also helps absorb bumps, just don’t go too low that you get pinch flats. 

Frame material

Different bike frame materials seem to provide a more comfortable ride.  Aluminum is considered the harshest ride and doesn’t absorb many road bumps.  Carbon is considered more comfortable, and many consider steel the most comfortable.  My comfort road bike is steel, and I find the ride dreamy.


The fork on your bike can make a difference when it comes to comfort.  An aluminum fork will be the least comfortable, while a carbon fork will absorb more of the road vibration.  Many consider a curved steel for to be the best option for absorbing bumps. 

All the above tips should keep you comfortable out on the road.  Have fun riding!

5 thoughts on “Comfort Road Cycling Guide

  1. A friend raves over the Infinity saddle. It is definitely not for the frugal, unless it lasts for decades. A handy choice is the two-sided pedal (like the Nashbar Soho pedal) which lets you clip in on one side or use regular shoes on the other. I use those for riding around town. If you’re going to use mountain bike style pedals/shoes, I recommend touring-style shoes, which are easier to walk in (without the aggressive tread pattern of mountain bike shoes) or bike sandals. (Shimano makes a nice sandal.) Bike shorts may seem weird, but two things make a big difference: 1) cotton underwear under regular shorts absorbs sweat and gets really uncomfortable; 2) jeans have seams in really uncomfortable places, so cutoff jeans are a seriously bad choice – I speak from experience. Short trips around town – no problem. Long distance – big problem. A bike that fits makes a big difference. I rode across North America (4000+ miles) twice on a carbon fiber frame (marketed as a climbing bike) with 700x25c tires. The bike was a great choice (or I wouldn’t have done it a second time). I used a Terry Fly Carbon saddle. I also have two 35 year old steel-framed bikes that I still love.

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