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How To Make Gravel Bikes More Comfortable

At Westbrook Cycles, we speak to many customers who ask us about what they can do to make their gravel bike more comfortable. This is usually after they have invested in their first or second gravel bike, and are already enjoying all of the benefits of being able to ride wherever they want to, whenever they want to - away from traffic, and into off road terrain. The good news is, as long as the bike sizing is correct, there are a number of gravel bike comfort improvements you can make.

Reduce Tyre Pressures

One of the easiest ways to increase comfort levels of a gravel bike, is to reduce tyre pressure. If you are used to riding road bikes, you will have a tire pressure of up to 130 psi on tyres which are sized between 25-28mm. The tyre pressures you can run on your gravel bike will depend on your setup, and whether or not you are running a tubeless setup. Those on 650b tyres, which are 45mm wide operate well at between 30-40psi. Keep an eye on tyre pressures though, as running too low pressures can give you a puncture.

Handlebar Tape & Padding

Although handlebars leave the factory fairly well padded and comfortable, over time handlebar padding can become thin and unsupportive. Simply re-taping your bike handlebars can provide big improvements with regards to comfort. There are a range of tape and padding options - and many gravel riders use a combination of tape and padding, around pressure points.

If you have a gravel bike using flat handlebars, then you can easily replace the handlebar grips.

Tubeless Conversion

Going tubeless on your gravel bike wheels and tyres, not only helps you avoid punctures across off road terrain - the way that tubeless tyres add comfort is that they can be run with lower tyre pressures.

Upgrade Cycling Clothing

Another fantastic way of upgrading comfort on a gravel bike, for very little money - is to invest in a set of padded gloves. Another way of making a gravel bike more comfortable, is to upgrade your cycling shorts which should already have a padded insert.

Gravel Bike Suspension Stem

Suspension systems are available, which do a great job damping bumps, shocks and vibrations from the road. This reduces the pressure and impact on your body, but mainly protects your hands and wrists. This allows you to ride further, feeling better.

Gravel Bike Suspension Forks

There are a very small array of suspension forks available on the market place, and riders need to be careful to maintain correct geometry and weight saving benefits of riding a gravel bike vs a hardtail mountain bike.

Gravel Bike with Suspension

Although not an upgrade, the most comfortable gravel bikes have suspension inbuilt - such as the Cannondale Topstone range, so if you are in the market for a new gravel bike, the Topstone is a great choice.