With a little bit of technical knowledge, you can learn how to convert a road bike to a comfort bike. To successfully convert a road bike, you’ll need to focus on changing the handlebars, tires, bike seat, and other additional accessories.
As the name suggests, comfort bikes offer cyclists the most comfortable riding experience possible. They feature a relaxed sitting position, a close reach, and wider handlebars.
On the other end of the spectrum are road bikes. These are bikes known for being lightweight and sacrificing comfort to provide the best possible performance.
While their purposes might be entirely different, you can convert road bike to comfort bike with a little bit of tinkering. If you’re tired of how uncomfortable riding your road bike is every day, a conversion is a good idea.
Keep reading to learn about everything you need to know to convert a road bike to a comfort bike successfully.
Why Convert a Road Bike to a Comfort Bike?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the whole process, it’s essential to look at why so many people are considering conversion.
Want more Comfort
One of the main reasons why cyclists are looking to convert a road bike to a cruiser bike is because they want more comfort.
Road bikes are great for speeding away on paved roads, but they’re mighty uncomfortable. It’s a combination of the cyclist’s riding position, the suspensions, the saddle, and the tires.
Even if they’re uncomfortable, a road bike can be the ideal bike to take you from point a to point b if it’s a short journey. However, on a longer commute, cycling a road bike becomes more challenging.
A comfort bike, on the other hand, excels at handling longer commutes. You might not get there as fast as you would on a road bike, but you’ll have a much better journey.
Road Bike is Getting Old
If you’ve been riding your bike for a while, converting it from road bike to cruiser bike can give the bike a new lease of life.
Instead of just letting it sit in the corner and gather rust, converting the road bike to a cruiser can ensure that it gets a lot more use!
Buying a new comfort bike when you’re under a budget constraint can be very challenging. It’s much more budget-friendly to convert a road bike to a cruiser bike.
Even if you get all the replacement parts, the overall expense will be much lower than getting a new bike!
Convert Road Bike to Comfort bike – Step-by-Step
Before you start working on converting your road bike into a hybrid, it’s important to ensure that you have all the necessary equipment to take your bike apart and install the necessary replacement parts.
If you don’t feel too confident in your bike repair skills and knowledge, you can take your bike to the local shop.
However, while the process might sound complicated, it’s pretty easy for anyone with basic know-how of cycling maintenance to convert road bike to comfort bike.
Here’s how you can get started with the conversion process!
Step 1: Replace Handlebars
The first step in converting road bike to comfort bike is replacing the handlebars. Road bikes typically feature drop-bars.
The design of drop bars encourages cyclists to lean forward while riding. While the position gives you better aerodynamics, it also causes more significant stress on the lower back.
Comfort bikes and cruiser bikes design features a wide and unique handlebar shape known as the porteur handlebar. Their design encourages the cyclist to relax their shoulders and provides a closer reach to the rider.
As a result, instead of leaning forward, the cyclist can maintain a more upright sitting position on comfort bikes.
Before you make the replacement, it’s vital to ensure that the new porteur handlebars fit you properly. To check the fit, measure the total width of your shoulders and your bike reach.
The handlebar should be wider than your shoulders and should be close enough to ensure that you get to enjoy a relaxed back position.
Once you’re satisfied with the handlebar’s fit in this sense, you need to ensure that it fits onto the bike. You can get an idea of whether or not the handlebar will fit by measuring the diameter of your current handlebar.
Going with porteur handlebars isn’t the only option either. If you don’t feel comfortable with porteur handlebars, you can go with the standard flat handlebars.
Flat handlebars also encourage cyclists to maintain a good sitting position that doesn’t strain the back. Their width also helps ensure that you get a good grip and decent bike reach!
The best place to start the convert road bike to comfort bike process is replacing the handlebars. Once you’re done, you can move on to the next step!
Step 2: Adjust/Replace Bike Saddle
Another easy adjustment to make after replacing the handlebars is adjusting the bike saddle.
Road bikes tend to feature a geometry where the position of the seat is higher than the handlebars. The positioning encourages the cyclist to lean forward, and this causes more strain on the back.
Comfort bikes feature a geometry where the handlebars are above the bike saddle. Additionally, if you want to fully convert road bike to comfort bike, you can also get a replacement saddle.
The saddles on a comfort bike are much softer and more comfortable than the standard road bike saddle.
When you’re looking to completely replace your road bike saddle, you get the option to choose between different designs and fabrics!
However, if you’re a little worried about the cost of everything, it’s a good idea to adjust the saddle first. You can think about replacing it further down the line!
Step 3: Change the Tires
A significant reason why road bikes feel more uncomfortable than other types of bikes is the tires.
You won’t be able to convert a road bike to a comfort bike without changing the tires. Replace the narrow road bike tires with a wider comfort bike option.
However, here’s where things get slightly more complex. Road bikes tend to have a very lightweight frame, and there’s very little clearance room.
The safest bit is looking for wider 700C tires! Most road bikes feature 700×26 mm tires, so you can look towards getting the 700×32 mm tires.
It might only be a 6 mm change, but every single mm makes a difference when it comes to comfort. When you’re replacing the tire, make sure there’s enough space left to prevent the tire from rubbing against the frame or the brake calipers.
If you want to be certain, you’ll need an accurate measurement tool, like the vernier calipers, to properly calculate lengths in mm!
It’s almost impossible to fit tires wider than the 700×32 mm mark on a road bike. You can try visiting a local bike shop and see if they can help with the fitting!
Step 4: Mudguards
Road bikes feature a very clean bike frame to ensure that the bike remains as light as possible. To add a little bit of extra weight and ensure that the bike has protection from road water, mudguards can be very useful.
Due to the small frame, comfort bike mudguards just won’t fit with a road bike. However, you can replicate the aesthetic by installing road bike mudguards or the traditional fender-type mudguards.
It’s not necessary to install the mudguard, but they help your road bike look the part as a comfort bike.
Step 5: Add Accessories
As we’ve mentioned before, road bikes tend to have a very clean frame. While that does mean the bikes are very lightweight, it also means that there’s a lot of room to add accessories.
A comfort bike features plenty of additional accessories that help make the cyclist’s life easier. One of the must-install accessories when you convert road bike to comfort bike is a basket.
Most comfort bikes on the market feature a basket because manufacturers are aware of the passenger’s demands. The frame design of the road bike ensures that there’s enough space to install the basket on the back and in the front.
Additionally, you can add helpful items like a bike bell and lights to make your life more comfortable.
Another helpful accessory that most comfort bikes on the market feature is a kickstand. When you use the bike in the city, it’s highly likely that you’re going to need to make multiple quick stops. A kickstand will make it easier to lock your bike and leave it out!
After implementing all these steps, you’ll have successfully converted your road bike into a cruiser bike!
Optional Step: Change the Suspension
Another contributing factor towards why a road bike is uncomfortable is the suspension. Road bikes tend to feature a rigid suspension that’s designed with a performance-first approach.
As a result, whenever you run into the occasional pothole or obstacle, the resulting jolt can be very jarring.
However, an option that’s available to you is installing a new comfort suspension on the bike. For cyclists who are relatively new to cycling repair and maintenance, installing a new suspension can be intimidating.
That’s why we’re categorizing this as an optional step. If you don’t feel confident enough in your handiwork, you can also take the bike to the local service shop and ask them to change the suspension.
If you choose to replace the suspension, it’s important to ensure that it fits properly. Once it does fit properly, you won’t be able to believe the level of comfort your old road bike will now offer!
You can convert a road bike to a comfort bike with the right amount of effort! The process can seem challenging at first, but if you take it step-by-step pretty soon, you’ll be able to turn your old road bike into a new comfort bike!
After the conversion, you won’t have to worry about riding something uncomfortable through the city again. If you want to avoid all the mechanical changes and have money to spare, have a look at some of the best comfort bikes on the market.
Either way, you’ll be able to ride in comfort soon enough!