As you’ve probably figured out a comfort bike is made for comfort. There are many different types of bikes such as a mountain bike, hybrid bike, road bike, cruiser bike, etc. All of them having their own characteristics depending on the task at hand.
For example a road bike is made mainly for commuters using the roads. And due to the design you’d struggle to take it off road or on rough terrains.
A Mountain bike is made for taking on rougher terrains such as dirt tracks but can also be used on the road. However, I would fully recommend not buying a mountain bike if you’re just going to be using it on the road as road bikes are much safer and ultimately designed for road usage.
Ultimately the comfort bike is a more variation of the mountain bike. Majority of users use comfort bikes for shorter distances mainly used on paved roads with flat terrains. You wouldn’t want to be using a comfort bike on rough uneven terrains. Although they can be used for easy dirt trails if you want to go on a lot of dirt trails you’ll be much better off buying a mountain bike compared to a comfort bike.
Majority of comfort bikes come with the standard 26 inch wheel which is known to be the best size wheel for any bike in the current market. Engineers say that the 26 inch wheel offers a strong rim as well as a better bracing angle compared to larger wheels.
So what are comfort bikes made for?
Comfort bikes is designed for short rides and light exercise on smooth terrains. Comfort bikes tend to use slightly wider tires than a mountain bike and this is mainly down to creating a smoother ride.
Other features of a comfort bike would be slightly larger seats. This is down to the extra padding and softer padding. This is so you have maximum comfort when sitting. Some of the more expensive seats include a suspension this is for the extra comfort and reduces the shocks if there are bumps in the road.
Finally, Comfort bikes usually have really good suspension systems. They try to remove as such shock as possible if there are potholes or rocks in the terrain. Essentially the best comfort bikes include. Wider tires, Suspension and softer seats.
If you’re a rider that is looking for a bike for short recreational rides travelling a slower speeds on standard paved roads. Then a comfort bike is what you’re looking for.
Most comfort bikes ten to use 26 inch tires. But most comfort bikes tend to use wider tires. This is to increase the comfort and smoothness of the ride.
Something else you’ll notice to increase the smoothness of the ride is the tire pressures. Most comfort bikes use lower tire pressures, compared to mountain bikes.
You’ll find high quality comfort bikes from brands such as Schwinn, Raleigh, Sixthreezero and Diamond back.
What to look for on the best comfort bikes?
Frame style is down to the preference of the user. If you’re looking for something easy to mount and dismount then you’ll probably prefer looking at low step-through frames rather than the standard frame usually found on a mountain bike. Although I would definitely suggest going for an aluminium frame comfort bike if you’re able to afford the slight increase in price.
Most comfort bikes come with suspension forks as the end goal of a comfort bike is to provide the user with a comfortable bike so you’ll notice majority of bikes labelled as a comfort bike will have a set of suspension forks.
People find that being able to sit in the upright position when cycling, this is down to the reduced pressure on your back making the ride feel more comfortable.
Shimano is quite possibly the best shifter manufacture for bikes in the US. Depending on the types of inclines in your local area would suggest the number of gears that you should look for. The more gears a shifter offers the wider the range of gears that will be included so if you have a lot of hills in your area you’ll definitely be better off looking for a comfort bike that has at least a 21 speed shifter.
The higher price range comfort bikes have up to 27 speed shifters however, from previous experience I find that a 21 speed shifter offers a wide enough range of gears that you won’t find it too difficult to climb moderate hills.
Likewise if you’re going to be riding your bike on flat terrain then you could get away with lower than 21 gears.
The best comfort seats are the one that offers memory foam or some kind of high density foam. These types of foams help reduce and absorb the shocks from the bumps in the road. The more premium seats offer added suspension springs either single or double springs, these further increase the comfort and smoothness of your ride.
Take in mind that for 95% of bikes you’ll be able to be 3rd party premium seats that aren’t too expensive. Compared to other components that you can swap out such as wheels and tires.
Best Comfort Bikes
Price Range 0 – 350
Raleigh Detour 1 Comfort Bike
The Detour 1 is a series of 3 bikes the Detour 1, 2 and 3. With the Detour 1 being the budget friendly comfort bike.
The bike features a steel frame making the bike heavier than other aluminium frame comfort bikes. It features an upright riding position which we’ve found more people prefer.
Raleigh put together a size chart which can be seen below:
5’4” – 5’7” Small Frame
5’7” – 5’10” Medium Frame
5’10” – 6’1” Large Frame
6’1” – 6’4” Extra Large Frame
Although the detour 1 is a comfort bikes it can also be used as a great all-round city bike, by taking into fact the full-size road wheels.
Featuring a 7 speed shimano twist shifter gives you enough gears to get up the steeper inclines.
Raleigh used the standard 700c wheel size giving you the opportunity to swap out the tires easily if that’s something you may look to do.
- Alloy V-Brakes
- Shimano twist shifter
- Easy to assemble
- Budget friendly
- Comfort Seat
- Steel Frame
- Only 7 speed
Raleigh Circa 2 Comfort Bike
The Raleigh circa is part of a separate family compared to the detour range. One benefit of the more premium range whilst staying in the under 350 range is the use of a 21 speed shifter giving you a wider range of gears for whatever inclines you may come across.
The saddle features memory foam as well as an adjustable seat post which gives you a very what Raleigh call an “ultra-comfortable ride”.
For the larger size of comfort bikes the Circa 2 is surprisingly light and also very easy to put together.
- 21 Speed Shifter
- Super comfort saddle
- Upright rider position
- Standard Brakes
Retrospec Barron Comfort Bike
The retrospec barron has similar specifications to the Raleigh circa. With the 21 speed shifter. As well as the low step-through aluminium frame. A low step-through frame makes for easy mounting and dismounting with very little effort.
The Shimano 21 speed shifter offers such as large range of gear ratios that it makes it very easy to tackle the steepest hills.
If your not the best at assembling, the retrospec requires the end user to install the front wheel, handle bars, seat and pedals. With all the cables already in place. Included in the box was all the tools needed to assemble, but you can use your own if preferred.
The 700*32c wheels make for a smooth ride as well as being extremely lightweight with the aluminium frame.
- Aluminum frame
- 21 Speed Shimano shifter
- Easy to assemble
- Suspension forks
- Step-through frame
- Not quick release wheel mechanism
Price Range 350 – 500
- 21 Speed Shifter
- Suspension fork
- Suspension seat post
- Innovative frame geometry
- Suitable for users under 6’1”
Raleigh Venture 2 Step ThruThe Raleigh venture 2 features a low step-through frame for easy mounting an dismounting. A lightweight bike is always preferred and the aluminum frame makes this possible. Giving the bike a super lightweight frame as well as combining with the low step-through design makes the Raleigh venture 2 one of the most purchased comfort bike on the market today. Like alternatives in this price range the venture 2 features 21 gears for tackling hills with ease. Whilst giving you a large range of gears to ride with minimal effort and keeping at a good pace. SR Sun tour suspension forks give a comfortable ride by absorbing the bumps and rough terrain you may be navigating across. Pros:
- 21 Gears
- SR suspension forks
- Ergonomic seat
- Low step-through aluminium frame
- Maximum recommended height 5’9”
- Low-profile aluminium frame
- 5’0” – 6’2” height range
- 85% assembled
- 700 x 35c double-walled rims
- Retro look not pleasing for all users
Price Range 500+
Raleigh Detour 2
The Raleigh detour 2 is the more advanced comfort bike compared to the Raleigh detour 1. Included more premium features such as the Aluminium frame making for a lightweight and more comfortable upright riding position.
5’4” – 5’7” Small
5’7” – 5’10” Medium
5’10” – 6’1” Large
6’1” – 6’4” Extra Large
The Detour 2 offers a premium Shimano rapid fire plus shifter giving you 3 gears on the front and 8 gears at the rear for a combined 24 speed shifter compared to other 21 shifters in the same price range.
The standard 700c wheel size allow the user to swap out for really high end premium comfort wheels if that’s something you’re looking for.
Premium features such as the spring-loaded comfort saddle, no-slip pedals and comfort grips show why the Raleigh Detour 2 is worth the upgrade compared to the Detour 1.
- Aluminum Frame
- Spring-loaded Saddle
- No-slip pedals
- 24 Speed Shifter
Raleigh Detour 3
Taking the Detour 2 to the next level is where Raleigh decided to take the Detour 3. The Raleigh Detour 3 has even more premium features. Upgrading the 24 speed shifter in the Detour 2 to a 27 Speed Shimano EZ Fire Plus which offers even smoother shifting and three extra gears.
The alloy suspension seat helps to reduce the rough pavements taking away and absorbing most of the small shocks that occur on a regular ride.
For the best comfort, riding in an upright position reduces back pain which is what the Detour 3’s aluminium true comfort frame offers.
With even wider tires 700x42c tires make for super easy street riding offering even greater stability without feeling heavy.
5’4” – 5’7” Small
5’7” – 5’10” Medium
5’10” – 6’1” Large
6’1” – 6’4” Extra Large
- Shimano EZ Fire Plus 27-Speed Shifter
- Alloy Suspension seat post
- Tetra 837 Alloy V-brakes
- Wide 700x42c Tires
- Aluminum True Comfort Frame
- May not be worth the additional price compared to the Detour 2.
From the reviews above our pick for the best comfort bike for the money is the Raleigh Detour 2. The Raleigh Detour 2 a lot of premium features such as the 24 speed Shimano shifter. This shifter offers such a wide range of gear ratio’s that you’ll always be able to select a gear suited to the terrain in front of you.
Additional premium features that aren’t included in cheaper alternatives are the No-slip pedals. You don’t want to end of having to spend 50 dollars on another pair of pedals later on down the line.
Furthermore, the lightweight aluminium frame keeps the bike lightweight and easy to move about and store on a stand up bike rack. Raleigh offer four different size frames making the bike fit comfortably with your height. Raleigh offer one of the highest height differences from 5’4” all the way to 6’4”.
Although you’ll find the spring-loaded saddle in the majority of comfort bikes. It’s definitely a must and the Raleigh Detour 2 offers this as well as many other comfort features to give the best comfort bike on the market currently.
Bikes for heavier riders
If you’re a more heavy rider. You may want to check out our detailed review of the best bikes for heavy riders. As a heavy rider there are a few more technical specifications that you should look for specifically when looking to buy a comfort bike. For example if you are a heavier rider then you’ll want to look for bikes that have 26 inch wheels. This is down to the fact that although you wouldn’t think it smaller wheels are able to hold more weight. When looking at the wheels specifically, as a heavy rider myself I’ve always been recommended bikes with an increased number of spokes. In the range of 32-36 spokes is recommended and that’s down to being more durable.