Gravel biking is my thing. I love that I can go fast on the road, and a minute later, switch to gravel and push the limits of my bike. This is fun!
But I also want my bike to be comfortable, as a higher level of comfort can reduce fatigue by taking the edge off impacts before they reach your body.
Luckily, the bike industry is currently bringing comfort to the forefront. The idea is to make the bike smoother without excessive weight, complexity, or maintenance.
There are now comfort solutions out there ranging from suspension stems, to suspension seatposts, and suspension forks. There are flexible, vibration-absorbing handlebars. There are out-of-the-box frame designs like the GT Grade Carbon or Cannondale Topstone Carbon (pictured below). There are different saddles, wheels, and tires that promise to offer sublime ride comfort.
Some of these are little more than hot air, but others do actually provide you with a smoother ride. There’s a lot to navigate!
Comfort Is King
I started a search looking for the most comfortable gravel bikes and components a few years ago.
Interestingly, after testing different gravel bikes and components, I found there’s a limit to comfort as well. Some bikes and components simply isolate you too much from your bike – the result is that you have the feeling of less bike control, less connectedness to the surfaces below, and less fun.
So my plan with the CyclingAbout Comfort Lab is to find the highest possible comfort without losing the fun factor.
A lot of bike manufacturers and bike reviewers claim that this bike or that solution is the most comfortable. But that’s often a subjective opinion. How about some real data?
I am currently testing all kinds of bikes and components to compare the vibration levels with my benchmark bike. The aim is to find products that bring even more comfort to my gravel bike without taking away any fun.
I even have my own outdoor test procedure (you can read how I conduct my tests HERE). Please let me know if you have ideas on how I can enhance or improve my test procedure to get even better results.
The Comfort Challenge
If you know of a component that will make my benchmark bike even more comfortable, please do let me know.
And bike companies, if you think that your bike is extra comfortable, take my comfort challenge and contact me too. I will gladly put it to the test and report if it is indeed the case.