How to Convert a Racing Bike Into Comfort Bike

Written by rocco pendola
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How to Convert a Racing Bike Into Comfort Bike
A race bicycle. (woman on a bicycle image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com)

As the late bicycling expert Sheldon Brown pointed out, most people consider racing bikes "sport bicycle[s] with drop handlebars and narrow tires." Comfort bikes are the exact opposite. They have wide tires, an upright handlebar position and sit low to the ground so you can get off of them easily. While it might cost less to just go out and buy a new comfort bike, it is possible to convert a racing bike into a comfort bike.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Change your handlebar set-up. A common complaint people have about race bikes is that the "leaned over" position is uncomfortable. To achieve the upright position a comfort bike offers, replace the drop handlebar with a flat bar. Choose a flat bar that is not perfectly straight. Get one with a medium or high rise where the bar juts up so your arms are higher and your back straighter.

  2. 2

    Replace your brake and shifter assemblies. This is complicated (and potentially expensive), so if you don't know how to work on bikes, consult a bike mechanic. However, the change is a must.. The brake levers and gear shifters used on race bikes are not compatible with the ones used on comfort bikes. You might also need to switch out other parts of your drive train and gear-shifting system, such as the front and rear derailleur.

  3. 3

    Get wider tires. Depending upon how wide you want to go, you might need to get a whole new wheel. Race bikes come with narrow tires, known as 700 X 23s. You could stick with the 700mm diameter and use a 28, 32, 35 or even 40mm width. Alternatively, you could switch to a 26 inch tire, which will require a new wheel, with a width between 1.25 to 2 inches. In any case, you need to be sure that your wider tire will clear the fork that is on your race bike. If not, you'll need a new, wider fork. This is another potentially messy situation for your local bike mechanic.

  4. 4

    Swap out your narrow, thin road bike seat for a wider, relatively cushy comfort bike saddle. Most people can make this switch on their own without issue. Most comfort-oriented seats will fit on a road bike seat post with the turn of a few screws.

    How to Convert a Racing Bike Into Comfort Bike
    Or just buy an adult tricycle with a wide seat. (senior transportation image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

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