The riding posture is simple, yet it might be the most significant factor in how much you actually enjoy riding. Sitting upright with your hands relatively high and near is comfortable, and leaning forward with your hands low and your arms stretched out is efficient and fast. If your electric mountain bike is the right size, yet you never feel quite at ease on them, then riding postures may be part of the problem.
Even so, there are several ways to get more comfortable. We will start with a closer look at the effects of riding posture, and try to explain some issues you might have experienced without totally realizing the reasons. Then, we will cover how to adjust or replace a few parts to fine-tune your posture so that you can ride quickly enough while actually enjoying the trip, let’s get straight to it!
Forward-leaning riding posture
To give an extreme example, you can picture someone training for a race and compare him with someone riding to a park in an old European city. Of course, their bikes are different on many levels, but let’s focus on how these riders sit on their bikes.
The racers bend as far forward as possible. In that way, they can get less wind resistance and let them use their glutes more effectively while pedaling in addition to your quadriceps. However, that position puts a lot of weight on your wrists, which some people find more bearable than others. It also requires tilting your head up and holding it there. If you are like those of us who sit at a desk all day, you may have limited upper back mobility, which you might compensate for by kinking your neck even more sharply. It’s also hard to observe your surrounding from that posture. Although that is not a problem when you are racing or training, it is not ideal if you are around traffic and need to turn your head perpetually, or if you are just trying to gaze at the scenery. Finally, a deep forward bend pretty much requires stretchy clothing. Everyday apparel as you’d wear to the office feel restrictive in that posture.
Upright riding posture
The city riders make the opposite trade-offs. When they are on the city commuting ebikes, their torsos are totally vertical. In that way, they will experience much more wind resistance and will have to rely more on their own quadriceps and less on glutes for pedaling power, but the flip side is that there is not much weight on your hands, wrists, and your arms are relaxed, not stretched out front. Your head and neck are in a comfortable neutral angle that anybody can sustain for a long time. For example, Magicycle Ocelot Pro has a butterfly-shaped handlebar, which is designed to reduce the burden on the wrists or hands of our Magicyle owners. Getting back to that upright riding posture, it doesn’t require much mobility, plus it’s easy and relaxing to see your surroundings. This is also doable with everyday clothing, which won’t make you feel too restrictive, so there is no need to suit up in close-fitting sports clothing unless you prefer to do so.
Whether you are trying to dial in the riding position of your ebike, or you are shopping for a whole new electric mountain bike, here are a few starting points for all-around non-competitive riding.
Handlebars make all the difference in the world of ebikes. Different bars and stems give several inches of variation in whether your hands are forward or backward, high or low, and rotated in or out. Once your saddle is at the right height, the goal is to get the handlebars to roughly the same height as the saddle, or even a little higher. Then adjust the saddle and handlebar position slightly until your arm extension and weight distribution feel just right. There are 3 basic ways to move and rotate your hand position, including stem adjustment, stem replacement, and handlebar replacement. Of course, your saddle also moves a couple of inches, but that is intended just for subtle changes.
The easiest way is just to move the stem up or down, just remember that the headtube tilts back toward the rider a bit, moving your stem up or down is not perfectly vertical. It effectively moves a little bit forward or backward simultaneously, so this can make a surprisingly big difference in how your electric bike feels.
You can buy a different stem that is up to a couple of inches longer, shorter, higher rise, or lower rise than your current one. This makes sense if you fundamentally like the feel of your handlebars, but adjusting the current stem alone doesn’t suffice.
Most stems have a removable face plate, so you can leave your levers and grips on the handlebars during the swap. But some especially quilt stems require moving the levers and grips in order to slide the bars out of the old stem and into the new one. It could be annoying since the grips can be a real headache to take off, but it is not complicated.
If you want a different hand rotation on your electric bike or just more than a couple of inches of change in position, then consider new handlebars for your electric bikes for adults altogether. Why would hand rotation matter? Well, think about how your palms almost face each other when your arms hang by your side at ease. The close they stay to that angle, the less strain you will feel while riding. It’s the same underlying principle as with ergonomic keyboards and mice for instance. Straight bars do technically offer more control, but that is seldom necessary unless you are riding pretty aggressively off-road as in jumps and rock gardens. Most people find their wrists and elbows more comfortable on bars that sweep back at least 30 degrees or so. There are a variety of brands offering diverse, comfortable, and practical choices. To be honest, they are not too hard to replace unless you are talking about a hydraulic brake line.
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