You’ve probably experienced the frustration of pedaling your bike and feeling like it’s just not going anywhere. You might even feel like you’re working harder than you should be, causing your muscles to fatigue more quickly. So, what’s going on? Why is your bike so hard to pedal?
If you’re having trouble moving your bike, here are a few things to check. Bike tires should have the correct air pressure, and your chain should be properly adjusted. If these things are all in order, it might be time for a tune-up!
A professional can ensure your bike is in perfect working condition and help you figure out what’s causing the difficulty.
In this post, I’ll explore why your bike might be difficult to pedal and offer some tips for fixing the problem. Let’s dig in!
What Could Be Causing Your Bike Too Hard to Pedal?
If you’re having trouble figuring out why your bike is so hard to pedal, start by checking for any potential bike-related issues. It could be an issue with the bike itself or with you as the rider, such as not pedaling correctly.
One common cause of the difficulty is simply not pedaling in a smooth and rhythmic motion. Instead of doing evenly, many riders pedal in a choppy or jerky motion, making it harder to keep the bike moving forward. Hence, focus on pedaling in a smooth, circular motion, and you should find it easier to keep the bike going.
Pedalling Too Fast
The most typical issue related to increasing pedaling is attempting to pedal too quickly. If you’re new to biking or are just getting back into it after a long break, it’s essential to take things slowly at first. Trying to pedal too fast before you’re ready can lead to fatigue and make it harder to keep the bike moving.
Instead, start at a comfortable pace and gradually increase your speed as you get more comfortable.
If your bike chain is tight, pedaling cannot be easy. This is because the chain cannot move as freely as it should. It can arise from several things, such as the chain being too small for the bike, the chain being old and stiff, or being dirty. If the chain is too tight, it can cause the bike to be tough to pedal.
Dirt and grime on the bike chain can make it harder to pedal. This is because the filthy and grimy particles might accumulate on the chain, making it more challenging to operate.
Because you’ll need to spin the pedals much more rapidly to achieve the same speed as a bike with a lower gear ratio, a higher gear ratio in a bike will be difficult to pedal.
Conversely, if your bike has too low of a gear ratio, it won’t be easy to pedal because you’ll have to turn the pedals much slower to get the same speed compared to a higher gear ratio.
Air pressure is another common culprit. If your bike tires are underinflated, they will absorb more shock and make pedaling harder. This is because you must push down further on the pedal to compensate for the lack of air pressure.
As a result, the bike will have more rolling resistance, making it harder to move forward. You can quickly check and inflate your bike tires with a bike pump.
Over Weight Bike
It can be challenging to pedal if your bike is heavy because you must use more force than necessary. This can be remedied by ensuring that your bike is the proper size and weight. If you’re unsure, consult a bike shop or professional.
Dry Bike Parts
Lack of lubrication will make your bike pedal harder. When bike parts are not adequately lubricated, they can create friction, making pedaling more difficult. When bike chains become dry, they can bind up and cause resistance when pedaling.
This can make it challenging to ride, especially uphill. Properly lubricated bike parts will make pedaling much more manageable and can help extend the life of your bike. Be sure to clean and degrease the chain before applying any lubricant.
How to Fix A Bike That’s Hard to Pedal?
If you’re finding it hard to pedal your bike, it could indicate something is wrong. However, you can do a few things to fix the problem.
Adjust The Chain
The best way to fix a tight chain is to alter the chain. This can be done by loosening the chain with a chain tool or taking the bike to a bike shop to adjust.
However, if your chain is old and stiff, it also causes the bike to be difficult to pedal. This is because the chain is not as flexible as it once was. You can solve this problem by replacing it or lubing it after cleaning it.
Adjust The Gears
The wrong gear ratio can cause your bike hard to pedal. The ratio is the number of teeth on the front sprocket divided by the number of teeth on the rear. For example, if you have a bike with a front sprocket with 24 teeth and a rear sprocket with 36 teeth, your gear ratio would be 2:3.
To find the correct gear ratio for your bike, you’ll need to know what type of riding you’ll be doing most often. If you mostly ride on flat terrain, you’ll want a bike with a lower gear ratio so it’s easier to pedal.
On the other hand, if you’ll be riding mostly on hilly terrain, you’ll want a higher gear ratio to maintain a higher speed when going downhill.
Lube The Bike
If your bike is giving you a hard time when you pedal, it might be time to provide it with good lubrication. If the chain cannot move as smoothly as it should, it could cause more resistance.
Keeping your bike’s moving parts well-lubricated can reduce resistance and make pedaling much more straightforward. Start by cleaning off any dirt or grime that has built up on your bike.
You can clean your bike chain with a degreaser and then lubricate it with bike chain oil. This will help the lubricant to better adhere to the bike’s parts.
Next, apply the lubricant to the bike’s moving parts, including the chain, pedals, and gears. Once you’ve applied it, use a clean cloth to wipe away any excess.
Inflate The Tires
Low air pressure in the tire causes your bike to slow down. Before inflating your tire, check what the ideal pressure level for your specific tire is. For the usual riders on most terrain, somewhere between 30 and 60 PSI (pounds per square inch) is an excellent range.
You can experiment from there to find the perfect pressure for your riding.
Remember that, as with anything else on your bike, air pressure is something you’ll need to check regularly and adjust as needed. A good rule of thumb is to check it before every ride and always carry a portable air pump with you if you need to top off your tires during a ride.
Choose A Lightweight Bike
The weight of a bike can make it difficult to pedal, especially on hills or for longer rides. Heavier bikes also tend to have more resistance, making them slower and more challenging to ride. Therefore, when choosing a bike, one of the most important factors to consider is weight.
A lighter bike will be easier to pedal and maneuver, making it ideal for both casual riding and racing. However, lightweight bikes can also be more expensive. But, if you’re on a budget, plenty of great options are still available.
Improve Your Pedaling
The proper pedaling technique can make a big difference in your comfort and efficiency on the bike, and it’s well worth taking the time to learn. There are two main things to remember when pedaling: cadence and pedaling circles.
Cadence is simply the number of times you turn the pedals per minute, and it’s generally best to pedal at a relatively high cadence – somewhere around 80-100rpm. If you’re used to pedaling at a slower cadence, this may take some time, but it’s the most efficient way to ride.
As for pedaling circles, this means you should try to pedal in a smooth, circular motion rather than just stomping down on the pedals. It takes some practice, but it will make you more comfortable and efficient on the bike.
How to Prevent These Problems from Happening Again?
When it comes to biking, one of the worst things that can happen is finding yourself unable to pedal correctly. The optimal way to avoid issues that make it hard to pedal your bike is to keep it in good working condition.
Unfortunately, this can be incredibly frustrating and can even lead to dangerous situations if you’re not careful. Luckily, you can do a few things to avoid these kinds of issues.
Clean Your Bike
Regularly check and clean your chain, gears, and wheels. If you don’t clean your bike, you may start to experience problems that make it hard to pedal. For example, your chain and gears can become clogged with dirt and debris, making it difficult for them to move smoothly.
This can lead to a loss of power when you pedal, making it harder to ride up hills or keep up with traffic. Regular cleaning will help keep your bike in good condition and ensure it works as efficiently as possible.
Get Professional Tune-Up
One of the most important things you can do is maintain your bike properly. This means regularly checking things like your chain and tires to ensure they’re in good condition. It’s also a good idea to get bike service often by a professional.
Use Good Riding Gears
Another thing you can do to avoid pedaling problems is dress appropriately for your ride. Wearing loose or baggy clothing can make it more difficult to pedal, so it’s best to stick to form-fitting clothes that won’t get in the way. You should also make sure you wear comfortable shoes that provide good support.
Beware of Surroundings
It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when you’re biking. This means looking for things like potholes or other obstacles that could cause you to lose control of your bike. Paying attention to your surroundings will help you avoid accidents and keep you safe while riding. It also keeps your bike in good condition.
Bikes can be hard to pedal for various reasons, some of which are easy to fix, and some require more effort. The reason could be that the chain is too tight, gears need adjusting, tires are inflated incorrectly, or something could be wrong with the crankset.
If you’re unsure, it’s best to take your bike to a professional to get it checked out. In the meantime, ensure you’re pedaling with the proper technique – keep your knees and ankles relaxed and use your whole leg to push down on the pedal smoothly.
Following these simple steps can make pedalling more manageable and keep you cycling happily down the road.