Riding a bike gives you a feeling of freedom and enjoyment as crisp, clean air opens your lungs. However, as we get older, it becomes harder to find the best bikes for seniors that meets our physical capabilities. To make this process easier, I’ve made this guide to help you find the bike that suits your needs.
If you don’t have the time to read the entire article, check here the best bikes for seniors:
- Critical Cycles Parker Step-Thru City Bike – The Best Bicycle for BabyBoomers!
- Raleigh Detour 2 Comfort Bike – The Best Cheap Comfort Bike for Seniors!
- Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike – The Best Recumbent Bike for Seniors!
- Merax Adult Tricycle Trike – The Best Cheap Trike for Seniors!
- Retrospec Beaumont – The Best Bike for Senior Women!
Things To Consider When Choosing The Best Bikes For Seniors
Some bikes are for speed and performance, while others are for comfortable cruising. For you to find the bike that’s suitable for you, you’ll need to evaluate each of these components to determine if it’s the right option for you. A recently published article by AARP a company who empowers seniors to live how they choose discusses the importance of bike features that benefit seniors.
Since there are so many features on any given bike, it’s hard to figure out which areas are the most important. However, there are several key features you need to look for to have an enjoyable experience.
Choosing The Right Frame
The wrong frame could turn your pleasant ride into an unpleasant nightmare. The first thing you should look for is a frame that’s easy to move around without being too bulky. Look for a bike made from lightweight materials and offers the durability you need when your out riding on various types of terrain.
Most bikes consist of steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber. The lightest materials used in bike frames are carbon fiber or aluminum, however, they tend to have a higher price tag. If you can handle a heavier bike, a steel frame packs more weight but offers a cheaper price tag.
Aside from its weight, you want to choose the proper frame design. If you have trouble lifting your leg and maintaining your balance, a standard bike frame won’t work. The risk of falling due to difficult mounting or dismounting could cause serious injury and end your cycling adventure before it ever starts.
Instead, you should look for a bike that features a step-thru frame. A step-thru frame also called a low frame or open frame doesn’t have a top tube that connects the upper frame near the handlebars to the bar under the saddle. This requires you to take a small step over the frame, without having to try to clear the high cross-bar.
Positioning is The Key
When you’re searching for a bike, you should look for one that features an upright position. An upright bike puts you in a natural upright position that keeps your body weight off your joints and evenly distributes it from the pedals to the handlebars. Plus, with an upright position bike, you’ll be able to easily maneuver it without putting stress on your neck and back.
With better weight distribution and proper positioning, these bikes offer more stability than your traditional bike. It won’t tip over on you as easily on unstable terrain when moving at a relaxed pace. During your ride on an upright bike, you’ll use the muscles from more areas of the body than a regular bike, helping you strengthen your body and burn calories at a faster rate.
The Perfect Saddle
The saddle, also known as the seat, is a riders main source of comfort during any length of ride. The right saddle helps keep pressure off your groin area and prevent painful saddle sores. This is especially true if you are a heavy rider.
You should look for a saddle that’s compatible with your ischial tuberosities, commonly called your sit bones. This video by Bicycle Lab, explains why choosing the right saddle’s important and what the wrong saddle does to your body.
Another important factor to consider on the saddle is the material it’s made of. You want a material that’s moisture-wicking or a high-quality leather to prevent uncomfortable chafing. Under the material, it should have a gel pad or medium firm padding, giving your backside cushion.
Additionally, you want to make sure the saddle on your bike’s adjustable. An adjustable saddle allows you to adjust your sitting height, making it easier to reach the handlebars and control your bike. As your hands rest on the handlebars, it should feel natural and not forced or awkward.
The wrong type of handlebars causes a lot of strain on your wrists, back, and neck. The best option for seniors is high handlebars with a stem that’s 1 inch above your saddle. This prevents you from hunching or overextending and keeps lower back pain and sore wrists at bay.
Your handlebars should also have a textured grip with comfortable material. Ideally, ones made with leather or high-tech materials that feature a simple design and doesn’t interfere with proper hand placement. Without a proper grip, you put yourself at risk for sore wrists and blisters every time you ride.
The Best Bikes For Baby Boomers
There are many different types of bikes and even more sub-types that make it hard to narrow down the choices that are best for you. In fact, Bicycle Escape made a guide of all the different types of bike’s, to help riders find that right one to suit their needs. Despite the large selection of bike’s, there’s a few that offer the most benefits to seniors and baby boomers, when compared to other types of bikes.
Come in different styles but all of them have the same concept in mind. They’ve all been enhanced for maximum durability and performance that allow you to ride through rough terrain. They’re ideal if you plan to ride through pothole-ridden streets, over curbs, or on pathways that have large rocks, roots, and other obstacles.
With a mountain bike, you’ll have either front or fill suspension to minimize the roughness of your ride and large knobby tires that firmly grin your riding surface. Low gear ratios are common for climbing steep hills and the handlebars sit in a position that has you leaning forward. They also offer powerful brakes and shock absorbing seats
A Hybrid bike, also known as a comfort bike, takes all the best features found mountain bikes and road bikes, to create an entirely new bike. By putting these features together, you’ll create a hybrid with tons of comfort features like thickly padded seats and shock absorbers. They offer various handlebar options, brake and shifter levers, and up to 27-speed options.
This bike’s suitable for casual riding around your neighborhood, back and forth to work, or a relaxing ride around town, with the option to take it on trails or down gravel paths. These hybrids have medium-width tires and tread that allows them to grip and cushion any surface you ride on, unlike other bikes that only perform well on certain terrain. It’s designed to glide smoothly over any surface and keeps you in the upright position for pain-free cycling.
A recumbent bike doesn’t look like your traditional bicycle. These bikes sit very low to the ground, featuring a comfortable padded seat with a backrest, similar to that of a chair. As you sit in a recumbent bike, you are placed in a relaxed, reclined position that eliminates the aches and pains associated with riding a regular bike that has you hunched over the handlebars.
There are several varieties of recumbent bikes that give you the option to choose which style offers you the most comfortable and convenient ride. They offer short, medium, and long configurations and two or three-wheel versions, depending on the type of cycling you plan to do. In addition, they offer either handlebars in front of you or underneath you, giving you the choice on which versions the easiest for you.
An adult tricycle offers a variety of styles to choose from, giving you the option to pick the one that suits your needs. It’s become a popular choice for many baby boomers and seniors who suffer from disabilities or balance issues. Unlike a regular bike, you can ride as fast or slow as you want, without ever falling over.
Most tricycles have all the same components as a traditional road bike and offer a step-thru frame for getting on and off your bike easily. They offer an upright sitting position for less body pain and three wide wheels for better shock absorption. An adult trike’s designed for comfort with extra padded saddles, wide handlebars, leather grips, and a rear basket.
Health Benefits For Seniors Who Ride Bikes Everyday
Exercising every day offers a variety of benefits to people of all ages. As we get older, exercise becomes a crucial factor in combating a variety of ailments that come with aging. The best way to get your daily exercise would be riding a bike. It’s been shown to offer many health benefits both physically and mentally.
In fact, according to The Centre of Cognitive Ageing, if you engage in regular physical activity, like riding a bike, you’ll have less atrophy and White Matter Lesions. Less White Matter Lesions helps lower your risk of developing brain dysfunctions like Alzheimer’s, as well as other conditions/problems like Multiple Sclerosis, decreased cognitive abilities, and vision loss.
Additionally, according to Harvard Medical School, regular cycling helps you perform daily activities such as walking, standing, and climbing stairs as you develop stronger muscles and bones. It also offers an improvement in your overall mood, as physical activity helps release endorphins, responsible for feel-good emotions.
The Best Bikes For Baby Boomers
I rather enjoy the look of the Parker Step-thru as it has a retro design with minimalist features that I enjoy. This bikes a great option for seniors with its steel, step-thru frame that offers easy mounting and dismounting. It’s a single speed bike that’s designed for cruising the neighborhood, while getting a low-impact workout, so you’ll only move as fast as you can pedal.
Another reason the Parker step-thru’s ideal for seniors is because of its KT Coaster brake hubs. These hubs allow you to break with your feet and has no cables or wires to get caught up on. Plus, it offers a more attractive design without all those wires and cables running throughout the bike.
This bike has 32mm deep-v rims and 32 spoke front and rear wheels designed to grip the surface as you ride for better stability. This bike has many comfort features you’ll want, like leather hand grips and mustache handlebars that’ll keep the strain off your wrists and puts you in a natural upright position to ease back pain. With the leather-covered, padded saddle you’ll stay comfortable throughout your entire ride, without painful sit sores.
If you’re looking for a casual neighborhood cruiser, the Parker Step-Thru makes a great option. You’ll pay $256 for this bike, making it very affordable. It’s well worth its price tag considering the amount of comfort it provides while you ride.
The Raleigh Detour 2’s an attractive hybrid bike that’s designed for ultimate comfort that’s perfect for baby boomers. I like the Raleigh Comfort seats that have plush padding and the back-sweep handlebars because both features keep stress off your back and neck. Plus, its spring-loaded saddle helps absorbing bumps as you ride on rough surfaces, which gives you better stability.
Its upright sitting position and wide-set handlebars, with a leather grip, will prevent you from having to lean over the handlebars. Since you won’t have to lean, you’ll avoid back, neck, and wrist strain that can ruin your riding experience. The upright positions also good for seniors because you’ll have better balance when riding over rougher surfaces.
The Raleigh Detour 2 lets you ride on all terrains, having a light-weight aluminum frame and 27 gears, you can go up hills without much effort. It’s full-sized road tires with anti-puncture material, give you a smooth riding experience that won’t leave you stranded with a flat tire. Plus, it’s equipped with Promax Alloy V brakes that give you powerful breaking capabilities right at your fingertips.
You should plan on paying $290 for this particular hybrid bike. It’s about mid-range compared to other hybrids, some falling just above or slightly below its price. It offers several useful features and a stylish design that’s worth the price.
While the Performer JC70 Recumbent Trike has an unusual design, it offers many benefits to seniors that other trikes don’t. It has a thin, aluminum frame that’s both durable and light-weight, allowing you to move with little effort. It offers a bit more speed than a typical bike, but being in a relaxed position will allow you to go faster without straining yourself. In total, it has 27 speeds, but you can cruise as fast or slow as you want without worrying about falling over.
These trikes have three wheels so it’ll be safer and easier to maneuver around corners, even on rough trails or roadways. It features traditional brake levers and disc brakes that you’ll find on many other bikes, giving you optimal stopping power at your fingertips. As you ride the Performer JC70 you’ll be seated in a reclined position on a FRO saddle with mesh cushioning and a comfortable headrest.
Another feature that benefits seniors is pedal placement. These pedals are out front for a relaxed peddling position and the hand controls near the seat to prevent overextending. It’s vast features and comfortable design make it the best option to ride if you’d prefer a reclined position over an upright one.
The cost of the Performer JC70 trike is higher than a traditional bike, coming in at $1,435. It falls around the same price as other trikes, but it’s an expensive option if you’re on a budget. It’s vast features and comfort features make the trike well worth the price if you aren’t concerned about cost.
The Merax Adult Tricycle’s perfect if you’re looking to cruise at a slower pace without losing your balance. This bikes great for seniors due to light-weight, step-thru frame that allows you to mount and dismount easily. I also like this bike because it offers only one speed which allows novice cyclists to ride slowly without worrying about tipping over. You’ll sit in the upright position on this bike and a spring-loaded, extra padded saddle offers both comfort and balance.
With the Merax Adult trike, you’ll cruise comfortably on three, 26″ wheels on alloy rims and stainless steel spokes that keep your ride smooth. I like its unique wrap-around fenders that keep you clean and dry during your ride and its adjustable handlebars that accommodate a variety of heights for a perfect fit. For added convenience, this bike also has a rear basket that allows you to carry groceries and other important items.
The Merax Adult Tricycle offers a decent price, costing you about $250. It’s a reasonable price considering other varieties of trike cost much more. If you’re looking for a simple cruiser and don’t plan to climb steep hills or rough terrain, it makes for a perfect choice.
Retrospec Beaumont is my pick for the best bicycle for senior women. It’s a lightweight step-thru steel frame design which always works with seniors. This bicycle is fitted with some really good, high-quality components which are easy to use, and long-lasting. Some of the most notable ones are Kenda 700x35C tires, Shimano 7-Speed drivetrain, and RevoShift twist shifters.
One of my favorite parts of this bicycle is the look. It’s retro-inspired, and can easily transport you back into the 1960s with its retro colors, plush grips, cushy saddle and included charming mid-century bell. If you don’t like the original white color ( cream ) of course you can choose one of the others available: Olive, Turquoise, Coral, Black, and Cool Mint. I won’t lie you – the most gorgeous one for me is the Cool Mint.
With the 7 speeds, you’ve got just enough gears to climb some mild hills or to commute in the town. It’s more than enough for cycling recreationally in the park. The brakes are good enough as well, nothing to worry about on this part. The seat is also quite comfortable, which is very important for a senior cyclist.
Some buyers claim that this bike needs some professional help to be put together which is something I always preach too. You need to visit your local bike shop to assemble it, especially if you are elderly women. Despite this downside, the Retrospec Beaumont is a decent bike for senior women, which can enjoy cycling in the park or in the neighborhood.
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