Why Is It Hard To Pedal My Bike?

Biking is a prevalent mode of transportation, both because it saves money and also preserves environmental resources. Unfortunately, “Why is it hard to pedal my bike?” is a common question among beginners.

A bike can be hard to pedal when you use the wrong gear for the terrain or because of excess rolling resistance. Also, insufficient lubrication and faulty saddle and handlebar heights and wrongly inflated tires could also make pedaling a bike hard.

All the same, there are various reasons other than those mentioned above that could make your bike hard to pedal.

Why is it hard to pedal my bike? I rider standing with one leg on the pedals a stradle.

Why Is It Hard To Pedal My Bike (Explained Into Details)

If you’re not sure why it’s hard to pedal your bike, don’t worry. Here are some helpful tips about what might be the cause.

1. Using The Wrong Gear

One reason why biking might feel hard is if you use the wrong gear for the terrain. For example, you should use a lower gear if you’re going up a steep hill and a higher gear going downhill. If you use the wrong gear for your terrain, it will tire you out quickly and can even hurt your knees. 

2. Your Bike Doesn’t Fit You

One of the most common reasons people can’t pedal their bikes is because their bike doesn’t fit them. Unfortunately, many people have bicycles that are too big for them.

3. How Can You Tell If Your Bike Is Too Big?

To find out, sit on your bike with one leg on each pedal. You should be able to do this easily with your feet flat on the ground. If your knees are bent too much, or you can’t reach the ground, it might be time to get a new bike.

4. Insufficient Lubrication

Insufficient or lack of lubrication can also make your bike hard to pedal. That’s because it keeps your chain from sliding up and down the cog.

Spending a few bucks on a bike chain lubricant such as the Finish Line Dry Bike Lubricant can change the whole riding experience.

Why is it hard to pedal my bike? A man pushing his bike uphill.

What Would Make A Bike Hard To Pedal? 

Here are four more factors that can make a bike more difficult to pedal.

1. Tire To Road Grip

First, if there is much friction between your tires and the road, it will be hard to pedal a bike. For example, it is hard to pedal a mountain bike with its default tires on pavement due to the friction involved.

2. Rotational Inertia Of The Pedals

Secondly, the rotational inertia of the cranks and pedals can make pedaling less efficient. Unless you’re going fast or have a lot of momentum, you’ll have less power to put into the pedals because they rotate slowly.

3. Rider’s and Bike’s Weight

Third, your bike’s weight matters as well. If it is too heavy, then it will be harder to pedal uphill or from a standstill.

Also, how you weigh also could make a bike feel hard to pedal. Strong light riders will easily pedal in terrain that would prove difficult to bigger and heavier riders.

4. Speed Also Matters

Finally, the last factor is how fast your bike is going. The faster it goes, the more force you should generate to push on the pedals.

Combining all of these factors shows that many different factors can affect how hard it is to pedal your bike.

However, if a bike is impossible to pedal, then that means you have a problem with the bike itself. It could be that the components are broken, and it needs some serious maintenance.

What Do You Do If It Is Hard To Pedal Your Bike

Biking is a great way to stay healthy and fit. All the same, what should you do if your bike is hard to pedal? Here are a few tips to help you get your bike pedal faster.

1. Fix Your Seat

The bike saddle should be at a comfortable height. If it’s too high or low, you will have trouble pedaling. Without a doubt, that makes for a very uncomfortable ride.

The thing is, when you’re riding your bike and pedaling too hard, the back of your thigh will start burning. This is because you’re using muscles in your leg that don’t usually get used.

 If this happens for some time, there’s a chance that those muscles could cramp up or even cause injury.

Why is it hard to pedal my bike? A young girl riding a bicycle while standing on the pedals

So if possible, try adjusting the seat height and angle until it feels like it takes less effort to push down on the pedals.

2. Lube your Drive Train Components

When your bike’s chain gets dry and stiff, it can cause a lot of trouble for you while you’re riding.

 If you want a bike ride that’s easy and fun, lube your chain! Keeping the chain clean makes it smooth, and pedaling will be easier.

Also, it would be helpful lubing the pedals too.

3. Adjust The Derailleurs And Gears To Make It Easier To Pedal

When riding your bike, it is important to adjust the derailleurs and gears. This will make it easier for you to pedal.

You can also change up the gear on the handlebars to get different levels of resistance while biking. These are both adjustments that are easy enough for anyone to do!

4. Check The Brakes

If you find it hard to pedal your bike, make sure that your brakes are working properly. If they are not working, you may need to repair them or replace them altogether.

Why Is My Mountain Bike Hard To Pedal?

One of the main reasons mountain bikes are hard to pedal on the pavement is their low-pressure tire. Generally, mountain bikes are not meant for the road but the trails.

Their low-pressure tires usually have an extensive contact patch which increases friction between the road and the tires.

On the other hand, your mountain bike could be hard to pedal if you ride on the wrong gear. If you use a high gear while riding uphill, you will be in for a big challenge.

Therefore, in addition to insufficient lubrication or faulty brakes, a mountain bike can be hard to pedal due to the amount of air in the tires and gear combination.

 A mountain biker riding a bicycle

How Do I Make My Bike Pedal Easier? 

A bike that is hard to pedal can ruin your riding experience. Therefore, if you want to make your bike pedal easier, here are some tips for you.

  1. Pump your tires to the recommended pressure level
  2. Check for a squeezed tube or worn-out tire
  3. Try adjusting the height of your seat
  4. Adjust your handlebars
  5. Lubricate the bearings with grease periodically
  6. Invest in quality pedals that will last you for long
  7. Adjust the tilt of your saddle to your preferred riding position
  8. Consider switching to a smaller chainring or an easier gearing level if you are not getting enough speed out of the pedals
  9. Clean and lube your chains at least once every month
  10. If nothing seems to work, test ride another bike for comparison

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are Mountain Bikes Harder To Pedal?

Mountain bikes are easier to pedal when climbing hills because they can be geared more tightly than a road bike, making them more efficient at the same cadence.

Due to their lighter weight and wider tire diameter, mountain bikes are generally less efficient when pedaling on level ground or competing with road cyclists in endurance events like time trials.

2. What Is The Easiest Gear On A Bike?

The easiest gear on a bike is the gear that you can pedal without resistance. The high gears are most advantageous when traveling on a steep uphill.

Gear ratios complicate this answer. Different parts of a climb may have diverse momentum requirements and require a change in gears to function optimally.

If you have a mountain bike, it will depend on the trail and your skill level.

If you have a city or hybrid, shift down in an uphill situation so you can pedal up more slowly.

3. Why Does My Bike Feel Sluggish?

There are several possible reasons your bike feels sluggish, but one explanation worth looking at is the lack of lubrication in your drivetrain.

Drivetrain components rubbing together without any lubricant experiences higher friction and will quickly wear. Over time this wear and tear on the gears make the bike feels sluggish.

In addition, a buildup of dirt on the bearings and the drive train means you could be losing power throughout your pedal stroke.

Also Read: Can You Put BMX Pedals On a Mountain Bike?

In Summary – Why Is It Hard To Pedal My Bike

 If you are struggling to pedal your bike, it may be because there is insufficient lubrication. This could be due to a lack of maintenance or too much friction on the chain.

In such a case, give the chain some more grease!

Another reason for this problem could be that your bicycle doesn’t fit you properly. You should have an expert look at your bike’s geometry and help you find any areas where things don’t line up just right.

Finally, using the wrong gear might also cause problems with pedaling speed and cause difficulty changing gears while riding.

There are many different types of bikes out there; find one that suits you best!