Why Is My Bike So Hard To Pedal? (Revealed)

Why Is My Bike So Hard To Pedal?

Do you know why most people pedal their bicycles than walk to their destination? It takes almost 5 minutes more walking than pedaling, so what is the difference?

Well, it all starts with the easiness. Imagine walking down the street, pedaling, then running. You will have heavy breathing and aching legs. Thus, it is much easier to pedal than walk.

Top 10 Reasons For Hard Pedaling

But, there are times when pedaling a bike can be quite tough. You may be putting in extra effort and sweating more than usual. So, what’s the cause behind this? Pedaling can seem more difficult than usual for many reasons.

1.    Bike Chain Issue

One common cause is an issue with the bike chain. When dirt or grit builds up on the links, it adds friction and makes pedaling harder.

2.    Flat Tire

Hard pedaling can be a real strain, especially if you’re not used to it. A flat tire can cause extra drag and must you to apply more power to move forward. Such tires result from worn tubes and tires. So, it is important to keep an eye out and replace them with new ones.

3.    Wrong Tire Pressure

One of the biggest contributors to hard pedaling is tire pressure. Inflated tires are vital to ensure you don’t spend extra energy while riding. Low or high tire pressure increases rolling resistance. This means that your legs must exert more energy to propel you forward.

Lower tire pressure results in a bumpier ride which can be tiring and dangerous. Pre-ride tire checks should become a routine part of your bike preparation checklist. If necessary, pump up those tires and get back on track with smooth and efficient cycling.

4.    Gear Ratio

Gear ratio plays a vital role in pedaling efficiency. Pedaling can be hard work if your bike’s gear ratio is too steep. Having higher gears makes it easier to go faster. But it also speeds up the pedaling rate and increases the effort needed to get going. Whether you’re in low or high gear, it’s essential to choose the right equipment for your cycling needs. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time pedaling no matter how fit or strong you are.

5.    Bike Frame Geometry

As for the reasons for hard pedaling, our top consideration is usually weight related. Yet, the bike geometry can also influence how hard it is to pedal. Bike frame geometry describes the angles and distance between components, such as,

  • The seat tube,
  • Head tube and
  • Bottom bracket.

When these measurements are off, pedaling becomes challenging due to incorrect weight distribution. It is vital to take into account your riding style and riding terrain. You can optimize specific geometries for certain activities or terrains. This makes adjusting frames, the key to achieving optimal power output when pedaling.

6.    Dirty Drivetrain

A dirty drivetrain is one of the top 10 culprits. It causes friction between the components, which makes pedaling harder than normal. Thorough cleaning with special lubricants should help restore your process to its power. Additionally, make sure to lube your chain at all times. This entity will reduce friction caused by dirt buildup on the components. You can enjoy that smooth ride again.

7.    Poor Posture

Sitting in a good position while riding can make pedaling comfortable. Not only bad posture increases strain on muscles, but it can also impede your pedaling efficiency.

If you are sitting too low or too far forward, your legs must both push down and pull up. It occurs to move the pedal around its circle, as opposed to pushing down when seated.

This extra effort can make pedaling a lot harder and tire you much sooner. Ensure you mount your bike with a comfortable sitting posture.

Enjoy the ride and reduce any muscular fatigue from over-exertion.

8.    Incorrect Foot Positioning

Incorrect foot positioning when cycling can make the pedaling process more complicated. This can happen if one’s feet don’t rest on the pedals or move around while pedaling. It decreases efficiency and adds fatigue over time.

It is important to position the feet on the pedals. This should include enough grip and support, as well as neither tight nor loose shoe laces. Furthermore, it helps to inspect your bike’s parts to ensure they are all connected.

With regular maintenance and good foot positioning, hard pedaling can be a distant memory.

9.    Low Fitness Level

Pedaling a bike can be arduous for those with low fitness levels or who are generally less active. Building strength and aerobic endurance play a huge role in your ability to pedal at a steady pace.

To avoid becoming winded or too tired, you can start slow. People new to biking may find it challenging to get the most out of their cycling experience.

The lack of physical preparation can make pedaling more taxing and uncomfortable. This will keep happening until they build up their stamina and muscle strength.

10. Weak Pedals

The most common cause behind hard pedaling is the bike’s chain or cassette. A dirty and worn-out chain can make it difficult to pedal, as it won’t move over the gears. The same goes for the cassette, lubricate and service it.


If your bike is hard to pedal, the cause could be anything from a lack of lubrication to incorrect tension in the chain. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult a professional bike mechanic. They can help you identify the problem and get your bike back to peak performance.

Hopefully, this blog post has helped you to understand why your bike is so hard to pedal and provided you with some tips for fixing the problem. So, the next time your bike is giving you trouble, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for and how to fix it.