Guide to choose your best bike saddle – comfortable riding

Guide to choose your best bike saddle

Choosing the best bike saddle is the key to comfortable and fun riding.

However, there are so many different shapes, styles and price points of saddles available on the market that it can be overwhelming.

A comfortable bike saddle is vital for all cyclists and this article will show you how to choose the best bike saddle.

To choose the best bike saddle, you need to figure out your riding stylish, body frame, specs of the bike saddle, personally tried and your budget.

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    Why bike saddle fit is important?

    The best bike saddle for one cyclist can be like a torture device for another.

    Not only does our individual shape and size determine the best fit for us, but also the riding style, discipline and overall level of flexibility.

    With so many things to consider, finding the best bike saddle can be tough, especially when there are so many different bike saddle models, sizes and shapes on offer.

    The best bike saddle is one of the three key contact points of your ride, which can affect its overall perceived ride quality.

    Why bike saddle fit is important

    A well-fitting bike saddle should allow you to make the most of your ride.

    Whether it’s for consistent power output, riding for days on end or getting you to the trails, you should be able to do all of this without discomfort.

    If you find the best bike saddle for you, it will feel truly empowering.

    There are many people who feel that riding a bike must cause a sore butt. They say goodbye to their bikes.

    The truth is that the best bike saddle will cause no discomfort: no numbness, pain, scratching or squeezing. Just like picking cycling pants, the bike saddle that leaves no feeling is the one that fits best.

    If you are new to cycling, it is important to stress that it may take some time for your body to get used to long rides.

    SAMEBIKE saddle

    Just like the pain you may feel when you first return to the gym after a while, you must build up a certain level of strength and muscle flexibility to feel comfortable.

    The good news is that as long as your bike saddle fits you, your body will soon get used to your new saddle.

    However, if you still experience hip pain after a few weeks, it may be wiser to switch it off.

    How bike saddles work?

    Support your sit bones

    A good bike saddle should support your seat bones as effectively as it does in a chair and can easily find your best riding position.

    The sit bones at the lowest point of the pelvis support the body’s weight, which is critical to the fitting of the bike saddle.

    When in a riding position, the perineum in men and the pubic arch in women also come into contact with the saddle.

    While these areas can carry a small amount of weight, the reduced pressure here is critical to avoid numbness and pain caused by nerve and blood vessel rich areas.

    support your sit bones

    The width of the sciatic bone varies from person to person, so bike saddle manufacturers often produce models of a variety of widths.

    In addition, women statistically have wider hips than men, so on average they also have wider sit bones and need wider bike saddles.

    If your bike saddle is too narrow, you may experience excessive pressure on your seat bones or unevenness in your bike saddle.

    If you go too far, you run the risk of bruising.

    Bike saddle shape varies depending on the item used

    Road bike saddles, mountain bike saddles, gravel bike saddles, women’s saddles – what’s the real difference between them?

    The differences between bike saddles for different project uses are mainly related to the riding position, which depends not only on what type of bike you ride, but also on how you ride it.

    For example, a road cyclist who competes in road races may have a more aggressive position than a cyclist who travels long distances.

    bike saddle shape varies depending on the item used

    The best bike saddle shape for you depends on your riding position

    This position is related to the angle of the cyclist’s hips, which affects the interaction of the pelvis with the bike saddle and thus the optimal shape.

    For faster speeds and more aerodynamic positions, such as road riding and triathlons, flatter, longer bike saddles tend to work best.

    The best saddle shape for you depends on your riding position

    Your riding position determines the angle of your hips

    On the other hand, bike saddles with a curved profile are often favored by riders in a more upright endurance position, and are more often used by gravel riders, commuters or trail riders.

    In addition to bike saddle shapes, you may find that some bike saddles designed for off-road riding have features designed to reduce wake vibration, such as flexible wings or smoother bottom shells.

    Your riding position determines the angle of your hips

    How are bike saddles different for women?

    While some female cyclists are comfortable on unisex bike saddles, many women prefer female-specific bike saddles.

    Women’s bike saddles have a slightly different shape, including a central recess or hollow opening, and different padding densities and areas that correspond to the female anatomy.

    The purpose here is to provide support where it matters, i.e. sit bones, and to relieve any pressure where it is best to avoid soft tissue areas.

    How are bike saddles different for women

    Why do some bike saddles have hollow openings?

    The central groove or hollow opening in a bicycle saddle not only helps relieve pressure on the soft tissues of the rider’s genitals, but also helps reduce pressure on the perineal area (in men) or pubic arch (in women).

    Bicycle saddles with hollow openings

    The bicycle saddle is equipped with hollow openings that reduce the pressure on soft tissues.

    Other aspects of fitting a bike saddle are very similar and it may take some trial and error to find the right shape for your saddle opening when choosing the best bike saddle.

    Bicycle cushion anatomy, what will I get if I spend more?

    bicycle saddles with hollow openings

    Saddle bottom shell

    The bottom shell of a bicycle saddle is the rigid base that forms its basic shape and determines its degree of flexibility.

    The bottom rail connects the bottom shell to the seat tube by means of a clamp.

    The material used to make the bottom shell of the bicycle saddle determines its ride quality and selling price.

    Affordable bike saddles are usually made of plastic or fiber reinforced polymers, while more expensive saddles will have a carbon fiber shell.

    Saddle bottom shell

    The advantage of a carbon shell is that in most cases it will be lighter and potentially stronger than the equivalent plastic or polymer.

    It is worth noting that the same model of bicycle saddle usually has the same shape, regardless of whether it is a plastic or carbon bottom shell.

    Rails

    The material of the bicycle saddle rails greatly determines the selling price of the bicycle saddle. Saddles with steel rails tend to be the cheapest.

    Steel alloy rails are standard for cheaper entry-level bike saddles, while mid-range and top-of-the-line bike saddles tend to opt for manganese, titanium or carbon fiber rails.

    These rails are one of the main determinants of the price of a bike saddle and also offer significant weight savings as you move up the bike.

    It’s worth noting that carbon rail bike saddles may not be compatible with all seat clamps because their cross-section is oval rather than round.

    Rails

    Skinning

    The skin is the outermost layer of the bike saddle, the part you actually sit on.

    Bicycle saddles are made from a variety of materials, including leather, but synthetic bike saddle skins are more common.

    When choosing the best bike saddle, pay attention to the raised seams and bumps on it, as they can cause discomfort and even lead to holes in your cycling pants.

    Skinning

    Padding

    While thick, soft padding may seem like the solution to getting the ultimate best bike saddle comfort.

    This padding will compress during the ride, deforming your physiology and eventually putting pressure on the soft tissue areas.

    High quality bike saddles will use different densities of padding to relieve the pressure.

    Many bicycle saddle manufacturers use pressure mapping to determine where to place padding, which can range from simple foam to gel and even memory foam.

    Many modern bicycle saddles are now built using variable density foam areas to provide support and relief when needed.

    Padding

    Recesses and hollow openings

    Many bicycle saddles on the market have a central decompression groove or hollow opening.

    As mentioned earlier, the idea behind this is to reduce soft tissue pressure and improve blood flow.

    If you experience numbness while riding, consider using a bike saddle with a hollow cutout or central slot.

    Hollow openings and other processes add complexity to production and therefore usually increase costs.

    Note, however, that for some people, hollow cutouts may create pressure points near the edges of the cutouts.

    Recesses and hollow openings

    If you ‘re riding a lot in muddy conditions, it’s worth considering a bike saddle shape that doesn’t have full deep holes, as you’re more likely to land a lot of mud in places you don’t want it to.

    Some track-specific bike saddles with hollow openings are designed with drainage racks to prevent this from happening.

    Other functions

    Some bike saddles have additional features, such as a skin with reinforcement to prevent wear and tear.

    But others have elastomers between the rails and the bottom shell, and some have things like tail lights and saddlebag mounting brackets.

    While these features may look good, they shouldn’t have too much influence on your buying decision because choosing the best bike saddle is not a easy one. 

    Other functions

    How to choose the best bike saddle?

    What kind of riding are you going to do with this cushion?

    As mentioned earlier, the type of riding you do will largely determine the best bike saddle you use.

    Even for the same person, the requirements for the best bike saddle will vary from discipline to discipline:

    A bike saddle on a road bike will rarely be the same as the best bike saddle on a mountain bike or long-distance touring bike.

    Discipline not only affects if it’s the best bike saddle for you, it also affects your riding style.

    A more upright body position, such as on an electric-assist or commuter bike, is best served by a more rounded bike saddle.

    What kind of riding are you going to do with this cushion

    A bike saddle with a flat profile and a wide, flat nose may be best if you plan to race, or if you are a cyclist who slides forward and rides “on the pegs” in an effort.

    If you sit more upright on the bike and don’t move around too much, a slightly wider curved profile may provide more comfort.

    An extreme example is a bike saddle designed for time trials or triathlons.

    These allow the rider to enter an aerodynamically optimal position without compromising power output.

    These saddles typically have a very flat profile and a relatively small front end.

    Consider your anatomy

    Given that men and women are built completely differently, many brands make bike saddles that are specific to women to accommodate anatomical differences.

    That said, there are many women who are very comfortable on men’s or unisex bike saddles, and vice versa.

    Consider your body structure

    Bicycle saddle width and shape

    Bicycle saddles come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate each individual.

    Fortunately, almost every bike saddle brand has its own proprietary fit system to help you find the best bike saddle for your bike.

    Some stores will have a device to measure the distance between your two seating bone support points.

    The store will usually have you sit on top of the device’s gel or memory foam pad and measure the width of your bones.

    Bicycle saddle width and shape

    If the store near you does not offer this type of service, you can also measure at home using a piece of aluminum foil or corrugated cardboard:

    ① First, lay a piece of tinfoil or cardboard on a carpeted staircase.

    ② Then sit on the tin and lift your feet to mimic your riding position.

    ③ When you stand up, your sit bones should be left with two depressions.

    Measure the distance between the center of the two depressions and add 25 to 30mm to find your best bike saddle width.

    Try it out

    Sitting on it and riding it for a while is the best way to assess whether it is the best bike saddle for you.

    Many stores will have a set of bike saddles for customers to test out and they will let you get on the bike for a test ride.

    Some people know it’s not for them as soon as they sit down, but others take a while to determine if it’s for them.

    Things to look for when testing a bike saddle for riding include numbness and any pressure in the soft tissue area.

    Try it out

    You also shouldn’t feel the bike saddle deep into your undercarriage when you pedal, nor should it be at the top of your legs.

    It is best to spend at least an hour using the bike saddle as your body will need some time to adjust to the new seating arrangement.

    Some brands allow users to try out the best bike saddle for an extended period of time and return it if you are not satisfied.

    Alternatively, you can attend offline events organized by brands to get a feel for their saddles until you find the best bike saddle for you.

    Budget

    The amount you need to spend on a bike saddle depends mainly on the material used.

    If you choose a strong and lightweight carbon fiber best bike saddle and rails, the price will be high.

    An entry-level saddle with a polymer bottom shell and alloy rails is very cost-effective and the weight difference is not too great with the whole bike.

    Processes such as hollow openings or grooves tend to add complexity to manufacturing, so the price may reflect this.

    How much do I plan to spend

    How can I make my bike more comfortable?

    While a gel bike saddle with padding may seem like a good idea to make your bike saddle more comfortable, it is likely to have the opposite effect.

    The way the thick gel pad squeezes and compresses underneath you during your ride may actually make your sitting bones and soft tissues more uncomfortable.

    Moving your bike saddle back and forth within safe limits can affect where you pedal and how you ride.

    Generally, it is more comfortable to have your bike saddle flat, but for a small group of people, it is more comfortable to have the front part of your saddle tilted slightly down while riding a mountain bike.

    How can I make my bike more comfortable

    However, if you tilt it too much, you may find that pressure is applied to your body through your wrists and hands, and you are prone to calf cramps while riding.

    Making sure your best bike saddle is at the right height is important to improve comfort.

    Cyclists who are able to do so can try Bike Fitting, where a professional can help you find the right shape, size and position of your best bike saddle.

    Also, don’t underestimate the effect of a good pair of cycling pants, or even some chamois cream for long rides.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, the best bike saddle should allow you to ride for hours at a time without discomfort no matter it’s just a normal bike or an electric bike.

    By measuring the width of your sit bones and trying out different models, you’re sure to find the best bike saddle fit for you.

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