29 May 2023

How to choose the right bicycle saddle?

Do you love long bicycle trips? Is cycling your passion? This means that your bicycle should be fully adapted to your needs, riding style, body structure. This also applies to the saddle, which must not only be comfortable. It should also allow you to assume the correct position behind the handlebars. How to choose a saddle model to ensure full comfort while riding? We explain!

The bicycle saddle matters

If an inadequate saddle is installed on a bicycle, the cyclist will experience considerable discomfort while riding. Choosing the right seat ensures:

  • the ability to assume a comfortable position behind the handlebars – the saddle should be chosen in terms of whether you ride with your body leaning, upright, or heavily forward;
  • less risk of sciatic pain;
  • the absence of unpleasant abrasions in the intimate parts of the body.

Remember, too, that it is important to set the saddle at the right height. If, when sitting on the vehicle, you can freely touch the ground with your whole foot, it means you are ready to ride. You can adjust the height of the saddle at home or on the road – by visiting a bicycle repair station.

What should a bicycle saddle be made of?

A cyclist who cares about maximum comfort while riding needs to look at what material the saddle is made of.

Some of them are finished with leather. This natural material is resistant to damage, durable, and the seat made of it becomes contoured and adapted to the cyclist’s anatomy over time.

It is also worth choosing a saddle made of high-end, modern plastic. This can be, for example, a gel covering, which is excellent for absorbing shocks, vibrations while riding. The optimal, but at the same time the most expensive solution, is an innovative thermoformable saddle. To make them, the cyclist must sit on a soft, flexible seat that “remembers” his anatomy. The saddle is then hardened and mounted to the bicycle.

Bicycle saddle and body structure

According to popular opinion, the most comfortable saddle is one that is as wide and soft as possible. However, this is not entirely true. First of all, these types of models are not suitable for longer routes. The buttocks, which are sunk into the soft covering for many hours, can quickly burn. Secondly, men should rather give them up.

With men in mind, bicycle saddles are created with special indentations and holes. Thanks to them, the pressure on the genitals while riding is significantly reduced. A man who rides on an ill-fitting saddle not only feels discomfort, but also risks a lot – he risks prostate and urinary problems.

Cyclists and cyclists who want to choose a seat with optimal width should know their ischial spike spacing. To measure it, simply:

  • sit on a soft, malleable surface – such as sand;
  • use a yardstick to measure the distance between the two deepest marks made on the sandy surface.

The appropriate saddle for a person will be a little wider than the result of such a measurement.

Bicycle saddle vs. type of bicycle

A different saddle will be optimal for those who like to ride on demanding mountain terrain, and another for those who commute on two wheels to work. Thus:

  • in city bicycles, a wide and soft seat will work best – it makes it easier to adopt an upright position behind the handlebars;
  • in road bicycles, it is advisable to install a lightweight saddle that does not weigh down the structure of the vehicle, which could hinder the development of high speed. It should be narrow and have thin, but good-quality, shock-absorbing padding. The shape of the road saddle helps the cyclist to adopt a lean, low position;
  • mountain bikes use longer seats than road vehicles. This is due to the fact that a cyclist who is going uphill, overcoming bumps, has to arrange his body differently while riding. The same saddles as in mountain bikes can also be installed in gravel and endurance unicycles.

When riding on two wheels, every detail matters. Therefore, if you want to ensure your comfort during mountain climbs, races or recreational rides around town, make sure you have the right saddle. Choose one that fits your body structure and the type of your bike.