How To Choose A Bike Seat?

How To Choose A Bike Seat
5 tips for finding the perfect saddle

  1. Find the saddle with the right shape. No two people are the same.
  2. Take account of your flexibility and your position on the bike. Test your flexibility.
  3. Measure the width of your sit bones. Saddles come in different widths.
  4. Set the saddle to the right height.
  5. Saddle position.

Should a bike seat be hard or soft?

One of the things that a newbie cyclist has to adjust to is the bike saddle. Those first couple of rides can really make your bottom sore, until your body gets used to it. A major question that pops up is the question of Soft Vs Hard Bike Seats- which one is better? In most cases, hard bicycle seats are better because they require you to sit in a slightly aggressive position which helps increase cycling speed and reduce chafing.

  • Softer seats with padding can cause chafing, because they redistribute some of the pressure from the sit-bones to adjoining areas.
  • Now, all that is well and good, but how do you get used to a hard bicycle seat? You simply have to try it for a couple of rides before your body gets used to it.
  • In due time, you won’t feel any pain.

When I started out, even riding a cycle with the soft foam saddles would hurt my bottom, but you get used to it over time. And what if you don’t care much about riding fast? Well, if a leisurely ride is all you care for, and you don’t intend to cycle long distances, then a soft saddle would be quite ok too.

Are wider bike seats better?

Saddle shape – The shape of the saddle determines its best use. Wider saddles tend to be more comfortable so are good for long rides or leisurely riders where extra weight from more materials isn’t an issue. How To Choose A Bike Seat Thinner saddles tend to be better for short efforts – such as racing – where comfort isn’t dispensed with entirely but is compromised in favour of other factors. That said, your sit bones are the vital thing. You need to be careful, if the saddle is too wide it can chafe whilst too thin can put a lot of pressure on soft parts. How To Choose A Bike Seat One of the best ways to determine what width of saddle you need is to measure your sit bones (the bones at the bottom of the pelvis) as they carry most of the weight on the saddle. This will help determine what width you need. Our retail store has a sit bone measuring seat (pic above) which makes things much easier. How To Choose A Bike Seat Lots of modern saddles also have a grooved or cut away central section which eases pressure on sensitive parts. This also helps the saddle flex a little more so can aid comfort on thinner, racier saddles. How To Choose A Bike Seat Some time trial specific saddles are cut down at the front and also have a large cut away section making them look like two well padded prongs sticking out but are surprisingly very comfy despite the rather odd looks.

Should your bike seat be at your hip?

Seat Height – Set the saddle so it’s at about the level of your hip bone when you stand next to it. With the bike in the trainer, or someone else supporting it, sit on the saddle making sure your hips are level. The saddle height should allow you to just touch the pedal with your heel when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke, and in line with the angle of the seat-tube.

When you’re pedaling using the balls of your feet, this should allow you to retain a very slight bend in your knee, and keep your hips level. If you have to rock your hips side to side to complete the pedal stroke, the seat is too high. When seated on the bike, you should only be able to put the toe of your foot on the ground.

If you can plant your whole foot, the seat is too low. You may have to fine tune the seat height as you adjust other parts of the bike, change out the saddle itself, or use different footwear.

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Why does my bike seat hurt so much?

Fit: – It’s essential that your bike is well fitted. Incorrect saddle height and handlebar height/reach can cause your weight to be poorly distributed or lead to excessive rocking in the saddle both of which can contribute to discomfort. Leg length discrepancies are another common cause of saddle soreness and should be picked up by a professional bike fit. Image provided by Oatsy40 under Creative Commons licensing,

What happens if my bike seat is too wide?

A bicycle saddle that is too wide causes chafing due to your thighs rubbing against the sides of the seat and reduces pedal efficiency since the saddle interferes with your pedaling motion. Also, aerodynamics is worsened from the increased contact area between your spread-out legs and the increased air resistance.

  • However, for recreational or leisurely riding, having too wide of a saddle is typically a non-issue and is generally preferred when comfort is prioritized over performance
  • For performance-based cyclists, there is a trade-off between pedaling dynamics and comfort

How do I know what width bike saddle to buy?

3. Saddle width and shape – Saddles come in different widths to suit individual riders. Prologo As we mentioned before, your saddle is designed to support your sit bones, and as we’re all different, many saddles come in different shapes and sizes. Luckily, just about every saddle brand has its own proprietary fit system to help you find the right saddle in its range.

  • This is usually used in conjunction with methods to determine the width of your sit bones and your flexibility.
  • Most shops will have a device to measure the distance between your sit bones without being intrusive: usually a gel or memory foam pad that you sit on, so your sit bones leave an impression that can then be measured.

If you can’t find a shop with these tools, you can take this measurement at home using a piece of aluminium foil or corrugated cardboard:

  1. Place the foil or cardboard on a carpeted stair and sit down, then pick up your feet to mimic your riding position.
  2. When you stand up there should be two depressions left by your sit bones.
  3. Measure the distance between the centres of the depressions and add 25 to 30mm to find your ideal saddle width.

What is my sit bone width?

Which Rivet is right for me? – This is, perhaps the most common question I am asked, “I am X years old, and I ride this – fill in the blank, many – miles a year/month/week. Which saddle is right for me?” An age old question and a good one. When I first started riding bikes, the saddle that came on the bike was the saddle I rode.

  • What the heck did it matter? As I rode more and started doing longer rides, my personal undercarriage began experiencing a change.
  • Longer distances = more pain.
  • While this was in the era of “no pain, no gain”, I didn’t really give it too much thought.
  • I could complete a century on a small racer-like sliver of a saddle.

I had one saddle that I could ride for 60 miles, no problem, but on the 61st mile, my crotch would start swearing at me, and it wasn’t pretty. My first season as a randonneuse really got me re-thinking my saddle. I needed to ride halfway across France and back on something I could sit on.

  • And I can tell you, that while I did complete Paris Brest Paris that year, I spent about half of it in excruciating, burning pain from saddle sores that were categorized as second degree burns in my crotch. Whew.
  • The amazing thing is that everything healed up within a week (in good keeping with Lon Haldeman’s maxim, “If it will heal within two weeks, ride through it.”), and it put me on the search for a saddle I could ride long distances.

While not everyone riding needs to find a saddle that will carry them 750+ miles in a short amount of time, why not find a saddle that will carry you that distance if you chose to go that far on your bike? Scientists have measured sit bone spacing for large populations.

On average, men’s sit bone width ranges between 100mm – 140mm (give or take a few mm to round), and women’s range between 110mm – 150mm. Graphing these two averages shows an overlap of 30mm between men and women’s average sit bone spacing. This dispels the myth that saddles are gender specific, and the marketing hype that women must ride a wider saddle.

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What this means for YOU is that it is worth your while to measure your sit bones in order to find a saddle that best matches your anatomy and your riding style. There are plenty of ways to measure your sit bones, so I won’t go into them all here. Simply, you can do it yourself or have help from a friend, or spend a lot of money having someone do it for you.

If you have a willing partner, use a measuring tape, assume the position and have at it! Or, if you are alone, place a piece of paper on top of a foam-like surface and sit down on it hard. Make sure you are sitting upright, which will push your sit bones into a vertical position. Your sit bones will leave an indentation on the paper.

Use a measuring tape to measure the space between the indentations in millimeters not inches. Once you have the measurement, add 2cm (or 20mm). Saddle width is approximate to sit bone spacing + 2cm. With leather saddles like a Rivet, you definitely want to add that 2cm, because you do not want to be sitting on the metal frame of the saddle.

Why does cycling hurt my tailbone?

Coccyx pain – Your coccyx is the pointy bit that sits at the very end of your spine. It’s also susceptible to discomfort from cycling as prolonged pressure on the coccyx, coupled with impact and repetitive motion can lead to bruising and backache. Avid cyclist Penny Wood shares her story: “I had awful coccyx pain using my road bike saddle, but I managed to sort it out by moving my saddle forwards a little.

Should I be able to touch the ground from my bike seat?

– Your bike needs to fit you. A bike that is too big or too small can be dangerous. It will be more difficult for you to control your bike, more likely you will wobble as well as it being more difficult to signal. Below is some advice to help you understand how to fit your bike, but the most important thing is that you should feel safe and comfortable. How To Choose A Bike Seat The height of your saddle is important for the most comfortable position and safe riding style. When you sit on the saddle, both feet should reach the floor and the balls of your feet should be touching the ground. If your feet are flat on the ground the saddle is too low and needs raising, and if your toes are just touching the ground right on your tip toes, either your bike is too big for you or the saddle is too high. How To Choose A Bike Seat < Cycle Maintenance | Are You Ready to Ride? >

Where should sit bones be on saddle?

The optimal saddle width guarantees that the sit bones lie completely flat on the saddle. This is the only way in which pressure is relieved on the sensitive area in men and on the pubic arch in women and ensures more efficiency.

Why do bike seats have a nose?

Pity the poor bicycle seat. Few products in the history of sports have taken such a bum rap. Prostate problems. Numbness. Boils. Infections. Chafing. Even impotency! You name the malady and it’s likely been blamed on the pedaler’s perch, the cyclist’s throne, the bike saddle. Some criticism is justified because any reasonable person might assume that if you buy a good bike, you get a good seat. In fact, you might not even give the seat a second thought and start logging big miles immediately. And, if you develop pain and discomfort, you might cling to the notion that it can’t be the seat and simply keep riding, figuring that if you pedal enough, the aches and pains will disappear. If you’re lucky, that might happen. But, it could also be a bad mistake — the type of oversight that could cause many of the problems mentioned above. Unfortunately, bike seats are not that simple. A seat is a bit like a pair of shoes. The same way you’d buy a certain sneaker for a particular foot and sport, you must purchase a saddle that fits your body and your style of riding. What’s more, and this is absolutely crucial for problem-free cycling, the seat must be expertly adjusted to fit your body (see sidebar below, or read my step-by-step bicycle fitting guide ). Often, a perfectly adequate seat will feel awful and cause trouble simply because it’s not set correctly. The Science of bicycle seats Your seat must fit your type of riding and your body. The faster you ride, the more likely it is you’ll want a narrow, racing-style seat. This is because, a fast-riding position on a bike shifts you forward placing more weight on the hands and feet and reducing a lot of the weight on the seat. Also, as you pedal more vigorously, you spin faster and you don’t want interference from the sides of the seat. As you ride more casually, however, such as on a cruiser bike with wide backswept handlebars, most of your weight is planted directly on the seat. Plus you don’t pedal quickly at all. These factors make a wide, heavily padded saddle ideal to support your weight and provide cushioning. Equally important, most manufacturers offer their popular seat models in both men’s and women’s versions and there are significant differences. Because male and female pelvises differ (women’s are wider), it’s usually a good idea for men to start with men’s saddle models and women with women’s (though not always: women sometimes do fine on men’s seats). The men’s is a bit longer and narrower while the women’s is a bit shorter and wider. Next, the seat must fit your particular anatomy. You can sometimes see how you fit a seat if you sit on it for a while then get off and immediately look closely at the back of the seat top. If a saddle is right for your body, its rear will support your sit bones (the ischial tuberosities – those two protrusions that bug you when you sit on a hard bench). These bones will form dents in certain types of seats. If the seat is correct for your anatomy, the depressions will be centered on the pads of the seat on either side.

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How do I know what width bike saddle to buy?

3. Saddle width and shape – Saddles come in different widths to suit individual riders. Prologo As we mentioned before, your saddle is designed to support your sit bones, and as we’re all different, many saddles come in different shapes and sizes. Luckily, just about every saddle brand has its own proprietary fit system to help you find the right saddle in its range.

This is usually used in conjunction with methods to determine the width of your sit bones and your flexibility. Most shops will have a device to measure the distance between your sit bones without being intrusive: usually a gel or memory foam pad that you sit on, so your sit bones leave an impression that can then be measured.

If you can’t find a shop with these tools, you can take this measurement at home using a piece of aluminium foil or corrugated cardboard:

  1. Place the foil or cardboard on a carpeted stair and sit down, then pick up your feet to mimic your riding position.
  2. When you stand up there should be two depressions left by your sit bones.
  3. Measure the distance between the centres of the depressions and add 25 to 30mm to find your ideal saddle width.

What is considered one of the most important innovations of the bicycle?

The tension-spoked wheel – Wheels with wire spokes under tension were invented in 1808 by aeronautical engineer George Cayley, but their first successful commercial use was on bicycles, an application for which Eugène Meyer was awarded a patent in 1869. Wire wheels were substantially lighter than solid-spoked wheels, which made bicycles a compelling application, especially as wheel sizes grew to provide riders with a higher gear for faster riding.