Bicycle saddle seat – How to choose a bike saddle?

Bicycle saddle seat - How to choose a bike saddle

When riding a bike and how to choose a bike saddle? The pelvic bones are under a lot of stress. You may experience inconvenience or even pain due to an improperly matched bicycle saddle. Also, the cause of pain and rapid fatigue is often the wrong setting of the seat height and tilt.

Having bought a new seat for the bike, you have to break in, so to speak. You need to get used to the new comfortable bike saddle, having traveled more than one hundred kilometers in it. It is unequivocal to talk about how correctly you made a purchase only after two weeks of frequent cycling. Do not rush to change the newly purchased accessory, if you feel discomfort when riding a bike.

Pain in pelvic bone

First, analyze what pain is bothering you. If the pain appears only when pressing on the pelvic bones, then you have not yet rolled. If you have reddening of the skin from rubbing, then, first of all, try to wear other clothes. All the same, the bicycle seat rubs, and then you need to choose a new saddle for the bicycle.

Fortunately, there is a huge selection of different types of bicycle seats, from many reputable manufacturers: Allay, BBB, Brooks, Fizik, Mizumi, Roman, Ritchey, Spectra, and Tioga. Thanks to a wide choice, each cyclist can choose a saddle individually. Each person has anatomy and riding style is special, so make narrow and wide, as well as hard and soft models.

Selection width

In order to most accurately select a bicycle saddle, you need to know the distance between the pelvic pits on which you sit. These ischia bones when landing should support the body as supports. The distance between two stones is easy to determine individually: first, sitting on a soft plastic surface, and then measuring the distance between the centers of the remaining dents.

If you sit on a seat that is too narrow, your sciatic bones will not fall on its surface, and your weight will support the soft tissue between your legs. Under the weight of the body, the blood vessels in the groin are transfused, disrupting the blood supply to the perineum.

By rotating the pedals on an overly wide seat, you will rub the inner thighs on the sides of the saddle. In this case, rubbing the skin cannot be avoided, especially in the summer heat.

Buy a saddle on which you will sit with the pelvic bones, and you will not rub it with your feet.

Seats with thick, too soft padding material is pressed through the bones and a significant body mass are transferred to the soft tissues in the groin. But most of the weight should be distributed between the two ischia bones.

Too soft seats for bicycles are just as unhealthy as they are too narrow.

Selection depending on the material

Leather saddle

The first saddles for bicycles were made of leather. The main advantage of the skin as a material is that it can take a new form, and it also lets in air and absorbs moisture.

A new skin seat will first be uncomfortable, perhaps even painful for you. The cause of the pain will be the unformed surface at the pressure points of the ischia bones. During a bike ride, molded leather is pressed over time at the touch points of the bones. After posting, the leather saddle takes the form that perfectly matches the body of the greatest cyclist of all time. This seat of leather for convenience can be compared with a leather chair. The choice of the saddle should be stopped on genuine leather products.

Saddle for sale

It is important to know that most of the saddles that are sold as leather, in fact, are not. In sporty-looking products, leather is used only as a thin coating, and their base is made of plastic or carbon. The basis of such saddles does not allow air and is too rigid to be pressed through by the bones of the pelvis.

One of the few saddles in which molded cow leather is used for the base and for coating is the product of the English brand Brooks. This best leather saddle is made without foam or helium lining. Without any soft insulating material, the bicycle saddles better lets in sweat and heat in hot weather.

Travel long distance

On the leather saddle, it is very convenient to travel long distances. And when the old, worn seat bends, it is enough just to tighten the tensioning bolt on the frame, and it is like new.

Brooks’ saddles and his ilk are too heavy and large to be used in cycling and performing tricks, but for cycling such seats are perfect.

Creating famous Brooks saddles in a factory in England:

Plastic saddle

Most modern bicycle seats are assembled from a polyvinyl chloride base, foam lining and a coating of artificial materials. Such seats are mounted on virtually every commercially available bike.

Since most plastics are inexpensive materials, the saddle made from them will be of poor quality. Riding a bicycle with a plastic seat, it is advisable to wear a bicycle uniform or thick clothing, since you will very quickly rub the corn when you fidget on the slippery artificial surface.

Not all plastic seats are of poor quality. For example, there is a Tioga Spyder saddle, which has a complex structure with holes. It quickly takes the form of the human body, wellsprings and cools well. When traveling in hot weather, it brings only pleasure, upsets only the high price for it, which is equal to 90-100 dollars.

Leatherette seats

Leatherette as a covering material for bicycle seats is used on medium price specimens. There are many types of imitation leather; they are different in density and strength.

  • Derma tin quickly wears out.
  • Polyvinyl chloride is resistant to wear, but very slippery and does not let the sweat at all.
  • Stretch leather is the strongest of all substitutes, but slippery.

Bike seat cover design

In order not to rub the skin until redness is better not to ride a bike with a cheap seat, wearing only melting or thin shorts, pants made of synthetic fabric. You can protect yourself by wearing a cover on the saddle, which will take the friction when moving.

If you like your favorite light plastic bicycle saddle, you can improve it by buying a leather case on it. In this case, the new accessory softens the slippery rough surface.

Wide or narrow?

Narrow saddle

Professional cyclists always use a narrow saddle made of high-quality plastics or composite materials. Most often in such products, the softening lining is not used. After all, in fact, the cyclist does not sit: he often stands on the pedals, rotating them, and the athlete hangs most of his weight on the horns, lying on the wheel.

As a rule, narrow hard saddles are installed on road bikes. They are also very convenient when riding a mountain bike in the style of cross-country, that is, with active driving through forests, fields, parks.

Bike saddle size

On city bikes and cruisers, which people ride, sitting upright, put wide and soft seats. On such bikes, comfort is important for a short and unhurried ride through the city.

Rapid rotation of the pedals on the mountain, tourist, and road bikes wide seats will interfere.

By the way, the opinion that obese people should definitely put a wide saddle on a bicycle is a delusion. In fact, the width of the pelvic bones in a person who is overweight often turns out to be the same as that of a lean fellow cyclist.

Female saddle

Girls, choosing a bicycle saddle, it is important to know that the pelvic bones of many of the fair sex are wider than men. On average, the distance between the ischia bones in women is 132 mm, and in men – 90 mm. Not all ladies fit men’s saddle.

A girl cannot ride a bike with a narrow seat for a long time; it can bring discomfort, even the feeling of pain.

Manufacturers of bicycle saddles, taking into account the peculiarities of the women’s constitution, are expanding their range with special ladies’ pieces. The classic female bike seat is wider than the male one and has a shorter spout for the ladies to be comfortable in a skirt.

Designers decorate women’s bicycle accessories with drawings and give them bright colors.

Soft or hard

Soft seating

A man makes a big mistake by buying a soft saddle for a highway or touring bike. For the mountain bike “pillow” is also not suitable. In general, on any bike on which you will pedal for a long time or quickly, you should not put a gel, finger-pressed seat. Seats are usually bought by inexperienced cyclists because they are convenient for short trips.

On a soft saddle for the first time of the trip, you feel comfortable, but after an hour of travel, clothes from sweat start to get wet and the skin of the perineum becomes numb.

Tough one saddle

On a solid saddle, the back of the body hangs above its surface, touching only in the right places where the bones are. According to the experience of athletes – in such a seat is best to develop maximum speed on a bicycle. A solid saddle plus a carbon seatpost and moisture absorbing bicycle shorts are the perfect combinations for long journeys.

Gel pad saddle

Now for sale a lot of gel covers for bicycle seats. But such innovations must be treated critically. Reasoning logically: a soft pad on the saddle of a bicycle is needed by the same people who put “pillows” instead of a seat, that is, unhurried cyclists.

An excessive increase in the padding of the saddle, when the gel case is attached to it, increases the swinging around the sides. Pitching not only interferes with pedaling but also results in rubbing the skin of the hips.

Form requirements

  1. Areas for the support of the sciatic bones should be of sufficient length to provide a displacement back and forth while driving.
  2. The nose of the saddle should be narrow and long.
  3. The sides of the spout should not protrude so as not to rub the inner thighs.

Saddle without spout

The innovative proposal – Moon Saddle – allows you to completely avoid pressure on the crotch when riding a bicycle. He does not have a nose at all, and large ergonomic support, a crescent moon, serves to support the body. The crescent seat is universal in size and is suitable for children and adults.

Hole in the saddle

Several manufacturers create bike seat with a concave or carved central part along the spout. This design is quite well thought out since its purpose is to reduce the pressure on the soft tissues of the perineum.

Skeptics of the need for such a design suggest that if you sit on a too narrow “leaky” saddle, then soft tissues will fall into the hole in the seat. So, instead of the planned benefits, a seat with a hole will only bring harm. But these are all assumptions because in reality, no one is sitting quietly on a bicycle saddle, but mostly being in motion: he gets up on the pedal, moves back and forth.

Moreover, like any other saddle of a different design, a similar product with a hole is not a problem to choose in width, taking into account the peculiarities of its pelvic bones.

Saddle Springs

On fast bikes, such as mountain, highway, tourist bike, springs on the saddle are not needed. On such bicycles, people drive, bending over to the steering wheel, in this case, the back end accounts for no more than 60% of body weight. With the rapid rotation of the pedals, the springs, especially soft, swing around the sides, thus reducing the effectiveness of pedaling. In addition, an overly loose seat rubs the inner surface of the thighs.

Rigid springs, such as on some models of Brooks saddles, have sufficient rigidity to not sway when you press the pedals, but they will absorb shock from the rear wheel.

Seats with springs will not be superfluous on city bikes and cruiser bikes, on which the rider sits vertically, crushing almost all his weight on the seat.

We can say that it is better to put the seat with the springs on the bicycles whose steering wheel is high, and if the steering wheel is located at or below the landing place, then you can do without a spring seat.

Seat adjustment

Saddle height bike

Fearing to fall off the bike, people lower the seat low, so that sitting in it, get their feet to the ground if it becomes scary. Sitting very low in the saddle and pedaling, ignorant cyclists overly bend their knees, to the extent that it is comparable to the numerous squats. Of course, such a sad biker gets tired quickly, and what is more dangerous, with a constant ride like this, the knee joints are destroyed.

Most cyclists make the mistake of setting the saddle too low.

To properly adjust the bike seat height must:

  1. Rotate the pedals so that one of them is set at the lowest point.
  2. Set the height of the saddle at which you can straighten the foot in the lower position of the pedal, but you touch it with the heel.
  3. Check if the seat is too high, you should be able to tip the bottom surface of the lowered pedal with your toes.

Please note that the seat post cannot be pulled further out if it enters the tube by less than 10-15 cm, otherwise it will break the frame. Each Seatpost has a restrictive mark.

Incline bike

If the nose of the saddle is raised up, it will put pressure on the perinatal organs. Well, if the seat is pushed down by a nose, then you will constantly move forward, resting your arms on the steering wheel. The ideal slope of the saddle is the zero position when it is located parallel to the level road.

It is always comfortable to ride on a straight-mounted saddle since this is the only way to find the ideal position for a long trip. If you feel that the leveled saddle presses you, then it is necessary to lower it only a few millimeters.

Longitudinal position

The fastening of many modern bicycle saddles allows you to move them closer and further away from the steering wheel within wide limits.

To properly adjust the bicycle seat in the longitudinal position you need:

  1. Rotate one of the pedals to the 3 o’clock position.
  2. Move the saddle forward or backward so that the patella of the foot is above the pedal’s axis, in this position.

Not in all cases, it will be possible to install the saddle in an ideal longitudinal position, due to the peculiarity of personal anatomy or the design of the bicycle frame. In such cases, you need to install a curved Seatpost, offset backward.


From all the above, we can highlight several main recommendations when choosing led saddles:

  1. The high price of a bicycle seat says nothing about its convenience. The saddle must be chosen individually, taking into account the anatomical structure of the pelvic bones.
  2. The base of the seat should be pressed under the pressure of the sciatic bones.
  3. Seat cover should not be slippery.
  4. For long, tourist trips the most comfortable will be a leather saddle.
  5. For active cycling, you need a hard seat without springs.
  6. Soft, wide seats with springs will be useful to imposing cyclists, who usually drive slowly and not far.

We would be very interested to learn about your experience – what is the saddle of your bike and what can you advise?

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