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The poor old saddle is often blamed for all sorts of problems that may range from simple bum soreness to a prostrate. Getting the right saddle requires both knowledge and often-times trial and error, as there are several factors to consider, but it’s certainly worth the effort as having a well fitting saddle can greatly increase your comfort level when riding. Choosing a saddle begins with some simple considerations – your gender, body structure, type of riding, riding style and any riding preferences you may have. Once chosen, a saddle still needs to be fitted and adjusted to ensure you get the most out of it. In this guide, we’ll cover all of these topics as well as some other tricks of the trade.
The saddle is not just another component of the bike or simply where you park yourself, it’s there for a very good reason. Not only is it one of the three places your body actually meets the bike (the pedals and handlebars are the others), but it takes most of your weight on the bike, positions you over the pedals and helps you control the bike. Getting it all right will make you more efficient on the bike and ultimately help you enjoy riding more.
Softer is better.
Another misconception is that an uncomfortable saddle should be replaced with a soft one. However, just as soft mattresses are not necessarily the most comfortable to sleep on, soft saddles are not necessarily the best to cycle on. Soft saddles don’t provide much support for your body so you can quickly become tired and uncomfortable on longer rides.
Wider is more comfy.
A further misconception is that a wide seat is more comfortable than a narrow one. This really depends on the type of riding you’ll be doing. Certainly, sleek racing saddles don’t look comfortable but wider seats create more friction and chafing when you’re doing lots of pedalling (say on the road, or in a race). In general, the more you ride and pedal, the thinner and less obtrusive a saddle should be.
Types of Bicycle Saddles
Bike seats are a lot like running shoes. There are numerous varieties and styles designed to suit a type of body and style of riding. This section outlines the features of the different kinds of bike saddles and why the differences are important. A number of saddles have been developed over the years for aesthetic and health reasons. There are basically three kinds: cruiser, comfort and racing.