If you are, then you are not alone. Suffering on your bike saddle is a common complaint for many riders. Biking as well as enjoyment can be limited by your comfort on the saddle. Although discomfort is experienced by many, the solutions to resolving this complaint are varied and often very individual.
goRide are specialists in bike seat comfort and understand that it can take a number of different strategies to achieve comfort. This can range from improving the support and cushioning at your contact point (between your bottom and your saddle) by wearing padded underwear or pants, changing your saddle, to fine tuning your bike seat position and bike setup. As well as considering how you ride and your ability to bike in a good position. In this blog the team from goRide share how to find the right saddle for your ride.
The right saddle
One of the priorities to achieving comfort is having a saddle that matches you and the riding you do. Do not be fooled into thinking that the saddle that comes with your bike is the right one for you. There are lots of saddles to choose from so if you can understand the features of a saddle and how those features affect your comfort, you will begin to understand if that saddle is a good match.
These three saddles show the variations between saddles and the sections within a saddle:
The different sections of a saddle
This is the widest part of the saddle. The purpose of the width is to provide support to the bony structures at the base of your pelvis that make contact with the saddle. These structures (known as your sit bones) take your sitting load and transfer this load through to the saddle. Therefore you must have a saddle that is the correct width (not too narrow, not too wide) to support your bony structures. The width of our sit bones usually varies between sexes. People with wider pelvises – most females and trans people who were assigned female at birth – will likely need a slightly wider saddle. “Women” specific saddles are slightly wider for this reason. Choosing a saddle with the right width can be a game changer for your comfort.
The shape of the very back of the rear of your saddle is important for riders who suffer from tailbone pain. A wave, indent or a rear channel creates space for your tailbone and will help relieve discomfort.
Sit bones must be supported by the rear of your bike saddle.
The shape of the bike seat is determined by the curve that is created from the rear of the saddle to the nose. This curve will vary between designs. This is where your leg hangs and the right shape for you will allow you to pedal in comfort. The shape you need will depend on;
a) the position you ride in. From an upright riding position as often seen in urban riding compared to a slight forward bend in recreation riding through to full forward bend as seen in more intense riding.
b) the duration of your riding. The longer you ride the more times you pedal and the more important the shape.
A shape that does not match your riding can lead to chafing.
These saddles show the variation in saddle shape. The red oval represents the space available for pedaling
The front of the saddle, or nose, is where riders can experience pressure. This is more common if you ride in a forward lean position compared to an upright position, or with certain types of riding, like sustained uphill riding. This pressure can build and riders will feel symptoms such as pain, bruising, burning, numbness or tingling. Saddle features such as a front cut out can help reduce this pressure and this can be particularly important for women.
Your saddle’s padding
Different types and foam densities are used in saddles to provide cushioning and comfort. The right saddle for you will have the right type and density of foam in the right places to match your riding position, how often and how long you ride for.
Many riders are attracted to soft wide saddles. They look inviting just like your comfy sofa at home. However, these saddles made of soft foam are suitable only for gentle short duration rides, up to a maximum of 30 minutes. Riding for longer will compress this soft foam and it will no longer provide the support and cushioning you need. For some riders the thought of not riding on a wide soft saddle can feel daunting… if this is you it will be OK! To assist in your comfort, perhaps start with some other forms of extra cushioning, like finding a saddle that also has a gel layer and/or wear a great pair of padded bike undies or pants. As your riding and your confidence progresses you can consider a saddle change.
goRides saddle solutions and support
At goRide we have made it easy for you to find your bike saddle match. Simply define yourself as a rider using our Rider Profile and choose the saddle that matches your profile. Following this process will provide you with a saddle that is the correct width, the right shape and has the right materials in the right places for the length and how often you ride! Fantastic!
Get started on your journey to bike seat comfort. Your Rider Profile
Our message to you is please do not suffer on your saddle. The right saddle is important but other comfort strategies are also worth investigating.
View detailed explanations of comfort strategies. Bike Seat Comfort Guide
If you would prefer personal support to talk through your comfort challenges then book an online Bike Seat Comfort Consultation with goRide.
One to one guidance and advice. Bike Seat Comfort Consultation
Be comfortable on your bike seat so you can enjoy your riding and ride more.
SMILE when you ride.