Not choosing the most comfortable bike saddle can be a real pain in the butt – literally! Fortunately, there are more saddles than ever on the market, and choosing one that is right for you can be the difference between a comfortable ride and a painful one. Long-term use of an inappropriate saddle can even lead to injuries if you shift your seating position to alleviate the discomfort. No one saddle is best for all cyclists. Differences in size, anatomy, and riding style can determine the best road bike saddle for you.
When you ride, the weight of your body should rest on your ischial tuberosities. This tongue-twisting part of your body should bear the brunt of your weight. Troubles come about when that weight shifts to the soft tissues between the bones. The differences in structure anatomically are not necessarily related to your body weight, so it’s always best to test ride a new saddle before you make the purchase.
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A most comfortable bike saddle for you will not produce numbness or discomfort. If you experience pain in your rear and develop saddle sores, you need to consider a new saddle. This is also true if you develop numbness in your groin or rear. In women, this can even result in swelling and infection. In addition, a poor fitting saddle can cause you to adjust your weight and sit awkwardly. As a result, you adopt a position that can cause discomfort and damage.
If you sit forward on your bike or your plan on racing, you want a saddle with a flat profile and a wide nose. If, however, you sit more upright on your bike, you need a wider saddle with a curved profile for comfort. Women generally prefer a saddle designed for women, but that’s not always the case. Plenty of women enjoy riding with a unisex saddle or even one designed for men.
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The ultimate fit of your saddle is based on the width of your sitting bones. Most bike shops have devices that are created to measure your sitting bones. Do not assume that simply because you have a large or small frame or are overweight or fit that your sitting bones are a certain size. It’s always best to go for a measurement. And a reminder for pregnant women – the width may change after childbirth, so if you discover you are experiencing saddle pain and you recently gave birth, go for another fit.
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It’s always best to take a (potential) new saddle for a test ride before making the purchase. Many bike shops will allow you do this which will give you the opportunity to clearly get a feel for the saddle before you buy it. Feel free to take your time trying out new saddles, as just a few minutes is not enough to know whether or not the fit is correct.
Prices of the most comfortable bike saddles range from reasonable to quite expensive, but it’s fair to say you should be able to find a good, quality saddle for around $40. Try not to get too caught up in unnecessary features like scuff-resistance. These features can add a lot to the price tag and don’t offer much in the way of benefits. Remember that bottom line is how you – and your bottom- feel.
Before you make your final purchase, check out the cover of the saddle. Are there any seams or rough areas that could cause you discomfort or cause excess wear in your clothing? Is the padding designed to hold up over time? If you experience numbness, a saddle with a groove or channel in the middle is optimal as it allow for extra blood flow to that area. And always take the time to read the reviews online before you buy. Although saddle preferences vary from person to person, you should note if the reviews refer to weak or cheap materials, cushioning that does not offer proper support, and a fit that changes over time.
After installing your new, comfortable bike saddle, give yourself time to sort of break it in. In other words, don’t immediately go out for a four-hour ride. Just as you break in a new pair of shoes, a saddle may require you to adjust to it slightly in the beginning. Remember, however, that the overall feel of the saddle should be consistently good without causing pain, numbness, or saddle sores. If any of those develop, return your saddle to the store you bought it from.
Road biking is an exhilarating way to stay fit, but it can be dangerous. Many drivers are distracted by phones, texts, and others in their car and fail to notice cyclists. Exercise caution when riding, and remember: if you are ever involved in a bicycle crash, call a bicycle injury lawyer right away! The experienced team at Kass & Moses are prepared to answer your questions regarding any potential settlement and can help you receive compensation for your injuries. Bike damages and medical bills can be costly, so don’t go it alone – hire a professional!