Buying the right bike seat
Anyone who enjoys cycling knows how important it is to have a high-quality bike seat (aka bike saddle). A bike seat should be designed to suit the anatomy of the rider, whether male or female. And it should feel comfortable so you can enjoy your ride without saddle sores.
Bike seats are available in various shapes and materials.
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Finding the right bike seat for you
When buying a bike seat, your decision shouldn’t be based solely on looks or design. The length, shape and padding of the seat are important, but a correct sitting position is even more crucial.
If you suffer from any physical injuries, such as a herniated disc, you should take this into account when making your choice. Read more about the right bike seat for every situation in our article.
The right bike seat ensures that you can cycle comfortably and without pain or other irritating symptoms. If you do suffer from physical complaints, especially in the pelvic area or on the sitting bones, you’re probably using the wrong saddle.
Studies and anatomical analysis have also shown that men and women need different bicycle seats. If you have back problems, are overweight, or have very sensitive or painful sitting bones, you should make sure a new bike seat suits you by considering its shape, design and padding before buying. After all, everyone wants a comfortable ride!
Bike seats for women and men
There are many different bike seat models, which vary in price and quality. A good seat should make cycling comfortable, fun and – most importantly – pain-free.
Bike seats for women are usually wider, because women’s sitting position is not as stretched out. A wide bike seat surface provides increased comfort, as the rider’s body weight is distributed over a larger area.
Women especially tend to experience pain and discomfort when cycling, sometimes causing them to quit. The reason for this is the anatomy of women’s pelvises and the more varied presentations of soft tissue in women.
Extensive testing and cyclists’ experience over time have shown that men have different requirements when it comes to bike seats. Therefore, bike seats for men tend to be narrower and longer than those for women.
A seat that doesn’t meet your needs can ruin your cycling experience or even result in serious health issues. Men mainly experience pain in the buttocks and groin, often resulting from a bike seat that is overly narrow and small.
Bike seats for kids
There are other important points to consider when buying a kids’ bike seat. Children should sit securely and stably on the saddle with an upright upper-body position. This applies to both balance bikes and kids’ bikes. But always make sure your child can reach the ground with both toes when the seat height is set to minimum.
Kids’ bike seats are available in many different colors and with visually appealing designs. They come in different sizes to fit the seat post and match the size of the bike.
Making the right choice
There are so many bike seats available, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. When making your final choice, focus on your bike type and how you plan to ride it. Your saddle has to match your bike, your riding style, and the terrain.
Besides comfort, performance and fun are other important factors when pushing the pedals. Sporty road bikes, for example, often have a narrower bike seat. A narrow bike seat results in a more sporty and aerodynamic body position. Meanwhile, other types of bikes, such as the classic city bike, focus on comfort and come with wider and more comfortable saddles.
Bike seat materials
Bike seats can be made of various materials:
- Synthetic materials (plastic)
- Carbon-fibre shell (more expensive)
The first bike seats were made of leather – it was only later that synthetic models came onto the market. Initially, leather was assumed to be the best material for a bike saddle. Nowadays, though, both leather and synthetic fabrics are recognized to have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Leather bike saddles
Leather seats …
- Are more breathable and offer better grip. This means a cyclist on a leather seat will have a more stable sitting position.
- Require regular maintenance with special leather care products.
- Take time to set and take the shape of the rider’s buttocks.
- Once they took the right shape, they feel very comfortable, practically eliminating the pressure points.
So leather seats are a good choice for long cycling trips. We do recommend buying a seat cover to protect the leather seat from damage caused by rain or snow. Leather seats are not water-resistant.
Synthetic bike seats
Bike seats made of synthetic fabrics like plastic …
Synthetic seats can therefore be a good choice for anyone who often leaves their bike outdoors, but watch out for heat.
Suspension seat posts for even more comfort
If you’ve decided on the right material and want to make your seat even more comfortable, a suspension seat post – also known as a spring-loaded seat post – might be what you need.
A suspension seat post significantly decreases stress on the buttocks and back by absorbing shocks. This will of course make your bike trip even more comfortable.