Having a good bike seat is important for people who cycle on a regular basis. A bad bike saddle can cause sores, injuries, and even make it impossible to complete the goals of your training. The best bike saddles will fit several common rules which are:
- Sufficient width
- Cutout optional
- T or pear shaped
Everyone’s behind is different but there are many brands and models out there so you will certainly be able to find a suitable saddle that matches the above requirements.
A bike saddle has to be wide enough to support your sit bones. By doing so, the bike saddle conditions the muscles and fat over the sit bones to take the weight of your body. Over time the saddle will actually become more comfortable. However, you don’t want to go too wide. A bike saddle that is too wide can cause some inner thigh discomfort and pressure on the hamstrings.
The best bike saddles also only need to have a slight curvature. A bike saddle that has a high center will cause extra pressure on the soft tissues of the pubic bone and surrounding area. In short, your genitals will start to hurt mid-ride. Avoid this by making sure the bike saddle is not extremely curved.
Every beginning cyclist and expert-should avoid gel padded bike saddles. These bikes saddles are too squishy and pliable. The gel moves and adds pressure where you don’t want it which causes more discomfort than it solves. The best bike saddles will have little to no padding. Some people prefer a small layer of padding while others prefer no padding at all. This is a preference that you’ll need to test out on your own in order to decide what’s right for you.
The Optional Cut Out
Some bike saddles have a section cut out in the middle. This is for cyclists who are extra sensitive to added pressure on the soft tissues of the pubic bone. If your bike saddle is flat, wide, and firm enough but you are still feeling some discomfort, you may want to switch to a seat with a cut out. This will make those long bike rides much less miserable for you.
T Or Pear Shaped
A T-shaped bike saddle is a very defined looking seat. The front is long and narrow and then immediately changes into the wide back end. A pear shaped bike saddle has a gradual change from front to back. Cyclists who move around a lot while riding usually end up with a pear shaped saddle to avoid chaffing on the inner thighs. T-shaped bike saddles are usually for those who stay in one position for the entire ride. Pay attention to which one you are in order to choose the right bike saddle shape.
The best bike saddles will follow all of these guidelines and are offered in many brands, at many different prices. The easiest way to find the one that works for you is to really look at the reviews of the bike saddle to determine its characteristics and if the saddle will match your needs. Make sure you try out the saddle before you choose the best bike saddle for you!