Commuting by bike shouldn’t be a pain in the butt. If it is, it’s time to seek out a comfortable bicycle seat. Here are a few things to consider before swapping out your bicycle seat.
Check your pants. If you’re throwing on a pair of jeans and pedaling off to work, chances are your tush isn’t going to be happy for long. Most pants have seams in all the wrong places. Try some cycling pants with a padded chamois instead.
Asses your setup. A saddle that’s too high causes your hips to rock and places excess pressure on your tender bits. The same goes for a bicycle seat that isn’t level.
Move around. Pain can result from constantly sitting in the same position and not standing up. Get up and shift around on the saddle every so often.
If your sit bones are still screaming, it’s time to look for a new saddle.
Don’t take your friend’s advice. A saddle is very personal to each rider. Your weight and the width of your sit bones factor in to the overall fit. Work with a bike shop to help measure your sit bones and then suggest certain saddles. Many shops also have demo models for you to try.
Saddle shape. Most saddles come in narrow or wide shapes. If you’re experiencing chaffing or rubbing on your current saddle, look for one with either a thinner nose or that is less rounded in the back. Women often require wider saddles, but this isn’t always the case. Some women are more comfortable on a men’s saddle.
Cutouts and other considerations. A cutout or acutaway is designed to shift pressure away from the soft tissue and onto the sit bones, which can handle more bodyweight. Most saddles are made from injected-molded plastic and sometimes carbon fiber is mixed in to help the saddle flex under the rider’s weight. Bicycle commuters should opt for comfort over weight. That said, don’t opt for the most padding you can find. Padding might feel great at first, but it tends to migrate as you ride, placing excess pressure on your soft tissue.
Test ride. Like any new relationship, you won’t know if it’s right until you spend some serious time together. Don’t just press down on a saddle’s padding in the shop or sit on it briefly. Take it out for a ride….or 10! Your body also needs to get accustomed to the saddle, which may mean discomfort at first. Stick with it and keep testing until you find the one.