How to Pick a Bicycle Seat

How to Pick a Bicycle Seat
Bicycle seats (a.k.a. saddles) have a reputation for causing pain and discomfort; they're probably why many people shun bicycling entirely. To be fair, the bicycle seat has a tough job--supporting a rider's weight over miles of varying types of terrain. Getting the right bicycle seat pays off in miles of pain-free cycling.


Difficulty: Moderate

Bicycle Seats

Step 1
Don't assume that the seat your bike came with is the best one for you. If you buy a bike at a bike shop, the staff can help make sure you get a seat you'll find comfortable. That's something you can't do with bikes bought at big-box stores.
Step 2
Any seat takes time to get used to, so don't give up the first day on the bike. Adjusting seat height, position or angle could improve your comfort. If you don't know how to make these adjustments, proceed to your local bike shop.
Step 3
Before you buy a new seat, find out if you can return it if it turns out to be uncomfortable. That's another service you won't find at most big-box stores.
Step 4
Some bike seats are too narrow to properly support your ischial tuberosities, or sit bones. These are the two bones in your rear on which the pressure is distributed when you sit on a bike seat. Be sure the pads on the seat are wide enough to support these bones comfortably when you're riding.
Step 5
Shop for gender-specific seats. Since men and women have different anatomies, seats fit men and women differently. Women-specific seats are usually wider and shorter. Cutouts in the nose of the seat can help eliminate pain and irritation in the genitals.
Step 6
Consider your riding style. Fast, long-distance riders can benefit from a narrow seat that won't rub against the legs, while casual riders who sit upright and cruise around town may prefer a wide, soft, flat seat that cushions their weight.
Step 7
Consider a gel seat. These seats have a squishy layer of gel material to add cushioning. They're a bit larger and heavier than other seats, and are not be right for every rider. Note that you can also buy a gel cover to put over the seat.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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