How to Compare Bicycle Seats

How to Compare Bicycle Seats
The comfort of your seat can make a bicycle ride a pleasure or a literal pain. To keep it pleasant, pick a seat that complements your style of riding and your physiology. Look at seats specific to your gender---women's seats tend to be shorter and wider than men's. Also, explore new designs and technologies that make cycling more comfortable.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Compare the two main styles of bicycle seats: racing and cruising. If you ride fast, you'll probably prefer a narrow racing seat that doesn't interfere with rapid pedaling. If you're a casual cruiser, you tend to sit more upright and may want a wider, cushioned seat to absorb your body weight.
Step 2
Try out seats made of different materials. Many people like gel because it cushions you, absorbs shock and molds to your body. Some people enjoy the benefits of leather, although it can be more difficult to find. Leather looks handsome, absorbs the heat from your body and molds to your shape after an initial breaking in period.
Step 3
Look at cutaway seats versus solid seats. The nose on solid seats can chafe and cause pain, while seats with cutaways are designed to alleviate these problems. A cutaway can be a slit down the center of the seat or a hole near the front. If a cutaway doesn't help, try a seat that contains foam or gel in the nose.

Tips & Warnings

If you can't get comfortable on an ordinary one-piece seat, try a seat divided into two. Companies such as Spiderflex make a divided seat that can be easier on the derriere.

Article Written By Barbara Dunlap

Barbara Dunlap is a freelance writer in Oregon. She was a garden editor at "The San Francisco Chronicle" and she currently specializes in travel and active lifestyle topics like golf and fitness. She received a master's degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has been a Knight Foundation Fellow.

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