How to Find the Perfect Bicycle Seat

How to Find the Perfect Bicycle Seat
Finding the perfect bicycle seat is critical to your riding enjoyment. The incorrect seat could leave you in pain and dreading your next biking excursion. There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a bike seat, and with the proper knowledge, you'll be riding in comfort for years to come.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Look at the seat currently on your bike. Even expensive bikes sometimes come with a cheap, uncomfortable saddle. If your current seat is making you fatigued and sore during a ride, your best bet is to look at seats in a different style. Browse around a bike shop, or Internet bicycle retailers, to get an idea of what sort of models are available.
Step 2
Consider what type of riding you'd like to do. Often times, this will be restricted by type of bike you have, whether it's a cruiser, road bike or mountain bike. If speed is your priority, you'll probably want a narrow, firm seat. In a racing position, more of your weight will be on the handlebars, and the narrow shape of the saddle will allow unimpeded pedaling.
Step 3
Avoid being fooled into buying an oversize, heavily cushioned saddle. Although wide, thick seats might feel comfortable for the first five minutes of riding, or when you try them out at your bike shop, many just don't offer the support necessary to sustain your comfort during a long ride. In addition, these seats might interfere with your pedaling efficiency, making you prematurely tired and chafing your thighs.
Step 4
Purchase a seat that fits your anatomy. After trying out a seat, take a look at any dents that you've left in it. The dents created by your sit bones should be centered in the pads on each side of the widest part of the saddle. If you feel like you're hanging off the back of the seat, or sitting too far forward, the problem could originate in the shape of the saddle, the adjustment of the saddle, or the fitting of the bike itself.
Step 5
Stay within your budget. Some racing-seat manufacturers will charge $200 or more for a an ultralight saddle with little to no padding. Although these seats might be comfortable and warranted for hardcore racers, most bicyclists won't notice the minimal weight savings and will wish they'd purchased a more comfortable, cheaper saddle.

Tips & Warnings

If conventional seat types are uncomfortable, explore unconventional models, such as the Spongy Wonder, Easy Seat, or Spiderflex Saddle.
If you feel numbness in your groin while riding, immediately discontinue using the seat and find a different one. Numbness or extreme pain can lead to permanent nerve damage or other adverse effects.

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