How to Choose a Bicycle Saddle

How to Choose a Bicycle Saddle
After you've shopped for dozens of bicycle frames, derailleurs, wheels and tires, there's one accessory that demands your attention: your bicycle saddle. Also called "bicycle seats," bike saddles are one of the most important pieces of bicycle equipment you can buy. Choose the right seat and even the longest ride is a breeze. Choose the wrong one and the shortest ride becomes an arduous journey. Here's how to choose the right bicycle saddle.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bicycle dealer
  • Selection of bicycle saddles
  • Your own bike
 
Step 1
Choose a bicycle seat that fits your needs as well as your backside. Bicycle seats are generally classified as racing, mountain, gel, suspension and wide saddles. There are also a number of special designs on the market.
Step 2
Buy a racing seat if you own a road bike and want to shave ounces or grams off the total weight of your bike. Racing seats are typically hard and narrow and adjusted for racing postures. Most athletes who use racing seats also wear padded cycling shorts to aid in comfort.
Step 3
Try a mountain biking seat if you ride a mountain bike and need the extra support and cushioning on bumpy roads. Mountain bike saddles are typically wider and heavier than racing seats and are designed to support more of your anatomy while riding over irregular surfaces. Their unique designs are also made for descending steep mountain trails.
Step 4
Buy a gel saddle if you have trouble getting fitted for other types of bicycle saddles. Gel seats help to cushion the bony prominences of the body that contact traditional bicycle seats. They're also good choices if you experience numbness in your derriere.
Step 5
Use a suspension saddle if you want to enjoy the extra cushioning during your ride but don't want the weight of a padded seat. Suspension saddles look like racing seats but are suspended on the bike frame with a pair of "rails" that protect the rider from jarring and vibration.
Step 6
Choose a wide bicycle saddle if comfort is the most important feature in choosing what to sit on. Wide saddles are generally heavier and larger than other types of bicycle saddles and don't require the rider to wear padded shorts. Wide bicycle seats are popular on single-speed cruisers and hybrid bikes.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Choose a bicycle saddle that meets your riding needs. Be sure that the saddle is adjusted properly for your body.
 
Choose a bicycle saddle that meets your riding needs.
 
Be sure that the saddle is adjusted properly for your body.
 
Never scrimp on a saddle. You get what you pay for. Be sure to try the saddle on your own bike.
 
Never scrimp on a saddle. You get what you pay for.
 
Be sure to try the saddle on your own bike.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

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