If there is one part on your bike you want to make sure correctly fits you, it is your saddle. The wrong saddle choice is literally a pain in the ass. If you want to make sure you enjoy cycling, you don’t want to buy a saddle because it is cheap or on offer. You need to buy it because it suits you.
You also not want to listen to your friends or reviews on saddles. What is a comfortable saddle for one person might just be a living nightmare for you? The reason for this is that our is that a couple of bones, referred to as ischial tuberosity for experts and sit bones for the layman, sit in different positions for different people.
Then you have to consider about how you’ve set your bike up and also how you ride. These all affect the way a saddle will work for you.
Buying a new saddle
Are you buying a new saddle because your current one is starting to show signs of aging? Does it work for you, and does it seem comfortable? If it does, then you want to buy the same saddle again or one that is very similar. It might seem like an unadventurous option, but it could be the best decision you ever make.
If you want to replace your saddle because it isn’t working for you, then the issue becomes a little more complicated.
Thinking about why you’re uncomfortable
Are you moving about a lot? Not because that is your style of riding but because you can’t seem to stay in the same position, you’re sliding around a lot. In that case, you may want to look at a saddle that has a dip that will hold your legs in place. These are known as hammock saddles. These are great for people who prefer an upright riding style.
If you ride with a more aggressive sitting position, then you’ll be better off looking at a flatter style of saddle. A flatter profile saddle will allow you to get into an aggressive position and to change your position if you need to quickly. The hammock style of saddle will lock you in and not allow these changes.
What about if you feel your thighs rubbing against the saddle. Then try a narrower nose or one with a different curve between the widest part of the saddle and the nose. There is a balancing act to played here between enough support and allowing your legs fee passage.
Think about why your saddle is not comfortable. You don’t want to be a passenger in the decision on which new saddle to buy. You want to guide yourself by thinking about the issues you have with your current saddle.
Use your thinking to create a list of features you want or don’t need in your new saddle.
You’ll see many saddles have a cutout or a channel in them. The idea here is to bring relief to the perineum for men, and for the soft tissues for women. Which sounds great, but channels and cutouts can cause problems with pinching for some people. There is no easy way to know if this will happen to you; you’ll just have to try a saddle with either feature and see what happens.
One of the most common mistakes to make with saddles is to do with padding. The majority of people will equate padding with comfort. The problem is that padding allows your sit bones to sink into the saddle; this, in turn, puts excessive pressure on your perineum or soft tissues. It is generally safer to have a hard saddle if you want to put the miles in and do so in comfort.
Your friend’s saddles
Now, we said don’t just use your friend’s opinion on what is a good saddle, but you could take a shot on their bike and see what you think of their saddle. Doing this will allow you to think more about what you do or don’t want in a saddle, and nicely, it won’t have cost you anything to try a new saddle.
You may also find it reinforces the ideas you were thinking about with your own saddle, and it may also just sent you back to thinking block.