How Much Should A Bike Weight In Comparison To You How to Find a Comfortable Bicycle Saddle

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How to Find a Comfortable Bicycle Saddle

If you’ve been riding for more than a few years, and if you live in an area where you can’t ride year-round, you may find that the saddle on your bike isn’t as comfortable in the spring as you remember it being autumn before you put it away for the winter. This applies even if you ride a paper bike in winter. Saddles on stationary bikes tend to be larger and more padded than those on a traditional bike. Also, most people don’t ride stationary bikes, as long as they ride traditional bikes there are no bumps, gravel or potholes to hit on a stationary bike, so a saddle that is acceptable on a stationary bike probably won’t be comfortable on a traditional bike.

Note that so far I’ve always called it a saddle, not a seat, and believe it or not, there’s a reason for this. Growing up, and before I actually started to transform from someone who liked to ride a bike to a real cyclist, I used the terms seat and saddle interchangeably. After reading several articles on the subject, most recently by the late Sheldon Brown, I have come to understand the difference between a seat and a saddle.

Sheldon explained it like this: a seat is something you sit on and is designed to support your entire weight, just like a chair would. Recumbent bikes use upright seats, traditional bikes have saddles. Saddles are designed to carry some of the rider’s weight, but not all. The legs as well as the arms and hands also bear some of the rider’s weight. So you can see that the bicycle saddle is found on traditional upright bicycles. Bicycle seats are available on recumbent bicycles.

At this time I do not have or ride a recumbent, so this article will mostly be about the traditional upright 2-wheeled bike. It also doesn’t really cover saddles for BMX bikes, since BMX riders spend most of their actual riding time out of the saddle, the saddle is more of a decoration for them, except when they’re on stage waiting for the race.

The average recreational cyclist will ride their bike until it gets cold outside, then put it away for the winter and bring it back to ride when the weather warms up in the spring. The cyclist gets a few kilometers into his bike from last year and the saddle is no longer as comfortable as it felt in the fall. The cyclist then goes to the nearest bicycle shop or searches the Internet for a new saddle. The purchase is complete, and after a few dozen kilometers the new saddle feels better, so they stick with it and retire the old one. This scenario can continue every year, not because there is anything wrong with the old saddle, but because the rider has to get used to riding again. In most cases, the best way to find out if you really need a new saddle or if you just need to get more used to riding is to gradually get back to riding by doing short rides at first and then adding miles every time you ride.

If after trying for a while you still feel that a new saddle is what you need, here are some things to think about.

The width of the saddle is crucial for your comfort. Your sit bones, or ischial tubercles, are designed to support your body’s weight when you sit. If the weight is carried between the sit bones instead of on them, you will be uncomfortable. If the saddle is too narrow, the soft tissue will support the body weight. If the saddle is too wide, you may feel chafing on the inner thigh, especially when it gets hotter outside and you sweat more.

The material from which the saddle is made makes some difference in comfort. Personally, I prefer the leather saddle for my bike, but it doesn’t really have to be fine Italian leather, just plain stretched, vinyl is too smooth, and Lycra isn’t as durable as either leather or vinyl. Heavily padded seats are comfortable for short trips, but tend to get uncomfortable quickly as the trips get longer.

Many times the cause of the pain is not the saddle itself, but the adjustment of the saddle and whether the bike fits the rider or not. Before you throw out a perfect saddle and shell out 100.00 or more on a fancy new saddle, make sure your bike actually fits you and that the bike is properly adjusted.

You may need help mounting the bike or adjusting the saddle correctly. Any good bike shop should be able to help with this. You can also do a Google search for bike fitting and find many variations of fitting a rider to a bike.

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