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Bike Saddles Buying Guide

Bike saddles have been getting a lot of flack lately.  From causing impotence to prostate cancer and beyond, the wrong bike  saddle can be pegged as being nearly fatal!  And while the media may have blown the risks a bit out of proportion, it's still good to know the ins-and-outs of seats  so you can get the most out of your bike. So stay comfortable and bike longer after checking out these bike saddle factoids.  

Fit

You want your bike seat to fit you and your type of riding.  

  • For faster rides, get a narrow, racing-style seat .  Since you shift forward while riding fast, you don't need as much support from the seat.  Plus, pedalling faster and more vigorously could be easily interrupted by a seat whose sides are too wide.
  • If you're a more casual rider, most of your weight will be directly on your seat.  Try getting a wide, heavily padded seat  to provide both support and cushioning.
  • Men's and women's bike seats differ significantly because their pelvises differ.  A male seat is long and narrow, while a female seat is short and wide.
  • The seat must fit your body type.  It should support the bones in your bum when you sit (the ischial tuberosities), and you will be able to tell if they are properly supported by looking at the depressions that are left behind.  If the dents are in the centre of pads on either side, you're good to go.

Before You Get Up and Go

Before you're off on the road, make sure you adjust your seat properly and test it out.  If it's uncomfortable in the store, it's certainly going to be uncomfortable when you're riding for a prolonged period of time.  And to cut down on any pain you may experience while riding, avoid wearing jeans or ordinary shorts.  These pieces of clothing have seams that put pressure on the tissue in the groin area, often causing pain and numbness while riding.  Try purchasing cycling shorts instead, which have padding and are seam free.

Types of Saddles

Race 

Good if:

  • Ride for fitness and training.
  • Maintain a rapid pace while pedalling.
  • You ride for long periods of time, sometimes aggressively on and/or off road.

Mountain Bike 

Good if:

  • You often ride off-road on rough terrain.
  • You move around on the seat a lot to accommodate for this terrain.

Gel 

Good if:

  • You find that most seats cause discomfort to your groin and sit bones.
  • You partake in all styles of riding.

Suspension 

Good if:

  • While you ride for long periods of time off-road, you like the feel of a racing seat.
  • You like a little give in your seat, but don’t want to more padding or gel because of the added weight.

Cutaway 

Good if:

  • You’ve tried lots of seats and you can’t find anything that eliminates pain or numbness.

Major Manufacturers

Related Guides

Bike Pumps

Bike Pedals

Bike Locks

Bike Racks

Bike Shorts