How do you choose the best saddle for your bike? This question is quite familiar to many cyclists who want a great biking experience.
There are various factors to consider before settling on one; shape, padding, size, shell, rails, and material. Although it can be quite challenging to make a choice, it is worth putting more effort to find the perfect one for your riding needs.
Failing to choose the best saddle will not only compromise your cycling comfort but also lead to postural injuries and alignment inefficiencies and injuries.
A perfect seat will allow you to enjoy riding all types of terrains and the more comfortable you become, the longer and faster you hit the road. The following guidelines will offer exclusive information on how to pick a bicycle saddle because there are different options available in the market today
1. Cover Material
The most significant factor when choosing your saddle is the cover material. If you are looking forward to recording high biking speeds, consider settling on the ones made from lightweight materials like carbon fibers.
However, you should keep in mind that the lighter the materials in use, the expensive the saddle becomes.
If you choose to ride comfort over speed, look for titanium rails that offer extra flex because they absorb the vibrations that pass through the bike’s frame into your seat.
Also, leather saddles guarantee more comfort for longer rides, but they need extra maintenance for durability.
Alternatively, there are saddles made of synthetic leather and readily available in the market. They provide extra additions like Kevlar edges to inhibit aging and wear & tear. Additionally, before choosing a saddle for your bike, consider your personal cycling preferences such as speed, frequency, and duration of the rides.
It is important to choose a saddle that will perfectly fit your body and riding style. You cannot settle on one that doesn’t offer comfort while riding.
Riders who frequently move on the saddle will opt for narrower seats. While on the other hand, riders who maintain one position or support most of their weight at the rear part of the saddle will prefer using full or extra contoured leathers.
The saddle you choose should provide maximum support on your sit bones and not the entire bottom.
The misalignment of the sit bones can lead to posture associated injuries or stiffness while riding your bike. To treat these injuries, you may need physical or chiropractic therapy.
However, to avoid these injuries, ensure you fit appropriately on the bike and analyze various saddle shapes before making a purchase.
Most manufacturers produce three distinct width saddles to match different sizes and provide several designs to choose from comfortably. It offers the flexibility of selecting the best seat that suits your shape and riding position.
Professional cyclists understand the importance of padding on the saddle, especially if you want to ride your bike for long distances on different terrains.
Many saddles combine foam padding or gel, but the quality and density of the padding primarily depend on your cycling needs. So, what is the importance of padding?
It evenly dispenses pressure from the rear part across the entire surface of your saddle. The most common padding material is Polyurethane foam and is available in different densities for a firm or soft saddles.
Take, for instance; racier saddles are not fully padded to reduce the weight it carries, but designed to increase the speed. While commuter or recreational bikes are fitted with saddles that are deep and soft to provide more comfort.
However, when choosing your riding saddle consider the extent of padding you need, because excess amounts of padding may result in chafing instead of providing extra comfort for regular riders.
Also, foam padding is not durable, because they ultimately become effective and compressed after continuous use.
For more comfort and great biking experiences, you should consider replacing the padding if it doesn’t offer extra support for a good riding posture and enough alignment for the sit bones.
4. Saddle Position
The saddle position is very crucial when riding your bike. The right position will guarantee comfort for long distances while the inappropriate position will lead to discomfort and injury. Make sure your saddle is fitted horizontally.
The nose of the seat should not point too far up, because you will experience pain in some parts of your body.
Also, if your saddle is positioned far back or far forward, it can lead to back, neck or arm problems.
To prevent injuries or any other issues to your body parts, set both pedals in the horizontal position and drop a plumb line down your knee. Generally, your saddle is in a perfect position when the bike’s plumb line goes past the pedal shaft.
At this point, you can adjust your seat comfortably towards the back or front. However, you should not make these changes so big, but make minor, reasonable adjustments to your riding position.
5. Saddle Height
So, you already bought a bike. What Next? Well, positioning your seat to the right height is very crucial and should come immediately after acquiring a bike.
Also, ensure that it is fitted at an optimal distance from your handlebars, because you have invested enough time to find the best. If your pedal is perfect and suits your biking preferences, but the saddle position is not right, you will not have a great cycling experience.
For instance, if you often move on your seat, the saddle is positioned more backward or forwards. The good news is that you can have your saddle correctly positioned to your right riding position by a professional just after making a purchase. He/she will access factors such as physical limitations, flexibility levels, and you’re cycling preferences.
A Few Final Words
Choosing the best saddle for your bike will offer comfort, better control, and high performance while riding for long distances.
But, to get exceptional rides, you should settle on one that has a durable cover material, enough padding, and the right shape. Also, the position of the saddle is very crucial.
While picking the right saddle for your bike could be hard, it doesn’t have to be. If you consider the above guidelines on how to pick a bicycle saddle, then there is no doubt that you will get a comfortable and enjoyable long ride.