Selecting the right bike saddle for you means the difference between a joy ride and an experience to endure. But choosing the perfect saddle isn’t easy: what is comfortable for some will feel uncomfortable to others – and everyone’s preferences are different. As a result, manufacturers offer a huge variety of saddles to meet all types of needs and tastes. Each model offers a different shape, material, weight, fit and degree of suspension suitable for all individual requirements, disciplines and riding styles.
MTB riders need to be able to quickly move in front and behind the saddle whilst riding over terrain. Although MTB saddles are wider then road perches, they are still fairly narrow in design– allowing for easier pedalling and repositioning on the trails. You’ll also want to look for saddles with a medium level of padding, a light weight, downwards slope and good reinforcement. The saddle will also require a robust construction and a durable cover to protect during crashes. Ergon, Race Face and Reverse are just some of the brands making great modern MTB saddles today.
Road racers need a high-performance saddle with a streamlined, slender design and firmer – if any -padding. These models are usually constructed from top-end materials with lightweight rails and high-tech synthetic or premium leather covers. Our customers love Selle Italia and Fizik road models amongst others.
Dutch bicycles and city bikes are often used for shopping trips and getting out and about in the city. As a rule, this type of bike requires an upright riding position and a comfortable saddle will be soft, and wide with plenty of cushy padding. A straight position can stress the spine and intervertebral discs, however having a large supporting surface for your rear reduces the load on your back. Brooks saddles are a firm favourite amongst urban riders.
Touring riders spend long hours in the saddle and require higher levels of comfort and suspension. As comfortable as a wide and soft city saddle is for shorter rides, when a rider is covering longer distances, this saddle type becomes uncomfortable. On longer trips, a rider tends to tilt their upper body forward, shifting their body weight towards the front wheel. This movement changes the seat position fundamentally and a step saddle is recommended by doctors in this case. This design reduces the risk of damage to the genital area. Check out Selle Royale and Red Cycling Products for comfortable touring models.
Some riders remove their saddles to give them more freedom of movement on the bike. In other disciplines, however, the bicycle saddle serves as a control element – especially in the unicycle, which doesn’t have handlebars or a stem for steering. Even when the saddle remains, however, careful adjustment is required. In most cases, it is mounted on the bicycle in a steep upward direction.
Saddles by gender
Men’s saddles are narrower in design and feature a longer nose than female-specific models. Some saddles feature pressure-relieve grooves or cut-outs with the male anatomy in mind, to prefer numbing and damage.
Many (but not all!) female riders will find women-specific saddles more comfortable than a man’s model. They are designed slightly shorter and wider than a man’s to accommodate the average woman’s wider pelvis and sit-bone position. Select models feature pressure-relieve grooves or cut-outs with the female anatomy in mind, to prefer numbing and damage.
Bike saddles for children have smaller proportions than adult models and robustly made. They are usually simply equipped, since children grow so quickly that costly construction is not worth it.
Beginners should make sure that their saddle fits their riding style, research advice and recommendations online and try-out friends’ saddles to get a feeling for different models. They can also have their sit bone distance measured. This will help give a better indication of which saddle. form is suitable.