Most bikers don't know how to choose a road bike saddle. They probably spent more time focusing on a bike's frame, lightness or price. However, the bike's seat or saddle is considered as one of the most important parts of a road bike.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Bike Saddle
There are numerous variations of bike seats, depending on the kind of road bike you want. For instance, saddles for mountain bikes are made from stronger materials while road bike seats are made from lighter materials. But regardless of what type of bike you have, you should consider the following when you choose a road bike saddle.
Most bike seats these days use synthetic materials, although the more expensive ones still use real leather at times. When it comes to the seat's cover, check that the seams or reinforced panels don't irritate your skin.
The saddle's foundation controls its shape and elasticity. Bike saddles come in various shapes and width to accommodate bikers' different physiques. Most seats have a nylon shell with some carbon reinforcement while some of the more expensive ones have all-carbon shells.
Cutouts and grooves
Some bike seats have a slot or hole cut out in the center. This is to minimize pressure and reduce the heat around your body's delicate nerves and veins. Grooves and cutouts for male saddles are different from female bike seats.
Another thing to consider when you choose a road bike saddle is the padding. Padding distributes pressure from your behind across the seat's surface.
The most common padding material used in road bike seats today is polyurethane foam. It comes in various densities, making saddles either firm or soft.
Bear in mind that a soft saddle is comfortable at the beginning of the ride. But the longer you're in contact with the seat, the more it becomes heated and uncomfortable.
How to Choose a Comfortable Road Bike Saddle
Reputable bike shops can give you some suggestions on how to choose a road bike saddle. But the only way to be sure that your bike seat is a perfect fit for you is to simply try different types of saddles.
A good bike shop can take simple measurements to determine what seat might fit you. They can also give you the chance to try them.
You should also pay attention to the design of the grooves or cutouts of the seat. These grooves are designed to ensure that the soft tissues between the biker's legs are not overly compressed as this could lead to chafing, numbness, and tingling.
The goal of the cutaway down the saddle's middle is to alleviate the pressure. However, this solution doesn't work for everybody. This is why trying on seats is imperative.
Make use of your network of biking friends. Ask them what they're using or if they have any suggestions. While everyone's physique is different, their choice of road bike saddle can help narrow down your choices. You can also ask to try out their bikes so you can get a feel of the saddle.
For a comprehensive guide about bike saddles and other biking gears and accessories, check this out.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Bike Seat
Aside from knowing how to choose a road bike saddle, bikers should also take steps to make the ride and the seat, more comfortable. One way would be to use high-quality cycling knickers with good padding and without the superfluous seams between the legs.
You should also avoid wearing underwear with your cycling knicks to minimize the number of seams that might cause chafing.
Bikers should also try to move around the bike seat while riding. Move forward or backward from time to time. Stand up or lift your weight when going over bumpy roads. Do anything to relieve the pressure from those sensitive parts of your body.
You should also make sure that your seat is at the right height and angle. You'll feel sore if your seat is set too high or too low or if it's angled down. Ask your bike shop to adjust it until it's perfectly placed.
Riding a bike is one of the world's greatest pleasures. While it's important to pick the right kind of bike, you should also pay attention to the type of bike saddle you're using.
Follow these suggestions on how to choose a road bike saddle and pick one that will remain comfortable even if you have traveled for miles.
Anthony Button is a Home Improvement DIYer, who is interested in different projects of Home Improvement. He blogs at Equipment Area, where he shares tips, guides and reviews of different tools around the house.