Most people buy a bike which is all inclusive. That is to say you get most of the paraphernalia with your purchase and of course that includes the bike saddle. What is really surprising, if you stop to think about it, is that most of us are surprised when we get off the bike after a long ride feeling a bit like John Wayne (an old film star famed for his many horseback cowboy roles for you young ‘uns out there).
Now if you are lucky, the saddle that comes with your new bike may be a match made in heaven. It may fit your behind like a glove and all will be well with the world. For most of us though, things don’t quite pan out like this. A short ride with the family that is supposed to be thoroughly enjoyable, rapidly turns sour as the saddle soreness quickly kicks in. Why oh why don’t we spend just a little time to try and find ourselves a saddle that is suitable for our needs? It’s not rocket science and if we get it right it is so worth the time and relatively little expense.
So you take the bull by the horns and decide to invest in a new saddle. Here is some advice on what to do and equally important, what not to do.
- Take your potential new saddle for a test ride
Don’t buy a saddle until you have tried it out. If the shop or retailer won’t allow it, don’t buy it, simple. However most places will allow you to take the saddle away and return it if it’s not right.
- Don’t be swayed by the look or the make of the saddle
It may look good, it may be the trendiest make going, but there will be a price to pay if that’s all you’ve paid attention to. Fashion conscious youngsters often fall into this trap.
- Don’t think because a saddle is soft and squashy that it will be comfortable
A big mistake made by those of us that simply walk in a shop and push and prod the bike saddles. The first ten minutes with some soft and cushioned saddles may feel great, but extended use could be torture if they don’t actually fit our behind properly.
- Try to identify what you need from a saddle
If you already have a bike with a saddle that is uncomfortable and you are replacing it, try to figure out what is causing the discomfort. Our backsides come in every conceivable size and shape, as do the vast array of available saddles. If you know what to fix it makes finding the right saddle so much easier.
- Get a saddle that supports your sittingbones
Getting a bit more technical, your ischium bones in your pelvis need to be supported properly by your saddle. Too narrow a saddle and too much pressure will be applied. On the other hand too wide a saddle will cause uncomfortable rub. Get the correct width of saddle for you. Take a look here at how to measure the sit bone width for your saddle choice.
- Get a saddle that fits in with your intended use
It stands to reason that if your are going mountain biking that you will need a saddle that is different that if you are doing a 100K road race or a family outing along a beach promenade. Do your research for the requirements that suit your requirements.
- Don’t get fed up of looking for the right saddle
If you have tried several saddles and none are the right ones it is all too easy to accept a saddle that just isn’t right because the hassle doesn’t seem worth it. Believe me, when you are on a long cycle run and your backside is screaming hell fire at you, you’ll wish you had persevered with your search.