Choosing a Bicycle Seat Correctly

Choosing the right Bicycle Seat

While bike riding can a lot of fun, it can quickly become miserable if you are uncomfortable.  The most important part of the bicycle is the seat, and it needs to be comfortable and supportive.  A comfortable seat is important to make your ride enjoyable and satisfying.  If your seat is not comfortable, nothing else matters. Choosing a bicycle seat is a task that we must do if we want to ride any distance and not have a sore bottom.

When you buy a bicycle it will likely come with a small, standard seat.  Try riding a short distance on your bike, to see if this is the best seat for you.  If you find that it isn’t, don’t be afraid to replace it.

Many individuals think that a big soft seat is the most comfortable, however, on a road bike that isn’t true! A big wide seat when you are riding long distances become very uncomfortable a the miles go by.  Make sure you try out several and maybe even different brands. If you are wearing the padded short this becomes even more important!

Choosing a Bicycle Seat that is perfect for you

In order to find the right seat, take a look at these helpful hints:

  1. Know your bottom! While you might think this is a joke, it is important to use the right seat for your rear end. Most standard bicycle seats are small and quite firm.  Competitive cyclists use these seats, as there is less movement as they pedal, however, for regular riders these might not be the best seats.  The constant rubbing of the seat can cause your skin to chafe, making any ride miserable.  If you are looking for more comfort for your bottom, a wider and softer seat may be what you need.
  1. Examine the seat shape. Most seats have the same basic shape, however, there are subtle differences that can be important when choosing the right seat for you. Seats with downward sloping sides are not supportive of riders with larger rear ends, as they are hard on the tail bone and lower back.  Certain seats are shaped like butterfly wings, and provide more support by sloping upward slightly.  Seats with a leveled center help to keep you stationary on your bike, without a lot of movement from side to side.
  1. Consider a gel seat. Sometimes buying a bigger seat isn’t what you need, especially if are a competitive rider. A larger seat will make it harder to pedal fast, slowing you down; for this reason, most seats are narrow in front.  If the shape of the seat suits you and fits your bottom, adding a gel cushion can help with your comfort level on longer rides.  Gel seat cushions are a great way to stay comfortable while riding, whether you are taking a spinning class or bouncing around on a mountain bike.
  1. Learn to adjust your seat. Sometimes, the only problem with your seat is its height. If your seat is too high, you are probably straining to reach the pedals.  The downward strain puts more pressure on your bottom, causing pain and discomfort.  You might mistake this pain as coming from your seat.  Adjust your bicycle seat so you can touch the pedals, while your legs maintain a ninety-degree angle with your body as you pedal. If the seat is still too hard or it hurts while you sit, you will know the height is not to blame.
  1. Know your riding needs. If you are a casual rider, participating in occasional outings, a wider seat is acceptable. You probably aren’t trying to greatly increase speed or win a race.  However, if you are seeking to compete, a narrower seat will help with maintaining speed.  A small and hard seat can leave you with bumps and bruises if you are riding over uneven terrain.

A properly fitted bicycle seat is important for all riders, from novices to competitors.  Pay attention to your seat and shop well now, to avoid pain later.

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