Bike saddles, mountain bike seats, road bike saddles, no matter how you say it, they’re an incredibly important part of every bicycle. One of the biggest roadblocks to any rider going longer distances on their bike is the comfort of their saddle. When a rider has the wrong bicycle saddle, it can cause discomfort, numbness, and pain. The ultimate goal of any cyclist is to be able to ride their bike and not feel any discomfort. While finding the right saddle can be a complicated process, there are things that you can do to narrow the gap in finding the perfect saddle so you don’t have to do trial and error.
If you have a saddle that is uncomfortable, think about which part of the saddle you’re having the discomfort in. If the saddle is rubbing on your legs too much, then maybe it is too wide. If you’re constantly having to readjust your position, maybe a more pronounced dip in the saddle will be beneficial.
The position you ride in will have a huge impact on which saddle you should choose. If you’re a leisurely rider and you like to sit more upright, then you’ll most likely benefit from a wider saddle like the Selle Royal Drifter saddle. The more aggressive the position you ride in, the more your saddle shape will have to change to accommodate your posture. A triathlete who rides in an aerodynamic position will not want the same saddle as a mountain biker who rides in only a slightly bent over position.
Saddle cutouts and reliefs are highly beneficial to riders who get numbness while riding. ISM bicycle saddles feature large cutouts and are nose-less for riders who have constant numbness on the bike and saddles like Ergon have excellent reliefs cut in them for pressure relief. When riding in an aggressive position, it is best to have a bike saddle that has a width that is built for your body. Finding the proper width saddle involves finding out the width of your ischial tuberosities, commonly referred to in the bike world as “sit bones”. These are the bony landmarks at the lowermost point of the pelvis. Once you know the width of your sit bones, then you can choose the proper width for your saddle.
There are differences between mountain bike and road bike saddles, although you can use either of them on your bike. Mountain bike saddles are often more robust and heavier while road bike saddles are often much lighter weight. Most bicycle saddles use round saddle rails which will a wide variety of bicycles, but some bike saddles will have carbon fiber rails which will not fit in the same saddle clamp as a round saddle rail. These will require a seat post that is carbon fiber compatible. Other saddles, like the saddles from SDG, use an I-Beam rail which requires a special seat post as well.
The primary things you should know before choosing a saddle are the position you ride in and the width of your sit bones. Once you know these two things, you can better choose a saddle that will suit your needs. If you need expert guidance or personal recommendations on which saddles we’re stoked on, then let our Gear Advisors know. They are here to answer all saddle related questions. Email, chat, or call them at 888-880-3811.