The seat of the bicycle is one of the most important aspects for comfort, and something that can give a lot of people trouble.

In the quest for comfort, people can try adjusting their seat angles up or down. We don’t recommend this. A seat angled down in front, while relieving pressure on the genitals in the short-term, will also slide you forward, meaning you expend more effort on staying in your seat that could be effort expended on going faster. You’ll also be less stable, as more of your weight is balanced on your hip bones and less on your pubic bones. In the long-term, it will make you less efficient, and not dramatically improve your comfort.

Angling your seat up is another tack people take in an effort to improve their comfort. The upward angle stops forward sliding, but it puts the forward end of the seat in the position of applying pressure to the genitals. It can also allow backward sliding, meaning effort is still expended to keep you in your seat.

Ideally, your seat will be completely level, pointing forward.

If the saddle isn’t comfortable that way, gel covers can be tempting. They offer cushion without going to the trouble of hunting down a new saddle that works better for you. The issue with gel covers is that they can slop around on the seat, changing the discomfort instead of getting rid of it. They also don’t change the fundamental saddle, and if that’s uncomfortable for you, it always will be. Something to look for in a saddle is a flexible base; if that part is completely rigid, the whole of the saddle will always feel rigid.

The Right Seat

A seat doesn’t have to be wide to be comfortable. Since the hip and pelvic bones are the areas supported by the seat, those are the only areas that are crucial that the seat be wide enough to support. On a comfort bike, where your posture will be upright and relaxed, seats tend to be wider. More weight is distributed on the broad part of the hip bones rather than the points. On the far opposite end, road and triathlon bikes saddles tend to be very narrow and longer. They also sometimes come with cutouts in the centre. The narrowness is partly so that no part of it impedes pedaling as fast as you possibly can. Another factor is that a narrower saddle is lighter, and many road and triathlon riders want to rid their bikes of every extra gram.

In the middle of that wide range are the performance hybrids, which typically also have seats in the middle. Hybrid seats are usually wider than road seats and narrower than comfort bike seats. Many are grooved in the middle to relieve any possible pressure along the tailbone, which can be great for some riders. A seat without a groove, though, provides more even pressure distribution.

On mountain and BMX bikes, the seat is primarily for control. BMX riders spend most of their time standing on the pedals with the seat between their knees to direct it. On a mountain bike it is the center point around which the rider shifts their weight to handle slopes. A rider shifts aggressively forward for climbing and far back off the seat for descents. Because the focus is on control, mountain bike and BMX seats tend to be primarily designed for function over comfort. They tend to be wider than road saddles and narrower than most hybrid saddles.

Seats from us

We can easily swap around bike saddles to find the best one for your performance and comfort. We also have a comfort guarantee: you can swap any seat for another one, as long as it is undamaged, as many times as necessary until we find one that works well for you. If the new seat is more you need only pay the difference; if it costs less then we’ll credit you the difference.

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