Soft Bike Seat Or Not – A Guide To Choosing The Right Bike Seat
If you want to start cycling more, you need to know how to choose the right bike saddle. Getting the right saddle requires knowledge about how to choose and a fair amount of trial and error. There are also a number of misconceptions about saddles that you need to know about because they could be harming your chances of choosing the right saddle for your needs.
Why The Bike Seat Is Important
Before you can look at how to choose the right bike seat for your situation, you need to know why it is so important. The bike seat is a crucial part of the bicycle because it is one of the 3 areas where your body meets the frame and it will take most of your weight. The seat also helps you position yourself correctly on the bike which is important for control and balance.
Getting the wrong seat can result in discomfort and constant shifting while cycling. You may also develop a bad riding position because you want to limit the contact you have with the seat. This can lead to additional problems such as back pain and reduced control of the bicycle.
Is It A Seat Or A Saddle
When you look at buying a new bike seat, you will find that they are called saddles. This is the correct terminology for this bicycle component. This is due to the fact that a seat is designed to hold your entire weight and a saddle is something which carries part of your weight. The saddle of your bicycle will not bear your entire weight and this is the reason why it is not actually a seat.
You Need A Soft Bike Seat
A common misconception is that a soft bike seat is the best regardless of your activity. This is not true and an uncomfortable saddle should not be replaced with a soft bike seat. The increase in padding on these saddles will not always make them more comfortable.
In many cases, the additional padding will be compressed when you rest on it. This compression will result in the padding feeling harder than you expect. Simply changing your uncomfortable saddle for a soft bike seat will not work because you are not actually addressing the reason why it is uncomfortable.
Soft saddles also do not provide as much support as harder ones. This could result in your body becoming tired faster over long distances. Of course, it is important to note that each person is different and a soft saddle may work better for you than for someone else.
Wider Is More Comfortable
Another misconception when it comes to bike saddles is the idea that a wider seat will be more comfortable than a narrow one. The comfort of a wider seat will actually be determined by the type of cycling you are doing. Racing saddles do not look very comfortable, but a wider seat will create friction and chafing if you are pedaling quickly. If you are going to be completing a more leisurely ride where you do not pedal as much, a wider saddle will work.
Types Of Bike Saddles
When looking for the right bike saddle, you will find that there are a number of different types. It is important that you know what these types have to offer and when you should be using them. There are 3 primary types of saddles to look at and they are racing, cruiser and comfort.
As the name suggests, racing saddles have been designed for people who are in cycling races. They allow for full movement and will prevent chafing. They are generally narrow and will not have a lot of padding. This is due to the fact that you will generally have more weight on your hands and feet when racing because of the cycling position used.
There are some racing saddles which have soft centers or cut away section in the middle. You will need to test these variations to determine if they are comfortable for you. These saddles are also much lighter than other saddle variations to decrease the impact they have on the speed of the bike.
Cruiser saddles are generally used on cruiser style bicycles. These saddles have a lot of cushioning and offer a lot of support. This is due to the fact that the handlebars of the cruiser bike are upright and the saddle will be taking a lot more of your weight than usual. These saddles are also generally wider because you are unlikely to pedal a lot when riding a cruiser bike.
Many people find that these saddles are soft bike seats because they require additional padding to cope with the additional weight. Banana saddles fall into this type because they are well padded and often used on cruiser bikes.
Comfort saddles are also wide with a fair amount of padding. However, they have also been designed with moderate pedaling in mind. These saddles can be used for long-distance touring because they have been designed to absorb the vibrations from country roads. These saddles will generally have less padding than a cruiser saddle and will be narrower.
Women-specific saddles will often be part of the comfort saddle category. This is due to the fact that women-specific saddles are generally wider with a shorter nose. Some of these saddles will have cutaway seats and you will need to test them before making a final decision.
Choosing The Right Saddle
In order to choose the right saddle, you will need to consider they type of riding that you are going to be doing. If you are pedaling a lot, you need a narrow saddle which allows you free movement. However, if you are going to be mountain biking, you will need a saddle that is able to absorb the shocks. It is recommended that you talk to a professional in your local bike store about the best saddle and test out a few before making a final decision.
Be sure to check out my other articles:
Best Road Bike Seat