Choosing a Bicycle Seat

Bike riding can be fun but that fun will become irrelevant if you are uncomfortable. The one part of the bicycle that riders complain about most is the seat. If you butt is not feeling good, nothing else matters.

When you buy a bicycle, the seat isn’t missing but it won’t necessarily be the seat that is best for you. Don’t be afraid to replace your bicycle seat. In fact, if you don’t replace it, your bottom will pay the price.

Of course, there’s no use buying a new bicycle seat if it’s just as bad as the first one! So, before you go shopping do a little research and ask yourself these questions.

Before You Buy: Choosing a New Bicycle Seat

Take an honest evaluation of your riding situation. Do you ride long distances? Up hills? Is speed a consideration? Conversely, are you a beginner? Is you bum a bit on larger side? Choosing the right bicycle seat is an important part of being comfortable and efficient when you ride. And the wrong seat? Well, we don’t even want to talk about that!

1. Take a look at your bottom.

This is not a joke. Most bicycle seats are small and quite firm as a standard. Competitive cyclists like these seats because there is less movement as you pedal. Constant rubbing can cause chafing which is not good for long rides or any ride at all. If you are fuller in the rear, a wider or softer seat may be in order.

2. Examine the seat shape.

Most seats have the same basic shape but there are subtle differences that are important. Seats that slope down on the sides do not support larger bottoms. It is hard on the tail bone and your lower back. Some seats look more like butterfly wings and provide more support by sloping up slightly. Seats with a center channel helps to keep you stationary on your bike without a lot of movement from side to side.

3. Consider a gel seat.

Maybe a bigger seat is not the answer especially if speed is your choice. A larger seat makes it harder to pedal faster. Seats are narrow in front for that reason. If the seat fits your bottom and the shape is fine, adding a gel seat can keep your bottom cushioned on longer rides for greater comfort. Gel seats are a great way to stay comfortable when taking a spinning class as well or bouncing up and down on a mountain bike.

4. Learn to adjust your seat.

Sometimes the problem is the height of the seat. A seat that is too high means you are straining to reach the pedals. This downward pressure puts more pressure on your bottom on that seat. Can you imagine how much that would hurt? Adjust your bicycle seat so that you can touch the pedals and still maintain a ninety degree angle with your body as you pedal. If the seat is still too hard or it hurts, then look at other possible solutions.

5. What are your riding needs?

If you are just riding on occasional outings, a wider seat is acceptable. You aren’t trying to pick up speed or win a race. A narrower seat helps with maintaining speed in competition. A small hard seat can put bumps and bruises on your butt if you are riding over uneven terrain.

6. Ask the folks at the bike shop.

Once you can answer the questions above and feel relatively assured that you understand your options, go talk to the “professionals.” Explain your needs and listen to their experience. You don’t have to do what they say, but it’s good to have an experienced rider’s point of view.

A properly fitted bicycle seat is important for all riders. Shop well now to avoid lots of pain later.

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