It is common to think about buying a new saddle if you feel pain and discomfort after riding on your bike.
But before you go shopping for a new bike seat, we suggest you read this guide in its entirety.
You see, in many cases, there is nothing wrong with your bike seat, even if it is a source of discomfort.
Tweaking it a bit might solve the problem and you’ll enjoy riding even on long distances. Fortunately, making these adjustments isn’t rocket science.
Read on to learn how to make a bike seat more comfortable.
Why Do People Find Bike Seats Uncomfortable
Generally speaking, you might get a fair idea of how a bike saddle will feel if you had the chance to test ride the bike before paying for it.
Of course, you may not easily pinpoint all the possible problems with the seat just from one test ride.
But you should be able to get a feel of the padding, angle, height, and more.
Here are the main reasons a bike seat will feel uncomfortable:
- Incorrect seat installation, especially relating to the handlebar, is a common cause of saddle discomfort. A handlebar that’s positioned too high or low can make for a poor riding experience, leading to more discomforts than mere saddle soreness.
- Choosing the wrong saddle for your body type can make cycling uncomfortable. Choosing a bike saddle that is too wide or too narrow can cause pressure in the soft tissue area, chaffing, and other discomforts.
- Picking the wrong saddle type can also make you go through torture. Racing saddles on comfort bikes are a poor choice and can cause severe pain on long rides.
- Misaligned seat post or saddle can make even a well-constructed bike seat feel all wrong.
- Your bike seat can be a bit unfriendly if you maintain a wrong sitting posture or riding position.
A worn-out or low-quality saddle can also cause pain and discomfort. Usually, you should be able to tell if this is the case, and the best solution would be to get another saddle.
Does Choice of Seat Matter?
Indeed, the type of seat you choose can make a world of difference in your cycling experience.
While many modern bike seats tend to be somewhat universal, you can’t simply slap on any saddle on your bicycle and expect it to work great.
Make sure you choose the correct seat for your bike type.
Some of the common options include:
- Racing saddles
- Comfort saddles
- Cruiser saddles
- Inflatable saddles
Ways to Make Your Current Bike Seat More Comfortable
Check the Seat Height
Your seat height is one of the first things you should check if you feel any discomfort while sitting on your bike.
If the seat is too high or too low, you will feel some discomfort in your bottom and lower back area.
That’s because the seat height does not offer enough room for your legs to support your weight.
You may also experience fatigue in your neck and shoulders if the seat is not installed correctly.
Adjust Your Seat Angle
Sometimes, the quality or build of the saddle is perfect yet you won’t enjoy riding on it because the angle or position is out of whack.
This is usually an easy fix, although it tends to be more of trial and error.
To adjust your saddle angle for a better riding experience, simply tilt the seat by one or two millimeters up or down.
You can also move it from side to side and keep tweaking the angle until you hit the sweet spot.
Adjust the Handlebar Height
Make sure that the handlebar is slightly higher or at the same height as your saddle, whichever works best for you.
You will have to hunch over to reach the handlebar if it is too high or too low.
This will force you into a riding position or posture that puts plenty of strain on your back, neck, wrist, and hands if the handlebar is too high or too low.
If you feel saddle sores, try adjusting the handlebar by moving the stem slightly down or up a couple of inches along the steerer tube to find the most suitable height.
Use a Thinner Padding
Isn’t thicker padding more comfortable for cycling?
Of course, thick saddle padding or a seat that feels like a fluffy pillow may be okay for casual cycling around the neighborhood.
But here’s the thing; thick padding is not your best option if you ride over long distances.
Why is that?
First, it can increase pressure on your sit bones. Excessive pressure on your sit bones can hamper effective cycling and eventually create discomfort.
Also, excess padding on your bike seat can cause unpleasant chaffing. This can quickly lead to fatigue and pain.
For this reason, it is usually best to avoid excess padding.
Use thin padding on your bike seat instead. This will significantly raise your comfort level in addition to increasing the robustness of your saddle for a better cycling experience.
Sit Right on Your Bike Seat
Surprisingly, many people don’t know the correct way to sit on a bike saddle.
You’ll most likely experience saddle sores and body ache if you sit wrongly on your bike saddle, even if the saddle’s performance optimization is right on point.
For a more comfortable riding experience, it is best to use up the entire sit.
Sitting too far forward and resting your rear on the nose of the saddle can hurt you. For starters, it puts unnecessary pressure on the perineum.
Also, it compresses crucial nerves and restricts blood flow.
And just as you probably already figured, all of these will definitely result in pain and uneasiness during what’s meant to be fun rides.
Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your saddle.
Maintaining the correct body posture or riding position and sitting correctly on the saddle might be all you need to make your bike seat more comfortable.
Buy the Correct Saddle for Your Body Type
We suggest you pay close attention here if you haven’t picked a bike seat yet or you are about to change your current saddle.
A common mistake with many casual cyclists is choosing a bike seat based on brand popularity.
First of all, you shouldn’t bet on a saddle just because of its name. You may end up using your hard-earned cash to buy discomfort!
While some saddles are gender-specific, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the correct bike seat.
The right bike saddle is one that completely accommodates your weight. Too narrow and you’ll end up with uneven weight distribution. Too wide and it can lead to friction, chaffing, and pain.
How to avoid this mistake?
First, measure your sit bones before looking at the plethora of saddles online or in local bike stores near you.
Secondly, choose a saddle that fits your body type, regardless of brand.
Does Your Riding Style Matter?
Yes, riding style matters a lot when it comes to choosing a saddle or bike seat.
Consider choosing a style-specific saddle that suits you’re the type of cycling you do, since not all bike seats will work for all kinds of riding.
For example, you will put yourself through unnecessary torture if you install a seat for fast races on your bike and then use it for long-distance events.
Besides picking the right saddle, the type of cycling you do will determine your riding position or posture and how you distribute your weight.
Your riding position is mostly upright if you have a cruiser bike for casual cycling, and a wider saddle with thicker padding for cushioning will be an ideal choice.
Conversely, a narrow saddle with thin padding is your best bet for fast racing.
One of the common mistakes people make is thinking of a bike seat as an actual seat or chair. You must understand that a bike seat is actually a saddle.
A seat or chair is built to support your full weight but a saddle is designed to carry you without bearing all of your weight.
In other words, saddles are meant to carry your sit bones, while the paddle and handlebar support the rest of your weight.
With this in mind, you will be in a better position to properly distribute your weight on your bike seat or saddle in such a way that supports your type of cycling.
Hoping on your bike and riding away can be fun!
Yet, it can quickly become a source of pain and discomfort if you don’t get the saddle right. This can discourage you from biking, especially if you don’t how to correct the problem.
Thankfully, this guide has shown you how to make your bike seat more comfortable. And as you probably already figured, buying a new saddle should be a last resort.
So, go ahead and tweak your current seat until you feel very happy with your bike.
Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic