Bike Pro Racing guide to choosing a saddle
Thursday 13th October 2016
Whatever bike you choose, whatever spec it has and whatever kind of riding you do, there is nothing else which can quite as easily ruin your ride. In truth if it's fine, you won't even notice - that's the sign of a saddle that's good for you.
Note, we don't say a good saddle, just a saddle that's good for you - this is key because a saddle doesn't have to be expensive to be perfect for you.
Most bikes now come with a saddle included, which is designed to suit the style of riding for which the bike is designed. Very often this saddle will be just fine, and if it is, think carefully before looking for another saddle.
What do I need to consider when choosing a saddle
The shape of the saddle needs to suit both your body shape and riding style.
If you ride in a stretched out and flat position then you're looking for a narrower saddle, where the more upright your riding style the wider saddle you need to support more of your weight.
In terms of body shape, the key thing is your sit bones. The wider they are, the wider a saddle you will need and will be confortable. As a general rule, women's sit bones are wider than men's.
If you have a saddle that is too wide then it will chafe and rub, where if it's too narrow you will feel like you're sitting on thin pole.
Very often when customers are assessing a saddle in store, they will do the 'thumb test', simply squeezing the saddle to feel how soft it is and how much 'give' it has and equating this with comfort. In truth this isn't usually a great guide!
A firm saddle, can often be much more comfortable than a padded saddle, particularly if you have a road bike and are focussed on leaning forward as you ride - as you placing less weight on the saddle a firm solution can be better and excess padding can cause discomfort in other ways.
More important is where the saddle is solid (ideally aligned with your sit bones) and where there can be some give. A Brooks Saddle, which is leather riveted to the rails, is particularly comfortable for longer rides as it 'gives' in the right places and once broken in, is moulded to you for superior long-term comfort.
This is really a question of weight and cost. For those riders looking to reduce weight of their saddle then you're looking for Titanium or Carbon fibre construction. Whereas many more standard priced saddles are steel or chrome-moly.
Cut out or not?
A relatively recent design trend has been to include a cut out, which might be a hole or groove in the saddle to protect the rider in sensitive areas and provide more comfort. While for many the cut out is comfortable, for others a solid nose construction is fine also, and for some riders who don't sit entirely square, they could be more comfortable.
Which saddles do Bike Pro recommend?
Bike Pro Racing are official stockists for Brooks saddles, and we've worked hard to achieve that because we genuinely believe that for many riders the long term benefits of a Brooks leather saddle are significant and worth investing both the money and time in treating and breaking in your saddle.
Check out http://bikeproracing.net/Saddles-80
One of the most popular saddles in store is the Charge Spoon - It's a multi purpose saddle that's comfortable for varying riders and is very cost effective for the quality.
In addition, we also stock Bioflex saddles, which have a good range of wide padded saddles and also a range of saddles from SDG.
The team at Bike Pro Racing are cyclists - that means we can recommend the right product for you based upon what kind of rider you are and the bike you chose. Ask our team for advice on choosing the right saddle.