Did you knew that most of us are not aware that we shouldn’t feel any discomfort during a ride?
Yes, that’s true. We are so used to think is our fault, or we are not doing something right, than we rather give up cycling than consider the external factors, which in a 99% percent represent the real problem.
Because we hear very often the reasons of the discomfort from our clients, we can say that the “pain” comes in a huge percent related to the saddle. We also studied on our clients how come they chosen the wrong saddle.
Here is what we discovered and want to share with you today!
When you are buying your bike saddle you should always make sure to speak to a professional and let them know exactly how you ride and what you use your bike for. Mountain bike saddles make it easier to shift your weight way back, and road saddles are narrower to avoid chafing. If you have a lot of pressure problems and in-ride numbness, you may want to consider a saddle with a cutaway or a depression to take some pressure off. And if you’re planning on going on ultra-long endurance rides, looking for a saddle with a thin layer of gel on the top may make those miles feel less taxing. Before buying a saddle or ask for guidance, think about what problems you’ve had and what kind of riding you’re doing.
First, the saddle should comfortably support your ischial tuberosities (or sit bones). If it doesn’t, your body weight is being supported by the body parts between them – primarily the labia (in women) and internal penis (in men). Painful!
Sit bone width isn’t tied to pants size, so some companies have developed measurement tools, available in many bike shops now, to measure the distance between the sit bones to find the perfect saddle for you.
One rule is that the saddle’s seating surface should be equal or greater than the centre-to-centre spacing between your sit bones, plus about 1 centimeter on each side.
A clever adapter allows adjustment forward or back and offer a very good riding position on almost every bike type. Professional roadies obsess over seat height down to the half-millimeter.
The relationship between saddle and seat posts is critical, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. If your bike does not have and universal adapter, your position will be a discomfort factor, many times overlooked by many of our clients.
If you want to forget the painful rides, all you have to do is invest in a super comfortable bike seat. The no padding saddles could look great, but it might make your scream of pain and forget cycling for a long while.
While any cushioned seat will provide comfort for your sit bones, the 2 most common cushioning materials react differently under weight.
Gel cushioning molds to your body and provides the plushest comfort. Most recreational riders prefer this for its superior comfort on casual rides. Its downside is that gel tends to get compacted more quickly than the other option, foam.
Foam cushioning offers a pliable feel that springs back to shape. Road riders favor foam as it provides more support than gel while still delivering comfort. For longer rides, riders over 200 lbs. or riders with well-conditioned sit bones, firmer foam is preferred as it doesn’t compact as quickly as softer foam or gel.
Men and women, juniors and seniors, all have different needs. Ignoring the specific requires of our body shapes and different ages is usually the base of “something’s wrong” discomfort.
Besides the obvious differences between men’s and women’s anatomy there are some other not so obvious differences. The one that has the largest impact on bicycle saddle comfort for women is pelvic width. Women naturally have a pelvis that is slightly wider than men to allow for child birth. Because of this extra width, and actual pelvic geometry, a women sitting on a men bicycle seat can place the “sit bones” outside of the area of support. This transfers the support from skeletal (pelvic support) to soft tissue which is very uncomfortable.
As for men they should be careful, the tissue between the sit bones contains many nerves and blood vessels, and over time, sitting on it can reduce blood flow cause numbness and sometimes permanent nerve damage, reducing the duration of erections in men. Oups!
For seniors, the saddle should respect the right position, comfort and riding style, because the back pains are more likely to interfere with cycling and giving up.