How to choose a bike saddle
There are many different saddles on the market, and for good reason: there’s a huge variety of riders.Choosing a saddle can be a challenge, but it’s worth putting the effort in to find the right one for you, and the key thing to look for is comfort – the more comfortable you are, the longer (and faster) you’ll be able to ride.
Unfortunately, saddle comfort is extremely subjective – ask a dozen riders what the most comfortable saddle is and you’ll get a dozen answers. This isn’t surprising – when you sit on a bike, your weight rests on a pair of bones collectively called the ischial tuberosity or, more familiarly, the sit bones. These are positioned differently in different riders.
Not only that, but depending on your riding style and bike set-up, you’ll experience pressure on different areas to the next rider.
How to buy a new saddle
Choosing the right saddle tends to be an iterative process – most experienced riders have tried a few before settling on a favourite. To avoid buying a succession of saddles, think about what it is with your current one that isn’t working for you.
If it’s just that it’s comfortable but knackered or just a bit heavy, then choosing a new one is fairly easy. The same saddle shape is usually available in a range of cost, material and weight variants, so upgrading within the same family is generally a safe bet.
A bigger challenge is replacing a saddle because it’s uncomfortable. This needs a bit of thought – try to pin down what it is that doesn’t work for you. If you feel you have to constantly correct your seating position, why not try a seat with a more pronounced dip to keep you in one place? Maybe it’s too wide and rubs your legs, or you like to sit on the nose but it’s hard and narrow? Use your observations of previous perches to narrow down your choice.
What to look for in a bike saddle
There are variations between mountain bike and road cycling saddles – mountain bike saddles are usually made from stronger, more durable materials, and road bike saddles tend to be lighter, for example – but fundamentally, the things you need to consider to find one that suits you are the same.
Mountain bike saddles need to be robust enough to cope with trail abuse