How to choose your saddle
The saddle: a decisive choice
You have acquired a new bike and you wish to start riding on the country roads? Or do you just want to change your saddle because yours is uncomfortable? It's important to consider all the options available to you to make your choice. After all, you spend a long time on the saddle, so comfort is paramount! Faced with an increasingly large offer and manufacturers who deploy large means of research and development to create ever more efficient saddles, where to begin? Follow our guide!
How to choose your saddle?
Several criteria must be taken into account to find the shape of the saddle that will suit you best:
- Morphology: the width of the saddle must be adapted to the width of the pelvis so that the ischium and the pelvis bones which are in contact with the saddle, are best positioned as best as possible. Remember that women have a larger pelvis than men and that there are saddles specially adapted to their morphology.
- Dorsal flexibility: a flexible cyclist will be positioned downward for aerodynamics, while a steeper cyclist will have a more elevated position on the saddle.
- The type of practice: e-bike, road bike or mountain bike.
- The mode of practice: leisure, sports or competition.
Now, we're going to ttake a look at the elements that make up the saddle and condition your position and comfort on the saddle according to your practice.
The shape of the saddle
The bike saddle's crescent is more or less wide at the level of the buttocks and more or less hollow depending on the position you adopt on the bike.
- For leisure practice, the riding position is lifted so that the body's weight is distributed on the back of the saddle, which should be a wide saddle with a rather hollow or semi-hollow shape for maximum comfort. It can even be rounded and slightly lifted at the back to stay well-seated.
- For a sporting practice, the position is inclined forward, especially on a road bike. The pressure is then exerted on the front part of the saddle, therefore athin and flat saddle should be preferred to avoid thigh friction and favour changes of position. On competition and time trial bikes, especially in triathlon, on which the position is low and strongly inclined forward, the body' support rests on the saddle's nose.
A hollow shape in the center of the saddle as well as a diving nose will provide relief for the entire perineum area. This is particularly the case for SMP saddles. No-nose saddles also exist to relieve the pressure generally felt in that area. In mountain biking, as the position is a little higher, the saddle will be wider. It's crucial to be able to easily pass behind the saddle when going downhill, unless you have a dropper seatpost that allows you to change the saddle's height depending on the terrain directly from the handlebars.
The shell's materialPlastic, composite, nylon, magnesium or carbon, everything depends on the level of flexibility and comfort you want. Indeed, a supple nylon shell, flexible and padded, is the ideal choice for comfort on long excursions. A flat and rigid carbon shell is adapted for sports practices as it doesn't get deformed and it transmits the pedaling power better. It eventually gives you a better performance on short and medium distances.
Structure and rails
A metal structure is robust, comfortable but also heavier: this material is best suited for leisure practice. Carbon is light and rigid, and a must-have if you look for performance.
Aluminium, carbon or chromo steel rails contribute to the lightness and comfort of the seat, andtitanium to its flexibility. There are monorail saddles to help gain in weight and solidity, and they're very interesting for MTBs where rail breakage is frequent. However, they haven't met a lot of success yet.
The type of cover will condition your comfort level: leather is comfortable and durable and is mainly used on e-bikes. It's also found on the British Brooks saddles.
Plastic saddles are usually covered with a synthetic fabric, cotton or microfiber and padded with foam, gel inserts or air cushion.
For competition, carbon saddles have no cover to transmit the maximum pedaling force as possible. It should be noted that carbon, even if it's rigid and therefore less comfortable, still absorbs the asperities of the road.
For mountain biking, choose a saddle with more padding to absorb shocks.
Be careful! We're all different and a type of saddle generally considered as comfortable might not necessarily be the one that suits you best. Ideally, you should try your saddle before buying it.
Adjustment: an important step for a good position
It's important to adjust the saddle position to get the best possible position on your bike as this conditions your comfort and pedaling efficiency and, consequently, your performance.
Therefore, you need to adjust:
- The saddle height: when the heel is positioned on the pedal in the low position, the leg must be stretched out, so don't hesitate to ask a specialist!
- The horizontal position of the saddle, knowing that with an advanced saddle the position will be forward, ideal for those who look for performance by increasing their pedaling power, whereas a more rearward saddle provides a higher and more comfortable position. The nose, if tilted forward, will prevent excessive crotch pressure. Don't hesitate to test it and refine it as you go along.
A postural study is strongly recommended to optimize these settings and find the best compromise between comfort and performance. Finally, to do your best during hour-long biking trips, you must wear cycling shorts equipped with a chamois skin to prevent the repeated friction due to pedaling.
Don't hesitate to look at customers' opinions on the products we sell to guide you. The comments on different types of saddle will help you make an informed choice. If you've found the right saddle or if you've found the product of your dreams, make a post to offer some advice to future buyers.