It doesn’t matter whether you spend a long time or a short time on your bike seat, either way when you do sit on that seat it should be comfortable. You need to find your bike seat “sweet spot”. A position on your seat that goes completely unnoticed – no pain, no discomfort, no pressure points, numbness or stress on any parts of your body. A position that allows you to sit on your seat without shifting around all the time.
Work through these four key steps to help you find your bike seat ‘sweet’ spot.
The right bike saddle
You need to find the right bike seat. A seat that is women specific to match the differences in women’s bone structure and soft tissue in this region. Different bikes as well as the type of riding you do will put you in different riding positions, and on the bike for different lengths of time. A saddle designed to match the type of riding you do to give support and cushioning in all the right places will go a long way to making sure you are comfortable when you ride. Find out more information on the right bike seat here.
The saddle needs to be set up correctly on the bike.
There are 3 adjustments to consider for that sweet spot.
HEIGHT of the saddle
You are looking for a height where you have a slight bend in your knee. If you are a numbers type of girl you are going for a 25 to 35 degree bend from a straight leg i.e when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. A good trick is to set the height of your seat so that your leg is perfectly straight when the heel of your foot is on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke. When you then position your foot on the pedal as you would normally to ride (that is the ball of your foot on the pedal) – this should have created a slight bend in your leg and a comfortable height to ride at.
How should it feel? You should be stable and comfortable in your seat when pedalling – no rocking your hips from side to side – and your leg should be “nearing” straight at the bottom of your pedal stroke. Trial a new height and see if it makes a difference to your comfort
Note: It is also a myth that you should be able to touch the ground with both feet while seated on the bike but with that said some people prefer to be able to do this and most children need and want to be able to do this. Read our story about getting up off your seat to help you with the idea of raising your seat height.
Seat height is a personnel preference especially for some types of riding – trials, jumping, BMX and downhill riders will have their own height ideals.
Set your seat height – straight knee & heel on the pedal
Position of your heel on the pedal
Move your foot into the correct position on the pedal
You have the CORRECT HEIGHT set up with a slightly bent knee
TILT of the saddle
You are looking for a tilt that is neutral (horizontal) or slightly nose down. Women tend to find comfort with a 2-3 degree forward tilt. The tilt of your seat affects where your body makes contact with the seat so you want to feel as though the majority of your body weight is going down through your sit bones (the bones you can feel when you sit on your hands) and not through your pubic bone, soft genital area or onto your handlebars.
How should it feel? You should be stable and comfortable in your seat and not feel like you are pushed to the back or onto the front of the seat. There should be no feelings of compression in your genital region and any tenderness from a long ride should be felt on your sit bones. Do you feel like your hips are in a position that your body can maintain with ease? Remember we don’t want constant shifting around. Trial a different tilt and see if it makes any difference to your comfort.
REACH of the saddle
Underneath your seat are seat rails and you can move your seat forward or back along these rails. This moves the seat closer or further away from the handlebars therefore affecting your reach.
How should it feel? You are looking for a placement that feels right for your body shape (length of your back) and the type of riding that you enjoy doing (competitive vs cruising). When your seat reach is not right it is fairly obvious as you will have the sensation of over-stretching (handlebars too far away) or being cramped (handlebars too close).
Learn how to make these adjustments. See 3 Simple Bike Seat Adjustments. Or visit www.youtu.be/7QVsTNoLLdk to view our adjustment video.
Your height, tilt and reach set up of your bike saddle will affect how the weight of your body is transferred down through the bike when in your riding position. So if this weight is not going down through the body parts that are designed for this – your sit bones and your feet – you can get uncomfortable…Now we all have different bodies that have totally different histories of use. You may or may not have good movement in your lower back, hips, hamstrings or knee joints so a seat position that is comfortable for one person may not be for someone else.
If you think you have a problem that is bigger than a simple bike seat adjustment. You may need more help. If this is the case seek out some help from someone with bike fit knowledge or ask us some questions. There are many other things that could be causing your problem. For example; you have the wrong frame size, or the length of the handlebar stem may need adjusting…
Padded Bike Pants
At this contact point on the bike we have more than just the bike seat to consider. We can also provide some protection for your bottom. To help protect your bottom it is advisable that you wear padded bike pants. Bike pants that have padding (the chamois) sewn into the pants. Look out for women specific bike pants made to protect our specific womanly differences. (Coming soon to The goRide Shop – if you have kids check out our Kids Padded Bike Pants)
You have done all the right things to make you comfortable on your seat
- You have the right bike seat
- You have adjusted height, tilt and reach
- You are wearing women specific padded bike pants
But you still need to make sure that YOU are performing well on your bike. At goRide we call this Chi Riding. A position of efficiency and comfort on the bike. Check out this video Chi Riding –The Correct Riding Position and the other Chi Riding Tips we have to offer.
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
goRide helps you find your riding SMILE. Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.