The bike seat you should ride on is just the bike seat that you have on your bike – right? Wrong! I recently bought a new women’s mountain bike. You would think that it would come with a women’s specific mountain bike seat, well it didn’t. I gave it go for a while but once I changed my bike seat to a women’s saddle that meet my needs, the relief was instant… why didn’t I do this sooner? To be comfortable on a bike seat you need one that matches YOU and the type of riding YOU do, YOU need the “perfect bike seat”.
Research & Development
Manufacturers have worked out the differences in the pressure and weight that is absorbed at the contact point between you & your seat;
- for different genders – male or female
- for different riding positions – riding angles between 15-90 degrees
- for the type of riders – town, road, mountain bike, fitness, touring, e -bikers
- for different tenderness requirements – we are all slightly different down there
They have done the work and designed bike seats for all these variations in riders. To find the perfect bike seat you need to understand YOU as a rider (your rider profile) then find a bike seat that matches that profile.
Your Rider Profile – 5 Important Questions & Tips
- Are you male or female? Women’s saddles are designed differently to male saddles because our bone structure (pelvis) and soft tissue is different to males. Along with other small differences womens bike seats are wider and shorter than males seats to give our wider and shorter bone structure support where we need it.
Tip ONE – If you are a women you will need a women’s bike seat (saddle)
- What is your riding position? When we sit on the bike seat we have two points that absorb the greatest pressure. At the rear your sit bones and at the front your genital area.
Awareness exercise to know your sit bones and genital area: Sit upright on a firm/hard seat. Can you feel the weight on your 2 sit bones. If you place your hands, palm up under each of the cheeks of your bottom and rock from side to side and feel the boney points on each side – these are your sit bones. Remove your hands now lean forward from the hips can you start to feel the weight being transferred to the bone structures and soft tissue at the front.
The proportion of the weight or pressure that these areas will absorb is dependent on your riding position. Different types of bikes put your body in different riding positions. Bike seats have been designed to have the right support and cushioning in the right areas based on your riding position. From fully upright rider where the proportion of weight and pressure is absorbed at the rear of the seat to a forward bend riding position where the weight and pressure is absorbed more forward on the seat in the genital area.
To define what is YOUR riding position we need to work out your riding angle it will range between 15-90 degrees. Measure the angle between the bike seat and the length of your back – your spine. What is your riding angle or your riding position?
Tip TWO – Know the position you ride in (your riding angle) and match a bike saddle to that riding position
What is your riding angle? The angle between your bike seat & the length of your back.
Town rider, riding angle 85-90 degrees
Commute rider, riding angle 40 degrees
3. Where do you ride?.
- Town riding/short commuting/riding. Rides in urban environments. Has a short commute to work. Rides short distances for fitness.
- Mountain biking – off road trail rider.
- Long distance commuting or touring– You commute or ride for fitness regularly and over long distances. Do or want to do multi-day rides.
- Road riding – rides on the road on a road bike set up.
- Recreational riding – rides in urban areas on the road and cycleways/ bikepath for fitness
- Multi-environment /all-round riding – all types of riding – on and off road – over long distances and on one bike.
The shape of the bike seat will vary depending on the type of riding you do. A town rider on an upright bike should have a more pear shaped saddle to offer maximum support and cushioning. Compare this to a more intense rider, like a road rider, who should have a T shaped saddle because this saddle is designed to give support and cushioning but avoid the risk of chafing.
Tip THREE – Know the type of riding you do and match a bike saddle to that riding
4. How long do you ride for and how often you ride ?
Different materials used in a bike seat (saddle) will provide cushioning and support for different lengths of time and how regularly you ride.
Tip FOUR – Know how long you ride for and how often you ride.
5. Do you have any areas of tenderness?
- Genital tenderness or sensitivity on or off the bike. Discomfort or numbness in the genital area is not acceptable so DO NOT PUT UP WITH IT. Cutouts solve this problem. Generally the bigger/wider the cut out in the saddle the more relief you will gain. Depending on the degree of sensitivity you are experiencing from slight to unbearable there is a solution out there for you.
- Tail bone tenderness or sensitivity on or off the bike
- Low back pain tenderness or sensitivity on or off the bike
Tip FIVE – Know your specific tenderness requirements and find the seat that matches those requirements.
Once you have the perfect saddle it is important that you fit the saddle correctly and work to find what we call at goRide your Bike Seat ‘Sweet Spot’. Being comfortable at this contact point with the bike is vital for your enjoyment of riding. DO NOT settle for a seat that is not designed for YOU or one you have not fitted correctly.
Understand your riding profile and FIND your bike seat – match in the goRide women’s bike seat solutions in the buying guide
Want personalised support from the goRide Team on the right saddle for you – Use our Women’s Bike Saddle Solution Finder (available to New Zealand residents)
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
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