What’s the most important element on a bicycle? The rider! That is why we must learn to take care of certain things when we go on rides, comfort being one of the most important things to keep an eye on. And the saddle is the piece of the bicycle that we rest most of our weight on, so we must be careful to choose the right saddle that suits our body, riding style, type of cycling sport, and a whole lot more.

The Human Biology

The human skeletal system differs from a male to a female and our average weight and height are very different as well. There are different types of saddles suited exclusively to males and females. Saddles for females are larger than the male’s saddles to help support the larger female pelvic area. The male saddles also have central cut-outs to accommodate their genitalia. These are some of the main reasons sex plays a major role when it comes to choosing the perfect saddle for your bicycle.

Cycling Is Cycling, Right?

Nope, cycling is not just cycling. There is a multitude of cycling disciplines like road bicycle racing, where you mainly cycle on roads, track racing which is done on velodromes, mountain biking is usually done on mountainsides to tackle hilly and rocky terrain, BMX racing which is done offroad to see who can make the highest jumps and do tricks, and many, many other disciplines that are done by both professionals and hobbyists. And just like the many disciplines available, there are many saddles to serve them as well, such as;

  • The Road Saddle

Road saddles are narrow and streamlined to allow their users to maintain a full range of motion of the legs, thighs and also prevent chafing. Are engineered to be as light as possible. Perfect for on-road cycling disciplines

  • The Mountain Saddle

Mountain saddles are small and slightly cushioned to provide slight protection to the cyclists from the rough and bumpy terrain. Their material and added protection add weight. Perfect for offroad cycling disciplines.

  • The Touring Saddle

Touring saddles are a mix of mountain and road saddles whereby they provide support cushion but are engineered for roads. Their pads do wear down, so keep that in mind when getting one. Perfect for long-distance cycling disciplines. 

  • The Comfort Saddle

Comfort saddles are usually larger than all the other saddles are more padded as well. Some cyclists prefer them over wearing padded shorts. But they come with a cost, added weight.

  • Female-Specific Saddles

Female-specific saddles are just the normal saddles but are made for the female behind to help with tissue compression, protection and airflow. There might be more variations for them when it comes to performance saddles.

How Low Can You Go?

Different people have different body types that affect their flexibility, saddle height, saddle tilt and cycling discipline. Your flexibility oftentimes directly affects your saddle position, if you are less flexible, you might need to have a lower saddle that is horizontal so you don’t have to bend too much. It also depends on what you are doing, if you are more of a fast cyclist, you tend to keep your torso low and your behind high to be as streamlined as possible, that is why a saddle that is high and slightly tilted forward would suit you. But if you tilt the saddle too much, you might feel discomfort on your neck, lower back, and arms, so try to make very minor adjustments.

How to find the perfect saddle position?

  • Determine your flexibility
  • Comfortable saddle height
  • Comfortable saddle tilt
  • Determine your cycling discipline

Armed To The Teeth

But of course, the saddle itself won’t be the only thing to keep you comfortable and safe. You will need to get proper attire like padded cycling shorts, good suspension, and the quality and material the saddle is made out of. 

How To Choose Your Perfect Saddle?

Now that you are familiar with the types of saddle available and how the body impacts the type of saddle you should use, let’s hone in on the finer details of the saddle to see which one suits your rear perfectly. There are 5 main components of a saddle, cover material, shell, cutout, padding and rail.

  • Cover Material

Takes on the most amount of abuse, pressure, friction, moisture, sweat, and nature. You want to make sure that you get a good cover material that can withstand anything that you throw at it. 

  • Cutouts

Cutouts function to alleviate pressure from soft tissue, nerves, and veins. They also help with ventilation. And different saddles feature different cutouts with varying depths of cutouts. Choose one that suits your cycling discipline, body, and sex.

  • Shell

The shell is what gives the saddle its main shape, so keep in mind the comfort and efficiency you want your saddle to have without compromising weight. Higher-end ones are made from carbon fibre for low malleability and weight.

  • Padding

Different types of padding for different cycling styles. Offroading needs thicker padding while on-road cycling needs thinner padding of performance. You’ll need to know which one to go for.

  • Rails

The rails are the things that keep the saddle attached to the bicycle and have different qualities and weights. The better ones are stiff and light, so keep in mind the cost and quality of the ones you want.

Got an idea of your next saddle? Take it out for a test ride at the #TOGOSGRTI2022 challenge. See if your saddle stands up to the test.