Bicycle Seat Buying Guide
Types of Riding Styles
There are several different types of bicycle riding that people do every day. The type of riding you do can make a difference in the type of bicycle seat that will work for your specific needs. We have outlined several of the more common types of bicycle riding below.
- Recreational – If you are riding a cruiser and sit straight up while riding, a seat that provides plenty of cushioning will be perfect for you. These seats are usually wide and have springs underneath that will absorb the bouncing and rough terrain. The seats are usually very padded to provide as much comfort as possible. These seats do not have a long nose and will provide plenty of enjoyable rides for you.
- Road – If you race or ride while clocking distance and miles, you will want to look for a seat that is geared for those activities. A racing bicycle seat is long and narrow and has very little padding at all. The position the rider is in when racing or riding long distances for mileage is more of a tucked position. Hardly any weight at all is on the seat and you don’t want any extra padding between the legs as well. This will reduce the chance of chafing. If you’re very new to riding on the road and racing look for a seat that is a little softer so you have time to get used to the feel of the seat.
- Mountain – When riding on trails, the rider will have to stand up and pedal at times and will be crouched down into a tucked position with your rear barely off the seat. It is important to get a seat that is designed for mountain bike riding. This seat will have padding for underneath your rear. You’ll get a durable, streamlined shape and cover that will help you get the most comfortable ride you can on the trails.
- Touring – Touring is when the rider engages in long distance rides that can span for hours and cover several cities or even states. When engaging in this type of riding, you will need to invest in a performance bicycle seat that is designed to provide comfort for long distance riding. If you get an all leather seat, this will usually be between a mountain bike seat and a road bike seat. Touring bicycle seats need to have a lot of cushioning that will prevent rear pain and pressure points.
- Woman Specific – Women usually have wider hips and sitting bones and smaller bodies so they will do much better with seats that are designed for a woman’s specific body makeup.
Types of Cushioning
There are several types of seat cushioning available. We’ve listed the most common types below.
- Gel – This type of cushioning molds to your seat and gives the most comfortable ride. A lot of pleasure riders choose this type of cushion because of how comfortable it is to ride on. The drawback top gel is that it can become compressed a lot faster than foam.
- Foam – Foam cushioning will provide more of a springy feel to it than other types. This is the type of cushioning riders that engage in road riding like to use. It is a good choice for riders that weigh more than 200 pounds, and that have a lot of self cushioning. The firmer type of foam does not compact down as fast as softer foam does or gel either.
- Bicycle Seat Pad – This type of cushion is a pad that can fit over the existing seat to provide the rider with more cushioning. They are comfortable and thick but have a tendency to shift or move which can be very uncomfortable as well.
Improving Bicycle Comfort
- Make sure the seat isn’t too high – A seat that is too high can make it to where you have to shift side to side. This motion can irritate the perineal area and cause chafing and pain while you are riding and after too.
- Check the angle of the seat – Bicycle seats can be adjusted by using the clamp that holds the seat in place. This clamp is located underneath the seat. Once the screw is unscrewed the seat will move upward and downward.
Adjust the way you ride – The sensitive perineum can be compressed when you spend many hours riding and go through lots of bumpy terrain. There are some things you can do to reduce the chances of this happening.
- About every 10 minutes while you are riding, stand up on the pedals to take the pressure off of that area.
- When you are going over bumps, be sure to stand up slightly and take the shock in your legs rather than your rear.
- If you get a bike that is designed to be used as a mountain bike, it will have a suspension that is designed to handle all of the bumps and rough terrain much better.
- Many people do better with a recumbent style bike if they have a hard time sitting upright on a regular bike. This takes a lot of the pressure off of that area.
When it comes to choosing the right bicycle seat, there are several things that you can do to make sure that you are getting a good one. With so many different types of riding and so many different types of seats available it can be a real challenge to choose one that will work for your needs, riding style and riding activities.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to help buyers narrow down the different choices so there is not so much to sort through. By deciding how you want to use your bike (road, mountain, cruising, etc), you can look at the bicycle seats that support that type of riding and those types of bicycles as well.
With the right information, you can make a good decision and be confident that the decision you’ve made is one that will fit your needs and give you the maximum amount of comfort on your rides.
- Cloud 9 – http://www.cloud9seats.com/
- Planet Bike – http://planetbike.com/page/
- Schwinn – http://www.schwinn.com/