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Why are Bike Seats so Uncomfortable? – Know the Root Causes Here!

why are bike seats so uncomfortable

Biking is an outright workout you can have. It’s a good practice to stay fit after sitting in the office all day. But are you tired of always hurting your sit bones after a simple ride?

Why are bike seats so uncomfortable? It is caused by a lot of factors like clothing and wrong handlebar positions, to name a few.

By knowing these causes of discomfort, you can reduce soring, allowing you to cover a few more miles.

A Bike’s Discomfort

When I first started biking, I was curious why bike seats were stiff and skinny. I found them difficult to sit on, especially on long trips, because they gave me constant sores and back pains.

Then as I met fellow bikers in the long run, they explained that there are many reasons why bicycle seats are shaped like that and that the discomfort I felt came from improper sizing and other factors.

Bike seats are only intended to hold a biker’s sit bones and not their whole weight. They come with an unusual and slender shape that allows our lower limbs to move freely during cycling.

Plus, your position and proper seat adjustment while biking also make a huge difference in your comfort.

Root Causes

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Below are the most common causes of an uncomfortable bike seat. Knowing some can help you focus on the factor that needs attention.

Incorrect Mountain Bike Size

Even if we have the best gears available, if our bike is too large or too small for us, it can greatly affect our seating position, which is pivotal to our comfort.

A lot of people thought that mountain bike seats are brought into this world to provide the utmost discomfort. But, little did they know that they only have the wrong bike size.

That is why I highly suggest getting yourself a high-quality mtb that comes with the right fit for you.

Wrong Handlebar Position

Having improper handlebar position can cause soreness from your bike seat. If you notice that you lean too much forward or backward, then it’s likely that you have the wrong positioning.

This is caused by too high or low handlebars that may give you shorter or longer reach than necessary.

Get the right fit for yourself because doing so can give you a great turnaround.

Clothing

The right sportswear comes with numerous benefits, and this includes comfort for your sit bones.

Biking gear and clothes are as essential as your bike. Wearing PPEs that are skin-tight and have ergonomic padding guarantees protection from bike seat soreness.

A Saddle, Not a Seat

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It is essential to know some terms in the biking world to talk to your colleagues clearly.

Although a seat is a universal term for something you sit on, bikers actually call it a saddle. This might look like a semantics issue, but a seat and a saddle actually have crucial differences.

Seats supposedly carry a person’s full weight, while saddles do not. You might wonder where your remaining weight should go if a saddle is only meant to carry some of them. Well, the answer is on the bike pedals.

Your lower limb force, along with your weight, should be directed to the pedal. In this way, you can cycle faster as you exert more force. Putting your weight on the pedal gives you an effortless boost in your pace.

As peculiar as it seems, stiffer and narrower saddles are the comfiest in most cases. However, before we fully rule out the broad, padded model, let us venture a bit deeper into a saddle’s purpose.

Sit bones, also called Ischial Tuberosity, are the most vital contact point on a saddle. These 2 bones offer the best support to keep you in a proper position. You can think of them as tiny pillars that set your bike position with the aid of some external padding.

The other parts of your lower limb that come in contact with the saddle usually rub on the surface, causing it to overheat and irritate.

These softer areas, like the butt, are more active and therefore ache quicker. In this case, sitting ON the seat is more preferable than sitting IN the seat. And to do just that, you would require a stiffer saddle.

No one wants to have something that only supports their sit bones, though. Pressure needs to be rightly distributed.

This is impossible with wider saddles as they offer more surface area that gives discomfort through constant rubbing, especially if the saddle is soft.

Knowing this vital contrast between a bike saddle and a bike seat can greatly improve your comfort. Just remember that what makes a common seat cozy will be bad for your bike.

How Can I Make My Bike Seat Comfier?

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Give your trip a boost and start choosing the right saddle for yourself. Like faces, every individual’s bums have unique features that only we can understand. That’s why relying on others’ personal opinions may either help or fail you.

Ensure that the saddle comes with the right size for your butt. Choose a product where your body weight is borne by your sit bones and not on the soft tissues surrounding them.

Do note that your body weight would not be well distributed if your bike saddle is too narrow or thin. On the other hand, saddles that are too wide would cause friction in our crotch.

The Bluewind Waterproof Bicycle Saddle is known for its ergonomic size and design that perfectly caters to most bikers. If you have a tough time choosing a new saddle, you can try out this one due to its wide compatibility.

Some bikers prefer the lightest and firmest saddles to save load.

If a bike saddle is awkward, the cyclist cannot train properly. If this happens, the loss of fitness will be larger than the saddle’s benefit.

Choosing the right material is another way to a more comfortable saddle.

Saddles made from synthetic materials are the most common and are known for being lightweight and low maintenance. Plus, they do not need break-in time, which makes them popular among cyclists.

Cotton is another material for saddles. Although it is not a common option, this material also offers a very brief break-in time. Plus, cotton is a bit stretchable, giving you good control while being comfortable during the trip.

If you are looking for a synthetic cover substitute, leather is a decent choice. It provides an outstanding fit and great comfort. However, leather’s break-in time comes after you cycled for 320 kilometers on it.

Leather is not water-resistant, so you need to constantly apply conditioner on the saddle; this also helps to prevent the leather from drying caused by UV exposure.

Foam, on the other hand, makes you comfortable because it offers good cushioning. A foam’s cushion eventually goes back to its initial shape after you get off the bike.

That is why this saddle material is ideal for riders more than 90kg and for those who love going on long trips. Besides that, this material is an ideal candidate for people with excellent sit bones condition.

Even though Gel cushioning is not as comfortable as foam in cushioning, this material is still the best for recreational bikers that usually go for casual rides in the plaza. What makes it less comfortable than foam saddles is its faster compression.

Aside from the material, it is also important to consider the saddle pad, an add-on to your bike that adds an extra flair of coziness and plush.

However, keep in mind that this add-on is not the best answer to your padding issues and is not advisable for long and fast rides. But if you are more of a casual or recreational biker, this one will not be a problem.

Although I introduced several cushioning materials, there are still saddles with none. It may be uncomfortable when you come to think of it, but bikers usually get used to non-cushioned saddles as these things slowly adjust to their body shape and weight.

When you get used to them, saddles with no cushioning are actually very comfortable. Plus, they remain cool, allowing you to stay fresh during your bike trip.

For more tips to make your ride comfortable, check out this video.

Conclusion

Everything that makes your bike ride uncomfortable is stated in this article, like the inaccurate bike size, wrong handlebar position, and even wrong set of clothing.

Replacing your saddle with a new one is a common solution, but if you are a newbie at this, save your hassles in doing research and try the Bluewind Waterproof Bicycle Saddle.

Do these things to avoid discomfort.

  • Ensure that your saddle perfectly accommodates your sit bones.
  • Wear proper PPE.
  • Adjust your bike, especially the handlebar.
  • Choose the right material for your saddle.
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