The right saddle for your bicycle can determine your cycling fun and comfort. You have a lot of options to choose from. You can select a minefield with unique price points, styles, or shapes. All these features can make your selection of the most suitable saddle quite daunting. However, whether you are a gravel baker, a mountain baker, or you simply love cycling on the road, you need a perfect saddle.
To choose the proper saddle, therefore, understand how a saddle should work. Understand why different cyclists prefer specific shapes of saddles. Understand why women’s saddles differ from males’ saddles in their anatomical structures. With all these in mind, these are the extra vital things to consider when buying a new bike saddle:
1. The Saddle Shell
The material of a saddle determines its quality, ride experience, and cost. The chassis of a saddle forms the saddle’s shape and influences how much the saddle can flex. The saddle must also have padding and a cover to enhance your comfort as you sit on it. You can therefore opt for saddles that have a plastic shell. You can also choose shells with a fibre-reinforced polymer or those with a carbon-fibre material.
Note, however, that the shapes of saddle models will always be similar regardless of the saddle material. Also, remember that the cover of the saddle can determine whether you’ll experience some pain or enjoy your ride. Going by the professional advice by riders at Pedalsteady, if you are overweight and you must go now, choose a more comfy saddle cover. Choose a cover that you can enjoy sitting on as you ride and shed off that unwanted weight. You can choose a carbon shell as lighter and more robust than a plastic or polymer shell.
2. The Rails
Like the saddle shell, the material that makes the rails dramatically determines the cost of the saddle and the bicycle quality. Note that the rails connect the harness to the seat post. Therefore, you can opt for rails made of steel alloy as they are the standard rails and are cheaper. Some top-tier and mid-range saddle-making companies prefer making their rails with manganese alloys. Manufacturers make some rails from carbon fibre or titanium. The rails also influence the amount of weight a bicycle can support. Carbon rails are, however, the most compatible with all seat clamps because of their oval shape.
3. The Cover Matters
Your saddle covers the outermost layer of your saddle. You, therefore, actually sit on the saddle cover. Saddle manufacturers can make saddle covers from synthetic fibres or natural leather. The synthetic fibres covers are the most familiar. Therefore, as you choose a saddle cover, look out for rough patches and seams as they can cause discomfort as you sit. Depending on where on the saddle cover these patches are, they can also wear your shorts. You must avoid such.
4. Remember the Padding
Choose a saddle that has unique foam densities to help you relieve unnecessary pressure. You can choose thick, soft padding for optimum saddle comfort. However, as you cycle more, the padding compresses and can become uncomfortable. The padding can also deform around your sitting anatomy and, with time, can pressurise your soft tissues.
Interestingly, many saddle manufacturers apply pressure maps to locate the ideal location of the padding. You can use padding in the form of a gel or one in the form of memory foam. Today, many current saddle manufacturing companies use areas of variable density foams to give you support and relief accordingly. Simple carbon saddles can be comfortable. Just choose paddings that fit you in size and shape.
5. Don’t Forget the Channels, Cut-Outs, and Grooves
Cut-outs determine the complexity of your saddle. They also increase the cost of a saddle. Choose saddles with pressure-relieving cut-outs. They can help relieve unwanted soft tissue pressure. They can also enhance your blood flow. Likewise, should you experience some numbness as you cycle, you need a saddle with a cut-out. Changing your saddle position can also help with this.
You can get a comfortable, high-quality saddle if you choose a more durable saddle shell, strong rails, and comfortable covers. Go for saddles with cut-outs when you intend to ride in foggy conditions and when you’re prone to feeling numb as you ride. The padding also determines the comfort of the saddle. Some extras like reinforced corners on the cover can also prevent scuffing. Likewise, elastomers between the shell and the rails can add some versatility to your saddle. Mounting brackets are also suitable for saddlebags and tail-lights. They can make your saddle cosier.