Is your rear end sore after you spend some time on your bike? Chances are that it isn’t because of your physical fitness. A sore hind quarters is evidence that you need a better place to sit. On a bicycle, that means you need to find the best bike saddle for road and mountain bikes.
Let’s be honest: comfort is a major issue, especially if you’re new to the sport of cycling. It’s time to make sure you get the best saddle for your needs instead of dealing with a stock saddle that leaves you taking painkillers and sitting on ice at the end of a ride.
|Zacro Gel Bike Saddle|| 4.6 || $$ |
|OUTERDO Professional Bike Saddle|| 4.4 || $$ |
|Planet Bike ARS Anatomic Relief Bicycle Saddle|| 4.4 || $$$ |
|Sunlite Cloud-9 Bicycle Saddle|| 4.3 || $$$ |
|Gavin Gel Foam Anatomic Relief Bike Saddle|| 4.4 || $$ |
|Retrospec Bicycles Urban/Fixed Gear Saddle|| 4.3 || $$ |
|Bikeroo Fixed Gear Bicycle Saddle|| 4.3 || $$$ |
|Schwinn Quilted Wide Cruiser Saddle|| 4.4 || $$ |
|Zacro Gel BS031 Water and Dust Resistant Saddle|| 4.6 || $ |
|Selle Royal Respiro Soft Moderate Seat|| 4.4 || $$$$ |
How Can the Best Bike Saddle Improve Your Riding Experience?
If you’re just getting started in cycling and dealing with a sore seat, then there are three common adjustments you can make to your stock saddle right away that can provide you with some comfort. Check of each off these possible issues.
- You’ve placed the saddle too high. When you’re sitting in an overly elevated position on your bike, it forces your body to shift weight to the left and right as you pedal. This irritates your perineum area. Try to lower the saddle if you can.
- Your saddle is at the wrong angle. Many bike frames have a clamp underneath the saddle which will allow you to tilt it upward or downward. If you notice more pain in the back, then tilt the saddle upward. If the pain is more in the front, tilt it downward. A slight change can bring a lot of relief.
- You may need to look at your pedaling style. On a long ride, it helps to stand up on your pedals every 15 minutes or so just to stretch everything out. It also helps to use your legs to absorb vibrations and shocks from the surface you’re riding on.
Some users may also benefit from the purchase of one of the best full-suspension bikes on the market today to relieve pain as well. If you are overweight, have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, have been a smoker recently, or may have diabetes, then you will feel the ride more than someone without those health issues. The pain in the hind quarters will begin to get better as you get used to the riding experience.
If you’ve changed the saddle, adjusted your riding style, and changed height and tilt without success, then it may be time to consider one of the best recumbent bicycles instead of your current model.
What Type of Bike Saddle Is Right for Me?
The first consideration that must be made when shopping for the best bike saddle for road and mountain bikes is gender. Men and women have different physical needs when sitting on a saddle, so gender-specific saddles have been created to offer that support. Some unisex saddles exist as well, but these are more for recreational and occasional riding only.
After gender, you’ll want to look at your style and the structure of each saddle option to determine what your best option is going to be.
- Road Bike Saddles. This saddle is designed to help you deal with high mileage situation. It takes the weight off of your sitting bones while encouraging more of a tuck position. If you’ve just started road riding, look for a soft saddle to help your body adjust to the new routine.
- Mountain Bike Saddles. When riding on trails, you’re going to be standing and sitting more often than street cyclists. Your saddle must offer support for this movement. Look for a streamlined shade and added padding for the sit bones to receive the best results.
- Touring Saddles. These saddles need to have enhanced durability for consistent long-distance riding. Look for thicker cushioning and durable materials. You’ll find that many of these saddles have a split down the middle to protect the perineum.
Does this mean you can ride on the street using a mountain bike saddle? Or ride on a trail with a road bike saddle? Of course you can. The goal here, however, is to maximize comfort so you don’t feel like you need to sit in an ice bath at the end of the day.
When you match cycling needs and your personal style to the right saddle type, you’ll encourage more comfort. Then there’s one more step you’ll want to take.
Padding and You: The Best Cushioning for Road and Mountain Saddles
If you’ve sat on a rock-hard saddle for an hour, there’s a chance you’re going to feel it in your sit bones. Any type of cushioning becomes an improvement. In the world of cycling, you have two basic cushioning options.
The first is foam cushioning and it’s a lot like a memory foam mattress. The foam compresses as you sit, then restores when you’re off the bike. Firm foam works better for heavier riders or those who travel long distances on their bicycle.
The other is gel cushioning, which tends to form itself around your body. This type of saddle cushion is better for most recreational riders.
You can also purchase a saddle pad instead of replacing the entire saddle. This offers you additional cushioning, but won’t solve the actual structural pain problems you’re experiencing.
A good saddle is going to cost around $100. You’ll find lower-priced options available, especially for recreational riders, but a good seat isn’t cheap. It is not unusual for premium touring saddles to cost upwards of $500.
Most riders will find something that works for them under $200.
Here’s Our Reviews:
This gel bike saddle is designed with beginners and long-distance riders in mind. The split-design helps to relieve pressure where it counts, while the soft gel helps to relieve pain caused by the sitting bones. We also appreciate the fact that there is a spring suspension built into the saddle, helping to reduce vibration pain. The universal design will install on almost any standard post and you receive the mounting wrench with your purchase. At this price point, it’s difficult to find a better saddle for your bike.
This is another split-design saddle that makes it a lot more comfortable to ride your bike. This model is more of a road bike option, though some trail riders will also benefit from the elongated design and extra padding. We also enjoyed the color options available, allowing you to match your saddle to the scheme of your bicycle instead of going with “basic black.” Care for this saddle involves a simple wash down after 100 miles or so. It’s a bit firm, so not everyone may enjoy it, but we certainly appreciated all of its strengths.
This anatomic relief bicycle saddle does an excellent job of relieving pain. It works on every style of bike we could think of to try it on: cruisers, commuters, hybrids – it worked everywhere. Gel padding is in place for the sitting bones, but there’s also strategic venting incorporated into the design so you’re not stuck with extra sweat or rubbing issues while you’re on the ride. It’s also one of the few saddles that offers a limited lifetime warranty and 25% of the proceeds of each sale goes to cycling advocacy issues.
This saddle is more for cruisers or some commuter bikes, but the comfort it provides will make it a tempting addition to any bike. Beginners will love this saddle because the gel padding gives you a forgiving riding experience. It will install on virtually any standard post and has one of the best seat suspensions we’ve seen in quite some time. At this price, it will move fast, so pick up this wide and comfortable saddle when you have the opportunity. It’s easily one of the best bike saddles on the market today.
Like many modern saddles, this one has been built for pain relief. It does a reasonably good job at it. What we appreciated the most about this particular model, however, was its neoprene shell. This adds another level of durability to the saddle that other manufacturers just don’t think about at this price point. The ventilation could be a little better and the saddle is only 6.5 inches wide, so perhaps a bit small for some riders, but you can’t beat the value of this purchase. It definitely punches above its weight class.
The best bike saddle for road and mountain bikes will give you a comfortable, virtually painless riding experience. Protect your sitting bones, prevent chafing, and you’ll feel like you could ride for forever. That’s the power a great saddle can provide for your bicycle today.