How to Choose a Bicycle Seat – Taking Care of your Pal

How is the Ideal Seat: Soft or Hard, Wide or Narrow? Their components and how they fit together when we want to know how to choose a bicycle seat. The important points to take in account when you are looking for a good seat that will allow you to do a comfortable trip

Looking for the Ultimate Seat

Most of us spend our lives looking for THE seat. That one that you won´t even notice you have your butt on it. It´s like going for the Holy Grail for Catholics sometimes.

Like them who can´t really say what the Holy Grail is, We, the cyclists, are not really sure what and how the “Holly” Seat is 🙂

This is because the level of confort is not the same for you and me and also using the same seat for long time , We can misunderstand comfort and being accustomed to it.

Something that could happen, for example. is you stopped cycling for a while at winter season (yes, I know, It could be hard, right!?) and next spring you are ready to start riding again but then, something funny happens.

That beautiful and “great” seat you bought last year, and of course it cost a lot because “hey…I need a good seat, and the more expensive, the better”, right?, start to not feel “so good” and the tenderness and soft touch of its shapes and forms are not exactly how you remember it.

May be the Seat is Innocent

Can we blame the seat in this case? Maybe if we start riding again, in a few days everything will get to normal and our butt will feel the “love ” again?

A cyclist that went off the bike for a few months, therefore out of shape…will start, at the beginning, with enthusiasm and giving all his/her power, but over time, the legs will start to get tired, the muscles will burn, they will ask for help, so…sooner or later, your body will let it fall weightily on the seat…

Conclusion: Never bought a new seat, when the issue is, at first, US and not the Seat. If we are not in shape, let´s put our self in shape and then, if it is necessarily, go and get the bicycle seat.

So, once we are in that stage, the worst way to get a seat, is for the advice of others. The seat that might be conformable for hi/her won´t necessarily confortable for you. Every body is different, every way of riding is different, and so on..

The best way for this is get to know how your seat is, what can it offer and to value every benefit the seat can give us.

(NOTE: We are not talking about the professional cyclist and the technical rider, who needs a special treatment here. We are talking about the guy/gal that spend a lot o time on the bike, but he/she not on a competition)

SO…Soft or Hard?

The first impulse a cyclist have when he´s not confortable with his seat, is going for a “softer” seat. Something that, most of the time, is not correct. Everybody knows, for example,  that a softer mattress or a softer pillow is usually a bad decision for trying to get a better night. Well, our bicycle seat is the same. Let´s see why

Your Butt is Unique (Yes, I know you know…)

If we seat straight on a wooden board, we will notice that our sit-bones get all the our weight. They are designed for this and they won´t complain about that, except injuries.

In contrast with this, the “valley” ,that will formed between sit-bones, are not prepared to get your body weight at all. So most of the time, the main reason what you feel uncomfortable with your seat is exactly because this zone is getting most of your body weight and not the sit-bones

So, getting back to our example, let´s come back to seat straight  on the wooden, but put a pillow between you and the board. So, now We´ll have not just our sit-bones on the pillow but also the region between them, which is not the situation we need.

So, now We´ll have less body weight on the zone we need more, and more body weight when we need less. This is the same situation with a bicycle seat.

It´s funny to see people pushing their thumbs to the seat to “feel how soft it is”  with a yeah-this-is-the-stuff-I-need face 🙂

By the way…seat manufacturers know this…so, when they want to sell you a seat, they will put the effort in making it soft…The softer, the easier to sell it.

People that feel or perceive this kind of really soft seat as “more confortable” are those ones that ride for short periods, like 1 or 2 miles. On the other hand, this is the worst kind of seat to long-distance riders

“This is What will Solve all my Problems”

The other element that the seat manufacturers use as a marketing magnet, the “final solution” the “hearing prays” is GEL…which is a kind of hallo for the amateur seat seeker 🙂

But don´t get me wrong using gel (“super soft gel”!!) for stuffing the seat it´s a good thing. What I am saying is that this is not a one-way ticket to the seat heaven. And it won´t guarantee you a confortable ride. Because the main characteristic above the “softness” is the design.

And the last player in the the softer the better world, is the Gel Cover..(yeah…) The thing is if you have a bad seat in the first place, adding a gel cover will give you a…well…a bad seat with a gel cover on it :). You will continue to feel uncomfortable on your seat  because the design will still be there. Oh, by the way, you´ll have the same seat as we commented, only more expensive now.

The Seat Rules

If the seat it´s uncomfortable, change the seat. And after you get a good seat for you, you could start to thing if it´s worth it to add a gel cover or not.

Thank you for reading this, and if you have comments or any new idea to write about, just let me know if the comments!


8 thoughts on “How to Choose a Bicycle Seat – Taking Care of your Pal”

  1. It sounds like you are very knowledgeable of the seat and love riding your bike. You have shared a lot of valuable information for me to get thinking about what my needs are and which choices to make when deciding on my seat for my bike. I do plan on going out for a ride one day soon, I’m sure I’ll be more aware of my seat and how it feels. I hope it won’t be too painful and if it is, I’ll consider your tips to help me choose which seat to get! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Kat, thank you for reading my post! I glad you liked it. And yes, we really enjoy riding the bike. It´s a great freedom feeling :).

      I hope you do that ride! And yes, be aware of the seat, It will make a huge different, specially if you go for a long ride.

      Best Regards

  2. I raced outside to my 3/4 size Avanti bike storage shed, to check my gel seat. Being a ‘middle aged female’ I replaced the hard narrow seat when I purchased the bike several years ago. When I ride it short distances I sit upright, and usually have a dog with me, so we can exercise together. That was good to know that a gel seat is usually suitable for 1-2 miles (2.5 – 5 km in New Zealand measurements).
    When I sat on a wooden board I felt my sit-bones take all my weight. Just like the very clear image you used to show me what happens. This was a great way to help me understand what part of my butt was involved.
    I love the look of the ‘racey Italian seat’ at beginning.

    1. Hi there Honor!
      Thank you for your comment. I love what you say about riding with your dog. It´s a great moment, I know. You and your pet partner going outside it´s a beautiful way to relax and enjoy the ride (well, It would depend on the dog sometimes haha. I remeber my Dobermann Pet going faster thatn anything else haha)

      I am so glad you enjoy thi post and you got value from it. Don´t stop enjoying your bike!

      Best Regards

  3. Thanks for your post. I’ve often wondered about the shape of seats and as you say with that great image, every person is different and obviously whether you are male or female is also relevant. So without buying them, how can you get an idea of what is a good seat, especially if you are going to be traveling some distance?

    1. Hi Luigi! Thank you for stopping by! It´s true what you say. We cannot buy every single seat we find to prove them right? Of course, I recommend, at least “try” it at the shop. You can feel if the seat follows your natural shape behind. And be aware if the “valley” it´s not getting too much pressure.
      The seat could be the different between enjoying or suffering from a long trip.

      Best Regards and thank you

  4. What a nice post you wrote! I really enjoyed reading it and I could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You! For sharing this quality post with others.
    Actually this is exactly the information that I was looking for information about the how to choose a bicycle seat and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details.
    So I’m happy that you decided to write about this topic and share it with people. It’s very useful and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested in this topic.
    I will come back to your website again for sure and I’m looking forward to reading your new posts.)


    1. Hi Ali! Thank you for your comment, and I am glad that you liked it!
      Yes, sometimes we are just tend to do what marketing and friends tell us to choose. But it´s all about you, for choosing a bicycle seat

      Look foward to seeing around. And let me know if you need to know anything else. Great posts are comming!


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