Why your saddle is important

The Saddle is the main supporting point of our body in the bike, nearly of all our weight is support by the saddle which makes contact with our gluteus. It is important to avoid any inconvenience that we may suffer. As for the regular chairs, a saddle which is too soft may create groin grazes. To decide our saddle it is essential to take into account some influential factors such as: our  anatomy, gender, cycling style and our preferences.  The bike saddles are made of three components which are: the rails, the shell, the suspension and the cover. In this article, we will explore the wide world of bike saddle to decide the one best suited for us.

Bike saddle

Parts of the saddle


Some saddle models may incorporate elastic components in the wider part of the saddle in order to absorb the irregularities of the ground that may cause hits in our sitting bones. The suspension is more common in recreational bikes and those made for children. In the case of road or mountain cycling it is a weight no one wants to carry, and is not that commonly used as cyclist tend to be less time sited.


The rails are the structure that goes under your saddle and connect your saddle to your bike structure. In the rails is where most of our body weight will go, however the rails can be either solid or hollow. Usually the cheap rails are made of aluminum, meanwhile the expensive ones are normally made of manganese alloys, carbon-fiber or titanium as they lighter material than the previous one.


The shell is the base of the saddle, as the shell determines the basic shape of the saddle. The shell connects to the rails, on its bottom part. Normally the most expensive bikes shells are the one made of lighter material such as carbon fiber, however cheaper ones are made up of plastic. As the shell is what makes up the form of the saddle, this may vary a lot of between different uses.


Above the shell, we can find the paddle, which can differ between different uses. The density of the foam may differ between areas as they may be thicker in the center and softer on the outer parts, to respond to different weight changes. The padding can be made of a myriad of materials, that goes from carbon fiber to cotton or even gel.


The cover is the outermost layer of your saddle, in the past they were made of leather, however in recent years the new plastics technologies allowed for plastic made covers. The plastic ones tend to be cheaper, however they last less time. Over the cover, some cyclist may put another cover to more comfortable. In that case, we need to select the material best suited for our needs, a cushioning gel will be best if we are looking for comfort. However, cushioning gel losses its expanding properties very fast and compacts in a short period of time.

Different saddles

Different saddles between genders

Although some shells may be unisex, most of either male and women prefer gender-specific saddles. Women saddles are usually wider as women have wider hips and need a bigger supportive area. Additionally, women saddle have more open space int the middle of the saddles, mainly alleviating the pressure on the pubic tone arch.

However, men saddles are narrower as they do not need that much of a supportive area as men’s hips are narrower. In addition, the hole in the middle is often narrower, as the perineal are in men is smaller than the pubic tone arch.

Different saddles between uses

Road cycling

Depending on the use we want for our bike, the saddle may differ. For road cyclist, it is common to use flatter saddles as they allow the cyclist for a higher pelvic rotation (our legs are more vertical), allowing the cyclist a more efficient force transition in each pedal. Also, road saddles tend to less padded to avoid uncomfortable chafing and these cyclists usually do not spend much time seated.

Mountain bike cycling

However, if our goal is to experience mountain bike routes, it is common to choose saddles wider on its back part and rounded. Frequently they are more padded as frequently in mountain bike cyclist tend to be more time sited in contrary to road cycling. In common mountain bike saddles, have to be more comfortable as the ground is more irregular, something we have to compensate with our saddle.

Recreational cycling

As we differ from competitive cycling, our goal changes from performance to comfort also our saddles differ. They tend to be bigger, more padded and rounded, the commonly known as cruiser saddle. Also, they usually have larger springs in order to absorb the ground irregularities, these cruiser saddles tend to be similar to women’s saddles.

Adapt the saddle to your needs

As our hips are narrower or wider, we may need a bigger or smaller saddles, usually the normal pelvis bones tend to of 10 cm for women in the smaller cases and 13 cm in the bigger ones. However, men’s hips sit between 13 cm and 15 cm for men. Although it can be bigger and reach 16 cm, in order to choose the bike saddle we require, we have to measure our hips bones, something we can do in our house with a meter.

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