Whether you're a serious cyclist or you like to take your bike for a spin around your neighborhood in the summertime, there's no doubt that riding a bicycle is good for your health. Not only is it a fun workout, but studies have shown that when people cycled 20 miles per week, their risk of coronary heart disease decreased by 50%.
Although everyone can benefit from riding a bike, your equipment needs will differ depending on riding frequency, as well as your own physical features. Choosing your bike seat is one of the best ways to ensure comfort during a ride. But not all bicycle saddles are created equal; some are better suited for different situations. For instance, the bike seat you find most comfortable for recreational use might be the worst seat for a friend who likes to ride for long distances. If you're trying to find the most comfortable bike seats for your needs, it's best to consider your preferred type of riding first.
People who ride intermittently or for fun don't need the same type of support as those who cycle for long periods of time. If you mostly ride your bike for short distances, you'll probably want a saddle with a good amount of cushioning. Since casual riders tend to sit more upright and put most of their weight on the seat itself, you'll want to look for saddles that are more wide-set with a good amount of padding or gel cushioning. A shorter nose is usually preferred, but this depends on your personal anatomy, too.
The most comfortable bike seats for road racing or long-distance road rides are typically more narrow and have less padding. That's because you won't be putting much pressure on your sit bones during these rides. If you're a road riding newbie, you may want a softer saddle. Leather bike seats may be a good option for road riders, as they don't contain weighty padding and will stay cooler on long rides.
If you regularly bike on mountain trails, you'll be prone to changing positions quite a bit. Sometimes, you'll need to stand up on your pedals; other times, you'll have to hover off your saddle or crouch down low. Because of the position variance, you'll benefit from a saddle with padding for your sit bones. You'll also want to make sure that your seat is durable and non-bulky to help you move more efficiently.
Most long-distance riders find that performance or leather bike seats are the way to go. You'll probably need a narrow-nosed saddle that has good cushioning for your sit bones. You may find that saddles with perineum cutouts are the most comfortable bike seats for your purposes.
A note on gender-specific seats: In many cases, female cyclists have wider hips and ischial bones than men. This means that many women find that a shorter, wider saddle is most comfortable for them. However, some women will actually prefer to use a men's saddle (which is longer and narrower), especially for racing. Conversely, some men may find that women's saddles are better for their physicality. It's important that you find the most comfortable bike seats for your measurements, regardless of gender specificity.
If you need help finding the right bike saddle for you, Selle Anatomica can help. With designs made for any type of use, we'll ensure your saddle will provide comfort, longevity, and efficiency. For more information, get in touch with us today.