A road bike saddle not only provides you with seating space but it is important that it deliver on functionality, performance as well as comfort. While on the road, comfort is important especially when you are planning on riding over longer distances. The aspect of comfort is relevant to several factors. In this, different people will define different traits when looking for the ideal road bike saddle. The following guide will highlight how to choose a road bike saddle to meet your needs, wants, and preferences.
You do not like your current road bike saddle? Is your current saddle worn out or are you looking for something better? This article will definitely guide you through choosing a saddle for a road bike.
Road Type of Riding
Are you looking to cycle or race on the road? We recommend that you look for a performance saddle that is long, narrow, with minimal padding. This will help maximize on power transfer while at the same time minimize on chafing.
Are you new to road biking? We recommend that you start with a softer saddle that will boost on comfort as your body adjusts to cycling road terrains.
Are you looking to buy a new saddle?
We agree that every bike comes with a saddle. However, different people have different requirements and it can be difficult for one bike saddle to meet everyone’s satisfaction. It is easier to change a saddle if your concern is its weight or material used. This is because you can find the same saddle shape with different features so it is easy change saddles within the same family.
It becomes a challenge if the concern is comfort. This is because you need to start by understanding what makes it uncomfortable to help prevent purchasing several seats only to purchase one after another saddle. Possible reasons why people seek to replace a road bike saddle.
- It may be too wide or too narrow for you
- It may be too hard thus uncomfortable
- The quality or material may not be what you want
- The padding may have outlived its life
Once you can identify what your key problem is with your current saddle, then you can start your search for a new road bike saddle.
What should you look for in a road bike saddle?
There is a difference between the different types of road bike seat. Choosing a saddle for a road bike should first embrace your needs, wants, and preferences. To help guide you through choosing the best road bike saddle to meet your needs, the following are factors to consider when searching in the market.
- Saddle Cover material
- Grooves or cut-outs
- Padding/ cushioning
Every road bike saddle has a cover. The difference is in the material of the cover used. The more modern release saddles feature a synthetic material. You can also find leather covers though they come at a higher cost. Check on the cover’s durability by ensuring that that the seams as well as the reinforcing panels do not chafe. You will be required to treat leather covers against weather changes and moisture to help prolong its life.
Advantages of synthetic covers-
- They have easy maintenance
- synthetic bike covers are light in weight thus reducing on the bulk
- synthetic covers are relatively affordable as compared to leather covers
- They are waterproof
Advantages of leather covers-
- They are very comfortable
- They are durable to serve you longer as compared to synthetic covers
- A leather saddle cover remains cool even over long distances as they do not come with synthetic padding
Health is important and in an effort to reduce pressure as well as heat while cycling you should find a saddle with groove or a hole located at the center. It helps protect your sensitive veins and nerves. This is important especially for long distance cycling. This is both functional and protective.
Different riders have different anatomies. The possible pressure relieving designs include perineal cut-outs or saddles with small indentation. The choice is ideally decided upon by the individual’s preference.
Go for shells that are made from nylon material with carbon reinforcement when working on a budget. However, if you are not holding back financially, go for the all-carbon shells, which will serve you in the long-term.
Padding is important for not only comfort but it also aims at distributing pressure across the saddle surface. However, the two major cushioning materials have a different reaction when under some weight pressure.
Gel cushioning will mould to your body structure in an effort to deliver on comfort. However, this is recommended for beginners in road biking as they will not use it on a regular and it will therefore; take more time to get compacted.
Foam cushioning is highly recommended as one of the best bike saddle for long rides because it boosts durability as well as comfort. To meet this objective, it will spring back to shape after use thus leaving it looking as good as new in the long-term. Professional road riders embrace foam because it features greater support structures.
We recommend that when choosing foam cushioning, you should go for firmer foam for heavier persons to prevent quick compacting.
» Other considerations
Choosing the right material helps boost durability as well as comfort. You will need to look into other considerations to create a balance overall.
⇒ Test ride the saddle
Nothing beats sampling when it comes to looking for a saddle that should deliver on comfort and performance. Several stores will allow you to test on your preferred saddles before settling for the ultimate road bike saddle.
⇒ Check on the rails
The rails are 2 bars that serve the purpose of attaching the saddle to the seat post. They are made of different material. When choosing a saddle for a road bike, we recommend titanium rails due to their strength, flexibility, as well as durability. This not only boosts comfort but also a smooth ride.
The market offers several brands and models of road bike saddles. Keeping in mind that road cyclists take on different terrains, it is important that you do not compromise on quality even when you are working on a budget.
The above guideline points out how to choose a road bike saddle so you meet your ideal needs, wants, as well as preferences.