Question: How do you keep your bike seat from hurting your butt so much? Answer: Keep riding. You might not like the answer, but it’s the truth. Another truth is that a good bike seat is not supposed to be soft. This might seem like a lot of bad news but take heart. If you keep reading, you’ll learn what it takes to pick the best bike seat, and why soft seats aren’t necessarily a good thing.
Why isn’t a bike seat soft? A firm bike seat or saddle provides better support than a softer one. Bike seats aren’t designed for lounging as you would while binge-watching TV shows. You need to have a full range of movement while riding, and a proper bike seat should let you do that.
One of the biggest mistakes new bike riders make is to use a soft, mushy seat or saddle that squishes like a pancake when you sit on it. Be assured that a soft saddle is not in your best interest. A firm saddle is better for you for many reasons.
Why You Want a Firm—Not Soft—Bike Seat (Saddle)
First, let’s talk about seats versus saddles. Seats are for resting whereas saddles are for moving. A seat is supposed to support your butt and thighs when you are at rest. You straddle a saddle so that your legs have the full range of motion, like when you’re on a horse or a bicycle. What all this means is that bikes don’t have seats; they have saddles.
The saddle needs to accommodate your perineum, which is the space between your genitals and anus. The perineum is the part of your anatomy that your saddle supports, but it has to leave enough room for movement as you power your bike through a sprint or climb. The saddle can’t be too soft; otherwise, you’ll lose that much-needed support.
A firm saddle prevents pelvic numbness, which happens when the nerves and blood vessels in the perineum get compressed. As counterintuitive as this might seem, a soft, squishy saddle is more likely to give you “numb bum” than a firm saddle. Numbness can occur on all types of saddles, but inadequate perennial support is a common culprit.
With a firm saddle, you’ll experience less pain in the long run. Not only do firm saddles provide the proper support for the perennial area, but they also cause less chafing than big saddles because they don’t interfere as much with pedaling. Also, soft saddles flatten and compress, putting more pressure on your groin and other soft tissues.
Firm saddles provide better pelvic support, especially after long hours on the bike. If you ride aggressively or climb hills, … Read More