The Right Saddle for the Cyclist

Despite the prevalence of cars and motorcycles, bicycles are a favorite vehicle of any commuter, athlete, or casual rider around the globe. In fact, there are about one billion bicycles in the world, double the number of cars. Plenty of Americans are riding bicycles, too: ever since 2005, many American states reported a 46% increase in the number of commuters riding to and from work on bicycles. In fact, in 2015, the bicycle industry sold $6.2 billion in products for riders of all types. This is a physically demanding way of travel, so all the right equipment needs to be in place, most of all the seats. Leather bicycle saddles, in particular, are a strong option.

Types of Bike Saddles

Different bicycles are designed for different work: casual, off-road, races, and commuting. The riders vary too, from children to heavy adults, men and women, athletes and casual riders. The bike seat of any ride has to match as well, for comfort, health, and ease of use. There are many options.

According to Road, bicycle saddles can often be split into two main types: narrow and wide. More intense riders, such as athletes in a race, will have a different posture than casual riders, a posture that puts less weight on the saddle itself. For this reason, a narrower bike seat is used. By contrast, a more leisurely ride involves sitting upright and placing more weight on the vehicle, so a wider bike saddle is installed. Whatever the type, a bike saddle will be shaped for the rider’s sit bones rather than the actual width of their lower body, so that must be kept in mind.

The material also reflects the rider’s needs. Racing bikes, the ones with narrow bicycle saddles, have thinner padding, since the rider leans forward and puts minimal weight on the saddle. The opposite is true for leisure riders: a leather bicycle saddle is a must, and this thick, comfortable padding is essential for placing the rider’s full weight on the saddle. Leather bicycle saddles are made from durable material, allowing them to be used much longer than synthetic foam-padded ones. Leather bicycle saddles may need some proofing and breaking in, however, and will not react well to rainwater.

The support framework is another factor to consider. For casual riders using leather bicycle saddles, heavier metals for the support frame is recommended, since carbon saddle rails, being lightweight, can’t easily absorb impacts and bumps while riding. More intense riders can make use of the lightweight carbon rails, since the most comfortable bike seat takes second place to athletic performance.

No matter what type of saddle is purchased, it is advisable to have the bike’s saddle professionally fit to prevent bad posture or stress on the user’s body while riding. The saddle must not be too far forward or backwards, and the user should not have to continuously wriggle to find a good position while riding.

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