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Basic Guide to Buying a Saddle

Finding the right saddle is one of the trickiest things to get right for cyclists. Most experienced cyclists have tried several different saddles searching for the right one. Here are some things that make finding the needle in the haystack a little easier.

Bone Support

Sitbones on a Bicycle Saddle The shape of the saddle is critical in finding a comfortable saddle. Look for a saddle that will carry your weight comfortably by evenly supporting your "sit bones," which are the portions of bone that you feel when you sit on a firm surface. As your bar height changes the angle of your back and pelvis change significantly. Just like a too-soft mattress, a saddle with too much padding will be hard to find a good spot. On these over-padded saddles, you will find yourself shifting around usually resulting in pressure on the soft tissues.

Bar Height

Bar height compared to your saddle height is a factor to help narrow down your selection. As your bar height changes the angle of your back and pelvis change significantly. If your bars are level or below your saddle look for a saddle with a longer nose and slightly narrower rear. If your bars are higher than your saddle look for a saddle with a slightly shorter nose and a wider rear. Many riders have different saddle preferences on their road and mountain bikes.

Presence or absence of a Cut-out

Bicycle Saddle Cutout Cut-outs are a personal preference. Some riders can only ride a saddle with a cut-out, while others find them less comfortable than a standard saddle. If you prefer a level saddle and are having problems with soft-tissue pressure a cut out may be a good thing. If your saddle discomfort comes from chafing or pressure points a cut-out saddle will do little to change things.

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