You ride your bike a lot and want to increase your riding comfort? Then you should find out more about bicycle saddles so that you can find the best one for you. Every professional cyclist knows the importance of a good bicycle saddle.
But what are the different types and which model suits you best? In our bicycle saddle test 2021, we show you the best and latest models from the respective categories in detail. We also give you important tips and tricks on how to use bicycle saddles. Whether you are interested in a city bike saddle, road bike saddle, trekking bike saddle, mountain bike saddle or a children's saddle, you will find the best bike saddles on the market here.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Bicycle Saddle: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a bicycle saddle
- 5 Decision: What types of bicycle saddles are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5.1 What distinguishes a city bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 5.2 What distinguishes a road bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 5.3 What distinguishes a trekking bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 5.4 What distinguishes a mountain bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 5.5 What are the characteristics of a children's saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
- 6 Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate bicycle saddles
- 7 Interesting facts about bicycle saddles
- Saddles give the rider the possibility to sit in different positions. They also contribute the most to riding comfort.
- Saddles differ in shape and material. Which saddle is the most suitable depends above all on the area of application. (off-road riding, city riding, racing)
- It is always important to consider the health aspects. Medical problems can occur if there is a misadjustment or if the saddle is not suitable for your body.
The Best Bicycle Saddle: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a bicycle saddle
Which saddle is right for me?
The bicycle saddle allows the rider to sit in different positions. The shape depends on the intended use of the bicycle and the physical characteristics of the rider. Saddles differ in terms of shape and material. The following categories can help you find the right saddle. Often it is the area of application that helps you to find the right one:
- Saddles for short distances and city riding: If they are used incorrectly, health problems can occur.
- Saddles for cycling, triathlon, sports and road cycling: tend to be narrow and made of leather.
- Off-road and downhill saddles: Require greater durability to compensate for unevenness.
- Saddles for children and young people: Same shape as adult saddles, only smaller.
- "Exotics": Saddles with other requirements, e.g. recumbent or unicycle
What medical aspects should be considered?
From a medical point of view, problems with cycling can only occur if the bicycle is incorrectly adjusted. The blame is often placed on incorrect saddles, but this is rarely the cause. Although the saddle is actually the main point of contact between the rider and the bicycle, it is mainly the pelvic area that has a direct influence on the entire musculoskeletal system. In order to use problems and pain in the perineal area, manufacturers have found various solutions:
- Shortening of the saddle nose
- "Hole saddles"
A perforated saddle is a model that has an elongated depression from the saddle nose to the seat surface or even has an elongated hole. However, the effect of this variant is very controversial, as it depends very much on the rider's current sitting position. Often this results in even more pressure than before.
What material is a bicycle saddle made of?
The technology of the bicycle saddle has changed a lot in recent years. In the early years of the bicycle, there were saddles made entirely of wood or even metal. However, these were replaced quite quickly by leather saddles. Since the 1990s, saddles made of plastic have been increasingly used.
In 1986, the Selle Concor was the first saddle of mixed construction (plastic shell with leather cover). Today, plastic saddles with artificial leather cover are common.
Be sure to test it. The widest saddle is not automatically the most comfortable. An ergonomic saddle is based on the distance between the sit bones and is usually available in 3 sizes. This prevents pressure points even on long rides.
What does a bicycle saddle cost?
The prices for a bicycle saddle vary greatly. From five euros upwards to 400 euros, there are countless different types. It mainly depends on the saddle category.
|Mountain bike and road bike saddle||10-400 €|
|Comfort and city saddle||10-200 €|
|Downhill saddle||20-250 €|
|Children's saddle||10-300 €|
|Art bike and unicycle saddle||30-400 €|
|Recumbent saddle||100-300 €|
Decision: What types of bicycle saddles are there and which is the right one for you?
Basically, you can distinguish between five different types of bicycle saddles:
- City bike saddle
- Road bike saddle
- Trekking bike saddle
- Mountain bike saddle
- Children's saddle
Due to the different areas of application, a certain type is best suited for your bicycle. Due to the fact that not every saddle has the same use, there are different advantages and disadvantages in their use.
We would therefore like to introduce you to the different types in the following section and help you find out which bicycle saddle is the right one for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to the above-mentioned types in more detail and clearly show you exactly what their advantages and disadvantages are.
What distinguishes a city bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A city bike saddle is suitable for short distances within a city. You can use this saddle perfectly for shopping or visiting a friend. In most cases, as a cyclist you will adopt an upright sitting posture. This means that your pelvis is not tilted and your sit bones rest on the saddle in the places that are naturally designed for sitting.
In addition, this upright posture puts quite a bit of strain on your spine. Due to the unevenness of the ground, the shocks are insufficiently absorbed in this sitting posture, as your back muscles are not tense and therefore not active. The shocks are therefore transmitted almost undiminished to the spine and intervertebral discs. For this reason, the saddle should be quite wide and relatively soft in order to achieve a large contact area with the sit bones. Normally you will only achieve low speeds with this saddle.
A city bike saddle should first and foremost be comfortable, but also provide enough pressure relief to protect your health. However, if you use this type of saddle, which is intended for short distances, for long distances or off-road riding, the softness that is so pleasant for short distances will cause problems in the back, especially the spine, on longer rides.
What distinguishes a road bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A road bike saddle is suitable for long cycling races. You usually ride long distances at high speeds. The seating position on a road bike is usually strongly bent forward in order to cause as little air resistance as possible. The saddle of a road bike is therefore long and narrow to prevent too much pressure on the perineal area.
You won't find any padding or suspension on a road bike saddle. Suspension would mean additional weight, which you want to do without if you want to reach high speeds. To minimise the weight, the bicycle saddle for road bikes is made of particularly light materials. Saddles for this application group are usually very narrow and often made of core leather.
What distinguishes a trekking bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A trekking bike is designed for longer cycling tours and therefore you will spend a long time on the saddle. The trekking saddle is longer than the city saddle, but not as wide and can be used on the terrain. On a typical trekking bike you sit in a fairly forward bent position. This shifts the pressure from the seat bones in the buttocks to the pubic bone.
The padding of a good trekking saddle is weaker, because a bicycle saddle that is not too soft will give you better support. The harder the saddle, the better the grip on your bike. The advantages of this saddle are on the one hand the good support and on the other hand the distribution of the pressure or the cyclist's weight, because its saddle shell is elastic. This saddle is not suitable for untrained cyclists.
What distinguishes a mountain bike saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
As a mountain biker, you will rarely sit on the saddle, but rather spend time standing or squatting on the pedals. Therefore, a mountain bike saddle, although similar to a road bike saddle, has different requirements as it has to absorb shocks and impacts from the terrain.
You should bear in mind that there is no perfect mountain bike saddle, as each biker sits individually in the saddle. It is therefore advisable to test ride the saddle before buying. You should pay particular attention to the seat bone distance, as the pressure is only distributed on a saddle with the right width. You can have your seat bone distance determined by the dealer before you buy.
What are the characteristics of a children's saddle and what are its advantages and disadvantages?
A children's saddle is significantly smaller than conventional models for adults. Since children are still growing, normal models are often too wide and too long for them. The pubic skids and saddle humps should also be somewhat flatter so as not to restrict the child's freedom of movement.
As children are more sensitive to pressure than adults, the children's saddle should be ergonomic and well padded. Pressure relief is particularly important in childhood. As children grow very quickly, saddles have to be changed relatively often, as a saddle that is too small is harmful to health.
Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate bicycle saddles
In the following text we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate bicycle saddles. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular saddle is suitable for you. In summary, these are:
- Size / Weight / Material
- Extra equipment / Health aspects
In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.
Size / Weight / Material
Size is not necessarily important for the selection. For some buyers, the weight plays a more important role, as it is of course more helpful during assembly if the saddle is not too heavy. The following table is intended to show you measurements and values that you can use as a guide.
|24-30 cm||12-20 cm||200-1000 g|
Most bicycle saddles today are covered with leather or plastic. You can find out about the advantages and disadvantages of these two materials here:
|Plastic||Plastic is particularly light and requires no special care. The material is also easier to shape. Plastic saddles are generally cheaper than leather saddles||a plastic saddle is usually less comfortable than a leather one. Furthermore, their durability is shorter compared to the leather saddle.|
|Leather||The material is breathable and therefore a leather saddle is good in hot weather. In addition, the material is very grippy and thus provides a good grip on the saddle. Leather saddles adapt to your individual shape at the beginning. It is therefore better not to buy used saddles||a leather saddle requires a lot of care to ensure that it lasts a long time. They are also a little more expensive than saddles made of plastic.|
Design is especially important for something as obvious as a bicycle saddle. Every manufacturer aims for a certain design and it depends on your taste which direction you want to go. Design can be divided into two elements:
Do you prefer a classic leather look, are you the colourful biker or the simple and modern type? The shape of the saddle depends mainly on what you use it for. Sports saddles tend to be elongated and narrow. Mountain bike and city bike saddles tend to be wider and oval-shaped.
Extra equipment / health aspects
Extra equipment on saddles are mainly extras that provide more comfort and safety for the rider. One extra feature that most saddles now have is an elongated hole or groove in the centre of the saddle. It serves to relieve pressure and has gradually become a fixed component of a bicycle saddle. Leather saddles usually do not have them.
It is particularly important that the saddle is adapted to the human anatomy and therefore protects our genital area and sit bones from pressure.
Interesting facts about bicycle saddles
How do I take care of my bicycle saddle?
Since you have direct contact with the saddle when cycling, regular cleaning and permanent care is very important, especially for leather saddles. When cleaning a plastic saddle, a clean cloth and lukewarm water with a little washing-up liquid or surface cleaner is sufficient.
When caring for a leather saddle, you have to be a little more careful. During the running-in period you should grease the saddle every 3-6 months with a leather care product from above and below. However, the saddle should only be greased when it is completely dry.
If it is soaked from rain, put your bike in the shade and let the saddle dry thoroughly. After the running-in period, regular maintenance every 6 months is sufficient.
If you want to protect your saddle permanently, get a saddle cover to protect it from rain, snow and UV rays.
Image source: Pixabay.com / Hans