If you are wishing to be able to enjoy your road bike trip, you better get the right road bike saddle to avoid saddle sores or worse, prostrate. Of course, trial and error are inevitable when you are on the journey to find the best road bike saddle for your needs. But with proper knowledge, you can at least get the trial and error phase into the minimum times. Now, let's get started to collect all the information you need to find the best saddle.
What is a Road Bike Saddle?
One of five contact points that determine riders' comfortability during the ride. The other four are two pedals and two handles the handlebars. In the most common form, the saddle is attached to the seat post and the saddle's height is usually adjustable by the seat post telescoping in and out of the seat tube.
A bike saddle usually carries most of a rider's height on the bike, giving riders a better position and helping them to control the bike. That's why it is important to get all of these points right so you can have more efficient bike riding which you can enjoy.
However, there are some misconceptions about saddles that often draw complaints from many riders, like confusing saddles as the seat, thinking that the softer saddle is better for riding, and the wide road bike saddles offer more comfort than narrow ones.
First of all, the seat is not serve the same meaning as saddles. A seat is specially designed to bare your entire body's weight meanwhile a saddle is a part that carries you, but not all your weight on the bike.
Second, soft saddles don't provide enough support for your body. Hence, you might easily become exhausted and feel quite uncomfortable in it for longer rides. Last but not least, a wider saddle doesn't necessarily the most comfortable one—well, at least it depends on the type of riding you are doing.
A narrow saddle might look uncomfortable but you have to note that a wider seat creates chafing and more friction when you are doing lots of or dealing like during a race or when riding on the road. In short, a comfortable bike saddle should be narrower and less obstructive for you who often do rides.
Road Bike Saddle Type
It is undoubtedly that a saddle comes in numerous varieties and styles which are specifically designed to fits different kinds of body types and riding styles. Get to know the three basic types of road bike saddles below:
This type of saddle is designed to prevent chafing and provide full movement. Racing saddles will shift you forward to let you have more weight on your hand and feet than on the seat.
A typical racing saddle is narrower, harder, and lighter. Nowadays, racing saddles had been developed to protect riders' reproductive organs. For example, there are no-nose saddles which suppose to improve the erectile function while soft center saddles are made to relieve pressure from the soft tissues associated with reproduction.
Comfort saddles are designed to allow easy pedaling that is typically wide and have larger amounts of padding, also often designed to absorb some of the shock and vibrations that come from a rough country road. This type of saddle is commonly used for long-distance touring.
Comfort saddles are mostly used for a woman's bike too since it comes with a wider seat tl suit the female rider's anatomy, and a shorter nose with the center relief.
This saddle allows lots of your body weight to be transferred to the seat. Cruise saddles have support on both ends with lots of cushioning. This type of saddle is the best road bike saddle for long rides, very suitable for a riding style that doesn't require you to pedal quickly, just like cruising that doesn't require its rider to be fast pedaling.
Road Bike Saddle Height
Do you know that saddle height, saddle's fore positions, and tilt is important to get you a comfortable and efficient ride? If you don't get these three compositions settled in the right way, it might lead to discomfort during the ride. Then, how to set the saddle height to become a comfortable road bike saddle?
First, you need to determine your bike seat positions by taking a couple of measurements to differentiate which is a good seat position, a better position, and the best position. To make measurements, all you need is a tape measure and your smartphone, pretty simple but will be accurate.
Make sure you document your starting positions before starting so you can immediately go back to your starting point in case the change you have made to your saddle height didn't work well for you. Now look at these steps:
Measure Bike's Saddle Height
To start measuring, prepare your measurement tape, marker, chalk, small pen, or anything you can use to make a mark, then follow these steps:
- Measure the full length of your saddle so you can find its mid-point. To do this, simply drag your measurement tape from the front to the back of your bike's saddle. For example, a saddle has a measurement of 27cm from front to back, then the mid-point should've been 13.5cm;
- Once you get the mid-point, don't forget to use a marker to mark the spot to consistently determine your effective seat height;
- Measure from the mid-point mark you just make. Make sure your measurement is accurate so you can understand the impact that the changes will offer on your comfort;
- After that, use your tape measure and start from the center top of your saddle then measure in a straight line to the center of your bottom bracket;
- Document your measurement and convert it into millimeters (76.4cm becomes 764mm, for example).
Determine Bike's Saddle Fore Positions
Still with the measurement tape, this time you will have your bike placed against the wall, and follow these steps:
- Measure a horizontal line from the wall to the center of the bike's bottom brackets;
- Then, horizontally measure from the same wall to the tip of your saddle;
- Deduct measurement from the wall to the center of the bike's bracket with the measurement of the wall to the tip of the saddle to find the saddle setback.
Note that you have to make sure your bike is placed vertically perpendicular to the floor and horizontally perpendicular to the wall.
Determine Bike's Tilt
If you want to get a consistent measurement, make sure you measure the overall seat tilt by the following steps:
- Place a piece of board over the seat and use an inclinometer or your smartphone to measure the overall seat tilt;
- Make sure to do a double-check to see whether or not your bike is level before you start.
Notes to remember, if you are using your smartphone, make sure to document from the nearest 1/10th degree. By measuring saddle tilt with a clipboard, you will get an overall angle and eliminates any deviators due to saddle contours.
Tips for Finding Comfortable Road Bike Saddle
To find the best bike saddle that offers you comfort, there are a few tips you need to consider, they are:
- Make sure to find a saddle with the right shape. For example, most female riders find it more comfortable to ride on a wider and specific female saddle;
- Consider the type of riding you will do. Look for a long and narrower saddle with minimal padding for road cycling because it ensures the best power transfer while pedaling;
- Decide the type of cushioning you want for your saddle. A performance saddle is more commonly found in a road bike;
- Consider whether you want a cutout in your bike's saddle or not;
- Pick your preferred material for your bike. Do you like your saddle cover made from synthetic, leather, or cotton? Are you looking for saddle materials made from steel, alloy, or carbon?;
- Make sure you get the right bike saddle size as they come different to accommodate various body types. To find a road bike saddle for heavy rider or any rider in general, you have to find a saddle that is wide enough to support your weight but not too wide so you can avoid rubbing and chafing;
- Make sure your saddle is properly adjusted.
Finding the best road bike saddle is essential to prevent pain and ensure you have a longer and more comfortable ride. You will always have to strive to maintain the best biking position in the saddle and adjust it to the proper angle so you can maximize your ride comfort.
Want to look for a new saddle and in need of assistance to find the best one based on your riding type and measurement? You can visit Rodalink and get help from their professional team. Rodalink provides a wide range of bikes, accessories, parts, and apparels you can choose from.
Aside from finding the best saddle, you need to maximize your riding experience, you can also replace the saddle immediately by getting your bike to their one-stop cycling store. If you purchase anything of bike accessories, parts, or apparels with a value over SG$200, you will also be getting the free shipping services. Get all of your biking needs through Rodalink and experience the best services they provide.