When Should You Replace Your Bike Saddle?
While you might know more about some of the best bike saddles available, you may not know how often you should replace your seat. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. Seats will wear out more often or less often based on the amount of riding that you do, the type of material that the seat is made from, and the amount of care that you provide the saddle. Naturally, there could be outside factors, such as accidents, that could cause a saddle to need to be replaced.
You can’t use the number of miles that you have ridden as a reliable measurement, even though it seems like it could be a good option. The reason for this is that the quality of the saddle is going to vary when you first get it. A person’s weight and size, along with the saddle’s size and weight can break the saddle down in different increments. Some simply last longer than others.
Therefore, you will want to rely on another method – your own comfort. As you are riding the bike, pay attention to how comfortable you are when you are traveling at different distances. When you feel that the comfort level starts to diminish, it is time to get a new saddle, simple as that.
Why Is Replacement Important?
If you have a poor quality bike saddle, it can cause more problems than you might imagine. For starters, it is not going to be as comfortable, which means you are going to be uncomfortable when you are riding, and you will not want to do it as often. It could also cause injury if the saddle has degraded too much. It could restrict the flow of blood, cause numbness, and other issues. Therefore, you not only want to have a new saddle when your old one has become worn, but you want not be sure that you have the right saddle.
Types of Bike Saddles for Your Type or Riding
As you start to peruse the various bike saddles available, you will find that there are specific saddle types for specific types of riding. Sure, some of the saddles are better suited to certain jobs than others, and some can work well for many types of riding. However, when you are choosing a saddle, it is important that you find one that will work well with the type of riding that you generally do.
Recreational seats are very common, as this is how many people choose to use their bike, or at least one of their bikes. These are seats that would work well for those who tend to sit upright in their seat most of the time, and who may only need to be on the bike for a short time. These can work well for commuters. They tend to have padding and springs, but that it not always the case.
Road saddles are a good option for those who tend to put a lot of miles on their bike regularly. These types of seats will often be longer and narrow, and they will have less padding. They will also be lightweight, which can help to lower the overall weight of the bike.
Mountain saddles can vary in their style, but you will want to find one that is streamlined, and perhaps even one that has a cutout in the middle. This lightens the weight of the bike further, which is nice. These types of saddles could work well for those who participate in cyclocross, too.
Additionally, there are some saddles that may be gender-specific. Women often have wider hips than men, along with smaller bodies, and they could benefit from saddles that are specifically geared for women. Men may want to find saddles that will work well for their anatomy.
Many types of cushioning is in use today, but two of the most popular types are gel and foam. It is also possible to find saddle pads, which you can place over the saddle to provide some added cushioning and comfort. This can work well in a pinch, but since saddle pads are not truly a part of the seat, it often means that they are going to move around too much while riding, and they could end up sliding to an area where they are not doing you any good.
The foam cushioning is popular because it tends to be thick, offering a plush feeling when you are riding. Road riders tend to like foam cushioning due to the support it provides. Those who go on long rides, as well as those who weigh over 200lbs or so may want to choose firm foam, so it doesn’t get compacted as quickly as other materials, including softer foam.
Gel cushioning is also popular, as it has the capacity to mold to the body and it can provide fantastic levels of comfort. This is common with recreational riders that might only be on the bike for an hour or two. After some time riding, the gel will get compacted faster than foam, which is one of the only downsides of gel.
Tips for Making Your Bike Saddle Feel Better
Whether you have a new saddle or you still have your old saddle, you might have discovered that it doesn’t feel comfortable. Sometimes, it is the quality of the saddle. Other times, it could be because you need to make some adjustments.
The angle of the saddle might not be correct, for example. The saddles are typically adjustable thanks to the seat clamp that’s under the saddle. You may want to loosen up the screw, which allows you to tilt the seat forward or backward. Tilting the saddle one way or the other, even slightly, could help to make riding more comfortable for you. It may be in your best interest to try some different angles.
Along the same lines, you will want to consider whether the saddle is too high. If it is, this can end up causing pain and discomfort when you ride and after you get off the bike. Adjust the seat height to see if that helps.
Tips for Shopping
When you are shopping for your bike saddle, you should consider the factors that we mentioned above. What type of riding do you do and how often do you ride? What types of seat have you used in the past? Was it comfortable or not? Consider the brand of the company, as well, to determine whether they have built up a good reputation in the field. Just keep in mind that brand is not everything. Make sure you check out some of the customer reviews, too, as this can give you a better idea of what it will be like to use the saddle, as it is coming from another rider’s perspective.
By now, you should have a much better idea of just what you should be looking for in your bike saddles, and you have a great list of options where you can start your shopping. Take the time to find a bike saddle that will work well for your needs, no matter where or how you ride.