A comfortable seat can make the difference between an enjoyable bike ride and one that leaves you limping by the end. But comfort does not necessarily just come from buying the most expensive or trendy bike seat. It's also dependent on choosing the right seat for you, and on adjusting that seat properly. Here are four bike seat comfort tips to keep your bottom happy.
1. If you're female, but a female-specific seat.
Obviously, the male and female anatomies are quite different "down there," and as such, they require different styles of bikes seats. The standard bike seats you're used to seeing are actually male bike seats. Female-specific seats have a cut-out removed from the middle to reduce pressure. If you're female, you will be a lot more comfortable riding on one of these.
2. Check the tilt.
Many people ride with their bike seats tilted either backwards or forwards without even realizing it. If you're tilted forwards, you'll be putting a ton of pressure on your arms, which will make them tired. If you're tilted backwards, there will be too much pressure on your crotch. The seat should sit exactly level. If it does not, you can use an Allen wrench to loosen the bolts on either side, adjust it, and then tighten the bolts again.
3. Check the height.
Most people actually ride with their bike seats too low, which results in excess pressure on the back area of their backside since they're sitting in a more upright position. Adjust your seat so that you can just touch the ground with both feet when sitting. If you can touch the ground flat-footed on both sides, your seat is too low. If you can only touch with one side at a time, your seat is too high.
4. Add a thin cover.
If you're riding for more than an hour, you may want to add an extra pad to your bike seat. Choose one made from a thin material, such as a shock-absorbing gel. Stay away from the fat, foam or fleece covers. These take up too much space and change the fit of the seat too much. They may also become warm, leading to chafing.
Riding you bike should not be painful. With the tips above, your backside and body should stay comfortable even if you decide to spend all afternoon out on the roads, peddling away. If you're looking for comfortable bike seats for your future riding adventures, call your local recreational sports store.