How to Pick a Bike Saddle?

how to choose a bike saddle size

Choosing the right bicycle saddle is crucial for comfortable cycling! Proper consideration must be given to your body shape, cycling position, and type of cycling activity.

If you select the wrong saddle, you risk experiencing discomfort, heat, irritation, and even painful throbbing sensations.

Have you ever experienced returning from a bike ride with a sore backside, feeling like you won’t be able to sit for the rest of the day? This can be caused by a poorly chosen or adjusted saddle, which can also lead to injuries that negate the benefits of cycling.

Luckily, you can avoid these inconveniences by selecting equipment that suits your body and personal sensations, enabling you to cycle endlessly without any discomfort.

Whether you’re a recreational cyclist, urban commuter, or avid bike enthusiast, we’ve compiled nine tips to help you choose the perfect bike saddle.

how to choose a bike saddle

Understanding the Importance of Bicycle Saddles for Body Protection

Do you experience discomfort in your buttocks after cycling? It’s important to identify the specific area that’s causing the discomfort:

The sit bones: These two pelvic bones support the body’s weight while sitting. The distance between the bones varies from person to person and between the sexes, typically measuring 118 mm for men and 130 mm for women. This explains why women’s bike saddles usually have a wider seat.
The soft tissues surrounding the sit bones: These tissues serve as cushions for the seat.
The perineum: This area is made up of a group of pelvic floor muscles and plays a vital role in preventing incontinence, particularly in women after childbirth. It may become weakened in men following prostate surgery.

Choosing the Right Bicycle Saddle Based on Your Riding Type

The angles of your body position on a bike vary depending on the type of bike you’re using, whether it’s a city, hybrid, road, or mountain bike. These angles influence the pressure exerted by the body on the bike’s saddle:

For road or racing bikes, the athlete’s position on the bike ranges from 0° to 30° for maximum aerodynamics and power. The handlebars are typically lower than the saddle, resulting in more weight on the handlebars and pedals. Narrow saddles are preferred to avoid friction on the thighs, especially during triathlons or time trials. The entry-level Neatt bicycle saddle range, such as the Neatt Oxygen model, is available for under $25.
For leisure hybrid bikes, your position ranges from 30° to 60°. The handlebars are usually located at the same height as the saddle. Intermediate saddles are ideal for providing natural support, with wider support at the rear to maintain the pelvis and a narrow shape at the front to prevent unwanted pressure.
For city bikes, urban electric bikes, or Dutch bikes, the cyclist’s position ranges from 60° to 90°. The pelvis and soft tissues are particularly exposed, so a very wide saddle is recommended for a comfortable position since the handlebars are positioned higher than the saddle. Some models have a rounded shape and are slightly raised at the back, such as those offered for women by the Italia brand.
best road bike saddle for long rides


With so many different models of bike saddles to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right one. But fear not, there are methods to help you determine the ideal size for your posterior.

The goal is to find a comfortable saddle that won’t cause pain or discomfort during rides, which can ultimately demotivate you.

Many bike shops offer physiological measurements to determine the best saddle width, or you can measure it yourself.

One way to do this is by sitting on corrugated cardboard or memory foam, which can easily mark your pressure points. Sit at a 90-degree angle and increase the pressure of your sitting on the marker. Then, measure the distance between the two marks left by the bones of your pelvis in millimeters.

I personally performed this exercise during a postural study to ensure that my original saddle was the right width for my body type. Choosing the right bike saddle size is crucial to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

bike saddle size chart


Bicycle saddles come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different riders’ needs. Here are some of the most common types of saddles you’ll find:

Rounded: This is a comfortable saddle that’s great for longer rides. It’s shaped to reduce pressure on the perineum, and it’s best suited for riders who sit toward the back of the saddle. One example is the B’Twin Sport Confort 900 Gel.
Flat: This saddle is ideal for long distances or for riders who exert a lot of effort. It allows for frequent position changes and puts more pressure on the perineum. A certain amount of pelvis flexibility is required for this type of saddle, and it’s recommended to wear appropriate shorts.
Semi-rounded: This type of saddle is an intermediate between rounded and flat saddles. It’s suitable for mountain biking or road cycling, making it a versatile option. The Prologo Nago Evo 2 Space saddle is a great example of a semi-rounded saddle.

Many saddles are designed to improve comfort by reducing pressure on the perineum or genitals. Some of these saddles have a channel in the center, such as the Prologo saddle, to limit pressure on the perineum. Others are completely open, such as the SMP Well saddle, eliminating contact with the perineum. For triathlons or time trials, saddles without a nose are recommended, such as the ISM saddle. Some saddles combine the features of a hollow and openwork channel for maximum comfort. It’s important to try different saddles to find the right one for your body type.

Additionally, some riders may require ergonomic saddles for physiological constraints. These saddles are designed without a nose to alleviate pressure on the perineum or genitals. They may also have a removable spout to adjust the length for improved comfort or a central groove for men with prostate problems.

When choosing a bicycle saddle, it’s essential to consider the shape and size that best suits your body type and riding style. Don’t be afraid to try different options to find the perfect fit for you.

most comfortable road bike saddle


Choosing the right bicycle saddle involves considering the materials and composition of the support for a comfortable ride. Here are the different types of materials available:

First of all, the hull coating is important. The sensations differ for each type of material:

Leather: This natural material breathes and becomes more comfortable over time, molding to the shape of the body. Brooks is a renowned manufacturer of quality leather saddles, including the B17S Imperial, which is ideal for female cyclists on long trips.
Plastic: These saddles are typically covered with foam, air-cushioned, or gel-containing assemblies, making them comfortable and flexible with a reasonable price. They are best suited for urban cycling.
Padded nylon: This flexible material is ideal for sports and long-distance rides.
Carbon: This rigid and lightweight material is perfect for absorbing vibrations and is preferred by athletes. Fizik is a popular brand that produces excellent carbon saddles, such as the Aliante Gamma Rails Kium model, which retails for $150 but is sold for $85 at ProBikeShop.

Beneath the saddle, there are rails used for sliding on the carriage. These rails come in four different materials, ranging from heaviest to lightest:

Titanium: This is the most comfortable material for a controlled weight. The Italia SLR Titanium S1 road saddle is an excellent example of a titanium rail saddle.
Steel: This material provides reasonable comfort.
Aluminum: It provides a light finish.
Carbon: This lightweight material is ideal for shock absorption, but requires a special saddle carriage due to its oval shape.

Manufacturers offer several options to improve comfort while riding, including:

Gel saddle cover: This accessory provides additional comfort, particularly for occasional cyclists.
Springs under the saddle: These are useful for upright positions, such as on a city bike, and absorb shocks to save the back. Selle Royal produces an excellent padded unisex saddle with springs.
A suspended bicycle seat post: This component reduces irregularities in the ground, providing stability when carrying loads on the bike in a seated position.

In summary, choosing the right bicycle saddle depends on the materials, composition, and intended use. Consider the options available to improve your comfort and ride experience.

best bike saddle


So, you’ve found the perfect saddle for your bike – now it’s time to install it! Don’t worry, it’s a simple process:

First, connect the saddle to the seat post using the rails, which attach the two parts together.

Next, place the seat post into the bike frame and tighten the clamp to secure it in place.

Adjusting the Height of Your Bicycle Saddle

Once you have chosen the right saddle for your bike, the next step is to adjust the height of the saddle. It is an important adjustment and will depend on the type of cycling you plan to do:

For leisure riding: Yation. Your body should not sway from side to side, which indicates that the saddle is too high.
For regular use: Measure the height of your crotch to the floor while standing. Then, multiply this measurement by 0.885 to get your saddle height.
For mountain biking or touring: You should position the saddle slightly lower to maintain flexibility and balance on rough terrain. Multiply the height of your crotch by 0.883 to get the right saddle height.
For competition: Precise adjustments to the nearest millimeter are essential. Take the time to do a postural study to achieve maximum efficiency.

If you have recurring injuries, such as knee or back pain, consider getting a postural study done by a cycling store to find the best saddle height for you.

bike saddle fitting guide


To ensure your pelvis is aligned with the crankset axis, it’s important to adjust the distance between your saddle and handlebars. The position of the saddle can vary depending on the type of cycling and your personal preferences. Here are some options:

Neutral: This is the standard position for everyday use. To find it, place your foot on the pedal and make sure the crank is parallel to the ground. Then, sit on the saddle and ensure that your knee and the end of the pedal (not the tip of your foot) are in alignment.
Forward: This position is recommended for mountain biking or cycling with regular drops. Moving the saddle forward can increase power. In this position, the measurement should be taken at the level of the knee axis, which is the upper rounded part of the femur.
Backward: This position is ideal for cycle touring or mountain biking when you want to focus on endurance rather than power. To achieve this, the measurement from the knee axis should be plumb with the rear end of the first metatarsal, which is the area where the heel takes shape.
bike saddle size calculator


To optimize your performance, it’s crucial to evaluate the angle of your bicycle saddle. The angle can be adjusted depending on the type of sport and performance you’re aiming for. Here are the different angles:

Neutral: This is when the saddle is horizontal. This position is suitable for long-distance rides on flat or uneven terrain.
Raised beak: This is when the saddle is tilted 2-3 notches backward. Cyclists seeking speed prefer this position because it offers stability when they are in a more aerodynamic position, as in time trials or triathlons.
Lowered nose: This is ideal for cycle touring to avoid pressure on the perineum. Lowering the nose of the saddle by 2-3 notches returns the pelvis to the rear part of the saddle.

Choosing the right bike saddle and adjusting its angle is crucial for a comfortable and injury-free ride. It’s essential to take your time in selecting technical and advanced equipment and to give equal importance to the saddle’s settings. A properly adjusted saddle will provide a perfect balance, enhance your performance, and prevent any discomfort or injury.

Hi, I’m Jason Tie

I have been passionate about electric scooters and bicycles since they came on the market, but I really took to skateboarding when I was young.

I started with the skateboard at 7 years old when my dad taught me how to ride. Since then, I have mostly owned freestyle skates and longboards- even if they were difficult for some people in our town.

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