Cycling is a fun habit because it’s an excellent way to burn fat and relieve stress. But have you ever felt pain in your sit bones after a bike ride? So, why are bike seats so uncomfortable? Why are bike seats so hard?
There are many reasons for this problem, such as:
- Choosing the Wrong Seat Size
- Adjusting or Fitting Your Seat Improperly
- Getting the Incorrect Bike Size
- Positioning the Handlebar Incorrectly
- Wearing incorrect clothes
By clearly identifying these causes, you will have some good ideas for reducing soreness.
Is a Saddle the Same as a Seat
Nowadays, many cyclists still call what they sit in a seat. However, the bike seat is actually a saddle for professionals in the cycling world. This is not just the semantics matter, as there are essential differences between a bike saddle and a bike seat.
Honestly, we looked closely and couldn’t find the difference. Hence, we had to get help from an expert to find the correct answer.
The key difference between the saddle and the seat is that the bike seat should carry your entire weight while the saddle does not.
So, where should the rest of your weight go if your saddle only carries some of the bodyweight?
The short answer is the pedals. Your weight and the force of your lower limb should be on your pedals. When you add more force, you will ride faster.
Why Are the Bike Seat So Small and Hard
When you get a bike for the first time, you might wonder, “why are bike seats so small?” But what’s interesting is that skinny and small saddles are the most suitable in most instances.
In fact, there have been many efforts to change the design of the bike seat. However, the bike seat remains unchanged to this day.
So, why is a harder and narrower seat most comfortable? Why is it not feasible to utilize a wide and padded model?
The reason is that bike seats are not designed to carry your total weight. Instead, they are only intended to hold your sit bones, and their shape allows the thighs to move freely when cycling, so you assume a proper form.
There have been many attempts to create a bike seat inspired by a soft sofa for you to relax while reading books. But, unfortunately, that softness will make your ride a horrible trip.
Sit bones are the critical point of contact between cyclists and the saddle. It is true to say that sit bones keep them in the correct position while cycling.
These bones usually don’t move too much when you’re cycling. But, the rest of the butt or other parts can get overheated and irritated as they rub too much against the saddle.
Those softer areas tend to be more active, resulting in aches. So, it is wise to sit ON your seat instead of sitting IN your seat. That is why you should choose harder seats.
However, you wouldn’t want to get models that only support the sit bones. Instead, the pressure should be distributed appropriately. This is impossible for a wider seat because it has more surface area, causing discomfort from constant rubbing.
On the other hand, the nose in front of saddles is narrow for a good reason. Wider noses often don’t give your thighs enough space, causing your thighs to rub against the front of your bike seat when cycling.
This is the same as a hard floor and a soft mat. The soft gym mat may attract you at first sight. However, choosing the level and firm floor is wise if you want to do an exercise, such as the plank.
How Can You Make the Bike Seat More Comfortable
Now, you have received the answer to, “Why are bike seats so hard?” It’s time to find the answer to, “Why does my bike seat hurt me?”
1. Choosing the Wrong Seat Size
There is not a size that fits every cyclist. Like our faces, each individual has unique features. That’s why trusting in other personal opinions can lead you to make the wrong choice.
So, you may have to try some different saddle types until you find the model that works best for you. To do this, get fitted for a bike seat at the local bike dealer or shop.
2. Adjusting or Fitting Your Seat Improperly
For your first rides, you will most likely not be able to maintain good posture during the ride. The reason is that beginners often cannot carry most of their weight on their legs. So, they typically sit further into their seat instead, leading to an uncomfortable bike seat.
Bike seat uncomfortable is a common feeling for many beginners during the first few trips, as your body needs time to adapt to cycling. However, once your body has adapted to riding, the soreness and discomfort should disappear.
However, if this adjusted sore persists after a few trips, it is likely that you have a wrong bike seat or have not adjusted and fitted it correctly.
In this case, you should try to make some adjustments. You can also get help from a pro cyclist to adjust your seat if you are inexperienced.
Learn more about adjusting the bike seat here to obtain a quick outcome.
3. Getting the Incorrect Bike Size
While the bike seat can often be the cause, it is not always the cause. Even with the most suitable seat, a bicycle that is too small or too large can significantly affect your comfort.
4. Positioning the Handlebar Incorrectly
This can be the cause of soreness while cycling. Specifically, if you feel that you lean back or forward too much, you likely have an improper handlebar position.
This includes the handlebars being too high or too low, resulting in a longer/shorter reach than needed.
Getting the proper handlebar position for yourself can provide you with a remarkable turnaround.
5. Wearing Incorrect Clothes
There is no denying that your clothing affects your cycling.
Loose shorts will cause your skin to rub against the saddle, causing your skin to crack. In this instance, the problem is not your saddle but how you dress for riding.
So, if you’re wearing loose clothing, it is wise to consider cycling jerseys and shorts. They are designed to give you the highest comfort level during your ride.
How Can You Make My Bike Seat More Comfortable
First of all, you need to measure sit bone distance.
Most bike shops are equipped with measurement devices to find the best saddle width for you. It isn’t based on your size or weight. Instead, it’s based on your sit bones.
Once you know your riding style and the sit bone measurements, you should try new seats while on your bicycle. Make sure the saddle size fits your butt, and your sitting bones carry the bodyweight instead of soft tissues.
Remember that the bodyweight will not be distributed well if you have a too skinny and narrow saddle. On the other hand, a too wide saddle will cause soreness.
Choosing a suitable material is also a great way to avoid facing an uncomfortable bicycle seat.
Saddles are usually made from synthetic materials – low-maintenance and lightweight materials. What’s more, these seats don’t require break-in time, making them popular in the cycling world.
If you want a perfect alternative to synthetic materials, consider leather, which gives you a great fit and excellent comfort. However, it usually doesn’t last long.
Cotton is perfect for bike saddles, although they are not as popular as synthetic materials. It can stretch a bit, providing you with good control during the ride.
Besides the material, you should consider the saddle pad. It is an excellent add-on to the bike. However, remember it is not recommended for fast and long rides. Instead, it is a good choice for casual and recreational bikers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does the Wrong Type of Bike Seat Affect the Driving Experience?
Sure! Remember that MTB seats are not the same in design as road cycling seats or any other. So, if you utilize the wrong bike seat, it is likely to be uncomfortable.
2. Does Bike Seat Pain Go Away?
It is usual for your bottom to feel sore, especially after the first few bike rides. Bike seat pain will disappear when your body has adapted to this habit.
3. How Do I Sit Comfortably On My Bike Seat?
You need to adjust your seat to the right height for you. Plus, equipping suitable cycling gear can make you more comfortable.
By now, you should know the answer to, “Why are bicycle seats so uncomfortable?”
At the end of the day, your goal should be to pick a bike seat that suits your riding style, fits your bones, and flatters your figure. In most instances, this means visiting a local bike shop to try out different seats while on your bicycle.
Remember that what makes a common seat cozy isn’t suitable for cycling.
Have a good trip!