The Best Saddle for Mountain Biking: 6 Steps to the Perfect Seat

by Lauren Costantini, Sacred Rides Boulder

 

Finding the right saddle can be a frustrating and torturous endeavor. Saddle problems can lead to pain and discomfort in other areas of your body, often caused by areas of high pressure due to incorrect saddle choice or position.

Indeed, the title of this blog is somewhat deceiving: there really is no ‘best saddle’ for mountain biking that everyone can agree on. However, we will walk you thought the steps of choosing a saddle that will become ‘YOUR best saddle’ for mountain biking!

1 – GIVE A SADDLE SOME TIME…AT LEAST A WEEK.

If you are just starting out riding for the first time, or it’s been a while since you’ve sat on a saddle, I guarantee you will have some discomfort ‘down there’ regardless of the saddle. That pain is simply due to the fact that you’re sitting in a position you’re not used to. Go for a few rides on consecutive (or every-other) days. It will be painful when you sit on that saddle on Day 2 and Day 3, but by Day 4 your body should be getting used to it and the general pain will subside. If there is still pain by Day 5, this may be more about the saddle.

 

2 – SADDLE WIDTH…MEASURE YOUR SITS BONES.

Many saddles come in various widths, which have an enormous impact on comfort, pedaling efficiency, and power output. Your sit bones define your saddle width. To measure, sit on a piece of paper on a carpeted floor. Your sits bones will leave an indentation on paper. Use a measuring tape to measure the space between the indentations in millimeters. Saddle width is approximately sit-bone width + 20mm more. Or you can get a professional saddle fitting…yes, this is a thing! Saddle pressure mapping is the latest in bicycle fit technology.  Saddle pressure mapping not only helps pinpoint which saddle may be best for you, but also helps to uncover and diagnose bike fit challenges such as leg length discrepancy, hip rotation and mobility, weak and/or asymmetric stabilizing muscles, and poor posture.  This device is not just a saddle fitting tool but also a bicycle fitting tool that provides more detail and insight into your riding position.

 

3 – SADDLE LENGTH…WHAT KIND OF RIDING DO YOU DO?

Saddle length has less to do with your body size and more to do with your style of riding: mtb-ers slide up to the tip of the saddle nose on steep climbs to keep the front wheel down, hover between front and back of the saddle when maneuvering through rocky terrain, and lean back on the saddle while manualling down the street in a wheelie. In general, mountain bike saddles are shorter than road saddles since there is much more fore and aft movement by the rider when mountain biking vs road riding.  Gravity, enduro, and trail saddles are v-shaped, with rounded edges and a shorter nose to make it easy to move around on the saddle without hooking the rider’s shorts.

Complete article here

 

About Lauren Costantini:

As a former Pro mountain bike and cyclocross racer, I’m thrilled to share my knowledge and love of the Majestic Rocky Mountains and incredible trails around Boulder, Colorado! I love riding 2 wheels of any style: cross country, downhill, all-mountain, fat biking, touring, or commuting to the coffee shop.

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