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Part 1; Are you sitting comfortably?

If the answer is "yes, the stock saddle I use is very comfortable " then for you this post is finished. If you feel you need more comfort read on.

The saddle is the most important one of the three contact points, as most of your weight is supported by it. " What is the most comfortable saddle?"  I hear you ask. That differs greatly from person to person.

The choice of saddles available is phenomenal, from razor blade perches with fins ( Essax Shark ) for correct alignment to saddles that resemble a lawn rake ( Manta ) or covered in bumps ( SDG Storm ) for traction. Some use foam for cushioning, others gel or just tensioned leather.

 

A saddle that is too narrow means the sit bones are not supported and this leads to great discomfort. A saddle too wide can chafe on the top of the thigh. This isn't often noticeable over short distances.

The best suggestion for the ultimate comfort is visiting an independent bike shop that sells Specialized or Trek equipment. Both companies utilise a special padded bench which measures the sit bone width. This determines which saddle is most suitable. They can also advise on which shape ( flat from nose to tail or raised at the rear ) is better for the type of riding undertaken.

The fitting doesn't end there.

Saddle height is important, if it's too high the rider has to rock from side to side to reach the pedals. This in turn can cause chafing and undue strain around the knee. If it's too low the leg muscles can't work properly and this leads to cramp during the ride.

Saddle tilt is a very personal preference. Some people prefer the nose of the saddle pointing slightly up by 2 or 3 degrees, while others are happy with the level nose to tail position.

With the saddle slid forward the reach to the bars is reduced and makes for a more upright riding position. Slid back opens up the cockpit area, feeling less cramped and better for longer distances.

Moving around on the saddle over the space of the journey or standing up occasionally helps the flow of blood to numb areas.

Chamois cream and gel padded cycling shorts take it a step further but the saddle is a great place to start.

There are plenty of saddle manufacturers out there but not all offer different options for size and shape. With the rise in ebike sales more people are returning to cycling and hopefully will encourage these producers to expand on their range and capture a new corner of the market.

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