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Common Issues with Bicycle Saddles

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Common Issues with Bicycle Saddles

As cyclists, we have all experienced discomfort from bicycle saddles when we started out to ride. Be it post ride soreness, or even feeling uncomfortable while riding. Many of us have dismissed it saying that it is common, and we will ‘get over it’. Sometimes, the discomfort does go away, but often it can pinpoint to something that needs to be changed. Here are common issues with bicycle saddles, what they are and how you can rectify them.

‘Soft Tissue’ area discomfort:

General saddle discomfort, especially in the soft tissue area, is common when one starts riding and is usually attributed to a hard seat with a solid center. In the long run, if unaddressed, this can lead to pain or numbness in the genital area. To combat ‘soft tissue’ area discomfort, the most common solution is changing to a saddle with a cut-out, which helps reduce the pressure in these areas. Additionally, adjusting the saddle a tiny bit off-center can help reduce soft tissue pain and provide better support.

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Lower back discomfort:

Another commonly occurring issue with bicycle saddles is lower back discomfort. This is mainly caused by posteriorly rotating one’s pelvis away from a bad saddle. The discomfort happens because of having a “round” spine and compression of the front of the intervertebral discs. Additionally, a saddle that is too high can cause one’s hips to rock side to side when pedaling, leading to lower back pain or discomfort.

Front Saddle discomfort:

Pain or discomfort in the area towards the front of one’s saddle is another common issue with bicycle saddles. This primarily occurs due to an upward tilted saddle. This can be overcome by adjusting the tilt on the saddle and tilting it downwards by a bit. Additionally, discomfort could also be caused by the nose of the saddle and to combat this one might need to change their saddle to one that is shorter or one with a downward hook. Finally, if discomfort is caused by thigh chafing, a narrower saddle can help overcome this as the current saddle is likely too wide.

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Rear Saddle discomfort:

One of the most common issues with bicycle saddles often attributed to lack of experience and the quality of bicycling shorts is rear saddle discomfort. While not wearing cycling shorts or wearing poor quality cycling shorts, especially on long rides, can cause discomfort in the rear saddle area - typically ones sit bones and backside, this discomfort can be also attributed to saddles that are too narrow and don’t support the bone structure of the pelvis properly. A way to combat this would be to get a wider saddle that comfortably accommodates one’s sit bones.

Saddle sores:

Every cyclist’s worst nightmare, that could potentially keep them off the saddle for a while- Saddle Sores! Saddle sores could be caused due to excessive friction while pedaling, which is attributed to a saddle that is too wide. To combat this, one should change to a narrower saddle that prevents extra contact and friction while pedaling. Another cause for saddle sores is excessive pressure on the bone structure and can be caused by a saddle that is too hard or too flat. To combat this, one could invest in a gel-based comfort saddle or a leather saddle. Alternatively, a pair of high quality cycling shorts can help with preventing saddle sores caused by excessive pressure on the bone structure while sitting.

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It is no doubt that saddle related issues can be a huge pain in the …

While some discomfort is sure to exist when one goes on their first ride, it is not common for the discomfort to be long lasting, and hence one should address saddle-related discomforts as soon as possible. An uncomfortable saddle experience can cause a cyclist to stay off the road for a while, and why would anybody want to miss out on their time on the saddle when they can do things to combat it?


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