Searching for the right saddle doesn’t have to be a pain in the butt. If you’re looking to do a saddle swap to get comfy, you can narrow your options by sticking to the do’s—and avoiding the don’ts.
DO: Expect some aching at first. Give a new saddle at least two or three average rides—whether that’s a century or a trip to the coffee shop. You might feel some discomfort, particularly around your sit bones, as your body adapts to sitting on the new saddle.
DON’T: Accept pain. Pinching, nerve pain, or any loss of circulation is definite sign to try a new saddle.
DO: Consider your riding position. The more upright your position (say, on a cruiser or commuter bike), the wider your saddle will need to be to support your weight. Aggressive, stretched out riding positions generally require narrower saddles—wider saddles get in the way.
DON’T: Automatically blame the saddle if you’re uncomfortable. Have your fit and position checked at the local shop. If your bike isn’t adjusted properly, your body might not be supported like it should be—and that can put more pressure on the wrong parts of your saddle area. Dialing in your fit can relieve that pressure.
DO: Be open-minded. The best choice isn’t about how the saddle looks. It’s about how it feels. Don’t be afraid of unconventional shapes, thick gel pads.
DON’T: Automatically go for the latest trend. It’s about what works for you, not everyone else.
DO: Talk to a knowledgeable bike shop. Buying saddles sight-unseen is a bit of a crapshoot. Explain your current situation to a knowledgeable tech at your local shop, and have them show options that they think might work for you. Then ask if you can try them.
DON’T: Automatically listen to your buddy. He or she means well—you know they do—but just because their saddle fits them perfectly doesn’t mean it will work for you.