The best bike saddle should be wide enough to support your sit bones, which can help prevent pain and discomfort. However, can a bike saddle be too wide and make you feel uncomfortable?
A bike saddle can be too wide and become a torture device to the rider if it’s obstructing your pelvic area. If a bike saddle is too broad, then it will dig into the inner thighs and cause discomfort.
Again, if the cyclist has an anterior pelvic tilt and tissue falls into the crease of their groin when sitting on a narrow saddle, they’ll find increased relief by doing so with a wider saddle.
In addition, women who have been through childbirth may want to change saddles if their pelvic tilt has been altered from pregnancy and labor.
Are you in a hurry? Here are some of the best bike saddles you can go for that are available on Amazon.
3 Best Bike Saddles Available On Amazon
- Bikeroo Bicycle Saddle – Best unisex bike saddle for long-distance cycling
- Schwinn Comfort Bike Seat – Best for men
- Gincleey Comfort Bike Seat - Best for women
What Happens If Bike Saddle Is Too Wide?
A bike saddle that is too wide will cause chafing since the thighs will continuously be rubbing on the sides of the seat. Eventually, this will reduce a rider’s efficiency.
The wide bike saddle will interfere with the freedom of movement and may cause undue pressure on other parts of your body, such as your pelvic area. The width of your bike saddle and design must precisely fit your body.
As a result, the riders’ legs often become stiff, their hips and lower back feeling sore at the end of a ride, and discomfort created by overreaching to the sides.
Although most beginners think that a wider bike saddle is more comfortable, it will actually bring about more discomfort.
Notably, the soft tissue on the thighs and groin can quickly become irritated as they rub against the seat’s sides.
How Wide Should My Bike Saddle Be?
The ideal size of a bike saddle greatly depends on a rider’s sit bone’s width. The sit bone width is the distance between the two protruding bony points on a person’s bottom.
On average, the sit bone spacing for men ranges between 100mm to 140mm, while sit bone width for women ranges between 110mm and 150mm.
So how wide should your bike saddle be?
Most experts suggest that you need to add about 20mm to your sit bone width to get the ideal bike saddle size. In that case the average width forewoman is 135mm / 5.3inch, for men 150mm / 6inch.
All the same, this doesn’t mean there is a size that fits all. The way you sit on a saddle is different from one person to another because everyone has a unique skeletal structure and musculature.
Therefore, the best way to get the best saddle is by trying them out.
Are Wider Bike Saddles More Comfortable?
A wider saddle can indeed provide more comfort to the rider, which is especially helpful for people with wider sit bones.
Also, a wider saddle gives greater support for sitting bones, minimizing the risk of pain during long rides. However, that comfort comes with less efficiency.
Technically, a wider saddle may reduce the amount of power applied through the pedals.
All the same, if you’re riding only short routes where you don’t need to worry about increased efficiency, a wider saddle may be preferable for you.
How To Tell If Your Bike Saddle Is Too Wide
If a bicycle saddle is too wide, it generally interferes with the rider’s leg movement. As a result, a rider may get chaffed. At the same time, you may feel your legs get numb and pain under the sit bones. Saddle width is vital as it is one part of the bicycle that determines your riding position.
Also, if you feel like your sit bones are being pushed apart or slide to the front part of the saddle, it is most likely that it is too wide for you.
You can adjust everything from aero bars, handlebars, and even headsets, but if you have a wide saddle, it’s going to be a problem for sure.
Getting the right saddle width is not an easy task as it involves some trial and error. You can’t just skim through a list of saddle measurements and pick one that fits your bicycle. You can follow the general guidelines by the industry professionals, but it is always best to measure your sit bones yourself.
It is necessary to consider numerous parameters such as body weight, height, riding style (aggressive or easy), average distance covered per ride when choosing the ideal saddle.
What Is The Most Comfortable Bike Saddle?
Choosing the most comfortable bike saddle is a personal thing since everyone’s anatomy is different.
One common piece of advice about selecting a bicycle saddle is to take your measurements (inseam, sit bones) to the bike shop and let them recommend a good model.
Many cyclists prefer leather saddles because they are more comfortable than synthetic materials like mesh or carbon seats.
Some cyclists believe that professional riders prefer leather saddles because they are lighter than those made of other materials.
But is this true? And which type of saddle would be the best choice for a long-distance cycling tour?
Schwinn Comfort Bike Seat happens to be one of the most comfortable saddles for long-distance cycling. The seat features high-density foam padding that is durable and wear-resistant.
At the same time, there are gender-specific bike saddles. Technically, men and women have different pelvis shapes and contact points on the saddle.
Men’s Bike Saddles
Men’s saddles are usually long, narrow, and contoured to cradle the male anatomy. Men typically prefer bike saddles with a narrow nose since it allows more freedom of movement while cycling.
One of the best men-specific saddles is the Bikeroo Bicycle Saddle. The bike seat fits on different bikes, including a stationary exercise bike.
Best Women’s Bike Saddle
Generally, women’s sit bones are wider than men. Therefore, the most comfortable bike seat for women needs to be a bit wider at the back.
Women’s saddles are usually short and wide and don’t have a long nose. Also, the center is typically hollow to avoid placing pressure on the soft tissues.
One of the best bike saddles for women is the Gincleey Comfort Bike Seat which has a universal fit and is comfortable for long rides.
Why Do My Sit Bones Hurt When Cycling?
The leading cause of pain in this area is pressure through a part of your anatomy that it shouldn’t, namely the perineal region or perineum.
Riding a bicycle places forces through the pelvis, unlike walking or running. This means that there are possibilities for new types of aches and pains and the existing ones worsening.
There are several reasons why your sit bones hurt when cycling, and it is crucial to understand the exact cause of your pain so as to fix it and ensure long-term comfort on the bike.
If you do not have good riding form, the right bike, or you are not sitting on your saddle correctly, you will likely experience pain and discomfort when cycling.
How Do You Determine Saddle Size?
Getting the right saddle width is not an easy task as it involves some trial and error. You can’t just skim through a list of saddle measurements and pick one that fits your bicycle.
You should follow some general guidelines as per industry professionals, but it is always best to measure your sit bones yourself.
Many cyclists are surprised to know that the distance between their sit bones is different from what they expected. The best way to determine your sit bone width is by using a photocopy of your behind and a ruler.
Well, it’s not a photocopy but an imprint.
You will need some foil paper and carpeted stairs to place the piece of paper on.
Then, sit on the paper with your feet flat on the floor.
Your backside will leave two circular imprints on the paper.
Therefore, you need to find the centers of the two imprints. Notably, tracing out the edges would make getting the midpoint easier for you.
Once you get the two midpoints, measure the distance between them in millimeters, and that’s your sit bone width.
As we had mentioned earlier, it is advisable to add about 20mm on your sit bone to get your ideal bike saddle.
On the other hand, you could visit your nearest bicycle shop and have them help you measure your sit bone width.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where Should Sit Bones Be On Saddle?
A bike saddle should fit comfortably like a shoe. Therefore, sit bones should lie flat on the saddle at the point of contact.
All the same, the sit bones will assume different positions on the saddle depending on the riding style.
2. How Much Wider Should Saddle Be Than Sit Bones?
A bike saddle should be about 20mm (10mm on each side) wider than the rider’s sit bone width. Actually, professionals advise that once you measure your sit bones width, you need to add 20mm to get the best fitting bike saddle.
3. Why Are Bike Saddles So Narrow?
Not all bike saddles are so narrow. The seats come in different shapes and sizes for different riding styles.
All the same, the road bike seats are quite narrow because the faster you ride, the more your weight shifts to the pedals and the handlebars. Also, they have minimal resistance to leg movement when pedaling.
4. How Long Does It Take To Get Used To Sitting On A Bike?
It may take a few weeks for a beginner to get used to sitting on a bike. Therefore, it is advisable to build your sitting endurance gradually.
For example, you can start by taking less than an hour of riding each day and slowly increasing the duration.
5. Why Does My Inner Thigh Hurt After Riding A Bike?
Pain in the inner thigh after riding could be a result of frictions and heat. If you don’t wear cycling shorts, your clothes may cause irritations, chaffing, or even sores around the upper inner thighs.
Using the correct gear and the right saddle will significantly reduce the pain you feel in your inner thighs after riding.
Final Word- Can A Bike Saddle Be Too Wide?
When choosing a bike saddle, you want to ensure that it is the correct width for your sit bones. Actually, a bike saddle must fit the rider without causing any undue pain.
If you are experiencing chafing or pain from your current bicycle seat, then there may be an issue with the width of the seat and you need to get a new one.