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Accessories & Gadgets

Why Are Bike Seats So Uncomfortable & What to Do About It?

Why Are Bike Seats So Uncomfortable
Written by Joshua Fernand
Last Update: December 14, 2023

There are three main reasons why so many bike enthusiasts find their seats uncomfortable.

First of all, most bikes come with run-off-the-mill saddles that are often low-quality and require you to replace them with a better one.

Then there comes the fact that different people have different bone structures. Since those seats are usually slim, they go between your bones and put stress on the soft tissues.

Your seating position also matters. You should not put too much weight on the seat because aside from being discomforting, it will also affect the balance and stability of the bike.

Let’s get to know more about what makes bike seats uncomfortable and what you can do to make your biking experience a pleasant one.

Why Are Bike Seats So Uncomfortable?

Here are some situations when you may find your saddle hurting you and what you can do about it.

  • When the Bike Dimensions are Incorrect

When the bike is too big, you need to lean forward to ride it. An unnatural sitting position makes your saddle uncomfortable.

On the contrary, a smaller bike will make you tilt backward and you will feel discomfort in the seat area.

When your feet excessively touch the front wheel while making turns, the bike might be too small for you. If the height, width, or position angle of the seat is not right, you may find it unbearable too.

  • When Your Bone Structure Does Not Suit the Seat

While riding, you use two bones of your lower pelvis. Together they are called sitting bones., and their anatomical name is ischial tuberosity.

The width of the bike saddle must be more than the width of the sitting bones. If not, you will be continuously hurting your bones.

When Your Bone Structure Does Not Suit the Seat

A lot of bike shops now use devices to measure the sit-bone structure width. Remember that this measurement has nothing to do with your age or weight.

  • If the Seat Does not Favor Your Riding Style

Depending on the type of your ride, you need to choose different saddles. Seats for recreational cycling are generally wider and have extra padding.

You should not use them in mountain biking, which needs saddles with streamlined bodies.

On the other hand, road cycling requires you to use a long and narrow seat with minimal padding. It helps with better power transfer when you pedal.

If you often enjoy long-distance bike touring, you will need a seat wider than mountain bikes but slimmer than road bikes.

  • When There is Too Much Friction

Your inner thighs can rub against the edge of the saddle and cause pain if your sitting posture or seat alignment isn’t right.

It eventually causes irritation and chafing on the skin, often referred to as saddle sore.

How to Make Bike Seats Comfortable?

How to Make Bike Seats Comfortable

You don’t want a bad experience on your bike just because of the bad seat. Check to see which of the following solutions can help you out.

  • Choose the Right Seat

Depending on your riding type, sitting bone width, and body dimensions, you need to use different saddles. There are special bike saddles for girls too.

You can choose between a performance saddle, which has a little cushion, and an extra-cushioned seat to help save you from road bumps.

  • Adjust the Height

Riding your bike can be troublesome if the height of the seat is not favorable for you. You can adjust the seat yourself according to your body height.

Here is how to do it:

  • Use Chamois Cream

If the reason for your discomfort is saddle sore that originated from friction with the edge of the seat, you should try Chamois Cream.

This antibacterial cream helps reduce the friction between the cloth and skin and prevent chafing.

  • Take it Slow

Biking is meant to be fun. If you are feeling discomfort one way or another, you should take your time to find out the reason. Your body may need some time to prepare your muscles for the type of ride you prefer.

Don’t pedal too hard for too long. Take a break if your body asks for it. If you are a beginner or biking after a long break, ride slow for the first few minutes.

When to Change Your Bike Seat?

You have to change the seat if it breaks or cannot be aligned properly.

This may happen in many situations. For instance, you may crash your bike somehow and the seat may lose its right alignment. Or, the shell of the seat may break.

Since saddles won’t break the bank, you can easily get a new one if you’re not happy with it.

Sometimes, it is hard to tell if the shell is broken. If in doubt, feel the shell for any cracks by pushing down the cushion part.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you know why are bike seats so uncomfortable, it’s time to find the reason and fix it for an enjoyable ride ahead.

Happy biking!!


Q. Why are indoor cycling seats so uncomfortable?

Ans. Indoor cycling seats can be uncomfortable if you do not pass on the weight of your lower part to the pedal. Besides, you will be able to burn more calories if you put more pressure on the paddle.

Q. Is it normal for a bike seat to hurt?

Ans. The special design of a bike seat ensures proper contact between your body and the bicycle. A beginner biker can feel some pain while biking until he gets used to it. Sometimes, a new bike seat can hurt a seasoned biker too. But not for a long time.

No, it is not normal for a bike seat to hurt. If you ride it with the right posture and approach it will not hurt at all. Unless there is any particular reason for that.

Q. How long does It take to get used to bike seat pain?

Ans. It depends on your physical fitness and the frequency of your riding. A biker with an athletic body will cope with the bike seat pain early. Again, if a biker tries harder and bikes longer, he will get used to the seat more easily.

About the author

Joshua Fernand

I’m a 38-year-old father of two and an avid adventurer with a history of road bike racing in the mountains. I’m also a member of the Mountain Top Cycling Club, Colorado. I took part in several cross country rides across the states with my cruiser bike.

Tell you what, each tour was over a thousand miles long and it wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t studied bike mechanics. Most of the fixes required during my travel had to be fixed by myself. Cruiser became my favorite category since then.

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