Bike Saddle Buying Guide

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Bike Saddle Buying Guide

The summer of 2012 was a glorious one for British cycling, with Brit Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France, while Team GB’s medal tally included a string of honours for bike-based events. Since then, bicycle sales in the UK have gone up by 15%.

If an eBay user is feeling inspired to take to the road on two wheels themselves, they may already appreciate the importance of getting their saddle right. While most people won’t notice a good saddle when they’re riding, they certainly will be all too painfully aware of an uncomfortable perch, whether they’re doing leisurely Sunday rides, commuting by bike to work or biking for hundreds of miles.

If a buyer is looking to take cycling more seriously, they’ll be spending so many hours sitting on their saddle that, the minute it starts feeling uncomfortable, riding stops being fun.

The good news is it’s easier and more affordable to get the right one than many may have realised. In fact, paying more doesn’t always guarantee greater comfort on the saddle. Quality is important - and buying a saddle that suits the cyclist is vital. Online auction shop eBay offer a wide range of bike saddles of all shapes and styles to suit the needs of any budding cyclist.

Equally, another misconception is that a softer saddle will be more comfortable than a firmer one. A softer saddle may not give the cyclist’s body the support it needs, so, especially on longer rides, they will get more tired more quickly.

A further notion that many wrongly believe is that a wider saddle will be more comfortable. In fact, increased width can cause more friction over extended pedalling sessions. One rule of thumb is, the more riding a cyclist does, the thinner their saddle should be.

The cyclist should also bear in mind that few other items of biking kit come down more to personal preference than saddles. The saddle has to suit the cyclist’s body and the sort of cycling they tend to do.

Finally, when the buyer receives their saddle from the eBay seller, they should bear in mind that it will need to be fitted and adjusted properly to get the most out of it.

Shapes and Styles

Saddle style and shape will depend to a large extent on the kind of riding it’s designed for. If a cyclist is really putting in the miles, and travelling at speed, their body is pushed forwards, putting more weight on their hands and feet while lessening the load on the saddle.

Racing Saddles

The lighter racing saddle is thin and long in shape, and has a narrower part at the rear so that the rider can still pedal at speed. These saddles are designed to allow full movement and prevent chafing.

Road racing saddles are slimmer, firmer and more lightweight, while ones for mountain bikes are also thin, but have some padding. Most true racing saddles offer only minimal padding and their tops tend to be quite stiff.

Comfort Saddles

If the cyclist is pushing the pedals at a more leisurely pace, their body tends to shift backwards, so their saddle will need to be shorter and wider at the back, supporting their weight and offering extra padding for greater comfort.

These saddles can be used for touring long distances, and are frequently aimed at absorbing some of the shock and vibrations of rural roads.

Cruiser Saddles

These offer considerable amounts of cushioning with support at both ends. Because handlebars on cruising bikes are upright, a lot of rider’s weight is placed directly on the seat, and, because the rider doesn’t have to turn the pedals as quickly as a racer, they can enjoy the luxury of a nice wide, padded saddle to support their weight and offer maximum comfort.

Cruisers and kids’ bikes also often have banana saddles, which have a long shape and a well-padded shell.

Gender Specific Saddles

Because females tend to have wider hips and ischial (or “perch”) bones, women’s saddles tend to be wider and provide more support, while men’s models are typically longer and narrower.

However, if a man happens to have wide hips, or a woman just prefers a narrower saddle, the usual rules may not apply.

It’s also possible to buy saddles that are narrower in the front but shorter and wider in the rear.

Other Kinds of Saddle

Saddles with a gel-filling are quite common and often slightly wider with a more flexible top. Foam coverings are another popular option, especially with long-distance riders. Gel may feel a bit softer, but both offer value for money.

Cutaway saddles are quite similar to those found on mountain bikes, with material moved from pressure points or holes cut in them.

There are also noseless saddles available, which are split down the middle or centreline recessed.

Parts Making Up a Saddle

A saddle is constructed from a number of different parts, including the shell, cover, rails, suspension and the nose, which is the part at the extreme front.

Shell

This uses moulded plastic, nylon, carbon fibre or maybe leather to give the saddle its shape. While leather has for a long time been viewed as the best option for comfort, since, over time, it moulds itself to the rider’s shape, but other materials may be more affordable and less able to resist whatever the weather throws at them. 

Cover

The majority of saddles have a cover to offer padding over the top of the shell. This could be made from a mix of Lycra and closed-cell foam, or gel, Lycra and fabric, or vinyl or artificial or real leather. It’s also possible to buy additional covers to place over saddles which are not comfortable, but this won’t solve the problem if the cyclist’s saddle isn’t right for them in the first place or the position of the saddle isn’t right for what they need.

Rails

These connect the machine to the saddle, and run along its underside. Typically there are a couple of parallel rails with rear and nose adjustments, made from magnesium, aluminium, titanium or a hollow or solid carbon fibre.

On some newer bikes, the rails form an integral part of the shell, while, if on a BMX, there’ll be pivotal seat posts.

The i-beam is another new kind of rail extending along the whole length of the saddle and with two clamping bolts.

Suspension

Parts of the saddle that affect suspension, including elastomers and springs, are built into some saddles and help absorbs shocks and vibrations. If the eBay buyer is likely to be riding over especially bumpy terrain, this could be important.

Staying Comfortable

There are things that cyclists can do to maximise comfort in the saddle:

  • Wear padded bicycling shorts.
  • Frequent shifting of weight while riding helps to relieve pressure.
  • Stand up from time to time in the pedals - this will also alleviate stress, as well as getting other muscles working.
  • Sitting upright will ease the pressure on hands.
  • When riding over rough ground, lift weight from the saddle a little.
  • If the cyclist’s saddle is too far back and they have to stretch for the pedal, it could ultimately lead to knee pain.
  • Get the height of the saddle right.
  • If the saddle is flat and the cyclist is feeling uncomfortable they should try a slight forward tilt.

A well-positioned, good quality saddle should smooth pedalling motions and make life easier for joints and muscles. But remember it’s an individual choice! The perfect fit for one rider is pure torture for the next cyclist. The buyer should spend time researching the model that’s right for them.

Buying Bike Saddles on eBay

Whether the buyer is looking for off-road or road bike saddles, a new or used saddle, or even a vintage one, they can find what they need on online auction site eBay, which has a vast selection of different models on offer at prices that any buyer would be delighted with. Many vendors are also willing to offer free shipping.

eBay can even help if the buyer has his or her heart is set on a particular colour, like a brown saddle, or a particular material, such as leather, or a specific brand, such as Bontrager. For any further information the buyer can check out the bike seat page as well.

It is possible to find a vast range of cycling accessories to suit all cyclists’ needs, such as:

For tips on shopping using keywords, anyone looking to buy from eBay can go to Search tips page. If the buyer still can’t find exactly what they are looking for they should try eBay Stores.

Conclusion

Few things matter more than what to sit on when it comes to cycling in any form. After all, it’s one of only three points of contact the cyclist’s body has with their bike.

The good news is that, after decades without change, technology has moved forward considerably since the 1990s, and cyclists now have more choice than ever.

Cyclists can search online at eBay now and find the perfect saddle to prevent future discomfort.

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