Choosing the right bicycle saddle can make a huge difference to your overall comfort while cycling. When your saddle fits like a glove, you can happily ride for hours on end. On the other hand, if it's not quite right, chafing can occur and you'll end your ride with aches and pains.
There are three factors that will influence your saddle search; your form, your preferred riding position and the type of terrain you plan to ride on. There are thousands of men's, women's and children's saddles to choose from which means you'll be able to find the one that's right for your needs.
Bicycle saddles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with different levels of padding for your comfort. You'll also have a choice between hardwearing and softer materials; choose from leather, synthetics, carbon and gel. Leading brands include WTB, RockBros, Selle San Marco, Sportourer, Madison and XLC.
As the name would suggest, comfort saddles are built for maximum comfort. They're one of the most popular styles on the market and enable you to spread your weight and pressure.
Comfort saddles feature a high level of gel padding and are designed for long distance rides where you're likely to be in the saddle for several hours. While they can be used for any terrain, they can be especially beneficial when riding on bumpy or uneven surfaces. You'll find slightly different shapes for men, women and unisex comfort saddles.
Racing saddles are designed with aerodynamics in mind and are typically thinner and lighter than other types of saddle. This type of saddle is designed for full movement and fast speeds.
You'll find that racing saddles are a lot harder than mountain bike and comfort saddles as they feature less padding. The shape of a racing saddle requires you to sit in a forward position so that more of your weight is spread between the handlebars and saddle.