Friday, 14 May 2010
How to Purchase and Install a Cycling Saddle Correctly on a Bicycle
I used to think that if you bought the right size bike - that was it! I did not have to consider anything else. I even thought that I could take it straight out of the shop and go on a 20, 30 or 50 mile ride and I wondered why I suffered many pains. I learnt that you need to be able to buy the right saddle and also be able to fit the saddle on the bike correctly. This will give you the best chance of avoiding problems with body pains etc. So the first thing is to purchase the correct saddle. You need to choose the correct saddle with the style of riding that you are likely to do.
For example, if you are a bit of a "racer" and speed is the important thing then the style of saddle that may be more appropriate would be a thin narrow type. This would allow greater movement for your legs. Your body position would be leaning forward so that your weight is more supported by your arms. You may have a more "casual" style of riding and not interested so much in how fast you want to go. You may want a more relaxed ride (my sort of style). In this case a wider saddle with supporting padding would be appropriate with a body position that is more akin to the sitting up position.
In the case of Football or Rugby you need to buy the correct studded boot depending on whether you were playing Football (soccer) or Rugby. In the same way it is important to buy the right saddle for the style of riding you plan to adopt. In addition to this make sure that you buy a saddle you can sit on (as silly as it sounds). A lot of saddles can be "implements of torture". Therefore find one that is simply "nice to site on". Another simple point to note is to make sure you buy the right saddle for your gender. Men and Women have differing requirements of support due to their differing private lower areas. Enough said about this I think!
The second thing that is important is how the saddle is fitted and adjusted on the bike. So for saddle fitting, the first thing is to make sure the saddle is straight by considering the following points
1. Make sure the saddle is straight with the handlebars
2. Make sure the saddle is parallel to the road.
3. The saddle should not be tilted up or down. Some people angle the saddle down believing this will be a more comfortable ride. In my experience this is not true. You end up sliding down the saddle toward the front of the bike.
The second point for correctly fitting the saddle is ensuring the saddle height is correct. The correct height will help to provide the maximum optimum pedal power. So how do we get the correct saddle height? To get the correct saddle height sit on the saddle with one leg hanging free and your hips square to the bike and keep this in the upright position. Adjust the saddle height so that your other foot can touch the pedal with your leg fully extended when the pedal is at the most southerly point. This will give you the best saddle height and will prevent side to side rocking straining your back whilst you are riding.
In summary 2 main elements for the best ride is to ensure you have purchased the correct saddle and to ensure this saddle is correctly fitted. This will ensure you get the most comfort and enjoyment from your ride and give you many days of happy cycling.
I enjoy cycling and also writing cycling blogs which I fully populate with videos and articles on a daily basis.
Please see my cycling blog here