Outdoor Self Reliance is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Why are Bike Seats so Uncomfortable?

Have you ever ridden your mountain bike or any other type of bike for a while and started to feel that your bike seat is so uncomfortable? After the ride, you have a funny walk for a few minutes, or your backside is sore. So why are bike seats so uncomfortable?

More often than not, bike seats are uncomfortable because the seat is too high, the clothing you’re wearing, and not being used to biking, especially for beginners. Here’s why bike seats are so uncomfortable.

Why are Bike Seats so Uncomfortable?

You’re a Beginner and Don’t Ride Enough

If you’ve not been riding regularly or are a beginner, you are likely to experience some levels of soreness and discomfort from being in the saddle. However, getting used to the saddle will only take a few weeks of regular cycling. If you ride at least once a week or rarely, getting used to the bike seat may take time.

All Your Weight on the Bike Seat

A bike seat cannot support your entire body weight. Instead, it’s designed to support your sit bones. However, most riders don’t spread their weight well over the handlebar, so the weight shifts onto the seat, making it quite uncomfortable.

Fortunately, you can rectify this by adopting the right sitting posture and adjusting the seat.

Improper Handlebar Positioning

The right position of the handlebars can cause great discomfort from the seat. If you adjust the height of your handlebar and its position, you won’t have to lean too far forward or too far back.

Too Much Padding

Although most cyclists think more padding equals comfort, this is not always the case. If your bike seat is too soft because of too much cushioning, your sit bones will lack adequate support. Instead, your bones will sink into the hard metal part of the seat, and your butt will start to hurt. This is like placing an extra soft pillow on a hard floor and sitting on it. This will be quite uncomfortable. So, invest in a seat or seat cover that has thin padding.

Clothing

You should always wear biking clothes every time you hit the road. The skin-tight wicking shorts with an ergonomic pad will offer protection from soreness from your bike seat.

Why Are Bike Seats So Small and Hard?

While looking for the best bike for your riding style, you will realize that the bike saddles are small, skinny, and hard. But why don’t we have well-cushioned and comfortable bike seats?

Bike saddles are designed to support your sit bones. If the bike seat is cushioned, it will sink and not offer sufficient support to help you paddle effectively. The skinny design with a curved shape and a narrow front gives you enough leg space and ensures minimal friction in between.

A pointed bike saddle with the right angle guarantees extra support while climbing inclines. The hard surface distributes your body weight evenly so that no part will get bruised or numb after the ride.

Do Seat Covers Make a Difference?

The seat covers have a great impact on comfort, and one of the main options is leather or synthetic. Leather seats are durable and mold to your body and are a favorite choice for most riders.

Although leather seats are hard when new, after the breaking-in period, they are softer and have some comfort that’s not seen in synthetic seats. However, leather seats demand extra care and maintenance compared to synthetic seats.

Do Cushioned Seats Make a Difference

The bike seat’s cushioning is added support and comfort to the seat cover in the form of either foam or gel. Although foam cushioning is good, its weight distribution may be uneven.

On the other hand, gel cushioning has uniform weight distribution and can be molded according to the body shape for maximum support. Foam cushioning may get hot and cause friction, unlike gel. However, if the gel is exposed to high pressure, it can deform and get uneven sections. These uneven sections can cause discomfort, so most cyclists go for foam cushioning.

If you’re looking for extra comfort, you can add a saddle pad to save the sit bones and perineum area from shocks and jerks on rough terrains. Although too much cushioning may feel comfortable, it should not sink your sit bones but offer good posture and support.

What about Cushioned Bike Shorts?

Why are Bike Seats so Uncomfortable?

The right clothing is also important in bike riding. Ensure you wear tight-fitting shorts with an ergonomic design and some padding on the crotch area to reduce friction and shock effects in the form of groin area pain and rashes.

These shorts are usually made of Lycra, an elastic polyurethane fiber. These padded shorts are well-known for their comfortable design and saving from extra chaffing.

Related:

Conclusion

Now you don’t have to worry about your uncomfortable bike seat. Just establish the reason behind the discomfort and look for a way to overcome it. Use these tips to make your cycling career memorable.