Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How to find a comfortable bike seat and solving butt pain while biking

We’ve all been there before, your butt hurts, your butt chafes, you butt or legs go numb when you ride your bike. So what can you do when your butt hurts from riding? How do you solve butt pain from too many miles of cycling? I’ve compiled all my thoughts and ideas on this touchy subject in a multi post series. I’ll be posting this week and next week about how to find a comfortable bike seat and solving butt pain while biking.

Saddle Shape

First Off- let’s get specific about your butt pain

Each cycling season, no matter how much I try to prepare, I start the season with a sore bum. There is something about the first few rides of the season that just plain old makes your bum hurt. The only solution I’ve found to this beginning of the season pain is- suffer through it. It typically only lasts a handful of rides and isn’t worth the time or expense of switching bike seats or bike shorts.

Has your pain been an all season type of thing or it’s really preventing you from riding? Then it is time to look for some more comfortable options. See my Solving Butt Pain While Biking Ideas Post for additional ideas, as well as check back in for the rest of this series.

What kind of riding you do affects your bike seat choice

If you are interested in a bike seat that allows you to feel the road while riding, need a slim silhouette for easy mounting for cross, or race frequently you may be looking for a completely different type of bicycle seat than say someone who cruises around town on their single speed. I like the way Terry Cycling breaks their bicycle saddle categories into either: performance, touring or recreation so with a few modifications, I’ll be using these same terms in my series to talk about different types of riders.


You like to feel the road and how your bike is handling it. You need to have a strong anchor on your saddle to sharply turn corners during the crit race. Or maybe you’re a mountain biker that needs a bike seat with a slim fit, so you can lean back on the steep downhills and dismount quickly in a rock garden. Performance saddles are probably the type of seat you’re looking for. These seats are typically light weight and more narrow, with less padding.

Terry Damselfly Saddle

this is the type I am referring to for performance


Fifty miles on your bike sounds like a light day to you. Long club rides, century rides or maybe a multi day tour is when you find yourself in bicycle heaven. You are more interested in cushion and shape than performance saddles.

Terry Touring Saddle


I have to say, this is the hardest category for me to give advice on. At the same time though, I am looking for a lightweight bike that I can make into a single speed for grocery runs and trips to the farmer’s market. What I am trying to say, is I’m in the market for a recreational type saddle that has more comfort than performance, and certainly more looks than anything else. So let’s take this journey together…

Planet Bike Saddle

We’ll continue to build on from here, with information tailored for each of these three categories.

Upcoming butt pain from biking topics:

  • Bike cushion
  • Bike shape
  • Chamois choices

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