The topic of ergonomic bicycle seats is an interesting one as there still seems to be some debate out there as to whether or not these kinds of seats actually work. I think that anybody who has ever tried to ride a bicycle at some stage has probably experienced some kind of discomfort ‘down below’. (And that’s for both male and female)
Traditional bike saddles are just uncomfortable – period. You can try something like chamois cream to help with friction or specific bike shorts with padding, but at the end of the day, squashing your parts onto something hard for periods of time is probably never going to be ideal!
This particular page (original contents at bottom of this page) was created many years ago and I think the topic was only lightly covered at the time due to lack of product availability and also probably lack of personal knowledge by Michael Bluejay who wrote the article as he preferred to ride recumbents.
I actually have some knowledge of these types of seats as I did plenty of research when doing my own investigations a few years ago.
At the time, I was competing in triathlons and I decided during the winter that year to get an indoor bike trainer and started to spend 45 minutes to an hour doing some easy spinning every other day or so, just to stay in some kind of bike shape. However, maybe due to the fact that the bike was not moving or replicating a bike on the actual road and not simulating natural road type movement, I was starting to get real discomfort after every ride.
I tried different saddles with cutouts in the middle – pointing the saddle up slightly, moving backwards on the rails, etc, but nothing seemed to work – until I found the Nextride.
The Nextride Noseless Saddle is like a bench and is designed to support the sit bones. It has a clever rocking motion that slightly moves the saddle from side to side, so that on the downstroke and when your leg is extended you will find that the seat moves with you and that continues the motion as you continue to pedal. (Karl Ulrich who designed it calls it a pivoting bench)
The other thing I like about it is that is pretty discreet and does not look too unusual due to its relatively small size. I know the function is more important than how it looks, but I liked the fact that it does not shout ‘hey look at my funny bike saddle’ like some of the other variants out there.
When I purchased mine, it was the saddle by itself and it was designed to fit most seat posts. However, they have now improved the design and you can purchase it with the seat post included for a more optimum fit and easier installation.
This seat is probably best suited to the casual rider, although it works for both mountain and road bikes. Apparently, 85% of Nextride’s customers are men, although it works just as well for women.
I can highly recommend the Next Ride saddle and definitely think it’s a great product and hopefully solves an issue that many people seem to have. Amazon has it here if you want to check the price and read the reviews.
Regular bike seats damage your privates by putting stress on them. The best solution is a recliner bike, like that shown at right. Your webmaster has ridden a recliner for years and swears by it. It’s like riding a lounge chair with wheels. I’ve done a couple of decent-sized bike tours and had no soreness at all, even though I did no training beforehand.
If you don’t want to get a whole new bike, you can get an ergonomic bike seat. These seats consist of two separate pads to make sure you’re sitting on your butt and nothing else. Here’ are three that I found. I haven’t tried any of these yet so I can’t comment on them.
Note that legendary bike expert Sheldon Brown doesn’t approve of these new-fangled seats. His reasons are:
- The lack of a nose sacrifices side-to-side control.
- The pads must be angled downward, which tends to make the rider slide forward. This is liable to lead to hand/wrist/neck problems as the rider braces on the handlebar to keep from sliding forward off the seat.
- If the pads are not angled downward, they tend to cut off circulation to the thighs and to interfere with the thigh muscles.
I’m skeptical of these criticisms. Placing too much stress on the hands and neck could be a problem if you keep your handlebars too low like many Americans, but I’m guessing that if the handlebars are at a reasonable height (i.e., so you can sit up instead of bending over) then it should be fine.
- Bike Fit – adjusting your bicycle for a comfortable ride