The Bicycle Seat Gets A Bum Rap
The bicycle seat seems like such an innocuous little thing but it get blamed for all sort of maladies such as "saddle sores," rashes, yeast infections and even sterility. Many people assume that if they buy a top of the line bike that the bicycle seat will be equally cutting edge. The fact of the matter is that everyone's gluteus maximus is shaped differently and those seats are not a one size fits all.
It makes sense that each bicycle seat serves a special purpose because each person has individual needs when it comes to chafing, distribution of weight, size of hips and more. It is the hip size, pelvic area and weight that precipitated special seats just for women just as some cater to only men. In addition, the type of bike - mountain, racing, BMX - that also dictate to a certain point the type of bicycle seat you will need.
Basic Categories Of Seats For Bikes
The racing bicycle seat is narrowly contoured and lightweight because the stress of your weight is more along the handlebars rather than the seat. The mountain bike seat is narrow but has padding to cushion impact of the terrain and makes allowances for aggressive riding such as your body sliding back and forth to stay one with the terrain.
The gel bicycle seat is a favorite of many amateur and pleasure bikers because of its soft, shock absorbing material which molds to the contours of your rear end. The gel seat is a bit wider than mountain or racing bike seats and often has gel bumps which align with some of the bones in your bum to avoid numbness and groin irritation.
If you are an aggressive biker who likes the racing seat design but wishes for more give and take in your seat, the suspension bicycle seat it a great choice. There are little suspension mechanisms under the seat to provide the give and take you need on those off-road adventures. The wide cushioned seat is perfect for the casual rider whose handlebars is higher than the seat and would like some wide support for comfort.
Other bicycle seats to contemplate are cutaway seats, all leather seats and then an unusual alternative line of seats that just have to be seen to be believed! The problem with a bicycle seat is that you really should sit on it to test it out before you buy it. This means that you should spend some time in your favorite sporting goods store sitting on different bikes with different types of seats.
Bicycle Seat Positioning
Positioning the seat is a little easier than trying to pick out the right one that best suits your body type. There are two basic positions to worry about - the horizontal position and the angular position. Comfort should be the bottom line and overrule what others say you should and should not do.
Set your horizontal position of your bicycle seat so that during the pedaling motion, when you foot is at the bottom, your knee should be right above the axle of the pedal. The angular position is typically level but if you feel that there is undue stress on some of the bones, try angling the seat up or down to find your comfort zone.