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Does sitting on a bike for a long time hurt your butt?

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Does sitting on a bike for a long time hurt your butt?

Old 10-20-16, 04:50 PM
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TheChosenOne
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Does sitting on a bike for a long time hurt your butt?

It's been decades since I rode a bike and I remember getting wedgies and my butt hurting a lot when riding a bike for 30+ minutes. I might've had terrible seats or it could just be the way it is when riding a bike.
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Old 10-20-16, 05:22 PM
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30 minutes is a short time. If you find riding painful, you may have any of the following:

Wrong saddle - I happen to find Turbo saddles to be very comfortable, but others have compared them to instruments of torture.
Wrong saddle position or angle
Wrong saddle height


Or maybe your butt just needs a bit of hardening. Keep riding and other things will start to hurt so you'll forget about your butt.

Have a bike shop look at you and your bike together. They should be able to give some good advice.

There is a term applied to bike saddles - "A$$ Hatchet" - for a good reason.
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Old 10-20-16, 05:22 PM
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Your butt may hurt after your first ride in decades, but..... please explain the wedgies?? WTH were you wearing back then??
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Old 10-20-16, 05:32 PM
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Ahh, saddlebutt!! Yeah, I got a bad case when I picked back up my cycling regimen in March after being off the saddle for the better part of 20 years. It takes a few weeks to condition your bottom side to the saddle again. Take it easy, don't go too long each session, and if it hurts, shorten the ride until you feel the conditioning kicking in.

Wedgies?? Oh yeah, "back in the day" the chamois in bike shorts actually was real leather chamois! That stuff got hard and would work its way up the, uh, um, you know and would give a wedgie until it softened up from sweat. That's what I remember but that was a long time ago.
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Old 10-20-16, 06:03 PM
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You will probably experience pain at first ... but after several days of riding you should be all right.

If you find you are still experiencing a lot of pain after several days, you need to start considering other factors.

First, is your bicycle set up correctly for you? Is the saddle in the right position? Is it flat (most saddles work best flat, Brooks work better with the nose tilted up slightly)? Is the saddle the right height?

Second, do you have the right saddle? You want one just wide enough for your sitbones.

Third, have you considered padded cycling shorts. You want some with padding, but not too much padding.

Fourth, your posture ... you should not be putting all your weight on the saddle. Much of your weight should be on your feet and what weight you are putting on the saddle should be on your sitbones.


And fitness helps. The fitter you are and the stronger your core, the more comfortable you'll be on the bicycle.



As mentioned, 30 minutes is not a long ride. If everything is set up right and you're riding with good posture, you should be able to ride for hours. I do randonnees (really long distance rides) and can ride for whole days with no issues at all.
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Old 10-20-16, 06:08 PM
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As mentioned, once you get the right saddle in the right position, it's just a matter of developing calluses on your butt. A few rides, you'll get used to it.
I did a 3 hour non stop gravel ride last weekend, after 2 1/2 hours I was a bit sore but then again, I usually dont ride more than one to two hours every other day.
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Old 10-20-16, 06:46 PM
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Sitting on my posterior in the car for a "long time", hurts my butt. So does sitting in my office chair, also sitting most any place for a time. However I can sit on my bike saddle for 2-3 hours with less discomfort than on other seats ?
Takes a while to evolve body and bike to a great fit, don't over do at first.
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Old 10-20-16, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
Sitting on my posterior in the car for a "long time", hurts my butt. So does sitting in my office chair, also sitting most any place for a time. However I can sit on my bike saddle for 2-3 hours with less discomfort than on other seats ?
Takes a while to evolve body and bike to a great fit, don't over do at first.
Possibly because you're not actually sitting on your saddle. If you've got your setup right, much of your weight should be on the pedals so you're only kind of sitting on the saddle.
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Old 10-20-16, 08:42 PM
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I went through this recently. Your bike geometry is wrong, and you'll have to adjust seat height and handlebars accordingly. Your pelvis should be rotated so that you're on your sit bones. The best way to find the location of your sit bones is to sit cross-legged on the floor and put your hands underneath your butt to find where your sit bones are. This will give you some guidance as to how you should sit on a bike seat.

Some advice:

1. If it hurts too much, don't continue as you may make your tailbone sore or worse bruise it should you ride over 10 miles.
2. Figure out proper geometry. If you can't, I would suggest you use a bike with drop bars as you'll bend over more and rotate your pelvis to a more ideal condition for bike riding.
3. Change the seat so that your new seat will allow proper placement for your sit bones.
4. Reconsider cruiser or upright bars.
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Old 10-20-16, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dirt Farmer View Post
Your butt may hurt after your first ride in decades, but..... please explain the wedgies?? WTH were you wearing back then??
Must of caught it on his banana seat back.

But yeah, your butt needs a little conditioning and will need multiple > 30 minute rides. But you should also check your bike fit is setup correctly.
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Old 10-20-16, 09:54 PM
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Oddly my old road bike saddle was the most comfortable seat (of any kind) I've ever owned. I ode that bike for stretches up to and exceeding 24 hours and never felt any discomfort.

Other than that, I've never had any kind of seat that could tolerate for more than a few hours.

Bike saddle comfort is partly position and conditioning, and partly about the saddle itself. Be patient, give your body a chance, and if things don't improve, then shop saddles.
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Old 10-20-16, 11:20 PM
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I bought a Brooks saddle and breaking it in was the most excruciating experience. I'd ride seated for 10-15 minutes and then ride home standing up because my rear was so sore! It took around 6 months or so for the seat to break in and my butt to get acclimated. Now I can ride for hours without noticing my rear end at all.
Get the right saddle - it can take time to find the right one - and then get a good fitting.
Your weight needs to be balanced correctly between the three contact points of seat, hands, and feet.
See if you can find a shop that will let you swap out saddles until you find the right one.
Less is actually more...a big padded seat is often less comfortable than a thinner narrower one that just supports your sit bones. You can get them with cutouts for those tender parts.
Don't settle for an uncomfortable ride, it will keep you from enjoying and riding more.
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Old 10-21-16, 05:03 AM
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I suffered from serious butt pain after just 15 minutes ride on my 90's Giant Sedona. I inherited the bike and it came with a popular after-market saddle.

I got serious about fixing the problem this year and started with a new Brooks B17 saddle. After maybe 20 hours ride time and incremental tweaks to height and position, it's like a whole new ride. That combo of a good saddle then small adjustment, ride, adjust again, really worked for me.
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Old 10-21-16, 05:12 AM
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I must have got lucky with my ass or seat lol I'm riding with the stock saddle on a Diamondback Insight 1, I've road several 3 hr rides a 5 hr ride and the longest 81 mile 7 hr ride. I don't remember what its like to not have sore quads though
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Old 10-21-16, 05:38 AM
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I got a new saddle recently and after the first ride on it, I had sore "lady parts" after mile 15. I had just ridden 40 miles on Sat. comfortably on my other saddle (different bike). Yesterday, I adjusted the saddle height and moved it forward some and it was TONS more comfortable. As others have said, many factors influence saddle comfort, but adjusting it might be a good place to start. I was surprised at how lowering it just a little, took the pressure off.
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Old 10-21-16, 05:52 AM
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Now that I think about it I rode an adult bike when I was a kid and my legs could barely peddle. I think that's why my butt hole hurt.
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Old 10-21-16, 05:52 AM
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Old 10-21-16, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by SoonerRider View Post
Your pelvis should be rotated so that you're on your sit bones.
This ^ ^ ^ ... is really important. The OP should be able to feel whether his weight is on his sit bones. If not, make adjustments. Seat shape and width can make a difference. Specialized makes many of their saddles in three different widths for this reason. As well, I find that flat-top seats work for me, and that rounded over designs cause me pain. Some amount of experimenting is sometimes required. It is also true that one needs to harden up somewhat, but first be sure your weight is on your sit bones.
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Old 10-21-16, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by TheChosenOne View Post
It's been decades since I rode a bike and I remember getting wedgies and my butt hurting a lot when riding a bike for 30+ minutes. I might've had terrible seats or it could just be the way it is when riding a bike.
First thing to consider when reading the responses you will get: most if not all current riders who have not taken an extended break from cycling, are probably using newer style cycling shorts and will tell you how they feel no pain, leaving you to wonder, "WTF is wrong with my saddle and or position?" But...have you shopped for new shorts? If so, then you will have seen that the padding is like an inch thick!! My 25 year old Pearl's have what amounts to a terry cloth, covered by a chamois, no 1 inch thick padding between me and my saddle.

So, if you're using a "real" pair of shorts, not the new fangled, panzified type, then you will need to get re-accustomed to a real rider's experience, and pain thresholds will become improved over time.

Or, get some new styled riding shorts with inch thick padding that feel like a diaper when you try them on. Oh, have you seen the price of new shorts with the 1 inch thick padding? Maybe a little pain is a good thing.
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Old 10-21-16, 01:41 PM
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In the 1960s I was making diligent searches for the perfect seat. I am figuring any day now I might find it...



I have fond that its not the padding or springs but rather the width of the seat that make the biggest difference. If you can afford them the Brooks seats are real jewels.
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Old 10-21-16, 02:04 PM
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I can't believe Rydabent hasn't chimed in yet. I'm with indyfabz:
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Old 10-21-16, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gilpi View Post
As mentioned, once you get the right saddle in the right position, it's just a matter of developing calluses on your butt. A few rides, you'll get used to it.
I did a 3 hour non stop gravel ride last weekend, after 2 1/2 hours I was a bit sore but then again, I usually dont ride more than one to two hours every other day.

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Old 10-21-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by TheChosenOne View Post
It's been decades since I rode a bike and I remember getting wedgies and my butt hurting a lot when riding a bike for 30+ minutes. I might've had terrible seats or it could just be the way it is when riding a bike.
My saddle and shorts are comfortable for 17 hours in a day, but might pose issues after that.
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Old 10-21-16, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I can't believe Rydabent hasn't chimed in yet. I'm with indyfabz:

Paging @rydabent. Thread for Mr. @rydabent
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Old 10-21-16, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TheChosenOne View Post
Does sitting on a bike for a long time hurt your butt?
Yes.

The rider position on an upright bike is such that fitting a comfortable seat isn't really possible.
Bicycle saddles are so uncomfortable that they aren't used in any other vehicle or chair.
If you can take an hour of it non-stop, you're doing good.

As for those who say "don't sit on the seat", that is total stupidity.
Can you name even ONE saddle company that says not to sit on their saddles?
Why do Brooks saddles have springs, if you're never supposed to be sitting on them?
I don't know who first imagined this "solution", but they pulled a great joke on the rest of you. And you still haven't figured it out.

Now then:
---Good 8-panel bicycling shorts help a lot. They are padded for this very reason, no matter what other people say. (very few companies make cycling shorts with thin padding, because they don't sell well) In cheaper shorts the padding is not shaped well and tends to have threads sticking out that cause irritation. ~10 years ago when I had upright bikes, the cheapest shorts I used was the Cannondale ones, and those cost $75 each. These shorts need to be washed after every use, they last longer if you hand-wash them and you don't wear underwear with them. The padding only works if it's up against your bare butt.

---A decent riding position helps a lot. Many non-biking people tend to choose a bicycle that is too small for them. It helps to have someone (not a bike shop employee!) who rides a lot, look at you when you are sitting on your bike in your normal riding position, and see if it looks wrong. You don't need a "fitting", a regular rider can just tell if the handlebars and saddle look right, and if you look too stretched out or like you're sitting up too much. For pedaling efficiency it is best to be leaning over forward a little bit, with some weight on your hands. But I assure you, it is entirely acceptable for you to sit on the saddle. That's what it's there for.

---Acclimatization does help. The first 30 minute ride, your butt will hurt for 3 days. The next couple rides, it will hurt for maybe 2 days or less. Eventually the after-ride pain does go away totally, at least for rides under 60 minutes. But it may take 2-3 weeks of occasional rides for that to happen.

---A different saddle may help, but this is very much a hit-and-miss thing. I will admit that the largest, thickest-padded saddles generally don't work real well for a normal riding position. The last upright bike I had was a MTB, and I used an Avocet Gel saddle in one of the wider widths. I weighted about 200 lbs (in shape!) at the time, and narrower saddles were totally uncomfortable. (Bicycle saddle comfort depends a lot on your weight; if you are fat, none of them will feel good to sit on)

---Some people think that leather saddles are magical. They're perfect because "they mold to the shape of your butt", but then gel saddles are supposed to be bad because "they mold to the shape of your butt". I don't get it either? Believe whatever you want. You might love a leather suspension saddle (such as a Brooks)--but two facts are that they change shape over time and they can get ruined by being rained on. Other saddles of more modern materials don't do either of those two things.

~~~~~~~

If none of this is acceptable, there is the world of recumbents and semi-recumbents. Recumbent riding shorts have no padding because you don't need any, and most of the pain of riding an upright bike (butt pain, hand numbness, neck strain) doesn't really happen on a recumbent at all.

Recumbents are expensive however. Starting prices in the US are up around $2000 or so. And test-riding is important, since there's usually only one seat available. Very few recumbent bike companies offer more than one different seat, and some tadpole trike seats are integral with the frame and can't be changed at all.
Some people would consider spending $2000 for a bicycle a waste of money, but then lots and lots and lots of people spend $200-$300 for a bike that they don't use, because it hurts too much to ride. They let it sit for a few years, then get rid of it and buy a new one because the guy at the bike shop swears that the new ones are way better--even though they look pretty much the same. And guess what?....... A bicycle that hurts to ride is no bargain, at any price.
Semi-recumbents: there is only one worth considering, and that is the RANS crank-forward bikes. The reason is that these use a big flat noseless saddle (that won't fit on a normal bike) and they have the entire bike designed properly around that riding position. The riding comfort is much better than an upright bike and they still look fairly normal, but they are still efficient to ride long distances. Last I saw the prices started at $1700, but there is no other bikes like these.
......
There is cheaper "comfort" and "flat-foot" bikes like Electra Townie and Day6, but those don't ride nearly as well. The main defect they have is that they still use a regular bicycle seat, so if butt pain is your main complaint these cheaper models aren't going to fix that. Additionally they don't come in different frame sizes so they never fit most people well, and their riding positions (using low stems and tall handlebars) don't allow pedaling efficiently since you cannot pull hard on the bars to help pedal. Some people get these and try using them with different noseless saddles they can put on, but that still doesn't cure all the other problems the bikes have. Some people love them, but these bikes are only really good for very casual, very short-distance use in flat terrain.

There is a forum for the RANS bikes, where you are free to discuss any kind of bicycles. It used to be something like crank-forward.com but now it appears to be intotheride.com.
If you go there you will see people who bought cheaper ones like Townies and Day-6, and they're asking how to fix the stuff that's wrong with them.
The RANS bikes cost a lot more but do not have these problems.
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