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Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

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Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

Old 07-18-17, 02:43 AM
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MyNameIsRay
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Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

I would think a big cushioned seat would be the most comfortable but so many are these thin pointy seats with a gap in the centre.

Is it aerodynamics? weight? big seats too hot?

I want to buy a big comfy seat but want to know if there are downsides first
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Old 07-18-17, 02:59 AM
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The relatively narrow and hard saddles are more comfortable.

"Big cushioned seats" are uncomfortable ... way too much friction.
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Old 07-18-17, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by MyNameIsRay View Post
Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

I would think a big cushioned seat would be the most comfortable but so many are these thin pointy seats with a gap in the centre.

Is it aerodynamics? weight? big seats too hot?

I want to buy a big comfy seat but want to know if there are downsides first
Buy one, try it. You will never know for sure until you experience one first hand. Depending on the type of bike, skinny and hard may not work. YMMV

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Old 07-18-17, 03:16 AM
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I was told a big fat cushioned seat will make you gallded.
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Old 07-18-17, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by MyNameIsRay View Post
Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

I would think a big cushioned seat would be the most comfortable but so many are these thin pointy seats with a gap in the centre.

Is it aerodynamics? weight? big seats too hot?

I want to buy a big comfy seat but want to know if there are downsides first


From my evolved experience, bike seats have many designs and are based on the utility of the type of bike and rider. A racer who leads forward requires very little surface for which to sit, while a more upright riding position like a beach cruiser can benefit from a wider surface and more give usually produced by springs. Those more upright saddles do not have as pronounced of a point.


The hardness of the seat is necessary due to the activity of pumping your legs and needing a stable platform that does not bounce around. I think of a bike seat the same as a good roping saddle where both appear hard until you use one and know how to sit properly.


The place where you sit on a bike seat needs only to be a small relatively flat surface for accomplishing the task. Most riders, me included, had to evolve and come to understand how to adjust the saddle so that they are only sitting on this flat surface. I had to raise the nose of the saddle slightly upward to find this sweet spot.


To address this sweet spot, if this area was heavily padded, it would make no difference since I would sink down anyway and the extra material just get in the way. It would make it harder to move around without lifting my rear.
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Old 07-18-17, 04:39 AM
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A properly fit hard seat that supports your sitbones properly is way more comfortable than a big ol' thickly padded cushioned seat with springs.

I don't even notice the seat anymore when riding.
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Old 07-18-17, 05:18 AM
  #7  
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14# bike + 14# 'seat" = 28#

When I want soft and comfy... I take a break.




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Old 07-18-17, 05:38 AM
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Comfy ...

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Old 07-18-17, 06:50 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post

Free range furniture will give you scabies.


-Tim-
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Old 07-18-17, 06:57 AM
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too big a seat causes pain on the area just ahead of your sit points, from the rocking of the pedal stroke. for longer rides. as i have discovered. notwithstaanding that, you need a seat at least as wide as your sit points, which in my case, are relatively wide.
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Old 07-18-17, 06:57 AM
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A lot of things I hadn't considered

I actually have no problem with my hard thin seat, just thought that a big cushioned one would be nice.
Now I don't think so
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Old 07-18-17, 07:14 AM
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Soft saddlesput pressure on the soft tissues and cause great pain on longer rides. Harder saddles keep the pressure on your sitbones where it should be.

That's also why horse saddles are so hard.
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Old 07-18-17, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Soft saddles put pressure on the soft tissues and cause great pain on longer rides. Harder saddles keep the pressure on your sitbones where it should be.
This^
+1
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Old 07-18-17, 07:29 AM
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I rode a comfort style cruiser all over New Orleans on vacation this past winter, with a big cushy sprung seat. It was the most uncomfortable bike ride I've ever been on. Or, maybe more pointedly, my friends that tell me my bottom will be sore on my hard leather saddle are the ones done with their bikes after three miles on their cushy saddle, while I'm barely warmed up and plenty comfortable.

Once you are used to hard saddles, you realize why they exist. It is hard to describe to someone who hasn't used them, but they are more comfortable. If you need padding, put it in your shorts.
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Old 07-18-17, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
If you need padding, put it in your shorts.
I'm gonna use this for everything! Better than "That's what she said"!
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Old 07-18-17, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MyNameIsRay View Post
Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

I would think a big cushioned seat would be the most comfortable but so many are these thin pointy seats with a gap in the centre.

Is it aerodynamics? weight? big seats too hot?

I want to buy a big comfy seat but want to know if there are downsides first

Wider seats will chafe like you would not believe on longer rides, and the padding on softer ones will put pressure on places you really don't want to over long periods of time. And there's some control issues too if you're riding more technical stuff.
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Old 07-18-17, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MyNameIsRay View Post
Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

I would think a big cushioned seat would be the most comfortable but so many are these thin pointy seats with a gap in the centre.

Is it aerodynamics? weight? big seats too hot?

I want to buy a big comfy seat but want to know if there are downsides first
Buy the Brooks B-17 Special for everyday riding, it's made of real leather.
https://www.bike24.com/1.php?content...rch=brooks+b17

Those tiny saddles are made for those who wear diapers.
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Old 07-18-17, 09:47 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Comfy ...
Double Dog Comfy!
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Old 07-18-17, 10:02 AM
  #19  
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Because they are saddles, and not seats.
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Old 07-18-17, 10:09 AM
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Do you know why the tdf guys ride skinny hard seats? Because they are more comfortable. And they are lighter. For me, I need a little bigger saddle than that, plus I need a cutout so my prostate stays happy. The skinny ones are harder to get used to but once you do you'll never go back.
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Old 07-18-17, 11:07 AM
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I used to ride padded saddles. Then I went to less padded saddles with a thin gel layer. I finally bought a Brooks - it nearly killed me breaking it in - but now I love it. I'm not aware of my butt at all anymore until I hit around 40 miles, then I need a short break. If I wore padded shorts, I could go longer but I hate that feeling. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the pre-aged Brooks to save myself a bit of pain, but I'd get another Brooks. I've kept my padded saddle as a spare for emergencies but now I wonder how I rode on it. Otoh, while I'd like the lower weight of those streamlined saddles, I'm thinking the Brooks is the sweet spot since I do not ride in the drops.
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Old 07-18-17, 01:18 PM
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ILTB showed a Brooks with springs underneath. So it's still firm on the top so you don't sink in, but it has give if you ride over a bump or pot-hole. My understanding is those are for more upright bikes where most of your weight is on your saddle, as opposed to sportier bikes where you lean forward and a bit more of the weight is on your feet and hands. I had a B72, or maybe a B67, which has a little bit of springiness, on an older hybrid bike I had.
Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I used to ride padded saddles. Then I went to less padded saddles with a thin gel layer. I finally bought a Brooks - it nearly killed me breaking it in - but now I love it. I'm not aware of my butt at all anymore until I hit around 40 miles, then I need a short break. If I wore padded shorts, I could go longer but I hate that feeling. If I had to do it again, I'd buy the pre-aged Brooks to save myself a bit of pain, but I'd get another Brooks. I've kept my padded saddle as a spare for emergencies but now I wonder how I rode on it. Otoh, while I'd like the lower weight of those streamlined saddles, I'm thinking the Brooks is the sweet spot since I do not ride in the drops.
There are multiple Brooks models. The B17 is the standard utility saddle - not super narrow for racing, but not sprung for upright riding

Last edited by cooker; 07-18-17 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 07-18-17, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
ILTB showed a Brooks with springs underneath. So it's still firm on the top so you don't sink in, but it has give if you ride over a bump or pot-hole. My understanding is those are for more upright bikes where most of your weight is on your saddle, as opposed to sportier bikes where you lean forward and a bit more of the weight is on your feet and hands. I had a B72, or maybe a B67, which has a little bit of springiness, on an older hybrid bike I had.There are multiple Brooks models. The B17 is the standard utility saddle - not super narrow for racing, but not sprung for upright riding
I tried a sprung Brooks but it didn't move at all with me on it. I think you have to have a minimum poundage for elastomers or springs to accomplish much ;-). Not so for the leather "hammock" effect of the standard Brooks - once broken in, it is supportive and cushioning regardless of weight. I ride at a 45 degree angle and it works great but also is comfortable if I sit back to ride "no hands".
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Old 07-18-17, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MyNameIsRay View Post
Why are many bike seats skinny and hard?

I would think a big cushioned seat would be the most comfortable but so many are these thin pointy seats with a gap in the centre.

Is it aerodynamics? weight? big seats too hot?

I want to buy a big comfy seat but want to know if there are downsides first
Those saddles are what other cyclists in BF aspire to be...skinny is the body goal, hard as their cycling and hollow in the middle like the 41.

I, however, am still the fat cushiony saddle, a total pain in the ass.

Last edited by tagaproject6; 07-18-17 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 07-18-17, 09:20 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
ILTB showed a Brooks with springs underneath. So it's still firm on the top so you don't sink in, but it has give if you ride over a bump or pot-hole. My understanding is those are for more upright bikes where most of your weight is on your saddle, as opposed to sportier bikes where you lean forward and a bit more of the weight is on your feet and hands. I had a B72, or maybe a B67, which has a little bit of springiness, on an older hybrid bike I had.There are multiple Brooks models. The B17 is the standard utility saddle - not super narrow for racing, but not sprung for upright riding
I've heard nothing but good on the Brooks saddles. I don't own one myself, I have a Selle Royal Respiro, which is a little bigger than the one that came with the bike. It looks kinda funny on an ultra light carbon fiber bike but that's okay, it's comfortable.
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