If you are aware of the things that cause bicycle saddle sore, there would be a huge possibility that you would avoid this cycling discomfort and have a more comfortable and fun ride.
If your bicycle fits you just fine, here are some bike fit faults that can cause bicycle saddle sore:
1. Poor Saddle.
This is the most common cause of bicycle saddle sore. Some saddles are too cushy and some are as hard as a rock. A bike seat that’s too soft or too thick will cause you to sink down from the weight of your sit bones. This will consequently make the middle of your saddle to push up and put more pressure on your soft tissue.
Usually, a firmer saddle is better, particularly for longer rides. A good saddle for women must have good padding for the sit bones. Also, it should have a groove or cut-out in front to give relief from pressure on the perineum and to enhance blood flow. It is essential for the groove or cut-off to extend far enough forward to shift pressure on the correct spot. A women-specific bike seat is important for most women. Bicycles that are not women-specific come with men’s saddles, which are not designed for the female anatomy. For heavier riders, a wide saddle that is well padded and has relief groove is ideal as it can give more support and comfort.
The width of saddles is also important. The sit bones mus be sitting at the middle of the widest section of the saddle. A bike seat that is too narrow will make the sit bones hang off the sides. This will cause an uncomfortable friction at the sit bones where the hamstring tendons attach. If the bike seat is too wide, the gel support is not where it’s supposed to be.
Petite women with narrow pelvises would benefit from narrower saddles for men. However, saddle selection is a personal choice. This is because everyone’s weight, anatomy, and style of riding vary.
2. Poor Saddle Tilt.
The front soft tissues will receive additional pressure when the saddle tilt is too nose up. Also, this often causes a slouched posture on the bicycle.
On the other hand, a saddle that’s too nose down will make the rider slide forward on the saddle and make him sit on the wrong section of the bike seat. The sit bones will not be able to give enough support and more weight will be place on the rider’s hands which will cause hand pain and numbness.
A road bike’s saddle must be either level (for a more upright position) or slightly nose down (for a more forward position). A time trial bike’s saddle must be more nose down as the pelvis is rotated more forward at the front of the bicycle.
A bike seat post with adjustable angles will let the rider find the best tilt. Many posts come with saddle clamps with notches that usually give the rider the choice of being either too nose down or too nose up.
3. Saddle is too high.
A bike seat that’s too high will take the rider’s weight off his pedals and place additional weight on the saddle. Also, it will cause the hips to rock and will cause side-to-side movement and chafing and eventually, bicycle saddle sore.
4. Saddle is too far back.
Often when the saddle is moved forward (allowing the knees to go over the pedal axis) and the pedaling angle is changed, saddle comfort is improved.
5. The drop between the saddle and the handlebars is too large.
More weight will be placed on the perineum and the hands when the position at the front of the seat is more aggressive.
6. Handlebar reach is too far.
If the rider has to stretch too far out at the front, support from the arms will be reduced and the front of the saddle will receive more weight which can cause bicycle saddle sore.
To know how to avoid bicycle saddle sore, click here. To learn 10 simple bicycle saddle sore treatments, click here. To learn about bicycles with comfortable saddles, visit the website of Zize Bikes, the maker of custom bicycles for heavy and obese people, that can support every body including riders up to 550 pounds!
Watch this video to learn more about the causes of bicycle saddle sore.