Bicycle Saddle Sore: 6 Most Common Causes

If you know the things that can cause bicycle saddle sore, you can surely avoid this biking discomfort and have a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.

If your bike fits you just fine, the following bicycle fit faults may be the root of bicycle saddle sore:

1. Poor Saddle

A poor saddle is the most common cause of bicycle saddle sore. Some bike seats are too cushy and some are too hard. A saddle that is too soft (with too much gel or padding) will make you sink down from the weight of your sit bones. This causes the mid part of your bike seat to push up and place additional pressure on your soft tissues.

Most of the time, a firmer saddle can be better especially for longer rides. A good bike seat for women should have good padding for the sit bones. Having a split or a groove is said to provide more comfort as it relieves pressure on the perineum and improves blood circulation. It is important for the cut-out to extend forward to move pressure on the right area. A female-specific saddle is important for most women. Bikes that are not so come with men’s seats, which are not really designed for the female anatomy.

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. A saddle that’s too narrow will cause the sit bones to hang off the sides and not receive enough support. Also, this can put uncomfortable friction on the sit bones. A saddle that is too wide will rub and chafe the inner thighs.

Petite women with narrower pelvises generally benefit from narrow saddles for men. But saddle selection is still a personal thing. This is because people’s anatomy, weight, and riding style vary.

2. Poor Saddle Tilt

When the bike seat is overly titled upward (making the nose pointing up) will put additional pressure on the front soft tissues. This also makes the rider slouch which is not an ideal or comfortable position.

Saddle that is overly tilted downward will cause the rider to slide forward on the seat and cause him to sit on the wrong spots on the saddle. His sit boned won’t be able to give sufficient support and more body weight will be put on his hands which can lead to wrist pain and hand numbness and pain.

The saddle of a road bike should be either slightly nose down (for a more forward position) or level (for a more upright position). The saddle of a time trial bicycle should be more nose down since the pelvis is rotated more forward at the front of the bike.

The seat post that come with adjustable angles will allow the rider find the most ideal tilt. Many posts have saddle clamps with notches which normally provide the rider the selection of being either too nose up or too nose down.

3. The saddle is too high.

A seat that is too high will take the weight of the rider off the pedals and put more weight on the saddle. It will likewise make the rider’s hips to rock making a side to side movement and rubbing. This can potentially lead to bicycle saddle sore.

4. The saddle is too far back.

Often, when the saddle is shifted forward (letting the knees go over the pedal axis) and the angle of pedaling is altered, saddle comfort is enhanced.

5. The drop between the handlebars and the saddle is too large.

Additional weight will be put on the hands and the perineum when the rider’s position at the front of the bike seat is more aggressive.

6. The handlebar reach is too far.

If one needs to stretch too far out for the handlebar, support coming from the arms will be significantly lessened, and the front the bike seat will receive more weight. This can cause bicycle saddle sore.