Wednesday 24 October 2012

Upright and comfortable - Choosing a saddle for everyday riding

Mountain bikes and racing bikes have narrow saddles. The reason for this is that they are ridden in a bent forward position. Your weight is spread between the handlebars and your legs as well as on the saddle and you need a degree of freedom for comfort and to avoid chafing.

However, if you ride a more upright bicycle your weight is supported much less by the handlebars and more by the saddle and your legs are in a different position relative to the rest of your body. This is also true if you convert a mountain bike to achieve a more comfortable and more upright position. While changing the stem and handlebars, don't overlook the importance of changing the saddle.

For a long time, we sold just one type of saddle at - the Selle Royal 8261, as shown on the left. This is a good everyday saddle for most people. It has a good shape, it's not overly wide, it has a little sprung suspension for extra comfort and we use it on almost all of our bicycles.

What's more, this saddle comes at a very reasonable cost, it lasts many years of everyday use and it has an advantage over some more expensive saddles that some people overlook - it's made of plastic.

What ? Plastic saddles are better ? If you want to ride your bike more than maintain then yes indeed they are. Plastic saddles do not need to be guarded against the weather as do leather saddles. If they get wet, you just brush off the wetness and they're dry again. Also, there is nothing to rub off and stain clothes, even when they are wet. That's why I find this to be the perfect saddle for riding everyday.

However, I'm not everyone. My wife, Judy, was never quite completely happy with the 8261. After some time spent deliberating, she decided upon a Selle Royal RoyalGel women's saddle as shown on the right. This is a softer saddle with a more sculpted form than the 8261 and it is specifically designed to suit women who want to ride upright. Judy now rides daily with this saddle, which apart from the different design has the same features as the 8261 which I and the rest of our family use.

We don't sell everything and we don't seek to sell everything. Rather, we sell those products which we believe in. It is only after Judy had ridden on her new saddle for several months that we took the decision to increase the range of saddles that we sell. The exact model of saddle that Judy chose was discontinued a year after this blog post was written. We now recommend the Manhatten saddle for a similar level of comfort, or the more unusual nose-less Rok design. But the best selling design, the most economical, and the one which I continue to happily use myself is the standard version of the 8261.
Sitting upright, comfortable, smiling
See also our anatomy of a reliable, everyday bicycle.

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