I can still remember clearly the first time I sit on a bike seat and how it feels while trying to learn how to ride. I mean, it was a long time ago, but I can still remember the feeling of how inconvenient and uncomfortable it was. Why are bike seats so hard? This was the question I ask during that time and for sure, I share the same observation with other bikers in their early years of learning how to bike.
But what is the reason behind the hardness and the unique design of a bike chair? Is it intentional or just some sort of designer’s mistake? These are the questions that we will try to answer as we go along with the article. My purpose is to provide some relevant information about the back seat and the science behind its hardness and design.
Saddle’s Hardness and Unique Design: All about Purpose and Science
The bike seat or saddle as it is commonly called was supposed to give the comfort that every rider needs during the ride. This was my wrong assumption a long time ago as I always compare it to the sofa and other comfortable chairs found in our home. But why bike seats so uncomfortable and firm on the surface?
The sweet science behind it is that the saddle’s firmness and hardness were meant to help riders to be stable while producing power during the ride. It was not meant for relaxation but as an initial point for a rider if he wants to get out of the seat when climbing, sprinting, or rolling over any obstacles on the road. Also, the seat in our home was built to carry all our weight but with the saddle, it is not the case as the weight should be on the bike’s pedal.
The hardness is also design-related because our soft tissue and sit bones are supported properly while on the ride. Moreover, the crotch area of the rider will be kept at a cool temperature while also increasing the circulation and pedaling activity. The hardness of the saddle will also help in preventing nerve compression to avoid soreness after the ride. Lastly, it can support the back of the rider fully during a difficult climb.
If you feel uncomfortable with the hardness, you can always put padding on the saddle. This will lessen the discomfort the first time you use it. But you must also choose the right design and size to get the type of comfort you are looking for.
The Real Benefits of Having a Hard Bike Seat
Although hard bike seats are uncomfortable the first time, it brings a lot of benefits to any bike enthusiasts, whether he is a newbie or an experienced rider.
Please see below:
- A firm saddle will help the sit bones in supporting the rider’s weight when he is seated upright during the right. Meaning, you will not be affected by the constant bump on the road while also protecting your back.
- When a biker is seated in an upright position, the crotch and the anus will be supported and the hardness will prevent these areas of the body from sweating and heating up.
- Nerve compression is prevented when riding on a hard seat. If it is not prevented, it will bring some negative effects to the rider’s buttocks which in turn affect the power of the rider to pedal with efficiency.
- It increases the pedaling efficiency of the rider because its hardness will help in assisting all of the leg muscles to work together while also supporting the buttocks.
- The firmness was also designed to reduce the chaffing against the saddle during a long ride.
The hard bike seat was designed to support the overall performance of the bike rider. The hardness was designed so that the rider can pedal with efficiency and not sit as I previously thought. The hard saddle will also put pressure on the right place which is the sit bones which helps in the prevention of back pain after the ride.
Finding the Right Saddle for You
For me, this is a topic that is subjective in my opinion. No two people can feel the same comfort in a single saddle. For example, if your friend is so comfortable with a particular paddle, do not expect that it will feel the same for you. We have different physical attributes and we have different sets of sit bones which means we are not exactly built the same.
One can go to a bike shop and take measurements of all the saddle available but finding the right one will require more than that. Looking for the one will require a lot of testing and riding on your part before you can finally confirm that this saddle is the one. You can also consider your riding style in choosing a saddle. A more aggressive rider can choose the hardest one but the more casual and relaxed rider can choose a saddle with padding.
In case you are still wondering why are bike seats so hard, the answer to the question is on its purpose and role to the bike and the biker. All saddle was designed small and hard in general because it brings a lot of benefits to the biker during the ride. The saddle may come in different shapes, sizes, and hardness, but its purpose is still the same which is to make contact with your sit bones and gives support to the biker’s effort.
The saddle is different from the seats in our home because this was design to support a particular active motion from the rider. It was not built to give the rider the rest he needs similar to the seats found in our home. It is designed to give the rider the support he needs during a hard and long ride.