If I had a pound for every time someone’s asked me that when advising on them on the specification for their bike build…I could possibly have started my own Pro team or at least opened my own bike shop!!
Unfortunately there is no simple answer, everyone is different with a different body shape and even more unfortunately when you do decide on one you won’t have any idea until you’ve tried it. I know plenty of riders that swear by a certain saddle and will not fit anything else to any of their bikes, I would be very wary however of listening to other riders’ opinion, plenty will have a recommendation but saddles are an entirely personal choice and finding the right one for you can be down to trial and error.
Now this is a big decision when speccing a bike, you’re going to, hopefully anyway, be spending a lot of time sat on it… too much padding and although it may feel comfy initially, an hour or so in to your ride it could feel anything but when you’ve sunk through to the hard shell, too hard and again at the end of a long ride sitting anywhere could be a problem.
So how do you decide?.. Well a lot will depend on the choice available and of course your budget, other factors to consider are weight, the quality of materials used regarding durability and longevity and most importantly does it match your bike!! (Remember the unwritten rule that saddle colour must match bar tape)
We offer two design choices on our bike building options, the BikeBuilder part of the website has a lot more saddles listed but the design choice is essentially the same.
There is the more standard design:
These are as good a starting point as any and will be fine unless you specifically know which saddle you want.
There is also the same quality of saddle with a cut out middle section these are known as a ‘flow’ type saddle:
These tend to reduce pressure on the perineum and flex more to accommodate rider movement. I have always preferred this type of saddle and having made the switch a number of years back will now only consider this type.
So what do we recommend to first time riders or those that are unsure? Well I always say pick one of these two entry level saddles and see how you get on with it? If you really don’t like it, unfortunately it will be a case of buying one of a different design.
When you have decided what type you like then you can think about upgrading to the more expensive lighter models with carbon shells and rails etc. But that’s for another blog!!