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Wide vs Narrow Bike Seat? Pros and Cons of Each

Having a comfortable saddle is important for most cyclists. We prepare some specific suggestions for selecting a bike saddle and how they improve comfort while biking.

Mountain bike saddle with red light reflector.

This is one of those situations where you can’t say one seat is better than the other since bicycle seats are not one size fits all. We should all note that when buying bicycles for different purposes, saddle comfort is not a one-size-fits-all situation. 

Wider bike seats are generally more comfortable. Yes, but many cyclists would design, type, size of the snout, and thickness of the saddle are all important factors to consider. Comfortable cycling depends on selecting a saddle with the correct width to support you.

To assist you with this issue, we’ve compiled all of the relevant information and queries on saddle width here. In addition, there are specific suggestions for the comfiest seats and hints for improving the comfort of your saddle.

What Is the Ideal Saddle Width for Your Bike?

How wide you should make your bike seat depends on your sitz bones’ spacing. The width of your saddle is determined by the distance between one’s pelvic sitz bone.

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It’s important to know how wide your sitz bones are before you buy a bicycle saddle. If you choose, you may do it yourself, or you can find a business that does it for you. People have diverse bone formations, hence there is no universal width measurement.

Men’s average sitz bone width is 120mm, while women’s average sitz bone width is 135mm.

SQlab Unisex – Adult's Neopren Sattelschutz Bicycle Saddle Cover, Black, M - Trekking

A saddle that is big enough to handle this dimension can then be selected. As a result, you might ride with confidence, knowing that you are well supported and comfortable. To keep you securely in position, most saddles are built with a 10mm extra breadth on either side above your sitz bone.

Can a Bike Saddle be Too Wide?

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While a large number of riders prefer wide saddles, for many, it negatively impacts their movements. A saddle that’s too wide can create major discomfort, just like having a saddle that’s too narrow would.

For some motorcycles, such as road bikes, width is not recommended. Narrow saddles are used by many elite riders who prioritize speed and reliability over comfort.

Regardless, the majority of riders agree that broader is preferable.

What Happens When Your Bike Seat Is Too Narrow?

If you’re a cyclist who spends a lot of time riding, a saddle that’s too narrow or wide might cause discomfort on the inside of your leg, particularly for cyclists who spend a lot of time on their bikes.

It can also hurt cycling productivity and effectiveness. As a result, it is recommended that your saddle does not extend over your sitting bone by over 10 to 12 millimeters.

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What Are the Signs That Your Saddle Is Too Wide? 

A cyclist with tattoo holding a saddle.

If one’s saddle is excessively wide, you’ll observe three things right away. Among them are:

Discomfort 

If you’re experiencing discomfort when pedaling on a wide saddle, it may be because the width is too big for your physique.

Thigh Rubbing and Chafing

Having a saddle that is too wide will cause your legs to scrape against it. In the absence of quick action, this will result in rubbing and chafing of the thighs. For the cyclist, it can be excruciatingly unpleasant.

You Notice a Reduction in Pedal Performance and Aerodynamics

An extra-wide saddle can slow you down and reduce your efficiency by interfering with your pedaling rhythm. Because of the increased contact and resulting air pressure, biomechanics will be impacted as well.

Five Ways to Improve the Comfort of Your Bike Seat

A cyclist putting protective wax with spring suspension.

For some reason, you don’t want to spend a fortune on a new saddle for your new bike, or you don’t want to deal with the hassle of replacing it.

It doesn’t matter why you don’t, because you don’t have to. You don’t have to pay a fortune to solve your bike seat’s comfort issues and make it better yourself.

Listed below are the five options:

Bicycling Shorts Will do Wonders

Bike shorts, also known as thigh shorts and spat, are reasonable ways to alleviate saddle soreness. Your thighs are supported and protected from chafing and irritation by these leggings.

Keep the Saddle Level

Many cyclists have found that a flat saddle is more enjoyable for them and lessens the stress on their bodies. Using a bubble level, you can quickly and simply level your own.

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Tilt the Saddle Backward or Forward

Even if a flat saddle is highly common, so is the advice to slant the nose or rear to a more comfortable position. Typically, bikers slant one tip of their saddles down slightly to improve their posture and ease.

Adjust the Height of the Saddle

A cyclist in green jacket trying to adjust bicycle seat.

Numerous cyclists don’t realize that a wrong seat height is a key thing that causes them misery and anguish. There are many places where you should get your saddle height-adjusted for a very reasonable fee.

Get a Gel or Neoprene Saddle Cover 

If the saddle is difficult and awkward, this is an easy fix. Get a gel or memory foam seat. Both types of padding are effective and will greatly improve your riding experience.

The Bottom Line

A cyclist biking on the road beside a cornfield.

A high-quality saddle is essential for all types of cycling. It must provide adequate back and neck support and ensure that riding your bike is a pleasurable experience. With the knowledge you’ve gained from this article, you can have a more enjoyable time when cycling.

Saddle width is the most important factor in ensuring your comfort on the bike. Get the width of your seat bone determined by a reputable bike shop or repairman, and commit to a seat that falls inside the suggested width.