The 8 Best Men's Bicycle Saddles
Comfort And Safety On The Road
When you hit the road for a long bike ride, there are certain things that you want to do to ensure that you ride in the utmost comfort and safety.
When you hit the road for a long bike ride, there are certain things that you want to do to ensure that you ride in the utmost comfort and safety. Simple things that would apply to any outdoor excursion, like putting on sunscreen, wearing reliable polarized sunglasses, and making sure you have access to water to stay hydrated are all no-brainers. And when it comes to outfitting your bike with upgrades and accessories to increase your comfort and safety, the parts that often get the most attention are the pedals, the handlebars, and the tires.
But one part of the bike that can create a tremendous amount of difference in both comfort and safety is the saddle. Having the right saddle on your bike will not only make longer rides easier to endure, it will keep you in a place of comfort that will prevent you from riding in the wrong position at the wrong time, or suffering a shock to your groin when going over certain obstacles. This is particularly important for male riders, as their bikes saddles come in contact with the last part of their body they would ever want to harm.
Often times, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the saddle that comes with a bicycle. Some brands even go so far as to partner with third-party manufacturers to provide riders with nicer saddles at the point of purchase. But more often than not, stock saddles provide just enough comfort that you might not think to replace them. And that’s a shame, because the third-party options on the market are almost all universally more comfortable, and, as a result, safer.
Choosing The Perfect Saddle
Picking a new saddle for your bike isn’t a decision that can be made without time spent riding. You need to feel the way the saddle works against your body, both when riding along comfortably, and also when enduring more difficult terrain. That can be an expensive proposition, seeing as how by the time you’ve broken in the saddle to the point that you know it’s maximum comfort, you’d likely be outside of any reasonable window to request a return.
To guard against this, it’s helpful to understand how different saddle materials will respond to riding over time, and which will be the most comfortable out of the gate compared to other models that may be the most comfortable overall, but that might take a significant amount of time to break in.
They also tend to have more perforations to promote airflow than thicker models do, which may make for a slightly cooler ride.
Usually, saddles made with gel or a similarly soft material like memory foam will provide the most amount of comfort out of the box. These are ideal for riders who maybe only head out on the weekends, or who can’t afford to wait for a saddle to break in. The downside of these, of course, is that they will be at their most comfortable for only the first few months, and then very gradually decline in comfort until they eventually need to be replaced. Thicker models may last longer in the comfort department than thinner models, but they may also be hotter, so if you do the majority of your riding in the summer, these may not be the ideal solution.
Stiffer materials like certain synthetics and leather will be more unforgiving on your rear for the first several weeks or months. Over time, however, these tend to break in to your specific riding posture and body shape, giving you the most customized riding experience available. That makes these particularly well-suited for daily bicycle commuters who need a saddle that’s going to last them for the long-haul once it’s broken in. Because these tend to be lighter in weight, as well, they may give you an edge in speed if that is something that’s important to you. They also tend to have more perforations to promote airflow than thicker models do, which may make for a slightly cooler ride.
One last feature to look out for that you might find on either type of saddle is any additional shock absorbency. If you see anything on the backside of the saddle that resembles a pair of springs, that’s a little bit of bounce added to the seat to reduce the amount of impact you feel as you go over certain obstacles. This can take the more well-padded saddles on the market to an even higher level of comfort, or provide just enough extra comfort to saddles that start out a little harder, so that you might find breaking them in to be less of a chore.
Other Essential Biking Accessories
Once you’ve outfitted your bike with the proper saddle, it’s important that you do all you can to ensure your ride is as smooth and comfortable as possible, and that you are as safe as possible when out on the roads or the trails. There are a few additional investments you can and should make that will make sure you have the best possible time on your bike.
There’s a whole host of styles on the market now a days, so you can’t make the excuse that you look like a dork in one anymore.
First and foremost, you had better have a high-quality helmet. There’s a whole host of styles on the market now a days, so you can’t make the excuse that you look like a dork in one anymore. For those of you on the cutting edge of technology, there are even smart helmets available that connect via Bluetooth to controllers that mount on your handlebars. These helmets light up to increase your visibility and show drivers behind you turn signals that correspond to the commands you input at the controller.
On the topic of visibility, it’s vital that you do all you can to be seen by drivers, riders, pedestrians, and anyone else you might encounter when out on your bike. That means outfitting your ride with both a headlight and a tail light, and outfitting yourself with reflective materials. These can include a safety vest or reflective jacket to suit any climate.