Slim and narrow like a perch, or comfortable like an armchair? How to choose the best saddle for our ebike.
Choosing the right saddle for our ebike is paramount. We should select it according to our physical features and riding habits. Not only because we are going to spend a lot of time on it, but also because it is the fulcrum between static and moving parts, i.e. the trunk of the human body, on one side, legs and bicycle on the other. Moreover, the small surface of the saddle must bear more than half our weight. Needless to say, ebikes being heavier and allowing longer journeys than organic bicycles, suitable saddles are all the more vital.
The characteristics of a suitable saddle
Following several statistics, apparently about 47% of cyclists complain of aches originated by their saddle. Hence the importance of following some guidelines.
Four categories of cyclists
For the purpose of discerning what our best saddle can be, we can split cyclists into four main types:
- commuters, daily pedalling to go to work
- weekend « raiders », riding their ebike exclusively on weekends
- travelers, embarking on trips that last at most a week
- explorers, venturing on long journeys, carrying heavy loads on their eBikes
The correct width of the saddle
Its correct width depends on the shape and the width of our pelvis and ischial bones. If the saddle is too narrow for the latter, we will push on the sides of the saddle, which can cause pain and uncomfortable riding. On the other hand, if the saddle is too wide for our pelvis, our muscular tissues will rub the edges of the saddle, hampering our movements and resulting in pain and underperformance.
More or less padding
Padding should be chosen mainly according to the usage of the ebike. If we use it to for cross-country, climbing mountains or any other use involving frequent standing up to push more on pedals, a tougher saddle, being lighter and thinner, will improve agility and pedaling performance. If we are to constantly sit on the saddle, what is frequent with ebikes, we should better choose a softer saddle, better padded, to increase comfort and avoid pain. All the more if we are overweight.
Commuters and weekend « raiders » may prefer a mildly padded soft saddle, depending on the duration of their trips.
A well padded, softer saddle should be the choice of both travelers and explorers, for the latter with central hollow canal.
Saddles with a hollow canal in the middle, or hole
That hollow canal allows better refreshing and blood circulation not only of our genitals, but also of perineal muscles and tissues. They are therefore useful also for women. Of course, they decrease the supporting surface of the saddle, burdening smaller parts of our muscles with more weight per square centimeter. Again, the more we are athletic and stand up pedaling, the more we will enjoy saddles with a middle hole.
Three major situations in which a saddle with a hole could be more useful than a flat saddle
- Previous pathologies: a saddle with a hole in it can help alleviate the problem or prevent it from worsening.
- Very aerodynamic positions: if we are triathletes or road cyclists who like to hold a more aggressive position, the risk is that we exert more pression onto the frontal part of the saddle. In this case a saddle with a hole in it can relieve the pressure, while at the same time allowing this position to be maintained.
- Great mobility of the pelvis: the more mobile the pelvis, the more the position will tend to be accommodated towards the front, which could lead to compression of the genital area.
To determine which saddle with the hole is most suitable, do as follows:
- Measure the distance between your ischial bones. This distance will determine the correct width of the saddle.
- Define the mobility of the pelvis. Based on this measurement, you can work out whether you need a saddle with a real hole or one with a simple central drain.
Saddle covers and saddle protections
Under the pressure of our pedaling, saddle covers can be deplaced, come off and be caught into our spokes, potentially causing accidents. Saddle protections can be useful to protect our saddle when our bike must stay a long time parked in the sun. Sun rays can damage it and even cause rips. Covers can also protect it from the rain, so that you don’t wet your pants.
Installing a new saddle
Saddles allow you to move them forwards or backwards in order to find the suitable distance from the handlebar. They should be completely parallel to the ground.You may want to watch this video tutorial on mounting a saddle.