A Buyer's Guide to Choosing the Right Bike Seat or Saddle

It doesn't get much more crucial than your saddle when it comes to bike comfort. Sure, grippy grips are good, and the right pedals make a significant difference, but nothing has as big an influence on your comfort and pleasure of the ride as selecting the ideal bike seat. A decent bike saddle is one that is unnoticed. On the other hand, a terrible one is a discomfort in the buttocks.

The issue is that, unlike other components that are easy to compare and select, saddles are highly personal. What works well for a riding companion may not work for you. When choosing a comfortable bike saddle, numerous elements come into play, including breadth, shape, length, amount of cushioning, flex, and cut-outs. This makes it impossible to tell if a seat would work for you without riding on it. Still, with so many alternatives on the market, it's crucial to know what approximate features you're looking for before going into a bike store and sitting on 80 different saddles. So we've put up this guide to assist you narrow down the options and determining what specific features and sizes to look for when purchasing a bike seat.

Bike Saddle Features

Brands tend to highlight specific qualities in addition to these fundamental dimensions and form requirements. Some of these, such as gel pads, can make a minor difference in comfort for some people, while others are just weight-loss strategies. Here is a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of several popular features.

Bike Saddle or Seat Padding & Comfort

There are two schools of thought regarding saddle padding and comfort. The first is that the more padding, the better. This is the philosophy of Specialized, who uses the famous "SuperPadding" on their saddles, and their tagline "You'll forget you're riding on a saddle." 

The second school of thought is that less padding is better. This is used by Chris Boardman, who has a custom saddle made without padding. The idea is that less padding removes more pressure on your sit bones. If you're using a saddle that's too narrow and doesn't support your sit bones, your thighs and lower back may take some of the impacts, and padding can worsen the situation. However, if you're riding on a saddle that fits, a thin layer of padding can help you stay comfortable without adding pressure to your soft tissue.

Bike Saddle Rail Material

The Rail is the backbone of a saddle, making up part of the seat shell and connecting it to the seatpost. Materials range from hard aluminium to carbon and even plastic. The advantages of carbon rails are that they're lighter and can offer more stiffness, allowing for less seat flex. Aluminium rails tend to be more durable.

Bike Saddle Cut Outs

Cut outs are one of the features specific to the saddle brand. Certain saddle features will have cut outs in them to offer better flexibility, more comfort and less weight. These areas often have perforated padding and may have a thinner rail. There are three main areas that can have them. The first is the cut out at the nose of the saddle – this is usually shaped like a wedge, narrows out and then gets wider again toward the top. The second is a cut out at the base of the saddle on each side, referred to as "wings". The third are two cut outs in the middle of the saddle, usually referred to as a "cheek pad".


Finding a bike saddle that is comfortable for YOU is the most important thing. There isn't a saddle that you should buy, in the same way that there isn't a bike brand you should buy. Riding a bike should make you happy, and if a saddle isn't comfortable, it's going to take away from that experience. Take some time to try out some saddles and go with your gut. It'll be worth it!

Want a nice bike seat cushion? Cushbike in the UK sells premium comfort bicycle seats so that you can have the best bike riding experience possible. Order yours today!

Latest Blog Posts