Most Comfortable Bike Seat for Women: Top 5 Comfy Saddles
Many women’s saddles now have cut outs in the middle or at the front. This is a popular feature which helps to prevent numbness by promoting blood flow when riding in the saddle.
Additionally, the holes also benefit women as it helps prevent weight being predominantly on their highly sensitive soft tissue, thus allowing women to sit more towards the front of their saddle: something many women find far too painful to do.
How Do You Choose a Woman’s Bike Saddle?
The best way to choose a saddle would firstly include figuring out the type of riding you would like to use the saddle for, then the width of your sit bones. Then I’d highly recommend testing different ones out.
Many bike shops, brand and online retailers will allow customers to test saddles out for around 30 days. This period of time should help you to identity which saddle best suits you before fully committing to one.
Is a Wide Bike Saddle Comfortable?
Wide saddles can offer more support for your bottom and sit bones, however they can be too wide for you personally. As previously mentioned, everyone has different sized bodies so it’s best to test the saddles out.
However, if you do have wider sit bones a wider saddle will be far more comfortable in comparison to a narrower saddle. This will improve comfort, reduce bottom numbness and improve your power transfer.
Best Bike Saddle for Female Commuters
Specialized Power Comp with Mimic
This saddle has put women’s comfort as well as overcoming saddle issues at the forefront of the in depth patented Body Geometry design process. The Comp Mimic uses innovative Mimic multilayered foam to comfortably support and maintain equilibrium and minimise swelling to delicate soft tissue. Therefore allowing any position on the saddle to be possible – yes, even sitting towards the nose! Additionally, this saddle also comes in three different sizes which are: 143mm, 155mm and 168mm, therefore supporting a range of sizes and needs. Overall, this is a great option for any female rider, especially commuters, who want versatility and comfort in a sleek saddle.
ISM PL 1.0
PL 1.0 saddle for long-range performance
Comfort for hours in the saddle
ISM is a popular brand of saddles among both female and male riders and are known for their interesting design. For example, instead of having a cut out, the nose of the ISM has two prongs to sit on, allowing for better blood flow and therefore less numbness and more comfort. This is a great option for female riders doing a lot of riding such as commuting or road riding, the PL 1.0 (which replaced the ISM Podium) is from the performance long range which has been specifically designed for hours in the saddle. Although this is a very comfortable saddle, it is only available in the one width size, but due to the positioning should be suitable for all sit bones. Although this saddle takes a little getting used to at first, due to its unique design, it is overall a great saddle for those doing hours in the saddle.
Best Bike Saddle for Plus Size Females
Liv Contact Comfort Plus
Liv is a female oriented brand that was created by Giant in order to FOCUS efforts on creating the best products to suit all types of female riders needs, and their saddles are no exception to this. The Contact Comfort Plus has been designed with optimal comfort in mind which is aided by the central cut out to reduce pressure and numbness of female soft tissue, pressure relieving D2 base and generous padding. Also, the saddle is slightly wider than the other saddles, measuring a width of 169mm, meaning that it is a great option for those wanting a little extra comfort and support when sitting in the saddle.
Most Comfortable Bicycle Saddle for Older Women
Upright riding position suitability
The Specialized Expedition women’s saddle is a great option for women who are a little older who may want comfort and sit bone protection from a saddle. This saddle will also suit more upright riding positions, therefore will be perfect for city bikes and hybrids. Overall, the Specialized Expedition saddle mainly consists of a gel pad, which offers a great amount of comfort for bones and soft tissue in comparison to thinner more ‘road style’ saddles, which tend to have far less padding. Although this saddle is only available in the one size, because it’s already very wide it should be more than wide enough to cater to everyone’s needs and provide comfort for sore sit bones that have had enough of painful pedalling.
Fizik Luce S-Alloy
Cut-out design for soft tissue discomfort
Wider sitting area for better support
Two size options (145mm and 155mm)
Italian based Fikiz have been a firm favorite among many cyclists for their saddles. The women’s Luce S-Alloy has a a cut out in the middle to reduce soft tissue discomfort and a wider sitting area at the back for support. over, the Luce S-Alloy comes in two sizes which are 145mm (regular) and 155mm (large) allowing for customers to select the one best suited to themselves. Towards the nose the saddle narrows in order to improve weight distribution and reduce friction around the thigh area for optimal comfort. Interestingly, Fizik also have their own virtual bike shopping feature where a questionnaire helps to determine their recommended perfect saddle for you. A really helpful feature for those who don’t want to trawl through saddles before finding the one.
How Can I Make My Bike Saddle Less Painful?
First and foremost, the most cost effective solution to make your bike saddle less painful would be to buy a gel saddle cover. This simply fastens around your current saddle to make it more squishy and comfortable. Next, another solid solution would be to invest in a comfy pair of padded short / padded liners. The extra support from the chamois in either will make a huge difference for your overall comfort.
What Helps a Sore Bum from Cycling?
Undercarriage discomfort from broken, irritated or chafed skin can be eased by investing in a PH friendly chamois cream to use while riding and a nappy rash style cream post-ride to treat the sore area. This may sound bizarre but it does work very effectively. However, in the long run riding will get easier this is because your body, especially your sit bones and skin, become accustom to the positionining in the saddle. Therefore, the pain will thankfully more than likely subside. Just like wearing-in a new pair of shoes.
Prime options for when you want to crunch miles, not vertebrae.
One of the coolest things about bikes is that you can absolutely love more than one, for a multitude of different reasons. Maybe you have a bike that’s been passed down in the family, and even though the electrics need some work and it has a nice oil puddle where it sits, you just don’t have the heart to let it go. While you might not trust it to go on any long trips any time soon, it’s a lot easier (and usually less expensive) to find space for multiple bikes than it is with multiple cars.
Still, the bike you take to track days or the one you take trail riding probably isn’t the same one you want to munch miles with. With that in mind, here’s a list of 10 bikes that are available in 2023 that should help you eat up those miles (or kilometers, up to you) in total comfort, and maybe even before you know it.
Ducati Multistrada V2 S
While Ducati might be known for its sportbikes, the latest version of the Multistrada V2 S kept the 937cc Testastretta engine, but gave the composition some important tweaks. For one, it smoothed out the gearbox to give a more pleasant riding experience. It also revised ergonomics, offering ride heights between 31.1 inches and 32.6 inches—after all, comfort for a tall rider and a short rider often don’t come in the same dimensions.
Ducati also shaved a total of 11 pounds off the latest Multistrada V2 S, coming up with a bike that weighs a claimed 445 pounds dry. The full electronics suite gives riders options for Sport, Touring, Urban, and Enduro riding, and of course, we can’t forget the Ducati Skyhook Suspension EVO on the V2 S. This might be the least expensive member of the Multistrada family that Ducati currently offers, but that certainly doesn’t mean that the team from Borgo Panigale skimped on the rider comforts.
One of the things that helps make touring more comfortable is aerodynamic fairings—like the ones you’ll find on the GSX-S1000GT. Built around the same 999cc inline-four engine found in the GSX-R1000, you get a whole host of function and comfort additions that make the cockpit a great place to spend hours at a time.
Suzuki’s Clutch Assist System with Quick Shift makes shifting a snap, and you also get nice features like cruise control, a fully-adjustable KYB suspension, Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, ABS, ride modes, and a 6.5-inch TFT display with Bluetooth connectivity. Oh, and did we mention that those color-matched side cases come standard on this machine? Leave them at home, or load them up for your next getaway—your choice.
Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
If you love the ZX-14’s bonkers 1,352cc inline four-cylinder engine, but you wish it came in a nicely-outfitted sport touring package, congratulations: the Concours 14 ABS is here for you. What’s better than power, aerodynamic fairings, rider comfort, and plenty of storage space for the items you want to bring on your journey? The added bonus of a thoroughly reliable and low-maintenance shaft drive.
While this isn’t the only bike on this list with shaft drive, if that’s a feature you’re looking for, it’s definitely a bike to consider. That said, if you’re looking for something lightweight, this is not your bike. The curb weight tips the scales at 672.5 pounds without the saddlebags, and 690.2 pounds with them installed.
Honda Gold Wing
Honda’s stalwart big boxer touring bike is a perennial favorite among riders in the market for this type of bike for multiple reasons, not the least of which is its combination of power, comfort, and shaft-driven reliability. In 2023, the base model is the Gold Wing Automatic DCT, but you could also spend a little more and bump up to the Gold Wing Tour, which adds a passenger seat and capacious top box. Get a little spendier and you can have the Gold Wing Tour Automatic DCT or Tour Airbag Automatic DCT if you prefer.
Honda’s double wishbone front suspension ensures comfort for both rider and passenger, while features like Hill Start Assist and an electric windscreen only serve to strengthen an already formidable touring package. Seat height is a very approachable 29.3 inches, but curb weight is an extremely hefty 804 pounds.
As far as sport touring machines go, the FJR is a classic. Powered by a 1,298cc inline four-cylinder engine with a six-speed gearbox, it also comes with all the comforts most riders expect from a modern bike in this category. Traction control, cruise control, ride modes, lean-angle-sensitive LED lighting, a push-button adjustable windscreen, and more all come standard—as do the hard side bags. This bike also comes with a shaft drive and heated grips as standard features.
MV Agusta Turismo Veloce
MSRP: 21,398 is the starting price for the Lusso
If you want the thrill of a triple in an extremely sporty sport-touring package, look no further than the Turismo Veloce. Its 798cc three-cylinder mill puts out a claimed 110 horsepower at 10,150 rpm, and has a dry weight of 192 kilograms—or just over 423 pounds. Want to make life easier and/or sportier on yourself? For a bit more money, you can opt for the Turismo Veloce Lusso SCS (that’s the semi-automatic clutch system), or the RC SCS.
Now, obviously, if you load it up with luggage and/or a passenger, that weight will increase—but what you find comfortable all depends on finding the right balance between sportiness, comfort, and power, right? Also, we know that aesthetics are completely subjective, but the Turismo Veloce is easily among the prettiest bikes on this list.
Moto Guzzi V100 Mandello S
The V100 Mandello S represents a massive leap forward for Moto Guzzi—and indeed, for sport touring fans, as well. Featuring an all-new, 1,042cc 90-degree V-twin engine that outputs a claimed 115 horsepower at 8,700 rpm and 105 newton-meters (or 77-ish pound feet) of torque at 6,750 rpm that’s mated to a six-speed gearbox, the V100 Mandello S packs bells and whistles galore.
Those familiar with other Guzzis won’t be surprised about the shaft drive, but what if we told you that the V100 Mandello S also gets a semi-active Ohlins suspension, Brembo Monobloc brake calipers, adaptive aerodynamics, cruise control, LED lighting, heated grips, an electronically-adjustable windscreen, and an up and down quickshifter fitted as standard equipment? You don’t have to pinch yourself, Moto Guzzi is completely living in the present and we are here for it.
BMW K 1600 GT
The K 1600 GT boasts BMW’s inimitable 1,649cc six-cylinder engine, which makes a claimed 160 horsepower at 6,750 rpm and 132.7 pound-feet of torque at 5,250 rpm. It’s mated to a six-speed gearbox, and this machine is shaft-driven. The front suspension utilizes BMW’s Duolever system, while the rear is a Paralever setup. Curb weight is 756.2 pounds, hard side cases included.
While the base K 1600 GT is nice, you can of course up the comfort and touring capabilities with some of BMW’s additional packages that offer things like Shift Assist Pro (look ma, no clutch), or the Option 719 line of accessories. Want a more bagger look, or plan to ride extensively two-up? Opt for the K 1600 B or K 1600 GTL instead—BMW’s not here to tell you how to tour, it just wants to help you do it.
KTM 1290 Super Adventure S
Speaking of bells and whistles, the 1290 Super Adventure S is KTM’s entry into that particular category. It’s powered by KTM’s 1,301cc V-twin LC8 engine, which is mated to a six-speed Pankl transmission and Pasc slipper clutch. Features include a semi-active suspension, adaptive cruise control, an illuminated menu switch on the bars (crucial in low-light conditions), adjustable windscreen, adjustable footpegs, LED lighting, a massive 7-inch TFT display, and even a USB phone to keep your phone charged while you’re on the go.
Rider aids include traction control, cornering ABS, and a tire pressure monitoring system. It also has self-cancelling turn signals, which could just spoil you for other bikes you might have that don’t have this feature. A host of side and top case options, as well as other accessories, are available both from KTM and from aftermarket manufacturers—but be aware that none of those storage options comes stock at this price.
Harley-Davidson Pan America 1250 Special
The latest and greatest technological breakthroughs don’t always automatically equate with comfort—but in the case of Harley-Davidson, the Pan America 1250 Special represents an impressive leap forward in comfort, capability, and even accessibility—adaptive ride height, anyone?
Tall riders may not care all that much, but for shorter riders, the system (even though it’s a 1,200 option) is nothing short (ha) of a revelation. When you’re talking about the concept of comfort, one question you need to ask is, “comfortable for whom?” As we’ve said before, different riders have different requirements and comfort levels—and this bike does a lot to satisfy a wide range of riders.
There is, of course, more to the Pan America 1250 Special than that. It’s powered by the MoCo’s Revolution Max 1250 engine, which makes a claimed 150 horsepower at 9,000 rpm and 94 pound-feet of torque. Features include a semi-active suspension, radially-mounted monoblock brake calipers, LED lighting, 6.8-inch TFT display, tire pressure monitoring system, ABS, electronic linked braking, traction control, hill hold control, drag-torque slip control system, wheelie control, and cruise control. Luggage and a full host of accessories are available both from Harley and on the aftermarket, if you so desire.
Best commuter bike | What’s the best bike for commuting in 2023?
The key to choosing the best commuter bike is ensuring it’s comfortable and practical for the type of riding you intend to do.
If your commute is short and you’re not in a rush, your best bike for commuting could be a flat-bar bike, such as a hybrid or mountain bike. Or, if you want to cover lots of ground quickly, a drop-bar road or gravel bike may be a better choice for you.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll talk you through the options and recommend bikes in each category that have earned the approval of our expert reviewers. You’re unlikely to commit to regularly commuting to work by bike in all weather conditions if it’s a chore in the first place, so we’ve put together this handy guide to help you choose the best commuter bike for you.
The best commuter bike in 2023
Hybrid and flat-bar road bikes: the best all-round commuter bike
Hybrid bikes are a popular choice for bike commuters, thanks to their versatility. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
A hybrid bike is best thought of as a hardy road bike that takes some influence from mountain bikes. It borrows its off-road cousin’s flat handlebars and a more upright, traffic- and comfort-friendly position.
Like a road bike, modern hybrids are usually built around 700c wheels. However, the tyres are often wider than a road bike’s – but usually not as wide as a mountain bike – enabling you to traverse rough roads and gravel paths comfortably, especially with the best gravel bike tyres.
Most hybrids have a rigid fork, but some are also sold with cheaper suspension forks. While the idea of suspension may seem appealing, be wary, because most models have heavy low-end forks that add little to the comfort of the bike.
Cheaper hybrids usually have rim brakes, while the best hybrid bikes are equipped with disc brakes.
Disc brakes offer more powerful, predictable and reliable braking – even in the rain – than rim brakes. They are definitely something you should look out for.
Hybrid bikes are also hugely versatile, with many bikes ready to go with bosses and mounts for every accessory imaginable. This makes them ideal for conversion to other duties, such as touring.
It’s also worth looking out for hybrids with accessories. Adding on mudguards, a rack and lights is expensive, so these packages often present good value for money.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for a general-use bike or are a dedicated commuter who prefers an upright position in traffic, a flat-bar hybrid is a great choice for you.
- Pros: Fairly quick; hugely versatile; confidence-inspiring upright position
- Cons: Not the lightest or most comfortable bike for longer distances
3 of the best hybrid commuter bikes, as rated by our expert testers
This is a small selection of the best hybrid bikes for commuting. Head to our full list of the best hybrid bikes for more.
Canyon Commuter 7
A brilliant ride and fine handling make for an excellent commuter. Russell Burton / Immediate Media
Besides being a joy to pedal, the Canyon Commuter 7 comes with commuting accessories, such as dynamo lighting, a rack and mudguards. The Gates belt drive shifts well and cuts down on drivechain maintenance.
Ribble Hybrid AL
The Ribble Hybrid AL can be bought with a rack and mudguards ready-fitted. Steve Sayers / Our Media
The Ribble Hybrid AL is a robust, comfortable bike that can take the rigours of commuting. Fitted with wide tyres on 650b rims, it will soak up a lot of road imperfections and, using the Ribble bike builder, you can choose from a wide range of specs and extras including mudguards and a rear rack.
Cannondale Treadwell EQ
The Cannondale Treadwell EQ has a front rack (which can carry up to 10kg), panniers and rack mounts for extra luggage. Its mudguards are fairly protective, its brakes are good and its gearing is suitable for town riding.
Electric commuter bikes: best if you need a hand up the hills
As technology has matured and their adoption has become widespread, there’s no denying that electric bikes have become an increasingly dominant force in the cycling market and electric bikes for commuting are a great option.
While the proponents and haters of ebikes will debate whether or not they have a place in the cycling world, we at BikeRadar are big fans of them.
Not only do they open up cycling to a broader audience, but the best electric bikes also enable more experienced cyclists to cover far greater distances.
And this ability to cover ground easily comes into its own with an electric commuter bike.
Electric bikes can improve your fitness. Plus, they enable those who live out of town to ride long distances to work, even with a heavy load.
One of the misconceptions about electric bikes is that they do all the work for you, which is not the case. With the helping hand an electric bike motor affords, ‘assist‘ is the key word here.
You still have to pedal on an ebike and will invariably tire yourself out riding one, you’ll just do it over a far greater distance than on a regular bike.
Of course, there’s a weight and price penalty to pay with an ebike, but the technology that powers them is becoming more accessible.
While we don’t want to speculate too much, we foresee modern, ultra-reliable ebikes becoming a truly viable car alternative in years to come.
With that in mind, for those who live a distance from work, it’s definitely worth considering whether ditching the car (and the cost of running one) and investing in an electric bike for commuting is a viable option.
- Pros: Possible to cover great distances, even when loaded; very efficient; a true car alternative
- Cons: Heavy; must be recharged; expensive (for now)
3 of the best electric commuter bikes, as rated by our expert testers
This is a small selection of the best electric bikes for commuting. Head to our full list of the best electric hybrid bikes for more.
Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0
The Specialized Turbo Vado 4.0 is well specced for commuting, with lights, mudguards, a rack and a kickstand. There’s also a suspension fork and seatpost to add comfort. Range is good and the powerful motor adds plenty of assistance, although at 25kg it’s heavy to move around when you’re not riding.
Tern Quick Haul P9
If you need to carry a larger load on your commute, an electric cargo bike could be the answer. The motor really helps keep you moving and, in the case of the Tern Quick Haul, you can load up with up to 70kg of cargo. It stands on its rack for more compact storage too.
Canyon Precede:ON CF 9
Stunning looks mean the Canyon Precede:ON CF 9 stands out on the commute. Russel Burton / Immediate Media
Canyon has given the Precede:ON sleek looks with a high-capacity integrated battery and a belt drive to reduce maintenance and cleaning. Continuously variable transmission makes gear shifts a thing of the past. The motor gives plenty of assistance and the bike feels stable but agile, despite its 23kg weight.
Folding commuter bikes: best if your commute involves public transport
The Brompton P Line’s steel and titanium frame sections make moving it around a doddle. Lucy Rowe / Our Media
Most often built around diminutive 16in or 20in wheels, folding bikes, as the name suggests, fold down into impressively small packages that can be stored neatly at either end of your journey.
The best folding bikes are also ideal for those who don’t intend to ride the entire way to work, completing part of the journey by public transport – or, if you prefer, go ‘multimodal’.
Due to their small wheels and the inevitable compromise that creating a packable bike demands, folding bikes won’t handle like a regular bike.
They also tend to feel pretty sluggish on the road, but how likely is it that you’ll be regularly razzing around the streets at full gas during rush hour on a folding bike anyway?
The next option is a folding electric commuter bike. The extra boost provided by the motor helps to compensate for a pedal-only folding bike’s slowish ride, even though the best folding electric bikes will weigh more than a pedal-only folding bike.
While some folding bikes are built around larger wheels, they don’t fold down nearly as compactly as their small-wheeled brethren, and some trains and buses won’t accept them. This only really makes these bikes useful when space is tight at home or work.
The undoubted market leader here is Brompton, with a clever design that has become something of a modern classic.
The British company’s newest model, the Brompton P Line, is the lightest yet and there’s even the Brompton Electric if you want some assistance.
However, there are lots of interesting options from other manufacturers too, such as Tern.
If convenience, easy storage and the ability to travel on public transport trump all, a folder is likely the right choice for you.
- Pros: Incredibly convenient to store and travel with
- Cons: Not as sprightly, confidence-inspiring or comfortable as a ‘full-sized’ bike
3 of the best folding commuter bikes, as rated by our expert testers
This is a small selection of the best folding bikes. Head to our full list of the best folding bikes for more.
Brompton P Line
Despite weighing a willowy 10kg, the speedy Brompton P Line remains practical. It has a front carrier rack and folds up easily.
The MiRider ONE is a compact electric folder that offers up to 45 miles on a charge. The ride is nippy and the wide tyres help cushion the road well. It’s also quick to fold and its 17.2kg weight isn’t excessive for an electric folding bike. It’s available as a singlespeed or a geared bike.
Best Saddles For Touring: Most Comfortable Bike Seats For Cycling
Bike touring involves long hours in the saddle, so you’ve got to be kind to your butt! This guide to the best saddles for touring will help you on your quest to find a comfortable bike seat for cycling long distances.
Best Saddle For Bike Touring
There is no one size fits all solution to any aspect of bicycle touring, particularly when it comes to choosing a saddle. We’re all built differently, have different riding styles, and want different things.
What’s comfortable in a bike saddle for me could be a nightmare for you, and vice-versa.
Throw into the mix considerations about weight, the ethical uses of leather, and a hundred other factors, and you can see why it’s a tough job finding the best touring saddle!
Men’s Cycling Saddles
A quick note – Men and women will have different needs when it comes to bicycle seats. At least, I am led to believe so.
I can’t pretend to say what type of saddle would be best for women. As I’m a guy, this guide to touring saddles is written from my perspective and experience.
What I would say, is that each of these saddle manufacturers is likely to have women’s ranges of saddles as well, so take a look at them if you wish.
What I would really love though, is feedback from any female cyclists about their opinions on the best saddles for women. Leave a comment at the end of the article on what you think is the most comfortable saddle!
Finding the best touring saddle
I’ve tried a few myself over the years when cycling from England to Cape Town, and Alaska to Argentina.
And to be honest, every single one I tried during those trips was literally a pain in the butt!
It was only a few years later that I tried a Brooks saddle when cycling from Greece to England. At that point, I realised I had found the Holy Grail and could stop searching – it was the perfect saddle for me!
As such, my personal recommendation of a good saddle for touring on a bicycle is the Brooks B17 Saddle.
Brooks B17 Saddle For Touring
The classic Brooks saddle is by far the most popular saddle for bicycle touring. This doesn’t mean that everyone rides one though, and one of the reasons for that can be price.
They aren’t cheap. Especially when compared to other bike saddles that seem to offer just as many benefits at a fraction of the price.
In fact, it was this price issue that put me off of buying a Brooks saddle for so many years. Whey would I spend 50 pounds more on a saddle? That might be an extra 5 days budget on a long distance cycling tour!
Take it from me, that was possibly the dumbest rationalization I’ve ever made for not buying one earlier. And I’ve made plenty of dumb rationalizations in my life.
After having bought one and then used it for a few weeks, and then months, the comfort was worth every single penny. Probably ten times that every single penny!
My recommendation – If you are starting out on your journey to find the best bicycle touring saddle, try a Brooks B17 and see how you get on. I for one wished I had done this earlier.
Check out my full review here: Brooks B17 Saddle
Brooks Cambium Saddle
One thing that puts some people off the Brooks saddle is that it is made of leather. If you fall into this category of person, you might prefer to try their Cambium saddle instead.
This has been designed as a long distance touring saddle, but made from vulcanised rubber with a cotton top.
I tried this saddle out for a few months, but didn’t really get along with it. I thought it was far inferior to the B17 saddle, and so swapped back.
Still, it’s worth a try if you don’t want a leather saddle for bike touring.
Check out my full review here: Cambium C17 Saddle Review
Of course, Brooks aren’t the only company who make bike touring saddles. Their are dozens of manufacturers out there to choose from.
I can’t honestly say I’ve tried them all, but I’ve been through quite a few, including two dollar saddles picked up at street markets in Africa!
As such, I decided to ask some cyclists in a group which non-Brooks touring saddles they were happy with. Their remarks brought back a mixed bag so to speak. Here’s a few of their recommendations:
Charge Spoon Cycling Saddle
For anyone that doesn’t like a wide saddle such as the Brooks B17, the Charge Spoon is a good choice. It’s also pretty wallet friendly, and is made of synthetic leather.
This is a good saddle for anyone that doesn’t want to maintain a leather saddle, and prefers not worrying about what happens when the saddle gets wet. One cyclist mentioned that they felt the synthetic leather top wore out too quickly though.
An Italian company with a similarly long heritage as Brooks, Selle Italia make a range of saddle, some of which may be more suited to long distance bike touring than others.
Personally, I find their sheer range a little overwhelming when it comes to choosing which Selle Italia saddle is the best for long distance cycling.
This US saddle brand was also mentioned by a couple of cyclists. Like many manufacturers, they have a variety of bicycle saddles made of different materials, some of which may be more suited to bike touring than others.
I’ve personally never gone for the cut-out type saddle these guys seem to specialize in, but they might be a good choice for men with prostate issues.
saddles for bike touring
In addition to the bike seats mentioned above, you might want to spend some time researching these other saddles which may be suitable for touring:
- Fizik Saddles – The company ethos seems to be geared toward performance than bike touring, but you may find a bike seat for long distance cycle trips in their catalogue. The Aliante range seems most suited.
- Prologo Zero II – Perhaps more suited to road cycling, but certainly an option worth considering.
- SDG Belair – A bike saddle that is popular in MTB circles, it may also be comfortable seat for longer bicycle rides.
- Selle SMP Pro – World record setting cyclist Mark Beaumont uses these (or did at least once). He’s not your average cyclist though! It doesn’t look the most comfortable bike saddle to me, but if you want to set records, maybe it’s a great choice!
- Tioga Spyder – A series of crazy looking designs that resemble spider’s webs. Does this make them comfortable bike saddles though?
Riding Style and Body Position
Before signing off, here’s some final thoughts on riding position and the effect of long rides.
Everyone has an individual riding style, although it must be said that most bike tourers set themselves up for comfort over speed. Or at least, it makes sense to do that!
Bicycle tourists should keep in mind that body position, width of the sit bones and flexibility of the lower back will all play a part in what the best saddle width and shape is for you.
Bicycle travellers with a more upright position when they are riding (that’s me!) may need a wider saddle and perhaps wear good padded cycling shorts.
Aggressive riders who ride in a more sporty position might prefer a firmer saddle to a soft saddle.
In general, when touring and bikepacking, you’ll find yourself sitting on the bicycle saddle for some pretty long rides. 80kms a day doesn’t sound a lot, but on day 20, 30,or 40 you’ll probably wish for heavier but firmer touring bike saddles over the soft gel type that casual riders prefer.
Bike Saddle FAQ
When readers are looking for the best touring bike saddles for their next trip, they often have questions similar to:
What is the best touring saddle?
When it comes to bicycle touring saddles, the Brooks England B17 is perhaps the most popular due to its solid construction and comfort on long rides.
How do I choose a touring bike saddle?
We all have different riding positions and requirements when it comes to saddle comfort. One way to choose the right saddle size, is to go into a bike shop and see if they have a sit bones width tool.
What is sit bone width?
On average, male sit bone width ranges from 100mm to 140mm (give or take a few mm), while female sit bone width varies from 110mm to 150mm.
Are carved saddles more comfortable?
If you have a tendency to suffer from soft tissue pain more than sit bones pane, you might find that a carved saddle gives you a more comfortable ride.
– Dave Briggs Dave wrote this travel guide about the best saddle for touring, sharing his experiences of cycling all over the world. You can find more gear reviews and tips for cycling touring here are Dave’s Travel Pages.
Follow Dave on social media for travel, adventure and bike touring inspiration:
Buyer’s Guide To Comfort And Hybrid Bikes
Looking for an easy and affordable way to enjoy the outdoors and live more Green? Wishing you could find a stress-free and more manageable approach to getting your everyday errands done? Want some excellent exercise, while visiting with family and friends at the same time?
All this is yours, simply by getting and riding the right Comfort or Hybrid bicycle, and this article is designed to help.
First, keep in mind that there are many categories of bikes and crossover between categories. While Comfort and Hybrid bikes handle many types of cycling and offer plenty of features to satisfy everyone, there are also City, Commuter, Town and even Cruiser bikes that offer many of these same features and benefits. And all of them are probably easier to ride and more comfortable than what you may be used to, especially if you’re making due with an older bike.
Read the guidelines here to learn more and feel free to call with any questions. Even better, visit our store to see the different models, learn about the many recent improvements that make biking easier and more fun than ever, and take some for a spin to feel the wonderful rides for yourself.
Start With These Questions
Here are a few easy questions/considerations to help you select the best bike:
The last question is one of the best ways to determine which bike type, Comfort or Hybrid, is the correct choice. If you envision leisurely Sunday rides, family outings in search of the perfect picnic spot and having fun while you exercise, a Comfort bike is a great choice.
These bikes emphasize comfort over efficiency with suspension features and cushioned seats to make the bumps disappear, and wider, higher handlebars for an easy-on-the-back-and-neck upright riding position. On a Comfort bike, you’ll pedal down the road almost as comfortably as sitting at home on your couch.
But, let’s say you’re looking more for an alternative to driving. And/or you plan to ride longer distances, climb hills and work a bit to get in better shape. You still want to be comfortable, but you’re interested in lightness, nimble handling and even easy climbing. For these things, a Hybrid bike, a versatile jack-of-all-trades, is ideal.
Hybrids are lighter and roll and pedal more easily than Comfort bikes. Plus, some Hybrids are designed for occasional off-road use, too, so you can enjoy the best of both cycling worlds, the convenience of pavement, the solitude of backwoods routes.
Hybrid versus Comfort
So what else sets these regal rides apart? The easiest way to tell the two apart is by wheel and tire size, as follows:
Comfort bikes use the 26-inch tire standard commonly found on mountain bikes. These wide tires provide a comfortable cushion of air so you float over bumps and rough terrain. Plus, it’s possible to install knobby tires should you want to ride most of the time on dirt roads.
Hybrid bikes usually (but not always) use the Road bike’s 700c tire standard. These are lighter to roll more easily on pavement for easy acceleration and climbing. There are 700c tires in different widths and treads for riding on all surfaces.
Besides this wheel difference, there are other distinguishing characteristics to understand that we explain in the following chart:
The frame is the backbone of any bicycle and, like other bike models, Comfort and Hybrid bikes feature a variety of different frame materials. Here’s how they compare:
High-Tensile Steel PROS: Strong, most affordable, nice ride; usually found on entry-level bikes CONS: Weighs more and can rust if not cared for
Chromoly SteelPROS: An affordable steel alloy offering light weight and a great rideCONS: May rust if not cared for; more expensive than High-Tensile Steel
AluminumPROS: Light, strong, affordable, rust/corrosion resistant, great rideCONS: expensive than High-Tensile Steel
Carbon-fiber and Carbon/aluminum compositesPROS: Lightest, strong and rust/corrosion resistant, great rideCONS: Most expensive
A common feature on today’s Hybrids and Comfort bikes is a suspension fork (photo). These compress to absorb impacts from bumps, cracks, ruts and obstacles. This insulates you from jolts for a smoother and more comfortable ride and ensures that you remain in control even over rough surfaces.
Suspension forks work their magic with air springs, coil springs or rubber springs called elastomers inside that make the rough stuff disappear. We recommend riding different bicycles and comparing how various forks feel. If you like the handling and comfort of one over another, it’s a good reason to select that model bicycle.
Note, that there are also bicycles without suspension forks. These still ride nicely and may cost less and be slightly lighter than models with shock forks. If you ride on smooth roads and trails and don’t feel the need for suspension these are certainly worth considering.
Suspension seatposts are another excellent feature found on many Comfort bikes and Hybrids. You’ll love how they smooth rough terrain and pothole-covered roads absorbing vibrations and impacts that would otherwise be transmitted to your seat and lower back. They’re also light and simple so as not to require much maintenance.
Keep in mind that, should you find a bike you love that doesn’t have a suspension seatpost, it’s usually possible to add one, too (sold separately).
Some of the greatest advances in bicycle technology have been in gearing. On modern bikes it’s easie r than ever to change gears and this means it’s easier to ride than ever, too. You can also get Comfort and Hybrid bikes with the right gearing to handle even challenging terrain with ease. This is one of the reasons why we recommend thinking about where you plan to ride your new bike. If where you ride is pretty flat, you can get by on a bike with fewer gears than if you plan to ride rolling or hilly terrain.
For example, you’ll find bikes with up to 8-speed gearing (above) that are great for neighborhood rides or bike lane riding. If you plan to pull a trailer and hits some hills, though, you’ll do better with a 14- to 30-speed drivetrain (below) because these offer lower/easier gearing, which helps greatly with the extra effort of climbing and pulling a trailer or carrying gear. Regardless of which gearing you cho ose, modern bikes shift with a simple push of a button-style lever, or by twisting the shifter. And, you no longer have to feel for gears, either. You just click the bike into gear and it’s almost immediately easier or harder to pedal.
You’ll love it and it ends all the worries about shifting. In fact, most Comfort and Hybrid bikes even show you exactly what gear you’re in.
You’ll also love the advanced braking on Comfort and Hybrid bicycles. You’ll have more control over your speed and be able to stop fast with very little hand effort. If it’s been a while since you’ve ridden, you’ll be impressed with the new systems, which rival power brakes in automobiles.
Most Comfort bikes and Hybrids are equipped with rim brakes called linear- or direct-pull brakes (photo) or hub brakes, which are integral to the front and/or rear wheel hubs.
You may also see some featuring disc brakes, the newest brake type, which sport calipers and rotors at the center of the wheels, car-style.
In general, any given bicycle will have brakes suited to the riding use it was designed for. For example, linear-pulls are powerful stoppers and excellent for all-round riding, from casual neighborhood rambles to commuting every workday, even in nasty weather.
Hub brakes are usually found on bicycles designed for less rigorous riding and are more designed for durability and low maintenance than extreme-conditions stopping power.
Keep in mind that there’s nothing like a test ride to feel the difference in brakes and see what you like best. We can also make recommendation based on the riding you plan to do.
While you may not be able to tell at first glance, one of the things most improved on modern bicycles is the seat. Engineers and designers have pulled out all the stops to provide ergonomics, materials and features to make them ultra comfy and supportive.
You’ll find anatomical shapes, cutouts to eliminate pressure on soft tissue (which prevents numbness and pain), flexible frames, gel padding and cushioning springs. Sometimes, all of these things in the same seat, even.
Still, the most important thing is making sure that the seat on the bike is the right one for you. Everyone’s different so you should sit on the seats and try them out to make sure that they’re right for you (we can easily swap seats, too). And, even on a great seat, it takes a few rides to get your body used to riding, so be sure to pedal for a few days before judging your new throne.
We’ll Make It Fit Like A Glove
Perhaps our most important job in helping you get the right Comfort or Hybrid bicycle is ensuring that it’s the right size, and then fine-tuning it to fit you properly.
While our inventory might not include Armani, Versace, or Prada, we are expert tailors when it comes to fitting bicycles. And, we’ll take a careful look at you on the various bicycles you’re considering to see that the one you choose fits perfectly.
And, once you pick out a bike, we’ll adjust it to fit perfectly. This will guarantee that it’s as comfortable and as easy to ride as possible. What’s more, if you have any questions about operating the new machine, we can explain and demonstrate proper shifting and braking, wheel removal and anything else you need to know to fully enjoy your new bike.
We recommend planning on spending a portion of your cycling budget on some important cycling accessories to go with that new bike.
For example, if you don’t already have a good one, you’ll want to purchase a helmet. New models are safer, more affordable, lighter and more comfortable than ever. (And, helmets weaken with age so, for your own safety, you shouldn’t ride in an old, worn-out one.)
To protect your purchase, you’ll also want a good lock. If you plan to ride further from home than you’d like to walk back, you should pick up a spare tube, tire levers and a take-along pump so you can fix a flat tire, too. If you don’t know how to fix a flat tire, we can show you how.
And, as you take on other adventures on your great new bicycle, we have plenty of other goodies to enhance your cycling, such as cycling shorts (spandex not required), cycling shoes that boost your pedal power, stylish and protective cycling eyewear, padded gloves, tasty and healthy energy foods and drinks, entertaining books and magazines with all kinds of excellent cycling information, and a lot more.
We look forward to showing you our selection of Comfort and Hybrid bicycles. Come on in, let us demonstrate all the new features, then test ride some different models and you’ll be on your way to bicycling bliss!