Comfortable Bike Seats

Hello my fellow cyclettes!  Finding the most comfortable bike seats for ladies can be a daunting challenge – not only because there are so many bike saddles on the market from which to choose, but also because this can be a very…sensitive…subject to discuss. In fact, many women are so embarrassed to discuss saddle soreness, they either give up cycling or, worse yet, they continue riding in pain indefinitely.  We think your lady bits deserve better!

#1 Pick for Most Comfortable Bike Saddle for Women

Having sorted through dozens of saddles, we think the most comfortable bike seats for ladies are the ever popular, Italian-made Terry saddles. Our #1 pick is:  Terry Women’s Butterfly Century Bike Saddle – Black

What Cyclists Have to Say About the Butterfly Saddle:

  • “I can’t believe how comfortable this saddle is-after 2 days in the saddle, I felt very little soreness or fatigue…Highly recommend!”
  • “Best saddle ever and I tried out 7 saddles.”
  • “Best saddle yet! I bought this saddle because I’ve been fighting saddle sores on long rides.”
  • “The saddle made riding fun. I was able to stay on the bike longer. No more after ride discomfort.”

Our #2 Pick for Best Female Bike Seat

We also want to give a shout out to Brooks Saddles – Handmade in England, which consistently get high marks from cyclists everywhere. The particular seat shown below, the B67, is a leather variety. Some people may be put off by the appearance of springs, however this lends itself to serious comfort, especially on bumpy or uneven terrain. It also has a cool vintage feel, which we think is rather awesome!

What Do Cyclists Have to Say About the B67?

  • “I have used this saddle for over a year now. My sit bones have never complained no matter how far I have ridden.”
  • “It is so comfortable, I often don’t wear bike shorts on rides 10-15 miles. I took my bike into two separate bike shops and got compliments on the look.”
  • Immediately comfortable right out of the box, and I love the textured leather that makes you not slide around in the saddle.
  • Great choice for ladies who like comfortable, classic looking bikes

Our #3 Pick for Most Comfortable Bike Seat:

One of the most popular bike seats on the market today is the Selle SMP TRK saddle. The most attractive bike seat to top our list is this beauty by Selle.  Its patented shape is designed to increase blood flow and distribute body weight evenly. Female cyclists rave about the gently downward-sloped nose, which prevents the saddle from making contact with the clitoral area. The SMP TRK’s race-style shape makes any bike look great!

What Riders Think of the Selle SMP TRK:

  • “Awesome saddle for pain relief in lady parts.”
  • “The open center also provides ventilation.”
  • “I love how this saddle has made cycling so much more enjoyable and not only that but it is a beautiful looking saddle as well.”

Summary of Our Top Picks:

If you want an all-around good bike seat with a straightforward style, go for the Terry saddle. If you like a fuller seat with a wider saddle and love vintage styles, opt for the Brooks. And finally, if you want a race-style saddle that can conform to your body through various positions on the bike, try the Selle bike seat. You can’t go wrong with any of these!

Why Seat Comfort Really Matters:

There are only three points of contact while riding your bike, which are your hands, pelvic bones and feet. As such, comfort at each contact point is of extreme importance. So ladies, let us end this pelvic impropriety once and for all. After all, our lady parts deserve better!

Let’s get down to business right up front (no pun intended): our lady parts are comprised of soft tissues, nerves and arteries. As such, our sensitive areas need to be cradled correctly while in the saddle for an enjoyable ride to ensue.  Pick the wrong bike seat and you will quickly become one sore sport! (Forgive me; I cannot stop these puns from coming to me!)

A “bad” saddle, or rather, a saddle that is not compatible with your body, can cause irritation, tingling, numbness, redness and/or saddle sores. This can happen anywhere from your labia to the vaginal area and all the way to your rump. An excessively large bike seat with too much padding can create friction and chaffing along your inner thighs, as well. Not cool.

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Factors that Impact Saddle Comfort

Gender and Anatomy

Gender plays a role in saddle comfort because of pelvic size. Women traditionally have a slightly larger pelvic space between the sit bones than men because of the need for additional space during childbirth. However, you may be surprised to learn that the difference in space between the sit bones for women versus men is not that much bigger.

Therefore, if you happen to be a very small, petite female then you may actually enjoy a more masculine bike seat. This is because the “sweet spot” of the padding (i.e. the most dense cushioning) will make contact with your sit bones in a narrower area than a traditionally female-oriented bike saddle.

Meanwhile, a woman with a larger skeletal frame, and presumably a larger space between the sit bones, would do better with a wider base of cushioning for appropriate support of the pelvic bones.

Body Weight

It goes without saying that heavier body weight equals more downward pressure on the bike saddle. Riders over 150 pounds may have an extremely poor experience on a bike made with cheap steel rails (we will discuss saddle materials in greater detail in #4 below), whereas a slim rider may find she can get away with cheaper materials if budget is a concern.

Seating Position

The position in which you typically ride contributes heavily to the pressure points you’ll feel under your hindquarters. Some cyclists prefer a more relaxed position and a ride at a slower pace, sitting slightly upright as they pedal. Other cyclists may take a more “race style” position, leaning forward and pushing their head out as they ride. This helps the cyclist to generate better aero (speed).

For a cyclist that prefers an upright “cruiser” position, a wider bike saddle should be considered for extra bum support. A narrower nose can be tolerated, since less of the female genitalia will make contact with the nose.

On the other hand, a cyclist that leans forward doesn’t need as wide of a seat. A rider in the “race position” elongates her body as she cycles, spreading weight over a larger area of the bike seat and eliminating the need for a wide saddle. These bike chicks may prefer a nose and body that have a small divot or cut out to relieve pressure and a smaller sweet spot of cushioning.

Our recommendation is: Well, geez, this is an easy one! Ride in whatever position is most comfortable for you. But if you have never tried any other position, it might be worth giving the opposite style a “go!” At the very least, be mindful of your position and try to alternate at least a little bit. By alternating your seating position, you will vary the areas of contact and pressure, thereby ensuring that no one contact point is exhausted.

Saddle Materials and Design

Rails

The underneath of the bike seat has the sturdy rails that form the base of the bike seat. If you are looking for the most comfortable bike seat for ladies you would do very well with rails made of carbon or titanium to alleviate pressure and pain caused by hard steel materials used on cheaper bike seats. Rails manufactured with carbon or titanium are lighter but just as sturdy as steel.

Our recommendation is:  Definitely spring for carbon or titanium if your budget allows! We wouldn’t have it any other way!

Cutouts

As previously mentioned, many bike seats come with an option for a slight cut out in the middle of the saddle. Ever wonder what the purpose of this divot is? It is used for relieving pressure and weight in inappropriate areas.  Many cyclists believe saddles with cutouts are definitively the most comfortable bike seats for ladies, as this aids blood flow to your private parts, which is important in conquering saddle related soreness and numbness.

You will see this option offered on both men’s and women’s bike seats. The cut-out design has become an incredibly fast-growing trend. How do we feel about it?

Personally, we feel some bike saddle designers have gone overboard, almost as though it has become a competition to have the biggest cutout and the most unique looking saddle.  But while relieving pressure in your undercarriage may be a good thing, you still need space to rest your sit bones and tushy.

Our recommendation is:  Look for a moderate cutout, don’t be an overachiever. Your groin will thank you later.

Saddle Covering

Low-end, cheap bike saddles are covered with synthetic material (hard plastic) on top of a foam or gel padding material. This can be uncomfortable, particularly on longer ride. Other saddles are made with synthetic material, which is topped with a very thin layer of leather. And still others, though more rare, can be made entirely of leather. (These will need to be weather proofed and protected with a saddle cover).

Why leather, you ask? Think about your favorite leather jacket or boots. When you first purchase a leather item, it is firm and inflexible – perhaps slightly uncomfortable.   But as time goes by, that biker jacket starts to soften just a touch, molding to your body, hitting you at all the right places and making you look extra spritely. In time, a leather bike seat can be just as comfy as the leather jacket.

Our recommendation is: This depends on your budget, but if your bank balance allows for it, opt for a mid to high end material and avoid the hard plastics at all cost. Ouchy.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, when looking for the most comfortable bike seats for ladies you should take into account your anatomy, seating position, intended bike use and seat materials (and budget, of course!). Let us know your thoughts – which bike saddle do you love? Which did you hate? What is your experience in hunting down a comfortable bike seat? We would love to know!

Happy cycling to all!