Your guide to choosing bike saddles

Written by John Stevenson

1. Everyone's bum is different. What I like may not suit you and vice versa. Reviews of saddles that purport to do more than compare the features of a new saddle with a similar old model that doesn't have those features are probably worthless. A reviewer can tell you whether he or she finds Saddle X with Gel comfier than Saddle X, but to compare Saddles X and Y is pointless.

2. Mountain bikers simply don't spend enough time sitting on the thing for it to make a huge difference to anything. Companies like Specialized, which are selling anti-impotence saddles to mountain bikers, are guilty of cynicism (not to mention the self-destructive hype the bike industry excels at, but that's another rant.)

3. You get used to the saddle you use. I've switched saddles every which way over the years. I know I particularly like very dipped saddles like the WTB ones and some SDG models. But put me on a flat saddle and I'll grumble a bit for a ride or two, then get used to it.

4. No saddle is comfortable if you don't ride it much. If you only ride every couple of weeks, the tissues on your sit bones will never get used to being sat on, and you will always be sore.

5. Women, of course, are different. A bicycle saddle seems to be uniquely designed to damage female genital soft tissue, and this is tissue that, unlike the flesh on the sit-bones, is unable to toughen up. Terry style saddles with soft areas at the nose really do make a difference.

6. Gel doesn't work.