Most people agree: a bicycle saddle should be comfortable. But that is only half the battle. It is at least as important for the seat to promote a healthy posture on the bicycle. Especially when occasional back pain is an issue.
According to the latest statistics*, each of the around 75.5 million bicycles travelling Germany’s roads has its own problem zone: the bicycle saddle. Finding a seat that fits is not all that easy. What fits depends on whether a man or a woman is riding the bicycle, what it is used for and what the bicycle’s measurements and settings are.
Pretty much every cyclist has these problems: numbness, sitting complaints, back pain and tense muscles are common on a bicycle, even over short distances. Surprising when you think about it: there are high-tech models with all kinds of features, but a rigid, virtually immovable seat shell forms the basis of almost all seats. In combination with an unsuitable seat pad, this has a proven negative effect on circulation in the seat area, especially in the area of the perineum and genitals. Since the female and male anatomy differs considerably in the seat area, special seats for women and men are offered in various widths. Aside from their basic shape, they differ in the design of the relief channel in the area of the perineum and genitals.
These problems can be solved with a seat that is moveable and correctly adjusted. The seat construction should be flexible so it permits natural pelvic movements and reliably dampens shocks while riding. A full-surface 3D damping element also prevents the otherwise common rigid posture on the bicycle. When the seat makes controlled movements possible and facilitates changing the sitting position, the cyclist benefits from more active back muscles while riding – for better back health.
A horizontal position is recommended as the basic setting when adjusting the saddle. If the load on the perineum and genital area is excessive, slightly lowering the front of the seat can help. Minimally raising the front of the seat on the other hand helps in case of sliding forward, which leads to excessive pressure on the area of the perineum and genitals, or excessive load on the hands.
Back-friendly cycling also includes ergonomic bicycle grips and a back-friendly bicycle backpack. The most important thing however is for the bicycle to be adjusted according to personal needs. While this should be part of the service offered by good bicycle shops, you can easily do it yourself with corresponding instruction. Find tips on these AGR web pages: