When you’re touring, the most important piece of equipment is probably your saddle. There’s nothing worse on tour than having an uncomfortable saddle. Once you’ve found the right saddle, your touring and long distance riding will be what it’s supposed to be one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities.
Touring saddles typically are used by long distance riders, randonneurs, and those who throw their gear on their bike and go tripping about. The saddles are wider allowing for a more upright position. They are made from leather, synthetic materials or a mix of the two. Some folks swear by saddles with channels and cuts. Others find them unnecessary and allow for more pressure on the existing non cut out portions of the saddle.
Another thing to consider when choosing a touring saddle is whether or not you may want a saddle with springs. The reason you may is that you’ll likely be more upright, the bicycle will have loaded weight and you’ll spend less time, if any, out of the saddle. You may find that shock absorption and “smoothing out” the bumps really helps on long days on the road. Riding with a sprung saddle takes a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re a “spinner” who likes hirevs. You may find yourself bobbing about until you get your style adjusted.
If you choose a leather saddle, bear in mind that they almost all require some break in period, even if only minimal. Leather saddles also require a bit of care and maintenance in the form of a leather protectant, which all the saddle manufacturers sell, as well as a saddle cover. Wet, unprotected leather saddles will sag and may develop cracks. A well cared for leather saddle will last for years and many miles.
If, like us, your bike is your car, you know how important a good saddle is to the overall well being of your ass. That’s why we are here to help you choose the right saddle for your commuting lifestyle. What is a commuting saddle? Well we don’t know either! As a matter of fact we’ve been arguing about it for days now.I can happily say we’ve come up with a few things we feel help define a quality commuting saddle. First you want something comfortable since you are probably in the saddle a decent portion of every day. Second you definitely want durability. The average commuter probably puts 100 – 200 miles on their bike and you probably don’t want to replace your saddle every 6 months so excellent durability is a must. The third important feature would have to be water/weather resistant. Again, if your bike is your car you probably find yourself riding in all sorts of conditions and your saddle better be up to the task.
Keep in mind saddle size does not always equal greater comfort! Riding style, type of bike and type of riding play a much greater factor in choosing a comfortable saddle. The same goes of saddle cushioning, soft does not always mean your rear will be happy. If your saddle is not comfortable you won’t ride your bike, its that simple. View your saddle as your mattress, buy the best one you can afford you will be spending a lot of time in it!
Commuting saddles should not really differ from what makes you comfortable on your other bikes. If you feel comfortable on a Brooks Sprung saddle when you’re touring, then when you commute you will have a comfortable experience as well. Additional considerations for choosing a commuting saddle are… Weather, distance, will your bike be exposed to the elements while parked and security. Answering these questions will help narrow your choices.