Finding a Comfortable Bike Seat

Long rides making your rear-end sore? It should go away after riding for some time. If not, here are some tips to finding a more comfortable bike seat.

October 2014

By Dave Glowacz

Urban Bikers Tricks and Tips Cover 

Whether you are buying your first bicycle, your twentieth bicycle, or you’re getting your old bike out of storage, Dave Glowacz provides the tips for riders of all ages and levels of experience in Urban Bikers’ Tricks and Tips (Wordspace Press, 2010). This excerpt, which explains the ways to get rid of riding soreness and choosing a better, more comfortable seat, is from Chapter 1, “Choosing a Bike.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Urban Bikers’ Tricks and Tips.

Sore Butt from Biking

If you haven't bicycled in a while, expect to get a sore butt or crotch or chafed thighs. After you've ridden regularly, chafing or soreness should go away.

If Soreness Doesn't Stop

Check Seat Height and Tilt  1. Check the seat height and tilt (see Making Your Current Bike Fit You: Adjusting Your Bike Seat).

2. Try a different seat

Clockwise from top right corner:
• gel-filled
• slim tip and raised back
• split
• wide rear
• spring-cushioned
• middle groove or slit

 Different Seats
Padded Shorts 

3. Use padded or seamless cycling shorts with no underwear.

4. Wear low-friction cycling briefs. (Seams in regular underwear cause friction.)

5. If friction persists (especially for women):
• Apply baby powder to body and shorts before cycling.
• Apply a skin toughener, such as Preperation H, to the areas that make seat contact. Apply before you go to bed, not before you ride.

6. For rashes, infections, or excessive discharges:
• Use shorts with a cotton strip, to absorb moisture.
• Before riding, use a moisture barrier such as Desitin.

Danger: The widest and softest seats give your butt the most comfort. But if the seat's too wide, it'll rub the inside of your thighs. And if it's too soft your hips might rock—making your thighs chafe.

Want to learn more cycling tips? Check out these articles:

Making Your Current Bike Fit You: Adjusting the Bike Seat
Making Your Current Bike Fit You: How to Adjust Bike Handlebars to Fit
Bike Maintenance: What to Check Before Riding


This excerpt has been reprinted with Permission from Urban Bikers’ Tricks and Tips by Dave Glowacz and published by Wordspace Press, 2010. Buy this book from our store: Urban Bikers’ Tricks and Tips.

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