An uncomfortable bike seat can be one of the most prominent contributing factors preventing people from riding their bike.
A bad bike seat will seriously impact the amount of enjoyment you can get from a bike ride, and can stop both parents and children from riding altogether.
Further, an uncomfortable bike seat can lead to saddle sores and aches in the legs, as well as back pain and neck pain.
An uncomfortable bike seat shouldn’t hold anyone back from cycling, as this is a problem that can be fixed.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what changes you can make to a bike, both for adults and children, to improve the seat comfort level.
Bike Seat Comfort For Kids
Your child should see their bike as something fun, and a bike ride should be an exciting prospect.
When the seat is uncomfortable, you might find it very hard to convince your child to even sit on the bike. In some cases, an uncomfortable seat might even prevent your child from learning to ride in the first place.
It’s important to consider the age of the bike when discussing comfort. A new bike seat might feel uncomfortable, but your child should get used to it in time.
An older seat could be damaged, or it might be that your child has outgrown the bike altogether.
Tips To Make Your Bike Seat More Comfortable
There is no single solution to making a bike seat more comfortable, and you may need to experiment before you find the results you want.
These tips can be applicable both to adults and children, and various bike styles (although some tips are more applicable to certain bike styles).
Check The Seat Angle
Adjusting the seat angle is a simple fix that can make a huge difference. Angling the nose of the seat upwards or downwards can completely change how the seat feels.
Experiment with a few different angles, and give your child a chance to try the new angle out on different surfaces.
Adjust The Seat Height
Even before the first ride on a brand-new bike, it’s important to check the seat height. And it should be rechecked periodically, to ensure the clip hasn’t slipped during use.
The perfect seat height depends on the bike type and the rider’s age. For a first bike, your child should be able to keep their feet flat on the ground when seated.
On a balance bike, feet should be flat, with a small knee bend. When they’re confidently pedaling, the toes and balls of the feet should be able to touch the ground.
With a BMX, the rule is completely different. BMX bikes are low to the ground, so your child should have their feet on the floor with a significant knee bend.
If a BMX seat feels uncomfortable, it might be at the wrong height.
Adjust The Tire Pressure Depending On Bike Type
An uncomfortable bike seat could be a result of an incorrect level of pressure in the tire. The psi (pounds per square inch) should match the bike’s style and the surface the bike is used on.
Road bikes require a tire pressure of 80 to 130 psi, whereas mountain bike tires need from 25 to 35 psi. Hybrid tires are somewhere in between, at 40 to 70 psi. For a BMX, try 80 psi.
Use A Seat Pad
The seat on a child’s bicycle should come with padding anyway, as efficiency isn’t the primary concern. However, this might not be enough to keep your child comfortable.
A seat pad will add extra cushioning, reducing the firmness of the seat and adding some softness when riding on rough surfaces.
Bike pads can be purchased for both adults’ and kids’ bikes, but you can also try making your own.
Wear Bike Shorts
Bike shorts are pretty common among adult cyclists, but when your child first starts riding, they’ll probably be happy enough in their street clothes.
However, as they start to get more serious about cycling, it’s worth investing in a pair of bike shorts.
Bike shorts are padded to protect against the pressure of the seat, and the sweat-wicking materials can reduce moisture for a more comfortable ride. You can even get bike shorts with additional padding – in both men’s and ladies’ designs.
Everyone should wear bike shorts for maximum comfort if they go on long bike rides with their kids.
Consider The Sitting Position
It might not be the seat that’s causing the problem — it could be how your child is sitting. Your child should be sitting back on the seat and not resting their weight on the thinner front of the saddle.
Make sure they’re putting weight and pressure on the handlebars and pedals, rather than balancing all their weight on the seat.
This tip is only for children who are confident on a bike, but riding out of the saddle can help reduce discomfort by putting the pressure load elsewhere.
Riding off-saddle becomes an important skill the more a child progresses in riding a bike, and if they aren’t doing it, it could be adding to their discomfort.
A long bike ride spent entirely in the seat will pressure the muscles and lead to awkward landings on bumpy terrain.
Whether mountain biking or road biking, teach your children to start lifting out of their seat.
Try A New Seat
Sometimes your only choice will be to buy a new seat, particularly if the problem is a small bike for a young child. These often come with generic seats that lack methods of adjustment.
If the seat that came with the bike doesn’t feel right, you should be able to remove it and replace it with something more suitable.
Give It Time
New seats will often take some time to adjust to and might initially feel hard and unforgiving. Give it time, and the comfort level should increase.
Small adjustments both to the bike and the seat itself can drastically improve comfort level, while correct clothing and a seat pad will add softness. You’ll find more handy tips here:
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