A bike saddle is essential. Without it, our bikes will never be built and cannot be ridden. That is why we need to take care of our saddle. We must also make sure that we choose the right saddle for us because this is where we are going to sit.
The saddle must be comfortable and durable. If we are not comfortable sitting on our bike saddle, we will not be enjoying cycling, and if it is not durable, we are going to throw away money every month to buy another one. However, how long do bike saddles last? Do they have expiration dates? If yes, how long is it?
How long do bike saddles last? Based on experts and from my personal experience, the average lifespan of a bike saddle that’s ridden about 3,000 to 7,000 miles per year and no accidents happened is two to three seasons. But if you do not take care of your saddle, it will get ruined much sooner.
In choosing the best saddle, you have to consider the durability of it. Durable bike saddles will be less likely to get destroyed immediately. However, the durable bike saddles may cost more.
But I think it is more practical to buy the best and durable saddle that costs $100 that will last for one to two years than buying a $20 cheap and less durable saddle that will most likely get destroyed after a few months and buy another one month after month.
Do Bike Saddles Wear Out?
Yes. But, how long does it take for the saddle to wear out?
The foam and gel on a bike saddle start to decline after about 12-24 months, depending on how you use and maintain it. If you take care of your bike saddle, expect that it will last longer than expected. Otherwise, don’t expect that it will reach 12 months.
If you don’t want your things to get ruined immediately, you have to make sure that you take care of them properly. Don’t expect your bike saddle not to wear out if you don’t give it the proper care it needs to last long.
Why Do Bike Saddles Wear Out Or Get Broken?
There are many types of problems a cyclist might encounter from his/her saddle and there are many reasons why this happens. That is why it is essential to talk about it so that once you encounter some of these scenarios that I will list below, you will know immediately that there is a problem with your saddle. So, let us proceed.
The first thing that might happen to your bike saddle is when its leather gets ripped. So, why does this happen? The reason why your bike saddle’s leather gets ripped is because of leaning a bike against the saddle or if your bike crashed.
The second problem you might encounter from your bike saddle is squeaking. If your saddle squeaks, it means that the rails are starting to come loose. The rails break because the seat post clamps don’t fit the rails correctly, which creates stress that causes the rails to break.
The two things above are the problems you might encounter with your saddle. If one of these symptoms shows, go to your local bike shop and talk with experts about how you can fix this.
When Should I Replace My Bike Saddle?
So, how do you know when you should replace your bike saddle? Sometimes it is obvious, but sometimes, especially for beginners, it is not. I have done proper research about this, and I added my personal experience to give you a piece of advice about when you should replace your bike saddle. If you are ready, let us proceed.
If you crash, you should check on your bike saddle carefully if it is damaged or not. If you don’t know about it, go to your bike shop and show your saddle. If your saddle seems loose already and shaking a little bit when you sit on it, it is the best time to replace your bike saddle. Don’t continue to use it because you might get into another accident again.
However, sometimes even if you don’t crash, your saddle might still get broken. If you are always using your bike, don’t expect your bike saddle’s life to become infinite. Remember, your saddle is always carrying your whole weight that causes stress on your bike saddle. That is why it might get broken immediately if you are overweight too.
Like I have mentioned above, bike saddles only last for two to three seasons. If you think it would last for ten years, then you are delusional. That sounds pretty generous and absurd at the same time. It is too good to be true if a bike shop tells you about this! If it is too good to be true, then it is not true. Period!
Professional cyclists never wait for years before they change their bike saddles. Once they reach 10,000km, they will change their bike saddle even if it has no obvious issues. For amateurs, professional cyclists suggest that amateurs should change their bike saddle once they reach 15,000- 25,000km.
If it reaches the maximum kilometers, it does not mean that the saddles are not usable already. However, the performance of the bike saddle padding and the shell will start to deteriorate. It is better to change it earlier than wait to get broken because it might get broken while you are cycling.
Why Does My Bike Saddle Feel Uncomfortable?
The reason why your bike saddle feels uncomfortable for you is because you bought the wrong saddle or you set up the height of your bike saddle wrong. You have to make sure that you buy the right saddle that fits you. Otherwise, you might feel uncomfortable, or worse, get an injury on the back or legs.
How To Choose The Right Bike Saddle?
To give you something valuable from this article before you leave, let me give you the first tips that will help you to choose the right bike saddle. If you are ready, let us proceed!
Find The Right Shape
Every person is different. That is why there are lots of different styles of bike saddles available in the market. The shape of your saddle depends on your sex. Ladies usually sit more comfortably on a wide, women-specific saddle.
However, the shape of the saddle you should choose also depends on the type of cycling you do. If you are a road bike racer that sits on the saddle for hours, you might get the saddle that is soft and not too heavy. So, if you are going to buy a bike saddle, make sure to look for the right shape that fits you.
Find The Right Bike Saddle That Suits Your Flexibility And Position On The Bike
The next thing you should do before you choose a bike saddle is to test your flexibility. How do you do this? You have to sit on the ground and try to reach your toes. How far do you get? If you struggle to reach your toes, it means you are less flexible.
Less flexible cyclists tend to shift around their bike saddles. The best bike saddle for this kind of cyclist is a round bike saddle, while a flexible cyclist tends to be comfortable sitting on a flat bike saddle because they have a more stable position on the bike.
Your riding position also matters. Some cyclists prefer to sit in an upright position, while other cyclists would rather sit in an aerodynamic position. The more you bend forward, the more pressure you put on your pelvic area, which can lead to pain or numbness. Choose a saddle that fits your riding position to avoid saddle pain.
Measure The Width Of Your Sit Bones
Bike saddles have different designs and widths. If you are sure what type of saddle you are looking for and your riding position, choosing a saddle is effortless for you. However, understand that bike saddles are sold in different widths.
The width of your bike saddle depends on the distance between your sit bones. It is essential to measure this to identify which saddle is the best for you. Ask bike shops near you about how to measure the distance between your sit bones.
Set Your Saddle Properly
Now that you find the right bike saddle for you, it is time to have some experiment with it. First, set up your bike saddle to the correct height. By doing this, you will have a more efficient pedal stroke. It will also help you prevent muscle soreness caused by the wrong height. Determining the correct saddle height is essential. Visit bikefitting.com to determine your correct bike saddle height!
Bike saddles might last until two to three seasons. However, some cyclists managed to reach two years. But I don’t recommend it because this can be dangerous for you. If you feel like your saddle is shaking or squeaking already, it is time for you to change your bike saddle. Don’t risk it! Buy immediately before you go on a long bike ride!