Flat bicycle seats are the perfect saddle for long distances or for athletes making important efforts. It allows for frequent changes in position. The flat bike saddle results in a more forward position, thus putting more pressure on the perineum. Designed for short distance and/or intensive effort. Appreciated for races requiring regular position changes.
Curved bike seats are generally appreciated for long distances and by riders looking for comfort. The weight is often better distributed, and the shape limits overheating. Regarding the half-rounded saddles, in order to offer versatile saddle models, we often find an intermediate shape between rounded and flat.
You can also read our article on perineal numbness from cycling treatment on our blog. It will explain from a morphological & medical point of view, why you need to carefully choose between a flat bicycle seat or a bike curved seat.
What flat bicycle seat length to choose ?
The length of the saddle is defined by two categories, the short and the long saddles:
- The short saddles, with a length of less than 250 mm, allow you to find a position more quickly and have a higher clearance by putting yourself on the back of the bike in the case of a strong descent. Moreover, when dancing, the short saddle rubs less on the thighs. For your information, all brands offer short saddles and the new products of the main brands are mainly focused on this category.
- Long saddles, with a length of more than 250 mm, are ideal for rides where the position is not very demanding. These saddles are popular with professional riders because they can find their position on a long saddle to move on the saddle according to the physiognomy of the race (at the front of the saddle on strong accelerations / at the back of the saddle to stretch the thighs).
What flat bike seat width to choose ?
The width of the saddle is often a function of two characteristics. The size of your pelvis and your position on the bike.
The width of your pelvis will directly affect the distance between the points of support of your ischium*, i.e. the 2 points of contact with your saddle. For a wide pelvis, it is recommended to take a saddle that is a little wider than average and vice versa. The classic width of a saddle is around 135 mm.
The position on the bike will also influence the width of the saddle. Indeed, the distribution of your weight between the saddle, the handlebars and the pedals is different depending on whether you adopt a sporty or a more upright position.
The more upright you are, the more weight will be distributed on the saddle, in this case it is recommended to opt for a slightly wider saddle. Be careful, a saddle that is too wide can hinder the pedaling movement and cause friction on the inside of the thighs in the long run, so it is not recommended for a sporty road bike.
What flat vs curved bike seat to choose ?
Once again, it’s difficult to say anything, but to summarize, here are some guidelines.
- For a sporty road bike, a semi-round saddle with a classic width (approx. 135 mm) according to the size of your pelvis should be suitable. A flat saddle will also suit riders who like to change position regularly.
- For leisure or simple riding, a rounded saddle with a classic width or even a little wider depending on your pelvis should be suitable.
If you suffer from perineal pain, a saddle with a hollowed-out channel should solve the problem.
If, despite these tips, you cannot find a model that allows you to ride without pain, it is recommended that you consult a specialist in postural studies.
Selection of flat saddle for road cycling
Best bicycle flat saddles
Best curved bike seat
Questions about flat bike seats
Are Flat bike seats good for the cyclist?
Flat bicycle saddles are the traditional shape for bike seats and considered best suited for cyclists who are flexible in the spine, hip flexors and hamstrings. Nevertheless, you should consider a curved bike saddle with a hollow central part if you want to preserve your perineal soft tissues. This recommendation applies for both men and women. Read more about perineal friendly saddle here: https://iacesporto.org/relieve-friction-from-saddle-treat-friction-from-perineal-customer-survey/
Don’t forget you can additionally protect your buttock with cycling 3D or 5d padded shorts during your rides. This will reduce risk of saddle sores and alleviate frictions especially on bicycle flat saddles.