How to Choose a Wide Mountain Bike Saddle for Big Guys
Choosing the right bike saddle for big guys is key to ensuring comfort, making the circling experience easier, and enhancing pedaling efficiency. While saddles come in various sizes and shapes, bike saddles for larger riders have some variations in features that differ slightly from that of regular bike saddles. Learning about these features will make it easier to find a wide mountain bike saddle for a big guy.
To choose a wide mountain bike saddle for big guys, it’s important to ensure that the Mtb saddle is appropriately sized to accommodate a larger sit bone width. A saddle of around 140mm is generally recommended, with an extra 25-30 mm on each side to provide extra support and comfort. Choosing a saddle based on sit bone width can help prevent injuries such as chafing, as well as improve overall riding comfort.
While many other factors come into play when choosing a bike saddle, matching the width of the bike saddle with the width of the sit bones while adding a couple of extra centimeters on both sides is one of the best ways to choose a bike saddle, particularly for big guys.
Other important factors that come into play are the saddle material which could be leather or other synthetic material, the saddle shape, as explained in this article by EVO, which could be flat, pear or T- shaped, waved or curved and the padding thickness. The nature of cycling should also be taken into consideration particularly if a lot of time is going to be spent riding the bike.
How Wide Should a Bike Saddle Be?
To determine the appropriate saddle width, it’s necessary to measure the distance between the sit bones. Once the sit bone width is determined, the appropriate saddle width can be calculated by adding 25-30mm to the measurement. Using the exact width of the rider’s sit bone would put the rider on the edge of the bike saddle which would not only make it uncomfortable but the entire body structure would not be properly supported.
The correct width of a bike saddle for a cyclist is approximately the same as their sit bones width, with an additional 25-30mm for extra support and comfort. For example, if the cyclist's sit bone width is 145mm, the recommended bike saddle width would be around 170mm.
Your saddle width can be measured by sitting on cardboard the same way you would on a bike, this would be by sitting with both feet inclined as explained in this YouTube video tutorial by Art’s Cyclery. The feet should be inclined long enough for the sit bones to leave an indentation that is visible enough for the distance between them to be measured with a measuring tape like this or a ruler like this. And then 25mm is added to that measurement to ensure optimal saddle comfort.
For example, if a rider has a sit bone measurement of about 135mm, add an extra 25mm which would make an appropriate saddle width for such a rider around 160mm. If the sit bone measurement is 150mm, an additional 25mm would make the appropriate saddle width 175mm.
It’s important to note that the correct saddle width can vary based on factors, such as riding position, riding style, and personal preference. Additionally, the sit bone measurements for men and women differ with an average of 60-160mm for men and 90-170mm for women. Hincapie offers a comprehensive guide on how to measure sit bone width at home using a sheet of cardboard like this and measuring tape. However, if you’re new to cycling, or if you’re unsure about how to measure your sit bone width, it may be helpful to ask a professional for assistance.
Tips for Choosing an MTB Saddle for Big Guys
The major reason why choosing the right saddle is of utmost importance whether you are a new rider or a regular cyclist is to ensure a comfortable and easy riding experience.
When choosing an Mtb saddle for big guys, consider the saddle’s width, rail material, cushioning, material, and shape. The saddle should match the rider’s sit bone width, with an additional 25-30mm. Use steel or chrome alloy rails for durability and stability. Select cushioning based on riding style and preference. Choose material based on durability, breathability, and weight. Finally, consider the shape based on riding position and personal preference.
According to this article by REI, three major factors come into play when choosing an MTB bike saddle for big guys, including the body mechanics of the rider, the bike saddle material, and the saddle ergonomics. These factors have a lot of other aspects that will be discussed in this article.
While mountain bikes are very similar to regular cycling bikes, mountain bikes like this have certain enhanced features which make them suitable for off-road cycling. These features are incorporated to increase durability and withstand rough topography. For this reason, mountain bikes are usually more complex and heavier.
Because regular bike saddles would be very uncomfortable for Big guys, it's important to go for one like this that would ensure ease while pedaling and also support their weight and body structure so that the ride can be as comfortable as possible. The MTB saddle for big guys must be able to support their sit bones and the riding position.
There are different types of mountain bikes with different features for an improved cycling experience, however, mountain bikes for big guys usually have big frames, massive gears, and brakes. These bikes are considered heavy-duty Mtb bikes that can support the weight of big guys and make cycling as comfortable as it can be. If you are unsure about what size bike you need check out our mountain bike sizing chart with tips and tricks.
Follow these tips to choose an MTB Saddle for a Big Guy:
Tip 1. Match Saddle Width to Sit Bone Width
Most standard bike saddles would be too small for big guys and would make riding very uncomfortable. This is why when choosing a bike saddle for big guys one should match the saddle width with the sit bone width. This is a very important factor in ensuring comfort while riding and when done properly the rider might not even feel the saddle.
The process of measuring the sit bone is the same as stated earlier. It can be carried out by sitting on cardboard or foil and measuring the distance between the two visible indentations created by the sit bone using a measuring tape. Then add about 25-30mm to the sit bone width to get the saddle width.
Tip 2. Buy a Seat With Steel or Chrome Alloy Saddle Rails for Optimal Weight Distribution and Durability
Mtb bike saddles for big guys are usually more durable for enhanced performance because they carry more weight. The saddle rail usually serves as the connection point between the saddle and the bike.
There are different types of saddle rails with the most common one being a dual saddle rail like this one. This type of saddle rail consists of two parallel rails that go from the nose of the saddle to the back of the saddle. There is also the single saddle rail, the pivotal, and the tripod rail.
These rails are made from different types of materials which affect the performance, flexibility, strength, weight, and cost of the saddle. Some are made from titanium. These saddles are usually very light and strong, they are a great choice for shock absorption function when lightweight is important. They are however expensive and would not be a great choice to support the weight of big guys because of how light they are.
Steel rails like this saddle have, are also very popular because they are strong, durable, and very heavy. This makes them a great choice for Mtb saddles for big guys as they can support the weight and structure of their bodies.
Alloy rails, particularly chrome alloy, are another great choice for Mtb bikes for big people because they are also strong and quite heavy but not as heavy as steel rails.
Carbon rails like these are mostly reserved for more expensive bikes because these rails are usually very expensive but are lightweight and great for absorbing shocks.
When buying saddles for big guys it's better to go for those with steel or chrome alloy rails as these ensure durability and aid in weight distribution. Titanium saddle rails on the other hand would be less suitable for big guys because they are more brittle and may eventually snap when subjected to much weight over a long period of time.
Tip 3. Choose a Durable MTB Saddle Made From Synthetic Materials such as Foam and Gel
The material the Mtb saddle is made from is another very important factor to consider when choosing a mountain bike for big guys. Saddles are made from different materials and each affects weight, flex, and of course, cost.
Most saddles are made from leather. Leather saddles usually provide a thinner coverage than other saddles but are not waterproof and may require treatment with a leather conditioner to protect them from moisture and also exposure to ultraviolet light as we explain in our mountain bike saddle price guide.
Other common materials used in saddle production are synthetic materials like foam and gel as outlined in our tips to choose the right mountain bike saddle materials. Saddles made from synthetic material have become very popular because of being lightweight, low maintenance, and comfortable. In this article by the International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology, the authors describe the benefits of synthetic bike saddles and the use of cylindrical luffa and natural rubber to make synthetic saddles more natural. Saddles made from synthetic foam and gel are great options for big guys because they are more durable and very comfortable. A saddle made from this material would be the ideal choice for big guys.
Cotton is another material used in saddle production though not as popular as leather or synthetic saddles. The cotton used for these saddles is modeled to stretch during cycling and they are also very comfortable.
Tip 4. Choose a Saddle With a Waved Shape for Maximum Comfort for Bigger Riders
Saddles come in different shapes and these shapes affect the performance of the saddle while riding. There are 4 main categories of saddles when it comes to shape and these four categories are further grouped.
One characterization is the waviness from the nose of the saddle to the back. Saddles in this category are further grouped into flat, waved, and moderately waved saddles. Flat saddles are entirely flat from the front to the back axis making this particular saddle great when you're riding in an upright position. One benefit of this saddle is that it makes it easy to slide from back to front. Another consideration here is how the saddle is positioned as we point out in our tips to adjust mountain bike seat angle and improve performance.
The waved saddle on the other hand is raised at the back and then inclines down to the middle and flattens at the front. Unlike the flat saddle, riders can not easily move from back to front and reverse making it perfect for riders who want the saddle to hold them in one position which makes it suitable as an Mtb saddle, particularly for big guys.
The moderately waved saddle sort of resembles both the flat and the waved saddle. It's not as flat as the flat saddle but also not as inclined as the waved saddle.
Another category in which saddles can be grouped is concerning the curvature from the side to the middle. This category can either be flat or very curved.
The last category is grouped by a cut-out in the middle. In this category, saddles are either cut out in the middle or completely solid forms devoid of cutouts.
Tip 5. Consider an Mtb Saddle with Ergonomic Design for Enhanced Comfort and Performance
As explained in this article by SQlab there are three main factors that come into play when considering saddle ergonomic design. These are the saddle shape, the padding, and the saddle surface. The Mtb saddle design plays a very important role in pedaling efficiency, comfort, and stability.
The saddles are designed not to support the sit bones of the rider and carry the entire weight of big riders, the rest of the body weight is distributed to the bike pedals which we talk about in more detail in our guide on how to choose mountain bike pedals for grip maximization. Saddles for big guys are designed to provide steady support, improve comfort and ensure a painless riding experience.
Reasons Why Mountain Bike Saddle Width Matters
When choosing a saddle it's important to pay attention to the saddle width because this is one factor that could either improve or ruin the entire riding experience. A saddle with the right width will give you a comfortable cycling process and even make the process a lot more enjoyable.
A bike saddle that is too wide can cause chafing, as the thighs may rub against the sides of the saddle, and it can also force the cyclist to ride in an upright position. On the other hand, a bike saddle that is too narrow can cause discomfort or even injury to the soft tissue, as it may not properly support a larger rider’s sit bones. Therefore, it’s important to find a saddle that is the right width for your body to ensure both comfort and proper riding position.
The proper dimensions for a mountain bike saddle are the width of the rider’s sit bone plus 25-30mm. Any more than this would be too wide and could cause chafing (which occurs due to rubbing of the rider's thigh on the saddle leading to scratches and scrapes). If the saddle is too wide it could also reduce the paddling efficiency which in turn will affect the paddling speed.
For Mountain bikes particularly, it's important to avoid saddles that are too wide because this would interfere with the rider's pedaling and make it difficult to move around on such mountainous terrains.
If the saddle is also too narrow it has certain disadvantages. When the saddle is too narrow, it is unable to support the rider's sit bone and thus too much pressure is exerted on the body of the rider. This can be very uncomfortable and if the saddle is not changed it could lead to lots of health issues over time.
Picking a saddle with the right width is important to ensure pedaling efficiency, comfort, and an enjoyable riding experience. It is very important to pick a saddle with the right width. While there are other factors to be considered when choosing the right saddle, saddle width is among the most important to consider.
Our tips to measure a mountain bike saddle correctly could be a useful resource when looking for the right saddle for your mountain bike.
Here are four reasons why saddle width matters:
A Saddle That is Too Narrow or Too Wide Can Cause Discomfort and Pain
The discomfort that comes from riding an Mtb saddle that is too wide can completely ruin the riding experience. For Mtb bikes, you can not afford to sacrifice comfort. Discomfort may come from the thighs rubbing against the bike saddle. It may also occur due to pressure being exerted on the sit bones. This article from SQlab explains that a huge percent of the discomfort experienced by mountain bike riders is due to excess pressure on the sit bone while riding. If this discomfort is not rectified when it is discovered it may eventually lead to pain, injuries, and even some more serious health conditions. Finding a saddle that fits properly is one of the best ways to avoid and even correct discomfort.
A Saddle That is Too Narrow or Too Wide Can Impact Your Riding Position
While the saddle width plays an important role in providing a comfortable riding experience, the riding position also plays a part in it. The correct riding position helps in preventing muscle pain because it is easier and the rider can move freely.
When riding an Mtb bike, the rider should be seated on the bike in an upright manner, this will make the pressure more concentrated on the back and middle part of the Mtb saddle. This can be achieved by looking forward with your chin slightly raised and playing with your hands on the bike in a slightly bent manner. This is also explained in our guide on where to hold mountain bike grips to maintain proper posture.
The saddle width can also affect the riding position. Unlike road cycling where the rider can slide from the front to the back and from the front to the bike changing positions while riding, the mountain bike rider needs to stay comfortable on the saddle and this position may be affected if the saddle is too wide. Check out our article that compares road vs. mountain bike saddles to see how they differ.
Do note that the riding position may also vary depending on the riding style and also the weight of the rider.
A Saddle That is Too Narrow or Too Wide Can Affect Your Performance
If the Mtb saddle is too wide it's going to make pedaling a lot more difficult and pedaling efficiency is reduced. This is because your legs are unable to move freely and riding is more difficult. Moving through tight narrow corners also becomes a lot more difficult and riding becomes a hassle. The extra width is going to slow the rider down and more energy will be required to move around.
A Saddle That is Too Narrow or Too Wide Can Lead To Soft Tissue Injuries
Using a saddle with the wrong width whether it’s too wide or too narrow has lots of disadvantages, this is why it is always better to go for a saddle that is of the right width. Not only would a saddle that is too wide cause discomfort it could also cause injuries. Due to the thighs rubbing against the saddle, the friction could lead to various injuries like sores and chafing. These injuries will not only double the discomfort but may make the entire cycling experience very painful for the rider.
Summary of Mountain Bike Saddles for Big Guys
|Mountain Bike Saddle||Why Is it Good For Big Guys||Price|
|Xmifer Oversized Bike Seat||This Mtb saddle is made with high-density foam which makes it very comfortable and durable. It also contains dual spring suspensions that act as shock absorbers. It has a cut-out for pressure relief and ventilation.||~ $25|
|Ipow Comfort Bike Seat||This saddle has high-density memory foam padding that is very soft and dual rubber balls that function as shock absorbers.||~$20|
|Daway C40 Comfortable Oversized Bike Seat||This seat is made with high-density padding to enhance comfort and ensure a smooth cycling experience. It also features dual shock-absorbing springs and leather covers on the seat.||~$40|
|Schwinn Comfort Bike Seat||This saddle has great high-density foam padding. It also contains elastomers suspension springs that function as great shock absorbers for jolts and bumps.||~$35|
|Giddy Up! Bike Seat - Comfortable Bike Saddle||One unique feature of this seat is that it is made from memory foam. This foam can conform to the shape of the rider's butt to increase comfort. It also contains two rubber balls for shock absorption.||$30|
|YLG Oversized Comfort Bike Seat||This seat features broad wings to comfortably accommodate the riders' sit bones. It also consists of dual springs for suspension, cushioning, and shock absorption.||~$40|
|Lingmai Comfortable Oversize Bicycle Saddle||A Lingmai saddle consists of thick padding and dual spring suspension for comfortable riding for big guys.||~$20|
|Tonbux Most Comfortable Bicycle Seat||A Tonbux saddle features dual shock-absorbing balls and is made with a synthetic material that makes them smooth, comfortable, and scratch-resistant.||~$20|
|Planet Bike Anatomic Relief System Classic Bike Seat||This seat consists of sit-bone gel pads that serve as cushions making the seat more comfortable for big guys. It also provides the rider with maximum support and relief.||~$35|
|Gincleey Comfort Wide Bicycle Saddle||This seat is made with high-density foam and this makes the seat very comfortable for big guys. It also consists of an anti-shock rubber ball which is placed under the seat for shock absorption.||~$20|
|Zhiqui Comfortable Mountain Bicycle Seat||This seat is made from synthetic gel which makes it comfortable and reduces the pressure exerted on the rider's sit bones. This seat allows for maximum pedaling efficiency with zero interference.||$20|
|Aikate Comfortable Bike Saddle, Road Mountain||This saddle is lightweight, thick, and elastic making it very comfortable with breathability. Its high-quality gel cushioning makes the seat soft and very durable.||~$20|
Choosing a Mountain Bike Saddle Width the Correct Way
The right saddle with the correct width goes a long way to ensuring the rider has a comfortable riding adventure. It doesn’t just serve as something to sit on while riding, it is also one of the most important contact points with the bike while riding.
To choose saddle width correctly, first measure sit bone width by sitting on aluminum foil then lean forward and lift the feet. Find the two depressions on the foil and mark the deepest points. Now measure the points and add 2.5-3 cm. Use the sit bone measurement to choose a saddle with the correct width.
A good saddle with the right width plays an important role in ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable ride no matter the terrain or nature of the ride.
Follow these steps to choose a saddle width correctly:
Step 1. Sit on a Piece of Cardboard
Get a piece of cardboard or foil like this and place it on a flat surface preferably a chair and sit on it. It's important to ensure that when sitting your legs are in a cycling position long enough for the sit bones to leave visible depressions.
Step 2: Measure the Two Depression Left on the Cardboard by Your Sit Bones
Stand up and mark out the two depressions left by your sit bones so they are more visible and easier to measure. You can then measure the distance between the two depressions with a measuring tape and this serves as your sit bone width. Add 25-30mm to your sit bone width to calculate your ideal saddle width.
Step 3. Choose a Saddle with a Width that Matches Your Sit Bone Measurement
Many Bike shops and online retailers offer a range of saddle widths, so make sure to select the right one based on your measurement. However, note that the right saddle is not just about the width. Other factors, such as shape, padding, and material can also affect your comfort on the bike. Therefore, try to test ride different saddles to find the one that works best for you.