Quick Guide to Mountain Bike Seat Replacement

We all know the feeling when you're out on a ride, enjoying the scenery and the fresh air, and you feel a growing discomfort and eventually, your backside starts to feel like it's on fire because of your mountain bike seat. If this is a regular occurrence for you, it might be time to replace that old, uncomfortable seat with a new one as we will explain in this quick guide to mountain bike seat replacement. 

Mountain bike seat replacement is usually necessary when the seat is broken, worn out, or when it becomes uncomfortable. To replace the bike seat, loosen the seat bolts or seat clamps using an Allen Key, remove the old bike seat, install the new MTB seat, adjust the saddle position and then tighten the seat bolts.

Mountain bike saddles come in various designs and materials. Some have deep cutaways in the middle like this one, to alleviate pressure, while others have wider rears for improved comfort. They are often made from molded plastic, gel foam, or leather, so you are sure to find one that you like. This article will explain how easy it is to replace your worn-out or old saddle. 

When considering mountain bike seat replacement look at a saddle that has a cutaway for pressure relief.
Mountain bike saddles with middle cut-away sections improve rider comfort. Image Source: Amazon.

How Often Should You Change Your Bike Seat?

The intervals at which you change your bike seat depend on how often you ride, the type of terrain you ride on, and how comfortable you are with your current seat. If you find yourself constantly shifting around on your seat or getting saddle sores, it might be time for a change. On the other hand, if you're happy with your current seat and it's not giving you any problems, there's no need to replace it. 

Bike seats should be changed every 7,000-10,000 miles. Seat replacement should also be done when the seat is broken, it has developed cracks, or the seat rails are bent. It is also a good idea to change the seat if it causes pain or numbness. 

Our guide on how to reduce mountain bike saddle pain explains what causes pain and saddle sores, and how to prevent them.

Mountain Bike Seat Replacement Essentials

MTB Seat Replacement Essentials Uses Product Example From Amazon Price
Grease Grease is needed to coat the thread of the bolts.  CyclingDeal Bike Bicycle Grease ~ $25
Allen Keys This tool is important because it allows you to loosen and tighten the bolts. InPower Allen Wrench Set ~ $20
Bike Seat Replacement The replacement seat will take the place of the old one.  Wheefit Comfortable Bike Seat ~ $40
Cleaning Cloth  Using a cleaning cloth to clean before and after installation is important.  Cleaning Cloth ~ $10

You may also be interested in learning how to choose the best mountain bike handlebar warmers. If so, be sure to read our related article for more information.

New Mountain Bike Saddle Installation Procedure

Knowing how to install a mountain bike seat is not only important for comfort but it's also crucial for safety. A poorly installed saddle can slip, causing you to crash. 

To install a new MTB saddle, first, gather all the mountain bike seat replacement essentials needed. Then undo the bolts that attach the seat to the seat post and remove the old seat. Grease the bolts’ thread, attach the new MTB saddle, set the fore-aft position, set the seat height and angle, and lastly tighten the mountain bike saddle.

Many saddles are fastened onto the seat post with quick-release clamps like this.

Even though it seems a bit complicated at first, installing a new mountain bike saddle is quite simple. Let's take a look at the step-by-step guide. You can follow this video tutorial as you go along.

Follow these steps to replace your mountain bike seat:

Step 1. Gather All the Essentials

The first thing you need to do is gather all the tools and materials you'll need for the job. Here's a list of what you'll need:

  • New mountain bike saddle 
  • Allen key 
  • Grease
  • Cleaning cloth

Have a look at our ultimate list of tools needed for mountain bike maintenance so that you can start collecting some of the essential tools you’ll need to maintain your mountain bike. 

You should have a few things on hand to make the job easier, such as a bike stand like this one. This will make it much easier to remove and install your saddle. Another thing to have by your side is a friend as having an extra pair of hands to help you with the installation is always a good idea. 

You will need an Allen key to loosen the bolts during the replacement of your mountain bike seat.
An Allen key is one of the tools necessary to install a new mountain bike saddle. Image Source: Amazon.

Step 2. Remove the Old Saddle

Use an Allen key from a set like this to loosen the bolts that are holding the old saddle in place. When the bolts are loose, remove the old saddle from the bike. However, keep in mind that some saddles might be attached to a seat clamp. In that case, you'll need to loosen the seat clamp before removing the saddle. If you're not sure how to do that, consult your bike's manual. In most cases, you will have to use your hand to pull the saddle off the seat post.

Start loosening the bolts of your old mountain bike saddle so that you can install the replacement seat.
Using an Allen key, start by loosening the bolts. Image Source: images.immediate.co.uk

Step 3. Clean the Seat Rails

Once the old saddle is removed, it's time to clean the seat rails. This step is important because you want to make sure the new saddle has a good grip on the rails. Use a cleaning cloth to remove any dirt or debris from the seat rails. If there’s any grease or oil on the seat rails, you can use a degreaser like this one to clean them.  You can also use isopropyl alcohol like this to clean the rails. Always remember to dry the seat rails after cleaning them.

Clean the rails of your replacement seat before installing it onto your mountain bike.
Clean the bike seat rails using a degreaser or isopropyl alcohol. Image Source: BIke to Workday.

Step 4. Grease the Bolts and Install the New Saddle

Now it's time to install the new saddle. Before purchasing a new saddle, make sure to check out our tips for choosing a mountain bike saddle. Using grease like this, grease the bolts that will be holding the saddle in place. This will help to prevent rust and make it easier to remove the saddle in the future. 

Once the bolts are greased, align the new saddle with the seat rails and slide it into place. Make sure the saddle is level and in the correct position before tightening the bolts. Always check twice before you move to the next step. This is important because an incorrect position might injure your spine, according to this article from the Research Progress in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering website. 

Step 5. Adjust the Saddle Position

The last step is to adjust the saddle position. Make sure the saddle is at the correct height and angle so that you're comfortable when riding. Our article on how to adjust mountain bike seat angle explains the importance of correctly adjusting your saddle to maximize pedaling efficiency and comfort. 

To adjust the height, loosen the bolts that are holding the saddle in place and raise or lower the saddle until it's in the correct position. To adjust the angle, loosen the bolts and tilt the saddle to the desired angle. Keep in mind that you might have to readjust the saddle after riding for a while. Our guide on how to choose mountain bike saddle height explains what factors to consider when selecting your saddle height for optimal comfort and to maximize aerodynamics. 

Before tightening the bolts holding your replacement saddle, adjust its angle and position.
When adjusting the saddle’s position, make sure the saddle is at the correct height and angle so that you're comfortable when riding. Image Source: WikiHow.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Replacement Mountain Bike Seat

When it comes to mountain bike seat replacement, there are many factors that you need to take into account. The most important one is comfort. You want to make sure the saddle is comfortable enough so that you can ride for long hours without feeling any pain. 

When choosing a replacement mountain bike seat consider the comfort of the seat, the replacement seat structure and durability, the width of the rider’s sit bones, the seat shape, and the cost of the seat.

For comfort and optimal performance, a replacement saddle must be suitable for a rider’s body and mountain biking style.
Consider the rider’s physiology when purchasing a new saddle. Male and female anatomy require different seat designs. Image Source: Amazon

Consider these factors when choosing a replacement seat:

1. Your Body's Anatomy

There is no one-size-fits-all mountain bike seat, and it's important to choose a seat that’s comfortable for your body type. Seats that are designed for people with broad sit bones may be uncomfortable for people with narrow sit bones. Likewise, seats with a lot of padding may be too soft for people who prefer a firm ride.

When choosing a replacement mountain bike seat, it's important to consider your body type and the type of riding you will be doing. If you're doing mostly cross-country riding, you may want a seat with less padding and a more aggressive shape like this one. If you're doing downhill riding, you'll need a seat with more padding and a wider shape like this one to absorb the bumps and shocks. And our tips and tricks for buying downhill mountain bike armor will help you to choose appropriate protective gear for your downhill rides.

2. The Comfort of the Seat

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a replacement mountain bike seat is comfort. You want a seat that is comfortable for long rides and won't cause any pain or discomfort. Seats that have a lot of cushioning and support are typically more comfortable than seats with less padding. Our article about how to choose a saddle cushion to improve comfort and performance explains the benefits of using a saddle cushion as well as how to choose the right one for your riding style. 

3. The Structure and Durability of the Seat

Another important factor to consider when choosing a replacement mountain bike seat is the structure and durability of the seat. You want a seat that is well-constructed and will last for many miles. Some seats are made from lightweight materials that may not be as durable as other materials. Be sure to read reviews before purchasing a new mountain bike seat to make sure you're getting one that will last. Our tips to choose the right mountain bike saddle materials can be a helpful resource when selecting the type of outer covering on your seat. 

4. Your Sit Bone Width

When shopping for a replacement mountain bike seat, it's also important to consider the width of your sit bones. Most seats are designed for people with sit bones that are at least 2 inches wide, but there are some seats available that are narrower or wider than average. If your sit bones are narrower than average, you may want to consider a narrower seat. If your sit bones are wider than average, you may want to consider a wider seat. As this article from Ingenta Connect explains, selecting the wrong size saddle for your body type can cause pain and numbness. 

5. The Shape of the MTB Seat 

Another factor to consider when choosing a replacement mountain bike seat is the shape of the seat. Some seats have a curved shape like this one that conforms to the natural curvature of your backside. Other seats have an angular shape that provides more support in certain areas. Consider which shape would be most comfortable for you before making your purchase. 

You might want to select a replacement saddle that is curved to accommodate the shape of your body.
The shape of your replacement saddle should be suitable for your style of riding. Image Source: Amazon


6. The Cost of Purchasing and Installing the MTB Replacement Seat 

Finally, you'll want to consider the cost of purchasing and installing your new mountain bike seat. Some seats are more expensive than others, but you may be able to find a seat that fits your budget. If you're planning on doing the installation yourself, be sure to factor in the cost of tools and supplies that you'll need. You can find replacement mountain bike seats at most bike shops or online. Our mountain bike saddle price guide is a fantastic resource to help you choose a saddle that meets your riding needs and budget. 

Summary of Replacement MTB Seat Options 

Product example from Amazon Reasons to buy this seat Reasons not to buy this seat Price
Padded Mountain Bike Seat Excellent comfort for long rides Offers less support for your backside ~ $25
Roguoo Bicycle Seat Budget-friendly choice Not that easy to install ~ $25
Tonbux Oversized Bike Seat Supports back and spine perfectly Not the most durable option ~ $35
Wittkop Bike Seat I Bicycle Seat Enhanced airflow system for ventilation Not the best option for long rides ~ $40

You may also want to make your bike look cool. If so, you may be interested in our related article for information on what may work with your replacement seat. Be sure to take a look at our related article for more ideas.

Are Mountain Bike Seats Universal?

What might be comfortable for one rider may not work at all for another. That’s why it’s crucial to know your body type and the kind of riding you do before making a purchase.

Mountain bike seats are not universal. They are different in shape, size, durability, structure, and material components. They also differ in pricing. They are designed to suit different body sizes, sit bone widths, and cycling terrains. There are also gender-specific saddles that suit either male or female bodies. 

Typically, cross-country mountain bike seats are less padded and have a more aggressive shape. This design is ideal for riders who want to be able to move around on the seat while they ride. The reduced padding also makes seats like these lighter in weight, which is an important factor for cross-country riders who need to save every bit of energy.

Downhill mountain bike seats, on the other hand, need to be more durable and have more padding. The extra padding helps absorb the bumps and shocks that come from riding over rough terrain. These seats also tend to be wider than cross-country seats, which gives riders more stability while they are riding.

When choosing a replacement mountain bike seat, there are several factors you'll need to consider, including comfort, durability, and the width of your sit bones. You'll also want to decide which shape and style of seat will be most comfortable for you. Be sure to factor in the cost of the seat and installation when making your decision. You can find replacement mountain bike seats at most bike shops or online.

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