29/08/2017 17:13:57

Words by Simon Nurse

Don’t give your rump the hump; selecting the right saddle and shorts makes all the difference.

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Over the years, our riders at the shop must have clocked up hundreds, no, thousands, no, MILLIONS of miles. Well ok, maybe not as many as that, but certainly quite a lot. Some of these miles have been comfortable affairs, where we forget about the fact that we’re perched on a slim, hard saddle and get on with the serious business of riding. Others have been far less so, where we regularly rise just that little bit out of the saddle to alleviate pressure, where we make a mental note to stock up on chammy cream and where we make the cast iron decision that never, ever, ever again will we ride on that medieval implement of torture and pain. It’s fair to say that the choice of saddle can make all the difference between a classic day out or a difficult day on the road. So it’s no great leap to assert that a good saddle/short combination is one of the best investments a cyclist can make.

Fortunately, the world has moved on from those rock hard pre-millennial affairs and significant amount of R&D has been invested in saddle and short technology. These days, there’s no great need to experience avoidable discomfort. So here’s our little guide to getting your comfort sorted.

First things first, saddle fit.

Simply put, a great saddle fits great. There’s such a large and bewildering array of saddles on the market that picking the right one could be a very hit and miss affair. That rather stylish blue one on the shelf (next to the black one that would have fitted perfectly if only you knew) might turn out to be a visual winner, but a svelte pain generator. Avoid all of that. Take the mystery out of it by experimenting with a saddle from us. Pay for a saddle at retail, but try a test saddle before you settle on the eventual model  (different widths available on Fizik saddles). This is the advantage of using a traditional bike shop (such as ours); we’ll size you properly, ensure the fit is right and set up the saddle for you.

Don’t go short on shorts

Shorts are among the best (best, BEST) investments you can make as a cyclist. It’s right up there with a track pump, a bike that fits and a ridiculous pair of novelty cycling socks (we all have them). Again, shorts can really make or break a ride. Always try shorts on first and preferably, try at least 2 pairs to be certain. We’ve all got different body shapes and the last thing any of us needs is to be overly constricted by the shorts or equally, for the shorts to billow in the wind. We’re looking for smooth surfaces that don’t chafe, a great fit around your legs and waist, if bib-shorts, you don’t want them pulling the whole ensemble up to the heavens (your shorts should be comfortably held in place) and you also want the shorts to be of sufficient quality to roll with the punches. Laying eyes and hands on a few pairs will give you a great guide. Trying some on, an even better one.

Enjoy the ensemble

Modern saddles and fabrics are good to go pretty much straight out of the box. Go and ride them. Enjoy it. Hit the roads and the trails, safe in the knowledge that you’ve bought well and you can hope – and expect – a far more comfortable ride. For absolute belt and braces, use a bit of chamois cream in advance. The next time that dreaded 100 miler comes around, you’ll be looking at it a little more warmly.

From the shop

We have a great range of Selle Italia and Fizik saddles in stock (Fizik are available in various width sizes). We would strongly recommend a saddle fitting and the use of a test saddle first; it’s well worth putting in the hard yards to prevent any hard miles. For shorts, we’re very impressed with the Assos pro-training bib and the Assos T Mille, both retailing at £100 and available in store.