Is a wide bike seat more comfortable?

Megan Smith
 min read

Is a wide bike seat more comfortable? Not necessarily.

It’s a common misconception that a wider bike seat is comfier than a narrow one. Your choice needs to depend on the type of riding you’re doing.

is a wide bike seat more comfortableSmooth racing saddles don’t look comfortable, but a larger seat will create more friction and thus chafing, especially if you’re pedaling hard on the road or in a race.

So the more you ride and the harder you pedal, the thinner and less cumbersome your bike seat needs to be.

The most crucial factor in a bike seat fit is that it needs to be sized appropriately to only support your sit bones and not your entire behind.

Can a bike saddle be too large for my butt?

Yes. Too broad a seat will induce chafing as your thighs will rub against the sides of the seat.

Since it will hinder your motion, it will also reduce your pedaling power.

Aerodynamics will be negatively impacted by the increased contact area between your legs and the correlated increase in air resistance.

For more leisurely riding, having a large seat is rarely an issue and is generally chosen when comfort is more of a priority than efficiency.

If it’s better performance you’re after, you’ll have to find a compromise between comfort and pedaling dynamics.

Tip: Read our related article How do I choose a bike seat? to discover important selection criteria and tips.

Bike seat too small VS bike seat too large

We’ve found that it’s more common and more troublesome to have too narrow a seat rather than too wide.

If your seat isn’t wide enough to offer support to your sit bones, your weight is supported chiefly by your perineum.

This is the part in between, which is the labia for females and the penis region for males.

Putting pressure on these delicate areas can prove very unpleasant and give rise to health problems in the long term.

Many people put off biking as they fail to understand that a simple bike seat swap will remove the discomfort provoked by undue pressure on the perineum.

In this context, I would like to point to our buying guide featuring the best bicycle saddles for big butts.

Is a wide bike seat more comfortable? Conclusion

The right seat will have a mix of convenience, weight, and pedaling dynamics.

You should be happy with how it looks and feels and within your budget.

The key is discovering a saddle that fits your anatomy, matches your riding style, and promotes comfort.

Remember that your body is unique and should be treated as such.

Discover the width between your sit bones and match that to the seats of your choice.

Don’t know how? It’s simple. Sit on a piece of cardboard placed on a flat surface.

Raise your legs as if you were pedaling, and mark the indentations made on the material beneath you.

Measure them and you’ve got your sit bones width. You can also enlist a friend to measure it directly off your body.

Pointer: Add +/- 1,5 cm at the extremely minimum to that range, which is your ideal saddle width.

Last but not least: Pay attention to the weight carrying capacity of the bike saddle! Discover more details about this topic by reading Do bike seats have weight limits?

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More