Saddle Pads

A friend was complaining to me last week about soreness on his bottom after long bike rides. Yep, saddle trouble again.

It’s happened to him before. He’s gotten saddle sores that have kept him from the weekend ride. He’s felt an ache that feels like bruising in the soft tissue area.

I’ve been there, and my problems seem to have been solved by the right saddle.

He took a different route.  He got a saddle pad for his bike.

This doesn't belong to the friend I'm talking about -- but it's much the same.

It cost him less than $20, and added an extra layer of padding to the saddle. He’s ridden it a few times, all on distances of less than 20 miles. But he’s happy with the results so far. For him, the extra cushioning works.

The saddle pad pictured above belongs to a guy in my club. He likes his for a different reason.

“I’ve got the Big H,” he told me.

“And does this help?” I asked.

“Yeah. It’s good.”

I’ve ridden with another guy on club rides who uses a saddle pad. He took some good-natured ribbing about it, but said it suits him.

Clearly, for some people, under some circumstances, a saddle pad might be the solution.

What are the disadvantages, then?

The first would seem to be the fit. Most of the saddle pads I’ve seen are held in place by a drawstring set into an elastic hem. Some online reviews I’ve read for various saddle pads say it’s hard to get them to stay put once they’re on the saddle, and that can lead to discomfort.

The second is harder to pin down. Pads add another layer between you and the seat, but do they really add comfort? And do they work on long rides? Or, are they favored by exercisers on stationary bikes rather than road or mountain bikers?

Do you have any experience with these? Would a cyclist benefit from them, or would they be better off following the advice of one online reviewer — “It is better to get a comfortable saddle and forget the pad.”


  1. johnpennisi says

    I’m curious to hear what other people say about this as well. I recently did a short credit-card tour where I had two 100-mile days in a row. I’ve ridden 100 miles before, but never two days in a row. At the end of the second day, I developed saddle sores. To finish my third day of 50 miles, I needed some relief, so I ended up wearing two sets of cycling shorts at the same time, which actually helped a lot. I’m curious if getting one of these saddle covers at Wal-Mart would help next time I have such an emergency.


    P.S. Lovethe blog!

  2. Ken says

    I’ve never ridden serious rides with a saddle pad, but I do own one if I want to ride my bike around town in street clothes (not bike shorts). However, the lack of the pad in street clothes does remind how firm my saddle actually is. Is this bad? I don’t know, but I think I’m just used to the saddle at this point.

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