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Sometimes, the only thing standing between you and a long cardio session is an uncomfortable exercise bike seat. Think about it: if you have a seat that hurts your butt every time you sit on it, you’re not going to keep using it.
If an exercise bike is your favorite piece of cardio equipment, or you find yourself at a spin class regularly, a comfortable seat is non-negotiable. When you’re not experiencing any pain from your bike seat, your workouts become more fun and you’ll be able to clock in the miles faster.
Let’s explore the various reasons your indoor bike seat might be uncomfortable and how to deal with them.
Why is your stationary bike seat uncomfortable?
There’s no such thing as “one size fits all” when it comes to exercise bike seats, which means you’re probably bound to feel some discomfort at one point. Here are some of the reasons why your spin bike seat hurts.
A narrower/ wider saddle
When you sit on an exercise bike, the only points of contact between you and the bike are your feet, hands, and your sit bones (the bones at the bottom of your butt), with the latter absorbing your weight and taking the majority of the pressure. So if your bike saddle is too narrow or too wide, you’ll feel a lot of discomfort.
If your saddle is too narrow, you’ll end up putting a lot of pressure on your sit bones. If it’s too wide, it may interfere with your pedaling motion. You also run the risk of chafing your inner thighs.
Women typically have wider sit bones than men, so they need a wider saddle. Men require a narrower saddle to distribute their weight properly, otherwise they’ll experience pain in the crotch area.
Improperly placed saddle
Riders often make the mistake of not placing the seat in the correct position. They either position it too high or too low, putting pressure on their lower back, glutes, and intimate areas, causing pain.
The distance of your bike seat from the handlebars also plays a role. Position the handlebars too close to the saddle, and you’ll feel constricted and won’t be able to pedal properly. Too far away, and you won’t be able to reach the handles without leaning forward excessively.
Hard bike seat
A hard seat can dig into your sit bones, so if your stationary bike seat hurts, it simply might be too hard for you to sit on comfortably and you may require external padding.
Wearing the wrong gear
When using an exercise bike, your thighs repeatedly come in contact with your bike seat–or your clothes if you’re wearing loose-fitting clothing–causing inner thigh chafing due to the continuous movement. Your risk of getting saddle sores increases during longer workout sessions.
How can I make my stationary bike seat comfortable?
If your stationary bike seat hurts, you can make it more comfortable by adjusting the saddle, maintaining proper form and technique while riding, and investing in certain accessories such as a padded cover, padded shorts and anti-chafing cream. Let’s look at each point in detail below.
Adjusting Your Bike Seat
A properly adjusted bike seat can make you feel much more comfortable when riding, by improving your posture and relieving any glute or lower back pain. Here’s the proper set-up for your exercise bike:
- Stand near the bike and adjust the saddle height to be in line with your hip level. Sit on the bicycle seat and push the pedal to its lowest point (the six o’clock position). Your feet should rest flat on the pedals and your leg should be almost straight with just a slight bend at the knee.
- Place the handlebars to be level with your bike seat. You can also position them slightly higher, but don’t go too high as this will put too much pressure on your sit bones. If they’re too low, you’ll be pushed forward, putting a strain on your knees, arms, and neck.
- Measure the distance between your longest finger and your elbow. The distance between your bike seat and handlebars should be equal to or a bit shorter than this.
- Adjust the saddle seat angle so that it’s parallel to the floor.
Ascend spin bikes are adjustable no matter your height or weight to give you a comfortable riding experience. Shop now
Bike Seat Equipment and Accessories
Apart from properly setting up your stationary or spin bike, investing in some accessories can make your exercise bike seat more comfortable.
Gel seat cover
Gel seat covers have a gel or foam padding and cushion your butt and inner thighs, preventing numbness and allowing you to work out for longer. Seat covers are also easy to put on and remove, which means you can carry one with you to your next spin class.
You’ll be able to find a waterproof gel seat cover which won’t absorb your sweat, preventing any build-up of odor, and some even have a cooling function. Make sure to get a seat cover that’s the right size for your bike seat.
Padded bike shorts
Padded cycling shorts are tight shorts made from lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric like nylon or spandex and come with a chamois pad (a soft pad under the crotch area). These padded shorts are designed to provide comfort while cycling by cushioning your sit bones as well as your intimate areas. They prevent your inner thighs from rubbing against the saddle, preventing chafing and rashes.
Chafing can be incredibly painful, especially if you tend to ride for an extended period of time. To prevent this, apply an anti-chafing cream over your inner thighs. It’ll reduce the friction between your thighs and the saddle and also soothe your skin. Pair the cream with some padded cycling shorts to avoid chafing altogether.
Changing your saddle
If none of the above options help in turning your bike’s seat more comfortable, it might be time to invest in a new and customized saddle. Get a bike seat that can accommodate your width and make your workout sessions more comfortable.
Keep in mind that not all saddles will fit your exercise bike, so you need to choose a new seat that’ll fit.
Related reading: Is the stationary bike good for weight loss?
Proper stationary bike riding technique
Your technique is another thing that determines your comfort while riding an exercise bike. Following the proper technique can work wonders in making you feel more comfortable.
- Sit on the widest part of your bike’s saddle so that your body’s weight is distributed evenly. 70% of your weight should be placed on your sit bones while the rest 30% should be placed on your wrists.
- Slightly bend forwards at your hip to hold on to your handlebars. You should always keep your spine straight and chin up to avoid dizziness.
- Keep your elbows and knees bent slightly to allow for fluid circular motions while cycling.
- Engage your core to work your abdominal muscles and avoid leaning forward too much as this can put undue pressure on your wrists and forearms, taking your weight away from the pedals.
- Keep your feet flat on the pedals and don’t sway from side-to-side while pedaling.
- Modify your position every 10 minutes to prevent numbness. A great way to do this is switching between sitting down and standing up every few minutes.
Do you have specific fitness goals that you’re looking to reach with your exercise bike? Check out our indoor cycling training plan for people of all fitness levels.
How long does it take to get used to a stationary bike seat?
Generally, it may take anywhere from a few days to a week for you to “break in” the bike seat and get used to it. However, if your exercise bike seat hurts after 2-3 weeks, use our guidelines above to find out why and come up with a solution.
Enjoy a comfortable riding experience with Ascend
Exercise bikes are great for getting your daily dose of cardio, burning fat, and building up your leg strength. However, to get results, you’ll need to put the work in, which means having a comfortable bike seat is crucial.
Ascend spin bikes are built with this in mind. All Ascend spin bikes come with an ergonomic, padded seat that’s super comfortable and completely adjustable based on your height. You’ll never have to worry about pain or discomfort ever again.
Here’s what real customers have to say:
“Amazing bike. Built well, totally silent belt drive, quiet magnetic resistance, no useless accessories, comfy seat, quick assembly. Plus compact design. 5km a day and I feel great.” - Cristina C.
“Excellent build, very sturdy and whisper quiet. Comfortable seat and the resistance is great for a long tough workout. Really recommend!” - Kevin S.
Shop Ascend exercise bikes and have a challenging and comfortable workout session. Shop now