A saddle is one of the most important aspects of a bike, and there are many different reasons why you need to use one. Sometimes though, people can be seen riding a bike without a saddle attached, so can you really ride your bike without a saddle?
Today we’ll be exploring this question by looking at why saddles are on bikes in the first place, what types of saddles there are and the reasons why you should or shouldn’t go out without one. Let’s get to it.
You can ride a bike without a saddle, however, it’s not recommended since it will be easier to lose control of the bike, especially downhill. Also, biking longer distances without a saddle will not only be uncomfortable, but also extremely exhausting.
Why Do Bikes Have Saddles?
Bike saddles are there for a number of reasons and each one is an important part of riding a bike comfortably and efficiently.
To begin with, the purpose of a saddle is to act like any other seat would, and that is to hold your weight whilst in a seated position. For the majority of your rides, you are seated and as such a way of holding your weight is needed on every bike.
The second reason why bikes have saddles is to simply because it makes sense to ride sat down, it is the natural position that makes your pedal strokes feel more fluid and can allow you to generate a consistent level of wattage whilst out on the road.
It may not seem like an important thing but being able to find your rhythm and stay in it for a sustained period of time is a crucial part of becoming a good cyclist.
Another reason why saddles are important is simply that they are meant to be there, there is a reason why people question why bikes don’t have saddles and that is that they’re confused why such a key component of the vehicle is missing.
Suggesting that a bike doesn’t need a saddle is the equivalent of suggesting that cars don’t need seats, it would be dangerous and in all honesty, insane not to have them there.
What Types of Saddles Are There?
There are many different variations of saddles that you can go for on your bike, the most common is the regular racing style saddle on men’s bikes.
They are the most basic style of saddle and feature a relatively small, padded area with a thin nose to the front, making them both aerodynamic and efficient.
There are drawbacks to this kind of saddle though, mainly that they can often rub in your skin in delicate areas and cause saddle sores to form. These sores can be incredibly uncomfortable and lead to you needing to step away from the bike for a while of not dealt with properly. For this reason, the ergonomic saddle was created.
This kind of saddle features a much larger area for you to sit on and has two large seat pads that are there to provide comfort above anything else.
These saddles are popular amongst more overweight people as they can offer more support for their heavier frames and therefore limit the amount on discomfort they may experience on the bike.
Ergonomically designed saddles are not very aerodynamic though and as such should not be used on racing bikes. These saddles are mainly used by men as women’s bikes are fitted with saddles that are tailored to the needs of women.
Women’s saddles are similar to regular racing saddles but straddle the line between those and the ergonomic saddles as they have more padding to the rear of the seat and a central relief area to prevent chafing of the genitals whilst riding.
The final kind of seat that is particularly common in the United States is the banana saddle, this is a strangely shaped saddle that offers sufficient support at both ends and is mainly used by children.
The banana saddle is usually found on children’s bikes such as the old Raleigh Chopper and more modern wheelies as they prevent slips from the saddle and are more comfortable that regular saddles.
Children are not riding their bikes for long periods of time, so it makes sense to have a saddle that is more devoted to comfort and safety rather than speed and aerodynamics.
Can I Really Ride Without a Saddle?
In a word, yes.
In reality though the answer is a lot more complicated though as not riding with a saddle could cause whole range of problems.
To start with there would be issues when you want to sit back down after riding stood up, we don’t need to go into details here but riding with just a seat post to support you is not something you’ll want to be doing for very long.
The next reason is that riding out of the saddle can be hard and is usually needed when the road goes skywards, meaning that once you want to sit back down you need that saddle to act as a method of recovery.
If you didn’t have a saddle on your bike you would spend entire rides stood up and this could cause a plethora of problems like cramps, muscle tears, and simply a lack of comfort on your ride.
Thirdly, it would simply look wrong to not have one on your bike. You would likely be the victim of mocking from your fellow cyclists that would almost certainly question why you are without a saddle on your bike, especially if you are riding an expensive model.
Finally, and perhaps most sadly of all, some people have to ride their bike without a saddle as they cannot afford to replace it or buy a new bike, and this is something that can make riding without one more justifiable.
The issues mentioned above don’t disappear, but they likely pale in comparison to some of the issues that certain members of society may be facing.
In an ideal world, everyone would be riding bicycles with fully functioning saddles, however that isn’t likely until education surrounding the importance of the bike is improved on a global scale as this is far from an issue that is limited to the United States.
You can do it, but it really isn’t something that we would recommend doing unless you really have to.