My bike is a pain in the arse

What's the thinking on saddles/padded cycle shorts?

Whenever I cycle I end up with a sore bum, sometimes with bruising, pretty much where thigh meets buttock. Do I need more padding/less, a new saddle? Or just to HDFU?



  • No advice to give as I'm a bike newbie too but i'm Interested in the responses as my but hurts too when riding, I end up shifting position quite often, is it just time in the saddle?

  • try the DHB range from wiggle, they have good padding & are a good price. I use them every weekend on long rides, sore bottoms are not the way to go!

  • First thing to look at should be proper positioning on the bike so you're not putting weight on the wrong areas.
    Once your position's perfect, shorts and saddles can be experimented with, but there's no guarantee of finding a silver-bullet of a perfect solution! 

  • Sarah
    If you are just cycling, then proper cycling bumwear is a necessity. It certainly helps reduce the contact damage. I think that the tri- folks have specialist bum attire where they can extract the padded nappy at the start of the run stage.
    In either case it is mandatory to ride naked. I mean no nicks.
    The Altura bib shorts that I have are the entry model, (why doesn't that sound right?). The "gel" padding is just a closed cell foam of varying thickness, but is an improvement over nothing. Other makes have real chamois (It's apparently an Alpine goat) and real cyclists apply chamois cream to their arses. Others use nappy rash cream like Sudocreme. Be warned that stuff sticks to everything.
    The drawback with bib shorts is that you have to fully undress in order to take a leak. The advantage is that there's no cold draught up the back.

    After the padded shorts, I still have some contact damage, and am looking at saddles, but there's a lot of trial and error there, and 50 to 100 quid a go.

    PS the areas in question are politely called the "sit bones".
    However, you may wish to read the entire thread entitled "Massacre in the Lady Garden".


  • Ta for the responses image

    I'm absolutely certain that my bike isn't set up for me properly, so that's number one on the to do list for conquering the bike. 

    What is proper positioning? I have no idea how I should be sat on the bike?

    I have some padded cycle shorts, but they're nothing special. Just something I bought from a sportswear shop on t'internet. I'm assuming higher-end specialised bum attire has its benefits?

    I don't think the problem is my sit bones - the pain I get is further in and is definitely more in the flesh than on bone. I really don't like the way that sounds... image

  • See the lady garden thread as earlier recommended!

    I too love the dhb shorts (which are not at the expensive end of the range) but have to say that for the very longest rides (like last weekend!) my tri shorts which have a thinner pad are more comfy

    However "more comfy" is always a relative term..............

    You do also HTFU if you cycle regularly - when I first started I had the sort of "injuries" you wouldn't want recorded on the search records of your hard drive!! image

  • FWIW

    1. Assos F1 Mille pads. Closest thing to comfort. Not cheap, very durable indeed. Whatever suits you, I use the shorts but bib shorts, etc also available. I find the DHB stuff a bit light.
    2. the stuff is amazing, especially used in conjunction with Chaois Butt'r. Don't stint on it, slap it on good & thick.
    3. Some saddles just don't suit. Unfortunately that's trial and error. Though leather at least adapts to you! See if you can borrow some pirate ones to test or try the LBS, they should have some.
    4. Yeah, HTFU comes in too. You will toughen up.

    Hope it helps, hope yer man is OK. 


  • I can't remember the exact rules for the perfect bike fit. If you're comparatively clueless, best to visit the LBS and recruit help.
    What I generally do is put the saddle as far forward as it goes, put my heels on the pedals and then raise/lower the saddle to the point where my leg's completely straight when the pedal's at its lowest point. Tilting it up/down is then a matter of preference.
    If your saddle's too low, you're probably going to be taking too much weight on your arse and less on your hands and feet, increasing the chances of ouch!

    Edit: Blisters, the padding in triathlon kit isn't removable, it's just thin enough to let you run properly while wearing it.

  • Hi Sarah.  I've recently started a bit of cycling, and have wondered this too.  I have found things have eased a bit recently.  I don't know if this is because I'm getting used to it or if the padded shorts I have bought are making a difference.  I started with a pair of More Mile (i.e. value brand) ones which didn't seem to make much difference.  Then I ordered a pair of Scott ones in the sale from Start Fitness.  When they arrived they were much more 'discreet' than the More Mile ones and I thought there was no way they would make a difference - but they really did!  I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. I got mine from Start Fitness - here.  They are a fairly hideous colour so I have to cover them up with some Ronhill trackster things... image.  If you do a search on the main website they have the same shorts in other questionable colours so worth looking through all the colours if there is not your size in one of them (or if you actually like some of the colours)!

    The only thing I would say is that when I do go back to my original (more mile) ones due to laundry inefficiencies, I do find it better than it was originally so it's possible I have just HTFU'd...

    And now I'm off to google DHB at wiggle - you know, to help with the laundy inefficiency situation image.

  • Sarah is it bruising or skin irritation?


    Skin irritation is just chafing and can be alleviated with good shorts and chamois cream


    Bruised feeling is bike/saddle fit. If you sit on your hands you will feel two bony prominences (sit bones or ischial tuberosity) - these should bridge (in contact) the saddle taking weight of the soft tissue.  Sitting too far back/forwards and a wide saddle cause me problems here. I have a narrow saddle and have been 'fitted' by LBS when purchasing the bike

  • You will toughen up in time.  I started riding a bike in March, and now I can ride 75 miles without discomfort (same saddle, same shorts).

    I've got some dhb shorts, and some Gore ones, and the dhb are just as good, padding-wise.  I have some bib tights, but wouldn't recommend them - the bib makes having a pee much more complicated.  It's easier for blokes!

    I'm going to check out the Startfitness ones now... image

  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭

    it's all been said - saddle, fit, shorts etc are key but frankly the best is just to get out and ride more and you will toughen up.  simple as.

    many of us more hardened riders prefer to ride with less padding as it moves around less when you're changing position as all riders do - less movement, less chance of chafing.  so tri shorts are more comfy for me.

    however the search for the best method can take some time so you need to try different combos and find out what works best for you

  • I went out on my sons bike recently just to keep my husband at a pace & company on one of his long runs. Ohhhh heavens. It felt like when I was 10 yrs old and landed on the bar when the gear slipped image Not something I shall be doing again soon !

  • I'm with Dustboy on the Assos front. They are expensive but for me they are worth it. I decided to try a cheaper pair this year that are ok for shorter rides but the next pair will be Assos again, just save up a bit longer. Never thought about women issues to do with bibshorts but I get bibs, find them more comfortable but don't have toilet problems with them with being a fella.

    Saddles is another big issues and it is hard to try before you buy unless you know lots of people with spare saddles. I tried this method borrowed some from friends but somehow can't really remember how though, ended up with a Fizik Arionne. Again for me it is the most comfortable saddle I have used. If I haven't been on the bike for a while the day after a ride I do get an uncomfortable feeling the day after but that goes away quickly. I think it's a case of your ass gets used to it in time. If it is skin irritation rather than a slightly bruised feeling then you are brobably looking at different issues.

    For long rides I use Sudocreme to help which does the job.

    Hope some of this helpsimage

    Sorry should have said, shorter tri's is just my club trisuit which has the padding properties like a cereal box but at least you can run in it after. Only goes on for short ones though.

  • Interesting thread, I am just training for my first tri me triathlon in 6 weeks.  Having not cycled more than a couple of times in the 20 years since I got a car my bottom was pretty sore the first few times but it does seem to be less so, the LBS advised on posture on the bike which helped a lot but he did also advise decent shorts.  I have a Craft Tri suit and have been training in that as I build fitness but when I start going for longer rides I may well invest in a decent pair of shorts.

  • Some excellent advice, thanks image

    Some of those Scott shorts are a bit image but I am tempted by the green ones. Plus, they're on sale! 

    There are several DHB options - no idea which to go for, but they're all a little bit pricey for me image

    Another question - I feel like I'm putting a lot of weight onto my hands when I cycle. Probably another sign of it being ill-fitting, but how much pressure is meant to go onto the handlebars? My hand was hurting for hours after only a 10 mile ride!

  • Wilkie wrote (see)

    I'm going to check out the Startfitness ones now... image

    Don't forget to use the RW code for a 10% discount from Start Fitness (it's on the homepage - I think RW10?).  Oh dear, I've just checked and it is RW10.  I shop at Start Fitness too much!


    Some of those Scott shorts are a bit image but I am tempted by the green ones. Plus, they're on sale! 

    That made me laugh.  I think I originally wrote how revoltingly vile the colours were, but toned it down a bit in case anyone was offended if they owned them/liked the colours.  I have the orange ones, and to be fair, nobody is going to not notice me with my arse that bright (not that my arse is hard to miss).

  • Bike fit,don't risk injury


  • I am surprised that no-one has mentioned Adamo saddles.

    They are available at Trybikestore and you can borrow one for 2 weeks to see if they are OK.

    I used to have persistent problems with uncomfortable saddles - I once lost quite a bit of time in a 25mile TT, wriggling and squirming, then I heard of Adamo.

    The front end is split so that you only rest on your sit bones and not the soft tissue imbetween.  It took me about 15 rides before I was sure they were for me and now I have one on each of my bikes.

    BUT, everyone is different, so, if you can, borrow before buying and give the saddles lots of works outs.


  • +1 for adamo saddle

    112 miles last week, no sore a*se, no bruises, well worth the money! I wear Gel altura cycle shorts (relitively cheap).

  • Me and the Adamo just would not get on .. horses for courses

    I use a Charge Spoon, cheap and cheerful and suits me just fine, no fancy flap gaps or anything  image

  • I don't have the (balls??) or money to keep trying different saddles as I'd believe each would take an age to 'bed' into.  I'd probably swap once, and thereafter would keep looking for reasons not to get on with it, with the result I'd always be looking another. 

    Hence I still use my stock plastic Bontrager that came with my Trek.  It maybe isn't the comfiest, I wouldn't know, but my arse has gotton used to it, so until I change my bike it'll stay used to it.

  • Have you tried a saddle with a flap gap? (and no, that's not the marketing name, lo)l. Makes a big difference, but nothing can take the place of a proper bike fit. Another vote for Assos shorts, but they're not cheap
  • RedjeepRedjeep ✭✭✭

    'Flap gap' LOL. image Never heard that before.

    I agree with what most other posters have said, get the bike fitted to you, buy some decent shorts (DHB, Giordano, Assos in assending order of quality and price), and try out different saddles. Some bike shops will loan them out to you. You can also get measured for saddles.

    Saddles are VERY personal and once you've found the one model you like you'll stick to it (not literally like..yuk.), for me it's the Specialized BG Toupe. Also as FB has said, the more you ride, the more your body gets used to it and the easier it gets. I do a few 200km + rides each year and generally the only part of me that doesn't ache afterwards is my backside.


  • I've never heard of a 'flap gap' before either image 

    I am tempted to go into a bike shop and ask for a saddle with one though image

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