Bicycle Seat Technology
Elements Of Comfort - Bicycle Saddle Base Flexibility
Bicycle Saddle Function - Base Flexibility
When you ride over a bump, the energy of the bump is transmitted through your bike into the bicycle saddle. Various elements of the saddle absorb this energy (see elements of comfort) including the cover, foam, rails, and the base. The flexibility of the base becomes an important factor.
Bicycle Saddle Base Flexibility vs. Foam Padding
There are a number of companies on the market that use very thin foam on top of a moderately thin base. The theory behind this design is that the base flexibility should absorb bump energy and result in a comfortable ride. While the theory is sound, the challenge is to bring it to market so that it will work for a vast range of cyclists.
Saddle makers are required to meet the International Manufacturing standard that requires saddles to function for a 220 pound (100 kilo) person. Unfortunately, a saddle that’s strong enough for a 220 pound person won’t be flexible for a 140-180 pound person. On the other hand, a saddle that’s flexible for a 180 pound person will be stiff for a 155 pound person but much too flexible for a 205 pound person. Without a rating system for cyclist weight or strength/flexibility of the base, you end up with the “one size fits all” approach.
Learn more about the elements of bicycle saddle comfort in this
series of articles.