Bicycle Seat Technology
When is it time for a bicycle saddle replacement?
Bike Saddle Lifespan
When is it time to replace my bicycle saddle? This is a question I get asked now and then. Most cyclists offer a reasonable guess of 10,000 miles, since that’s about the time a frame, handlebar or seat post will last. But all parts are not created equal.
A saddle’s function is unique compared to other bicycle components. Since it is the interface between your most private parts and a very hard frame, it has to be both ruggedly strong and comfortable throughout the ride.
The marriage of strength plus comfort is a design concept that eludes many saddle designers, and here’s why: The rails, base, cover material and foam must flex for a comfortable ride, yet it is that very flexibility that fatigues and wears out the parts. Heavy and rigid metal rails can last forever and some manufacturers are proud of that.
But cyclists know that Rigid Parts = Less Component Fatigue = Durability = Pain. “Herein lies the rub”, as Shakespeare would say. The trick is to find balance between comfort and durability.
Koobi saddles are designed for an optimum comfort lifespan of 400 to 600 hours. That doesn’t mean the saddle must be thrown away at 400 hours. Although we regularly run our saddles 600 + hours, we know that comfort begins to diminish by 400. Foam deterioration is so gradual that most riders don’t realize it. They are aware of some discomfort but don’t really know what has changed. But if you replace your saddle at 400 hours you’ll likely feel the difference. After 600 hours the difference in comfort will be significant.
To make a comparison, think of saddles in terms of Ferrari vs. Hummer. It’s very difficult to have the ride of a Ferrari with the bombproof quality of an armored Hummer at a price that is reasonably affordable. We’ve given Koobi saddles the Ferrari comfort components that will predictably deliver up to your 400th hour of riding pleasure. (And if you run the numbers, you only have to coast at 25 mph to clock in that 10,000 mile estimate anyway!)
Why do cyclists dish out $100 for a pair of cycling shorts that last only a quarter of the lifespan of a quality saddle? At that rate, every Koobi saddle is worth four pair of bike shorts. What a bargain!