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Padded Saddle VS Padded Shorts – Know This Before Choosing!

Someone who is just starting to take the biking thing seriously has a lot of matter to figure out and learn about. After exploring budget-friendly bike under 400 dollars to researching about necessary accessories such as bike helmet with lights and more, it’s been a long & tiring phase already.

And if things were not already bad, confusion over the classic wears of pro cyclists enters to add more miseries. Some won’t love the extra padding included shorts and bibs that look like a penalty more than fun activity wear. While there are those who are told by cycling pros that saddles are not something they should consider. And then again, there are commuters who just want to go shorter distances and absolutely have no clue of what these two gears have to do with it at all.

So, overall it’s a bit confusing to take one side between shorts and saddle when there’s hardly much you know about. Well, not anymore because I’m planning to break down this whole padded saddle vs padded shorts argument into sections that will make everything crystal clear for you. Yes, you will be able to make your own choice, just promise me you’ll spend the next 10 minutes with patience reading this entire thing. Let’s start!

Padded Saddle VS Padded Shorts

The Purpose Behind This Padded Saddle Vs Padded Shorts Argument.

Cushioning is the main protagonist here for cyclists and that is why if you ask someone who has a good period of experience, they’ll tell you to get padded shorts and bibs. This thing basically gives the best cushioning to all the right spots of your body no matter what riding position you chose.

Now rather than only depending on the padded shorts, if you pair them with a firm saddle, then the most comfortable experience will come your way.

I know, some people believe because the soft and wide saddle seems to be more comfortable to the body, those alone will be enough. But not necessarily that’s the case always. As with more softness you get more friction. And so, there’s more pain to deal with, especially for longer rides. This is why a firm saddle works best.

Also, keep in mind that the cycling seat is not a sofa that you’re supposed to chill in. It’s something that provides your sit bones proper support. So that your body can participate in cycling. So here, you are not supposed to only look for COMFORT but mainly SUPPORT!

A Soft Saddle Cannot Be Ideal for Longer Rides but Pretty Good on Short Distances!

If you are going to take the bike for longer rides, then here’s why a sinking saddle that’s extra soft will fail:

  1. Too much friction from the extra softness of the saddle will make the body sink and even suffer from irritations and bruises.
  2. If it’s quite large and squishy, the perineum part of body will face compressing effects and experience stress.
  3. The nonmoving padding style of saddle will make it hard for you to change positions comfortably.
  4. Usually, a wide saddle that has additional cushioning will include several gel layers. And so, these are heavy and difficult to manage.
  5. For mountain or road biking, there’s a lot of aggressive riding involved that a saddle fails to work with because of poor fit. It causes misalignment and stress to thigh area specifically. If too wide, the saddle can even feel like pushing rider’s hips apart.
  6. Too much sweat and discomfort accompany saddles because of less airflow.
  7. Efficiency is key during a bike race. And even slightest rub against the saddle of thigh can work against your power generation making things pretty hard.
  8. The firmness of a saddle is often very inconsistent. And so, you may end up sitting near the saddle frame which is definitely not helpful.
  9. Without the right cycling gear and ability to adapt, one cannot ride for too long hours. Because the saddle will have an additional softening effect, there might be less strain on sit bones but not for a very long time. Very soon it starts feeling the stress of cycling which basically denies whole purpose of using such gear.

But Saddles Can Be Great for Upright Riding.

If you are planning to use the squishy wide saddle for mainly upright riding, then things are different. For both cruisers and commuters, a wide and extra padding included saddle can be a great thing to have. Because these involve the vertical back angle of a rider. And so, there’s not much negative effect to interfere that usually occurs during long rides.

So, if you are not a very good climber and enjoy shorter distances then go for it. You get fabulous skeletal support as well as additional elevation benefits with it ensuring proper protection.

Padded Shorts & Bibs Works Best for Veteran Riders but Disappoints Commuters.

There are a number of benefits that padded shorts includes and make them a perfect choice for serious cyclists. And here’s how:

  1. No restriction to your movements so that you can ride easily and comfortably. And that’s possible thanks to the no-seam design on flexing spots and also due to its stretchy material.
  2. These are meant to transfer all sorts of moisture to the outer surface. So that evaporation can take place and the rider does not feel sweaty or uncomfortable. This also helps in avoiding rashes or chaffing.
  3. Shorts are designed to provide proper genital support and avoiding any sort of unnecessary movement while riding.
  4. There’s less friction with shorts because of the material that it uses as well as due to tightness.
  5. Also, these are light in weight, something that works extremely in favor of long rides.

But Padded Shorts Are Not Convenient for Commuters.

Padded shorts are usually not very aesthetically pleasing. Also, these are pretty expensive if you want a good-quality pair. These are prone to wearing out quickly as well. And not to mention, shorts are going to require regular cleaning, something you don’t need to do with saddles.

The most severe drawback, shorts are not very versatile for commuters. Because they need to attend different jobs and sights that may not favor a bib as the dress code. Wearing a women’s padded cycling tights while visiting a formal office meeting would be pretty weird, the same goes for these shorts.

Unless the commuter decides to bring extra clothing to change accordingly, which is again very inconvenient. This is another reason why short distance riders prefer saddles. As this allows them to wear their regular clothes for office or other occasions.

Wrap Up

So, what’s your thought on the whole padded saddle vs padded shorts matter now? Here’s what I feel.

If you are someone who will be participating in serious cycling activities such as mountain biking that involves lots of aggressive riding, then invest in a proper pair of padded shorts. And if possible, include a firm non-cushioning saddle. Because both of these together work excellently!

However, if the whole purpose of riding is barely for commuting from one place to another, basically shorter distances, then go ahead and get that cushioning or soft effect of padded saddles. It’s not going to be a problem for such types of riders.

Hopefully, you have your choice in mind!

About Jack Carson

Hi, I'm Jack Carson, a professional writer, and also I'm a hobby bicycle rider. I've been riding my bike for 6 years and I also enjoy using them when I go out. I share my opinion on various Platforms so that a beginner can get started right away. I always researched and summarized my findings before posting them on the websites.

As I am enjoying share ideas and reviews, I can tell you, I will be continuing to do that for helping the bike community. I am proud to be a biking adviser at bikeridereview.com