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I'm 195cm and 80kg. For as long as I can remember, I haven't been able to sit on my sit bones comfortably. In hard wooden chairs I slouch or lean far forwards. Plastic seats, such as on a metro, are also quite uncomfortable.

I often struggle with soreness after riding. My skin looks fine down there, but I get a tremendous amount of tissue soreness in the vicinity of each tuberosity. I do wear cycling shorts but not bib-shorts.

It just occurred to me yesterday evening as I was sitting on the metro and realized that yes, my butt hurts if I sit up properly.

Is there any hope for skinny people like me? Is the solution simply ride more? (increase muscle tone, develop awesome butt-calluses?)

I'm curious to hear solutions from other diminutive derriere dudes and dudettes.

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There are all sorts of different seats available, including some "off the wall" sling types. You can probably find something that's more comfortable. Unfortunately, you may have to buy several before you find what's right for you. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 17 '13 at 16:19
    
@DanielRHicks absolutely right. Not everyone is made for riding a Speed Needle ;-) –  Benedikt Bauer Jan 17 '13 at 18:49
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If the problem is too big, you can always try going recumbent. –  Mladen Jablanović Jan 17 '13 at 18:59
    
Another option, vs buying and testing several expensive seats, is to buy a seat cover. There are cheap (and crummy) ones sold at department stores, but most "middle of the road" bike shops will carry a few good ones. (Hoity-toity shops are likely to turn up their noses at them.) There are various types, with foam and "gel" padding. Not terribly durable, but a good option for trying out. –  Daniel R Hicks Jan 20 '13 at 14:10
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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes, there is hope for skinny people like us.

Please keep in mind that sitting on a saddle for miles/hours on end is never going to be totally comfortable. I'm sure I will get flamed for this but I'll go ahead and state it- there is no such thing as a comfortable saddle. Saddle choice is a matter of mitigating discomfort, not enhancing comfort.

The two most personal choices people make beyond the bike they ride are shoes and saddles. These two items run neck and neck in terms of personal the preference is. What works for one person may be an instrument of torture for the next and vice versa. Helmets are a not-so-distant third.

What you need to do is try different saddles. Keep trying different saddles until you find one that you deem bearable. Give them time. Someone once told me that "you don't break the saddle in, the saddle breaks you in," and that holds true for pretty much everything with the exception of a certain brand of English fame known for their leather saddles. Unless the saddle is excruciating to sit on for the first short ride, give it a couple weeks of regular riding or a month or so of sporadic riding before you conclude that it's not right for you.

This process can be expensive.

Road saddles are much more difficult than mountain bike saddles because you spend more time on them and move around on them less frequently. I've been riding regularly for many years now. I still haven't found a road saddle that I'm happy with. I have the same mountain bike saddle on every other bike I own except my road bike.

The longer your ride and the harder your ride, the more uncomfortable you will become regardless of your saddle choice.

More padding does not equal more comfort. Do not forget that. That goes not only for saddles but for shorts as well- and everything else involved in a contact point with your body for that matter. Just because something costs more does not mean that it will be more comfortable- same rules apply here as well.

Don't underestimate the value of a good pair of shorts. You probably shouldn't pay less than $60 for a pair and you should do your homework on what makes/models rate well and which dont. There is some personal preference involved with shorts but it's not to the same degree as with saddles. Typically if they rate high you will be happy with them. If they don't you might be better off sticking cardboard down your shorts (I've owned a pair of shorts like this that weren't that cheap). Bad shorts can make a good saddle feel more uncomfortable to a degree, but the best pair of shorts cannot make a saddle that does not fit you comfortable.

To close, I will reiterate that saddles are not very comfortable to begin with. What you're trying to do is find one that limits how uncomfortable you become as your ride progresses. Try enough different ones and eventually you will find one that works.
Best of luck.

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You may also want to look into getting some thicker padded cycling pants. Amazon has some decent padded pants that may give you a bit more protection when riding.

This may also sound stupid, but have you fit yourself on your bike? Even slight adjustments up/down and forward/back on your seat of handlebars can totally change the way yours arms and butt feel while riding. It could take several tries before you dial it in, but it's definitely worth the shot.

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Yeah, padded shorts are the best thing I've come up. –  Jeff Ferland Jan 17 '13 at 18:49
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