i am 6ft, 250 lb. I have a karate monkey bike from surly and recently begun to ride the bike. My main aim is to lose weight and get stamina. I try to ride daily for 30 mins, around the block, on the road, near my home. So, i have two questions

  1. The default saddle, starts hurting my hips after 30 mins. Can anyone recommend from their personal experience a wider, more comfortable saddle
  2. Currently, i use the knobby off road tires meant for offroad. Should i replace them with more smooth tires? My main motivation to keep the knobby ones is that they will help me build stamina faster. For example, i can only spare daily 30-45 mins. During that time, i can either put a bike on gear that will make me work harder with smoother tires or use knobby tires to add resistance. Is my understanding correct or should i really get smooth tires?
  • 3
    Big gear does not mean more work. A good cadence is what you want to lose weight and build stamina.
    – paparazzo
    Apr 28, 2015 at 19:24
  • Can we assume that saddle set at the correct height and that you are not rocking your hips? I am 6ft and at one time around 235 lbs but that didn't cause me problems on multi-hour rides. Sure, my first 20 miler was a bit sore at the end but I quickly became accustomed to it.
    – BPugh
    Apr 28, 2015 at 20:22
  • 1
    Can you clarify the pain in your hips please? Do you mean muscular or joint pain? Is the pain an ache or a stabbing pain?
    – Emyr
    Apr 30, 2015 at 12:46
  • 1
    Hi, the pain is like ache, when my hip bones try to rest against the saddle. It is not muscular pain, more like sitting against a hard surface...
    – Jimm
    May 1, 2015 at 3:33
  • 5
    Don't fall into the 'wider is better' trap, this is not the case, you want a saddle that is the right shape for your sit bones
    – Preston
    May 10, 2017 at 21:20

4 Answers 4


0) As suggested by Chris in AK, a bike fit may be a good idea. You may find your saddle is too low or something else, making it uncomfortable.

1) This is a personal choice. Go to your bike shop and see what they have -- some better shops will loan you saddles for a few days. A cruiser type saddle will be comfortable for short rides:

enter image description here

but after 5-10 miles they become uncomfortable. It takes a while to get used to a new saddle. You may want to start with a cruiser saddle and once you're used to it, measure your sitbones and get a normal saddle if you're riding longer distances.

2) You should really get smooth tires -- you'll go a bit faster, the road noise will be lower and you'll be able to corner more confidently so you'll probably end up riding more efficiently (and more). The knobby's also don't wear well on roads. And you're more likely to get a better tire pressure and performance balance with a smooth tire. I doubt the extra resistance from the knobs is going to do anything significant for the rate you build stamina -- you need to ride more to build more stamina (or do something smart, like high intensity interval training).

As for choosing a higher gear, be careful -- you may overload your joints if you do it too much. The reason gears exist is so that we can transfer power more efficiently. Its not just intensity, but time as well. And learning when to use what gear is a useful skill to have.

  • 4
    I'd recommend a bike fit as well. I have seen people who have their seats too low (a common missetup by a beginner) have hip issues since their body tries to make up the short space by rotating their legs out at the hip. Apr 28, 2015 at 21:54
  • I cannot agree with your first point. I find cruiser saddles uncomfortable beginning with mile 1 and they get worse every mile thereafter. I think they exist only because it makes intuitive sense that wider, plusher saddles would be more comfortable and so novices buy them, but the truth is that wider, plusher saddles are the least comfortable saddles available. Apr 29, 2015 at 1:27
  • 3
    I think they're fine for short rides. A lot of people are happy with them, especially on bikes intended for casula riding over short distances. In any case, a saddle is a highly personal decision, so the main point of the first point is that he should go to a bike shop and try some saddles to see if there sone that works better.
    – Batman
    Apr 29, 2015 at 14:22

In my humble experience as a semi-professional cyclist in another lifetime I would suggest ( as commented by others ) to not go for a wide saddle.

A wide saddle will feel more comfortable for short and occasional bike trips, but when you spend a lot of time in the saddle a slimmer saddle will prove its worth.

The main reasons why people complain when using a slim saddle is that they're just not used to it. But when you start using it during short rides and progressively increase the time in the saddle it won't be a problem.

Also a good pair of pants will prove their worth when riding the bike. Don't go for the cheapest pants, a decent pants (maybe with air pockets) will help your butt from feeling sour.

Additionally you can use pants grease like the professional cyclists do, but that's only required when you spends hours after hours in the saddle.

The knobby tires will not improve your stamina, it will improve your power and that's not the goal when starting to bike. When training to build-up stamina choose a small gear where you must pedal a lot without having to push hard on the peddles. This will allow you to improve much faster in building stamina. The ride distance isn't even that important, the number of rides is.

So my suggestions are:

  1. Make short rides
  2. Make many short rides
  3. Don't go to heavy gears, make it a custom to pedal fast. (a bike computer that measures the pedal speed/cadence could assist ). Heavy gears are only meant to go faster if you are strong enough to push them with the same pedal speed.
  4. Make many short rides

Tip: don't pedal too fast, 100 strokes per minute a great average pedal speed to train. If you go Chris Froome style it will be too intense.

  • What's this pants grease product you speak of, searching for it has a bunch of noise on "grease stains on pants" sort of hits.
    – jxramos
    Sep 20, 2017 at 19:51
  • Something like born no friction cream Sep 22, 2017 at 6:35

To summarise your situation:

6ft, 250lb (113kg) guy. Surly Karate Monkey bike. Ache where hip bones rest against saddle. Not muscular pain, more like sitting against a hard surface.

Your ache could be caused by any/all of the following:

  • Wrong saddle width for you. Your saddle should support you primarily under your "sit bones". You can find videos online showing ways to measure your sit bone width.

  • Wrong seat geometry for you. Any given combination of bicycle and rider produces a distinctive range of angles. How much the rider leans forward, the angle from the bottom bracket to the saddle, and the rider's anatomy, will all affect the rider's comfort in relation to a given saddle geometry.

  • Wrong construction for you. People vary widely in whether they prefer sprung or unsprung saddles; leather saddles that "break in" or synthetic ones that don't; saddles with no padding, a little padding, or a lot of padding; etc. You can learn what's best for you in this regard by trying out different saddles to see what's comfortable.

Steps you could take to find a good saddle:

  1. Rule out any saddles that have a rider weight limit <113kg, to be on the safe side.

  2. Rule out any saddles that are designed for bikes with different geometry to yours, e.g. racing saddles designed for use with the torso raked forward.

  3. As a guy, to avoid erectile dysfunction risk, rule out saddles that don't account for penile blood flow.

  4. Check out these saddles, which all have weight limits ≥113kg, many of which have either adjustable width or a choice of widths, so that you can match your sit bone width, and which account for male anatomy one way or another (e.g. by being "noseless" or having central cutouts/dips):

(N.B. These saddles are from a spreadsheet I compiled more than a year ago. Feel free to edit this answer if any of the links need updating.)


I'm 6'2", 250 pounds. I've ridden a Brooks Cambium C17 (carved) for the past couple of years on my road bike. I've completed one 1200K (~745 mile) ride, two 1000K (~621 mile) rides, numerous other randonneuring rides and countless commutes. In addition to being comfortable it's also weather resistant (important for me as I ride mostly in the Seattle area).

I almost always wear padded biking shorts, so keep that in mind.

+1 to all suggestions to get a professional bike fit. Proper bike fit is a game of millimeters, and many of the parameters are interrelated in subtle ways.

Regarding tires: I understand your motivation for sticking with the knobbies. If you do decide to switch, consider Schwalbe Big Apples. A few years ago I put 2" Big Apples on my 26" hard-tail mountain bike commuter. It made it feel like a completely different bike. They roll well on asphalt and they good for light non-technical trail riding.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.