My current saddle just came with the bike. I see there are a lot of different saddle types available now, from the ultra thin, to the wide & comfy to the downright fruity.I associate the thin saddles with racers, but thats the limit of my knowledge.
I assume you meant "wide & soft" instead of "wide & comfy". A wide and/or soft saddle is not comfortable.
A wide saddle means you sit on the muscles that propel you forward, not a good long-term strategy.
A soft saddle means you sit on the muscles that propel you forward, not a good long-term strategy.
When choosing a new saddle, should I choose based on my body frame or my cycling type (i.e. get one for short commutes, one for touring)?
One saddle type for all kinds of riding is the best.
The saddles used by long-distance riders are the best. Short-distance riders may get away by using a non-optimal saddle, but why would you choose to deliberately ride on a non-optimal saddle?
Long-distance riders typically select saddle that:
- Is fairly narrow, around 14cm wide. This optimal saddle width is dictated by the sit bone size, and it varies from individual to individual. Women on average have slightly wider sit bone than men.
- Contains some amount of relatively firm padding, but not too much and not too soft.
Nowadays, there are a lot of saddles with practically no padding. The riders invariably wear bike shorts with lots of padding. The padding has moved from the saddle to the shorts. The reason for this is that padding is heavy, and nobody weighs bike shorts but everyone weighs bike saddles.
Fight this trend of moving padding from the paddle to the bike shorts! A reasonable saddle usually weighs around 300 grams. Anything lighter and the padding has been moved from the saddle to the shorts, limiting you to riding only in bike shorts that have lots of padding.
However, too much is too much, and too soft is too soft. There are saddles sold for unsuspecting buyers on being really, really soft with lots of padding. Don't buy such a saddle.
Having a good saddle means you can ride with any shorts, not just bike shorts.
Also, remember that any reasonable bike saddle hurts like hell if you haven't ridden bike for a long time. It generally takes at least two weeks to "break in" your butt. Reasonable saddles do not have a break in period (leather saddles do but they are not reasonable), but the bicyclist has a break in period.
There are countless of people new to cycling or resuming cycling after a long pause. Invariably, they will find their saddle to be uncomfortable. They go to a bike shop, and buy a "better" saddle. The bike shop owner sells some product that cost 15 EUR to produce at 60 EUR price, after the consumer decides that 120 EUR saddle costs too much (it would cost 20 EUR to produce by the way). Then the bicyclist finds the new saddle uncomfortable as well, but faced with the prospect of having to pay 120 EUR for an even "better" saddle is so horrible, the bicyclist tries to continue riding while pondering what to do. Then after two weeks the 60 EUR saddle does not seem so uncomfortable anymore. The bicyclist starts to post how good the 60 EUR saddle is to the social media, recommending everyone to get the 60 EUR saddle. Guess what? It wasn't the saddle. It was the two weeks of riding with it. Even the original saddle that came with the bike would have been equally comfortable after those two weeks.