I am biking nearly every day to work and back (~ 3 km), but my trousers get damaged quite fast due to the created friction between my legs and the saddle. Which then means that I have to buy new ones rather frequently. Is there any way to prevent that?

Saddle in question: enter image description here

  • What kind of saddle do you have? Seams and embroidery wear down trousers much faster than smooth surface.
    – ojs
    Jun 4, 2017 at 11:34
  • I'm guessing you have a poorly designed seat, or your seat is set too low. Jun 4, 2017 at 19:04
  • I've seen this on on a coworker who had a hipstery-embroided saddle cover on his bike. Please post a photo of your saddle. I'm expecting its not smooth.
    – Criggie
    Jun 4, 2017 at 21:32
  • It looks like there might be a seam where the black part meets the white/orange parts -- is that right or is it smooth?
    – Chris H
    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:24
  • 1
    Might be worth trying a saddle cover to see if it helps - use a piece of scrap cloth and knot it in the three corners, as a test.
    – Criggie
    Jun 6, 2017 at 0:52

5 Answers 5


Jeans and similar trousers wear fast on saddles. This is partly the seam on the inside of the leg, which is more of an issue on thick, high-friction fabric. They're also not very comfortable for riding in, especially if they get wet (including from sweat). Sitting in wet clothes when you arrive isn't much fun either, and smart stuff doesn't like being rained on.

My solution on commutes over about 8 km (5 miles) is to get changed. This also means I don't get chain oil on anything that matters. I'm not suggesting lycra as a default for commuting; apart from anything else pockets are useful at the ends. Gym shorts are good in summer, but in winter I suggest quick drying hiking trousers, and cheap ones at that. The pair I relegated to bike commuting have done a few thousand miles/km without noticeable wear.

  • I would recommend shorts over trousers no matter the weather, because my jeans always get caught in the chain ring if I do not use elastic bands on my right ankle.
    – ahorn
    Jun 8, 2017 at 9:21
  • @ahorn Other options: tuck them into your socks, wear leggings of some sort. I'm normally quite hardy but below freezing (or getting off the bike to stand on a station platform below about 8C) shorts are too cold.
    – Chris H
    Jun 8, 2017 at 9:30
  • Okay, fair point. I live in Cape Town, so the weather is nice here.
    – ahorn
    Jun 8, 2017 at 10:15

Depending on the dress code, you could look into commuter chinos or jeans. They are reinforced through the crotch to prevent this. Although they are expensive, they are cheaper than replacing your pants every few months.

  • 1
    I'd like to add that the makers of more durable clothing like Carhartt, Riggs, Duluth are now making pants that are styled like office acceptable rather than just the traditional painters style pants or cargo pants full of pockets. These might be worth looking into. Jun 8, 2017 at 16:11

I think you have a range of options:

  • Ride all 3km out of the saddle (good upper body and quad workout and you can still coast while sitting in the saddle)
  • Wear something other than expensive work clothes when commuting
  • Place heavy tape on your trousers where they normally get worn (don't forget to remove it when you get to work)
  • Buy a slightly narrower saddle with smooth contours. This might be less comfortable on a long ride but will provide less area for wear.

Here are a couple very cheap options for saddles on amazon

Narrow black saddle

colorful options to match your bike

  • I would like to stay seated, the first part is steep downhill, including holes in the street. When standing my chance of crashing is significantly increased...
    – arc_lupus
    Jun 6, 2017 at 21:37
  • 4
    @arc_lupus No - when going downhill you want to unweight the saddle, but not "stand" completely. You still grip the nose of the saddle with your inner thighs.
    – Criggie
    Jun 7, 2017 at 10:48

Same here, a better saddle delays, but does not ultimately prevent the inevitable hole in your pants.

I use cheap gym shorts, and change into trousers on arrival. Also, non-sweaty trousers are a plus.

  • What features of the saddle make it better? Cost? Surface slipperiness? Material?
    – Criggie
    Jun 5, 2017 at 1:42
  • 2
    @Criggie I can't say for sure just from your picture, but I had a saddle similar to the one shown where there was a seam between the main leather part and where there was another type of material on the side of the saddle. That thing would chew up cotton khakis in a matter of weeks. I've switched out to a saddle with consistent material covering the whole top of the saddle and don't go through pants quite as quickly anymore. Jun 5, 2017 at 16:55

I haven't found a way to prevent it, only address it. I've used both good saddles (like leather Brooks) and more run-of-the-mill (WTB). I wear Carhartts usually and they certainly rip out prematurely. I'm lucky to (1) work wear I can get away with just about anything and (2) have a sewing machine with which I can patch the crotch, which is what I do. Reinforcing usually with the pocket of another old pair of Carhartts doubles the life, so the crotch goes about the same time as the knees.

One shouldn't have to muck with their saddle height to save their pants (saddle height should be wherever you like it to be) and one shouldn't have to wear special clothing to pedal around town or always be lugging around a change of clothes (lugging is for milk and beer). Perhaps as more people use bikes for everyday some of these manufacturers will start to reinforce the crotch like they do the knees.

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