Are you sitting comfortably?
Saddles are one of only three components that hold your entire weight, so it is important to get the fit right or it is going to ruin a ride, or just leave you feeling that last ride in a bad way for days.
This is the most important detail for buying a properly fitting and comfortable saddle, without knowing your sit bone width you are just going to be buying multiple saddles and hoping for the best, maybe you will get lucky but save yourself the time and expense and get measured.
Most bike shops can do it and usually it is free, it only requires you to sit on a gel pad for about a minute, the indentations will be measured and that is your sit bone width, as an example mine is 142mm.
Once you know your sit bone width you know how wide you want your saddle to be. Which means you can move onto the next decision, which is how much padding you need. Generally you can get away with a flexible sit bone area to add a bit of suspension, or even a little extra gel insert to support the sit bones and that is really all you need.
The thing to check is where the padding is in relation to your body. Everyone’s body shape is different and there are lots of saddles out there to accommodate this. Don’t be fooled into thinking more padding is better it can often have the opposite effect by rubbing uncomfortably.
Cut of saddle
Just like above with regards to the padding you get different saddle styles. Much like a tailored suit they come in different cuts. Some saddles have longer noses, others have grooves and slits to stop delicate areas from getting rubbed or squashed when riding.
This again is an important thing to think about when buying a new saddle, think about any previous sores or pain you have had and in what area and base the new saddles cut on alleviating these symptoms
The final point to look for is the saddle shape. Long saddles are good for people who often jump at bike parks, as the saddle can be gripped between the thighs to offer more manoeuvrability in the air. Shorter saddles suit people who ride steep descents as the body weight can be shifted over the back wheel and behind the saddle.
Wider saddles often suit commuters or touring riders as it offers more space to move around when spending long time periods on the saddle. And slim saddles often suit road racers who are pedalling more often than anything else.
As you can see saddles are a very personal thing. Luckily there are a vast amount of different shapes and styles, and you are guaranteed to find the perfect saddle if you look for long enough.