How long can you sit on that saddle?

Hello, nice to have a forum like this! Quick intro, I am in my late sixties, started a couple of years ago, I ride a few miles in the AM and a few in the PM, every day if possible, but it is not always possible, so figure about ten rides a week, thirty to forty miles in total. I ride my 19" Athmos when feeling lazy, the 24" Nimbus when spry.

It used to be that I would have to stop because I would get exhausted. Now that is no longer the problem. Now I have to stop after about fifteen or twenty minutes max, because of seat pain. And I have some nice saddles, KH Fusion One, the thick foam Exceed Carbon. And I have real handlebars on all my unis. No dice. They all hurt. And I am not that heavy, maybe ten pounds over, for my height. How do others manage?


I general begin to feel discomfort after 40 mins of riding. I use the Stadium and KH Freeride. After two hours the discomfort is pretty much the same, but more constant. Standing up in the saddle for just two seconds greatly helps.
Take breaks, use cycling shorts. Ex. vaseline for long rides and drink water doing those breaks.

Yeah I copy what Brian says about trying to stand up in the saddle. 2 seconds is many a bit on the short side. Someone else on here said he stands for 45 seconds, if I remember correctly ever 5 or so minutes. That again is over the top. For me it depends very much on the type of seat. Gel seats are more annoying for me than other harder seats. I can easily do 10km without much numbness.
also you say you take the 19" when feeling lazy and the bigger wheel when not. for me that is the other way round. Less pedalling means less exhaustion.

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Biking shorts and a Fusion Freeride.

I just gave away a Fusion Zero and a Fusion One seat. They were horrible for me.

Thank you all. I like the idea of standing up from time to time. Something to practice, as I have not worked on that skill yet.

Welcome @Andy! It is good to see another active older rider here, I’m 71.

With my best “normal” saddle I ride 15 or 20 minutes between a very short ( a minute of so) break or pedaling a few revolutions with no weight in the saddle. That has worked for me with no padded shorts for a 100 mile day.
On my noseless air saddle I can ride for hours on end with absolutely no discomfort. However there are other disadvantages with the noseless saddle. Details here.


Ingenious work, Jim, congratulations! I too have been thinking about improvements, and frankly what I would like to see (but I am too lazy to implement myself) is a sprung uni seat. I have been looking at sprung bike seats. They seem to be of two types, coil springs and a small parallelogram at the top of the seat post, or a folded “U” spring, like this, ⊃, with the seat post connecting to the bottom pars and the bike seat attached to the top bars. The coil spring contraption seems inelegant - heavy and expensive. I like the ⊃ better, but I am not inclined to do the customization myself. All that is needed is an upper and lower adapter clamp. Any takers?

I think wally watts talked about a spung saddle, but thought it was harder to ride due to the lost of connection with the cycle.
Frankly, I doubt there is such a think as a perfect saddle. Bicyclists also complain about saddle soreness, right.

My longest typical ride is 12-13 miles. I wear bike shorts. I Stop and talk to people, I take breaks at the top of steep hills, I sometimes pick harder lines and UPD. So, I guess I don’t typically sit on the saddle for more than 30 minutes at a time. If I take a break, it might only be for a minute or two. I sit on the back edge of the saddle and support much of my upper body weight with my arms pushing down on the bar ends. If I were riding in the crook of the saddle, I couldn’t make it more than a mile without pain. I use a Naomi saddle on both my trials and muni. I feel that saddles, in general, are made for people with a smaller stature, narrower sit bones. I am not aware if the following exists, but I’d love a saddle that is rigid and firm on the back edge but softer in the middle. While I am fine with sitting on the back edge of the Naomi, sitting in the crook is only comfortable for a minute or so.

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Hi, yes, shifting to the back of the saddle is a good idea. I have noticed the difference myself, more accidentally than anything else. I too have thought that saddles are made for kids, they weigh little, so they do not suffer so much from pressure against the saddle. And shifting weight to the handlebars is a very good point. That is the main reason I installed handlebars on all my unis, but all I manage is one hand at a time. The other hand waves around in the air, for obvious reasons.

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There is likely some room for improvement in spring saddles. Here is one with the horizontal “U” springs:

Anther option is a spring in the frame like these:

Or even the old style bike saddle springs where the front is fixed and the back has springs.

World traveler Wobbling Wally Watts did have a seat post spring on his hard rubber tired unicycle. I could see the need with the hard tire and it seemed to work for him.

I’ve thought about some of those but with most of my riding on a 36" on the road there really is not much of a need. If the road is rough or on gravel I just reduce the tire air pressure.

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I spent a lot of time adjusting my handlebar setup before settling on its current configuration. When I started using the Nimbus Shadow handle setup, I was using the upwardly curving bar. At one point I switched to the straight Shadow handle. I don’t know if it’s possible to put much weight on the handlebars when the setup is too high. With my current, lower setup, I can support almost all my weight on the bar ends. I am leaning more forward, with something closer to the posture of a bicyclist. Learning to ride with both hands on the bar ends was a real game changer for me. My balance shifted to my hips. I understand why intense downhill riders flail one arm. For most other conditions, however, both hands on the saddle is the way to go, IMHO. If you want to ride two hands on, start doing it right away. You’ll suck at it. But no amount of one-handed riding is going to get you any closer to two-handed. You just have to go for it.

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what do you mean for obvious reasons. I like riding with both hands on the handle bar. Only let go when turning.

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All this has been very useful, thank you! Things to try on this afternoon’s ride:

  1. Both hands on the handlebar
  2. Rise off the saddle from time to time
  3. Sit farther back
    Hmm… We’ll see how it goes, but I am glad I raised the question!

I find I feel uncomfortable on my Club saddle within 2 seconds of mounting. Then it starts to go away as I get numb, and then around the 2 hour mark I start getting really sore and it doesn’t go away after that unless I dismount for a time longer than a couple minutes.

On a Miyata Flamingo saddle, I can ride for at least an hour before I get sore at all.

Those are the only two saddles I have experience with, though. Standing up, as mentioned before, does help a lot. Even a 10-second stint doing that will help a lot.

the carbon saddle is not necessarily supposed to be the most comfortable saddle on the market. it is supposed to be very stiff. I would say that unless you have been riding for more than a couple of years or ride hard-core muni, street, or flatland, you may not be able to tell the difference between a plastic saddle and a carbon saddle

I have the KH Fusion one saddle and added the Nimbus air saddle cover over it. Works great. Handlebars help a lot as well.

Something that doesn’t seem to have been mentioned yet but can make a massive difference - how wide are your sit bones and where is your seat pain?

I get sit bone discomfort after a few hours. 40-50 miles tends to be the point where I find myself noticing it more and adjusting, but I can do >80 without cycle shorts on a KH Fusion One and wake up only feeling a little bruised the next day.

For reference I have narrow sit bones (~9.5cm) and weigh ~67KG
With regards to hands on the handlebars - I’d say it’s a necessity for riding distance on the Fusion Zero/Fusion One, combined with a relatively flat saddle angle. The saddle angle should be adjusted based on your bar setup and anatomy though. If your bars are quite short and quite high then you may find that you want the front angled up more.

I’ve got to ask, how does one measure the width of their sit bones? I had images of mirrors and rulers then had to stop thinking about it.

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You could feel the bones, they are just under your skin… or possibly someone could work it out via medical imaging. But by feel would be easiest.