Question: I have a bike permanently set up on my trainer. Unfortunately, I have never found a saddle that is comfortable for sessions over 45 minutes. I assume this is because I get into a training zone and stay seated for long periods. I realize that saddles are a highly personal thing, but are there specific styles that seem more suitable for a trainer? — Barry T.
Coach Fred Replies: You’re right that riding a trainer is hard on the rear end if you sit and grind. I know of no saddle that can alleviate the pressure and irritation caused by riding that way.
So the solution isn’t so much in getting a saddle that’s softer, wider or whatever. If a certain seat works for you on the road, it should work on the trainer, too. The way to make it more comfortable is to move on it and stand frequently.
You could set a timer to beep every 2 or 3 minutes, reminding you to ride out of the saddle for 30 seconds. Or even better, you can program standing time into your workout.
Crotch discomfort can be worse on a trainer if you use aero bars. Again, stand frequently and avoid dwelling on the saddle nose.
Moving on the saddle helps comfort, too. Slide to a new location often to change pressure points.
If you’re always creeping forward onto the narrow nose, considering elevating your bike’s front wheel a couple of inches. This will encourage you to stay on the wide rear of the saddle where weight is supported by your sit bones rather than the soft tissue between them.
Tip! Use a chamois cream (I like Chamois BUTT’r) to lubricate your crotch and the shorts liner. This reduces friction and skin abrasion. Many riders don’t use a lube indoors, but it’s very helpful when shorts become wet with sweat.
Want to talk specific saddles? Here are some articles to get you started in that direction.
Most Comfortable Bike Saddle: RBR Readers Speak
Brian Nystrom says
Another option to make trainer riding less hard on your backside is to put the trainer on closed-cell foam pads that allow it to move a bit as you pedal. Slight rocking side-to-side and front-to-back is typical when riding outdoors and the foam pads allow this same type of motion. It may not seem like much, but it can make a big difference in comfort and improves the feel of the trainer. An added benefit is that it reduces vibration and noise.
I also put the front wheel block on a “lazy Susan” to allow the wheel to turn while riding indoors. While this may sound a bit silly since you don’t actually need to steer, it better simulates the freedom of movement of actual riding than having the front wheel rigidly locked in one position. You can get a lazy Suzan bearing for a few bucks at a hardware store or home center.
I’ve seen riders who’ve gone all-out to simulate the road by building platforms that allow them to throw the bike side-to-side with abandon. I haven’t done it yet, but I intend to explore that option, too.
Simon Lewis says
Brian – really interesting idea, as Fred says, it’s all about the small movements that we make on the road. Thanks for posting.