Components 101: Saddle
A saddle is one of three contact points on a bike which combine to bear the rider’s weight and load. A typical saddle consists of a several components:
- Shell – this gives the saddle its structure. Modern saddles incorporate hard shells, usually made from a moulded piece of plastic or carbon fibre. Traditional leather saddles consist of a moulded piece of thick leather stretched taut between the front and rear ends of the rails.
Cover – most modern saddles incorporate a layer of padding (foam or gel) on top of the hard shell over which an outer cover is added (vinyl, leather etc).
Rails – these run along the underside of the saddle from the nose to the rear. Most saddles have two parallel rails onto which the seatpost clamp attaches.
Suspension – whilst the foam or gel padding will cushion some of the impact during riding, some saddles also incorporate suspension to improve rider comfort by attaching a set of steel coil springs or elastomer donut-type springs to the rear of the saddle.