Finally, the last crucial part of a bicycle, the saddle. The key element here is either comfort or performance. Performance? Well, actually yes. Race bicycles usually use really stiff saddles so that the cyclist feels all little details of the road. It also enables the maximum energy transfer from his legs to the pedals. Indeed, when you use feet clips to push and pull on the pedals at the same time, if the saddle is too soft, it will absorb a great percentage of your pull movement instead of letting it transmit into the transmission system.
That said, for most casual users, the comfort is what you should look for. The saddles that are made of gel are one of the best on the market. The gel provides a huge comfort difference, even if the saddle looks stiffer on touch. Here again, test ride the bicycle and pay attention to the saddle comfort. Many saddle also incorporate holes and gaps to make it easy on the male and female anatomy. This is to say that some saddles are made specifically to suite one of the two genders. This bicycle component is less critical as it can easily be replaced after you bought the bicycle. Still, before you start using your new bicycle, make sure you use a saddle that fits your needs.
To sum up
This section's goal was to educate you on some important aspects of a bicycle physiology. This is crucial knowledge every one shopping a bicycle should have. By knowing all these details, you will be well prepared to face dealers and know what to look for and ask. You can also judge by their answers if they are experts in the field or just blindly selling you something they do not really master.
Things to remember:
- The lightest bicycles are best
- Wheels width influences the maximal speed of the bicycle and its comfort
- The transmission system should provide smooth gear changes
- Make sure the brakes are either V-brakes or high quality race / road brakes
- The steering / handlebar should be straight for hybrids and MTB or provide flat harm grip area for the race / road bicycles
- GEL-made saddles provide extra comfort and are still compact designs