Nine Steps to Improve Saddle Comfort on Kids' Bikes

eric-awwy By Eric Awwy, 24 Oct 2021

The time has finally come for us to learn simple ways to make bike seats or saddles on kids’ bikes comfortable. We all know that when a kid complains that their nether region pains after bike rides, it is an urgent factor that needs urgent solutions.

As a cyclist, you understand how stubborn butt sores can be and how an uncomfortable saddle will make a well-planned out ride miserable. For kids, too much pain can even cause them to hate cycling altogether. So, we can say that getting the comfort of the saddle right will determine if either your kids will fall in love with cycling or they will ditch it for other sports or the sofa.

The saddle or bike seat is one of the contributing factors to cycling comfort. If compromised, a ride can be hell, and if well set up, you probably want to notice it.

Although we have put together this guide, we warn you early enough that what works for a person might not work for another. Also, although these tips have worked for many people, especially kids who cycle, not everyone needs them. So, try anything from the list and stick to what works for your kids.

Nine Ways to Make Kids’ Bike Seats/Saddles Comfortable

So how exactly do you make a saddle on a kid’s bike comfortable? Many parents have been asking us this question, and it is time to answer it. To do so, here are eight tips that can come in handy in ensuring that your kids’ saddle is comfortable.

1. Check the seat angle and height

If you notice that your child often complains in-between or after rides, it is vital to check the saddle angle and height as they could be the culprit.

Mostly, adjusting the angle of the saddle solves the saddle comfort issues. For example, tilting the nose of the saddle downward could be the magic trick that restores comfort to the cyclist. Besides, you can also slide the saddle rails back and forth to achieve the right saddle position.

This simple hack can also be done when assembling the bike so that the bike seat is comfortable right from the assembly. So, it is not just a hack to use when the saddle discomfort complaints start coming in; you can use this hack on new bikes or when replacing a saddle with a new bike saddle.

2. Teach them off-saddling early enough

Although kids will often try this all by themselves, it is good to train them on off-saddling skills early enough. Too much sitting on the saddle, especially for moderately long and long rides, can cause discomfort.

However, when kids alternate sitting and cycling while standing, the chances of having discomfort on the saddle reduces. Therefore, an alternative to offsaddling will be taking longer breaks during longer rides.

3. Swap the original bike seat for an aftermarket saddle

If you just bought a new bike or have had a bike for a long and your kid complains about the comfort of the saddle, it is probably time to go shopping. The same applies to if the kids’ bike saddle is damaged. If this is the case, consider purchasing comfortable, well-constructed, and appealing saddles that will make your kids’ ride comfortably.

There are many aftermarket kids’ bike saddle options that you can consider. The good thing is that they do not cost an arm and leg. A saddle such as Velo Plush Jr. can do the trick. One caution, though, do not to go on a buying spree just to buy a bike saddle based on the popularity of a brand. Instead, go for utility and practicality. Look at the width of the saddle. Can the saddle accommodate your kids’ weight? A visit to your local bike shop can come in handy. Alternatively, you can find comfortable kids’ bike saddles online. There are many kid-specific saddles in the market that consider the anatomy of the kids.

4. Get them a pair of bike shorts

We cannot say this in a better way. It is commonsense that having the right gear for every sport matters a lot. There is a reason padded shorts were the best invention in the cycling world.

When kids cycle in loose shorts, they rub their skin against the saddle, which causes friction to their skins. Although they might not notice it immediately after rides, continuous exposure finally results in pain in the nether regions. In this case, the problem is not the saddle. It happens even if the saddle is in the best of its shape. This only signals one thing–dressing up your kid well for cycling.

The padded chamois area on cycling shorts sits between your kid’s nether region and the saddle, which reduces the pain and discomfort while cycling. In addition, the padded areas offer impact-absorbing or buffer regions between your kid’s delicate areas and the saddle.

Given that the world has enterprising individuals and companies, you can find kid-specific padded shorts without spending too much money. Apart from giving your kid that rad look, they also beef up comfort.

Consider going for the best cycling shorts that are tight, padded, and appropriate for cycling. Even though your kid is not a pro cyclist yet, getting suitable cycling shorts will revamp their love for cycling.

If you bike commute with your kid or ride with them often, invest in a pair or pairs of padded shorts. The thickness of the chamois pad determines the level of comfort. Besides, the pads can be located in different areas depending on the type of cycling one does. Check out our round-up of the best mountain biking shorts for kids.

Some shorts are made of lycra, a smooth enough material that reduces discomfort on the saddle. Tight-fitting cycling shorts are better for kids who cycle often. They make the difference between a comfortable ride and a hell of a ride. They are also moisture-wicking, which is a plus. For example, consider the Zoic Ether Jr.

Getting good cycling short might also beef up the comfort of a kids’ bike saddle. Check out our buyer’s guide to kids’ shorts and jerseys.

5. Teach them to sit right on a bike

Getting the position wrong while sitting on the saddle will most likely cause discomfort. We have been part of the cycling community for a long time. We can tell you for sure that kids who sit wrongly on the saddle, especially in heated kids’ cycling competitions, often complain of saddle sores and discomfort.

Do not let the saddle support the kids’ entire weight. Besides, discourage them from sitting upright as that too contributes to saddle sores. The saddle should support only 70% of the total weight, and the handlebars support 30%. Such distribution or dispersion of body weight helps reduce the chances of butt sores.

There is no single rule that works on this one. You have to train your child to sit right on the saddle or get a professional kids’ cycling trainer to do it. At the same time, adjust the handlebars so that the child’s reach aligns with the proper sitting position. Finally, tell the kid to have their entire butts take the whole seat to avoid hurting themselves.

A study by the CDC confirms that sitting at the nose of the bike saddles increases genital numbness, which is an indicator of discomfort. Therefore, let your child know how to sit on the saddle of their bike appropriately and how to distribute their weight to the handlebars.

6. Use thin Saddle Padding on the Kids’ bike

Although it sounds insane to add thin padding to a bike saddle that already has one, it can sometimes be the only hack that restores comfort.

Thin seat paddings are designed to cushion kids’ butts as they sit on their bikes. In addition, they enhance the sturdiness of the saddle, which is a factor that enhances comfort for a better cycling experience.

Check out the WINNIGO kids’ bike gel seat cushion or the Narrow Gel Pad, which we recommend for kid’s bikes. These covers are versatile and have gel, which makes a good material for cushioning kids from butt discomfort when cycling.

7. Let them maintain hygiene

The nether regions are a perfect breeding region for bacteria, especially for kids who cycle. As delicate as the area is, exposure to dampness, warmth, and friction might make it worse. If left uncleaned, chances of developing uncomfortable saddle sores increases.

Ensure that your kid takes a warm or cold bath after rides. Besides, ensure that the cycling shorts with paddings are not worn more than once without being washed, even if they only went with them for a short ride.

And when wearing cycling shorts, the kids should do it without underwear as they increase the friction that causes discomfort.

8. Give it some time

If the kids have more discomfort on the saddle even after changing the saddle, they should take some time off cycling. Then, they should only resume when they feel relieved.

Alternatively, let them get used to the saddle in the hope that they will get used to it as they cycle. Then, with the right adjustments, positioning, and shorts, the saddle comfort can be restored as the kids cycle more. The rationale here is that the discomfort will eventually go away -sometimes, it is mental more than physical.

9. Use Chamois cream

When you have adjusted the saddle, bought thin saddle padding, or bought a new saddle–tried pretty much everything we have said and the discomfort persists, think of chamois cream.

Chamois cream keeps the nether regions lubricated during rides. Given that cycling is a repetitive motion that causes chafing and rubbing the nether regions, the cream helps provide some comfort.

It ensures that the genitalia and legs move perfectly without too much friction. It also ensures that the fabric chamois pad does not harm the kid’s skin. The chamois creams are also antibacterial, which can mitigate the build-up of bacteria that leads to saddle sores. Some come scented, while others have cooling substances, although others are natural.

The chamois creams are applied either directly to the skin or spread on the padded shorts.

The chamois creams are a must-have when planning long rides such as bike camping trips or family bike tours that mean staying long on the saddle.

Parting Shot

Cycling should be an enjoyable hobby or sport for kids. A painful or uncomfortable saddle might discourage the fun and experience altogether.

We have shared different strategies to use to restore saddle comfort on kids’ bikes. Investing in a good saddle and a pair of cycling shorts can be a great move.

However, before going to that extent, ensure that you have explored other hacks listed in this article. Then, now that the saddle is comfortable enjoy the rides and share with other cycling parents.

If you feel like we missed a vital hack, please comment below, and we will tweak the article.

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