Preventing a Sore Butt on a Bike

Proper clothing helps minimize butt pain on a bike.
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Sore butts are the No. 1 complaint with new bicyclists. Seats seem too hard, too narrow or shaped wrong. Bikes and bike components are built for efficiency, and to some degree comfort. Almost everyone who gets on a bike will experience some pain. But there are simple ways to minimize rear end discomfort while cycling.

Get Back On

Sore bottoms happen when soft tissue becomes irritated. It's not permanent but it can be bothersome. Also referred to as saddle sore, the affliction affects almost everyone who rides a bicycle. The easiest way to remedy a sore butt is to get back on the bike and ride. Even experienced cyclists get sore bottoms after a long ride.


One common misconception about sore bottoms from bike riding is that the seat should be wider. Actually, the saddle should fit comfortably between the sit-bones on either side of your rear end. These two bones are the only two places that should be making contact with the seat. When wider seats are installed on the bike, the wings of the seat constantly pound the soft tissue on either side of the sit bones. This causes irritation while riding, and the irritation stays with you after you get off the bike.


Proper seat position is almost as important as seat width. Nose-high seats will almost always produce pain in the front part of the groin in men and women. You might not notice it at first, but after a few miles, the front part of your groin may become numb. This is a sure-fire indicator that the nose of the seat is too high.

When sitting on the seat, your legs should have at least a 5-degree bend at the knee when your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If your position is correct but you still experience pain, loosen the mechanism under the seat and allow the seat to tilt slightly downward in front. Ideally, the nose of the seat should be perfectly level with the back of the seat, but if you're getting excessive pain in the front of your groin, it's OK to tilt your seat downward in front.

Shorts and Padding

Serious bicyclists won't leave home without proper cycling shorts. These shorts have built-in padding that is positioned in all the right places to prevent soreness. The slippery Lycra fabric allows you to slide around on the seat, constantly changing positions to prevent pain from remaining in one spot too long. Other products that can help to minimize pain are seat covers containing gel, which slip over the seat to provide extra padding.

Still Hurting?

If your pain persists, see a doctor. You may have a medical condition.

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