Indoor Bike Trainers and Saddle Compatibility

Indoor trainer bikes such as Peloton, Proform, and NordicTrack are making it more fun and much easier to get a great workout. You don’t need a gym membership, and you can do it in your own home. You can even experience the fun of group events with social training apps like Zwift. These reasons and more are what attracts people to riding inside, especially when the weather is not conducive to a fun experience outdoors.

We’re finding that many indoor riders do not come from a traditional cycling background. In fact, a high percentage don’t ride a standard bicycle at all. However, the same comfort and fit issues exist for the indoor rider as for a traditional cyclist. The purpose of this article and several to come will be to specifically address cycling comfort for the indoor trainer devotee. Many of the adjustments and equipment needs of the traditional cyclist directly apply to those riding a Peloton, NordicTrack, Proform, or similar indoor bike.

JCOB is an cycling equipment and research company that designs and engineers products that address your needs as a rider. Our World Championship winning products are proven to bring you speed and comfort. We understand that you may have just purchased your new indoor bike and are ready to get in shape. We would like to help you, and we can offer this ironclad guarantee: If you are in pain after every workout, if you experience numbness or saddle sores, it will only be a short time before your new bike will merely be an expensive place to hang your clothes.

Not to fear! There are many adjustments available to you as part of your bike design - the seat height and the seat fore/aft. Perhaps your bike even offers some handlebar adjustments. All these adjustments are easy to make but crucial to obtain a proper fit. Don’t be afraid to make changes as you refine your position. A local expert or knowledgeable friend might be of great assistance in this process. These adjustments can get you to your baseline fit, but there is one final element to consider - where your delicate parts contact the bike. That’s right. We’re talking about the seat.

Just like shoes or pants, there is not a perfect “one size fits all” bike seat. And just as different riders all vary in height and weight, muscular mass and fitness, intensity and experience, there are myriad different shapes and sizes of bike seats. These aforementioned factors affect the type of seat that will be best for you.

Ex. Women Saddle Guide based on Innie/Outtie and handle bar height.

More often than not, indoor bikes are sold with very wide seats. These do not guarantee comfort as they can quickly cause hamstring irritation. As you become more experienced and refine your fit, especially your seat height, a wide seat can create another set of issues. At a biomechanically efficient seat height, your natural instinct will be to ride farther forward on a too-wide seat, essentially on the nose of the seat, as you strive for a smooth pedal stroke. This would leave you with little true support for your sit bones and too much pressure on your soft tissue. The result is numbness and pain. The solution is to find the right seat for YOU and the way you want to ride.

Another potential pitfall is moisture. Generally speaking, the typical indoor rider’s clothing holds more perspiration and is wetter against the skin than that of the fully outfitted modern outdoor cyclist. Sweaty clothing and the wrong seat can quickly result in saddle sores for the frequent rider. We have many products that are designed to be used with traditional gym apparel. Padded cycling shorts are not needed nor recommended. Our narrow designs increase the cooling airflow under a rider’s crotch, and the narrowness also makes it easier to stand and pedal during workouts.  

Setting your seat height correctly is important, but remember that it will be much better for you if it’s a little bit too low rather than too high. A too-high seat height can interfere with your standing position, and it can be a cause of saddle sores. The tilt of the saddle is also important. You should start with a level position; tilting the nose down will only hurt your neck and shoulders as you constantly strain to keep yourself pushed back where you need to be on the seat as you ride. Try to avoid an over-reached upper body position. This will also cause undue strain on the arms, shoulders, and neck. The seat fore/aft should be set so that the nose or tip of the seat is almost over of the center of the cranks. This will give you more power and open your diaphragm to help you breathe freely.

Our JCOB “Type R” model for Men and the “Type T” model for Women, or "Type 5" for both Men and Women are somewhat universal if you share your bike at home with another rider. Either one will give enhanced hamstring relief along with a great reduction in soft tissue pressure. You should enjoy your new indoor bike trainer, not despise it. They are a great way to achieve fitness, but don’t settle for discomfort as you strive for your goals. Changing the seat is easy and can be done with simple hand tools in a matter of minutes. We will be glad to assist you with technical questions about your trainer setup.