New rider confession: my butt hurts

FrankR

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Milky Way Galaxy
I'm new to all this, and I have logged a whopping 12 miles. :)

Having a ton of fun. Most negative aspect so far is - my butt. It hurts when I am riding.

Background - short, old guy, significantly overweight, about to cross over the threshold of 6 decades. I don't think it is my bike. My bike came with what appears to be a very nice seat.
But man, my butt does hurt, and it is keeping me from longer rides.

Will my butt break in :) , with this getting more comfortable?
 

DaveMatthews

Well-Known Member
Lol!
I'm 65, just got back from 30km ride on a rear suspension bike with a gel seat add-on, and I get that "feeling" as well.
Yes, riding more often will help.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
I'm new to all this, and I have logged a whopping 12 miles. :)

Having a ton of fun. Most negative aspect so far is - my butt. It hurts when I am riding.

Background - short, old guy, significantly overweight, about to cross over the threshold of 6 decades. I don't think it is my bike. My bike came with what appears to be a very nice seat.
But man, my butt does hurt, and it is keeping me from longer rides.

Will my butt break in :) , with this getting more comfortable?
Hi Frank!
I already have a significant e-biking background so think I could chime in.
Man, I have experimented with so many saddles! My e-bikes are equipped with excellent suspension seat-posts. And... What I have discovered after 2 1/2 year of e-biking was I was taking too upright position on my e-bikes. Many people either buy "comfortable upright" e-bikes, or do anything possible with their mods to sit upright. However, that makes the most of your body weight resting on the saddle: The sore butt is unavoidable.

When I discovered that, I lowered the handlebars in my two most used e-bikes as much as possible. When I ride the e-bike that lets me taking a forward position and part of my body rests on my arms, no pain in the ass anymore! :)
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
I don't know which is worse, an aching butt or numb hands/wrists. Agree with Stefan regarding weight distribution. All of your weight on your butt is kind of a full upright position, and you can transfer some of that weight to your hands/wrists/arms by lowering the bars, or moving them forward. That may help the butt pain some. Issue is you may not like that position any better. Won't know until you try!

I'm 6'2/315 and 71 years old. After years of screwing around, my bikes are set for a fairly upright riding position, and I've resigned myself to riding about 20 miles max. At that point I'd rather be doing something else. Not everyone "gets used to it" either. I ride daily, have for years, and my butt STILL hurts when I've been riding too long!
 

Roamers

Active Member
Region
USA
Frank, I am older, probably more overweight than you. Been riding for 60 years, just bought ebike. Yes, seat time helps. As advised already, transferring some weight to arms might help. Also look at seat angle and your position on the seat; need to get sit bones on the wider part of the seat. If I get uncomfortable, usually I'm sitting too far forward on the seat. Padded biking shorts help usually; I'm a sight to see in spandex!. Gel seats are often more comfortable.

Adjust different aspects of the fit until it feels right, but only make one change at a time.

Did you have a bike shop help set up your bike? An experienced eye can look and see what might help.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
I was doing 200+ a week no problem then my wife had to bail on the tandem because of her shoulder so was down to about 150 a week or less. now we are starting on the tandem again and I did 170 but my butt hurts again. Now I ride 18 miles day on my commute without padded shorts. all other riding I have to have padded shorts. but it is just time and it is the right seat hight and position too.
 

steve mercier

Well-Known Member
Frank I ride the hell out of my Ebikes. I have a drawer full of saddles which did not work well for me. You need to experiment with everything... saddles , riding positions, padded shorts , chaving creams etc, to find the least uncomfortable solutions for you. Now my butt only hurts a little after 3 + 100 km rides in 3 consecutive days. The only really useful tip I can offer is to make a habit of standing on the pedals as you pass over the rough stuff and let your knees be the shock absorbers. I should also say that my full suspension bike is much more comfortable than my (no pun intended) hard tails.
 
Last edited:

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
It is normal - especially for older riders out of shape - for their butt to give out before their legs do. Keep at it. You'll toughen up.

At the same time do some research on saddle fitment. In particular look at matching 'sit bone' width. Ergon does a pretty good job of explaining the concept. Next, bear in mind the "grandma's sofa' saddles like a Cloud 9 only mask their ill fitment by putting so much padding on the saddle.

Complicating the issue of anatomical fit is how hard you work at cycling. As a general rule, if you pedal hard, you will be more comfortable with a narrower saddle (reduced chafing of the inner thighs). If you sit, throttle and promenade upright on a cruiser, then a wider saddle with a shorter nose is going to be more comfortable.

I like the top end Ergon Prime saddles in narrow width even though my anatomy says I should use the wider ones; specifically because I'm a hard pedaler. I have both and use the different widths on different kinds of bikes. My newest bike uses a WTB Chromoly Volt which is very narrow, but that bike is all about pedaling and is a short range bike. Just a couple days ago I was riding with a friend and she was riding a bike I built that uses a Selle Italia Drifter - the consummate sprung cruiser saddle and probably the only one that doesn't need to come with a paper bag to put over your head if you use such a seat on your bike.

I despise the Brooks saddles. Personal preference is paramount in this regard. NOBODY has your answer for you if we are all being truthful.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
Background - short, old guy, significantly overweight, about to cross over the threshold of 6 decades. I don't think it is my bike. My bike came with what appears to be a very nice seat.
But man, my butt does hurt, and it is keeping me from longer rides.
My limits is about 3 1/2 hours. I've tried 5 different seats on this bike. No, I'm not flattening my back and standing up all the time, my neck disk might rupture from the bent position. Pain started about age 62 when all the fat on my hips disappeared. Fat is still stuck to my stomach. I'm age 71. I ride ~2000 miles a year, and doing it more doesn't make the blood circulate any better when you sit on muscle. I have a pair of padded shorts but think they are for skin abrasion, not the blood circulation in the muscle. My skin is fine in cotton/polyester briefs.
Brooks was fine when I was only 55. The seat in the picture was a schwinn, wide enough but hard as a rock. Cylinders on the back were decorations, not springs. I bought a recommended selle royale respiro, cost enough but was horrid. Now I'm riding a evo 260x218 mm wide from modernbike.com, $32+freight. I have it tipped forwards where I don't ride on the nose. Has a groove in the middle to clear the nerve. Still too hard. Some people brag about cloud9, but the column on my bike is the wrong diameter for those.
I'm building a 4" thick urethane cushion for the evo. Nobody sells that. I want to ride 70 miles a day to get to concerts or the Amtrak station. I have the cover sewn out of leather. I have 1/8" nylon laces to tie it on. Need to figure some way to mill a hollow in a sofa cushion the shape of a bike seat. Wire brush on 4 1/2" angle grinder was too violent to control. Spray foam insulation is too hard, even though it is urethane.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: rtp

Latitude

Well-Known Member
I am 67, short and overweight (but improving by 18 lb since I started biking). My Trek Verve +3 came with a pretty good Bontrager saddle and I added a Redshift suspension post (lots of info on this forum about the benefits/disadvantages of various suspension seatposts). My riding position is pretty upright. I also added Redshift’s flexible stem, which helped reduce vibration to my hands. For sure, my butt hurt for a few weeks when I got the new bike as I hadn’t been riding in a while. I put a more padded seat on, then reverted back to the original after a few weeks as it became the more comfortable one.
I would still get a sore butt on some longer rides (I generally do 25 to 35 km daily) and last summer, I switched to a Brooks B17. It took a few hundred km to break in, but is now beautifully comfortable for me; I seldom notice any discomfort and no longer wear padded shorts.
As m@Robertson noted above, a Brooks isn’t for everyone, but for me it was the final piece. Getting close to 11,000 km on my bike now, so my butt is fully experienced :)
 

Attachments

  • 6ED995C0-CDA8-42AF-8587-5381EED79783.jpeg
    6ED995C0-CDA8-42AF-8587-5381EED79783.jpeg
    898 KB · Views: 37

Mike TowpathTraveler

Well-Known Member
Welcome!

Well, as you can see, you are getting multiple answers that conflict with each other as to what you should be doing. :) Each piece of advice is correct. For that individual offering up their advice.

Not you.

I've done the Brooks leather. I've done the Brooks Cambium. Over 40 years ago, it was a Spenco Gel saddle pad over my Motobecane Grand Touring Saddle. Since gone onto Ergon saddles, the latest being their top end Prime Core which has some nice give in it. But I can't recommend any one saddle cause that is a journey you'll have to find for yourself. Do know though, that those puffy comfy chair saddles you see on the cheaper ebikes are not, in the long run, what you want to have for long term comfort.

Looking at your avatar photo and right off the bat, with the very low seat post setting and high handlebars, I am seeing a person with a leg inseam of about 16 inches and a torso measuring about 6 feet. :rolleyes: You do need to do something about that.

I personally found by setting the seat post height, saddle angle (nose up, nose down or neutral-level), followed by handlebar height.........all steps done in incremental, 1/4 to 1/2 inch adjustments followed by a normal ride and feeling how it all worked out for you, will result in a fitment for you and you only, that works.

Keep in mind too, that being off a bicycle for a long time must require an adjustement period of time in the saddle to get reaquainted with riding again.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely eliminate "buttitis". If you do a search on "saddle" and "seatpost" you will get hundreds of possible methods for reducing saddle discomfort. Sadly, these solutions won't work for everyone. The best approach is to try different products and riding positions to see what works best for you.

Take some time and experiment. Many of the products recommended here are expensive but returnable if they don't work out.

The formula that worked for me was:
1 - Adjust handlebar height.
2 - Add a quality suspension seatpost.
3 - Add a quality saddle and adjust it correctly.

Welcome to the forum! Your butt will acclimate to a certain degree over time and with the right combination of the above suggestions, I'm sure you will be able to greatly reduce your riding discomfort.
 

Bikeknit

Member
Region
USA
City
Kansas City
Things that help me:
- Changing position on the bike. Sometimes I sit more forward, sometimes a little more upright on my sit bones.The shift in position is small but makes a difference. I also don't use toe clips or clipless pedals so while there is a more efficient place for my feet I can still move them a bit.
- Research bike seats. The softest isn't necessarily the most comfortable.
- padded bike underwear
- occasional rests
- rolling hill routes so that you vary how much and how hard you pedal. Some pedaling, some coasting. Variety is your friend.
- Keep at it as your butt will adjust.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Brwinów (PL)
Looking at your avatar photo and right off the bat, with the very low seat post setting and high handlebars, I am seeing a person with a leg inseam of about 16 inches and a torso measuring about 6 feet. :rolleyes: You do need to do something about that.
I missed that detail. All the rider's weight rests on the saddle there, meaning the butt will hurt there, even with a wide, soft saddle and padded shorts.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Not to mention what it will do to the knees, staying bent like that, whether you pedal or not. Looks like the position chosen by someone who throttles the bike, does not pedal and wants to be able to plant their feet at a stop, motorcycle-style.

There WILL be a solution for each rider, but it has to be arrived at thru trial and error. Get an idea on how to proceed from all of us and then have a go at it yourself.
 

dodgeman

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Macomb, Illinois
I got my e bike last September, I toughened up just in time for winter and had to stop riding when it got to cold and snowed. I’ve been riding some this spring but we have had a lot of colder weather and I just haven’t got used to it again. You can try all sorts of things but for me it just takes riding often and a little longer each time.