Last summer I made a pledge to use only my bike for transportation to destinations that fell within five miles of my home. Once winter approached I began to wonder:
Is it okay for a bike seat to get wet?
In general, it’s fine for bike seats to get wet. Bike seats are typically made of leather or synthetic materials, which may respond differently to water exposure. However, it’s unlikely that your bike seat will be damaged if it does get wet, although prolonged exposure is not recommended.
But, even though your bike seat probably won’t be damaged if it gets wet, it can still be extremely annoying to ride on a wet seat. Let’s dig deeper into this topic below, to help you keep yourself comfortable and your bike seat in good condition. Here’s what I’ll cover:
Is It Okay For Bike Seats To Get Wet?
In most cases, the only downside to your bike seat getting wet is an uncomfortable ride home. The bike seat itself is equipped to handle a degree of moisture from perspiration. So, a little water should not do any significant harm; just be sure you give it time to dry.
Mold and rust may be concerns if the bike is left exposed to the rain for a prolonged period of time. Plan ahead and be mindful of how much your bike seat is being exposed to water/rain.
Are Bike Seats Waterproof?
Generally, bike seats are not waterproof. For example, leather is a common material used for making bike seats, and leather can take in water. A soaked leather seat can eventually warp, making for an uncomfortable ride.
This can be prevented by making sure you dry your leather seat in the event that it gets wet.
Other bike seats are made of synthetic materials. Some have really hard surfaces that make it easy for water to run off of them; others are absorbent and take in a lot of water. If you’ve ever sat on one of those squishy seats after a big rain, you will know they are not waterproof.
Still, even if your bike seat isn’t technically waterproof, that doesn’t mean it’s harmful for it to get wet.
While both standard types of bicycle seats aren’t considered waterproof, you can easily prevent them from getting wet, or dry them easily if they do get saturated. Again, the most pressing problem from having a wet bike seat is a wet behind at the end of your ride.
But don’t worry, there are several ways to waterproof your bike seat. I’ll let you in on my tips and tricks in just a moment. First, let’s address what to do if your bike seat does get wet.
How To Dry a Wet Bike Seat
If you’re looking at your soaking wet bike seat wondering what to do, there are a few ways to get it dry and ready for riding.
First, if you don’t need to use your bike immediately, try leaving it in a dry area for a day or two, letting it simply air dry. You may need to bring your bicycle inside to do this, or leave it outside in a sheltered area.
A quicker option is towel drying.
Just grab a towel and wipe off your seat a few times; most of the moisture should come up. Paper towels are an option as well if you don’t have a cloth towel on hand. You can take it a step further and use a blow dryer on your seat as well for deeper drying.
How Long Does it Take to Dry a Bike Seat?
Drying your bike seat can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Depending on your needs and how often you use your bike, you’ll want to incorporate different methods of drying.
If your particular bike seat is less susceptible to water, like a hard-surfaced seat, then just towel drying it will do the trick, and will take less than a minute.
If you’re facing one of those squishy, synthetic seats that has been soaked, it could take a couple of days to dry it out.
Absorb as much water as you can with a towel and then leave it in a protected area to air dry. If you are sure it will remain sunny out, leaving it in the sun is an option as well.
How to Get Your Bike Seat to Dry Faster
If you find that your bike seat is wet and you’re in a rush, the fastest way to dry your seat is to wipe it off with a towel.
If I’m in town running errands and I come back to a wet bike seat, often I’ll simply wipe the bike seat off with the sleeve of my shirt. In a pinch, it’s an effective way to be able to ride home comfortably.
How to Protect Your Bike Seat from Rain/Water?
While it’s not particularly harmful for your bike seat to get wet, it’s good to be proactive about keeping your bike seat dry. A wet bike seat can cause you unexpected delays, or cause discomfort during or after your ride.
Let’s look at some of the ways to protect your bike seat from getting wet.
Store the Bike (or Just the Seat) Indoors
If you have the space in your house or garage, a good option may be for you to store your bike inside. If you get into the habit of bringing your bike in you’ll never have to worry about a surprise rain shower coming down on your seat, causing you to either have an uncomfortable ride, or to have to take the time to dry it/let it dry out.
If you don’t have the space to store your bike inside, consider bringing just the seat indoors.
Use a Shower Cap or Plastic Bag
If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to keep water off your bike seat, grab a plastic bag.
Covering your bike seat with a sturdy plastic bag is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect your seat from rain/water.
Simply tie a plastic bag over your seat when leaving your bike outside, and remove it before mounting your bicycle. Be sure to use a bag that is free of holes.
A shower cap can also be used in place of a generic plastic bag.
Buy a Bike Seat Rain Cover
Another option is to use a manufactured rain cover for your bike seat. Typically made of polyester, they ensure that your bike seat will be waterproof. They are also generally a universal size, with drawstrings to adjust to your specific needs.
Online or at a bike gear shop, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $35 for a manufactured bike seat cover.
One alternative idea I came up with last winter was using an old raincoat. Instead of throwing it away or donating it, I used it as a makeshift bike seat cover the same way I would use a plastic bag; putting it over the seat while I’m not riding, and taking it off before my ride.
The good news is that your bike seat will be fine if it gets wet. If you decide you want to keep it dry for the sake of comfortable rides there are many viable options.
Whether you plan to have a towel on hand, go the plastic bag route, or buy a rain cover for your seat you’ll be able to enjoy biking year round!
If you want to learn more about bike seats, check out our article about bike seat lifespan.