Saddles

Saddle comfort is equal to the distribution of pressure between your pelvis and saddle.   No too buts are the same, so be cautious of recommendations.

The pubis, inferior pubic rami, and ischial tuberosities support your pelvis on the saddle.  The rami support weight away from sensitive zones, with sit bones relative to taper, acting as “stoppers”, and pubis resting gently on the nose when at ideal pelvic tilt, without discomfort when in the drops or a tuck.

Women and Men are different, anatomically (thank God).  Pelvic differences need to be accounted for, but saying, “women’s hips are bigger”, is really, really dumb.  Where?  What if the woman is 5’, the man 6’?  Does hip angle alter ‘size.’  And if saddle manufacturers are so smart, why do 80% of my female clients complain of soft-issue discomfort?

How to find the ideal seat?

The best time to buy your saddle is during a rain or snowstorm, when customer traffic is slow at your local bike shop.  Bring in your bike and some doughnuts, and ask a salesperson if you can use a trainer to try different saddles.   Examine and palpate your current saddle.  Does it look or feel more deformed on one side?  Is the nose extremely narrow, wide, or hard?    Select test saddles that compensate for the problems (subjective) of your current model, and try at least three before making a decision.

Remember that even expensive saddles are not going to provide much in the way of commission for your salesperson, so be extra nice.   Making an appointment provides an opportunity to ask if they would like you to bring coffee.

Tips:

More surface area tends to reduce pain in the nose, but an extremely wide saddle interferes with pelvic angle and leg function.

Women:  be cautious of “cut-out” design saddles when making your selection.  Many are good, but some have an extremely hard nose, poor/thin support between nose and rear-saddle and extremely steep tapers that force the pubis into the hard nose/pinching support areas.

Ass-O-Meters are not very reliable when choosing a saddle width.  Be sure to try a size more and less wide to ensure the accuracy of your reading.   It is also possible that you may need something entirely different, so be sure to check density and over-all shape.

TT and Tri saddles are subject to user preference.

Saddle angle for road and mountain tends towards neutral (90deg); Time Trial and Triathlon angle is determined by fore-aft position and differential, keeping distribution balanced throughout.