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Saddle sore - sensitive bits!

KarenMKarenM Posts: 3
edited December 2016 in Women
Hi - I'm fairly new to MTB; I'm finding that if I'm in the saddle for more than an hour so so, and especially if there is alot of up-hill, my most sensitive bits get very saddle sore/chaffed!!
I've tried tilting my saddle down slightly but this doesn't seem to help.
I wear padded liners. Saddle is just the one that came with the bike.
Any suggestions much appreciated!


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Maybe try a Specialized Body Geometry saddle? they also have fitting centres where they can look at the sit bones etc.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Do you have a women specific saddle at the moment?

    My missus moved to one and finds it much better.
  • 2nd the Specialized Body Geometry saddle.
  • KarenMKarenM Posts: 3
    Thanks for the advice - any further thoughts welcome.

    I have a women's specific bike (Boardman Comp) - assume it came with a women's specific saddle but maybe it's just the colour!
  • Agree with the other posters get a specialized BG saddle. Do not get a large padded saddle they make the problem worse not better.
  • The important thing is to get a saddle of the right width. This means it matches the width of your "sit bones" (aka ischial tuberosities or protuberances). Our pelvises are generally wider than men's, for obvious reasons, and so we need saddles specifically designed for women (D4W, WSD, etc). It makes no difference whether you are fat or thin - the bones will still be in the same place!

    Women's saddles generally come in three sizes:
    Small (approx 130mm)
    Medium (approx 143mm)
    Large (approx 155mm)

    Small and medium tend to be better for road cycling, where you are bent forward.

    Medium and large are preferred for MTB, with a more upright position.

    So the first step is getting the right width. How do you decide? Well, the lads in your local bike shop will be delighted to assist :lol: . But check first that they have the proper foam pad for you to sit on :oops: . The sit bones make a couple of indentations, which can then be measured.

    Then you can choose a suitable saddle for your specific purpose. For example, MTB saddles need to be fairly slim, so you can stand up and push yourself behind the saddle (for steep descents). Touring saddles need to be more comfortable, and hence more padded (but still the correct width).

    Nothing beats actually trying out a few different saddles, though!
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,572
    Yup, I agree with all the very good advice above!!

    I use a Specialized Ariel saddle on all my bikes and it definitely works for me! I find anything else really unconfortable. Perhaps give one a try (or buy one second hand to see if you like it?)? From what you have said I would definitely steer towards the ladies specific ones with a hole in the middle - they don't squash your bits so much!!! :oops: :lol:
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

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  • hootshoots Posts: 134
    My OH also uses Specialized D4W type saddles (Ariel 130 I think), and it's the first saddle she's found that she finds super comfy. It's definately worth getting your sit bone measurement before buying though - If you can't find a local Specialized dealer with the measuring cushion, you can get a good idea yourself by sitting on a piece of memory foam or something similar that'll hold the impression of your sit bones for a few seconds - then just measure the distance between the two dents in the foam.

    Apart from uncomfortable saddles & shorts, another contributing factor that can lead to a sore bum is staying seated in the saddle on descents or through rough ground. I'm a mtb skills coach, and I see a lot of people (not just beginners!) who stay seated in places where they should really be standing up on their pedals. I've had feedback from a couple of clients just recently who've mentioned that they rarely get saddle sore now, because they spend much less time bumping around in the saddle - obviously it's also better for your back and means that riding over rough surfaces is generally much safer.

  • I'm workinig through my own issues at the moment! Everything was fine, I bought a womens italia diva (?) saddle for my old bike, then my new (mens) bike came with a much sleaker saddle which I initially liked & by the end of the ride everything was crushed to death! The saddle was really solid & the nose super long, so hubby put it on his bike for his daily commute to try & soften it up a bit & I instead used his which was softer. There was still a noticable crushing though, but not to the point I was ouching in the bath!! After a month of this I gave up & put my old bike girl saddle on - all crushing gone but instead I started devloping lumps at the very top of my right leg that were taking 10 days of no riding to go. So after much asking I've gone to the Specialized concept store, been measured & they've sent me away with a medium, mens, road/tri/mountain saddle - I'm not wholey convinced since I would have chosen a large, womens, mountain bike one, buuuut they offer a 30 day money back guarentee if it's not right, so I intend to give it a damn good demo & if I don't like it we can go right through the range!!
  • Another one for the Specialized BG saddle. Bought a 143 Lithia for my new bike earlier this year and its just the biz. So much so I'm planning to buy another for new road bike. :oops: Yes there I said it "road bike" Bartie :D
  • msmancuniamsmancunia Posts: 1,457
    Can't advise on saddle stuff as mine's pretty ok (roadie). Occasionally get chafing on longer rides, and have to recommend Rapha's chamois cream - really really good and smells fab.
    Commute: Chadderton - Sportcity
  • Kaz_SKaz_S Posts: 22

    I use a Selle Italia Lady saddle, it's been brilliant. Very different to the cheap saddles bikes tend to come with.
    Giant Trance and Specialized Allez
  • Hey, I'm building a bike for a friend, i use a charge spoon on mine and love it, does anyone know if the charge ladle is equally good for women? Thanks
    Mountain bike - genesis altitude

    Road bike - 80's steel saracen audax frame
  • I have had great success with the Selle Italia lady saddle, on both my mtb and road bikes, but it took trying out a few saddles to get there. As some other posters have alluded to, comfort is not as much about the amount of padding ( check out Brooks), as it is about the over all design: shorter nose, size and placement of cutouts, and width for sit bones. Men's saddles can be pure torture for women, but some of the women's designs aren't much better ( ie Fizik - looks great but why is there a bump where there should be a cut out? Ouch!)
    Also another vote for chamois cream, especially for long rides. I use chamois butt'r but there is a women's specific product called Hootie Cream out there.
  • 97th choice97th choice Posts: 2,222
    My OH used a gel saddle to no avail, but finds the saddle on her myka very comfy, cycling shorts still required though!
    Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye

    Giant Trance
    Radon ZR 27.5 Race
    Btwin Alur700
    Merida CX500
  • maringirlmaringirl Posts: 195
    +1 for the Selle Italia. Might be worthwhile investing in some really good padded shorts - cheaper ones don't have such good inserts and every liner I have tried has been woefully inadequate. I can recommend Skins. Expensive but so comfy.
  • cameraukcamerauk Posts: 1,000
    would also recommend the BG range of saddle as like already said you have a 30day exchange policy
    also make sure you padded shorts fit correct and the padding is not too big as this could also make it uncomfortable as it could bunch up and use some chamois cream
    Specialized Camber Expert
    Specialized Allez Sport
  • big_pbig_p Posts: 565
    my missus swears by these

    she's been into cycling for 18 years now and tried every saddle out there, she has one of these on each of her bikes.

    she time trials and races triathlon a lot so she's in a position that puts a lot of pressure on her lady parts, she tells me this saddle gets rid of that.
  • Chafing and a little soreness will always come up with us females. Just make sure during your rides you stand up on the pedals every once in a while and give your behind a break from the pressure on the saddle.

    Also, invest in a good chamois cream. Chamois Butt'r and DZ Nuts both make women's specific creams. You don't need a lot when you ride.
  • foxc_ukfoxc_uk Posts: 1,292
    Just thought I'd chip in as I'm having some 'issues' at the moment.
    I've recently discovered that 2 pairs of my liner shorts were actually making the situation worse (so they've promptly gone in the bin), weirdly they were women's specific ones.
    After months (actually more like over a year) of trying different saddles on my CX and road bikes, I finally tried out the Selle Italia Diva I have on my MTB on the other 2 and suddenly there's no numbness, and my seat bones aren't causing me any pain! I've had to spend £100 on 2 new saddles, but if it means I can ride further and longer then it's worth every penny.

    Agree with everyone here -
    - get measured,
    - experiment with saddles - some shops/brands do a 'try before you buy' but Spesh and Trek do have a returns policy for if you're not getting on with a saddle
    - Make sure your chamois shorts aren't exacerbating the issue - try different shorts for the same ride.
    - use chamois cream, especially on the bits that get the sorest
    - check that your saddle is at the right height, a quick way to do this is put your armpit over the saddle and reach down to the crank set - you should be able to just put the tip of your middle finger in the middle. That is a good way to start, then you can experiment from there.
    - make sure any underwear you wear off the bike isn't also exacerbating the problem
    - just putting this out there in case - don't wear underwear with your chamois shorts. It's amazing the number of women that don't know this, so thought I'd better mention it. (I was one of these women when I first started)
    - take your chamois shorts off as soon as you can after the ride has finished.
    - If you are having issues, make sure you wash immediately after the ride (hurrah for baby wipes!)

    I found an article last night about how to clear up any lumps (usually most likely to be infected hair follicles)

    Sorry for the mega long post!!
  • I also have this problem so I will try some suggestions here, I will check out the Selle Italia, Ill see if I can find it in a local shop so I can try it out. The Adamo Time Trial seems way too expensive but I will also try and find this.

    I will come back and post my findings!
  • natrixnatrix Posts: 1,111
    Team GB have looked at this and there are a few hints and tips in this article ... ore-medals
    ~~~~~~Sustrans - Join the Movement~~~~~~
  • Just checking back with an update, so after trying a few saddles in a not-so-local bike shop i've decided to go with the Selle Italia gel white saddle - ... ow-saddle/

    The kind man in the shop put it on a bike for me and I had a ride around the car park for 5 minutes and its so much more comfortable than the stock saddle I got with my bike. The price was £79.99 however so I am going to order it online as on Wiggle its only £53.75, unless anyone knows of it cheaper elsewhere?

    I am also trying to find a discount code to use to get it a bit more cheaper (i love getting a deal!), they have one here - but it says its now expired, and the newsletter signup on where you save 10%, doesnt seem to work!
    I guess ill just have to buy it at £53, still a hell of a lot cheaper than the other bike shop!

    Ill post another update after Ive been on a long ride to give it a full review!
  • big_pbig_p Posts: 565
    So you let him go to all of that trouble for you and you're not even going to spend anything with him ?
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I couldn't do that. If a bike shop gives me good service I like to reward them with the business*.

    Was all set to buy a road bike online, but Epic spent the time helping me select the best bike for my needs, fitting it for me, sending me out on test rides and selecting all the components. I may have spent a few extra £££s but I ended up with the perfect bike and I've changed almost nothing in 9 years.

    *censored service or being taken for a fool / patronised, and I'm out the door like a scalded whippet.
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    keef66 wrote:
    I couldn't do that. If a bike shop gives me good service I like to reward them with the business.

    Same. I was recently measured for a saddle by my LBS and, knowing I could get it cheaper, I still bought from them (plus a new cassette and chain whilst I was there). First off, I had it in my hand (or up my backside) immediately. Second, they fitted them there and then for nowt. And finally they took the time to understand what I needed and I would like to be able to go back to them whenever I want more help; if people try them for size then buy elsewhere they won't be there long.

    Oh, they also gave me a coffee and let me and my wife have a go on a Peugeot electric-assist shopping bike for a laugh (knowing they weren't getting a sale).
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • Oh I agree! I wanted to give him the business but its £30 more expensive and that's quite a lot! Had he had come down a bit to say £65-£70 then I would have bought it, but between £53 and £80, its just too much! I will be using him i the future however when it comes to maintenance products and services and the like.

    He did understand and he said he couldnt sell it for any less, not sure if thats true or not, and I understand how online retailers can sell for less due to no overheads but that is a BIG difference!
  • My OH used a gel saddle to no avail, but finds the saddle on her myka very comfy, cycling shorts still required though!
    Of course the cycling shorts will be necessary - their padding is probably even more important than having the right saddle -having said that, I used to commute to my work on the Selle Italia SLR saddle which was OE on my Scott MC10, wearing a suit (not when it was wet, mind you!) without any padding and I had ABSOLUTELY NO TROUBLE SITTING DOWN once I arrived at work :shock:
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