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How to choose a better saddle?

errecaldiaerrecaldia Posts: 35
edited August 2019 in Workshop
Cycling with back problems my saddle is becoming more important. I'm not happy with the one I've got, but I'm not sure how to go about choosing a better one.

Bike shops are no good to me, the nearest are over an hour away and so far have proved stuffy beyond belief. So, I have to buy online, which means that even for stores where I can send stuff back I need to be pretty close to the mark when ordering to save lots of time and postage.

My saddle is a GIANT, 145mm wide with a central cutaway at the back. Over the years, I've been quite happy with it, but now I'm being more demanding of a good seating position, I'm finding it lacking.

I tend to sit right back on the saddle, with my sit bones maybe 25mm forward from the back edge. The width is good, my hips are boyish, but sat so far back, it's not very comfortable and it tends to throw my pelvis forward a touch, which is not really a Good Thing. I also tend to slide the slope towards the centre, despite the saddle overall being ever so slightly inclined upwards. This throws pressure on my shoulders and wrists as I have to push backwards.

If I move forward on the saddle, the sensitive bits don't like it :(

Can anyone suggest how I might start to choose a better saddle?

Louise

Posts

  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,475
    My gf was happy with her Fizik saddle, then post sprog popping, not so much.

    I basically had a stock of options anyway, so we tried a load, and have just recently found one that works for her - a Specialized Ruby Expert - the one we tried before was a Selle Italia Diva Gel - rave reviews, but doesn't work for her.

    Have you had your, or looked into ways of measuring your sitbones?

    I would say that would be your first step - there are methods to do it at home, and then once you have this width, in theory you can start to try and work out which width saddles might do the job - it could even be a mens saddle you need.

    In terms of cheapest option, I would be inclined to buy second hand off of ebay or this forum, I know from experience how much some top end ladies saddles will go for, ie £100 sell for maybe £25, so bargains to be had, and if they don't work, at that price you can sell on for very litte loss.

    As an aside, I had (still have minorly) back problems, and it might be prudent to get this sorted as well, if not first.
    It could be the way you are sitting that puts too much weight on your sit bones, which causes the issue.

    Good luck :-)
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • First thing you should do is measure your sit bones. Its always really easy to just think a certain saddle width fits simply becauae you have been using it for a while but measuring is really important.
    Easiest way is to get a piece of tinfoil big enough to sit on and place it on something that will show you the indents. So a stair step for example.
    Im not being a perv here but sitting on the foil naked gives you a clearer picture and a better measurement than wearing clothes.
    Once you sit on it, clearfully stand up and look at the foil. Where the 2 indents are, measure from the deepest point to the other.
    When you get that measurement add 10mm either side as saddles are measured from their edge to edge width and not the sitbones. So for example if your sitbones are 120mm you really want a saddle thats at leaat 140mm etc
    Once you have the width you then want to think about the length. Do you want a long nosed saddle or a short?
    If you tend to sit more back on the saddle then go for one thats got a bit of a raised edge to it towards the back as this can give you more leverage and support.
    When fitting the saddle you want to get your eye level at the same level as the saddle and then set the saddle horizontal to the floor at its middle point, not the nose or the back of the saddle. Tilting it ever so slightly will take pressure off your front but force you more forward putting pressure on your hand grip.

    Ive tried loads of different saddles over the years and the best one i have used is the Specialized Power saddle. I run mine quite wide at 168mm and its really comfortable. Dont be afraid to buy a slightly wider saddle than normal. Its not as bad as buying a saddle thats too narrow.
    Also consider how much support you need . Saddles that curve sharply down on the edges mean the sitbones arent being supported and will spread wider as you ride. Whereas a more flatter saddle will give you better support.
    Cut outs are simply a matter of preference.
  • errecaldiaerrecaldia Posts: 35
    Daniel B wrote:
    As an aside, I had (still have minorly) back problems, and it might be prudent to get this sorted as well, if not first.

    If only.... Seeing my neuro-surgeon today, hoping for advice on sports therapy but so far, they've been saying don't do much exercise and we'll look into all the options.
    First thing you should do is measure your sit bones.

    I can't see anything pervy about sitting naked on a bit of tinfoil... I tried it and it did nothing for me :( Including leaving no sign whatsoever of my sit bones. Looking into other techniques for this.

    Thank you both for your detailed advice :)
  • AlejandrosdogAlejandrosdog Posts: 2,007
    i think the specialized concept stores offer some kind of measuring system. more importantly they stock a range of saddles to try.

    Apparently theyve put a lot of effort into the womens saddle issue. (probably because they can sell a bike to attach it to)
  • i think the specialized concept stores offer some kind of measuring system. more importantly they stock a range of saddles to try.

    Apparently theyve put a lot of effort into the womens saddle issue. (probably because they can sell a bike to attach it to)

    I have a mental image of some sleazy salesman eagerly waiting for the chance to measure women's bottoms!

    My nearest Concept Store is in Vittoria, 200km away, annoying because I was there last week and didn't know about it :( But I might be able to get back there in the not-too-distant, thank you for the tip.
  • step83step83 Posts: 3,661
    Rather than foil I used cardboard (as in a box panel not a cereal pack) the type thats got a corrugated layer in the middle, that should allow you to see the dents. You can help this with a chalk rubbing it sideways lightly over to help find the deepest bit.
    Foil works if you have quite a deep pile carpet otherwise it can be a bit hit an miss.

    Other than that Jammiedodger's advice is correct, I did the same ended up with a saddle that works for me.
  • step83 wrote:
    Rather than foil I used cardboard (as in a box panel not a cereal pack) the type thats got a corrugated layer in the middle, that should allow you to see the dents. You can help this with a chalk rubbing it sideways lightly over to help find the deepest bit.
    Foil works if you have quite a deep pile carpet otherwise it can be a bit hit an miss.

    Other than that Jammiedodger's advice is correct, I did the same ended up with a saddle that works for me.

    Yeah I said foil simply because that worked for me on a deep pile carpet on the stairs but as you also mention, corrugated cardboard is another good option. Basically anything that can leave indents you can measure.
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