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Saddle choice

Posted: 12 Aug 2019, 9:10am
by francovendee
My wife enjoys cycling and we cycle together most days and clock up around 5000 miles each year.
Lately she's noticed that if she doesn't cycle for a week or two then sensitivity in her saddle area is much improved. She doesn't want to give up cycling so we're in the market for a better saddle.
I suspect sitting on a saddle has a desensitizing effect which she wasn't aware of until having a couple of weeks off the bike.
I've suggested she join this forum so she can ask the question herself but she's not interested :(

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 12 Aug 2019, 10:48am
by mjr
Saddles are personal and vary in length, width, footprint (shape as viewed from above - varies from a V to a T), horizontal curves (as viewed from the side - I like a U others prefer more of a flat), whether there's a central dent or cutout, whether there's any suspension (springs, rubber balls, shells sliding on rails, ...) and much more. What works for one rider may not work for another, even on identical bikes, while what works for a rider on one bike may not work on another bike... so it's very difficult to recommend better!

So maybe start off figuring where there might be excessive pressure on the current saddle, then look for saddles which are lower or possibly softer in those areas (but take care with softer because that can result in compression and greater pressure on neighbouring areas) or possibly harder in adjacent areas.

Two other things: if someone wears padding, then if that's not the right shape, that can be a factor similar to a too-soft saddle; and not all women prefer women-specific saddles, although I think the tendency is to prefer them.

Some clubs have saddle libraries which they lend out from. Some shops selling expensive saddles let you try garishly-coloured test saddles if you leave a deposit, in the hope you'll find one you like and buy it.

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 12 Aug 2019, 2:31pm
by LollyKat
What is her current saddle? One with a cut-out or deep groove should eliminate any pressure in delicate areas. Though the problem may be more complex.

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 12 Aug 2019, 3:10pm
by Vorpal
There is a frank and informative post about the issues facing women in sitting upon saddles here https://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2011/04 ... ddles.html

I use Serfas Rx saddles, as I find them more comfortable than others, but saddle selection is a very personal thing.

I do think that the Bontrager and Specialized saddles which are fitted using a measurement mat have a little better chance than random choice, but otherwise, it's down to trial and error. Some folks end up with a library of saddles that don't quite work for them.

IMO, the biggest influences on saddle comfort are (more or less in order)
-position; that is the saddle has to be in just the right place that one's sit bones are the primary contact with the saddle
-shape; the shape and width need to suit one's anatomy
-saddle material (i.e. leather, plastic, cloth, lycra, padded or not, etc.)
-clothing (padded shorts, type or anatomy of pads, seams, etc.)

That said, I do find that shorts with big pads can cause the sort of problem that you describe. I wear shorts with thin pads, like the liners in MTB baggies, or older shorts with just a few extra layers in them, rather than gel pads.

The effect that you describe could also be related to or exacerbated by aging. Our skin gets drier and less flexible with age, which means that things which were once comfortable, or at least okay can become uncomfortable. I am much more sensitive to saddle issues than I was 10 years ago. I don't remember even thinking about it when I was 20, despite doing ridiculous rides that I wouldn't contemplate today. :lol:

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 12 Aug 2019, 3:15pm
by Vorpal
mjr wrote:
Some clubs have saddle libraries which they lend out from. Some shops selling expensive saddles let you try garishly-coloured test saddles if you leave a deposit, in the hope you'll find one you like and buy it.

Many shops will offer a two week trial period with a new saddle. If you don't like, it they will take it back or exchange it for another until you get the right fit.

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 14 Aug 2019, 9:03am
by Carlton green
francovendee wrote:My wife enjoys cycling and we cycle together most days and clock up around 5000 miles each year.
Lately she's noticed that if she doesn't cycle for a week or two then sensitivity in her saddle area is much improved. She doesn't want to give up cycling so we're in the market for a better saddle.
I suspect sitting on a saddle has a desensitizing effect which she wasn't aware of until having a couple of weeks off the bike.
I've suggested she join this forum so she can ask the question herself but she's not interested :(


A couple of years back the CTC mag did an article on women’s saddles. I’m not sure how you might find a copy of that article, I pulled out the copy in my mag (in case of need for family use) and put it ‘somewhere safe’ - if needed it would take me quite a while to find it.

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 15 Aug 2019, 8:45am
by francovendee
Thanks for all the replies, my wife read all them and we'll see what's available here in France.

Re: Saddle choice

Posted: 15 Aug 2019, 6:17pm
by Halla
As others have said, saddles are a very personal thing. You may have heard of World Record holder Kaysa Tylen, she was riding 100 miles per day for a year, a couple of years ago. She had problems then found a perfect perch, which can be seen on WWW.INFINITYBIKESEAT.COM. Kaysa can be found on Facebook.


I hope this helps.

Andy