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Saddles for Women

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 5:44pm
by Dave W
My wife would like a more comfy saddle! She has a Specialized Riva (I think) on her Specialized Centrum single speed. I'm sure I purchased an identical saddle for our tandem.
However, she complains of the tandem saddle, possibly due to longer rides, possibly a different cycling position or even the fact that she is peddling harder.
So ladies, what do you recommend?
Difficult to explain but the discomfort is somewhere us men wouldn't get it (if you get my drift). :?

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 6:13pm
by alpgirl
I have a really uncomfortable saddle on my mountain bike, which I put up with. When I got my new Dawes Galaxy 6 months ago, it came with a Selle Italia FLX, which I find infinitely more comfy than my Fiziq MTB saddle. I am quite happy to go out on it without padded shorts. I guess it should be more comfy as it's for touring. It's not women specific. Might be worth looking at, and might be even better if she got a women's one.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 6:43pm
by RickH
I discussed the subject with a lady who was on a Channel to the Med ride I did a couple of years ago, riding with her husband on a tandem. She said that using a suspension seatpost (Cane Creek Thudbuster in this instance) made the biggest difference to comfort on the back of the tandem. Mrs H has a Selle Italia Diva (and I have been using a similar design, Selle Italia SLR Gel Flow - no longer a current model - very happily for several years) but we haven't done any long trips on the tandem as we usually have had a Grandchild on board as well. I will probably get a Thudbuster for her if we get round to longer trips.


Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 7:53pm
by uphillbothways
Saddles are highly personal, so it's difficult to make any sort of general recommendation. If your wife is happy with the Specialized Riva on her solo bike, you might want to try something else from the Specialized range on the tandem. If her position on the tandem is more upright, consider a wider and more padded saddle like the Dolce or Sonoma.

Failing that, then it's anyone's guess - I can tell you what's popular, but I can't say what will suit your wife. There's invariably the suggestion of a Brooks, which is something of a polarising option - people tend to either ride them exclusively or find them painfully uncomfortable. They're relatively expensive and require a fair commitment in breaking-in and maintenance, but lots of people swear by them.

The Charge Spoon is generally well liked, seems to suit a very broad range of riders and is excellent value at £20. It's a fairly lightly-padded option, but with a flexible shell and a very pleasing curved shape. There's a wider and shorter womens-specific version called the Ladle. WTB saddles are popular amongst riders preferring a broad flat saddle with plenty of padding, so you might want to look at the womens-specific Speed She and Leisure She.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 8:43pm
by Vorpal
Not only are saddles very personal, but a stoker seems to be more likely to have these sorts of problems.

1) only the person sitting on the saddle can ever decide if it's comfy
2) there is a certain amount of breaking in the backside to the saddle
3) when increasing distances or changing bikes, see point 2

The solution may be different for a chafing problem than for a bruising problem. Bumps and bruises might be helped with a suspension seat post. Chafing is typically saddle position, saddle shape, or clothing.

There are lots and lots of threads on this forum about curing saddle soreness, and fair few about saddles for tandem stokers, as well.

Here are a couple...

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 8:56pm
by Dave W
I was hoping for more replies from Ladies to be honest. I ride on a Specialized Romin and an Evo Pro and forget I'm on them. Wouldn't suit the wife though :D .
So really I'm after more specific makes and models that most serious females use. She has a suspension seat post by the way.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 9:59pm
by 531colin
At the risk of Granny and eggs syndrome......she can't see the road from the stoker you have a system to alert her to approaching bumps in the road?

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 10:05pm
by JohnW
The wife half of the husband and wife team who are proprietors of Surosa Cycles in Oldham was Women's World Road Race Champion - ask her. Surosa have appeared on a thread on another section of this forum, and received what could be termed "Rave Reviews" - they advertise in "Cycle".

Re: Ladies

Posted: 19 Nov 2012, 10:19pm
by xpc316e
A conventional suspension seatpost and a Thudbuster are poles apart. A stoker cannot see potholes, or other road problems, coming so they cannot lift themselves slightly and prepare for the impact as the captain will do without thinking. They also get more of a 'kick' from bumps etc. as they sit over the top over the rear wheel while you sit more amidships. For these reasons a Thudbuster is a good idea for the stoker on a tandem. Having said that, I fully endorse all the comments about saddles being highly personalised - the saying that one man's meat is another man's poison was invented for bicycle saddles.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 20 Nov 2012, 6:14am
by Vorpal
Dave W wrote:I was hoping for more replies from Ladies to be honest. I ride on a Specialized Romin and an Evo Pro and forget I'm on them. Wouldn't suit the wife though :D .
So really I'm after more specific makes and models that most serious females use. She has a suspension seat post by the way.

I am a lady, or at least of the correct gender :wink:

I can tell you what I sit on (Serfas RX) or what my daughter & stoker sits on (Serfas orginal), but that doesn't mean your wife will find them comfortable.

There is ... ddles.html

There are also numerous threads on this forum about women's saddles. Here's one with plenty of information on it.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 20 Nov 2012, 9:00am
by Brucey
I am the wrong gender to be able to speak from personal experience, but I have been charged with solving it, by proxy as it were, on a number of occasions.

I am of a view that for many ladies to be comfortable on the bike, the set-up might have to be fundamentally different from many man's bikes. Many men seem to be comfortable -or at least to be readily able to tolerate- a forward tilt to the pelvis as it meets a roughly flat saddle, where this same thing can cause considerable discomfort to ladies. The tilt of the pelvis is affected by build, posture, and riding position. A lot of ladies seem to prefer a more upright riding position and this may in fact lie at the root of it.

Obviously many ladies have wider sit bones than many men, and for this reason alone a slightly wider saddle may be preferred. It also seems to be helpful if the saddle is not strongly convex from side to side at the back.

Fundamentally some ladies will, I think, find it difficult to find a saddle/riding position that allows them to sit 'in' the saddle; in this case, the result may be that the saddle is tilted forwards (and/or there is a depression in the saddle centre), and the body weight is borne on the sit bones alone. This is OK, except that there is nothing in the position alone which stops the rider from sliding forwards in the saddle. This can put a greater strain on the upper body, as much of the time when touring, pushing back on the handlebars is the only thing which resists the forward slide.

Another important thing which resists the forward slide is simply pedalling hard; stronger riders (male or female) seem more often to be OK with a strong forward saddle tilt. A trip round the paddock before a ladies' road race is quite instructive; many ladies have a saddle nose a full 3/4" down (or more), where men's bikes are, on average, more or less flat, with relatively few more than 1/4" nose up or nose down.

I am interested to hear that Serfas saddles are recommended by some ladies; some of their saddles have design features which I have thought to be benefical; for some years thay have been one of the few makers who made a wide saddle with Ti rails; the flex in Ti rails gives some comfort where otherwise there would be virtually none through rail flex; most steel rails are designed to be strong enough not to break under a 225lb bloke, and consequently flex little under (say) a 130lb rider. The hull on most Serfas saddles is flexible anyway, and several have a central area which is softer still, often with an insert. Finally, several Serfas saddles have a Kevlar fabric cover. This is intrinsically more grippy than many other cover materials; a downside is that clothing wears more quickly, but the grip can help resist the forward slide and this means more comfort for many people.

I hope these comments are of some help; a lot of lady cyclists I have known have struggled with comfort and have been lucky enough to find something which has worked for them eventually; perhaps my comments may help you to assist others similarly.


Re: Ladies

Posted: 20 Nov 2012, 6:01pm
by Dave W
Thanks, couple of good replies there. Shouldn't have had my tea on one of them :shock:

Posterior doesn't seem to be a problem, I think it's the nose of the saddle - tilt it down and she slides forward and complains of wrist ache. Tilt it up and it becomes uncomfortable. I can't see the angle she rides at 'cos I'm the captain. Maybe I'll get a charge Ladle for her to try or borrow a test saddle from the spesh shop.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 20 Nov 2012, 6:09pm
by 531colin
Dave W wrote:....................... I can't see the angle she rides at 'cos I'm the captain..................

I used to check my kids' riding position on the tandem looking at our reflection in shop windows.

Re: Ladies

Posted: 20 Nov 2012, 6:26pm
by Brucey
the other thing I meant to mention is the fore and aft saddle position. Both anatomy (women typically have a longer C/J ratio i.e. long thighs) and any predisposition to, uh, 'less forceful' pedalling point to the best saddle position (fore-and-aft-wise) being further backwards; the exact reverse of what we often see.

Obviously a certain amount of diplomacy is required, else you might get the 'do you mean I'm not trying?' and the 'are you saying my backside looks big in this?' etc etc cross examination...and we all know there are no 'right answers' to some of these questions..... :wink: :roll:


Re: Ladies

Posted: 20 Nov 2012, 6:35pm
by Cunobelin
Not female, but I have a wife so have resolved similar issues.May seem silly, but put the comfy saddle on the tandem

If the problem persists than it is the position, if the problem resolves then you know it is the saddle.

If the former, try and duplicate the solo position and see how this helps.