Saddle Discomfort—Solutions for Women Cyclists

from Women’s

Saddle comfort can be the deciding factor between an enjoyable ride or a miserable one. It can stop some women from riding their bikes all together, it’s that painful. Why can the saddle be such a “pain in the butt”?

The main reason is that the soft tissue at the front really wasn’t meant to be bear weight. We have sit bones, aka ischial tuberosities, for that job. But on a bike, in a bent-over riding position, your body weight is shared between the 2 sit bones and the pubic bone in the front, which means there is pressure on the soft tissue  (the perineum) at the front. Sit bone width varies depending on posture, build and gender. Sit bones widen when you sit upright and narrow when you lean forward, which makes sense because you’re redistributing weight. Therefore, just measuring your behind while sitting or standing won’t really help in determining the proper saddle size.

Saddle discomfort is one of the most difficult areas to address in a bike fit. It affects how you sit on your bike and it changes your posture. As a result, it changes all the rest of the angles below and at the front of your bike. The ensuing chain reaction of poor posture to relieve the pressure from an uncomfortable saddle can lead to neck and back pain and  can alter how the whole bike feels. To fix the problem often requires trying a number of saddles before completing the bike fit. Or you may have found the “right” saddle but how you sit on the bike is making it uncomfortable. Your local bike shop should have a tool you can use to measure the distance between your sit bones. This is often a good starting point when shopping for a new saddle.

Click here for more information on discomfort causes and prevention ideas.

Here are a few examples of popular women’s saddles designed for women:

– Specialized Lithium Gel, Sanoma, Jette
– Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow
– Terry Butterfly, Liberator, Damselfly
– Selle SMP
– Adamo
– Brooks
– WTB Deva

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