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  1. #1
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    Saddle / sitbone questions

    When measuring your sit bone width, are you supposed to measure from the center of the depressions made by the sit bones?

    Is it better to go with a saddle which is wider than your sit bones and if a wider saddle is recommended just how much wider saddle is recommended for say a sit bone measure of 160 mm?

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Sit bones

    assometer.jpg
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  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I have always used a saddle that is narrower than the "Suggested" size that the ButtOmeter gives. I measure at 145 but when I tried that width- It was not a comfortable saddle. But coupled with the width is the firmness of the saddles. Soft and plush = Pain. A Firm saddle with just a bit of cushioning works for me.
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    Senior Member NealH's Avatar
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    I use a wider saddle than my sit bone impression points to but, I think its more of a design attribute. Depending on the particular saddle, a wider one might work better or a narrower one. I don't think this helped you much but there is no hard and fast rule for saddle fit and satisfaction. Perhaps if you are more in a racer position (40-45 degree back angle) then go with the narrower one. If your back is typically 45 -50 degrees, then the wider saddle. In any event, get a saddle that you can return. Specialized for example provides a 30 day trial with any saddle you order from their website or authorized dealer. I think several other companies do the same.

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    It appears that sit bone distance is measured from the center of the impressions. It would be nice if saddle widths were to match directly to sit bones but I am guessing that saddle width is just the width from edge to edge of the saddle at its widest point.

    I was looking at a web site about saddles and the bone which holds the sit bones appears to narrow as it goes forward. I think that this comes into play when a rider gets into a more aero position.

    It sure would be nice if there was a perfect way to determine which saddle would work for me but I know that is not how it works.

    The specialized saddle return policy sounds good. Are there any other manufacturers that will allow a person to return saddles?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    I don't know of any specific manufacturers, although, there are a few retailers that have a generous guarantee with some saddle makes.
    http://www.wallbike.com/catalog/saddles
    People have also mentioned that REI has no hassle return as well?

  7. #7
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    I believe saddle comfort is due to a combination of minimizing the weight on the saddle and having a saddle shape that provides the largest possible bearing surface.

    Long ago when I was a boy, some local farmers still used horses to work their fields. In those days horse drawn farm implements had iron seats yet were comfortable enough to sit on all day, day after day. Having sat on such an iron seat myself while operating a mower, I know how comfortable these seats were. They were comfortable because the shape matched anatomy and they were large enough to spread weight over a large area. This is likely the reason leather saddles, after breaking in over time, can be comfortable.

    The situation with a bike is different because comfort is desirable but we have to be able to peddle. Some bike saddles, even though appearing narrow, evidently may fit an individual anatomy so well that body weight is comfortably spread out and are therefore well suited to a particular rider. My guess is that a wider saddle will likely be more comfortable for most people if the nose part of the saddle is a suitable shape.

    Everything about saddle fit is difficult or impossible to quantify. It seems that fitness is part of the issue also because as fitness increases, not so surprisingly, more force is put on the peddles and this reduces weight on the saddle as well as on the bars and hands.

    One surprising effect is that thick padding is often not comfortable after an hour or so. There are many comments on saddle threads confirming this and it is my experience also. I have found I like a saddle with a cut out center section because it not sensitive to tilt. This may not be true for everyone but I can tilt a cutout saddle through a range of several degrees with equal comfort and as a consequence the drops are comfortable also.

    My overall take on this issue is that saddle comfort is a moving target that changes with enough miles in the legs. In my two years of cycling I've purchased about 5-6 saddles and now have a good idea what works for me.

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    Senior Member Spoonrobot's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    I have always used a saddle that is narrower than the "Suggested" size that the ButtOmeter gives. I measure at 145 but when I tried that width- It was not a comfortable saddle. But coupled with the width is the firmness of the saddles. Soft and plush = Pain. A Firm saddle with just a bit of cushioning works for me.
    I concur and would definitely not go wider. People do seem to vary a lot on this stuff though.

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    In the sit bone picture what do the numbers 200, 350, and 360 represent?

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    My Prologo Kappa is narrower than I was used to with the Brooks Professional and B17 but I liked the saddle right from the start with the fit and feel. Now that I am used to its shape wider saddles seem to be pushing me outward (sit bones wider than the actually are.) the one aspect of saddles I am not flexible on is no thick or squishy padding.

    I measure out in the middle range of the table in the diagram.

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    I just measured my sit bones as closely as I could. I got 110 mm once and 120mm once. So I guess that I could be 105 to 125 mm. So now how do I measure my saddle to see if it is close to being the right width? I would think that the shape and softness of the saddle would matter like others have said but just what would be a ball park figure for the edge to edge distance on a saddle for sit bones of 125mm spacing?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    So the Specialized chart says that you are in, let's call it, Category 2, with recommended saddle widths 143 to 155. You are not in the group for which 130 mm is recommended. Don't bother looking at the upper and lower scales, they are not you.

    Whether you go for a 143 or a 155 is based on how aggressive your seating position is. You can guage that by the height difference between your saddle and the top of your handlebars. If they're even, you are probably in the middle of the scale, and should try a 143. If your bars are higher than 2 or 3 cm above the saddle, you could try the 155 first. If your bars are a few cm below the saddle, you should try, again, the 143.

    Specialized saddles are relatively flat but with some arch. Notice the dimension of the 143 is at least 1 cm wider than your sit bones on each side. If you are looking at a saddle that is a little more arched than a Specialized, look for a saddle a little wider than the Spec. If the saddle is a little flatter than the Specialized (such as a lot of WTB's), look for a little narrower. But in this by guess and by golly guestimating, YMMV. Also try to become aware of whether the middle of the saddle is wide or narrow. It matters, too.

    You're not going to find an algorithm for saddle scaling. You are being shown some reasonable guidance for choosing a reasonable starting point.

    You could also repeat the process sitting on the Ass O Meter, leaned forward to approximate your usual riding position. That might get you closer to what looks real.

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    Thanks for all the input. I did measure my sit bones by taking a piece of paper and placing it on about 1/2" of foam rubber. I then sat on the paper like shown in the above diagram and then measured from the center of the impressions. This gave a measure of 110mm one time and 120 mm another time. It is difficult to determine the exact center of the impressions.

    From the scale above and my riding position it looks like the 143 mm saddle would be a good starting point. My saddle is around 170mm edge to edge but it has soft foam on it which is probably causing my discomfort after about 1 hour of riding.

    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    In the sit bone picture what do the numbers 200, 350, and 360 represent?
    That is an image from the patent application, and the numbers are just reference/call outs. The text of the application will refer to them by number.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    At this point I am convinced that whatever discomfort I experience with my current saddle (Specialized Avatar 143) is a result of the 15 lbs. I now carry that I didn't about 20 yrs. ago.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim p View Post
    Thanks for all the input. I did measure my sit bones by taking a piece of paper and placing it on about 1/2" of foam rubber. I then sat on the paper like shown in the above diagram and then measured from the center of the impressions. This gave a measure of 110mm one time and 120 mm another time. It is difficult to determine the exact center of the impressions.

    From the scale above and my riding position it looks like the 143 mm saddle would be a good starting point. My saddle is around 170mm edge to edge but it has soft foam on it which is probably causing my discomfort after about 1 hour of riding.

    Thanks again.
    Soft foam and gel both cause pain. As your sit bones sink down into the foam, you place some of your weight on the foam that is not under the sit bones, and is actually under your sensitive bits. The saddle actually does exactly what you don't want it to do, place pressure on your sensitive bits. Having support at the sit bones by a hard relatively unyielding surface does not put any pressure on those areas, if the design and setup are right for you. It can still be done wrong, but this is why we say hard saddles are better than soft ones. Three hours spend on a feather pillow can become grueling.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    At this point I am convinced that whatever discomfort I experience with my current saddle (Specialized Avatar 143) is a result of the 15 lbs. I now carry that I didn't about 20 yrs. ago.
    Avatars are soft and cushy compared to the Alias, which is pillowy compared to the Toupe, their best one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    At this point I am convinced that whatever discomfort I experience with my current saddle (Specialized Avatar 143) is a result of the 15 lbs. I now carry that I didn't about 20 yrs. ago.
    I found the Avatar to be a cruel saddle. I was 180 lb when i tried my first Avatar. I think it would have been cruel if I had been 15 lb lighter.

  20. #20
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    When asking for saddle recommendations last year, there were many who recommended the Specialized Avatar..........people on the net, a couple friends and even the LBS employee all said the Avatar was a good saddle that fits a wide number of people.

    So for my sit bone width, I purchased an Avatar 143mm.

    I figured all was good, and just needed to ride lots of miles to improve sit bone saddle comfort. For the most part, this was true, I needed the miles and the comfort did improve. However, I was still never completely satisfied. There was still lingering discomfort that become more pronounced with increase in miles.

    After spending hours searching and reading every thread I could find on saddles, I became convinced the Avatar was to narrow and the saddle profile (slope and angle) was the problem. I needed a flatter and wider saddle........a Specialized Toupe in 155mm. So I got one.

    Well, fast forward another 1500 miles. I still ride both saddles, switching off when I'm convinced I may need more slope (Avatar > hip angle tilt) or need more flatness for sit bone support and soft tissue relief (Toupe).

    I'm not connived I have the right saddle. I think it would help to test other saddles. And when you consider having properly fitted shorts or bibs with a good working chamois has a lot to do with saddle comfort, the search for the perfect combination seems almost endless.

    I believe this is a major part of the learning curve in becoming a cyclist. Understanding your riding style, your body, bike fit, shoes, clothing and overall conditioning, all contribute to riding efficiency and comfort.

    With this in mind, I now realize it's not just the saddle, I need some better quality bibs. And maybe a different saddle. Or a shorter stem.......or bars, new seat post, or maybe a new bike!?

    You may have already read this, I thought this article was an interesting read.
    http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/...ll-about-smps/

  21. #21
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Sit bones

    assometer.jpg
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  22. #22
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gtragitt View Post
    I found the Avatar to be a cruel saddle. I was 180 lb when i tried my first Avatar. I think it would have been cruel if I had been 15 lb lighter.
    I am able to ride 40-45 mi. (longest ride since the season started here) without discomfort on my Avatar. At this point I'm about 188 lbs and hoping to be down to 175 by season's end. My theory is less weight on the saddle will equal less pressure on the sitz bones. I have no clue if this even makes sense so I guess I'll find out.

  23. #23
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
    I am able to ride 40-45 mi. (longest ride since the season started here) without discomfort on my Avatar. At this point I'm about 188 lbs and hoping to be down to 175 by season's end. My theory is less weight on the saddle will equal less pressure on the sitz bones. I have no clue if this even makes sense so I guess I'll find out.
    Less weight should make a difference. Plus improved conditioning will help too. At least I kept telling myself this.

    With the Avatar, I find having the saddle perfectly level from front to back makes a huge difference. A little nose up or down, or having the setback wrong greatly changes the saddle comfort. I kept tweaking the position until I actually found a comfortable medium.

  24. #24
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Anyone tried an ISM Adamo Road saddle? My current saddle is OK, but I ride with several people that have them and I was thinking of looking into one.
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