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Old 01-29-07, 10:57 AM   #1
tom cotter
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A question for the ladies

I just helped a friend buy Trek 7200. She really likes the bike, however the horn part of the seat is hurting her female anatomy. We're trying to figure out where to start to fix the problem. Seat adjustment, if so which way do we adjust it. New seat? If so any recommendations? Will cycling shorts solve the problem? Also, regarding shorts, do the ladies go commando like the boyz?

I'm sure she's not the first woman to encounter this type of seat problem. Any experience with this out there. THX
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Old 01-29-07, 12:07 PM   #2
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Shorts will help a ton, and yes I would think the ladies go commando as well. Its the elastic that does the damage.
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Old 01-29-07, 12:09 PM   #3
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Terry Butterfly comes highly recommended. My wife prefers it greatly over the stock Bontrager saddle she had.
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Old 01-29-07, 12:47 PM   #4
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I solved that problem for my wife this way. I walked into the biggest bike store around and askede for the seat the most women liked. The store manager knew exactly which one. $35.00 later, I had the seat that she really likes. A few tryouts and adjustments later, all was bliss. She made sure that seat ended up on her new bike too. bk
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Old 01-29-07, 12:53 PM   #5
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So far no one who has responded is female.

Women don't wear anything under cycling shorts either. A woman specific design can be very helpful. The correct angling of the nose will help a lot. It's important to get a saddle which fits the seatbones properly. Our hips do tend to be wider than men's, so a narrow saddle is not generally going to be very comfortable.

I've have tried to get the same saddle for all my bikes. It's tough, the best saddle I've found for myself is the leather BG saddle which came stock on my Specialized Dolce Elite. But I've managed to gather a couple of them.

If your wife does find a saddle she loves, try to purchase two or three of them. As they wear out, or if she acquires more bikes, she'll have her favourite without having to go through a lengthy 'try out' all over.

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Old 01-29-07, 01:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom cotter
I just helped a friend buy Trek 7200. She really likes the bike, however the horn part of the seat is hurting her female anatomy. We're trying to figure out where to start to fix the problem. Seat adjustment, if so which way do we adjust it. New seat? If so any recommendations? Will cycling shorts solve the problem? Also, regarding shorts, do the ladies go commando like the boyz?
Shorts may alleviate the problem some (and yes, girls do go commando too, although you don't really have to as long as you don't tell UnderwearNazi about it ). However shorts will not solve the problem. Neither will gel pads. Gel pads are just gimmicks. Shorts are useful, but not for this sort of thing! Their function is to prevent chafing and minimize air resistance and stuff like that. It's not to fix saddle problems. If you're not comfortable in the saddle wearing regular pants, the problem won't go away with the purchase of shorts. You need to adjust the saddle - or buy a new one if no adjustment yields a desired outcome.

I've had this trouble myself with some seats. It can be excruciatingly painful. In my case every time the cause of the problem was the fact that the seat was too narrow at the back. This way my sitbones (the two bones in the bum we sit on) were not supported by the seat (girls' sitbones are typically wider spaced than men's to allow for childbirth) and so I was sitting on my soft tissues. OUCH is the only printable word that comes to mind! So one thing I would check out is whether the seat is wide enough. Does she feel her bum is being supported by the saddle on both sides?

In some cases the problem is not the width so much as the angle of the seat. Ideally a seat should be perfectly level. If its nose is pointing up, it's bound to put a lot of pressure on certain parts of female anatomy and cause discomfort. Some women angle their seats down a bit (just a couple of degrees) so that the horn is out of the way. This solves the pressure problem, but sometimes creates a new problem of rider sliding down the seat and thus putting a lot of weight and stress on the arms. Bad situation.

You may also try to move the saddle forward a bit to see if it does anything.

So if you find that saddle adjustment doesn't solve the problem - it's time for a new saddle. Which one? Well, firstly it's gotta be a good width: not too narrow and not too wide. A bike shop should help you with that. Also, an anatomical cut-out (basically a hole) in the front of the saddle often works for women. Some companies (notably Terry) make women-specific saddles taking anatomy into consideration. I personally am very happy with my Specialized Body Geometry Comfort saddle (men's version).

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:04 PM   #7
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Women suffer discomfort on a bike for the same reasons guys do, primarily because the set-up of the bike is wrong.

To be comfortable on a bike saddle, the rider's weight needs to be balanced between the "sit bones", the feet, and the hands. Most women ride on bikes with their hands lower than the top of the saddle, and with too much distance between the rear edge of the saddle and the front of the stem. Those two set-up problems rotate the pelvis forward, shifting weight off the "sit bones" and onto the "soft bits".

The solution is to raise the bars (replacing the stem if necessary) so that the rider's hands are as high or higher than the top of the saddle. Raising the bars two inches will shorten the distance from the rear of the saddle to the front of the stem by almost one inch. Move the saddle forward an inch on its rails if necessary, if there is still pressure on the crotch area.

About 90% of women's saddles have (too) soft padding. That padding allows the sitbones to sink down into the pad, placing pressure on the soft bits. The solution is a saddle that has a wide, flat, and very firm platform behind the nose. A firm, flat, wide platform keeps all of the weight on the sitbones, and does not permit the sitbones to sink.

The classic Brooks leather ladies saddle that was supplied with all "top" ladies bikes from around 1905 to 1975 illustrates that principle. After a month or two of riding, there will be two distinct "dents" in the leather, showing where the sitbones are positioned. But, that saddle did not permit the sitbones to sink into an inch of gel, as do so many modern so-called "comfort" saddles: a recipe for numbness and pain.

Many women benefit from positioning the saddle so that the rear edge of the saddle is about 1/4th inch lower than the nose of the saddle. That very slight downward tilt to the rear helps keeps the pelvis upright, and the weight on the sitbones.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:14 PM   #8
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I have a Terry Butterfly on my mountain bike and the dolce seat on my roadbike. I like both alot. I really love the Terry Butterfly its a very comfy seat and I have a JLO butt

Anyhoo, it may just be the seat or it could be seat and some adjusting too. Also, I'm commando under bike shorts, its not recommended to wear panties under the shorts. Also remind her to always bring a change of clothes after riding. Women need to get something clean on after riding so it doesn't lead to other medicial issues.

Good day and YEAH another girl is riding.

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Old 01-29-07, 02:34 PM   #9
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I have this one and it's awesome. http://www.terrybicycles.com/detail....tem_no=2163500

I have a racing bike and it fits the bill. No underwear with bike shorts (seams are a problem and prevents moisture wicking) and "good shorts" make a difference. The chamois much like the bike seat though is personal preference. My first were cheap no names, the second PI's and were MUCH better.
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Old 01-29-07, 02:37 PM   #10
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....BTW, Terry has a 30 day try and 100% return policy if you don't like it.
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Old 01-29-07, 10:55 PM   #11
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As a woman with a wider-than-average sitbone span, I strongly recommend measuring. (I understand this can be one of those fun, relationship-strengthening activities. ) This allows you to narrow your choices to the ones that fully support those ischial tuberosities of hers. I think from there it's all about trial and error. The recommendation about Terry's return policy is a good one. If you decide to go the leather Brooks saddle route, buying them from Wallbike allows you 6 months to try one out and return it if you wish. I also understand the owner is very good at listening to the needs of female customers and making recommendations about Brooks saddles. Once the tax refund comes in, this is where I plan to make my saddle purchase.

BTW, I am a regular rider of an upright, hybrid kind of bike.
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Old 01-30-07, 08:41 AM   #12
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better comfort

i had the exact same problem , at first i couldn't imagine going anywhere without panties!i came to realize that the elastic in the seams were cutting and chafing , so off they went, you most definately have to invest in a good pair of shorts, don't skimp because when it hurts it's all you can think about. everytime you pedal. chamois butter , vaseline although sticky, diaper rash med. applied before a ride alleviate rubbing.had to have my bike refitted, legs were too stretched causing me to put pressure on girlie parts excessively, stem was raised and changed to specialized pro, seat can be be positioned all sorts of ways, was putting all my weight on hands to push back on seat because i kept sliding forward.traded my sella royale gel seat for a specialized jett gel. things are soooo much better and i can think about something else besides ouch! you can also buy a pair of innner shorts to double up on padding.
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Old 01-30-07, 08:47 AM   #13
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Adjustment of the saddle and overall bike fit are as important or more so than the type of saddle. I've attached a word doc, with reference to the originating web site, that will help you adjust the saddle and bike for her.
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Old 01-30-07, 09:58 AM   #14
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how about you start by suggesting that she get an account on bike forums? then she can ask her own questions in the future.

oh and if she's complaining about her "bits", an ergonomic saddle that is cut-out in the centre will help big time!
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Old 01-30-07, 12:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zippered
how about you start by suggesting that she get an account on bike forums? then she can ask her own questions in the future.
Exactly!

Quote:
oh and if she's complaining about her "bits", an ergonomic saddle that is cut-out in the centre will help big time!
I'll second that recommendation!

There have been some excellent suggestions here to help your friend get started. Good luck!

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Old 01-30-07, 01:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zippered
how about you start by suggesting that she get an account on bike forums? then she can ask her own questions in the future.
Hey, wait a minute, zippered, I don't see a red star next to your name!

Good advice, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowy
I really love the Terry Butterfly its a very comfy seat and I have a JLO butt


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Old 01-30-07, 03:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom cotter
I just helped a friend buy Trek 7200. She really likes the bike, however the horn part of the seat is hurting her female anatomy. We're trying to figure out where to start to fix the problem. ....
Start here: RANS Fusion

Pricey perhaps but very comfortable, no padded shorts required.
~
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Old 01-30-07, 03:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug5150
Start here: RANS Fusion

Pricey perhaps but very comfortable, no padded shorts required.
~
I take it you are serious? With the bike shown it appears that all the weight is thrown back on to the rider's rear. Fine for a short run to the shops but painful for serious riding.
Ideally you would want 40% of weight on the bars and 60% on the seat in a balanced position.
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Old 01-30-07, 03:39 PM   #19
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If she joins BF have her PM a mod (Stacey I think) for access to the women's only forum. Being male, rumor has it that these types of questions are answered quickly in there.
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Old 01-30-07, 06:48 PM   #20
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Thanks for the replies so far. there are some good suggestions. Looks like we'll start with a shopping trip to pick up some shorts, then move on to adjusting the seat. From there it's a Terry saddle.

As for her joining up here at BF, maybe in time. It took me years to get her on a bike. Baby steps.

In the non-lycra category any suggestions on which shorts are most comfy?
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Old 01-30-07, 06:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkaapcke
I solved that problem for my wife this way. I walked into the biggest bike store around and askede for the seat the most women liked. The store manager knew exactly which one. $35.00 later, I had the seat that she really likes. A few tryouts and adjustments later, all was bliss. She made sure that seat ended up on her new bike too. bk
What brand and model seat is it?
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Old 01-30-07, 06:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chephy
Shorts may alleviate the problem some (and yes, girls do go commando too, although you don't really have to as long as you don't tell UnderwearNazi about it ). However shorts will not solve the problem. Neither will gel pads. Gel pads are just gimmicks. Shorts are useful, but not for this sort of thing! Their function is to prevent chafing and minimize air resistance and stuff like that. It's not to fix saddle problems. If you're not comfortable in the saddle wearing regular pants, the problem won't go away with the purchase of shorts. You need to adjust the saddle - or buy a new one if no adjustment yields a desired outcome.

I've had this trouble myself with some seats. It can be excruciatingly painful. In my case every time the cause of the problem was the fact that the seat was too narrow at the back. This way my sitbones (the two bones in the bum we sit on) were not supported by the seat (girls' sitbones are typically wider spaced than men's to allow for childbirth) and so I was sitting on my soft tissues. OUCH is the only printable word that comes to mind! So one thing I would check out is whether the seat is wide enough. Does she feel her bum is being supported by the saddle on both sides?

In some cases the problem is not the width so much as the angle of the seat. Ideally a seat should be perfectly level. If its nose is pointing up, it's bound to put a lot of pressure on certain parts of female anatomy and cause discomfort. Some women angle their seats down a bit (just a couple of degrees) so that the horn is out of the way. This solves the pressure problem, but sometimes creates a new problem of rider sliding down the seat and thus putting a lot of weight and stress on the arms. Bad situation.

You may also try to move the saddle forward a bit to see if it does anything.

So if you find that saddle adjustment doesn't solve the problem - it's time for a new saddle. Which one? Well, firstly it's gotta be a good width: not too narrow and not too wide. A bike shop should help you with that. Also, an anatomical cut-out (basically a hole) in the front of the saddle often works for women. Some companies (notably Terry) make women-specific saddles taking anatomy into consideration. I personally am very happy with my Specialized Body Geometry Comfort saddle (men's version).

Hope this helps.
Lots of good info here. THX
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Old 01-30-07, 06:54 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubi
Hey, wait a minute, zippered, I don't see a red star next to your name!

Good advice, though.





I love the honesty on this forum!

Must have been sleeping when the memo came out. What does the red star mean? How about blue?

Connected to BF monetary support?
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Old 01-30-07, 10:08 PM   #24
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My daughter had the same problem ,the seat was too far back . I wound up having to flip the clamp to position the seat more forward for her.
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Old 01-30-07, 10:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom cotter
y any suggestions on which shorts are most comfy?
I have a couple of ideas. I do not wear lycra at all, so this is going to be the not cycling-specific clothes suggestion post. I like lightweight, nylon shorts or capris that are sold for hiking or fishing. They dry quickly, and are loose enough that I can have long underwear on when it is cold. They also tend to be a heck of a lot less expensive. I do own a pair of those padded cycling underwear that seem to do me good when I ride more than 15 miles a stretch. Some people assert that padded bottoms are not necessary once you're using a Brooks saddle. I hope to test that soon.

I have not bought a pair, but some women swear by mountain bike shorts/capris. No lycra, but they have the padding. Others wear lycra shorts with loose nylon shorts over them. There's also this rather pretty (but spendy) skort. I think if I ever get any lycra anything, that's what it will be. Terry also makes this wrap-around skirt you can wear over lycra shorts so it doesn't look like you're actually wearing lycra. Someone who is a halfway decent sewer could make one, though.
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