Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    DC / Maryland suburbs
    My Bikes
    Homebuilt tourer/commuter, modified-beyond-recognition 1990 Trek 1100, reasonably stock 2002-ish Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo
    Posts
    4,172
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    How to pick out a saddle for a new female rider

    I bought an 80's road bike for my girlfriend and fixed it up for her birthday. We finally got around to riding together yesterday, and she enjoyed it but had a lot of pain from the saddle (a men's saddle). So obviously she needs a new one. How do forum members pick out a new saddle? In my experience, I can't tell whether a saddle feels good or not until I've ridden it for a few miles. I've learned that in general hard saddles are more comfortable than soft saddles, but that's my only real principle. Also I think my a$$ has toughened up to the point that I can't really tell

    Anybody have any tips on how a new female rider should pick out a saddle? I'm worried if she doesn't get something real comfortable she won't want to ride with me anymore. Any specific women's saddle recommendations?
    My bikes | Linux and Python stuff | Photo gallery

    Sheldon Brown, I miss you. Thanks for the advice, ideas, humor, and infectious enthusiasm for everything bikes...

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
    My Bikes
    1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
    Posts
    12,155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Anybody have any tips on how a new female rider should pick out a saddle? I'm worried if she doesn't get something real comfortable she won't want to ride with me anymore. Any specific women's saddle recommendations?
    Well, unfortunately her experience is going to pretty much mimic your experience. She needs to break in her bike-butt and really no saddle is going to help her avoid that. Also, since saddles are such a personal thing, it might not be very easy for you to simply pick one for her. She's going to have to sit on a few to determine if the right spots are being properly supported and if there's rubbing in the wrong spots. The best you can do is educate her on what to look for so she can tell right away if a certain saddle is the wrong saddle for her bone structure.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  3. #3
    the dog ate my earbuds KirkeIsWaiting's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Jersey Shore
    My Bikes
    '05 Litespeed Siena Campy, Bridgestone X03 , Peugeot dream bike gets FIXED, Waterford Campy Record Colbalto, Motobecane Tandem in perfect condition, A Belgium made Bertin that was sent by an angel
    Posts
    2,120
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    From a girl's perspective, I didn't like any of the women's saddles I owned. All were too wide, that seemed more uncomfortable. And the gel seats were worse. Slim and hard, less intrusive. In time, the butt callus just develops naturally. Keep her encouraged, it must be a joy to ride together.

  4. #4
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    DC / Maryland suburbs
    My Bikes
    Homebuilt tourer/commuter, modified-beyond-recognition 1990 Trek 1100, reasonably stock 2002-ish Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo
    Posts
    4,172
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the tips. It is definitely fun for us to ride together!

    I'm unsure of how much pain is normal, because I kind of just ignored it, and then it went away. Khuon, you mentioned bone structure. Is there a specific sign that you need a wider/narrow saddle? She said she felt pain at two specific points, that didn't feel like muscle soreness... does that suggest anything specific?
    My bikes | Linux and Python stuff | Photo gallery

    Sheldon Brown, I miss you. Thanks for the advice, ideas, humor, and infectious enthusiasm for everything bikes...

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5,251
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The industry's habit of labeling a saddle as being for a woman or a man is silly. It is based on two ideas: that any woman will have a wider bottom than any man, and, that a woman needs a soft, mushy saddle.

    Both of those notions are false. Some woman have slim bottoms, and fit well on so-called "men's" saddles. Some men have wide bottoms (which allows me to ride without using padded shorts).

    The width of the saddle in the platform area needs to be as wide as the rider's bottom. And, oddly, a very firm, flat platform is more comfortable than a soft, plush platform. A firm platform puts pressure on the pelvis and sitbones, not on the privates. On a mushy saddle, the sitbones sink into the padding, putting the rider's weight on their crotch and privates.

    The rider's position on the bike affects how the saddle feels. Many bikes are too long for a female's shorter torso and arms. That forces them to pivot their pelvis forward on the saddle, taking the weight off the sitbones, and putting it on the privates.

    Most females are more comfortable with their pelvis more upright, which requires lowering the saddle, raising the bars, and often, using a stem that brings the bars back closer to the saddle. The bars need to be as high as the saddle. The back should be at about a 45% angle, relative to a "traditional" top tube, riding with the elbows bent and relaxed.

    Although they take a few weeks to get used to, the Specialized Body Geometry saddles are excellent. My favorite are the medium wide models with a firm seating platform. The center "cut out" insures that there is no pressure on the crotch...all of your weight is on your sitbones (if the pelvis is upright).

    With trial and error, you can work out both the most comfortable postion on the bike, and the best saddle. And, when you get it right, take careful measurements of the exact relationship of the saddle to the bottom bracket, the height of the saddle, the height of the stem, the distance from the rear edge of the saddle to the front edge of the stem. Having those measurements enables you to keep the bike setup correctly after stuff gets moved around at the bike shop, or when the bike is stored.

  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
    My Bikes
    1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
    Posts
    12,155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Khuon, you mentioned bone structure. Is there a specific sign that you need a wider/narrow saddle? She said she felt pain at two specific points, that didn't feel like muscle soreness... does that suggest anything specific?
    The saddle should properly support her Ischial Tuberosities (sit bones). The position of these bones is different from person to person and that's why not one saddle design is appropriate for everyone. Additionally, there is bound to be discomfort in this area at first because the muscle tissue won't have developed their callousness as KirkeIsWaiting mentioned. This doesn't necessarily mean that the saddle is wrong for her either. I recently took a 4-month break from heavy riding and when I got back in the saddle, I discovered that my butt was sore too. Unfortunately, our sport has a bit of a steep "learning" curve in that most people's bodies are not accustomed to riding a bike if they haven't been doing it for a while. Thus many are instantly turned off and never give their bodies a chance to adjust. It's a harsh implicit hazing ritual.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  7. #7
    Veni, Vidi, Vomiti SteveE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Republic of Anaerobia
    My Bikes
    Serotta Legend Ti, Romani Columbus SL, Soma Doublecross
    Posts
    3,582
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Has anyone tried Specialized's Body Geometry Fit System? It's supposed to measure the distance between your sitbones to help you select a saddle of the correct width.

    And what Khuon said - it's gonna hurt at first until her sit area toughens up.
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy *****...what a ride!'"

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    denver
    Posts
    244
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ach! Saddle woes. I went through about 10 saddles before I finally found one that I love (Fysik Vitesse, which I believe is a women's saddle--wait, did I spell fysik right?) and now I have one on each bike and a few extras in case they suddenly stop making them. Anyway, everyone's bodies are different. I have to poink the nose of my saddle down somewhat in order to be comfortable, and I've talked to other female riders who feel the same way; while most of the male riders I know (but not all of them) like to tip the front of their saddles up. She will just need to try different saddles and different positions. It will hurt for a while til her body adjusts and she finds the right saddle/position. My advice is not to go for long rides until she's more comfortable. That way she won't be in horrible pain that makes her never want to ride again.

  9. #9
    One Tough Cookie. Black Bud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    West Hartford, CT
    My Bikes
    Too many and not ENOUGH!
    Posts
    265
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I find that "womens' specific design" saddles--or anything , for that matter--rarely work out!!

    ESPECIALLY SADDLES!!!

    (Yes, folks.... BLACK BUD IS A WOMAN!!! )

    Since your GF is just "getting back in the saddle" again, she will probably want to start out with a "softer" and, perhaps, "wider" saddle than she might like later on. This is probably normal--if she wants to do so, don't fight her! (Just don't spend a "boatload" of money, either!!) With time, and riding, she'll be able to decide what will work for her in the long run.

    The point about frame fit is a good one...and critical!! If the frame is too long she WILL find herself "riding the rivet", so to speak. Not good for comfort...or her "tender parts"!! (Her arms and shoulders will also get really sore really fast!! ) If it's too short she may...or may not..find herself on the "good" part (the wide part) of the saddle, but will be TOO UPRIGHT to get any power on hills or rough terrain--and she'll have to "fight" the wind way more than she should!!

    NO SADDLE CAN COMPENSATE FOR POOR FRAME FIT!!!

    I find that a moderate-width saddle, with a longish, "drop" nose and (almost) flat top, with a modest amount of "padding" works well for me. Also, a "split" in the "tail" is OK--but NOT a "toilet-seat-like" hole in the center! The one I like--and pretty much fits this description--is the Specialized "Milano", a "unisex" model.
    I've heard A LOT of women like it, too. Maybe your GF will!

    If not...let her look...and decide. It's HER butt!!!
    A bad day on the bike is better than a good day at work!!

    My discussion board, another resource for the "utility" and commuter cyclist: "Two Wheeled Commuter: The Everyday Cyclist"

  10. #10
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    DC / Maryland suburbs
    My Bikes
    Homebuilt tourer/commuter, modified-beyond-recognition 1990 Trek 1100, reasonably stock 2002-ish Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo
    Posts
    4,172
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks everybody for the advice. I will try putting a cushier saddle of mine on her bike, and see if she likes that for the time being! If not, we're off to the LBS.
    My bikes | Linux and Python stuff | Photo gallery

    Sheldon Brown, I miss you. Thanks for the advice, ideas, humor, and infectious enthusiasm for everything bikes...

  11. #11
    Go hula
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    My Bikes
    McMahon Ti hardtail, Breezer Storm commuter
    Posts
    212
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's true that everyone is built differently. But one thing us females have in common is that sensitive soft tissue area "down there" and no amount of riding to toughen up the sit bone area is going to toughen up the soft area. I have a Terry Liberator Ti Race saddle on both of my bikes. They may not be the lightest saddles on the market, but they're great. They actually have a hole cut into the middle of the saddle so there will be no pressure on the soft tissue area. Cuz trust me Foxfyre, if she's sore in that area, you're not going to get lucky that night. My LBS lets people put saddles on a display bike and ride on a trainer for however long they want to. I know it's not the best way to determine if a saddle is right, but usually you'll know if it's NOT right within minutes.

    Good luck with the saddle hunt!

  12. #12
    Senior Member RocketsRedglare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Newport Beach
    Posts
    275
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Personal preference. After spending about $120 on different saddles my wife settled on a big soft comfort saddle with the springs i bought for $7 dollars at the local Target.

  13. #13
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Seminole, FL
    My Bikes
    Guru Geneo, Specialized Roubaix Pro, Guru chron 'alu, Specialized Sequoia
    Posts
    2,258
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If she does wind up with another saddle, the Terry butterfly is very popular with the experienced female riders in my club. Also, Terry has a great program - you can return any saddle for any reason within 30 days after purchase.
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  14. #14
    Respect Your Hill spindog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Connecticut
    My Bikes
    2007 Colnago CLX Carbon, 2 Cannondale R2000Si's (road), 1 Trek (road), 1 Cannondale (Mtn)
    Posts
    236
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Ditto to skydive's reply..... I have been riding with a Terry Butterfly saddle and wouldn't think of trading it for anything different.

    Many of my female friends have also switched to the Terry Buterfly and not one has been unhappy with it. The best part is the return policy. If you don't like it - you don't keep it.

    This saddle is priced at @ $99. Sometimes, you can get it through Performance or Nashbar a couple of bucks cheaper if on sale. It was well worth the investment.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2,046
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by christie133
    Ach! Saddle woes. I went through about 10 saddles before I finally found one that I love (Fysik Vitesse, which I believe is a women's saddle--wait, did I spell fysik right?) and now I have one on each bike and a few extras in case they suddenly stop making them. Anyway, everyone's bodies are different. I have to poink the nose of my saddle down somewhat in order to be comfortable, and I've talked to other female riders who feel the same way; while most of the male riders I know (but not all of them) like to tip the front of their saddles up. She will just need to try different saddles and different positions. It will hurt for a while til her body adjusts and she finds the right saddle/position. My advice is not to go for long rides until she's more comfortable. That way she won't be in horrible pain that makes her never want to ride again.
    Further proof that we're all different. My bike came with the Fizik Vitesse. After long rides, I was in agony, because my sitbones are wider than the saddle, so I was sitting on everything BUT my sitbones. Went through about 6 saddles, including the Terry saddles the other women have loved, until I found the Specialized Alias in the right size for my sitbones. (In general - but will vary greatly) women's sitbones are spaced wider than men's, no matter what weight and size we are.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    45
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by greenbreezer
    It's true that everyone is built differently. But one thing us females have in common is that sensitive soft tissue area "down there" and no amount of riding to toughen up the sit bone area is going to toughen up the soft area. I have a Terry Liberator Ti Race saddle on both of my bikes. They may not be the lightest saddles on the market, but they're great. They actually have a hole cut into the middle of the saddle so there will be no pressure on the soft tissue area. Cuz trust me Foxfyre, if she's sore in that area, you're not going to get lucky that night. My LBS lets people put saddles on a display bike and ride on a trainer for however long they want to. I know it's not the best way to determine if a saddle is right, but usually you'll know if it's NOT right within minutes.

    Good luck with the saddle hunt!
    Greenbreezer is right. My wife too was having issues with soreness while using our new trainier. I just got her a newer seat (the bike and seat is 13 years old), and some bike shorts. She should use some good bike shorts w/out underware. Underware is rough and can cause irritations. And my feeling is that the muscles that hit the seat will become tougher and used to the seat as she rides more.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    5,251
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No saddle can "cure" make up for incorrect positioning on the bike. If a rider is putting weight on the crotch or privates, that rider will go through five or ten new saddles without finding a "cure".

    If a woman's pelvis rotates forward while riding, pressure will be placed on the privates. Shorter top tube, shorter stem, bars as high as the saddle, pelvis upright, and the rider's weight on the sitbones: problem solved.

    Of course, men would also suffer less pain if they rode with their pelvis upright. But, male cyclists seem to be into pain...they like to brag about how much suffering they can take...convincing a male rider to put his bars as high as the saddle is a tough sell..."It ain't aero...wanna look like Lance..."
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 03-22-05 at 11:33 AM.

  18. #18
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
    My Bikes
    1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
    Posts
    12,155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Maybe the groove was just shaped/positioned badly but every saddle I've ever tried with a cutout in it felt like I was sitting on the business end of a pair of ice skates.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  19. #19
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
    My Bikes
    1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
    Posts
    12,155
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by MERTON
    you tried them wtb saddles?
    I've tried the Speed V in the past. The shape was not right for me.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •