Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

General Saddle Advice?

Notices
Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

General Saddle Advice?

Old 03-10-23, 04:58 PM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 12
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
General Saddle Advice?

I don't know much of anything about bikes. I just bought a used Jamis Ventura because I want to train for a triathlon. I'm a woman. I did a 30 minute ride and thought the saddle was kind of uncomfortable (maybe too narrow for my sit bones). What are the different considerations for buying an appropriate saddle? Is it just as easy as finding one designed for women (I purchased this bike from a man)?
Mara789 is offline  
Old 03-11-23, 10:47 AM
  #2  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,640

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,123 Times in 3,524 Posts
You might see if a local bike shop has a way to measure where your sit bones are. Supposedly women in general have wider sit bones so if your bike wasn't a specific women's model then the saddle width might be a consideration. You can do a google search for how to determine your sit bone distance. But be sure to be in the position you expect to be on your saddle/bike. The structures that comprise what we call your sit bones narrow up as your hips roll forward.

If you haven't riding much and especially if you haven't ridden at all, then even the perfect fitting saddle for you will become a real pain for several weeks until your body gets use to your new demands on it. I can only describe it as a ache down in the bones. If you are having a sore rubbing in the skin then that's other issues that might be saddle shape and cushioning inappropriate for the type riding you do, but more likely the seams in the clothes you wear or something else. As the saddle on a new bike should be appropriate for the intended use of the bike.

However some of use prefer a saddle with a cutout down the middle and others don't like that. And the variations of cutout width and saddle profiles are vast. Back a long time ago when I was getting use to riding again after a quite a few years of almost no riding, I played the saddle swap game for a few months. When I finished and found the saddle I liked, I noticed it wasn't much different than the original saddle that started me looking for saddles. I used that saddle on another bike later.

Last edited by Iride01; 03-11-23 at 10:52 AM.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 03-11-23, 09:24 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 4,499

Bikes: '80 Masi Gran Criterium, '12 Trek Madone, early '60s Frejus track

Liked 488 Times in 369 Posts
Generally women's saddles are wider at the butt end and shorter, and they work better for most women. By all means visit a bike shop and get measured. Many saddle brands have 30-deay returns on saddles. Some dealers offer demos.
oldbobcat is offline  
Likes For oldbobcat:
Old 03-14-23, 11:21 AM
  #4  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 12
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Iride01
But be sure to be in the position you expect to be on your saddle/bike. The structures that comprise what we call your sit bones narrow up as your hips roll forward.
Back a long time ago when I was getting use to riding again after a quite a few years of almost no riding, I played the saddle swap game for a few months. When I finished and found the saddle I liked, I noticed it wasn't much different than the original saddle that started me looking for saddles. I used that saddle on another bike later.
I'm not exactly sure which riding position I prefer or will be using most often 😅so I don't know if there is a better one to plan on (like make sure the saddle fits when I am more upright). The bike I purchased has aero bars, and I tested them out and like using them, but I don't know whether I'll *always* use that position?

Finding the correct saddle definitely seems like a complicated endeavor. I just adjusted the saddle height (I knew it was too high, but I didn't have time to adjust it before my first ride), and I do feel something is "off." It's definitely related to my sit bones, not rubbing skin or anything like that. Maybe the seat is too firm for me? I'm about to go on my second ride, so I'll see how it does today.
Mara789 is offline  
Old 03-14-23, 11:24 AM
  #5  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 12
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Generally women's saddles are wider at the butt end and shorter, and they work better for most women. By all means visit a bike shop and get measured. Many saddle brands have 30-deay returns on saddles. Some dealers offer demos.
Thank you for the response! I do think it would be helpful to visit a bike shop for some help. Frustrating thing is there are many of them, but they are all about an hour away 😥
Mara789 is offline  
Old 03-14-23, 12:25 PM
  #6  
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,640

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Liked 5,123 Times in 3,524 Posts
For a road bike there 2 basic positions. A relaxed position and a aggressive position for being very aerodynamic. Sometimes called a race fit. And all the positions in between. But for all, there probably isn't a difference in the measurement that is significant.

Essentially I really just meant not to be sitting bolt upright. Unless that is the position you will be using while riding your bike.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 03-15-23, 10:03 AM
  #7  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 33
Liked 5 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01
For a road bike there 2 basic positions. A relaxed position and a aggressive position for being very aerodynamic. Sometimes called a race fit. And all the positions in between. But for all, there probably isn't a difference in the measurement that is significant.

Essentially I really just meant not to be sitting bolt upright. Unless that is the position you will be using while riding your bike.
Thank you for the additional explanation! I would say overall I'm in an aggressive position with the aero bars, but sometimes more relaxed. The seat isn't as uncomfortable when I am in the most aggressive position.

I found a website (SQ Lab) that showed photos of where the pain is and an explanation of why. Based on that, I think either I just need to get used to riding or the saddle might be too narrow (the pain is at my sit bones, but sort of towards the inside of them?). I tried to measure my sit bones and I think they are about 120mm (if I did it correctly), and the seat is 150mm at the widest part, but since it slopes down at the sides, 120mm is kind of on the edge of the saddle where it's sloping down? It looks to me that someone with about 100mm sit bone distance would be more comfortable/supported 🤔

Last edited by mara777; 03-15-23 at 10:06 AM.
mara777 is offline  
Old 03-15-23, 06:35 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 4,499

Bikes: '80 Masi Gran Criterium, '12 Trek Madone, early '60s Frejus track

Liked 488 Times in 369 Posts
It doesn't sound like you're measuring correctly, unless you are really small.

Riding companions, if you have them, are good for free advice. Sometimes it's just something simple like, "You don't look balanced," or "You look funny on the bike." Something tells me that (a) this is the wrong saddle for you and (b) you're not sitting on it correctly. But I can't really tell without watching you ride.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 03-17-23, 08:51 PM
  #9  
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 2,045
Liked 1,125 Times in 708 Posts
Originally Posted by mara777
I found a website (SQ Lab) that showed photos of where the pain is and an explanation of why. Based on that, I think either I just need to get used to riding or the saddle might be too narrow (the pain is at my sit bones, but sort of towards the inside of them?). I tried to measure my sit bones and I think they are about 120mm (if I did it correctly), and the seat is 150mm at the widest part, but since it slopes down at the sides, 120mm is kind of on the edge of the saddle where it's sloping down? It looks to me that someone with about 100mm sit bone distance would be more comfortable/supported 🤔
I would think some help from a bike shop is in order. The saddle width doesn’t seem obviously wrong for you. Generally a starting point is a saddle with a nominal width that is about 20 mm wider than your sit bone width.

My sit bone width measures about 115 mm and I comfortably ride a 150 mm saddle on a drop bar bike. Your 120mm width would suggest a 140mm saddle.

Of course, not all saddles of proper width may work for you. I switched a month ago from a basic modern shell and padding saddle (Volt) to a tensioned rubber saddle (Cambium C15), and it’s like the saddle disappeared. Which is a good thing. Hopefully you will find one that isn’t a problem.

I should say that most people who try a tensioned leather saddle and a tensioned rubber saddle pick the leather saddle. Also, tensioned saddles tend to be heavy and probably a bit of a liability in a triathlon.

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 03-17-23 at 08:54 PM.
ofajen is offline  
Old 03-18-23, 01:16 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Trakhak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 5,853
Liked 3,386 Times in 1,916 Posts
Best general advice about saddles---a bit higher than the ideal saddle height is considerably more uncomfortable than a bit lower than the ideal height. I have five bikes that I ride regularly and a few more that I ride occasionally, all with different saddles, almost all with the saddles that were on the bikes when I bought them, all perfectly comfortable for me. I started shrinking in height in my 60s, so I've had to drop the height of the saddles a couple of times since then, but having done so, they're back to being comfortable.
Trakhak is offline  
Old 03-18-23, 07:20 AM
  #11  
Sock Puppet
 
Lombard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 1,701

Bikes: 2014 Cannondale Synapse Carbon, 2017 Jamis Renegade Exploit and too many others to mention.

Liked 863 Times in 573 Posts
I think blaming your saddle might be putting the cart before the horse. I would suggest finding a bike shop that provides a detailed fit. These usually cost around $200 and a good fitter will spend a couple of hours with you and your bike.

The point I am getting to is that a fit that isn't quite right can cause you to blame your saddle. Granted that your saddle may indeed not me right for you. But you won't know this until you get your fit just right.
Lombard is offline  
Likes For Lombard:
Old 03-18-23, 07:36 AM
  #12  
Cheerfully low end
 
ofajen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 2,045
Liked 1,125 Times in 708 Posts
Originally Posted by Trakhak
Best general advice about saddles---a bit higher than the ideal saddle height is considerably more uncomfortable than a bit lower than the ideal height.
Good advice. Saddle too high is the worst! If you can’t tell if the saddle is too high or too low, you can try raising it 1/4”. When it gets to be too high, you will know. You will feel like you are stretching at the bottom of the pedal stroke and eventually you may be rocking side to side. A good saddle height is 1/4” or more below “too high”.

Otto
ofajen is offline  
Likes For ofajen:
Old 03-26-23, 08:37 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 8,700

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Liked 1,395 Times in 813 Posts
Originally Posted by Trakhak
Best general advice about saddles---a bit higher than the ideal saddle height is considerably more uncomfortable than a bit lower than the ideal height. I have five bikes that I ride regularly and a few more that I ride occasionally, all with different saddles, almost all with the saddles that were on the bikes when I bought them, all perfectly comfortable for me. I started shrinking in height in my 60s, so I've had to drop the height of the saddles a couple of times since then, but having done so, they're back to being comfortable.
I have lost 2" in height over the years. I have not lost any inseam length so have not had to adjust saddle height.
bruce19 is offline  
Old 03-27-23, 08:41 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 16,934

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Liked 677 Times in 517 Posts
Originally Posted by mara777
Thank you for the additional explanation! I would say overall I'm in an aggressive position with the aero bars, but sometimes more relaxed. The seat isn't as uncomfortable when I am in the most aggressive position.

I found a website (SQ Lab) that showed photos of where the pain is and an explanation of why. Based on that, I think either I just need to get used to riding or the saddle might be too narrow (the pain is at my sit bones, but sort of towards the inside of them?). I tried to measure my sit bones and I think they are about 120mm (if I did it correctly), and the seat is 150mm at the widest part, but since it slopes down at the sides, 120mm is kind of on the edge of the saddle where it's sloping down? It looks to me that someone with about 100mm sit bone distance would be more comfortable/supported 🤔
If your pain is like an abrasion, I usually think it is caused by your hips rocking side to side as you pedal. This is usually a sign that the saddle is too high, and the abrasion is real. The solution is to shift the saddle down a little bit at a time, like about three millimeters down at a time - not much more. If you think you went too far you can go up 2 mm and take over from there. In these cases you need to let whatever skin may be injured to heal before riding very much more - if an abrasion already hurts and you happen to lower the seat to a new location, your butt will still hurt if you don't let it heal.
Road Fan is offline  
Old 03-28-23, 10:56 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
blacknbluebikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 1,286

Bikes: two blacks, a blue and a white.

Liked 859 Times in 412 Posts
I'm guessing you plan to compete in "a good number of triathlons" in the coming years. In that case, the investment in a professional bike fitting will pay hefty dividends, especially if you are on the aero bars. You're going to train for, probably, thousands of miles - think about that. The pro fitting session will address the saddle and other issues that ensure you feel *great* on your bike like it was made for only you to pedal.
blacknbluebikes is offline  
Likes For blacknbluebikes:
Old 03-28-23, 01:18 PM
  #16  
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 19,687

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Liked 2,043 Times in 1,450 Posts
Beyond the good advice above, several of the women I ride with ride a Selle Italia Diva. If you see one at a bike shop, you might try sitting on it, see what it feels like.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 03-30-23, 04:09 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
50PlusCycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 1,236
Liked 940 Times in 470 Posts
Keep in mind that you can’t really judge a saddle unless you yourself are “broken-in,” and your backside has become acclimated to riding. No saddle is comfortable, and any saddle will make you sore if you are not used to riding. In my case, after the winter season, it will take me half dozen rides or so before I feel comfortable on the saddle, and don’t suffer from any saddle pain after the ride, YMMV.
50PlusCycling is offline  
Likes For 50PlusCycling:
Old 03-31-23, 09:47 AM
  #18  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2023
Posts: 12
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
Keep in mind that you can’t really judge a saddle unless you yourself are “broken-in,” and your backside has become acclimated to riding. No saddle is comfortable, and any saddle will make you sore if you are not used to riding. In my case, after the winter season, it will take me half dozen rides or so before I feel comfortable on the saddle, and don’t suffer from any saddle pain after the ride, YMMV.
This is a great reminder. Now that I've been riding a couple weeks longer, the saddle doesn't feel as uncomfortable as it had been. Although I did adjust it forward, which made a huge improvement (it was all the way back and I didn't take the time to move it forward because I had to unscrew the reflector first to adjust it and I was afraid I would mess up the tilt. I'm not exactly sure, but I think it may have also originally been tilted down so I was kind of falling forward? We'll see how it goes as I continue to ride...
Mara789 is offline  
Old 03-31-23, 07:00 PM
  #19  
t2p
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2022
Location: USA - Southwest PA
Posts: 3,516

Bikes: Cannondale - Gary Fisher - Giant - Litespeed - Schwinn Paramount - Schwinn (lugged steel) - Trek OCLV

Liked 2,337 Times in 1,288 Posts


Terry Butterfly Ti

155mm wide, fairly well padded w / center cutout, titanium rails, 250 g approx weight

put this seat on mrs t2p bike

seats are a personal thing - so what works for one might not work for another
t2p is offline  
Likes For t2p:
Old 04-02-23, 06:27 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
freeranger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,647

Bikes: 06 Lemond Reno, 98 GT Timberline mtn.bike

Liked 756 Times in 465 Posts
t2p beat me to it. A number of women I know use the Butterfly saddle--don't know which model. As mentioned, no saddle is right for everyone, but this one works for a few I know. I've found a good fitting chamois helps with comfort also, especially on longer rides. With any new saddle I always carry a wrench which I can easily get to when first using the saddle. Usually takes a week or more until I feel it's adjusted just right. And even then it may change a little after initially getting it where I think it's adjusted.
freeranger is offline  
Old 04-18-23, 06:29 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 16,934

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Liked 677 Times in 517 Posts
Originally Posted by Mara789
Thank you for the response! I do think it would be helpful to visit a bike shop for some help. Frustrating thing is there are many of them, but they are all about an hour away 😥
The statement about womens bones and saddle width is a generalization which is hard to justify. My wife Mrs. Road Fan is pretty slim and very comfortable on a Brooks B17, which happens to be a vintage Select model. I had bought it for myself and then she suddenly needed a saddle, and loved it's look. We put it on her bike and did the basic settings (height, tilt, fore/aft, any needed rotation bias), and now she guards it from me. If it was a steak she'd be defending it with a bared fork. So women do not always need a wide saddle. What the B17 offers her is to maintain its shape, I think due to the thicker Select leather, and to support her weight on her sit-bones and NOT on the other areas of her anatomy. For my riding, as well, this point is critical. The Brooks saddles seem to intend the rider's sitbones to be located fore/aft where the saddle is widest.

Her riding position uses drop bars, but they are positioned about at the same height as the saddle. So she is nowhere as far leaned as the archetypal tri-bike bars, with weight on the elbows and forearms. Her saddle is placed fore-aft so that her knees are a little behind the crank axis, and tilted so she does not tend to slide forward (nose too low) and her bones don't rest on the steel base in the back of a leather saddle (nose too high). With the degree of lean she has, the width of the B17 works well for her. If she went for a tri-bar (we don't compete so I'm pretty sure she won't), she would benefit from a narrower saddle. I'd put her on a B17 Narrow or a Brooks Professional, just as examples.

This is all controversial and worthy of debate, but it is how I have worked to set us up for comfortable and (I guess) efficient riding. I worked similarly with a neighbor lady who wanted to train and ride her first triathlon, and she won. But no reported discomfort.

I hope this helps!
Road Fan is offline  
Old 04-18-23, 06:45 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 16,934

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Liked 677 Times in 517 Posts
Also, there is a saddle company owned and run by a woman who is a very capable long-distance rider, a true randonneur who can readily take up a 100 mile day on the bike. She designs and evaluates her products herself, and can talk about saddles. The company is Rivet, and the Head Rivetress is Deborah Banks. I think it might be worthwhile to have the words of a true expert, so Google her site and poke around in there.

I'd also suggest looking at the products of Selle AnAtomica and reading through their site.

In the family we don't have any experience with Terry saddles, though Mrs. Road Fan loves Ms. Terry's clothing and rides a custom Terry.
Road Fan is offline  
Old 04-18-23, 08:08 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 16,934

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Liked 677 Times in 517 Posts
Originally Posted by ofajen
I would think some help from a bike shop is in order. The saddle width doesn’t seem obviously wrong for you. Generally a starting point is a saddle with a nominal width that is about 20 mm wider than your sit bone width.

My sit bone width measures about 115 mm and I comfortably ride a 150 mm saddle on a drop bar bike. Your 120mm width would suggest a 140mm saddle.

Of course, not all saddles of proper width may work for you. I switched a month ago from a basic modern shell and padding saddle (Volt) to a tensioned rubber saddle (Cambium C15), and it’s like the saddle disappeared. Which is a good thing. Hopefully you will find one that isn’t a problem.

I should say that most people who try a tensioned leather saddle and a tensioned rubber saddle pick the leather saddle. Also, tensioned saddles tend to be heavy and probably a bit of a liability in a triathlon.

Otto
As well as sit bone width there is width at the middle of the saddle which can affect abrasion and pressure on the inner thigh and groins, the taper of the saddle from nose to to the widest point (narrower at teh midpoint is better), which can cause pressure on the inner thigh as your leg goes down, and whether the contour of the top across the back of the saddle is flat (not higher in the middle) or arched (higher in the middle). This is just a matter of your shape and preferences. I found I like cutouts and I formerly thought I needed them, but I no longer feel that way. I use vintage Ideale leather saddles. I used to use Selle AnAtomica, and before that Specialized Toupe and Alias.
Road Fan is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.