Enjoying your bike trip to the full without saddle sores. Read here the five tips for finding the perfect saddle.
How do I find the perfect saddle? A question that every cyclist will be familiar with. After all, whether you are a keen MTBer, road racer or triathlete, everyone wants to ride comfortably, without pain and get the best out of their bike. We help you on your way with five tips for finding your ideal saddle.
1. Find the saddle with the right shape
No two people are the same. Which is why there are so many different saddles available. In the first place, the shape of your saddle depends on your gender. Usually ladies sit better on a wider, specific female saddle.
But the shape of your saddle also depends on the type of cycling you do. Do you race under extreme circumstances, like downhill for instance? Then you will need a different kind of saddle than an MTBer who wants a saddle that is as light as possible, or a road racer who has to sit on the saddle for hours in a row. So when looking for the right saddle, it’s important to find one that fits your discipline.
2. Take account of your flexibility and your position on the bike
Test your flexibility. You do this by sitting on the ground and seeing how far you can reach with your hands. How far do you get? Do you struggle to even reach forwards? Then your are less flexible. Can you touch your toes? Then you are very flexible. If you are around half way, then you are flexible. People who are less flexible have the tendency to shift around on their saddle. A more rounded saddle is better for them. A flexible cyclist has a more stable position on the bike and tends to sit more comfortably on a flat saddle that provides more freedom of movement. The very flexible cyclist actually benefits more from a slightly curved saddle.
Whether you sit comfortably on your bike depends to a large degree on your riding position. Some cyclists prefer an upright position, but others would rather maintain a more sporting or even aerodynamic position. The further you bend forwards, the more pressure you put on the forward part of your pelvic area. And that can lead to pain or numbness. Choose a saddle that suits your riding position and lightens the pressure on crucial parts of your body. That’s how to prevent saddle pain.
3. Measure the width of your sit bones
Saddles come in different widths. If you know which type of saddle you’re looking for and your riding position, then choosing a saddle is straightforward. But bear in mind that saddles are sold in various widths. The width of your saddle depends on the distance between your sit bones. By measuring this, you can discover exactly which saddle is best for you. It’s very easy to measure the distance between your sit bones. The better bike shops have handy tools to help you. Find PRO Bikegear dealers here.
4. Set your saddle to the right height
Have you found your ideal saddle? Then the next step is to set it to the correct height. A correct saddle height contributes to a more efficient pedal stroke and helps to prevent irritating symptoms from arising. How do you determine your perfect saddle height? By measuring the length of your inside leg. Deduct 10 centimetres from this number and you have your saddle height. If your inside leg is 80 cm, then your saddle height will be 70 cm from the top of the saddle to the centre point of the bottom bracket (not to the pedal). From that point, you can fine-tune it further.
5. Saddle position
Ensure your saddle is horizontal. If the nose of your saddle is pointing too far up or down, then you may experience discomfort in certain undesirable areas. If your saddle is too far forward or too far back, this can lead to problems with your neck, lower back or arms. If you set both your pedals in the horizontal position, then drop a plumb line from your knee, your saddle is in a good position when the plumb line runs past the shaft of your pedal. You can then play around with setting your saddle forwards or back. But don’t make these changes too large, just make minor adjustments to your position.
Would you like help in the fine adjustment of your bike? Then we recommend arranging a bike fitting. Many professional athletes have done this already. During an extensive dynamic fitting session, your ideal riding position is calculated to the millimetre.
Find your perfect saddle with the PRO SADDLE SELECTOR!
To help you in your search for the perfect saddle, PRO Bikegear has created a special Saddle Selector. Based on a couple of simple questions, you will find just the right saddle for you. Not satisfied? PRO offers a 30-day, 100% money-back guarantee. Just return your saddle to the store and get your money back. Try it now!
And don’t forget great bib shorts
One last key tip: wear a decent pair of bib shorts. You may have found your perfect saddle, but still not be comfortable because you’re not wearing decent bib shorts. A good bib short should be nice and tight, has no irritating seams and is made of antibacterial fabric. Ideally women should buy special ladies bib shorts.
Enjoy your ride!