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  1. #1
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    Saddle Fit: Tests, Tips, and Tricks

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    I thought it might be handy to start a thread of the various saddle fit stuff we know; gather it all together in one easy-to-find spot.


    The Cut-Out Test

    Sit on the forward half of a wooden chair while wearing only undies. Keep your back straight, hinge at your hips and fold forward until you can rest your elbows on your knees. (you are making a triangle of your thighs, upper arms, and straight torso)

    If your girly-bits feel smooshed into the chair and uncomfortable, you might need a cut out. If the wooden chair is dramatically more comfortable than your saddle, you might need a wider-at-the-cantle saddle or a less padded saddle.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 08-19-2008 at 05:54 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  2. #2
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    Too Much Pear-Shape Chafing Pattern

    Chafing in the inner neighborhood of the lower fold of the buttock, top-of-the-leg, panty line, hamstring attachment (however you want to describe it) seems to rear its ugly head on saddles that are too pear-shaped for the motion of your hip joints.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 08-19-2008 at 07:19 PM. Reason: be more specific about the chafing location
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
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    Bless You! I hit the wall yesterday and now have a very sore girls bits. It was very hot and I did about 12 miles (previously only about 8-10 a day) and there was lots of on and off for stopping to run errands. At my average 6 mph speed, that's almost two hours in the saddle.

    By the end of the day I didn't just want a cutout saddle, I wanted one of those donuts to sit on.

    So, my 62 year old body is searching for solutions. I'm using this saddle now.

    Update: Ignore the two saddles I've listed below. Emily in nc has shown me the error of my ways and I continue the search beginning with her wonderful suggestions.

    I'm contemplating the Adamo Typhoon as well as the Selle Respiro. That's as far as I've gotten in the search of saddle info here and on the net.

    I know I DEFINITELY need a cutout, a very narror horn (or minimalist horn), something wider than a racing saddle, AND gel padding. And naturally I want it to be as lightweight as possible. I'll definitely spend the extra bucks for this combination.

    I'll continue to watch TE threads and hope to find something to be able to make it to a 20-30 ride.

    Okay ladies, let's cure world hunger AND finally, finally, design fully functional women's bicycle saddles that fit us in our various needs.
    Last edited by pardes; 08-19-2008 at 06:38 PM. Reason: Updated based on emily in nc comments. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pardes View Post
    I know I DEFINITELY need a cutout, a very narror horn (or minimalist horn), something wider than a racing saddle, AND gel padding. And naturally I want it to be as lightweight as possible. I'll definitely spend the extra bucks for this combination.
    Hi pardes,

    From a quick look at the two saddles you mention considering, I'd rule both of them out immediately based on your criteria. The Adamo is quite odd and has what looks like a very wide nose and narrow rear. It looks incredibly uncomfortable to me! Seems like the wide nose would chafe your inner thighs and the rear may not be nearly wide enough to support your sitbones properly. The Selle Respiro is the heaviest, widest saddle I've ever seen. 495 grams is VERY heavy. I don't think you'll be happy with it.

    How about a tried-and-true Terry Butterfly? Or a Selle San Marco Lady Gel Flow? These are very similarly shaped and sized saddles, and to my rump, are very, very comfy. They certainly don't work for everyone, but when I was in a bike club, the Terry Butterfly was by far the most popular/loved women's saddle. I'd think you'd have a much better chance of success with either of these -- they're plenty wide for most gals at 160mm, have a narrow-enough nose, a cutout, are cushy enough but not so cushy you sink in, and they're lightweight.

    Good luck in your search!

    Emily
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  5. #5
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    Sitbone Width and Saddle Width

    Don't go for a saddle narrower than your bones, you'll be resting on soft tissue and pelvic floor muscles rather than on the bones. (exceptions for tri saddles and extreme aero saddles, of course, where you are more on the pubic rami than the ischial tuberosities)

    General rule of thumb: get a saddle with 1-2 cm wiggle room to either side of the sitbones. As you shift positions, climb and descend, turn, etc., you will be moving your pelvis relative to the saddle. Also, if your bones are the exact width of the saddle, you will be perched on the frame of the saddle rather than on the nicely engineered "sit spots" of the saddle.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  6. #6
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    Call me Ischial

    [QUOTE=KnottedYet;353256]Sitbone Width and Saddle Width
    Don't go for a saddle narrower than your bones, you'll be resting on soft tissue and pelvic floor muscles rather than on the bones. (exceptions for tri saddles and extreme aero saddles, of course, where you are more on the pubic rami than the ischial tuberosities)QUOTE]

    Wasn't Ischial Tuberosities the point of view character in Moby ****?

    Thank God for the bike pros around here. emily in nc saved me from buying a tractor seat.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    Too Much Pear-Shape Chafing Pattern

    Chafing in the neighborhood of the lower fold of the buttock, top-of-the-leg, panty line, hamstring attachment (however you want to describe it) seems to rear its ugly head on saddles that are too pear-shaped for the motion of your hip joints.
    I think this is a great thread... but I'm confused, because ***I*** get lower-fold=of-buttock/top-of-leg/panty-line discomfort from saddles that are too T-shaped, not saddles that are too pear-shaped. ?????

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by liza View Post
    I think this is a great thread... but I'm confused, because ***I*** get lower-fold=of-buttock/top-of-leg/panty-line discomfort from saddles that are too T-shaped, not saddles that are too pear-shaped. ?????
    Cool! You're the first I've heard from who has that happen! I was wondering if this was only a pear phenomenon, cuz what I'd been hearing about too T-shaped was how the back of the thigh feels like it slams into the saddle. Can you write up a description of all the signs and symptoms from riding something too T-shaped?

    (I only know pear-shape problems cuz that's how I suffer, and it seems to be the more common complaint; so we really need to hear how someone can tell if their saddle is too T-shaped. Please, please, pretty please??)
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 08-19-2008 at 07:21 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  9. #9
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    Okay, here goes. If your saddle is not in the right place you will also get chafing and burning. case in point, I put my saddle on someone else's tandem and did a 10 mile ride. I was in agony. I moved the saddle back just 1" and it fit me nicely again. In my case, we're talking about a very T-shaped Brooks B67 saddle.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  10. #10
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    Body weight, or overall size, is not necessarily a direct correlation to saddle size. Meaning, a very skinny gal can still have wide sitz bones, and a fuller curvy gal can still have narrower ones. I've encountered this misconception many times with lbs sales staff trying to buy a saddle. Thankfully for TE, I knew otherwise!

  11. #11
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    Saddle-y Websites

    Wallingford Bicycle Parts. 6 months return period on Brooks saddles. www.wallbike.com

    Sheldon Brown (RIP) talks about saddles. http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html

    Bike Cult saddle museum: http://www.bikecult.com/works/saddle.html

    Bontrager's saddle research page. http://bontrager.com/technology/the_...e_of_inform/en

    Topeak's saddle line (Allay) home page, with links to the Allay saddles and research and info pages: http://www.allaysaddles.com/

    Scholar Google engine for searching the medical literature for an in-depth look at specific issues: http://scholar.google.com
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    Hmmm...almost a contradiction in terms.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  13. #13
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    Well, we all know my opinion of Trek/Bontrager's latest "offering" in saddles from what I saw at a seminar in San Francisco earlier this year, and my further opinion after tracking down their research.... but I'm trying to be impartial.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  14. #14
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    My addition:

    Don't be afraid to try saddles that aren't labeled as women's saddles. Look at size, cutout/no cutout, and shape.

    I've been riding for a little more than 2 years, and I've been through at least 15 saddles. There's nothing wrong with any of the saddles I tried except that my underside didn't agree with them.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

    Brick House Blog

  15. #15
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    One woman's perfect saddle is another gals implement of torture. When you find the perfect saddle buy 10 of 'em (sure as I'm posting the mfr. will decide all it needs is more fluffy padding). Saddles you love to hate? Sell 'em on TE. There's someone here who loves that saddle.
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

 

 

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