Why Such a Narrow Saddle?

(Surely that Can't be Right?)

Those of you in the know will be used to this question. But for anyone who doesn’t it seems strange that some of us choose a saddle that looks narrow and seems to have very little padding.

As I am sure many of you have experienced the saddles that come with a bike rarely seem to be suitable for anyone, let alone us women. After some trial and error I found the saddles* I like. 

To find a saddle that suits you can be tricky, but generally you can borrow a saddle from your local bike shop. Go ride as you normally do, it is no good just riding around the block.  As a general rule of thumb: women’s Ischial Tuberosities (sit bones) are wider than men’s.  So, generally women’s saddles are a little wider.

Another factor to consider is your riding style. For instance, If you are only going to do a few miles at a leisurely pace, you would tend to go for the wider more padded saddle as your posture is upright, weight is mostly on you Ischial Tuberosities (sit bones). The faster you go, the more forward your position. Pressure starts to move off your Ischial Tuberosities and your weight goes further along Ischial/pelvic bones and some weight in your arms. Saddles for this style of rider are narrow and have less padding at the rear.

Some shops can measure the width of your Ischial Tuberosities and there are even very sophisticated systems that you give you an exact map of your pressure points. As with most thing there is a certain amount of ‘hardening off’, but it shouldn't be too painful. Using a good pair of cycling shorts and chamois cream can help.

The one thing that we don’t want to end up with is saddle sores, Weaver’s bottom and other problems. To minimise this make sure that your bike is correctly adjusted for you. It is a good idea to move at least every 20 minutes, stand if possible to rest your bottom. Have clean kit and getting out of your shorts as soon as you finished.

In summary find the saddle that suits you and your riding style.  Always use clean shorts and change as soon as possible afterwards. Keep moving on your bike to ease the pressure.

*For those who are interested in my road bike I have the Selle Italian Diva and on my Fatbike I use Selle Italia Donna both are a great combination with our shorts, but remember this won’t suit everyone!

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