How to choose a saddle for your bike? 7 points to keep in mind

The main complaints are genital numbness or generalized pain in the support area

The choice of the saddle Between 20 and 30% of male cyclists and a much higher percentage of women who go for a biomechanical analysis, they recognize not being comfortable with the saddle they have.

The main annoyances are genital numbness o widespread pain in the support area. Let's see how we can get comfortable on our frames and enjoy more of the bike.

Our friends Cycling and Performance, through Yago Mayor gives us in this article some very useful tips to choose the perfect saddle for your bike.

No matter how comfortable a saddle, we should never forget that it is a small little quilted object on which we will go supported many hours pressing areas that are quite sensitive, and therefore, some slight discomfort is normal to have, if we are going to spend a lot of time on it especially if we do not ride very often.

When a cyclist is uncomfortable with a saddle the first thing he usually does is change it, sometimes, several times. And on many occasions the problem does not end up disappearing. According to my experience, 80% of cyclists, to put an approximate figure, that They are uncomfortable in the saddle, it is because they carry it too high.

It is not about looking for other models of saddle, with more or less hole, harder or softer, wider or narrower, it is just to take it lower.

Symptoms when the saddle goes high

When the saddle is higher than it should be, the cyclist to pedal comfortably tends to move towards the front of it. And the consequences are what we can deduce: too much pressure in the perineum, pain y genital numbness

Even though the cyclist feels properly on the same, when the saddle is too high, the pressure in the perineum becomes a very annoying feeling when we have been pedaling for more than one or two hours disappears as soon as we reduce the height a few millimeters. In fact, this saddle height in which the pressure is minimal coincides with a correct extension of the leg if we measure the angle of the knee and the ankle.

So, if you notice these symptoms in your exits the first thing you should do is check the height of the saddle and try to lower it by a few millimeters. We must have the The feeling of being able to pedal comfortably even if we lean on the back of the saddle. If we only pedal comfortably seated in front of it, it is a sign that the saddle is too high.

Does the saddle have to be level?  

The level or inclination of our saddle can have an important impact on its comfort. It has always been said that saddles should go horizontal, which is not true unless we talk about very upright positions.

It depends on the saddle we use, but in flat saddles cyclists always appreciate that lto tip be slightly lower that the back to reduce the pressure on the perineum especially when we grab to the bottom of the handlebar or when we lean a little to be more aerodynamic. If we put a table on the saddle and a digital level we will look for the saddle to have degrees of inclination between 1 and 2.

In the case of Saddles with curved shape (if we look at them from the side), if we apply the same technique of measuring the inclination, we will look for a couple of degrees more than in the planes and we will place them with 3-5 degrees of inclinationn forward to get a good position on it.

In no case, the tip of the saddle must go up, position in which we see quite a few saddles that go through the studio. When choosing a flat saddle or a curved saddle again is a personal matter whose choice must be made by testing one or another saddle. In general, curved saddles tend to better relieve pressure in the perineal area.

What width of saddle do I need?

This question is a classic because several brands have developed protocols and instruments designed to measure the distance between the ischia (the bones of the pelvis on which we supposedly rely) and based on this measure recommend the width of the saddle that we most agree In my point of view, these tools are not very useful mainly for a reason.

When we go by road bike there is no other choice but to rotate the pelvis forward to reach the handlebar. By making this gesture, we are modifying the area that we support on the saddle. The ischia barely support and most of the weight will fall on the lower branch of the pubis. That is, a distance is measured that is not exactly the bony point that we are going to rest on the saddle.

This does not mean that any size of saddle is valid for any cyclist, but I think that the best method to know this is the trial / error. So that, try different widths Until we see with what saddle we have better feelings.

When a Saddle is the right one, the feeling that we should have when we pedal is that most of the weight goes over the bones and the area of ​​the perineum is left without hardly pressure. This experiment is very frequent during a biomechanical analysis.

While many cyclists are very comfortable with saddles 130mm wide, there are others who need widths of 150-160mm to get free the central area of ​​pressure. Sometimes, a simple observation is enough to see if a cyclist needs a wider saddle: he has half an ass on the outside to relieve the pressure on the perineum.

With hole or without hole?

There is a growing tendency to manufacture saddles with holes or recesses in the central area to release pressure in the perineal area. In general, these saddles fulfill their purpose well and They help to release the area of ​​some pressure.

However, there are Traditional saddles that if well placed can also work well and not cause discomfort. As we have pointed out above, the crux of the matter is to put them with the appropriate height and inclination.

There are people who criticize the saddles without holes because they say they concentrate the pressure on very little support surface generating more discomfort in those areas. This may be true in some models with a lot of holes.

Should we call it?

It is a classic to hear the comment that to be comfortable on the saddle you have to shut up, get used to it, give it hours. And in a certain way it is true. The more we ride a bike, the more comfortable we find the saddle. Surely many of you have checked if you suddenly leave, the bike for a while and the first days you go out is as if the saddle was much harder than before.

In the first bike outings the support area is more sensitive and it is normal to feel some discomfort when the start is a bit long. The good thing is that the fourth or fifth departure regularly we do, s this annoyance is greatly reduced.

However we should not confuse this pain / discomfort in the area of ​​support in general of what is the discomfort and genital numbness. We do not get used to this nor should we shut up. Cycling with genital numbness is not good and we should avoid it as soon as possible.

A specific numbness when we crouch more over the saddle is normal and does not pose any problem. But spend hours with the sleeping area or get home with loss of sensitivity or with discomfort when urinating it is an indicator that something we are doing wrong insurance.

Does being more fit affect the comfort of the saddle?

It is no coincidence that lThe cyclists who train the most are the ones who have least trouble with the saddle. Yes, on the one hand there is the factor that they have become accustomed to the pressure of the saddle, that is undeniable.

But it is also because they are more fit to apply more force on the pedals in general, since they pedal at a higher power. Applying the 3ª law of Newton (action-reaction) we know that any force that is applied in one direction (in this case down on the pedals) generates another force equal in magnitude but in the opposite direction.

This idea applied to the cyclist tells us that how much the stronger we pedal, the less weight we will be putting on the saddle. That is, pedaling to 100w, our rear end supports much more weight than if we pedal to 300w. This is why higher level cyclists complain much less about saddles than weekend cyclists.

Is more padding more comfortable?

A certain degree of acochado yes that we can say that it is more comfortable. Although we always find some cyclists who use carbon saddles without any type of padding that they say are comfortable.

More padded It can be more comfortable to a point where more padding is more uncomfortable when it comes to spending many hours on the bike. When we sink a lot in a saddle at the end we are continuously pressing the entire support area, soft parts included.

The good thing about the hard saddle is that by supporting the part of the bone release the soft parts of the pressure. In my experience, end weekend cyclistsa or more sporadic, they do find greater comfort in saddles with a certain amount of fluffy. In the case of competitive cyclistsIt's true that you can go comfortable with Saddles with rather little padding.

Are specific saddles for girls necessary?

If at the beginning of the article we said that among the male cyclists the inconvenience with the saddle affects an 20 or an 30% of them, in the case of cyclists this figure amounts to approximately 80%. The inconvenience caused by the saddle is the first complaint of cycling girls that they visit us and surely that is the reason why many girls stop cycling or do not dare to ride more, which is a pity.

The pains normally they are generated because they are using boys' saddles.

What differences do we find between the saddles of boys and girls?

Mainly the width. The saddles of girl go from the 150mm to the 180mm of width whereas those of boy tend to oscillate rather between the 130 and the 140mm. Women need wider saddles because the separation of their ischia is greater due to the need to give birth.

If the saddle is not wide enough, the pressure to which the genital area will be subjected is excessive and causes a lot of discomfort. To not withstand this pressure, the girls are thrown very back on the saddle (4-5cm) generating a bad position on the bike since they are very behind the axis of the bottom bracket and especially because the handlebar is too far.

When they use a saddle with the adequate widthNot only they release pressure from the genital area but also advance their position about the bike and they are much more comfortable. However, there are always exceptions, and some biker girls, especially those with a competitive level, get comfortable using narrow saddles. They are the exception.

final recommendations

The first thing we must do is give the saddle that we have on the bike a chance. Check that the level of it is adequate and if we notice a lot of pressure in the perineum we should try to download it a few millimeters

If stillwe went out the exits with discomfort then it may be time to think about change saddle. In this case, the ideal is to go to a biomechanics study or to a store where you can try a seat before buying it. Neither the aesthetics nor the weight of the saddle should be the criterion for choosing one model or another. Comfort is the criterion we must follow when choosing our saddle.

Further information: https://www.ciclismoyrendimiento.com

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