Choosing A Women’s Bike Saddle | Which Bike Saddle For Triathlon?

Choosing A Women’s Bike Saddle | Which Bike Saddle For Triathlon?


– Bigger isn’t necessarily better and that certainly is true for choosing the right bike saddle. It is easy to think that the
wider, the softer the saddle, the more comfortable it will be, but actually there’s far more to choosing the right saddle for you and I know that it does come down
to personal preference to a certain extent, but
I’m going to do my best to let you know what options
are out there for cycling and for triathlon, but I have to apologize to all of our male viewers because it’s slightly selfish of me, we’re going to be looking at the topic that I know more about and
that is women’s saddles. (mellow music) (electronic tones) It’s hard to know where
to start with this video and also the hunt for the correct saddle. There are so many options and in some ways, as women,
we are quite spoiled, because we’ve got the
selection of standard or male saddles and also a growing aray of women’s specific saddles. Now, it’s brilliant that
is such a large choice, but that doesn’t mean that any women’s specific saddle will do. There’s still a lot to consider and before we go any further, I just want to point out, if you are one of those
really lucky people that is completely happy and comfortable on your bike saddle,
please don’t change it unless obviously you’re
going to be changing your bike position or the
type of riding you’re doing, then stick with that,
’cause I can tell you there’ll be a lot of
jealous people out there. However, if you’re not happy, then think about what could
be causing these issues. Now, comfort on the
saddle isn’t necessarily down to the saddle itself. Your riding position, the type of riding, and your physical conditioning
can all play a part too, so before going out to buy a new saddle, it’s best to address these problems otherwise you might just be delaying finding a more deep rooted problem. (mellow music) When riding your bike you
have three points of contact, your hands, your feet, and your bottom and if there’s too much pressure going through any of these areas, then you’ll soon start to notice some pain and, or numbness. And when you’re sat in the saddle, riding, the majority of force
will naturally be going through your bottom onto that saddle more so than through the
handle bars and the pedals. Now, it’s easy to see exactly
where your contact points are. With your hands, it’s quite visible, and with your feet on the pedals, but when it comes to your
backside, it’s less visible and it’s hard to know
the exact contact points until it’s too late and you
start to feel uncomfortable. (mellow music) All right, let’s get into detail on that main contact point, your bottom. Now, men and women unsurprisingly
sit on their seat bones. So, if you are sat down watching this, or not anywhere too public, then have a feel, they’re
basically the bones at the bottom of your pelvis and if you’re sat slouched
on the sofa right now you’ll probably find you’re
sat more on the fleshy part and not on your seat bones, but if you’ve got good
posture, or like us, you’re riding a bike,
that’s when you’ll find most of the pressure will be
going through your seat bones. For example, if you
have a About Town Bike, then you are going to be very upright and that will be the
majority of the pressure going through the fleshy
part and your seat bones. If though, like most
of us, you’re on a road or a time trial bike,
your pelvis is naturally going to be rotated further
forwards as you reach forwards and this is then going to put
pressure on the soft tissue parts that you don’t want pressure, so that’s where women’s
specific saddles come in. (mellow music) Most saddles come in different widths, but how do you know how
wide your bottom is? Well, for this one it’s
probably not a good idea to ask your friend, as
we’re not talking about your whole bottom, we’re
actually taking about the distance between your seat bones and admittedly, this is
quite hard to measure. There are some special
devices out there for it, or you could go and get a bike fit and have a saddle mapping session, when basically you sit on
a saddle with pressure pads and it will then show you where
those pressure points are, but obviously an overall
bike fit will look at the far bigger picture
and we’ve already eluded to the fact you need to
address all the areas before going too
specifically onto the saddle. So, one of the first
things you want to check is that you’ve got your
saddle at the right hight. So, a simple test for
this is sit on your bike, nice and level so your hips are square and then put your pedal
down to six o’clock and rest your heel on that pedal and your leg should be straight, but your knee isn’t quite locked out and that’ll give you a rough idea, although obviously when you’re moving it will feel a little bit different. The other easily adjustable
area is the front end. You can change the
distance away and the hight of your handle bars and
this will then affect your position on the saddles. The further you are away,
the more anteriorly rotated your pelvis will be,
which will then naturally put more pressure on the
soft tissues at the front, but before you veer away from this nice aerodynamic position, I’m going to be discussing
the saddle options that can actually solve
any potential discomfort, so stick with us. (upbeat music) Hopefully you’re happy with your bike fit and your position now,
so it’s time to focus on the saddles and to
avoid unwanted pressure on your private parts. Women’s saddles have been
designed with a cutout or a groove, but as you can see, the choice doesn’t end there. So, to narrow it down you need to ask yourself a few questions, what type of riding are
you going to be doing? Are you predominately on a mountain bike? Maybe you’re doing time
trials in triathlon, or it’s mainly road riding you’re doing, then you need to think about your budget, although on this point I would say, don’t squirm, ’cause if you
can find something comfortable, you can’t actually put a price
tag on that, within reason. Then it’s what type of rider you are, if you’re going to be
racing, or riding for leisure and also how many hours you’re planning to spend in the saddle. Saddles do vary per discipline, but not as much as you might think and fashion has played
a big part in the past as to what bike saddle
looks good on which bike, but we’re seeing a move away from that as women are finding a
saddle they’re happy with and comfortable with and putting it on whichever bike they’re riding. For example, we’re seeing
more TT style saddles on road bikes, ’cause
they’ve got that split in those design, which
is really comfortable and none other than the new GCN presenter, Manon Lloyd, was very kindly talking to me about what saddle she likes and she actually uses this, an Adamo, which she had on her track bike and has now put onto her road bike and apparently quite
a few of her teammates are following suit and just to give example of that, Manon’s actually taken a picture when she had a bike fit recently and it shows the pressure
points on the saddle and it’s all green, which is great and there’s absolutely no pressure on her sensitive parts either so, Manon, thanks for sharing
that with us, really helpful. So, let’s take a closer look
at some of these saddles I’ve got here. A few of them are ones that
I’ve ridden in and liked. We’ve got Manon’s saddle here and also my friend, Sarah,
brought in a couple of saddles which she finds really comfortable. She just rides for fun, but she did spend a thousand
miles on this saddle last summer when she did
John o’ Groats to Lands End with no problems at all. So it really does come down
to personal preference, but there’s a few things
you want to look at more closely as well that do vary. All of them have some degree of cutout as I’ve already mentioned, but there’s a difference in how wide and how long that cutout is and then some of the saddles
have a ridge in as well, or a cutout there and it’s
how deep and long that is you want to consider. And then there’s the softness of a saddle and like I mentioned earlier, softer isn’t always better. For example, if the
cushioning just squashes to nothing after a few minutes, it’s actually going to
be doing you less benefit than a firmer saddle
that will also give you that correct pressure distribution. However, if you’re wanting something that’s going to give you
that more shock absorption where you’re going to be riding
say, some really bumpy terrain for quite a long way,
you can even consider a saddle with springs built into it, but for something more subtle, then consider the material
that the rails of the saddle are made from. Carbon has very little flex and give, but if you go for a metal option, you’ll find a little bit more flexibility and movement through your saddle that way. The width of the saddle can
also affect your comfort and wider might look more comfortable, but you need to make sure that you’ve got that correct pressure distribution and as you are riding your bike, you’re naturally more forward rotated and you’ll find that
less of the fleshy part of your bottom is on the
saddle than you might think, so that’s when you need
to consider the nose and the width of the nose of the saddle. If it’s too wide you might find you get some chafing on your inner thighs and that can be a problem
with the time trial saddles. I personally actually use
cable ties to tie together the rails at the bottom. Just bring it in slightly
narrower to find that comfort. While sticking with
the nose of the saddle, you’ll notice that the
biggest difference between these road saddles compared to the time trial triathlon saddles is the fact that these
two have got a split nose and these haven’t and that’s because when you’re in a time trial position your hips are more rotated forwards so there’s more pressure on
the front sensitive parts so that gap is obviously
necessary for that and these ISM style saddles
are actually really popular for both men and women and it’s worth noting whilst
we’re talking about comfort and finding the right saddle for you that ISM are one of the brands that actually will let you have the saddle to trial for 30 days and if you don’t like
it you can send it back and get a full refund and I think quite a few
other brands do that too and it’s something I’d really recommend. Cost obviously plays an
important part on any decision making process when
you’re buying something new. I completely understand that, but if you can find a saddle that means you can have hours and hours of riding your bike in complete comfort, then it’s going to be worth
a little bit of an investment and some of the more expensive
saddles are expensive, because they had a lot of
research put into them. I know that Fizik put a lot of research and development into
this saddle, the Luce, and as a result it’s become
one of a very popular women’s bike saddles. And another thing to consider, that a cheaper saddle does
tend to weigh a little bit more so you need to think
about your overall goals and whether you need to
consider that into it as well. Well, the best bit of advice I can give is actually go out and
try different saddles. As much as it’s brilliant
to chat with friends and see what people have on their bike, we’ve all got a different anatomy and we ride in different ways, so what works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. And once you have found
that magic solution, that saddle that’s great,
just ensure you’ve got it set-up on your bike correctly. So, it needs to be level, or horizontal and I must admit that I
had a saddle a while ago that I found so uncomfortable that I actually ended
up tilting the nose down just so it will take the pressure off, but all this did was mean
that I loads of pressure going through my hands and because I was trying to stop myself
from sliding forwards so make sure you’ve got the right saddle and then the right set-up too and finally, the part that
goes between your bottom and the saddle, your cycle shorts and it’s really important
to make sure you’ve got a well-fitting pair of shorts and you definitely don’t wear
underwear underneath them and again, for the reasons
we’ve already talked about, go for a women’s specific pair. Well, that has been a
lot to take in, I know, but I will just finish by saying it’s really worth taking
a little bit of time now and effort in the process
of finding the saddle, because once you’ve got the one, it can absolutely transform
your enjoyment for cycling. Trust me, I found out the hard way. Well, hopefully you’ve enjoyed this. Give us a thumbs up, like if you have and if you hit that globe on screen you’ll get all of our videos at GTN. Just let me know how you get
on with finding a saddle, if you’ve got one that works for you. You can do that in the
comments section below. And if you want to see
a video on a bike fit, well, Fraser went and had one. You can see that video just here. And if you want to learn a
little bit more about comfort versus aero, there’s a
video on it just over here.