9th March 2016

How to choose the perfect women’s saddle

choose the perfect women's saddle

This month, Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op is celebrating women’s cycling, and as part of that we’d like to invite both female and male riders to our shops for a free saddle-fitting service.

We wouldn’t be doing women’s cycling justice if we didn’t cover that most intimate point of contact – the saddle. Why? Because whenever we speak to women about their relationship with their bike, it’s the saddle that comes up first for scrutiny.

That’s why we take care to put together an outstanding range of women’s saddles, backed up by expert fitting advice and our no-quibble comfort guarantee. Here’s how we help you choose the perfect women’s saddle.

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Measuring the sit-bones (discreetly)

“I use the Specialized Riva saddle on two of my bikes. It’s a slimmer saddle, but very supportive of my sit bones, so it’s extremely comfortable and also waterproof. I ride with it every day on my commute, do longer day rides and have been touring with it, so it’s really versatile too.” – Claire of Love to Ride

The sit-bones are the bottom parts of your pelvis that your body rests on when you sit on, well, your bottom. Because human skeletons vary in size and shape, the distance between people’s sit-bones also varies.

The ideal saddle is just wide enough to support your particular sit-bones, but narrow enough so that it doesn’t cause chafing or rub. A poorly fitting saddle can also encourage you to lean too far forwards onto your soft fleshy parts, which is obviously undesirable. Here’s a fascinating video on the science, if you’re into that kind of thing.

And by the way, don’t make the mistake of assuming that your jeans-size correlates to how far apart your sit-bones are! It doesn’t.

There are several great saddles we’ve highlighted below, but the single best way to get the ideal saddle for your sit-bones is to pop into one of our shops and try out our discreet seat sizer: The affectionately nicknamed ‘Ass-O-Meter.’ Alternatively, if you buy one of our saddles online and it’s not quite right, you can return it as part of our no quibbles guarantee.

cycling ass-o-meter

The Ass-O-Meter measures the sit-bones to help you find the perfect saddle.

More advice on comfort in the saddle

For ultimate comfort in the saddle, think about what you’re wearing. Padded shorts, preferably with chamois cream, can make as profound a difference as the saddle – especially on longer rides.

Our pick of Specialized Women’s Saddles

Specialized Body Geometry Women’s Road Saddles

Specialized Riva Women’s Saddle £25

Specialized Riva Womens Saddle

Equally fit for road cycling, mountain biking and general getting around, as well as boasting the crucial Body Geometry cutaway, the Specialized Riva has all the features we look for in a quality saddle. Its light padding cushions the sit bones without being overly squidgy. The smooth synthetic leather cover is waterproof. The saddle rails are a lightweight, durable CrMo steel – your best guarantee of saddle longevity. We stock the Riva in the most popular size – 155mm wide.

Specialized Lithia Comp Gel Saddle £60

Specialized Lithia Comp Womens Saddle

The Specialized Lithia is a lightweight sporty saddle with BG (Body Geometry) gel inserts strategically positioned to cushion the sit bones.

The large Body Geometry (BG) cutaway eliminates a regular saddle’s area of maximum pressure on sensitive tissue.

It comes in three widths – 143, 155 and 168mm – to ensure it’s wide enough to support your sit bones, and no wider.

Specialized Oura Expert Gel Women’s Saddle £90

Specialized Oura Expert Gel Womens SaddleOn a road bike you’re more likely to be riding with your pelvis tilted further forward, hence the Specialized Oura’s extra wide cutaway to minimise pressure on your softer parts.

Mountain Bike Saddle

Specialized Myth Sport Women’s Saddle £25

Specialized Myth Sport Womens SaddleThe Myth is made for mountain biking, perfect for recreation/commuting too. The saddle’s low-friction synthetic leather cover makes it easy to change position.

That’s a good thing because being able to slide back and forward helps keep you centered when mountain biking. Its 155mm width offers a good fit for most women.

Leisure Saddles

Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Women’s Saddle £20

Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Womens SaddleThe BG Comfort’s extra padding and width (180mm) makes it the perfect saddle if you like to sit upright, perhaps on a Pashley Brittania.

Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Gel Women’s Saddle £25

Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Gel Womens SaddleSame idea as the standard BG Comfort but with more deluxe gel padding.

Specialized Body Geometry Dolce Gel Women’s Saddle £30

Specialized Dolce Gel Womens Saddle

The Dolce is a more sporty (175mm) BG saddle more suitable for fitness rides and longer commutes.

No-quibble saddle comfort guarantee

Any saddle purchased from our shops is covered by our no-quibble comfort guarantee. That is, if the saddle doesn’t make you more comfortable, return it to the shop within a month of purchase, and we’ll replace it with an alternative saddle (or a gift voucher) to the same value.

Saddle check

Even if you think your saddle’s okay, but you’re not sure if it’s correctly positioned, pop into any of our shops and we’ll be happy to advise. Simply raising the saddle or repositioning it a centimetre further forward or back can make a huge difference – not just for comfort but for pedalling efficiency too.

Free bicycle safety check – just ask

While we’re mentioning free checkovers, remember, you’re always welcome to pop your bike into any of our shops for a free bicycle safety check.

Wondering what that knocking sound is? Worried if your bike is fit for the road? We’re always happy to give your bike a no-obligation once over and advise you on what’s required to make it road or trailworthy.

i love specialized saddles

More on Specialized Body Geometry Saddles

Body Geometry means that the saddle has been scientifically and medically developed to minimise pressure and prevent discomfort. It’s a science that Specialized have been perfecting for the best part of 20 years.

Every BG saddle has been developed and control tested by sports science guru Doctor Roger Minkow, then trialled on road, track and trail by Specialized’s ever-available crew of test riders.

Every BG women’s saddle features a channel or cutaway in the middle to minimise contact with women’s soft tissue.

Specialized are so committed to preventing saddle-induced discomfort, they have invested over 100,000 dollars in equipment to measure blood flow and how it is compromised by sitting on the wrong saddle.

More recently, they’ve pioneered a digital pressure-mapping system which enables them to precisely gauge the best location for the saddle’s central channel or cutout to prevent pressure on soft tissue – the main reason women experience saddle discomfort.

Since 2012 Minkow has been working with pain-relief specialist and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sonja Stilp who employs fellow avid female riders to test women’s BG saddles by measuring the test riders’ nerve sensation before and after each ride.

It’s a comfort to know that Specialized are prepared to make such investment in R&D to create the best saddle possible. That is, a saddle that is so comfortable, you’re barely aware of it when you ride your bike.

See our full range of Specialized women’s bikes

See our Specialized women’s helmets

See our Specialized shoes

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