I was teaching a two-hour indoor ride last winter. With maybe ten or fifteen minutes left in the workout, one of the athletes stopped pedaling, stretched, and hopped off her bike.
Me: You okay?
She: The heart says go, but the butt says stop!
I have been fitting cyclists on road and triathlon bikes since 2013. I always start with saddles and can say with confidence that this contact point is a key factor in a good fit. When the saddle is wrong, nothing else matters.
I’m often asked to recommend the best saddle. That’s not an easy question. Saddles are closer in terms of ‘goodness’ or ‘non-goodness’ to cycling clothing – like shorts – than they are to other bicycle components – like wheels, say. I can easily recommend a good set of wheels, but I cannot recommend a one-style-fits-all saddle. I can typically pick a good place to start based on three criteria.
1. Type of bike: road or triathlon and the vertical drop from saddle to bar (or elbow pad)
2. Hip mobility: that is ability to rotate the pelvis forward to achieve the above position
3. Distance between the sitz bones
Once we bolt the best candidate to the bike during a fit, it’s time to put some miles on the saddle and see if it works long-term. Some folks who I have coached have spent months and have ridden many models before they find one that works. The good news is that manufacturers are constantly introducing new options. With new options comes new hope for the heretofore saddle unlucky.
I like bike kit, so I try to keep on top of new offerings that come out. I also like experimenting. The new Power saddle from Specialized caught my eye recently.