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.

The power looks like the result of their super popular Toupe road saddle mating with their Sitero triathlon saddle. Shorter and wider than most road saddles with a generous relief channel, the Power is touted as a seat for road riders looking for centerline relief when riding with a lot of drop from saddle to bar.

I’ve been riding the Power on my road bike for two weeks now. Most of my rides have been sub thirty-minute commutes to and from the Lab. In fact, the longest ride I’ve done since that long ride in the hills of Muskoka on August 30th has been two hours. So taking advantage of yesterday’s ridiculously unseasonable weather, I took the opportunity to put this saddle – and the legs – to a real test. I rode from my home in the Junction to Georgina on the shore of Lake Simcoe. The round trip was a just shy of 170k and a few minutes under 6 hours.

The true mark of a comfortable saddle is one you don’t think about. I complained – to myself, as none of my athletes or my friends wanted to ride with me – about many things on that ride. The wind – gusting at times to 75kph – and the Christmas Eve traffic were a pain in the ass. The saddle, happily, never was.

So I’m happy with it, but it definitely will not work for everyone. The ideal candidate would be a road rider with a decent amount of drop between saddle and bar, better than average hip mobility, and issues of genital numbness when riding low.

Looking for a saddle option or have any other fit related questions? Drop me a note.

Happy training!
Coach