Choosing the Right Bike Saddle for Your Body’s Biomechanics

The saddle you choose to ride, and its proper placement, play huge roles in your comfort and performance on the bike.

The bike saddle is the center of the fit universe. While selecting the right saddle won’t fix all of your fit-related issues, you might be surprised by how many aspects of your comfort and performance are affected by what you’re sitting on, and how you’ve placed that saddle on your bike.

Dr. Andy Pruitt, an expert in cycling ergonomics and saddle design, has helped thousands of riders find the right saddle for them and, just as importantly, place it correctly. In this video, he details how and why the saddle you choose to ride, and its proper placement, play equally important roles in an athlete’s comfort on the bike.

Dr. Pruitt also makes the distinction between male and female saddle-fitting considerations and discusses whether saddle cutouts are good or bad.

Video Transcript

Dr. Andy Pruitt  00:00

The saddle is the center of the fit universe. Choosing the right saddle and positioning it correctly, will significantly improve your performance and comfort while riding. Even the right saddle in the wrong place can lead to injury.

 

Chris Case  00:24

Welcome to Fast Talk Laboratories, your source for the science of endurance performance.

 

The Saddle Is the Center of the Fit Universe

Dr. Andy Pruitt  00:34

For decades, there really were no saddled choices, they were a similar size and shape and we all basically just suffered through. Up until the mid-1980s and early 1990s, did we really start to think about how the saddle affects us on the bike? Technology obviously began to help with that thought process, and pressure mapping devices were invented. Their first use was for people that were bedridden or wheelchair-bound and they were developing saddle sores or pressure sores, so we took that technology and applied it to cycling science. This is a side view of a pelvis on a saddle riding toward me. So, just so we get oriented correctly, there’s a bicycle saddle side view matching that, a pelvis, side view matching that.

 

The Pelvis and Saddle Choice

Dr. Andy Pruitt  01:32

While I’ve got you, let’s talk about the pelvis for a second. There are certain bony prominences and aspects of the pelvis we’ve got to be aware of for cycling. The ischial tuberosity referred to as the sit bones, these are the hard pointy things that you feel when you sit on grandma’s hard dining room chairs, right? We’re going to squirm because we’re getting pressure on the ischial tuberosities. So, in cycling, we talk about ischial tuberosity width, and them as an item, but as you can see, we really don’t sit back here on the ischial tuberosity, we sit on this bottom thing, almost like a rocking chair, called the pubic rami, and we sit on the pubic rami in some place or another, but obviously, it’s a very difficult thing to measure and to quantify, especially in a retail setting.

 

Pressure Mapping

Dr. Andy Pruitt  02:30

Pressure mapping shows us where the high pressures are, and as we began to use pressure mapping, it also showed us if someone sat straight. If an area of impact was such that it was going to create a pathology. So, we want to now look at some actual pressure mapping. So, here we have a live, real-time pressure map of a subject who came in with right inner thigh chafing if you will, but looking at him on his bike, he looks fairly square. What the pressure map begins to tell us is potentially symmetries in the pelvis or a mild change in pressure left side, right side, right? So, you can see with this guy that he sits to the left side of the saddle, there’s far more pressure, far more contact and pressure on the left side of the saddle than on the right. The blue colors are light contact, so this is going to be buttock or soft tissue, and this is going to be more the sit bone, the ischial tuberosity that we’re talking about in this area of pressure. So, lucky for him though there’s no high red color, that would be high pressure. So, the lighter colors, the softer colors are lower pressure, and then the brighter colors are higher pressure, but it does show us that not only does he sit more pressure to the left, but he sits slightly rotated. So, he’s moving that way, and there is the inner thigh chafing that he’s getting. Again, visually, with all the muscles, tendons, and fat around the body, we really couldn’t see this without the pressure map.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  04:17

Pressure mapping has been crucial in helping us design high-tech and modern saddles. So, let’s learn more about the pelvis, right? So, this is a view of the pelvis or here’s the human pelvis again, front view, side view, back and top, this is basically like this. So, it’s not a pure back view, not a pure top view, slightly slanted like that, that help? So, this is the front, the nose of the saddle is up there, the back of the saddle is back there, right? So, the red, our arteries and veins, the yellow are nerves and they run right along these pubic rami, remember that side view it kind of looked like a rocking chair, right? These nerves, arteries, and veins went just inside the rocking chair, as you can see here. We do not want to compress nerves, arteries, veins while sitting on the saddle. There’s also the urethra and genitalia in this area that we don’t want to compress as well.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  05:31

Okay, this is a front view of the pelvis, and it’s just like this, what’s missing though for you all at home is the sacrum would be there, the sacrum would be there. But we can see the arteries, veins, nerves tracking inside the pubic rami, and exiting out what we call Alcock’s canal. Alcock’s canal is where the nerves, vein, urethra, genitalia all sit in this area, so you think about the nose of a saddle being an area of high contact there. So, the whole idea behind modern saddle design is to bear weight as much as we can along the pubic rami and ischial tuberosities.

 

Positioning on the Saddle

Dr. Andy Pruitt  06:15

Let’s talk about positioning on the saddle. Now, we’ve learned a little bit about the pelvis, we’re going to learn more about the pelvis. But this is a side view, obviously a saddle and pelvis, and then more upright position, say it’s a touring position, comfortable position, commuter, this would be a really typical commuter, and maybe even some mountain bike positions. But here’s the nerve, artery, and vein, the neurological and neural systems that run through the pelvis, they come out of the spinal cord down the back, exit inside the pelvis, and then right along the inside of the pubic rami, out to the genitalia.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  06:51

So, in this position, it’s a very safe position, we’re paying a lot of weight on skeletal structures, a very safe position for the most part. So, now we’ve got a side view again, in a bit racier or a bit more aggressive position, you see the pelvis is starting to tilt forward, the urological, neurological structures again where they come out of the spine down the back inside the pelvis in between the pubic rami and then begin to exit out Alcock’s canal. I’m going to grab a pelvis here just so we understand some things, again, side view, ischial tuberosity, ischial tuberosity, pubic rami, pubic rami. But in reality, this looks like it’s flat but this is a flat surface, in reality, it angles in so ischial tuberosity, ischial tuberosity, pubic rami, they come in at an angle. It’s this angle, which is really critical to the way we feel a saddle. So, we’re going to talk about how we buy saddles retail and they’re going to measure this distance, well, we can’t measure now in retail is that angulation, and it varies greatly, it varies amongst gender, but even within gender, there are probably as many differences in the male pelvis as there are in the female pelvis. In the really aggressive position, you can start to see the forward impact that we have as we lean forward. Same structures, inside the pelvis, but here we have a much more focal contact on the saddle, the ischial tuberosities back here aren’t even touching the saddle, right? So, the more aggressive we get, the skeletal structure that we buy a saddle based on is no longer even touching the saddles. So, the pubic rami which cannot be measured at retail, at least in today’s technology, might be working on it, is really the key factor in how we feel a saddle. Now, you can walk into a retail store, and they may have an apparatus where you can just kind of sit on it in your street clothes or even in your cycling chamois and it makes an indentation, right? You can see that they’ve got her sitting up here, really proud pushing her ischial tuberosities down into the measuring device, and that gives us a fairly accurate, I mean, I’ve done thousands of these, and it is accurate within a centimeter measuring the distance between your prominent ischial tuberosities. There are other manufacturers that measure outside to outside and they do some extrapolations to come up with this very same measurement, but there are way more levels of error in that extrapolation when you measure from outside to outside when you’re trying to look for something inside the pelvis. So, I’m much more a fan of the ischial tuberosity measuring device.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  09:59

Now, love this slide. This is the back view, right? So, now this is your saddle, sitting here, right? So, it’s a back view, you’re looking at your buddy, he’s sitting in front of you, and you’re sitting on his wheel. So, ischial tuberosities, this is a very prominent thing that we really notice on grandma’s hard chairs. That’s what they measured in the store, and it works great if we’re sitting straight up on that commuter bike, but we know we all don’t sit on the bike just like that.

 

Available Seating Area

Dr. Andy Pruitt  10:30

So, this is what we want to talk about right here is the available seating area. Flatter saddles, I’ll show you this second, flatter saddles have a greater available seating area. So, this is a fairly flat saddle, that ischial tuberosity is going to find comfort in a fairly large area, right? It’s going to be bony support, that this person, this rider is going to feel. Bony support can become uncomfortable if it’s too focal. So, we tend to want to, you know, be able to move forward, around to find more soft tissue, healthy, soft tissue support, not just bony support.

 

Effects of Saddle Shaping

Dr. Andy Pruitt  11:14

So, what are the effects of saddle shaping, right? Traditional saddles we had one size and one shape, and it was the color that we bought, and we bought it to match the green of our Bianchi bikes. Now, in modern saddles, we know that all these variations in pelvises require variations in saddle design. So, over here, we’ve got that flat saddle that we just showed you, a lot of available seating area, because it’s flat and you can move around on there. As they become more shaped, the available seating area shrinks. When they become domed, the available seating area is very small, and we actually end up bearing weight out here on the inclines of that dome shape. Now, the really aggressive forward-leaning racer, many times finds happiness here, and not here. There are exceptions to everything I say but this is going to be much more to the guy who’s really forward-leaning, guy or gal who is really forward-leaning, and actually looking for support forward of the ischial tuberosities, looking for support up on that rocking chair or up on the pubic rami.

 

Things To Consider When Buying or Positioning a Saddle

Dr. Andy Pruitt  12:38

So, what are the things you need to consider when you want to buy and or position a saddle, right?

 

Size and Width

Dr. Andy Pruitt  12:46

Size and width. Now, when I think of the size of a saddle, we’re really talking outside to outside of the widest aspect of the saddle. But there’s also length, there’s also length, there are short and long sales, which we’ll talk about. Saddle width, that should be the very first conversation you have with a retail salesperson. By not buying saddles online, you better know, it’s like running shoes, you better know exactly what you want, because there’s more to buying in a saddle than just matching my Bianca green, right? So, saddle width and how they measure that is pretty crucial. If you walk in and say, I ride a 143 in this brand, and you’re considering another brand, that may not translate. I know one brand uses 143, those are millimeters outside to outside, the other brand uses 145 outside to outside. Of course, they wouldn’t want to be uniform, right? That would not be kosher in the cycling industry, they have to be unique within brands, but the size is the first question you need to consider. Shape, again, the more upright your position, I think the flatter the saddle that you’re going to be happier with. The more aggressive your position, some shape, not maybe totally domed, but some shape, some curvature, you’re going to find to be more comfortable, because it’s going to allow you to take more pressure along the pubic rami and off of the ischial tuberosities.

 

Padding

Dr. Andy Pruitt  14:19

Padding, I love this one. The thumb test, right? You walk in, you see all the time, you’re at the saddle wall in the retail store, and they’re all picking up the saddle and pressing it, this has got to be comfortable, it’s cushy. Think about the guys riding the Tour de France, they’re on the hardest, least padded saddles we have, they’re using their tissue and great positioning to provide saddle support, right? So, padding, there’s gel, there’s foam, there are all kinds of different things, but padding really wants to return to its natural shape. So, gel for example really wants to return to its shape, it’s been molded in a gel form, so you press down on it and that might feel good for a minute, but it’s constantly pushing back against you because it wants to return to its natural shape. Foam is going to bottom out, you’re actually going to sink into the foam and bottom out, so durmitor of foam is key, the really soft positive thumb test is going to bottom out and you’re going to be sitting on this plastic shell of that saddle pretty quickly. The durmitor of the foam is what we talked about when it’s the way, the speed at which it sinks in, and the density at which it pushes back. So, the more expensive saddles are going to have a durmitor of foam that has been shown to replicate that of soft tissues. So, it’s going to push back against you similar to what you’re going to push against yet, and it’s usually fairly thin. So, padding, gel, or foam, not all they’re cracked up to be, and they’re very unstable, they’re going to move around underneath you. I love the guy in you know, the long day turned, he’s got this big gel cover over his saddle, slipped off to one side because it’s not adhered to the saddle, that cannot be comfortable, but it was to his thumbs in the store, it felt good and his bum was a little sore after the long ride, so we thought padding must be the answer. Padding is not necessarily the answer, the right kind of padding, the right kind of thickness, that’s for your experience is the right thing to talk about.

 

Cutouts

Dr. Andy Pruitt  16:30

I love cutouts and no cutouts. So, if you take pressure off something, by putting a cutout in it, gravity is not going to change, so you’ve increased the pressure on other areas by cutting a doughnut out of anything. So, you increased pressure, hopefully, you’ve relieved it with the cutout in an area that didn’t want the pressure. Early on, we thought well, a little cutout was good, big cutout must be better, right? Not necessarily. The big cutout allows for tissue fluids to migrate into that cutout, fluid seeks the path of least resistance, so this is more important for women than it is for men, and in another video, we’ll talk about the effects of swelling of the genitalia, etc., but think about if your tissues, the fluid in your tissues has migrated to this cutout, and it’s pretty comfortable for the first hour or two, and you get off the bike to go to the restroom, or to go get a drink at the feed station, and that tissue that has gathered all that fluid now begins to move out into other tissues because it can, and then you try to get back on your bike, suddenly, the tissue in the saddle don’t like each other, that second half of that ride. So, getting the right kind of cutout in the right area, I even think cutouts can be filled with foam so that that tissue doesn’t swell and just has some homeostasis or some balance to it. It’s similar to brassiere and jockstraps, right? We want to give tissue support without pressure.

 

Length

Dr. Andy Pruitt  18:27

Shorter or longer? I don’t care. The traditional length was based on tradition and really doesn’t have much of a role in the biomechanics or the health of a saddle. The short saddles have gained a lot of popularity, the most popular saddle in the world is a saddle by Specialized called A Power, and it is a shorty but all the other companies are producing their own versions of short saddles, we never sit up on the tip of the saddle. So, it’s really a visual thing for the rider, if you like the way a short saddle looks than by a short one, if you like the way a long one looks buy a long one. I think that this is really a visual and cosmetic or fashion statement if you will.

 

Effects of Saddle Choice and Saddle Position

Dr. Andy Pruitt  19:19

So, now let’s start to think about the effects of both saddle choice and saddle position on not just the lower extremity, but also the upper extremity and cockpit. I met Marcus Lundqvist at a cycling camp, I don’t remember which country it was in, anyway, he came to us with significant back and neck pain, those are his complaints to us. Marcus’s job as a professional cyclist was to ride races like Perry Ruby, the big one-day races, or the tours, his job was to sit at the front and hammer out tempo, and rip everybody’s legs off behind him, and he would do it for hours. His complaint was back and neck pain. So, when we measured his sit bones, he measured at 140 or 150 millimeters, a wide measurement and he was sitting on a saddle of 130 millimeters. We can all do the math and know where that saddle was going between his wide ischial tuberosities. So, his response, not just his we’ve seen it thousands of times, his response is to clench the muscles in his pelvic floor to protect the pressure of that saddle creeping up between his sit bones into his sensitive areas. He would clench the pelvic floor muscles and rock himself back to put himself on bony structures, whatever bony structure support he could find. Those two responses, clenching the pelvic floor muscles and rolling his pelvis back would give him some saddle support for hours, but it would create this big curvature in the cervical extension. He would urinate blood for up to a day after each long ride or race. That was not his complaint, his complaint was back and neck pain. So, finding a saddle the right size for him was crucial. So, this is Marcus’s pressure map, the black wiggly stuff is basically his center of movement around while he’s pedaling, but you can see this area, this arrowhead area of pressure in his perineum, sensitive groin tissues, right? This is his X-ray, the spine is curved like this, which you can see if we go back to this, this is his back. This is his back as he’s rocking himself back to protect his sensitive areas. What else is the response? So, what else is the response to this protection? His handlebars must be closer to him because he’s moved way back here, the cockpit gets shorter. What happens when we put him on a saddle that fits? We put him on a saddle 155 millimeters wide, he can get stable support on both ischial tuberosities, he flattens out his back, back pain, neck pain goes away and nice skeletal support back on his ischial tuberosities and the big arrowhead is gone, he has a natural lumbar curvature in his spine, all based on a saddle selection. Saddle selection affected his reach, it affected his saddle height, because as he does this, he needs a lower saddle to reach the bottom of the stroke. So, again living proof the saddle is the center of the fit universe.

 

How We Should Sit on a Saddle

Dr. Andy Pruitt  23:07

So, now that we’ve got a pretty good idea of how we should sit on a saddle, how we should feel a saddle, right? On the ischial tuberosities, pubic rami, should be comfortable with our natural posture and reaching the front of the handlebars. Let’s talk about the lower extremity for a second.

 

Knee Over Pedal Spindle

Dr. Andy Pruitt  23:29

I’m a firm believer in knee over pedal spindle. I think it’s the neutral starting place and if you put myself and two other world-class bike fitters in the room, we could discuss knee over pedal spindle for hours. I believe it’s the starting position on a level surface, it gives us the ability then to ride uphill and downhill and move on the saddle, accordingly, always letting our knees self-select the most powerful place in the pedal stroke. If we start with it way back, you’ve already been dealt a hand that you’re going to start in the back, not in the middle, the middle we can go for now. So, again, I don’t want to harp on knee over pedal spindle but it’s what I believe in, I’m the one given the lecture. So, if I draw a plumb line from the back of this rider’s knee, I want to fall through the pedal spindle, when we check this video and these stills I put a marker on the pedal spindle, the white marker you can see it right there, and this little white marker on their knee. So, if we hang a virtual plumb line, the back of their kneecap falling right through the pedal of the spindle, this is obviously the saddle barely seen, therefore, I can almost guarantee that his pelvis is supported appropriately on the saddle.

 

Narrow Saddles

Dr. Andy Pruitt  25:01

What happens when the saddle is too narrow? Well, remember Marcus, right? His saddle was too narrow, so this is what’s happening. This rider is scooting back, looking for the widest part of that saddle, he’s going to clinch his pelvic floor muscles, he’s going to arch his back, he’s going to be kind of choke back on the handlebars, but more importantly, biomechanically, suddenly now, this virtual plumbline back of the kneecap is falling far behind the pedal spindle. So, this makes his pedal stroke more hamstring centric, instead of quadriceps centric, different lecture but the quadriceps are primary mover of the knee joint, hamstrings are the secondary mover of the knee joint. So, we don’t want a hamstring centric bike position we want to quadricep centric bike position, yet a narrow saddle is going to move him back. Oh, same saddle, same narrow, because he scooted back to find support, I put a marker on that much nose of saddle showing in front of his pelvis, but what it does, it makes us overextend the knee. So, a saddle too narrow gives us a virtually effective high saddle, higher than normal, it also affects the way we can ankle. So, if you think about being in the back seat, right? I can’t ankle as appropriately as I can when I get on top of that pedal stroke. So, a saddle too narrow, you’re going to scoot back looking for support, it creates an effective high saddle, in effect, a short reach. Yeah, we don’t want saddles that are too narrow, that just doesn’t work very well.

 

Wide Saddles

Dr. Andy Pruitt  26:47

But saddle too wide, what happens? Alberto Contador, go back and look at some old race footage of Alberto Contador. Two-thirds of the guy’s saddle was always showing. Alberto was this teeny, little character, his ischial tuberosity is probably measured in the nine centimeters or 90 millimeters. So, his saddle sponsor was known for this big bulbous nose of the saddle. So, he always was scooting forward, looking for the narrowest spot on the saddle. What did that do for Alberto? Well, it always put Alberto’s knee in front of his pedal spindle, and so this creates a saddle that is too low. Yes, it’s quad centric, but it overloads the extensor mechanisms of the knee, so having that body move forward looking for pelvic support is not a good thing either. Most of the saddle development from the mid-1980s, to the late 1990s, early 2000s was really driven by male riders and their issues. Erectile dysfunction for a while was really aimed at cyclists, it’s been resolved, that’s the subject of another video, but now we have many more women joining our sport, thank goodness, and we have a lot of impact now on saddle design. The issues are the same, so we still want knee over pedal spindle. Most females, again, there’s a lot of data that shows that building women’s bikes specific for women is really not necessary because there are as many differences amongst women, as there are amongst men, and that bikes are bikes, right? I thoroughly agree with that, however, the femoral component of this lever system in females can be really long in the femoral segment. So, if this long femoral segment and a saddle that doesn’t fit, they’re going to be more challenged in trying to find skeletal support mixed with the right kind of soft tissue support. So, it makes the choice of women’s saddle and position in women’s saddle incredibly important for their success in the sport. But again, we want the same thing, regardless of whether it’s a man or woman we want to put the knee over the pedal spindle and the femoral segment should dictate where the saddle goes, not where they get saddle support.

 

Male vs. Female Saddle Fitting

Dr. Andy Pruitt  29:51

So, females, the same thing. They usually are looking for the back of the saddle, the female pelvis is going to measure slightly wider on a normal curve than the men. So, if we put them on a traditional saddle, they’re always going to be looking for the back part of it for some skeletal support, and the same things are going to happen, that knee is going to fall far behind, there’s her petal spindle, the black dot is her pedal spindle, and the knee is going to fall behind that, creating that same saddle that’s too high. So, for the female, the wide saddle, they’re going to move to the nose of the saddle looking for support, and because of their genitalia differences, being on the nose of the saddle creates a whole other set of issues. What’s interesting about this is that moving forward on the saddle trying to find support, they tend to then begin to contract the pelvic floor muscles and create an arch in the back to avoid that pressure on their genitalia. So, they still end up with the knee far in front of the pedal spindle, again, making it very quad centric, but it’s really the saddle health I’m more concerned about for that saddle being too wide for the female, and where they end up on their bike. The narrow saddle, it’s the same issues, but again, because of their genitalia, and its placement and design, the narrow saddle is a far greater issue for women, but it still creates that overreaching lower extremity at the bottom of the stroke.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  31:31

Even when the saddle has been chosen correctly and is placed on the bike in the perfect biomechanical position, because of some of those asymmetries that cannot be seen even in physical therapy or orthopedic office, we cannot see all the asymmetries that might be occurring, femoral neck angle, pelvic design, leg length inequalities, so even when that saddle is in a perfect place, you still might see some off to the side riding styles. So, I put a marker right on this riders’ tailbone, and this red line is running through the middle of the bike. So, you can see he comes back to neutral, but for some reason, some unknown reason, he ends up going center-left, center-left, center-left. What I’m saying is that even in a perfect world, there may be some saddle discomfort. When the saddle is too narrow, like in this instance, this rider is going to find support on one side of the pelvis, one ischial tuberosity is loaded, leaves this hip unsupported out into space. This knee then goes away from the bike, and he’s pedaling in what we call a varus pedal stroke or knee away from the midline. The problems created here can be lateral knee pain, saddle sores here, drop shoulder. So, when somebody comes into the office with shoulder pain, hand pain, we might look at the saddle. My point is the saddle is the center of that fit universe. So, the pain can be a lot of different places, the cause is going to be under that pelvis.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  33:15

So, what happens when the saddle is too narrow, again? So, another thing that can happen when the saddle is too narrow, is that we again, bear on the right ischial tuberosity, but that leaves the side unsupported and it can fall forward, if you can see this guy, he’s actually moving forward. Not only is it unsupported, but he’s moving it forward as well, and the knee then goes toward the bike, in what we call a valgus pedal stroke. So, the knee is close to the top tube on the unsupported side, this issue is it creates medial knee pain, again, dropped right shoulder, excuse me dropped left shoulder, it’s going to be weight on the left, a significant weight on the left hand, because of this. So, the biomechanical downstream catastrophe that happens with a poorly fit saddle, can be significant multiple sites of discomfort. For the female cyclist, I just believe that saddle comfort is ultimate, it’s ultimate in dudes, but it’s also ultimate in women. Getting them balanced on a bike, balanced skeletal pressures, appropriate soft tissue support, where they can see this midline through the bike, and very little wandering from their sacrum away from that midline. It is just crucial to have a nice level pelvis support for the female.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  34:48

Now, let’s look at what happens when the saddle is too narrow, and they’re looking for support on the left side. It’s the same things that can happen. So, now the left ischial tuberosity is supported, the right knee is out in space, and they’re pedaling in that valgus pedal stroke where the knee is moving inside toward the bike, you can see this pelvis is supported, this one is not, leaves this whole apparatus. Look at the pelvis collapse over here, low shoulder. So, again, the myriad of effects of a bad fit saddle, especially when they’re only loading one of the ischial tuberosities. The same thing can happen with a paddle in varus, again, it’s just a slightly different way, you see less of this collapse, less of that role, the knee is moving out from the bike.

 

Effects of the Wrong Saddle

Dr. Andy Pruitt  35:46

We’ve all done group rides, we follow that person in front of us, and we all looked at them going, something’s not right, and that is what’s not right. It’s typically the saddle that’s causing them to not be square, not always a saddle, I would say 90% of the time it’s the saddle that causes them not to be square on the bike. So, the saddle is the center of the fit universe. The right saddle in the wrong place is as bad as the wrong saddle. So, saddle selection and placement can affect so many things, right? It can affect the reach, remember Marcus Lundqvist, the SAXO BANK rider that had the saddle that was too narrow, he stole his back, and all of a sudden, the reach was affected, we had to add two centimeters to his bike to the front of his bike, once we got the right saddle underneath him. It creates a functional leg length inequality, which we just saw in the videos, and it can create a lot of other symmetries or magnify asymmetries that that patient or that rider may have. Contributing to male and female medical issues, you know, erectile dysfunction, saddle sores, is the myriad of disease processes that can occur from a mal-fit bicycle, mal-fit saddle, that catalog is growing on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s a new saddle installed, even if you shop online, you broke a saddle rail, right? You crashed, you broke a saddle rail, I want the exact same saddle again. So, you go online, you order the exact same saddle, exact same color, model, rail, rail material, the whole thing, and put it on your bike in the exact same place your other saddle was, it’s going to sit differently, it’s going to be not broken in for one, the manufacturer foam durometer may have changed slightly, the shell, maybe you had a carbon shell before and now you went to a less expensive and you got a plastic shell now may have more shell flex, that new saddle may look the same and be called the same, it will sit differently and you need to really consider all the other touchpoints. It’ll affect the saddle height, it could affect the saddle fore-aft, and it could affect the cockpit or the reach of your bike.

 

Dr. Andy Pruitt  38:05

Saddle choice is crucial to your bike position, whether you’re dealing with shoulder, knee, or foot pain, the saddle may be the cause. If you have questions about your saddle choice and fit, you can schedule a chat with me at fasttalklabs.com/solutions. To learn more about other bike fit issues including saddle diseases and knee pain, you can find way more content in our pathways.

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