Saddle up (Every body is different)

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by kreme.brulee, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. #1 kreme.brulee, Nov 18, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
    I finally pulled the trigger on a new saddle. It was a necessary upgrade after realizing the discomfort I was experiencing while sitting in my previous saddle could be alleviated with something that suited me better. Here's my story of how I made my decision on which one to buy.

    One of the Women's MTB Experience Facebook page members had started a thread about saddles a few months back, so I started my search there. What I found was: every body is different. There are many options out there, and just like bikes themselves, the right one for you may not be the right one for somebody else. It's all about what is comfortable for YOU. Some of the comments and suggestions on the Facebook page are listed below:

    • "I love the Terry Butterfly. Cushy, lightweight, with a great cut-out. But I'm biased because its the only custom saddle I've ever purchased."
    • "Anything that is not wider than 135 mm is flat and hard. Got let that bike move freely under you!"
    • "Our best selling inexpensive saddle is the wtb speedshe and on the high end, it's the butterfly and selle italia gel flow ladies (diva). #1 rule about padding..Firmer gluts like a firmer seat (typically more expensive), softer gluts softer seat (generally less expensive) and all saddles coming on MTB bikes are made for a chamois."
    • "Specialized Power. What Paige said. Really small so you can move all around but enough nose to climb on and good firm platform for when you do have to grind out a long climb. Oh and the delicious hole in the middle!"
    • "Specialized women's Oura - the width matters, this one was wide enough for my sit bones but not so wide as to chafe my thighs. I tried 6 different saddles (just in the parking lot, but - six!). Hate too much padding. Wish this one had more, but my Shredly bike short liner is perfect to give me cushion and not feel like a diaper. So much trial and error! Couldn't stand the SpeedShe, not sure why. So very individual...doubt you can take anyone else's fave and make it your own..."
    • "Allure SDG! I love it! It has a cutout which works great for me."
    • "So... I'm just gonna leave this info right here. It might be the info you need to find the correct saddle. Warning: Female Anatomy shown. Don't open around kids unless you want them to have a quick female anatomy class. [NSFW]"
    As you can see, saddle preference is all over the map. I narrowed in on three main factors when choosing a saddle: width, padding, and shape.

    • Width - The saddle width is the actual usable width that supports your sit bones (excluding the rounded edges) and corresponds to the width between your two sit bones. This is probably the most important factor when choosing a saddle. A saddle that is too narrow will not be supporting you, which was the case with my previous saddle - it rested between my sit bones and was so uncomfortable. A saddle that is too wide can also create discomfort and get in the way when trying to move around on your bike. I had a hell of time trying to measure my sit bone width at home, from bending over and having my boyfriend measure them to sitting on a piece of paper to see where my bones left indentations. I decided it was best to go into the shop for some help. They had me sit on a Specialized foam pad to measure me, which indicated I needed a seat between 143 mm - 155 mm. They recommended that it's best to size slightly up from the minimum width to allow for a little extra width.
    • Padding - Long story short, some people like more padding than others. Less padding will generally be more efficient when pedaling, giving you a bit more power. More padding provides comfort on longer seated rides. This consideration is entirely up to rider preference.
    • Shape - Just like people, saddles come in all shapes and sizes. Long ones, short ones, with or without a cutout, a full cutout vs. a channel cutout, and finally a concave shape to keep you in place. Just like padding, saddle shape is entirely up to rider preference, but with so many options it can be hard to decide what you want. On a mountain bike, a shorter saddle will give you more space to get in and out of your seat and move the bike around freely. For women, many of us appreciate the cutout to provide relief to our lady jewels.
    So width, padding, and shape - yes, these are all important in making your decision on which saddle to buy. But what it really comes down to is comfort. What is comfortable to you? In order to answer this question, I highly recommend testing out a range of seats to get a sense of what you like. I tested four saddles: Specialized Power Arc, WTB Koda, Allure SDG, and Specialized Power. I tested these with a high priority to find a saddle that created minimal pressure on my jewels.

    • Specialized Power Arc - Verdict: Firm, supportive, cutout not fit for me. Widths: 143 mm, 155 mm. Cutout: Full. This was the first saddle I tried. It has light padding and is pretty firm, so I felt very supported in it. I really liked that about it. However, I felt sharp pressure points from the edges of the cutout on my lady jewels. I had to pass on this one.
    • WTB Koda - Verdict: Comfortable, but enough pressure on the jewels to question if this is the one. Widths: 142 mm, 150 mm. Cutout: Partial. Next up was the latest and greatest from WTB. I was really excited to test this one. I would recommend trying this one out. Tour of Nevada City bike shop was able to get a demo from WTB, so I borrowed it for a few weeks. I found it to be comfortable with just the right amount of padding. The width was perfect. When I would saddle up, I found myself thinking, "Yes, this is it!" However, I did find that after sitting on it for a while, my lady jewels were a bit uncomfortable. Was this something I just had to accept, or was there something better out there for me?
    • SDG Allure - Verdict: Too narrow for me! Width: 143 mm. Cutout: Full. I really wanted to give this one a try because it has great reviews. While I was still demoing the WTB Koda, @jenibolts and I traded saddles, so she could try out the Koda and I could try out the Allure. The second I sat on the Allure, I knew it wasn't the one for me. It was too narrow, so I didn't feel supported. The seat was otherwise comfortable. If they made this in a wider option, I'd definitely come back to try it again!
    • Specialized Power - Verdict: WINNER! Supportive, comfortable, relieving. Widths: 143 mm, 155 mm. CutoutI: Full. Ding ding ding! We have a winner! After lingering on the WTB Koda for a while, I decided I wanted to give one more saddle a try before I made my final decision. I went into the shop, and tested the Specialized Power. Compared to the Power Arc, the full cutout was slightly wider and had smoother edges. I also really liked the short nose on this one. I hopped on my bike and took it for a spin around the block with the Power underneath me. I felt supported and had no concentrated pressure on my lady jewels from the edges of the cutout. I threw on the Koda one last time for a final battle and decided that I wanted the full cutout that the Power provided to give me maximum relief.
    I hope this detailed review is helpful for anyone out there that is new to the saddle game and is looking for some direction to start their search. Just remember, every body is different, so choose the saddle that is right for YOU.

    I'd also love to hear any other recommendations you have, so please add them to the thread!
    JustinCase likes this.
  2. Well done! Excellent review with the right amount of info. Except the anatomy class. Yes I clicked it. :rolleyes: LOL
  3. Lol! Not my fault- there was a disclaimer!
    JustinCase likes this.
  4. I had to click on it to see what you were perving on. Very informative lol.
  5. When you put a Caution sign in front of a mountain biker, they're probably gonna go for it....
    JustinCase and jeniwages like this.

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