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My shop measured my sit bone and recommended a 143mm width Gel Toupe saddle. Prior to this I was riding a 130mm Flite Gel Flow

I have NO soreness in my butt (sit bone), but discomfort is always is always towards "pubic tubercle" bones (the bony part directly behind my nut sacks). It appears my entire weight rest direclty on spot and not distributed to the rear.

When sitting in my normal ridding position, my pubic tubercle bones rest directly in the middle (between front and back) of my saddle. Is there something wrong with the position of my saddle or is this normal?
 

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Is it level?

I'd start there.
Put a large book on top of the saddle and a level on top of that.
 

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roadbike_moron said:
My shop measured my sit bone and recommended a 143mm width Gel Toupe saddle. Prior to this I was riding a 130mm Flite Gel Flow

I have NO soreness in my butt (sit bone), but discomfort is always is always towards "pubic tubercle" bones (the bony part directly behind my nut sacks). It appears my entire weight rest direclty on spot and not distributed to the rear.

When sitting in my normal ridding position, my pubic tubercle bones rest directly in the middle (between front and back) of my saddle. Is there something wrong with the position of my saddle or is this normal?
Two possibilities: You are trying to use a saddle too flat for your anatomy, or you are sitting too forward on it. For the first, I recommend the Aliante very highly. For the second...

You may be sitting too far forward on your saddle. Sitting farther back, your sit bones hold you up and take pressure off the front. There are two common causes, both stemming from poor understanding of bike fit.

One, try moving your seat rearward. With an aft seat, pedal pressure helps keep you up on the back of the saddle. A seat moved forward continually lifts you off the saddle, and because you are then not balanced properly, you come down on the front rather than the back.

Two, make sure your saddle is level to tilted slightly up in front. Many people in your circumstance make the mistake of trying to lower the nose of the saddle to 'get it out of the way' of those bones. The problem is, it makes you slide forward, off the sit base and onto the nose. The problem gets worse, rather than better. It's usually not necessary to actually tip the saddle up (past level) to keep you back if the saddle is correctly set fore-aft, but sometimes it's useful in more upright seating positions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
danl1 said:
One, try moving your seat rearward. With an aft seat, pedal pressure helps keep you up on the back of the saddle. A seat moved forward continually lifts you off the saddle, and because you are then not balanced properly, you come down on the front rather than the back.

Pardon my ignorance. When you say moving my seat rearward, do you mean mvoing the seat in the direction of the front wheel so that my butt rest more to the rear of the saddle or the oppsite?
 

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Get a PT to assess whether or not you are lordotic - this will tilt the pelvis in such a way as to put pressure on your symphysis. I'd certainly consider a good bike fit - and not move the saddle rearward - this will effectively tilt you further forward and increase pressure. Also drop saddle height and raise the bars to relieve pressure in the short term - pressure felt means blood flow decrease as well and this is not healthy in the long term.
 

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roadbike_moron said:
Pardon my ignorance. When you say moving my seat rearward, do you mean mvoing the seat in the direction of the front wheel so that my butt rest more to the rear of the saddle or the oppsite?
I mean move the seat rearward, towards the back wheel.

I know it seems counterintuitive - there's some 'common sense' that says if you are too far forward, you ought to move it forward to be under your bum. But the exact opposite it true, because the seat position determines where your butt is going to end up, not the other way around.

To ride comfortably and efficiently, you have to be well-balanced over the bottom bracket, or slightly forward of that if you mash on the pedals. With the seat too far forward, pedaling effort effectively lightens you on the saddle, and since your weight is forward of the BB you tend to 'fall' forward onto the nose of the saddle.

In contrast, if the saddle is too far back, your balance point is behind the BB. Then, as pedaling force lifts you, the combination of balance and the rearward component of the pedaling force tends to push you off the back of the saddle.

With your center of mass properly balanced over the BB (to visualize, it's somewhere near your belly button, but don't try to use that as a measurement) pedaling forces don't push you aft, and CG movements don't send you up on the nose. You are free to get your sit bones perched properly up on the back of the saddle, and you'll tend to stay there as you ride. I personally tend to stay just a little aft of ideal, as I like being 'kept' in the proper position, but that's an individual choice.

I forgot to mention - a seat that's a little too high could also contribute to your problem. It came to mind because as you move a seat back, you are essentially raising it by a small amount, due to the triangulation of the seat tube angle. It might not be getting any 'higher' but it does get farther away from the BB, which is the measurement that would matter. I don't know if it's a problem for you or not, but one of the adaptations to a too-high seat is to over-rotate the hips in an unconsious attempt to 'lengthen' the legs.
 

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cyclequip said:
Get a PT to assess whether or not you are lordotic - this will tilt the pelvis in such a way as to put pressure on your symphysis. I'd certainly consider a good bike fit - and not move the saddle rearward - this will effectively tilt you further forward and increase pressure. Also drop saddle height and raise the bars to relieve pressure in the short term - pressure felt means blood flow decrease as well and this is not healthy in the long term.
There is no reason to suggest that moving the saddle rearward will tilt one further forward, or that a forward tilt is a particular problem. Indeed, a proper position on a road bike is defined by having the pelvis tilted forward, rather than sitting 'on' the bike and bending the spine to reach. That compromises both breathing and muscular efficiency.

Granted, a rearward change in saddle position may require a change in front end fitting, but there's a reason things are done in a certain order when being fitted.
 

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danl1 said:
There is no reason to suggest that moving the saddle rearward will tilt one further forward, or that a forward tilt is a particular problem. Indeed, a proper position on a road bike is defined by having the pelvis tilted forward, rather than sitting 'on' the bike and bending the spine to reach. That compromises both breathing and muscular efficiency.

Granted, a rearward change in saddle position may require a change in front end fitting, but there's a reason things are done in a certain order when being fitted.
I could debate your opinions on bike fit, spinal tilt, breathing and muscular efficiency but it hardly seems necessary.

Your "theory" on centre of mass being properly balanced over the BB is nonsense. Balance on a properly sized and fitted bike will show a 40/60 split between front and rear wheel. Setback on the BB will be determined by a number of related issues - femur length, quad suppleness, hip flexor suppleness, hamstring suppleness, pelvic girdle tilt among others. Mashing and upward resultants from pedal force are minor and in reality, irrelevant. We spend most of our time riding at a pedal force that hardly affects upward resultants. What you then do is straddle a saddle and carry weight on hands as well as feet.

If you seriously believe that moving a saddle rearwards has no effect on pelvic tilt or the pressure on the symphysis, you don't understand the structure of the pelvic floor nor its interaction with a wedge-shaped saddle.

But the OP has likely been measured on a Specialized butt-bed, hence the sizing on the Toupe saddle. He has no problem with ischial soreness so why speculate on Aliante saddles of unknown width?

And your butt is going to end up where your overall fit makes you most comfortable. If the saddle is in the wrong place, your butt will be uncomfortable but this might be outweighed by other fit discomfort so you'll stay there.

I just think the Toupe is a hard saddle and is designed as a hammock saddle so tends to bend in the middle, creating upward slopes front and rear. A flatter saddle might help!! Also, tilting a saddle up is a sure way of diminishing blood flow in the nethers and is hardly a recommendation. This was why I suggested assessment by a PT for signs of lordosis as this is a common cause of perineal pressure.
 

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Well, you've heard most all of it. Try the saddle that works for the poster. Move your saddle forward or rearward. Level it or put it nose down. Fwiw, which is less than zero for you, I ride slightly nose up. Products and angles that work for me won't necessarily work for you.

Tinker with your saddle. If you have a stand, put the bike in the stand and move the saddle around til you find a good spot. If not, borrow one or take a hex key out on the road. Keep in mind that if you move the saddle back, you may have to lower it to maintain the same distance between saddle and pedal. If you move the saddle forward, you may have to raise it.

Most veteran riders have spent time finding saddles that work best and tinkering with them to get them in place. It's part of getting a new bike rideable for me and thankfully I'm quicker at it than I used to be now that I know what "right" feels like. Few veteran riders recommend a specific saddle other than leather which will ultimately shape to accomodate most riders. That being said, after a coupla years on a Brooks Pro I test rode a bike with a saddle that felt better day 1 than the Brooks Pro did. Been riding those saddles for 25 years but it still takes some fiddling around to get them set right.
 

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roadbike_moron said:
Pardon my ignorance. When you say moving my seat rearward, do you mean mvoing the seat in the direction of the front wheel so that my butt rest more to the rear of the saddle or the oppsite?
There are apparently two schools of thought regarding which way to move your saddle.
Forget the theory for a moment.

Now that you have the saddle level, make a note of the current position in relation to the seat post clamp.
Also make a note of the distance along the seat tube from the center of the bottom bracket (or pedal spindle) to the top of the saddle. For my bike, I measure from the top of the saddle to the top of the seat tube, much easier.
I also use painters tape on my seatpost and saddle for reference. The lower vertical tape is for level, and tape on the rails is for adjusting forward / rearward.

View attachment 159724

1. Slide it rearward (towards back wheel) about 5mm (this is a lot but bear with me for a moment). Check the distance to the top of the saddle and adjust the seatpost up or down to keep it the same as when you started.
Take the bike for a short ride with the tools needed to adjust the saddle and see if it feels better or worse.

2. Now slid it forward (towards to the front wheel) 10mm. This will get you 5mm forward of the starting position.
Ride and see if you feels better or worse.

One of my saddles went as far as 8mm forward before I could ride it comfortable.

Once you get a feel for which direction feels better or worse, fine tune by a few mm at a time. This is where the painters tape should help.

This may take some time, but you should find a spot which works.

Make a note of each position and how it feels to you.

OK, this is the hardest part. Once you find the most comfortable position, assuming you have multiple cycling shorts, ride with each shorts without making any adjustments. You may find that one of them is not as good as the others and has to be retired.

Now after all this you may find that the saddle sucks. Then you need to find a LBS which will allow you to try different saddles.
 

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-OK, so my theory is wrong. Please tell Andy Pruitt, Ben Serotta, Steve Hogg, Keith Bontrager, and many other top names in the field. Balance with respect to weight distribution on the wheels, and to proper ergonomic fitting on the bike are separate discussions. In any case, very few would suggest that 60/40 on the wheels is 'good' weight distribution.

-Femur length, suppleness, etc. are indirect concerns. They are factors that relate to saddle position, not measurements that describe it directly. Structural length most directly influences seat height, and flexibility fore-aft position, as being able to bend more comfortably forward (at the pelvis) moves the CG forward, suggesting a reaward move of the saddle to retain adequate balance. But they are deeply interdependant, and it is not as if there is a formula that by combining values for these numbers one could come up with an appropriate saddle height and setback.

-Yes, if moving a saddle aft was the only thing you did, pelvic tilt would change. Doing so in a relavant range, the amount would be insignificant. But again, the pelvis is SUPPOSED to be tilted forward. The very design of a saddle is such that the sit bones will perch on top of the wide portion, elevating the inferior ramus (previously called the pubic tubercle here for clarity, though that's not anatomically correct) off of the nose of the saddle (ideally, balancing the load, but same point.)

-Anatomies vary. The one thing that's particularly relevant and you barely mention is pelvic floor tilt, and also size. Some folks' pubic bones are lower and/or farther forward than others. In those cases, horizontally flat saddles can exacerbate the problem, as interference between the nose and the pubes is increased. A differently shaped saddle, such as the Aliante, can allow for more clearance - effectively the change people are looking for when they tilt a saddle down, without the unfortunate effects cause by sliding. It also avoids the problem of unnecessary and potentially damaging cutouts. Those only serve to decrease the surface area available for support, and create edges that do a better job of cutting the blood flow they are designed to enhance. (comment only for normal, healthy male subjects - female anatomy can benefit from cutouts, as can men with certain diagnosed conditions.)

-Also, it's width is hardly unknown, being readily available from any number of sources. Further, like many other saddles it's shape is such that it accommodates a range of widths based on positioning. Saddle width only becomes critically important on saddles designed with a flat transverse shape. At that, the Aliante was merely a suggestion - there are several others with similar attributes. Interestingly, saddle width was a nearly unknown/disregarded value, until Specialized began to use it as a marketing tool. Prior to that, shape as reflecting personal anatomy was seen as the main driver of saddle comfort. In my view, that's still a valid concept.

-The question of tilt suggests that you may not fully understand how anatomy interacts with saddle geometry. Forward tilts (of the saddle) can create sliding and exacerbate the problems we're discussing, by lowering the pelvic floor onto the saddle nose once the sitbones are off their perches. Level works in almost all situations where a correct saddle is chosen, and there aren't abnormal (relatively posterior) pelvic tilts, but some fit challenges can be addressed by very small upward tilts. In opposition to your hypothesis, to the extent that this helps a rider stay 'on back', it greatly increases rather than decreases blood flow.

-Also, you (in my estimation) mis-associate saddle 'flatness' with saddle flexibility. I agree that the flexibility and resulting hammock effect could be a problem, but only when combined with the relative flatness of the Toupe. It is very possible that a more saddle-shaped but more rigid design could help, by creating room for the pelvic floor below the sitting perch. (Of course, it could also hurt if not positioned correctly.) It's also worth noting that 'hammocking' problems are generally associated with perineal pressure/bloodflow issues, not inferior ramus/'sitting' soreness.

-The neat trick with curved (saddle-shaped!) saddles as compared to flat, is that a curve can accommodate variances in pelvic tilt independant of the relation to gravity. A curved shape can 'cradle' an anterior tilt (that is, relative to the ischial tuberosity and inferior ramus) without creating a 'slope' that the rider will slide down, creating pressure. This shape also allows room for the perineum without resorting to cutouts.

-Lordosis is nearly irrelevant, being only weakly correlated to pelvic tilt - and even there, it's primarily relevant only to sitting or standing, neither of which are good analogues to riding a bicycle. (BTW, I'm mildly lordotic.) The reason is that there is considerable variability in orientation of the sacrum to the iliac portion of the pelvis halves. In many cases, lordosis allows the rider to get lower and flatter without creating an excessive anterior pelvic tilt - exactly the opposite of the effect you propose. You are correct that In extreme cases or when combined with hypokyphosis, it could help to contribute to excessive tilt, and in those cases your advice to raise the bars (and/or move them closer) could very well be useful.

-You've diagnosed against perineal pressure, which is not the complaint of the rider. Many similar diagnostic causes, but potentially a difference in recommended solutions, as suggested above. The majority of cases I've seen as described here have been helped by getting positioned onto the rear of an appropriately fitting saddle. Certainly other causes and solutions could be appropriate, but without complete information, I played the odds.

-If I've erred - and it's very possible, given the medium we're working in - it would tend to be in believing that the fit was nearly correct, and merely in need of some minor adjustment. I took that based on the the lack of other complaints. A diagnosis of lordosis and related excessively low front-end as you suggest would tend to be accompanied by complaints of hand numbness, neck stiffness/shoulder soreness, and so on, yet we don't have those in evidence.

Only meant to explain my conclusions, not to argue. Peace.
 

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I have a toupe gel and have found that having the front/tip EVER SO SLIGHTLY TILTED UP gives me best comfort. I have heard others say the same.
 

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danl1 said:
-OK, so my theory is wrong. Please tell Andy Pruitt, Ben Serotta, Steve Hogg, Keith Bontrager, and many other top names in the field. Balance with respect to weight distribution on the wheels, and to proper ergonomic fitting on the bike are separate discussions. In any case, very few would suggest that 60/40 on the wheels is 'good' weight distribution.

-Femur length, suppleness, etc. are indirect concerns. They are factors that relate to saddle position, not measurements that describe it directly. Structural length most directly influences seat height, and flexibility fore-aft position, as being able to bend more comfortably forward (at the pelvis) moves the CG forward, suggesting a reaward move of the saddle to retain adequate balance. But they are deeply interdependant, and it is not as if there is a formula that by combining values for these numbers one could come up with an appropriate saddle height and setback.

-Yes, if moving a saddle aft was the only thing you did, pelvic tilt would change. Doing so in a relavant range, the amount would be insignificant. But again, the pelvis is SUPPOSED to be tilted forward. The very design of a saddle is such that the sit bones will perch on top of the wide portion, elevating the inferior ramus (previously called the pubic tubercle here for clarity, though that's not anatomically correct) off of the nose of the saddle (ideally, balancing the load, but same point.)

-Anatomies vary. The one thing that's particularly relevant and you barely mention is pelvic floor tilt, and also size. Some folks' pubic bones are lower and/or farther forward than others. In those cases, horizontally flat saddles can exacerbate the problem, as interference between the nose and the pubes is increased. A differently shaped saddle, such as the Aliante, can allow for more clearance - effectively the change people are looking for when they tilt a saddle down, without the unfortunate effects cause by sliding. It also avoids the problem of unnecessary and potentially damaging cutouts. Those only serve to decrease the surface area available for support, and create edges that do a better job of cutting the blood flow they are designed to enhance. (comment only for normal, healthy male subjects - female anatomy can benefit from cutouts, as can men with certain diagnosed conditions.)

-Also, it's width is hardly unknown, being readily available from any number of sources. Further, like many other saddles it's shape is such that it accommodates a range of widths based on positioning. Saddle width only becomes critically important on saddles designed with a flat transverse shape. At that, the Aliante was merely a suggestion - there are several others with similar attributes. Interestingly, saddle width was a nearly unknown/disregarded value, until Specialized began to use it as a marketing tool. Prior to that, shape as reflecting personal anatomy was seen as the main driver of saddle comfort. In my view, that's still a valid concept.

-The question of tilt suggests that you may not fully understand how anatomy interacts with saddle geometry. Forward tilts (of the saddle) can create sliding and exacerbate the problems we're discussing, by lowering the pelvic floor onto the saddle nose once the sitbones are off their perches. Level works in almost all situations where a correct saddle is chosen, and there aren't abnormal (relatively posterior) pelvic tilts, but some fit challenges can be addressed by very small upward tilts. In opposition to your hypothesis, to the extent that this helps a rider stay 'on back', it greatly increases rather than decreases blood flow.

-Also, you (in my estimation) mis-associate saddle 'flatness' with saddle flexibility. I agree that the flexibility and resulting hammock effect could be a problem, but only when combined with the relative flatness of the Toupe. It is very possible that a more saddle-shaped but more rigid design could help, by creating room for the pelvic floor below the sitting perch. (Of course, it could also hurt if not positioned correctly.) It's also worth noting that 'hammocking' problems are generally associated with perineal pressure/bloodflow issues, not inferior ramus/'sitting' soreness.

-The neat trick with curved (saddle-shaped!) saddles as compared to flat, is that a curve can accommodate variances in pelvic tilt independant of the relation to gravity. A curved shape can 'cradle' an anterior tilt (that is, relative to the ischial tuberosity and inferior ramus) without creating a 'slope' that the rider will slide down, creating pressure. This shape also allows room for the perineum without resorting to cutouts.

-Lordosis is nearly irrelevant, being only weakly correlated to pelvic tilt - and even there, it's primarily relevant only to sitting or standing, neither of which are good analogues to riding a bicycle. (BTW, I'm mildly lordotic.) The reason is that there is considerable variability in orientation of the sacrum to the iliac portion of the pelvis halves. In many cases, lordosis allows the rider to get lower and flatter without creating an excessive anterior pelvic tilt - exactly the opposite of the effect you propose. You are correct that In extreme cases or when combined with hypokyphosis, it could help to contribute to excessive tilt, and in those cases your advice to raise the bars (and/or move them closer) could very well be useful.

-You've diagnosed against perineal pressure, which is not the complaint of the rider. Many similar diagnostic causes, but potentially a difference in recommended solutions, as suggested above. The majority of cases I've seen as described here have been helped by getting positioned onto the rear of an appropriately fitting saddle. Certainly other causes and solutions could be appropriate, but without complete information, I played the odds.

-If I've erred - and it's very possible, given the medium we're working in - it would tend to be in believing that the fit was nearly correct, and merely in need of some minor adjustment. I took that based on the the lack of other complaints. A diagnosis of lordosis and related excessively low front-end as you suggest would tend to be accompanied by complaints of hand numbness, neck stiffness/shoulder soreness, and so on, yet we don't have those in evidence.

Only meant to explain my conclusions, not to argue. Peace.
Lots of info. My fit training is Pruitt-derived and I have some good knowledge of the issues at play. Also, kindly don't associate comments to me which I never made. Firstly, you aim for 60/40m weight distribution on a bike. Anything deviating too much from this becomes dangerous.
Secondly, every biomechanical element affects positioning and they are all related. There is no measurement for saddle positioning apart from effective comfort.
You concede my point on pelvic tilt and saddle rearward positioning. Please show me what you mean by pelvic tilt. Further, the saddle wedge shape is designed to support the inferior ramus as you move around - the notion of continually balancing on your tuberosities is unworkable. Oh, and the pubic tubercle is the superior ramus......
Yes, anatomy varies. Hence the measurement of ischial width to establish base saddle support. Then fit needs to take care of pelvic floor variances. You also belong to the school that propounds cutouts as harming bloodflow. Yes, bad cutouts can. Good ones don't. I'd suggest you avail yourself of Roger Minkow's data in this regard. Quite a revelation and it includes evaluation of the Fizik saddles. Since you postulate greatly increased bloodflow in your rearward positioning, perhaps you might have some data to back this up............. And I never suggested downward tilt of a saddle nose - this has it's place but that isn't here and never entered my argument.
Remember also that pressure is not always correlated with bloodflow (see Minkow). The two can sometimes manifest independent phenomena. No pressure doesn't always mean good bloodflow.
You're right that I diagnosed against perineal pressure when the complaint was for pressure on the tubercles. But the tubercle pressure is also common with bad rider positioning on the saddle, incorrect saddle sizing or even new saddle soreness, but as I suggested, nothing will beat a good fit in curing this. However, rearward shift of saddles IS often a cause of perineal pressure.
And I never heard Andy Pruitt speak about balancing mass over the BB!
Also just explaining my position (ing) if you wish...... And always seeking knowledge.
 

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+1 to......?
After trying to follow these profound discussions, I am a little embarrassed to admit that my Fizik Arione Saddle perched 'level' on my Thomson Elite Seatpost is very comfortable for my daily 50 mile training ride.
 
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