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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few questions here really now that I think about it.
If I was to buy a new saddle, would I want it wider than my sit bones so they are supported or narrower so the saddle sits more between them?

At what points do you measure a saddle from? The widest part or a little from the rear of the saddle.

I measured my Ora Tour and ballpark it around 130 mm and I slide off it all the time. I can't seem to stay on the back of the saddle where I am supposed to be (or so says my LBS fitter guy). We have just changed to a shorter stem and the ride is more uncomfortable (sore shoulders) so I was thinking of switching saddles.
 

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If you're sliding off the front, the saddle is not level. If you got a fitting and they didn't actually level the saddle and now want to sell you different stems or saddles or whatever, you might want to seriously consider doing business somewhere else.

As for the width of the saddle, you measure the widest part and it should be, I believe, a bit wider than your sit bones. You want your sit bones supported by the saddle.
 

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The seat is level with the top tube. "Sliding off" may be a bit strong. If I push myself onto the back, wide part of the saddle I invaribaly find myself more around the middle part a few minutes later. The fitter guy said I should be on the back. He seems really reputable, experienced and caring (but now that you mention it I did buy a $80 stem!!)
 

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BruceG1 said:
If I push myself onto the back, wide part of the saddle I invaribaly find myself more around the middle part a few minutes later.
I had the exact problem. Here's what I have done:

1. Move moving your saddle forward - closer to the stem.

2. It could be that you're not accustom to this riding position and your body is creeping up to compensate. Try this technique: every once in a while stand on your pedals and then sit down on your saddle. You want your sit bones support by the widest part of your saddle. Keep doing this and you should develop muscle memory.

3. Try a wider saddle. I went through 3 different saddles before finding the right one.

4. Make sure your saddle is absolutely level.
 

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BruceG1 said:
The seat is level with the top tube. "Sliding off" may be a bit strong. If I push myself onto the back, wide part of the saddle I invaribaly find myself more around the middle part a few minutes later. The fitter guy said I should be on the back. He seems really reputable, experienced and caring (but now that you mention it I did buy a $80 stem!!)
Any numbness at the saddle or bar contact points?
 

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BruceG1 said:
The seat is level with the top tube.
You mean it's parallel to the top tube? That seems more than a bit bizarre. If you have a sloping top tube you will be really uncomfortable. The saddle needs to be level with the riding surface, forget the top tube.
 

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BruceG1 said:
Yea I get a bit of sore butt around the 15 mile mark. Mostly around the sit bones. This is why I was thinking to replace saddle. Bar contact points are comfortable though.
I was mostly curious about numbness, because that would indicate a need for a different approach.

Making an assumption, some of this could be attributed to you becoming accustomed to the road riding position and the saddle itself. If you had no shoulder soreness prior to the LBS installing the shorter stem, I'd ask them to reinstall the old one.

Two other things to try are to have an LBS measure your sit bones and determine your sizing requirements - some Specialized and Bonty dealers have the tools - and the second thing to try is tilting the tip of your saddle up slightly. The saddle should start level with the ground (as opposed to the top tube), then be adjusted up, but slightly.

I'd try that adjustment in conjunction with the old stem and see how that feels. Give it a few rides (unless it obviously isn't working) before pursuing another saddle.
 

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BruceG1 said:
The seat is level with the top tube. "Sliding off" may be a bit strong. If I push myself onto the back, wide part of the saddle I invaribaly find myself more around the middle part a few minutes later. The fitter guy said I should be on the back. He seems really reputable, experienced and caring (but now that you mention it I did buy a $80 stem!!)
That can mean that the saddle is too far forward. With a more rearward saddle, the effort of pedaling drives the hips partly backward, where a balance point too far forward will tend to move the rider forward. So a shorter stem might help, but it might want to be in conjunction with a bit more setback. If your cycling posture was OK beforehand, changing only the stem will tend to tilt the pelvis up, which causes a wedging motion that will drive the rider forward as the seat drives into the soft tissues. To be sure, there are other possibilities, and I obviously can't see you on the bike.

As for your original question, saddle width is a marketing trick more than a useful metric. What's important is that the wedge of the saddle matches the wedge of the pelvis when in proper riding posture. Then it's just a question of level and horizontal position: Any excess width will sit behind the rider.

That's an oversimplification: really narrow saddles won't work for really wide pelvises, and really wide ones won't suit a road bike riding position. But the notion that a particular distance between ischia = a particular width of saddle is a clever notion brought to you by Specialized's marketing department.
 

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BruceG1 said:
would I want it wider than my sit bones so they are supported or narrower so the saddle sits more between them?
You want the saddle to be wider than your sit bones so that they form the support points rather than your perinium. There are important hydraulic bits in the perineum.

I have mine 30 mm wider but 20 mm is probably enough.

BruceG1 said:
At what points do you measure a saddle from? The widest part or a little from the rear of the saddle.
It follows from the above that the relevant width is where your sit bones contact the saddle in your "normal" riding position.

BTW A slice of bread makes a very effective memory foam sit bone width estimator. Needless to say (but I will) - DON'T EAT THE BREAD.
 

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danl1 said:
That can mean that the saddle is too far forward. With a more rearward saddle, the effort of pedaling drives the hips partly backward, where a balance point too far forward will tend to move the rider forward. So a shorter stem might help, but it might want to be in conjunction with a bit more setback. If your cycling posture was OK beforehand, changing only the stem will tend to tilt the pelvis up, which causes a wedging motion that will drive the rider forward as the seat drives into the soft tissues. To be sure, there are other possibilities, and I obviously can't see you on the bike.

As for your original question, saddle width is a marketing trick more than a useful metric. What's important is that the wedge of the saddle matches the wedge of the pelvis when in proper riding posture. Then it's just a question of level and horizontal position: Any excess width will sit behind the rider.

That's an oversimplification: really narrow saddles won't work for really wide pelvises, and really wide ones won't suit a road bike riding position. But the notion that a particular distance between ischia = a particular width of saddle is a clever notion brought to you by Specialized's marketing department.
Pretty amusing. You talk about saddle width being a marketing trick then go on to explain the importance of the saddle wedge matching the wedge of the pelvis. Don't both wedges have specific widths?

As far as Specs 'notions' re: saddle sizing is concerned, I'd like for you to explain their motivations. The tools used are offered free of charge and instructions are posted on their website for measuring at home, so I'm not seeing where a sale of a Specialized saddle is assured.
 

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Do some things methodically:

Adjust your saddle height according the the standard method that your leg be straight when you're sitting on the saddle with your heel on the pedal and the pedal at the 6:00 position. Adjust a TINY bit up or down to find the sweet spot.... 1/8 - 1/4 inch at a time.

Adjust your saddle fore and aft according to the "knee over pedal spindle" method (you can look it up). Adjust a TINY bit forward and/or rearward to find your sweet spot. Do this in 1/8 - 1/4 inch increments.

Level the saddle - with a bubble level. Start with it dead level. Then, if you think you need to tweak, try a TINY bit sloping rearward first. Or try a TINY bit sloping forward. Less than a "bubble width" tiny.

Then decide if you need a new saddle. You need to be orderly about this stuff.

As far as width: depends on your anatomy and also your riding position. The more aggressive/forward leaning your position, the narrower your contact point (sit bones) is. That part of your anatomy gets narrower as you rotate foward on your butt.

Also, the harder you pedal, the less butt pressure you'll have - translates into spending more time riding not only gets your body used to the position and saddle, but also makes your legs stronger which support you better - less pressure on the sit bones.

Hope that all makes sense.

But mainly, get your position right. If your saddle is still uncomfortable, try to either find a place that will let you test them or try to make an educated guess. Everybody's different, saddle brand or model advice from other people is generally useless.
 

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What they said...

...in addition, I switched to a Specialized saddle, partly because they have a unique fitting system that pretty accurately measures your sit bone width and recommends the corresponding saddle width...
 

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Camilo said:
Do some things methodically:

Level the saddle - with a bubble level. Start with it dead level. Then, if you think you need to tweak, try a TINY bit sloping rearward first. Or try a TINY bit sloping forward. Less than a "bubble width" tiny.
All thumbnails, click to enlarge




BruceG1 said:
The seat is level with the top tube. "Sliding off" may be a bit strong. ....
As you can see, the top tube is not level usually on any bicycle, and in some cases not even close. Visually my SuperSix top tube looks as if its level, but it's not.





This is a great saddle but many can't ride it. It's a Antares, with a 142 mm width, wider than the Arione which is 134 mm width. You should try a fit kit from a local bike shop and try out saddles before dumping huge amounts of cash in hit'n miss attempts.
 

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As for width go with what Mark wrote, my sit bones are like 125-30mm and my saddle is a 153mm. Took me two 130mm saddles to realize I should measure my sit bones to figure this out instead of randomly buying saddles.

I also have 'felt' like I was sliding off the front and it took a bit of playing with the level of the saddle to get it right. Too high in the front = too much pressure, too low felt like sliding off the front, somewhere in between; goldilocks. Go out for a ride with the necessary tools to adjust your saddle and fiddle with it till you got it right. May take more then one ride but once it is right you'll know it.

BTW after 5 saddles the new turbomatic is what I ended up with and for me it is awesome.

good luck
 

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PJ352 said:
Pretty amusing. You talk about saddle width being a marketing trick then go on to explain the importance of the saddle wedge matching the wedge of the pelvis. Don't both wedges have specific widths?

As far as Specs 'notions' re: saddle sizing is concerned, I'd like for you to explain their motivations. The tools used are offered free of charge and instructions are posted on their website for measuring at home, so I'm not seeing where a sale of a Specialized saddle is assured.
:rolleyes:
Please watch the following advanced technical demonstration.

//\\

OK, I'll need you to use your imagination a little. Push the inner part up and down, leaving the outer bits where they are. Do the little lines stay the same distance apart?

Wedges are by definition adjustable fits. Move forward or aft and the fit is different. The aft edge of many/most saddles is much wider than the sit bones on most riders, especially historically speaking. Are we to assume Merckx, Coppi, Antequil, and the rest all fit their saddles badly, or that they all had pelvis' sized suitably for 6'8" amazonian women?

Specialized was the first maker to market saddles explicitly based on width, and the first to have the little measuring mats available at dealers. Prior to that certainly, differing brands / models were known to be / feel wider than others, but the notion of measuring your booty and matching it to an artificial number on a product card was their innovation. As in all marketing, the advantage lasts only until it is copied, at which point gullible consumers appear on the scene assuming it's somehow inalterable truth handed down on disappearing golden tablets.

Fwiw, the saddles that spurred this innovation were relatively flat shapes, which are more sensitive to some definition of width, though the measuring method available is far from precise, and the saddles are only offered in a few sizes. More traditionally shaped saddles that tend to curve smoothly on all axes don't successfully fit that model of measurement at all.
 

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danl1 said:
:rolleyes:
Please watch the following advanced technical demonstration.

//\\

OK, I'll need you to use your imagination a little. Push the inner part up and down, leaving the outer bits where they are. Do the little lines stay the same distance apart?

Wedges are by definition adjustable fits. Move forward or aft and the fit is different. The aft edge of many/most saddles is much wider than the sit bones on most riders, especially historically speaking. Are we to assume Merckx, Coppi, Antequil, and the rest all fit their saddles badly, or that they all had pelvis' sized suitably for 6'8" amazonian women?

Specialized was the first maker to market saddles explicitly based on width, and the first to have the little measuring mats available at dealers. Prior to that certainly, differing brands / models were known to be / feel wider than others, but the notion of measuring your booty and matching it to an artificial number on a product card was their innovation. As in all marketing, the advantage lasts only until it is copied, at which point gullible consumers appear on the scene assuming it's somehow inalterable truth handed down on disappearing golden tablets.

Fwiw, the saddles that spurred this innovation were relatively flat shapes, which are more sensitive to some definition of width, though the measuring method available is far from precise, and the saddles are only offered in a few sizes. More traditionally shaped saddles that tend to curve smoothly on all axes don't successfully fit that model of measurement at all.
I have to use more than a little imagination to swallow the verbal dance you're offering, but the sarcasm was a nice touch.

Predictably, you didn't answer either of my questions, but no matter. You keep your mid 80's 'notions' and I'll continue to offer advice that's based on my experiences/ knowledge.

The state of the art advances, and for sure there are fads/ marketing hype along the way that are best avoided, but saddle sizing (no matter who's idea it was) IMO has a place. It's no more an end all, be all than KOPS is, but I see no negative that will come from utilizing it, and some positives when cyclists do. So, no 'golden tablet', just another useful tool. And yes, that's just one aspect of saddle fit/ comfort. Shape/ contours along with other fit parameters play a part as well, even when a saddle is sized correctly.

BTW, you might want to look up the definition of wedge, because by definition, it's not an adjustable fit.
 
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