By Rick Schultz
Reading Fred Matheny’s detailed article on dealing with saddle discomfort, I would like to add a few things.
As a bike fitter, most of my client’s state that their number one issue is knee pain. Hands going numb, shoulder, neck pain is number two. Saddle pain is usually a distant third.
With that being said, saddle discomfort is still in the top three, and a minority of these clients also say they have been dealing with saddle sores.
Saddle discomfort can usually be traced to selecting the wrong saddle design for a particular riding style. For example, road cyclists sitting with their pelvis oriented more vertically will be placing more pressure on their Ischial Tuberosity requiring a slightly wider saddle. Road cyclists sitting with more anterior pelvic rotation will sit more on their pubic rami, requiring a saddle with a cutout. Making sure you are riding on a saddle that matches your specific riding orientation is the first thing that will help solve saddle discomfort. Amount of saddle padding should also be considered.
Now, onto the next topic!
With the amount of training and racing I used to do, I would get saddle sores all the time. Discussing this topic with many clients, one thing has been consistent – those who get saddle sores are always riding on the same saddle.
A given saddle might be comfortable but might not match your anatomy 100 percent. Where the saddle doesn’t match your anatomy, a hot-spot can appear that will sometimes turn into saddle sore(s).
Saddle Sore Mitigation
Testing a hypothesis, I prepped four different saddles and set them up the same via four bike fits. All the same height and same fore/aft position. When I feel saddle discomfort (potentially leading to a saddle sore), I switch out to saddle number two, which I ride for a few months until I feel a little discomfort then switch out to saddle number three, etc.
For the past many years, I experience very little saddle discomfort and have had zero saddle sores.
This is a trick that you might want to try as well. You could do this with as little as two saddles, but the minimum I would feel comfortable recommending is three. I just happen to have four saddles that fit me as well as four seat posts.
FYI – the saddles I use are
- Selle SMP VT30C, can substitute the F30C as well. Close to the same saddle but with leather cover (F30C) vs synthetic cover (VT30C).
- Bontrager AJNA PRO
- Shimano Pro Stealth
- Specialized Romin Evo
Give this trick a try and let us know how it works.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he’s a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He’s the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick’s full bio.