Having recently had a Specialised BG bike fit at Hargroves cycles in Fareham, leading to a change of stem and seatpost, i’ve been happy with my position on the bike (although only having used the bike on the turbo, its felt far more comfortable with less pressure on my arms and shoulders). The only thing left to get right was my saddle, in three years and four or five saddles i’ve never been comfortable.
I’ve been going at it the wrong way for a long time with saddles, first one I bought was based upon weight…… colossal error. Second because I though it was about sit bone width, again wrong but sniffing along the right path. A few more saddles later and I’m still no better off, although I have found relative comfort on the ISM Adamo Racing.
This is where Marc at Bournemouth Cycle Works stepped in. As a Trek dealer he has recently invested in the saddle pressure mapping module that further enhances their already advanced Precision Fit system. This system is tried and tested and is incredibly comprehensive, with the saddle mapping being exactly what I needed.
Marc set up my bike on the turbo to quickly check the fit over, I jumped on and he ran the video camera so he could replay in slow motion, and he agreed with what was already done. He also agreed with the analysis of my ankles (over pronated) and my slightly curved back.
Now onto the saddle analysis. Marc set up the dummy bike to the same dimensions as my Ribble, this bike is fitted with a quick release saddle clamp enabling easy changes without affecting height or alignment. We started with my current saddle, the Charge Spoon, to see how my weight was currently being distributed. To allow testing Marc fitted a cover over the saddle that had a little electrical box hanging from the back. Swinging my leg over the bike I sat down, reached for the hoods and started to pedal, Marc pointed me towards the large TV screen on the wall on which we had recently viewed the motion capture of my fit. The pad was streaming live data of my saddle weight distribution and it was displayed in front of me, amazing.
Marc looked to reduce the pressure on the contact points with the saddle (there was too much pressure being put through my sit bones) which in turn would result in reduced fatigue. This was done by trying different saddles and angles. So after 13 or so saddles and a couple of different angles on each we had found a saddle setup that suited my gristly backside. A Fizik Aliante VSX with a 0.5 degree nose rise. Take a look at the pictures below that show the difference between my original Charge Spoon and the new Fizik, an incredible pressure reduction. I must add that its not down to the brand, I tried two other Fizik models and neither were better than the spoon.
This exercise took around two hours in total but couldn’t be more worth it, there is no way that I could have afforded to buy and try all of those saddles. Not only was it a great money saver, it’s a great time saver. We covered the equivalent of over a year of testing in an evening.
If you are struggling to get comfy on your saddle but everything else is right, its not down to the price, the brand, or the colour of the saddle. Its down to what fits your body, how you set it up, and (unless you take advantage of a Precision Fit) a lot of trial and error. I cant recommend the session enough, go see Marc and get that saddle right.
Charge spoon on the left before, Fizik Aliante VSX on the right.
Pressure distribution left and right on both saddles.
Pressure distribution fore aft on both saddles after setup.