What to Know Before You Buy a Saddle

Know what to look for and be aware of the warning signs that your saddle is wrong for you.

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What to Know Before You Buy a Saddle


+ pressure relief is possible with cutaway slots in the saddle

+ look for women-specific seats or seats designed to fit the position of your sit bones – wider seats will accommodate wider sit bones

+ your pelvis tends to sit further back

+ watch for numbness and chafing, as they might be signs that you need a different type of saddle


+ your sit bones tend to be closer together, so choose a narrower seat

+ numbness can lead to nerve damage and even erectile dysfunction

+ ensure padding on your saddle is not getting too compressed

+ chafing can lead to saddle sores if not attended to


  • Eric

    Does the saddle (size, shape, material) affect how your pants wear out?

  • Kim Goddard

    One thing to keep in mind is that not all women have wide sit bones, nor all men narrow ones – the average width is greater for women than the average for men, but that does not predict, necessarily, what an individual person’s measurement will be. Overall body size and skeletal type play into it as well. So don’t be afraid to try an “opposite” saddle!

    Also keep in mind that the squishier the saddle, the more your sit bones will press into it and the greater risk of chafing. It’s counter-intuitive but you *don”t* want a saddle that is super-comfy to sit on. It isn’t a bar stool – only about half your weight should be on it, most of the time, since your legs and gluteal muscles are actively involved in your pedaling.

    I spend a lot of time conducting mini-interventions at the saddle display… gets me odd looks, I am afraid!

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