The differences between men’s and women’s bikes are dissolved nowadays. The situation is similar to bicycle saddles. Because many manufacturers – like ergonomics expert SQ-Lab – sell their saddles without gender separation. What fits a man should also be good for a woman. Nevertheless, there still seems to be a great demand for special women’s saddles – especially pain-free bicycle saddles for ladies.
What you find most are saddles with thick extra padding. Yet studies increasingly claim that the lady’s problem areas when sitting hardly differ from those of the gentleman. The lady’s sit bones tend to be wider, but also not necessarily wider than men’s. Despite everything, you should never underestimate the individual needs of the female rider – which is why here is our guide specifically for women’s saddles. We give tips on how to find the right bike saddle for the lady and what else you can do to make cycling pain-free.
The topic is so hot that even the current edition of the Antritt podcast talks about saddles and specifically women’s saddles. While the posts (including this one) are written and spoken by men, we hope to provide some facts and tips to help in the search.
Overview Of Bicycle Saddles For Women
At the top of this post, you’ll see an overview of several popular women’s saddles from brand-name manufacturers. We’ve selected all of these saddles because they have certain features that make them the perfect saddle for different women riders – but we can’t say which one is best for you. Brooks’ hard seat leather is also preferred by some ladies.
The Painless Women’s Saddle – That’s What Matters
The presented bicycle saddles only rudimentarily reflect the product diversity of the available women’s saddles. But which saddle is the right one? That’s something every female rider has to decide for herself. However, there are some factors that you should pay attention to.
- Gel saddles are in vogue and the comfort when test sitting may be well received during the short test. But note that heavy padding exerts pressure in the wrong places during long rides (about an hour or more). Experiences of long-distance women riders show that the pressure should always be on the sit bones, and therefore less padded saddles are better for long distances.
- Width: The saddle should not be too wide, nor too narrow. To determine the appropriate saddle width, you need to measure your own sit bones. You can find out how to do this here: Seat bone measurement – Comfortable bicycle saddles must fit.
- Recess in the middle of the saddle. This recess ensures that there is less pressure in the perineal area of the rider – a saddle shape that is also used in many men’s saddles. Whether this recess makes sense is controversial – many cyclists and – Rider find it good, but it can also lead to pressure discomfort at the edges of the recess.
- Leather or Plastic: A decisive criterion in the choice of the saddle lies in the question of material: leather or plastic? Many cyclists are not even aware of this, as leather saddles are commonly regarded as a hipster trend. In the touring bike scene, however, leather saddles are known as ideal long-distance saddles – because although the leather is unfamiliar and a bit hard at first, the seat leather adapts to the individual seat shape over time. So a leather saddle can actually be more comfortable than a modern plastic saddle.
A Thick Cushion For Pain Free Sitting – That Doesn’t Work
It’s easy to fall into the trap of simply buying a cheap plastic saddle that looks like a thick seat cushion. At popular online sellers like Amazon, you can find dozens of such cheap models – mostly from no-name manufacturers in Asia. But these saddles often have reviews on their side, too.
Nevertheless, we advocate taking a closer look at the feel-good factors of the bicycle saddle customer. In fact, in the literature we know that you should rather trust ergonomically proven factors – consequently, the bicycle saddle should not be too soft. An extremely soft bicycle saddle may feel comfortable at first, but it is not suitable for athletic use. In short, cycling creates constant pressure between the rider and the saddle – this is because you sit in a relatively static position for long periods of time, and a certain amount of your body weight is supported by the saddle. This pressure cannot be eliminated. But a good saddle provides good support so that the pressure is distributed as evenly as possible and no problem areas develop.
Extra Tips For Pain Free Cycling
Even with the most expensive, ergonomic saddle, you may experience seat discomfort. This is because you have to look at the other factors as well. For example, it may turn out that it’s not the saddle at all that’s causing the pain. With these tips, you can ride your bike pain-free.
Cycling Shorts For Women
A suitable pair of cycling shorts with a seat pad is most often suggested – sometimes even before changing the bicycle saddle. If you have never ridden with proper cycling pants, you should try them! By the way, you should wear the cycling shorts completely without underwear underneath. The cycling shorts are practically the underwear on the bike. Otherwise, the underwear chafes and the bike pants can not fulfill their purpose.
A favorite insider tip of long-distance drivers: the seat cream, buttocks cream, or chamois cream. All these terms describe basically the same thing: A sports ointment that is supposed to reduce friction on the skin and thus prevent seat pain. This cream is said to be especially worthwhile for longer rides, where painful friction can occur over time (and constant movement). The cream is applied either directly to the body, or you apply it to the inner seat pad of the bike shorts.
Correctly Adjust The Saddle
Last but not least, you should also check whether you have adjusted your bicycle saddle correctly. The correct saddle height is only one of many factors.