Today is our first installment of Fit Fridays and comes from our Advanced Services Manager, Chris Rogers. Chris is a Certified Master BG Fit Technician who not only oversees the fit program at Erik’s Bike Shop, but has also fit many happy riders from novice to pro, including some of the HTC-Highroad Team.
It’s the Seat
It seems obvious that a good bike fit would begin with the seat. Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle could tell you that the seat affects comfort more than any other contact point on a bicycle.
The Challenge is, with so many choices, how do you end up with the right one? Ask any cyclist that you know and they will likely have a strong opinion on saddles. And they may even have a box of used saddles somewhere that have not passed the test of time. Saddle selection has historically relied on: advice from friends or other cyclists, popular opinion, thumb test of the padding, maybe a quick test ride, appearance and or weight. Because a saddle works for someone else does not mean it’s right for you. Your saddle should match your riding style, flexibility; sit bone width and physical needs. There is generally this attitude about saddles that initially you may have to just tough it out, and eventually you will get used to it. We believe that just because you are used to it doesn’t mean that the saddle is right for your fit.
The Problem is that the saddle affects more than just your posterior, it can and does change the entire fit of your bike. Here are a few problems that we commonly see.
- Wide saddles can force your hips forward moving your whole center of gravity toward the handlebar putting more pressure on your hands, arms, neck and shoulders.
- They can cause chaffing and discomfort
- If the rear of the saddle is too wide it can often force a rider to sit on the nose, or narrower part of the saddle,
- Wide saddles can limit leg extension, Causing riders to ride with a lower than optimal saddle height, making it harder to pedal your bike, and potentially placing more strain on your knees.
- These saddles can lack support, and cause our hips to rock, this is not very efficient, and this rocking or instability could potentially cause back pain
- They can work like a hammock where the rider will gravitate to the center, and not where they are supposed to be sitting.
- Riders tend to ride far back where the saddle is wider, this can make the reach to the handlebar feel too long
- You probably are not sitting on your sit bones, that means you are potentially sitting on nerves, arteries and other soft tissue that just wasn’t made to be load bearing
- If you cannot sit on both of your sit bones, your body will adapt to get at least one of them on the saddle, if you are sitting on only one of your sit bones, then you will most likely be sitting crooked or twisted on the saddle.
- Dome shaped saddles can cause many issues, but mostly what we see is that riders trying to avoid putting too much pressure on the front of a domed shaped saddle will typically roll their hips back and curve the back. Affecting the rider’s posture
We start each fit session by ensuring that the rider’s saddle is giving them the correct support, and allows them to have good posture on their bike. If this key contact point does not allow these two things, then any other fit corrections cannot achieve the intended result. In short the saddle is the foundation of a good bike fit.