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Home » Cycling » I Really Screwed Up with the Person who matters most to Me….  Solved Saddle Issues, and what EVERYONE needs to know about Racing Bicycle Saddles.

I Really Screwed Up with the Person who matters most to Me….  Solved Saddle Issues, and what EVERYONE needs to know about Racing Bicycle Saddles.

September 2017
« Aug   Oct »

My wife has checked out four saddles in the last month.  The one that came on her bike originally, two other Specialized Riva’s (one stout and one squishy) and an Avocet Touring WII.  For those who know women’s saddles, that Avocet is worth its weight in gold.  Seriously.  It is coveted like no other saddle, even more than a Brooks.

My wife hated all of them, and it drove me nuts that I couldn’t figure it out for her.

While on DALMAC I spoke to the owner of our local shop about the problem, and it became a big problem.  There’s nothing worse than not being able to get comfortable in the saddle.

My wife, at the end of her rope, went into the shop to discuss options the other day and that’s when the owner pulled out a Specialized saddle measuring pad.  She measures out at 150mm.  We checked, every saddle she’s tried has been stamped with a 155.  Trying to fit 150mm wide sit bones on a 155mm saddle is like trying to use a 10mm Allen wrench to tighten down your brake cable (it’s a 5mm bolt).  While impossible is a good word to start with, painful works.  I should have thought of this.  I had the same problem when I bought my 5200.

We bought her a Ruby 143mm.  The clouds parted and sun shone.

The saddle has less padding that the other options but it fits properly.  

Unfortunately, there are some language/lingo issues that we just couldn’t bust through that, with the benefit of hindsight, could have made the diagnosing quicker.  

Second, I naturally assumed, being a woman, my wife’s hips would be wider than mine.  They were, but only by a few millimeters.  That was a bit ignorant on my part, though in my defense, she’d been riding the bike for two years…  

Finally, I assumed that she’d already done the width test.

As it goes, all’s well that ends well, but I can’t help but feel like I let her down by not figuring this out sooner.  That measurement pad should have been the first thing I suggested.

So, my friends, if your saddle feels like it’s too wide to fit between your legs (and I mean that literally), get measured.  It probably is.  The test takes two minutes and can mean the difference between riding in pain or comfort.  Simple a$$ that.



  1. Worth mentioning that most adults on the planet have only millimeter differences in the position of the ‘sitting’ bones – irrespective of height, weight, build. This is the reason that ISM saddles work so well for men and women. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to see a 5mm difference in the width of a saddle, let alone feel it.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I would, and did, and I can tell you, it HURTS. We’re talking about racing saddles here, not your typical run of the mill leisure bike saddle too…. and if what you say were true, making 143mm, 155mm, and 160mm saddles wouldn’t be necessary… Of course, looked at that way, we’re only talking about 17mm. You take a 143 butt and put it on a 160mm saddle over a few hundred miles, and you will know the meaning of pain.

  2. Sheree says:

    Nothing worse than an uncomfortable saddle. Goodness knows how your wife has managed for the past two years.

    • bgddyjim says:

      She wasn’t putting in the miles back then like she is now. Originally she liked the saddle that came on the bike. It was only after she started jumping up the miles that she realized there was a problem.

  3. Archetype says:

    I just keep thinking that the general design of the saddle is poor. I cannot believe no one has come up with something better. Why not something of a sport touring moto saddle? But a bit narrower and shorter obviously. But not so tapered at the nose. While still allowing good thigh/leg clearance.
    Or something else completely different. But god, the current designs are terrible imo. The ass simple was not made for sitting in general… but certainly NOT sitting on these bloody pieces of seats! 😀

    • Try an ISM! I have been using them for 10 years and have competed in multiple 24-hour events – they are designed so that the soft tissue is not touching he saddle. Road cyclists don’t like them because they are not Italian (they’re made in the US) and so not sexy enough. Any one who is determined to find a better way (they take a little practice to get used to), ends up loving them.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I’ve heard good and bad things about them…. A friend of mine hated his (a bike shop owner who got it for free). I’ll definitely take it under advisement though.

      • Most retailers should have demo models that you can use for free – make sure you ride them for plenty of miles to test and make sure you set it back a long way (the nose should be over an inch further back than your usual saddle – whilst you should stay in the same place relative to the pedals and the bars so that you ‘perch’ off the front). Give it a go!

      • Archetype says:

        I will check it out! Thank you for the information Simon.

  4. MJ Ray says:

    Do you mean the measuring pad indicated that she needed a 150mm wide saddle? If someone’s sit bones were 150mm apart, they’d be hanging over the sides of a 143mm saddle.

    • bgddyjim says:

      That’s not how it works. You want a little under when you ride on an aggressive bike. You go wider when you ride upright.

      • MJ Ray says:

        I don’t know how it works. I don’t think I ever saw the mat in the local Specialized dealer and I don’t go there any more (bad work and also boycotting Spesh since the Roubaix lawsuit). If it measures you sat upright rather than sat as you would on the target bike, that would explain the difference with other ways of measuring.

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