Saddle buying advice

Hi All,

I took on zwifting about a year ago and noticed i am slowly riding more… Outside i ride on a XC MTB and inside for Zwift i have a road bike. Spending more time on a bike made me realise my bum can manage comfortably on my saddle for about an hour. So i need to find something more suited to my backside :slight_smile:
I went to a big Giant bike store in Lincoln UK and felt like i am in a gallery. All bikes had the same saddle fitted and i was not offered to try any other! I could see them nicely presented on a wall but no way i could sit on them. No demo saddles but one and that was unavailable to buy as they do not make it… Range of Giant and fizik on display. If i knew what i wanted i would have ordered cheaper online…
When i asked how do people buy saddles i was told that people usually know what they want… I don’t. Having more comfortable saddle would make me ride more… I don’t know if my sitbones are wide or narrow. I never compared my backside with anybode else’s…
I would pay to have it fitted or to try some on. Lincoln is quite a small place and there are very few bike shops. I thought the biggest one would be my best bet and greatest choice. How wrong was I?
Any advice?

Ride on.


Get a sheet of alu foil, and something like a carpeted stair. Not deep carpeting, but carpeting–not a hard surface–that you can sit on. A chair with a towel on it even.

Lay the foil down in a single sheet. Strip down to some thin undergarments, and sit down on the foil. Back straight, but then go ahead and lead forward a little too, into more of a bike riding posture. When you stand up, you should see two clear, sharpish dents in the foil from your sit bones. Measure between those.

Saddles are often listed with a width–and that’s unfortunately often the max width, from edge to edge, of the saddle. You want to be sitting on or near the highest points on the two ‘lobes’ of the saddle, so your measured number will need to be smaller than the saddle’s numbers.

But you can take that measurement, with a small measuring tape or piece of string or something, to the shop and start seeing how it compares to the saddles they have. You want your sit bones squarely on the two lobes of the saddle–there is some room for error, they don’t have to be right in the middle, but you’ll be able to see clearly when a saddle is too narrow, too wide.

Also remember:
-More padding =/= more comfortable. With a poorly fit saddle, more padding can just push up into soft tissues and cut off blood flow.
-cutouts are good–those big gaps or channels down the middle of saddles. That’s where your soft tissue bits are, so removing the material means there will be less pushing up there.
-Look for a saddle with a guarantee. If you’ve got a Trek shop around, for example, all Bontrager products have a 30 day no questions return policy. Plenty of time to try it out on your setup and see how it works.


That is great advice, thanks Tom. I must say i am no expert coming back to cycling after 30 years… That is very useful and i shall try following the steps you recommended.
I am not the fittest yet and also quite heavy but noticed since starting to ride again the rides got longer :slight_smile:
I shall have a go at finding a bit better saddle!

1 Like

i typically like a wide saddle (i’m 5’4 and about 56kg, so not exactly huge). the saddle I’m using now is the 165mm wide version of the specialized romin

the advice i usually give to people is to just buy a load of cheap $15 replica saddles from ebay/aliexpress and try out the different shapes etc. then if you like a specific shape, you can either buy the real one or just keep using the replica. selle italia, specialized, fizik etc are all widely copied

1 Like

Thanks for that. Now i am starting to get idea how to go about it!