Query re: the saddle / backside interface

Boo

Senior Member
Location
Enfield
Hi!

I've had my bike for about 5 years (flat bar hybrid) and bought it with the intent of losing weight and getting fitter rather than breaking any land speed records. I pottered about for a bit, but rides became fewer and farther between.

Then, in August 2017 I had what I thought would be an innocuous visit to the GP. Sadly as events unfolded over a couple of weeks, I came away with a diagnosis of high cholesterol, type2 diabetes and prostate cancer. Fortunately the NHS is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and through a combination of surgery and tablets, it's all, largely, under control.

But it appears that I'm borderline on the Diabetes, and there's a good chance that if I can shift a good chunk of my 18st 6lb (target weight, 13st 7lb), I may be able to come off the tablets.

So earlier in the year I decided to start exercising a bit more, and eating a bit less. So far, so good. Currently at 17st 9lb and heading in the right direction.

Exercise-wise, I'm riding before work Mon, Wed and Fri, and on a rowing machine on Tue and Thur to vary things. Having come back to this after a lengthy break, the first few rides saw me panting from breath and coming home with legs of jelly, but gradually that's improved to the point where I do my 8 mile ride (2 laps of a 4 mile circuit) and come home able to breathe and my legs suggesting they could manage another 4 miles.

The fly in the ointment is my backside. By mile 7 it is crying out to be removed from my steed! It's not a problem of numbness, my squishy bits all seem ok, but my 'sit bones' don't seem to want to sit in the right place.

I had a Specialized / Body Geometry saddle that was lightly padded and about 155mm wide at it's widest, although the seating surface was probably more like 125mm.

I have now replaced it with a new Spesh / BG saddle that's about 180mm wide, and when I'm perched on it, it seems to be a perfect fit.

However, after a few mins pedalling, I'm finding myself shuffling forward so that instead of my sit bones sitting 'on' the saddle, they're starting to straddle the narrower nose, and the discomfort starts again. As long as I shuffle back every minute or so, it's ok, but i can't help thinking that there must be a way of getting a better seating position.

The saddle's as far forward on the rails as I can get it, and horizontal (although tbh, I can't see any way of adjusting the angle nose up / nose down anyway). Saddle is at the correct height as are (I believe) the handlebars.

Any suggestions, short of glueing myself to the saddle? I'd really like to be able to go out for longer rides, but at this rate I can't see me getting beyond 10 miles, let alone a longer weekend ride.

NB - I do wear padded shorts but contrary to popular thinking, I wear snug undies as no-one's ever going to convince me that going commando is anything less than the behaviour of a savage!

Present company excepted, naturally...

;o)

Cheers!
 
Hi!

I've had my bike for about 5 years (flat bar hybrid) and bought it with the intent of losing weight and getting fitter rather than breaking any land speed records. I pottered about for a bit, but rides became fewer and farther between.

Then, in August 2017 I had what I thought would be an innocuous visit to the GP. Sadly as events unfolded over a couple of weeks, I came away with a diagnosis of high cholesterol, type2 diabetes and prostate cancer. Fortunately the NHS is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and through a combination of surgery and tablets, it's all, largely, under control.

But it appears that I'm borderline on the Diabetes, and there's a good chance that if I can shift a good chunk of my 18st 6lb (target weight, 13st 7lb), I may be able to come off the tablets.

So earlier in the year I decided to start exercising a bit more, and eating a bit less. So far, so good. Currently at 17st 9lb and heading in the right direction.

Exercise-wise, I'm riding before work Mon, Wed and Fri, and on a rowing machine on Tue and Thur to vary things. Having come back to this after a lengthy break, the first few rides saw me panting from breath and coming home with legs of jelly, but gradually that's improved to the point where I do my 8 mile ride (2 laps of a 4 mile circuit) and come home able to breathe and my legs suggesting they could manage another 4 miles.

The fly in the ointment is my backside. By mile 7 it is crying out to be removed from my steed! It's not a problem of numbness, my squishy bits all seem ok, but my 'sit bones' don't seem to want to sit in the right place.

I had a Specialized / Body Geometry saddle that was lightly padded and about 155mm wide at it's widest, although the seating surface was probably more like 125mm.

I have now replaced it with a new Spesh / BG saddle that's about 180mm wide, and when I'm perched on it, it seems to be a perfect fit.

However, after a few mins pedalling, I'm finding myself shuffling forward so that instead of my sit bones sitting 'on' the saddle, they're starting to straddle the narrower nose, and the discomfort starts again. As long as I shuffle back every minute or so, it's ok, but i can't help thinking that there must be a way of getting a better seating position.

The saddle's as far forward on the rails as I can get it, and horizontal (although tbh, I can't see any way of adjusting the angle nose up / nose down anyway). Saddle is at the correct height as are (I believe) the handlebars.

Any suggestions, short of glueing myself to the saddle? I'd really like to be able to go out for longer rides, but at this rate I can't see me getting beyond 10 miles, let alone a longer weekend ride.

NB - I do wear padded shorts but contrary to popular thinking, I wear snug undies as no-one's ever going to convince me that going commando is anything less than the behaviour of a savage!

Present company excepted, naturally...

;o)

Cheers!
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent the forward shuffle that you’re describing. It’s because you’re getting jolted as you ride. If you up angle the seat, you’ll just end up with crushed nuts. I find the most effective way to deal with it, is to stand up when the position becomes too far forward for comfort, pedal a bit, then reposition my self on the perch. You can get Alcantara finished saddles, but they do wear smooth after a while anyway. You could try experimenting with different profiles of saddle, there are a few mainstream profile of saddle. Scooped is what you tend to find on a lot of ‘off the shelf’ hybrid type bikes, flat saddles are usually the default choice for more road orientated bikes, and there are various other profiles, and short nosed options in between.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Boo

PaulSB

Legendary Member
I don't have a solution but would suggest you need to look at your saddle and riding position.

I ride about 7500 miles a year and this is something I've never experienced. If I total what I and my cycling buddies are doing it's probably around 60,000 pa and I've never heard of this as a complaint.

We would all feel we have our bike set up correctly so I'd suggest you need to look at your set up and seating position.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Shorter stem?

Could it be the bike is too big?
Those are two of my guesses. Another is that the saddle is too V shaped instead of T shaped, so the rider is pushed forwards as they move their legs to pedal, but then I'd expect the backs of the thighs to be sore too.

Also, padded saddle with padded shorts can result in too much padding, causing similar problems to a squishy saddle, but I think the problem here is happening too quickly to be that and there's the shuffling forwards too.

Try www.wheel-easy.org.uk/bike-set-up/ as a DIY check.
 

12boy

Über Member
Location
Casper WY USA
Re the borderline diabetes and high cholesterol....I too had this issue and did not want to take any meds for it, so I reduced the amount of carbs I ate, especially refined flour and sugar. The carbs were replaced by protein,fat and lots of veg. I also cut down caffeine to two stout French press coffees daily. I have found that my blood sugar dropped and surprisingly so did the bad cholesterol, even though I ate lots of butter, cheeses, eggs and red meat. The combination of changing to a more of a fat burning machine from a sugar fueled one caused a weight loss of about 20 lbs over 6 months, and while still having a flabby belly, the interior abdominal fat is largely gone. This diet change coupled with less caffeine by about 50%, kept my energy levels a lot more stable over the day. I have always gotten some exercise, usually equal to at least 20 miles riding on level ground at 12 mph daily, and that has kept about the same, so the weight loss and blood numbers weren't due to more exercise. My weight stays about 160 and if I gain some I just reduce my carbs a little and in a week or so it's gone down. Living in the northern hemisphere, I do put on more blubber in the winter and that generally reflects holiday eating and fewer bike miles in favor of weights and walking.
As far as your saddle issues, a narrow leather saddle works best for me, level with the bars are below the saddle or tilted up a tad if too much weight is on my hands. The relationship between saddle width, height , tilt and fore and aft placement and handlebar type, stem length and height is a complex one, and you might consider changing these incrementally until you find what works best. My goal in terms of ergonomics is to hop on the bike and ride without thinking about comfort much. Kinda like "If it don't hurt, don't fix it."
 
OP
Boo

Boo

Senior Member
Location
Enfield
Thanks to all who took the time to respond. I'm wondering if I should invest in a bike fit. Bespoke Cycling in central London is near where I work, and they'll do a 2 hour session for an existing bike for the princely sum of £250.

I suspect that's more for a road bike than a flat bar though. Might drop in and ask them.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Thanks to all who took the time to respond. I'm wondering if I should invest in a bike fit. Bespoke Cycling in central London is near where I work, and they'll do a 2 hour session for an existing bike for the princely sum of £250.

I suspect that's more for a road bike than a flat bar though. Might drop in and ask them.
£250?!! There’ll be cheaper!

are you sure your saddle nose is dead level? And the bike has the right reach for you?
 
I'd say the saddle may be the wrong shape, and quite possibly too wide.

Sounds to me like you're scooting forwards to avoid the bit that's the wrong shape / too wide, and then ending up perched on a bit that's too narrow. And when you're sitting "over" the saddle rather than "on" the saddle, that's when problems start, as the sit bones aren't supported and you're taking weight on bits of you that aren't meant to be load bearing.

It's an issue regardless of whether you're male, or, like me, female. Everyone's bottom is different, and the wrong saddle is, quite literally a pain. Also, as you lose weight, you may find your saddle no longer suits because of the change in shape of your body.

As has been suggested, tinker around with your riding position first as it's the easiest, simplest and cheapest option to solving the problem. No need to drop silly money on a bike fit - there are good (basic) guides online to get you started. For instance, if your saddle is too low, it will hurt as well.

The pain may also be a fitness thing, because as you tire, your bum gradually takes more of your body weight compared to your legs. It's subtle at first, but then can really hurt as you get to the limit of your range.

But I do suggest that you do a DIY arse-o-meter test - all you need are the stairs, some corrugated card, tin foil and a tape measure and see where your derriere falls in terms of sit bone width. Then decide where you want to go saddle wise - if you think that it's the saddle that's the problem.

Should you choose to bin your current saddle, a good starting point would be a Charge Spoon as it seems to suit most bottoms and is pretty inexpensive in the scheme of things.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
I'd say the saddle may be the wrong shape, and quite possibly too wide.

Sounds to me like you're scooting forwards to avoid the bit that's the wrong shape / too wide, and then ending up perched on a bit that's too narrow. And when you're sitting "over" the saddle rather than "on" the saddle, that's when problems start, as the sit bones aren't supported and you're taking weight on bits of you that aren't meant to be load bearing.

It's an issue regardless of whether you're male, or, like me, female. Everyone's bottom is different, and the wrong saddle is, quite literally a pain. Also, as you lose weight, you may find your saddle no longer suits because of the change in shape of your body.

As has been suggested, tinker around with your riding position first as it's the easiest, simplest and cheapest option to solving the problem. No need to drop silly money on a bike fit - there are good (basic) guides online to get you started. For instance, if your saddle is too low, it will hurt as well.

The pain may also be a fitness thing, because as you tire, your bum gradually takes more of your body weight compared to your legs. It's subtle at first, but then can really hurt as you get to the limit of your range.

But I do suggest that you do a DIY arse-o-meter test - all you need are the stairs, some corrugated card, tin foil and a tape measure and see where your derriere falls in terms of sit bone width. Then decide where you want to go saddle wise - if you think that it's the saddle that's the problem.

Should you choose to bin your current saddle, a good starting point would be a Charge Spoon as it seems to suit most bottoms and is pretty inexpensive in the scheme of things.
Or the ladle if a woman
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
As has been suggested, tinker around with your riding position first as it's the easiest, simplest and cheapest option to solving the problem. No need to drop silly money on a bike fit - there are good (basic) guides online to get you started. For instance, if your saddle is too low, it will hurt as well.
Having the saddle too high could be another cause of scooting forwards, trying to effectively shorten the distance to the pedals by hanging off the front of the saddle. Loads of possibilities. As @Reynard says, try a guide like the one I linked earlier. What have you got to lose? You're already in pain and if it brings no respite, you've lost nothing except a little time and you can still hire a bike fitter if you like. Just make it clear to them that this is a comfort/relaxed fit not a racing or time-trial fit.
 
Top Bottom