How to select a bike saddle
Perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions is how to choose a new bike seat.
Well there is actually a really important step that comes before you consider which is a good or bad seat.
When it comes to selecting a saddle riders should be looking at learning how to sit on a bike in a good well aligned position where the spine is anchored and decompressed so it functions well. Achieving this changes the dynamics of your pelvic orientation, the pressure distribution and how you are able to both support your spine intrnisically (alignment and muscular control) and extrinsically (through equipment selection and adjustment).
When most riders sit on a bike on an indoor trainer the first thing they do is move their hands forwards towards the bars - I refer this to the desktop riding where they put one hand on the mouse and the other on the coffee cup while sitting at the desk. Its a position where the pelvis is rolled backwards and there is an anterior compression of the spine.
We know that's not a good postural position and if you were to take that type of spinal and pelvic alignment and apply it to any movement or sport you would quickly see it offers poor stability and function.
How should you sit on a bike?
To help imrpove the outcome when selecting a new saddle or even performing a bike fitting we started to implement a process of improving the startiing position of the rider.
1. Stack and align your spine
Spinal alignment and stacking is important as it allows your core (torso) to distribute pressure and also to move with effective support and range reducing muscular fatigue and pain in the joints. A poorly aligned spine places more stress and strain on the muscles, ligaments, discs, bones and nerves.
2. Hinge at the hip
The movement should come from the hips first when you set out to make contact with the handle bars. Hinging from the hip will maintain alignment of the spine and also potentially give you a longer and lower reach range.
3. Reach through the shoulders
The final reach to the bars is achieved by moving your arms up through the shoulders. By moving the arms up through the shoulders you can maintain the better alignment of the shoulders and hips to distribute force and pressure, reduce nerve tension and improve function of the arms, trunk and neck.
We go through the Stack - Hinge- Reach process off the bike to tech riders how to improve their fit and position simply by better posture.
Following this we then teach them how to Stack - Hing - Reach on their bike in an indoor trainer and look to set ranges for seat height and bar position.
FInally we try a new saddle and get feedback on whether the saddle shape and dimensions have an effective match with the pevlic shape and orientation of the rider in a S-H-R alignment.
If you are looking for help to select a saddle try our: