Does sitbone measurements oversimplify saddle fit?
Petey and I have been talking about saddles, and she pointed this out to me:
Why the Ass-O-meter is flawed....
For the longest time, I rode nothing by Spesh saddles--all measuring 143mm. Recently, my old standby was starting to creak (gawd that's freaking annoying), so it was time to look for another saddle.
Spesh stopped making the Lithia--my saddle of choice--but I managed to find one at the LBS. Picked it up, and proudly placed my prize on the seatpost of my Mojo HD.
However, I didn't even ride it. It came off after Petey and I started talking about other saddles and the link I posted. So I spent quite a bit on this new saddle, a Selle Italia Diva. This saddle has one measurement: 155ish mm. There are no other varieties.
While it was much more than I've ever spent on a saddle before, but it was ride-changing. Even on a test ride Tuesday, I didn't notice it. On the 16 mile ride on Saturday, I still didn't notice it. I swear my butt is in love.
So this begs the question: how much faith do you put in the sit bone measurement vs a general measurement of women's anatomy on how other companies view saddles?
cool point you bring up...as I've been wondering this myself after unsucessfully not being able to measure my own butt.
i honestly just go straight off reviews for women's specific saddles and I've never had any issues. If it had 5+ strong reviews, I assumed it'd be comfortable. I rode a Serfas Niva ($50 from REI) for a long time and loved it. For my new build, I wanted something lighter. I was super close to get the Selle Italia (best, most # of reviews), but found an SDG Allure (also strong reviews) for a great deal. First ride, I rode 16 miles yesterday and with a chamois...never thought about my seat once.
I'm a fan of Ergon products and their new SME3 saddle is intriguing. It comes in multiple width sizes. I'll most likely try it out in the Spring.
Ergon: "All of our saddles are designed around the male anatomy. With that said, we have plenty of women on our saddles. The SME3 is the most favorable with the female riding crowd due to the shorter nose."
Yes, I think it is 3 parts marketing, 1 part helpful, a 3:1 ratio. But since most models come in 3 widths, I think that's a wash. I have liked a few Spesh saddles, chose the middle width randomly, no a**-o-meter. But shopping in their outlet, I decided to try the narrower model, because, after all, it was ON SALE, and the newer ones available in all widths were weird, and I had only picked the middle width previously by guess-timation. Sure enough, this one was just as comfy as the mid width ones, and perhaps easier to maneuver around on the MTB. I haven't tried it on a road bike though, where you have more a** time.
Does sitbone measurements oversimplify saddle fit?
I never bothered to measure my sit bones until very recently. I read lots of reviews and also decided on the Selle Italia Diva. When I finally measured my sit bones, the seat was in my range so I got pretty lucky. I didn't want to go to a shop to have my bones measured so I found a kit online that worked well from this site -- http://www.wekeepyoucycling.com/en/
It's just foam in a box though. You could just buy some foam.
All my saddles are what I measure out to be, but I've never given it much thought. All my bikes came with 143mm widths anyway and they're all comfortable so that's all that matters to me!
Measurements I think are a good guideline, but not the absolute truth. During multiple fits I've been told I needed very narrow bars on my road bike (38 instead of 42). I tried the 38s, and I thought I wasn't stable descending. Went back to the 42s, and I am much more confident on fast descents on my road bike, have better control on the cross bikes, and am just as comfortable. So definitely a guideline, but nobody should feel like they're using the "wrong" stuff just because they use something different.
I tried the ass o meter. Got a seat that supposedly fit. Didn't like it. Then I just started trying things, a couple of ones my husband had that came on bikes he bought, then a demo program from WTB. It was then that I found one I liked (the Deva). I have no idea how it's measurements fit those of my seat bones.
But that article on SMP seats was pretty interesting about pelvic roll and how it effects things. I actually like my seat tilted down a few degrees, which I've been told isn't "right". I wonder if it has to do with how I roll my pelvis when riding.
I think the ass-o-meter is just a place to start. The ass-o-meter told my GF that she should be on a 155mm.
She went from a Specialized 155mm Ruby, Oura, now a mens 143mm Romin Evo. She's telling me that the Romin feels better than the two women's saddles.
I used to work at a custom bike builder and there was a girl that tried every saddle in the shop...and some that weren't in the shop. We had this saddle quick release mechanism that let you change out the saddle without any tool. I've never swapped so many saddle in one afternoon. I think she finally settled on an SMP saddle...I can't remember which one...I swapped every saddle in the shop.
The only way someone will ever find the right saddle is to try, try, try. Don't be afraid to try mens saddles too.
I have my GF's saddle set where the middle of the Romin is flat. I pretty much moved her saddle position straight over from her road bike. This is on a Niner EMD 9.
Specialized Carve Pro
Pivot Mach 5
I'd agree that sit bone measurement is a good place to start; it will at least get you in the ball park of what to try (or maybe just what to avoid).
As others have stated, it's not the end-all-be-all of saddle fitting, for sure. But then again, you don't want to struggle with a saddle that seems nice and light and padded in all the right places, but feels like a hammock full of gravel because it's too narrow where your butt hits it 90% of the time.
Having tried the ass-o-meter, and the incredibly painful saddle that was recommended after my "fitting", IMO it isn't even a good place to start.
I also have the Selle Italia Diva (on 3 bikes). A couple of the Terry saddles also work for me, however the ridiculous long wait time has turned me off that company.
Never give up, never surrender.
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