By: Mat Steinmetz
I'm currently on a flight home from Melbourne, Australia where I was teaching a bike fit course for Guru's distribution partner, Monza.
During the course, one of the first things we cover is saddle selection. A bike saddle is the most important contact point on your bike. It is a no compromise piece of equipment.
During the course, I make each student/fitter go through the fit process so they can feel first hand what it's like to try and ride in a particular position when the saddle doesn't work.
Keeping this simple, there are two objectives for saddle selection...
For the fitter: The saddle has to promote the sort of posture and support that is optimal for their clients bike position.
For the rider: The only thing they need to be able to communicate is whether or not the saddle is comfortable. No pain, soft tissue pressure, chaffing, numbness, saddle sores, etc....That's it.
A good fitter will know how to position a saddle and what adjustments to make based on rider posture and client feedback. The saddle either allows the rider to achieve proper positioning while remaining comfortable or it doesn't.
There is not one saddle or saddle brand that works for everyone. A saddle that you love, might be unbearable for another rider. Even though most athlete's positions are very similar from an angular perspective, they are quite different in their exact anatomy.
In order to know if you like a particular saddle or not, you need to try it during the fitting process. If it causes pain, soft tissue pressure, chaffing, numbing, saddle sores...the saddle doesn't work.
Saddle marketing, blood flow analysis, or pressure mapping can be useful tools, but I don't want someone riding their bike in agony because the saddle that is debilitating them showed it reduced the likelihood of genital blood flow obstruction.
Try multiple saddles during your fitting and to save yourself from having a box of $200 saddles in your garage, take advantage of the demo programs offered by most shops.