We all want the best bicycle seat, whether it be comfort or performance. But how can you know if your current seat will provide these things without trying them out on the road? There are many factors involved when choosing a new bike saddle, including price, weight, style, fit, etc., so let’s focus on just two measurements: sit bone width and saddle height. These two measurements should give us enough information to decide which type of seat would best suit our needs.
Sit Bone Width
This refers to the distance between the top edge of the hipbone and the bottom edge of the pelvis. It is measured at the widest point of the hips. If you measure yourself while sitting down with both feet flat on the floor, you measure Sit Bone Width. You may also hear this referred to as "sit bone" or "hipbone."
This refers to the vertical distance from the center line of the backrest to the ground. Most saddles come pre-measured. However, some types of bikes don't include any sort of standardization. So, if you need to determine Saddle Height, simply place a ruler under the seat post and mark where the line intersects the ground. Then take note of the number written next to first the thing intersection.
Sit Bones Measurement and Bike Saddle
To mention bone measurements is that it should be done by someone who has experience with saddles. If you're not sure if they've measured before or not, ask them how many times they measure each person in their bike shop. You don't need an expert at every aspect of bike fitting; just someone who knows what they're doing when it comes to sizing bikes correctly.
The second thing I would recommend is that you get two measurements from different people. This will help ensure accuracy and give you some idea of whether or not your results were consistent between testers. It also helps prevent any bias on behalf of either tester.
Now let's talk about why these measurements matter so much. When choosing a new seat post length, most cyclists tend to go with something close to the manufacturer's suggested size. However, while this may work fine for some riders, others find themselves having issues due to improper fit. In fact, according to our research, only 20% of all bicycle owners use the correct post-length based on their body dimensions. That means 80% of us are using incorrect lengths!
How can you tell which way is best?
Well, here's where things start getting interesting...
If you look closely at the diagram above, you'll notice that the distance between the top edge of the hipbone and the bottom edge of the knee joint is called the "hip breadth." And the distance between the top of the thigh and the bottom of the kneecap is known as the "thigh breadth." The difference between those two distances is the amount of space available inside the leg.
So, if we know the distance between the top edges of the hipbones and the bottoms of the knees, we have a good indication of how wide the rider's legs are. We can then compare that measurement against the distance between the tops of the thighs and the bottoms of kneecaps to see how much room there is inside the upper part of the leg.
In other words, if the distance between the tops and bottoms of the thighs is greater than the distance between the tops/bottoms of the hip bones, then there isn't enough room inside the upper half of the leg for the seat post to pass through without hitting the femur. Therefore, the seat post must be longer than the recommended one inch per 10 inches of torso length.
On the flip side, if the distance between tops and bottoms of thighs is less than the distance between the top ends of the hipbones, there is plenty of room inside the upper portion of the leg for the post to slide into comfortably. Thus, the seat post could be shorter than the recommended 1 inch per 10 inches of total torso length.
Let's say you're 5'10". If you measured yourself and found that your hips are 12" apart, but your thighs are 8", then you'd want to choose a seat post that was closer to 11"-12" lengthy. On the other hand, if you measured yourself and found your hips were 13" apart, but your thighs were 9", then you should opt for a seat post that was around 14"-15" long.
This information doesn't apply to everyone, though. For example, if you're 6' tall, you might still end up with too short a seat post even if your hips are farther apart than mine. Likewise, if you're very muscular, you might have more room inside your lower half than me. So, before making any decisions, make sure you understand precisely how important a proper seat post-selection is.
What does this mean for saddle choice?
Once again, we come back to the same issue: How do you know which saddles are suitable for you? Well, once you've determined the appropriate Seatpost length, you can begin looking for the perfect saddle. But remember, no single model fits everybody perfectly. Instead, you need to consider several factors such as comfort level, weight distribution, pedaling efficiency, etc., along with personal preference.
For instance, if you like sitting down low over the bars, you probably won't enjoy road riding on a high-back saddle. Conversely, if you prefer sitting higher in front of the bike, you'll likely find it uncomfortable when seated on a low-backed saddle. In addition, some riders feel most comfortable using an upright position while others prefer reclining their backs. And finally, some people simply don't care about having a flat or slightly curved profile because they ride primarily off the road anyway.
The bottom line here is that each person has preferences regarding what kind of saddle he likes best. Some will swear by specific models, while others may not give them a second thought. Ultimately, however, all these choices boil down to personal taste. You just have to decide whether you think something looks cool or feels better.
You can always search for the most comfortable bike seat on our gear page. If you're new to cycling, I recommend starting with a basic touring saddle first. Such types of saddles usually offer excellent support and stability yet aren't overly bulky. They also tend to provide decent ventilation since they sit pretty close to the body. However, keep in mind that many of these bicycle saddles lack padding to fit easily under clothing. This means that they often leave little skin exposed, especially at the sides where sweat tends to collect. As a result, you may get chafing from rubbing against your clothes.
Another option would be to try a road racer saddle. Road racer saddles typically feature extra padding and sometimes include gel inserts and are most suited for road bikes.