4 GREAT SADDLES FOR WOMEN
Review by Senior Editor Nadezhda Pavlova
Review by Senior Editor Nadezhda Pavlova
A bike saddle is the most personal part of your bike, and it can make all the difference in the world. That’s why getting the right saddle for road cyclists and triathletes is so important. While a good saddle is barely noticeable, the uncomfortable one will make you beyond miserable. Unless you want to make your best friend’s thigh chaff and lower parts numb, you need to find the right saddle.
But what exactly does that mean?
Well, to put it simply, women-specific saddles usually have a cut-out to relieve soft tissue pressure. The use of a wider saddle helps to accommodate a woman’s wider-spaced sit bones. Sit bones are the bones that make up the area in your buttocks that are the most likely to feel pressured during a ride.
Before I dive into a female saddles review, here are a few extra tips on saddle purchase (and a more detailed list can be found earlier in our blog). The saddle size is about your bones, and these can be measured easily with any professional – without taking your clothes off. There’s nothing to be nervous about but a lot to gain by getting a pro fit.
There are reasons to use your budget, even when there are cheaper options available. Some expensive versions will be lighter and these are the ones which typically with carbon rails. These cost more but have some advantages. They drop the grams and go some way to reducing road vibration for a smoother cycle. They cost more, but not the earth, as they are largely distributed in most store. Another price point you might want to consider is what you’ll be purchasing on in terms of fabric. Depending on the distance and position you ride, softer seating may be worth a look.
The most important thing of course, is getting a saddle you can sit on comfortably. This will be a significantly more effective performance boost than a few grams saved here and there, because you won’t be distracted by aches and pains. Whatever seat you decide should be personal to you, and at the end of the day it’s your choice. But if you need a starting spot, here are four that I (and countless other women) recommend.
Trusted high-performance brand, excellent rear support, extra-large cut out to avoid pressure, ideal for lean forward riders.
Compared to the male version, it has a wider rear which supports our natural and womanly curves at all shapes and sizes. On top of that it features a large relief cut out to keep the weight off the delicates. All of these give extra support and lowers the chance of an aching nether region, I think we can all agree that this is a huge plus.
The rear has minimal padding it is great for those who ride in a more leant forward position. These are hugely popular models among the female cycling community – particularly road racers, and no wonder- it’s a solid choice. The Specialized Power also suits this rider well, as do ISM saddles – mentioned later.
If you sit further back in a more upright position, you’ll likely want a saddle with more padding at the rear, like the Sella Italia Lady Gel flow.
Selle Italia currently offer 6 different sizes which are split up into two groups: S1, S2, S3 – L1, L2, L3.
The number next to the size indicates the presence and width of the central pressure cut-out where your genitals will rest. In addition to the traditional designs, there are also “Friction-Free” models. These are a patented piece of Selle-Italia technology that prevents the inner thigh from chafing on the side of the saddle. This come in a limited number, but a still available in 4 more versions (S1 FF, S2 FF – L1 FF, L2 FF)
Pros: strong performance on any terrain, no cut out (if that’s your sort of thing), comes in various sizes, ideal for heavy use.
Cons: Pricey for casual riders, no cut out (if you prefer to have one)
It is a performance-orientated saddle that offers comfort and support for any kind of road ride. The Specialized Women’s Power Pro With MIMIC doesn’t have a cut-out at all, which makes selection a lot easier – because that rules out the need for complicated model options. But fear not, this doesn’t mean watering eyes and pressure points. This saddle has a different technique for this. It uses 5 layers of foam to create a padded feel and minimize soft tissue swelling, and that’s not all it does in the way of comfort.
To further ensure you’re comfortable the saddle itself comes in several different widths to match your ideal riding position.
It is one of the better aggressive saddles on the market, perfect for serious riders.
Flexible riding positions, great customer service, company responds to feedback, improved padding
This has been the choice of many female pro triathlon, time trial and track riders, as well as road racers – making it a seat to contend with. It features a nose-less shape which allows the rider to sit right on the end of the saddle, relieving all soft tissue pressure from the back area which is a blessing in so many situations. No to forget, the PN is a narrow version of the previous model as many women reported finding the front too wide on standard models. This shows that this is a company who care, and listens to their customers, but not only this. Having the narrowing prevents inner thigh chaffing.
However, this kind of seat isn’t for everyone. Like all seats it is important to think about how you sit and where you would like to distribute your body as you ride.
Possibly the biggest change is the chassis, were the company have added more padding for riders, accounting for those who prefer a softer ride. This is achieved by having a 120mm rear end and tapered edges, giving a comfortable feel to any position of riding – perfect if you are still assessing your ride style. Their site boasts of “superb thigh and hamstring clearance” and the reviews tend to agree as it gives more rider body movement around the seat, and is great for diving into fast corners.
This seat is specifically, ergonomically designed to remove pressure from soft tissue, prevent genital numbness, and overall create a more enjoyable ride.
Pros: excellent for long distances, increased stability, light carbon rails, several width option available
Cons: not so good for sit up riders, not compatible with some clamp systems
Much like the Specialized Power Pro, it is a high-performance women’s seat.
However, this one features a cut-out saddle shaped to maximize stability in an aggressive position. Generally speaking bikes with a cut out allow for less pressure and better blood flow to the seated areas, but just be aware increase pressure along the sides in some saddles. The overall shape of this design offers increased stability at the nose, which means that it gives better pressure distribution throughout – unlike many others of this style.
Additionally, the carbon rails and shell keep this saddle incredibly light weight which is perfect for sports – or those of us with sporting dreams.
Before purchasing this saddle be sure to check that it lines up, as the saddle won’t work with all clamp systems. Other than that, it’s a pretty perfect ride.
Look after your butt and your butt will look after you ladies 😉