June 27, 2006

    A friend of mine is having a hard time finding a good fitting road bike seat. I don't have a good direction to point him in, other than telling him to go to a bike store and try out the different widths and styles.
    He measured his sit bones at 100 mm. Is there any kind of chart in existence that shows an ideal seat width vs. sit bone width?
    Also, he said the left side of the point of his seat shows signs of wear (on more than one seat) even though it's pointed correctly on the bike. I'm guessing he's twisting somehow as he pedals but I don't know what a reason might be or how to correct it. I told him to twist his seat off center. Thanks.

Bob M.

    A couple of manufacturers, such as Specialized, have such a chart—but it applies only to their products. You couldn’t make a manufacturer-agnostic chart, cuz two different manufacturers could make two different saddle widths for the same, uh, butt size.
    I like your idea of going to a bike shop and trying different seat widths. First, you’d need a good measurement between your sit bones: Place a piece of corrugated cardboard on a low surface such as curb. Sit on it, then immediately lean forward to the position in which you’d normally sit on your bike. (Sit bones tend to move closer together when one leans forward.) Get up, then measure the distance between the middle of each depression in the cardboard.
    Bring your ruler to the bike shop. Grab a seat and try to measure the distance between the center of each of the seat’s rear pads, and find one that best matches your sit-bone width. Because different manufacturers make rear pads of different sizes, the center points might not seem obvious (which makes this method less scientific than we might like).
    Having more wear on one side of the seat could come from a few different things. You could have one leg longer than the other, have a misaligned skeleton, lean to one side while you ride, or mount and dismount on one side more than the other.
    Learn more about seat comfort here, and about different seat types from my book, Urban Bikers’ Tricks & Tips.

Mr Bike

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