The question of “What is your favorite saddle?” is a very popular question in tweets, emails and in shop conversation. It is also probably one of the most user specific question around bike fit. My bits are not built like your bits, my seat bones are not the same width as your seat bones but I can give some generic feedback of my “go-to” saddles for women.
Pro advice: Make sure you check your saddle measurements prior to swapping out any of these seats! This includes height, and the distance of where your sit bones are most comfortable on the seat to the handlebars. Every seat will be different but these are good x/y starting points to measure off!
If you don’t know where to start with a new seat, start with this one.
When swapping out bike seat during a women’s bike fit this is normally the first seat I try. The channel through the middle section allows some relief on your girly parts and the wider sit bone area on the back of the seat keeps you well supported. This saddle was once on 100% of my bikes but as my handlebars went lower I had to switch to something with a flatter front to back profile and not a drop in the middle.
Tip: Make sure the area where your sit bones hit is level!
Specialized Ruby Pro
If your handlebar is lower than your saddle height than try out the Specialized Ruby. The relatively flat back area of the saddle and flexy middle section allow for a leaned over position. This saddle doesn’t have a ton of padding some if you are relatively upright it may be a bit too tough for your sit bones.
Tip: This saddle does come in different widths, so make sure to get your butt properly sized!
This seat is a bit narrow so if you are on a super upright hybrid or mountain bike the saddle may not support you properly. Saying that, this saddle has been a goto for cyclocross season for many years due gel inserts in the firm and pretty flat surface.
Tip: This saddle is not as tall as many others. You may need to move your seat up significantly.
(Yes, I like white saddles. It always makes a bike look faster in my humble opinion!)
A beautiful fi’zi:k Vestashowed up at my doorstep a couple of weeks back. Quickly, I snapped some photos and then installed the saddle on my cyclocross bike. Since then it has been on my goto bike for long road rides, and my daily commute.
The very first feeling of the saddle is the firm, yet padded support. This is a good feeling as I don’t like a saddle that I sink into. If you sink too much into a saddle your sit bones are no longer holding you up and the soft tissues are left holding you up. This saddle hasn’t seen more than an hour and a half of consistent ride time so we can only tell how the padded feeling holds up.
The “pressure relief channel” seems to work so far. It isn’t a cut out so if I rock into the drops I can feel pressure on my soft tissue areas but to this point there has been no numbness or pain when this pressure happens for an extended amount of time.
Look & Design
The saddle is an eye catcher. Subtle enough, but if someone walks close enough to see the top of your saddle they will stop and ask, “WHAT?!“ This exact story has happened to me with everyone that has seen the saddle. My only worry about the eye catching colors are they will bleed over time into my white bib shorts.
Sitting initially on this saddle I didn’t think “this is the one,” but that never has happened before with any of my favorite saddles. There are always fine tuning with the bike fit and trying different angles and fore/aft of the saddle. BUT I didn’t sit on this saddle and feel horrible pain, nor did I feel pain after 25 miles. The jury is still out on this saddle but I will check back with you as the fit is modified and more miles are logged.
For the past few years I have named the cut out or indention in the saddles for women “cooter holes.” No, it isn’t PC but neither are all the people making saddles for women with out even having a variety of women testing them prior to selling hundreds to unknowing souls.
fi’zi:k knows saddles. They are one of the top selling road saddles for guys that I’ve seen, among Selle Italia and such. They have one womens saddle that has been on the market for some years called the Vitesse. I tried riding this saddle for a while 2 years back, and suffered. My soft tissues needed a “cooter hole” or indention, or something that the Vitesse did not have. I quickly swapped saddles back and continued on with life.
Now there is a new saddle from fi’zi:k called Vesta. They are marketing this with a “pressure relief channel” or a cooter hole. That comfortable place to put your soft tissues out of pressure and harm. Other than this, the saddle is the same shape as the prior model I spoke about, the Vitesse. The base price is $129.99, within range of most all fi’zi:k saddles, and higher end Terry saddles as well.
I hope to land one of these in my hands during the long, boring and painful base miles to see how their “pressure relief channel” really holds up.