Your saddle is a very important contact point with your bike.  It should provide the support & comfort you need to ride for as long as you like. Saddles come in a lot of different shapes and width is often discussed as important.  Let’s learn why.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
bike pants - recreation

What Influences Width?

Saddles come in a huge variety of shapes and designs.  So the width of saddles is also hugely variable.  If they are all trying to do the same job why are they so different?  There are several things that will influence the width of a saddle.

Gender – There is a physical difference between the widths of men and womens pelvic structure.  The majority of women are normally wider (this is not true for all women). You may need a womens saddle that has a wider width than a mens saddle.

Type of Riding – The interest in doing different types of riding has lead to different types of bikes being made.  These different bikes put riders in different body positions so the points of contact under them are different.  Which has lead to different saddle shapes to get the best outcome for the body position you are in when on your bike. The more forward bent you are the narrower your saddle will be.

Time on the Bike – As you spend longer on the bike the type of saddle that you need tends to change.  So there are also differences between recreation and endurance saddle shapes.  In terms of width, saddles need to provide the right support without interfering with repetitive pedalling.

 

bike saddle buying guide

Saddles are designed in a variety of shapes and widths depending on gender, the type of riding and time on the bike.

When the Width is Not Right.

Having the correct width so that your sit bones are the bones that are taking the majority of your weight is crucial.  There are signs and clues your body will be giving you if this is not the case.

Constantly moving about on your saddle.  This is caused by a need to find support.  Your boney structures need feedback, they need an area or base directly underneath them.

Discomfort or chaffing. If these types of issues are not improving or reducing your saddle width may be to blame.  Lack of correct support may mean other areas of your body not designed to weight bear are being compressed or coming into contact with your saddle when they shouldn’t be.

We have written a series of stories to help with saddle issues.  Take a look at the list to see if you need to read one;

Sit Bone Aches & Pains.  Tail Bone DiscomfortSoft Tissue Compression.  Chaffing & Saddle Sores

 

How to Get the Correct Width

The average width between female sit bones is 130-135mm (ranging from 112mm to 148mm).  Depending on your body position on the bike, your saddle will need to be wider than this to provide a good flat contact surface under your sit bones.  So to get an idea of what kind of width to be looking for

  • upright riding/straight back should add 40mm = 170 – 175mm
  • add 25mm for slight to mid forward bend = 155 – 160mm
  • add 10mm for mid to aggressive forward bend = 140 – 145mm

Relaxed upright rider. Average width is 170-175mm

Slight to mid forward bend. Average width is 155-160mm

Mid to aggressive forward bend. Average width for a female is 140-145mm

This gives you a rough idea of what your saddle width should be.  Now take a tape measure and go and measure across the widest point at the rear of your current bike saddle.

Optimum Saddle Width for You:  Another thing to do, to give you an even better idea of what might be ideal for you… is to do a measurement of your own sit bones.  Take a piece of cardboard that has a corrugated layer in it that can be squashed when you sit on it.  Place the cardboard on a hard seat and sit down onto if with a straight back and shoulders back.  Mark the mid point of the indentation made by your bones, then measure between these two points.  As we did above add to your measurement depending on your riding position.

This gives you a guideline or place to start from.  This kind of cardboard measuring has better outcomes for people who ride in a more upright position.  How a saddle feels can not be conveyed or taken into consideration with measurements.  You also are not static on a saddle but dynamic – you move when you pedal.  And finally, every body has a history of use and injury.  This can play a big part in how you feel when you sit on a bike saddle.

Is it time to get a saddle with a different width?

You should now know what the width of your current saddle is.  You should have an idea of what your ideal should be… Do these two measurements match up? If not it is surely telling you that trying a different width saddle is worth a go, especially if you need to have more comfort when you sit on your bike seat.

We have a great range of saddles for women.  For different types of riding and different times on the bike.  Have a look at our Saddle Width Page to get an idea of what your options are.

Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

Support and inspire other riders and families to ride

Share your riding outings, adventures and experiences on our quick and easy question and answer forms. Join us in helping others ride bikes. All entries receive a free shipping coupon and go into our seasonal prize draw.

goRide supporting women and families to SMILE when you ride

Kids & Youth

Padded Bike Underwear

Bike Helmets

Mountain Bike Helmets

Riding Clothing

Jackets for Biking/Outdoors

Protective Padding

Bike Gloves

Bike Bells

Handlebar Grips

Bike Locks

Hydration

Women

Padded Bike Pants & Underwear

Bike Saddles

Bike Helmets

Bike Tops & Jackets

Bike Gloves

Bike Bells

Hydration

Handlebar Grips

Family 

Riding with – 1 year old

Riding with – 2 year old

Riding with – 3 year old

Riding with – 4/5 year old

Riding with – 6+ year old

Full Range Kids Bike Seats – Attached or Towed

Men

Bike Helmets

Bike Saddle

Bike Gloves

Handlebar Grips

Bike Bell

Smile when you ride

Be Comfortable on your Bike Seat

‘Fun Up’ the Kids Bike/Biking

Be Visible on the Bike

goUnders

Buying Guides

Ride more places

NZ Made

Solution Finder

Kids Bike Seats & Bikes

Full Range Kids Bike Seats – Attached or Towed

Rear Kids Bike Seats

Mid Kids Bike Seats

Front Kids Bike Seats

Towing Kids who ride their own Bike

Bike Trailers for Kids

Kids Balance Bikes

Clothing & Bags

Padded Bike Pants & Underwear

Bike Tops and Jackets

goWarm Headbands & Neck Warmers

Bags for Biking

Rider Safety & Protection

Bike Helmets

Bike Gloves

Bike Lights

Bike Bells

First Aid & Personal Care

Hydration

Bike Tow Ropes

Bike Parts & Care

Bike Saddles

Handlebar Grips

Bike Locks

Bike Carriers

Bike & Chain Cleaning

Bike Tools & Tool Kits

Smile when you ride

Be Visible on the Bike

Be Comfortable on your Bike Seat

‘Fun Up’ the Kids Bike/Biking

goUnders

Buying Guides

Ride more places

NZ Made

Solution Finder

Riding in Traffic

Kids Attached or Towed in Traffic

Bikepath Riding

Kids Attached or Towed on Bikepaths

Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking with Kids Attached or Towed

E-biking

Family Riding

Riding with – 1 year old

Riding with – 2 year old

Riding with – 3 year old

Riding with – 4/5 year old

Riding with – 6+ year old

Full Range Kids Bike Seats – Attached or Towed

goUnders

Buying Guides

Ride more places

NZ Made

Solution Finder

Kids Attached or Towed Buying Guides

Rear Kids Bike Seat

Mid Mount Kids Bike Seat

Front Kids Bike Seat 

Towing Kids who ride their own bikes

Kids Bike Trailers

Kids & Youth Buying Guides

Kids Bike Helmets

Kids Riding Clothing

Kids Padded Bike Pants

Kids Padded Protection

Kids Handlebar Grips 

Kids Balance Bike

Comfort on the Bike Buying Guides 

Bike Saddle

Padded Bike Pants

Bike Jackets

Handlebar Grip

Be Comfortable on your Bike Seat

Hydration

Rider Safety and Protection Buying Guides

Bike Helmet

Mountain Bike Helmet

Be Visible 

Bike Glove

Bike Light 

Mountain Bike Light

Solution Finders

Solution Finder- Kids Bike Seat

Solution Finder- Bike Saddle