I feel like Cinderella, except instead of a shoe that fits perfectly, I have a saddle that fits perfectly!
After having a bike fit done by Bianca at Fit Your Bike, on my new Trek from Richardsons Cycles, I finally feel ready to get on the road! Of course, it won't be for a few months yet after I have recovered, but with a brand new Cobb seat (that feels like I am sitting on a sofa rather than a bike!) and some amazing (and patient) work by Bianca, I will be ready to race on the roads by Summer!
The reason why I say Bianca is patient is because I do not make things easy for myself! Between my dodgy shoulder (which means I won't be able to rest on the TT bars properly, especially after the op), and my left leg being considerably longer than my right, I do not make for an easy bike fit. But what was the most uncomfortable on my new bike was the saddle comfort level.
However, Bianca knew exactly what to do to fix these problems. By making the pads that I will be leaning on further out means my shoulder doesn't have to rotate inwards as much although it does compromise the aerodynamics more.
She was also extremely patient with choosing the right seat. I am a bit unusual in that I do not like many of the specific bike seats that are available on the market – are you aware that there are seats made specifically for female bits which make a huge difference to the comfort levels when cycling long distances. Apparently the difficultly in the saddle hunt is that no two women are created the same (so because one model is perfect for your friend, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you). That also means that you cannot look at a saddle and say ‘this seat is excellent and will suit you perfectly’, because what works for our nether regions might be very different for others. It also means that you cannot just choose a seat online and expect it to be comfortable - you have to try before you buy.
One women specific brand is Cobb. Founder John Cobb has been active in the industry since 1972 and after years of research (mostly through the use of his wife), he landed on one simple measure that could determine the perfect saddle for a woman: is she an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’? (And we’re not talking belly buttons!).
There is a physical difference between the two types, and that difference can help tell you what saddle will be the best fit for your body type. And because women’s sexual anatomy is lower in the pelvic region, and cannot be “adjusted” like men’s sexual anatomy, finding comfort can be more difficult on a bike saddle. Cobb have found through research that the “Outies” tend to like the wider nosed saddles such as the Max or Fifty-Five models, while the “Innies” consistently like the Plus and V-Flow and the new Randee’ [narrower nosed] models.
So if you are having trouble with your seat or saddle and struggling to get comfortable then perhaps you need to consider whether you’re an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’ and try out a suitable saddle for your anatomy.
There are many different makes out there to try but knowing what your body type is may help in deciding on which ones to try out.
Having a seat that feels comfortable is key to a good ride, not only because it saves you from days of chaffing pain, but also it means you can concentrate less on how you are seated on the bike and instead on how well you are cycling.
The Cobb VFlow seat, although it looks uncomfortable, is probably the best seat I have ever had!