What should I look for in a women’s saddle for triathlon?

When it comes to choosing the right saddle for triathlon racing and training, most women will find a female-specific saddle to be the best option. Here’s what you should look out for…

Close up of a young female cyclist checking the saddle of her racing bike, before starting a cycling session on a country road

Not all saddles are made equal, and women’s saddles can vary drastically from men’s, this mainly comes down to basic physiological differences between the sexes.

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It’s still important to bear in mind, however, that all bodies are different, so look for a saddle that’s suitable for your personal shape, and that fits your style of riding.

What makes a good female saddle?

Women’s saddles mainly focus on the fact that most women have larger sit bones than men and more pelvic rotation, which means that a wider and slightly more cushioned rear section and smaller front area could be more comfortable.

You may have seen saddles with cut-out relief channels along the middle, these were traditionally designed for male comfort, so may not be strictly necessarily on a female saddle. Though you may appreciate a cut-out or indentation to release soft tissue pressure on the genitals, or you might just prefer this design.

How do you choose the right saddle?

Take a look at your own personal body shape, if you have narrower hips then you may not need such a wide seat, or vice versa. Or if you find that your thighs chafe on your saddle when pedalling, this could be a sign that your current saddle is too wide, so it’s worth taking a look at what you don’t like about your current saddle when looking for a new one.

Muscle and soft tissue will also vary in each person, so you may have different pressure points to your training buddies. This also depends on your stance in the saddle and whether you prefer an upright or more aero position when cycling.

To decide, visit a bike shop which can carry out pressure mapping to measure your sit bones and ascertain the most ideal saddle width for you.

You’ll also find that saddle height, angle (ensure it’s tilted slightly down, not up), fore/aft positioning and handlebar placement will all contribute to your stance when sitting and determine the placement of your pressure points, so consider adjusting these before forking out for a new saddle all together.

Finally, consider that road bike saddles will differ greatly from mountain bike and touring saddles, so make sure you get a saddle specific to the kind of cycling you do.

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Top image: Getty Images