Discomfort associated with sitting on a bicycle saddle for extended periods remains one of the most common complaints amongst cyclists. Perhaps surprising then that very little research work has focussed on the influence of gender, power, hand position, and Ischial Tuberosity (IT) width on saddle pressure during seated stationary cycling. Recently, however, progress has been made. Researchers at the departments of Biomedical Engineering; Mechanical Engineering and Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, created an experimental laboratory set-up using a saddle fitted with a special pressure mat (incorporating a matrix of ninety piezo-capacitive pressure sensors) to pinpoint the subtle yet crucial differences in bicycle saddle loading for lady and gentleman bicyclers. “There are significant gender-related differences in saddle loading which are important to consider when designing saddles.” say the researchers. And, based on their findings, they have recommendations for future bike saddle design. “…our results support the idea that females would probably achieve better bony support from a saddle which is slightly wider in the posterior region to accommodate the greater IT widths.”
Gender Differences in Bicycle Saddle Pressure Distribution during Seated Cycling is published in the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2008 – Volume 40 – Issue 6 – pp 1126-1134
A full version may be found here.