Cycle Loft - a local bicycle shop known, among other things, for its extensive fit studio. I will be test riding a few of their bikes this summer, and the staff suggested I undergo a fitting session beforehand. As we were getting started, the fitter - Joel - caught sight of the Selle Anatomica I was riding. He asked whether I wanted to use my own saddle, given how particular it was, or try something new.
Today there are lots of high quality, well thought-out saddle designs on the market, in a variety of materials. The trick is to find one that fits our particular anatomy, position and riding style. For the past two years I've been going back and forth between a Berthoud touring saddle and a Selle Anatomica on my roadbikes. These saddles are as close as I've been able to get to being truly comfortable over long distances. But neither is perfect. So I decided to keep an open mind and see what the fitter recommended.
Joel explained that a saddle should be wider than the sit bone width itself. How much wider depends partly on the rider's position and partly on the saddle's shape. As far as the rider's position, the more leaned forward you are, the narrower area of support is needed. That much I'd known. As far as saddle shape, Joel showed me a selection or road/racing saddles and pointed out that on some the sitting surface was flat across, while on others it was rounded, like an arc. For all my careful scrutiny of saddle shapes, this was not a distinction I'd explicitly been aware of before, so I was excited to learn something new. For any given rider, on a rounded saddle the width needs to be greater than on a flat saddle.
According to the fit chart, the saddle width recommended for my sit bones was 155mm minimum. My Berthoud saddle (which is flat) measures 160mm across, and my Selle Anatomica (which is rounded) measures 170mm across. My comfort with both makes sense according to this fit method.
As far as what I don't like, that is a little trickier to explain. The Berthoud feels a bit too hard, whereas the Selle Anatomica has a bit too much give. And with each, I occasionally - at random times, it seems - feel pressure or pinching in the middle of my "soft tissue." It happens rarely now compared to the problems I used to have, but it does still happen occasionally. We discussed all this in detail, as well as the other saddles I've tried. I described my dislike of gel (I sink into it and feel horrible pressure), my inability to ride Terry saddles (the slots are somehow in the wrong place), and finding the edges of many racing saddles "too sharp" as I pedal.
here). It had everything I seemed to need: a rounded wide rear (168mm across), a narrow nose, and a firm, but not rock-hard, surface. A channel down the middle and a curved nose were designed to avoid contact with exactly the pressure-prone spots I'd identified. It is not a woman-specific saddle, but then neither are my own. A synthetic saddle made by a big-name manufacturer, it was not what I would normally gravitate toward, but I'd said I would be open minded, and so I would.
The Romin Evo is now fitted on the demo bike I'm riding. I could not feel it under me on the initial 30 mile ride, but I will withhold judgment until after the follow-up, 100K ride.
But whether this particular saddle wins me over is beside the point. What I appreciated the most was the generally informative conversation with the fitter - who I felt was neutral and knowledgeable when it came to various styles, materials, aesthetics and brands of saddles. I would like to keep learning myself, and at some point to post a comprehensive guide that might be of help to those at a loss for where to start.