Difference between a men´s and a women´s bicycle saddle?
From an anatomical point of view, there is no difference between a men's and women's bicycle saddle. The common assumption that women need a wider saddle than men is a fallacy. The sit bone distance is decisive. This guarantees that your sit bones lie completely flat on the saddle. This is the only way to relieve pressure to the sensitive areas in both men’s and women’s bodies that are affected by hard saddles.
The difference between men and women
|Image: With the man (left) the pubic bones run steeper upwards. Whereas in the woman (right) the pubic arch is clearly lower. The sitting bone distance of a woman is not necessarily larger than that of a man.|
The previously rarely considered anatomical difference of women’s generally lower positioned pubic bone arch often leads to high pressure experienced on the saddle nose.
So there are many women with very small sit bone distance and many men with with a very large distance. Measuring the distance between the sit bones at your SQlab dealer makes it easier to choose the right saddle and saves unnecessary test drives. Different saddles for men and women are no longer needed with the SQlab concept!
Pressure pubic bone / saddle nose
The problem is common amongst women! The low positioned female pubic bone presses onto the saddle nose.
Research about woman specific saddles
The German Sport University Cologne has performed research on women with pressure mapping and two different saddle types (Gel saddle and saddle with cut-out) in various different riding positions. None of the tested saddles showed a satisfactory relieve in the area of the pubic bone arch / saddle nose. The results concur with our own research performed in our own SQlab. The SQlab saddle width system in combination with the lowered saddle nose of the SQlab step saddle is hence not only first choice for men, but also relieves the typical pressure points women experience. This leads to the conclusion that women specific saddles based on a different shape and sitting position of men and women are no longer necessary.
Conclusion of the research
The bike saddle with a hole (control) distributes pressure over a smaller surface, with high pressure at the sides of the hole.
Therefore not only did the saddle with a hole not change the amount of pressure on the central part of the saddle, it centralised it in an area, which can potentially cut blood and lymphatic supply to a woman’s outer genitalia. On the control saddle (Fig. 14) high pressures can occur on the sides of the hole, therefore compressing parts of the Labia Majora (shown in red). In the central part of saddle, the Labia Majora gets caught in the middle of the hole. Compression over a limited portion at the centre of each Labium could damage the skin and the lymphatic system, compress the nerves or cut blood supply to the rest of the Labium falling in the middle of the hole. This does not happen on the flat saddle with gel.