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Difference between a men´s and a women´s bicycle saddle?

A distinction between a women's and a men's saddle is not necessary with a step saddle, because the decisive factor is the seat bone distance. The correct saddle width guarantees that the sit bones rest fully on the saddle. This is the only way to relieve the sensitive perineal area in men and the usually lower pubic arch in women.

The difference between men and women

The pelvis of man and woman differ mainly in the fact that a woman's pelvis must allow birth. For us however, the contact to the saddle is of interest – and here, the difference is less than often assumed.

The concept we developed to measure the distance between the seat bones provided us with interesting insights. There were no meaningful statistics about the sit bone distance relevant for the saddle so far. When researching the Internet on the subject of sit bones, you can find a lot about e.g. shepherd dogs, but almost nothing about humans. The statistics we have developed over the years show that the distance between the sit bones of men's between 6 cm and 16 cm and between 9 cm and 17 cm for 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!

The lowered saddle nose relieves the typical problem zone of men, the perineal area and about 2 cm further forward the pressure point between the female pubic bone and saddle nose.

Pressure pubic bone / saddle nose

SQlab solution

  • The SQlab step saddle with lowered saddle nose reduces the pressure evenly.
  • Tilting the saddle forward achieves the same outcome – the rider however, will slide forward into the narrow part of the saddle.
  • A more upright riding position lifts the pubic bone.
  • Important: check again the saddle width!

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.