The saddle’s slope – always horizontal?

The saddle position is adjusted by setting the saddle height, the offset (setting to the front or back) and the saddle tilt. To begin with, a saddle should be adjusted horizontally. This might be problematic as the saddle producers offer different construction forms and materials, giving rise to practical questions like

  • Where do I put the spirit level on an arched saddle – on the tip only or on the whole saddle?
  • Do I have to consider that the sitting bones (Tuber ischiadicum) will sink in slightly and possibly point the tip down a little?

In addition, when looking at the saddle setting of experienced cyclists, one can see that many of these saddles are installed with a slight tilt. So, is horizontal always right?

Small cause big effect

A slight downward tilt of the saddle tip can increase the strain on the arms. When positioning we are always interested in an optimal strain distribution between the points of contact handlebar, saddle and pedal. Thus in singular cases a slight slope of the saddle tip can be advisable!

The following example shows an ambitioned mountain bike rider, describing problems in the seating area during long training sessions.

In the bikefitting process the saddle nose was sloped downwards by 1 degree. The comparison of the pressure measurements (starting position on the left side) shows a marked reduction of the maximum pressure in the pubis area, an increase in the strained area and an optimization of the force center – all indicators of improvement. A remarkable reduction of the problems in the seating area and no noticeable additional straining of the arms prove that under certain circumstances a small change of the saddle tilt can have a big and desired effect.

Author: Lotte Kraus