Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2023) 22, 425 - 430   DOI:

Research article
The Effect of Bicycle Saddle Widths on Saddle Pressure in Female Cyclists
Zi-Jun Lin1, Hsin-Huan Wang2, Chia-Hsiang Chen3, 
Author Information
1 Graduate Institute of Athletics and Coaching Science, National Taiwan Sport University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, ROC
2 Graduate Institute of Sports Science, National Taiwan Sport University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, ROC
3 Office Physical Education, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan, ROC

Chia-Hsiang Chen
✉ National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Office of Physical Education, Pingtung, Taiwan
Publish Date
Received: 06-07-2022
Accepted: 03-07-2023
Published (online): 01-09-2023

Choosing an unsuitable bicycle saddle increases the saddle pressure and discomfort during cycling. Women contract sports injuries more easily than men during cycling owing to their anatomy. To investigate the effect of saddle widths on the saddle pressure in female cyclists. Ten healthy women with an average age of 20.7 ± 1.3 years, height of 162 ± and 5.9 cm, weight of 56.1 ± 7.5 kg, and a sciatic bone width of 15.5 ± 1.4 cm were recruited for this study. The distributions of saddle pressure for four different saddle widths (i.e., narrow, moderate, wide, and self-chosen) were recorded using a saddle pressure mat. Participants were instructed to pedal steadily with a frequency of 90 RPM and a load of 150 watts. Thirty seconds of riding data was randomly retrieved for analysis. The trials were conducted with a counter-balanced design to minimize random errors. One-way repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare the saddle pressure of different saddle widths, and the significance level was set at α = 0.05. When wide saddles were used, the maximum and average pressure on the right surface of the posterior ischium were lower than those with narrow (p = 0.001, p = 0.012) and moderate (p = 0.016, p = 0.019) saddles. The area of pressure on the pubic bone was smaller when using a wide saddle than when using narrow (p = 0.005) and moderate (p = 0.018) saddles, and the area of pressure on the right posterior sciatic bone was larger under the wide saddle than under the narrow (p = 0.017) and moderate (p = 0.036) saddles. The average force was greater with the moderate saddle than with the wide (p = 0.008) and self-chosen (p = 0.025) saddles. Using a saddle with a width that is longer than the width of the cyclist’s ischium by 1 cm can effectively improve the distribution of saddle pressure during riding, while providing better comfort.

Key words: Bike fitting, center of pressure, human health

           Key Points
  • A saddle that is 1 cm wider than the cyclists’ ischium width could improve the pressure distribution of the contact area and induce better comfort during cycling.
  • Women are anthropometrically different from men; however, the current bike fitting method for women is based on that of men, and a lack of theoretical basis does not support this adjustment for female riders. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a new bike fitting reference based on the anthropometry parameter of women.
  • Bike saddle pressure can be viewed as a definite parameter for bike fitting.
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