How to choose the right saddle inclination
Choosing the right saddle inclination is very important for any cyclist, beginner or veteran.
The saddle height, the shape, the position of your back are always very important, but often you don’t think about how important the tilt of the saddle is.
A proper tilt, in fact, ensures that problems that can sometimes become very serious are avoided. Think of prostate inflammation, for example, a concern for us male cyclists.
THE HIERARCHY OF WEIGHT
The saddle must support a large part of our weight on the bike. In what way? Following this hierarchy:
- In the back, where the ischial tuberosities are to be supported: this is where most of the weight must be released.
- In the front, where the pelvic floor rests: this is where the least amount of weight should go.
THE SADDLE WITH THE TIP POINTING UPWARDS
Let’s start with the classic error that can occur in saddle positioning, i.e., the saddle tip being tilted too far upwards.
In this case it causes what is called retroversion of the pelvis: the pelvis rotates backwards and this causes an incorrect position of the back. This means an increase in the tension of the rear chain of muscles and thus a general stiffening of the cyclist.
But that’s not all. In this case, most of the weight is released in the perineum, in contrast to the hierarchy we talked about earlier. The additional risk is therefore that of prostate inflammation or excessive chafing for both men and women.
From a technical point of view, this wrong position means that you start “pushing” before top dead centre and will finish before the bottom dead centre. In short, it means less efficiency.
THE SADDLE WITH THE TIP POINTING DOWNWARDS
The saddle with the tip down will bring the complete opposite problems to what we have just discussed.
First of all, there will be an anteversion of the pelvis: the pelvis rotates forward and also in this case causes an incorrect position of the back. This means more weight on the front of the saddle and more weight on the arms. This can mean tingling in the hands and pain in the neck, for example.
Another problem can be the classic sliding forward on the saddle. In this case, in addition to poorly supporting the bones on the saddle and, therefore, not taking full advantage of the shape of the saddle itself, we will find ourselves working more with the quadriceps precisely to counteract this forward movement.
From a technical point of view, this wrong position means that you will start “pushing” after top dead centre and finish after the bottom dead centre. And even in this case this means less efficiency.
THE CORRECT POSITION
We assume that the best option is to choose a good biomechanic to help you with the positioning. After that, if we still want to try to do it ourselves, here are some useful tips.
First of all, place the bike in a completely horizontal position: you can use stands or you can place it between two pieces of furniture. At this point, using a leveller, we put the saddle in a horizontal position. Sit on it and feel if the ischial bones really unload the weight correctly on the back. If this doesn’t happen, try some small changes.
The main thing is that the part we use of the saddle, which is much bigger than what we actually use, is horizontal and well levelled. This can happen especially on saddles that are not completely flat but make a bit of a curve.
At this point, continue to make small changes until you feel comfortable, confident and the pedalling is smooth and rounded.
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