Bike fitting: how to find the perfect road bike saddle


The amateur athletes of Team Alpecin got a very special remote saddle fitting from gebioMized in Corona times.

Normally the riders of Team Alpecin would have gotten a professional bike fitting at the kick-off in Bielefeld; including a field- and laboratory test to determine the individual saddle choice. But as we all know everything turned out differently.

Due to the imposed contact restrictions our partner gebioMized went another new and innovative way – adjustment of the saddle by remote diagnosis.

“As we always combine our saddle selection with a personal consultation, we of course tried to implement this with Team Alpecin in the best possible way”, explains gebioMized’s bike fitter Franziska Schmidt.

For a specific saddle consultation gebioMized uses the specially developed Saddle Selector. It guides riders and fitters with specific questions to the right saddle. Because of the lack of personal contact and analysis tools the gebioMized team asked the 14 amateur athletes of Team Alpecin about their previous saddle model.

“Of course, it helps us enormously in the evaluation process to know which model they have ridden so far and which problems and physical complaints they’ve had with it. Information about the shape and type of the old saddle is of great help when choosing a new model”, Franziska Schmidt explains.

Saddle: difference between T- and V shape

GebioMized themselves have developed their own saddle line based on countless bike fittings and different studies. The models Area and Sleak differ in form, shape and padding. But both are available in V-shape and T-shape, because these “designs” represent the different types of riding positions.

“The T-shape is particularly suitable for riders who load the saddle mainly with the ischial tuberosities – i.e. those riders who rather sit on the back of the saddle,” says Franziska Schmidt.

“The V-shape is particularly suitable for riders who tilt the pelvis forward and put pressure on the middle of the saddle while riding. Therefore, the V-shaped saddle is constructed slightly wider at the nose and in the middle part to provide more surface area that can be loaded if you want to load the middle part of the saddle more”, Schmidt explains. In order to suit the different types, each saddle is available in different widths as well as with cut-out or channel.

“Depending on the seating position, mobility and sensitivity in the seating area and with the information about complaints and problems on the old saddle, if there were any, I was able to choose one of our models,” says Franziska Schmidt.

Saddle Selector – the tool for the perfect saddle choice

The riders were asked to answer a few questions via the Saddle Selector tool and were supported in doing so by phone or e-mail from bike fitter Franziska Schmidt if they were insecure. “Based on the riders’ answers, we try to determine the individual balance of contact area, seating problems and mobility of the rider in order to derive the best model”, explains Schmidt.

Saddle fitting with team rider Tim Jud

Which saddle model have you ridden so far? Are you satisfied with it or rather not? If you have problems, how do they manifest?

Fi’zik Antares and Selle Italia Q Bik with cut-out. Previous problems: numbness and pain in the perineum (in the perineal area)

Conclusion & recommendation by bike fitter Franziska Schmidt

“Tim rides in an aerodynamic position. His pelvis is tilted forwards and weight is placed onto the middle or front part of the saddle. So far, he has ridden two T-shaped saddles. Both saddles have caused him pain in the perineal area. My first assumption was that the middle parts and the noses of the saddles were too narrow for his aerodynamic position and that they didn’t offer enough surface area. The Saddle Selector chose the Sleak 145mm cut-out. This is exactly the choice I had made in advance. A change from T-shape to V-shape could mean a rise in comfort for Tim, because the saddle offers him more contact surface in the middle part”.

Tim Jud: perfectly seated

“Today was my first time on the new saddle on an indoor bike trainer and I am really impressed. Maybe it is also due to the new positioning of the saddle. I will continue testing it, but pain and discomfort were gone today during my 1.5 hours on the indoor trainer. With the old saddle and the old riding position, numbness and pain came after only one hour on the trainer.”

Saddle fitting with team rider Anja Nalbach

Which saddle model have you ridden so far? Are you satisfied with it or rather not? If you have problems, how do they manifest?

Selle Italia SLR T-shape Often pain in the pubic bone area

Conclusion & recommendation by bike fitter Franziska Schmidt

“With Anja, the choice of saddle was not so clear. She stated that she likes to ride narrower models but always has problems when she goes on longer rides. The pain then occurs mainly on the pubic runners. Anja has only ridden T-shaped models so far and after some consideration I sent her an Area 145mm channel (V-shape) for testing with the aim of giving her a slightly wider saddle, which would give her a little more surface area in the middle as well as in the back, i.e., something completely different.”

Anja Nalbach: no more pain on the saddle

“Already on the first meters I felt a noticeable relief in my whole body. Due to the wider seating area my pelvis did not make itself felt anymore right from the start. All in all, I’m sitting on my bike much more comfortably and painlessly.”

Saddle fitting with team rider Lorena Strohner

Which saddle model have you ridden so far? Are you satisfied with it or rather not? If you have problems, how do they manifest?

Bianchi San Marco ERA. For two years I have been very satisfied! This was my first saddle and a “bull’s eye”, I think. Only lately problems have arisen, since I adjusted the saddle (more forward, higher) and mounted a shorter stem on the handlebars. Concrete problem: my skin rubs against the saddle edges or is squeezed by the bib/padding.

Conclusion & recommendation by bike fitter Franziska Schmidt

“Basically, many women do well with the Area; and many men with the Sleak. But of course, there are exceptions. I would say, Lorena is one of them. Because she stated that she is hypermobile, I chose a 145mm Sleak for her. The Saddle Selector delivered the same result. The Sleak is a bit flatter in the ischial tuberosity area. This area is rounded and would possibly not stabilize her enough. “Since she has indicated that she prefers to ride on the middle section of the saddle, a V-shaped one would be the right choice.”

Lorena Strohner: top support from a distance

“Although we were not allowed to get to know each other personally, Franzi’s advice by e-mail was fantastic. With specific questions she was able to take up my needs and thus chose the right gebioMized saddle for me. The result is fabulous – only now do I realize what a huge difference the right saddle makes!”