This is a summary post to capture some of the common problems and proposed remedies for Saddle Pain, Soreness, Numbness while riding on the Trainer. Initial info was sparked & pooled from this thread.
- Is this the same bike and saddle setup that you use outside?
- Do you experience issues with this setup outside as well?
- Or, are your issues only apparent while riding inside?
Is your bike properly fit for your needs?
- Consider a professional bike fit. This should cover things like saddle selection and setup, along with all other aspects of fit that may impact saddle comfort.
Are you riding inside like you do outside?
- Make sure you alter position while inside, similar to how you do outside. This may include subtle fore and aft shifts on the saddle.
- You can sit more upright on the recovery efforts to shift the loading on your body.
- Consider regular standing breaks to fully relieve the saddle support tissue. Make a practice of standing every 5-15 minutes for 10-60 seconds each time.
Is the bike too static in the trainer?
Some riders have found relief from Rocker Plates. These add a varying degree of movement (depending on design and setup) that can alter the loading on the saddle support tissues.
Another possible factor is the lack of wind resistance on the body when riding inside. That is a difference that I find because you end up with slightly more weight on the hands and arms, because you don’t have the wind pushing your upper body rearward like outside.
- To compensate for that, I recommend that people raise the front axle about 1"-2" [25mm-50mm] higher than the rear axle. This shifts the weight slightly back onto the saddle and off the hands and arms.
Is your saddle appropriately sized & shaped for your needs?
- There are many different widths and shapes of saddles. Get the width that works for your sit bone spacing, and the shape that suits your pelvic tilt and overall position on the bike
- Some saddles are flat, curved or blended.
- Some have cutouts of varying side and others no cutouts.
- Some have regular length, short noses, or even split noses.
- Some have different levels of padding. Importantly, don’t assume that more padding is better. The most signification aspect of a saddle is the shape. Get that right and you can have minimal padding in many cases.
- Often times, more padding leads to too much sinking of the sit bones, that then results in excessive pressure on the soft tissue.
Is your saddle positioned for your needs?
- Make sure the saddle is positioned properly so you naturally go to the appropriate location for best support.
- This can include fore-aft position, tilt angle, and saddle height.
Are you properly located on the saddle?
- Placing your sit bones on the appropriate part (wider wings) of the saddle to prevent excessive pressure on the soft tissue in the middle.
- Also make sure you pelvic tilt (fore-aft) is appropriate for your body, bike setup, and saddle selection. Differences in these may lead to certain combinations working well or poorly.
Are your bibs/sorts sufficient?
- Make sure you have a quality pair of bibs/shorts.
- Avoid using the old and lower tier models and brands.
- Consider using your best bibs/shorts while on the trainer. This can help accommodate for the differences of riding inside on the trainer vs outside.
- Be willing to try different brands, because the some work well for one person while they are not the best for everyone.
Related AACC Podcast on saddle pain.
Bit of a tangent, but an active discussion on Saddle Sores that covers a wide range of considerations that parallel this issue: