Saddle Cutout? do you get used to it?

I just got a saddle with a cutout (SMP Vulkor). the shape of it actually feels amazing for me (and build quality is very very high end). I felt a distinct lowering in my hip rocking. (my previous saddle was a specialized Romin 3d printed - super comfy but I am trying a few different things to reduce hip rocking)

but after riding a few hours, (I’ll try to be as ungraphic as possible) my stuff gets squished into the saddle cutout. I almost feel like that causes more pressure than if the saddle was just flat?

it was def sore down there just from the squishing.

I’ve basically never had issues down there…changed saddles to try to improve hip rocking. The Romin 3d printed does have a cutout but it’s gradual and has a little bit of much softer “padding” rather than a hole.

  1. I’m guessing it’s a “no”, but is this something you get used to?

  2. not really sure which direction to go now as the shape / firmness, everything was perfect. does anyone know offhand of a similarly shaped saddle I can try?

thank you!!!

Sounds a bit scary. Have you tried lowering your Romin? Rocking is most commonly caused by too high a saddle.


hmmm… my stuff never never drops down the hole in a cut out saddle… maybe i’m not quite as gifted?

My assumption would be that your hips are tilted forwards and that this problem would go away if you were in a position on the bike where your hips were level and your sit bones firmly planted on the saddle?

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i think it had more to do with the flex laterally in the romin…the smp doesn’t flex side to side…very firm.

lol maybe other “stuff”. trying not to be gross. but the tissue underneath

yes agree with hips tilted forward causes more…I thought you wanted that position though to get more aero?

On a TT bike maybe - but you would do it by perching your sit bones right at the front of a blunt saddle.

For road use you will want your hip pretty level and your sit bones taking all the pressure - low aero position achieved by lower back flexibility

I have an SMP saddle and have noticed that the incidence of “stuff” creeping into the generous cut-out is actually related to the bibs I’m wearing. My Assos bibs will draw things into the cut-out while my Velocio and Rapha bibs do not.


If you like how you sit on an SMP but don’t get along with the cutout, the SQLab saddles might work well. Testing them back to back I could get slightly better forward hip rotation with the SMP.

Some people ride with a natural wiggle where they enlist their core and the hip motion is complementary to the power stroke. But if your hips are getting tossed around passively then as mentioned lowering your seat could help. Also as you discovered too bouncy of a seat can also drive people to get unstable, I assume because you don’t get as much nervous system feedback from the bounce.

The other possibiity is the subject du jour, crank length is too long and you’re hips are compensating for some impingement coming over the top.

Serious question. Are you wearing bibs?


Bibs? Male or female? Seat height correct?

I don’t use SMP saddles, but from what I understand, they are a lot more finicky when it comes to height and tilt.

My saddles with cutouts do not have this trait - my junk doesn’t get jammed into the cutout in any way.

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Saddles and cutouts are a funny thing IME, my Specialized Avatar has one and its quite comfy but I’ve never been able to get on with one with one with any other road bike saddle. Although my Fizik Tritone has a groove and whilst I didn’t like it at first, I dont mind it several years later.

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SMP are hugely finicky; a few mm in any direction, and half a degree of tilt, can make a huge difference.

The best bike fitter I know says that they are in theory the best saddles for most people (the design makes the most sense) but the fiddliness of setup makes them an impractical choice for many, and he tends now to default to other saddles first, having previously started with SMPs.

The other thing he suggested is that SMPs are very intolerant of ‘built in’ asymmetry (i.e. physical, not a fitting issue). E.g. if a physical limitation like mild scoliosis means you always sit at a slight angle to the top tube, for example, then any saddle which locks you in one place (and SMPs do that more than just about any saddle) is likely going to be problematic.

A couple of other things:

  1. The same fitter stated that a saddle that starts out comfy but gradually gets worse over a long ride (60m to 3hrs, not 4hrs plus) is usually a symptom of ‘right saddle, wrong position’
  2. I can’t ride the 3d printed Spesh stuff - it’s too squishy and I bounce. All things being equal, hard saddles = more stability.

First, drop your seat height 5-10mm from wherever it is now.

Then, 4 saddles to consider (in no order):

  1. SQ Labs 612
  2. Specialized Romin (not the 3D printed)
  3. San Marco Shortfit
  4. Bontrager Aeolus

All have a degree of ‘wave’ to their shape which might work well for someone who likes that.

Edit: I’m assuming we’re talking outdoors rides here? Slightly ironically, the only saddle I can ride for 3 hours indoors is the 3D Power, likely because the saddle provides the subtle movement that you lose from the bike being locked into place on the trainer.

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I am wearing assos bibs!

i didn’t fit well overall in the Velocio ones…never tried Rapha.

you mind sharing which velocio bibs you wear? is it just thinner? or the entire way it’s designed? wonder if maybe a thinner assos would work? or I could try rapha.

thank you!!!

I ride outdoors mostly and indoors on rollers.

thank you for your list…i for sure noticed a huge difference in the firmness of the SMP vs the flex on the 3d printed romin outdoors. felt much more stable.

I wear the Concept bibs (I’m extra, what can I say) and the Signature bibs. From what I can tell, it has to do with how the front of the chamois is designed. At least for me, the Assos bibs makes things rather…prominent…even when not on the bike, while most other bibs compress things more. Because of the “prominence”, it gets tracked down into the cut-out.

Another vote for SQLabs saddles, I have various versions of the 612 on all my bikes, I no longer have any pressure, numbness or discomfort in the sensitive areas, indoors or outdoors, including multi-hour rides ::

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SLR superflow saddle for me. I have the same saddle on my road, track and gravel bikes.

But no two bottoms are the same - you just have to keep trying saddles until you find one that works for you.

I got all but the shortfit. also bought an Ergon.

I started with the Aeolus and I love it. only thing is the upper part of my hamstring hits the saddle on the backstroke and rubbed the skin pretty good. is that something I’d get used to or is that a definite no?

Another +1 for sqlabs 612. I used to use cutouts until I tried that saddle. It truly changed my life. Plus my sit bones measured 100mm and most saddles just simply dont fit.

Steve Hogg’s articles on SMPs might give you some ideas. I’ve been meaning to try an SMP.

Well, you might, but I’d be wary of anything chafing related…