Sit bones and saddles

I can’t find anything anywhere about cyclists who can’t feel sit bones or IPR when seated on a saddle. That’s completely me. I understand there’s a balance in weight distribution to avoid numbness or extreme bone pain. I’m having such a hard time with finding a good saddle. I know it’s 100% me. I’m really starting to not enjoy riding. I’m finding a in end up baring down on efforts euchre adds to pressure points and pain. I’m using the aeolus right now. After the ride between my bits and leg it was so red on both sides and I was getting slight numbness. I tried so many saddles. Prologo dimension doesn’t rub but I get numb. I’ve tried everything move my saddle down. Forward backwards. No one is doing pressure mapping here either.

I don’t get why I cant sit properly on a saddle with feeling my bones engaged. I’m really getting discouraged. The pain gets me down about riding. I’ve had professional fits by two different fitters also, why the heck don’t I ever feel proper when I sit in a saddle. :frowning:

I had a selle italia boost sp it was the only one I ever felt weight on my pubic rami. But that one got so extreme for pain I couldn’t handle it. (probably didn’t build up to it)

I’m at a point where I’m wanting to give up.

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I’m similar in the sense that I’ve tried a lot of different kit, different research, different bike fits and still never been that happy. My latest bikefit even gave me pressure mapping, which showed that my weight was well distributed. It still didn’t stop me going numb down there!

I do think that sit bone measurements and saddle measurements may not be the holy grail that some people would suggest. If you’re the kind of person who rotates their pelvis quite a bit, then you may not be sitting on your sit bones at all!

To further this, there’s so many other contributing factors that may cause saddle issues that have nothing to do with your saddle. Predominantly saddle height, shoe/cleat/orthotic setup and handlebar height/reach.

I even find that my saddle numbness changes depending on intensity. If I ride my bike on a steady ride with my girlfriend, I get super uncomfortable! But the harder I ride, the comfier I feel (or at least the less noticeable the problem is).

There are two things I’m now playing with.

  1. Tilting the nose down - I’ve often sniggered when I’ve seen saddles tilted down but I’ve started dropping mine, just slightly, and it’s going some way to helping, but not eliminating, the problem

  2. Core strength - my core is rubbish, as is my entire upper body. I’ve decided to fix this by starting strength training. My hypothesis is that a lack of core (and back) strength is causing me to over rotate my pelvis and therefore rest unnecessary weight on the nose of the saddle. When I’m on the turbo I’ve tried tensing my abs and this allows me to roll my pelvis back (so that it’s more parallel with the saddle). I can’t do this long enough to determine if it will help with saddle numbness but I’ve figured strengthing this area of my body is worth a shot (plus it has other benefits)

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Lower the saddle a bit and retry.

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Can you get a video of you side on? Fully warmed up and giving it at least SS sort of power. Curious as to how your back and pelvis is angled.

I never feel my sitbones when riding, don’t stress that bit. Also a ‘pro’ fitter doesn’t always mean they are good fitters.

The above sounds really similar to me a few years back. I was put onto a rehab programme by a physio, dropped a bike size and put the saddle further back - from that point on riding was tranformed.

I think you have something going on here beyond not being able to find a saddle that works for you. However, if that is part of the solution, I can’t recommend this enough to solve for that. It is expensive, heavy, and ugly. It also works exactly as advertised.

Thanks for your reply. I do core work regularly and try to do alot of mobility. I most likely need to figure out how to sit on a bike.

Ok tell me if this is in my head… I had lowered my saddle 1cm then 2cm below what the fitter suggested. It didn’t help with saddle Discomfort and my power suffered huge.

I could try to do that.

I’m curious what kind of rehab program??? And for sure it’s definitely more than saddle selection. My bike fitter did say I’d benefit from a smaller frame for my next bike.

The problem is I don’t feel my sit bones and I have all my weight on my front bits. That causes numbness. Or I get mad leg rub. Last night I had both. I was super red at my leg crease. My ride was 35k of being miserable

Moving to the near unpadded Specialized Romin, moving saddle back 2cm, nose down slightly and bars back 1cm helped all those things.

The rehab program is as below (formatting might be off)

Hypomobile thoracic spine Book openers


Daily x 10 x 2 if you can

Thoracic extension on foam roller


Daily x 2
Reduced ab control Crook lying
Practice pelvic tilts x 10 without generating “tension” elsewhere"

Progress into “tabletop” position then “deadbugs”
Start with just tapping toes trying to maintain spinal position and not letting it shear into extension
Try and do for 15 seconds progressing to 30 x 3 x 3 weekly
You can then progress to one arm one leg

Plank circuits

Front plank
Side plank short lever +/- clamshell
Reverse plank

Aim x 15 seconds x 3 circuits x 2 daily x 3 weekly
Tight quadratus lumborum Stretch x 20-30 seconds x 2 daily

Reduced glute strength Hip thrusts
Aim x 12 x 3 sets x 3 weekly

Can progress to sit to stand or stack squats to reduce strain through the ankle

“Can’t feel sit bones or IPR when seated” … I experienced and worked through something very similar to this over the course of the summer. Though this lengthy response is purely anecdotal, the key themes therein might help isolate your own particular issue.

Components observed:

  1. Hip angle/tilt:
  • Prior to my love for cycling, I spent a great deal of time gaming (these were my foundational years, 8-16)

  • I’m now 32, and like many of us on here, I work a desk job

  1. Saddle height
  • Observing professional cyclists gives the impression that a high saddle height is ideal (of course this turns out to be greatly affected by the amount of power being displaced, and conditions you’re observing them in which is nearly impossible to control for as an observer)

  • Knee angle as observed while riding ones own bicycle is not a good indication of ‘actual’ knee angle. I.e., high speed or slow-mo footage under sizeable load (80%+) IS the ideal and probably only way to accurately measure this angle without a third party observer

  1. Saddle fore/aft
  • KOPS is largely irrelevant as the foundational factors (sit bone engagement + saddle height) are largely deterministic unless your bike is completely the wrong size or you have funky limb proportions :slight_smile:
  1. Ankling
  • More often than not, this is a compensatory mechanism
  1. Saddle size
  • Often overlooked but easy to measure!

So here’s the big picture:

Due to my ignorant ‘past’, my pelvic/hip angle has over the years naturally tilted forward (anterior pelvic tilt). This has led to weaker glutes (VERY low/no activation), tighter hip flexors and naturally, a tendency to rotate forward taking the load completely off my sitbones and onto the soft tissue. Before i understood this, and while observing myself cycling (video), i noticed my knee angle was less than optimal, so my solution was to jack up the saddle height to correct. This led to excessive ankling, excessive anterior pelvic tilt, and in turn forced me to position the saddle further forward to compensate. While progressing through these gates of trial and error, at no point did i pay attention to the real issue; my sit bones were NOT engaged. The setup was not optimal, and although i was managing to put down solid power and was able to maintain endurance for extended periods, i suffered from poor control of the bike, and a general lack of comfort which i simply accepted as fact.

Here are the steps i took to remedy:

  1. Measure sitbones and obtain an appropriate saddle width (I’m @ 125mm, and was originally on a 138mm wide saddle. Followed the +20 method and scrapped it for a 145mm wide Aeolus)

  2. Reduce saddle height incrementally to 1) mitigate ankling (If this is an issue) and 2) help reposition your sitbones back into the saddle

  3. Because of this reduced saddle height, i now began to feel myself sitting more upright and this ultimately influenced the amount of weight distribution over my sit bones. As i began to feel them engaging, i pivoted my attention to…

  4. Saddle fore/aft. Using Steve Hogg’s balance technique, i found a saddle position that allowed me to unweight my hands almost completely at 80% threshold. I mention above that KOPS is largely irrelevant- if you follow this technique to balance your weight over the BB, you’ll realize your knee position over the pedals almost naturally aligns. Ride enough to see how your knees feel, and adjust according to any pains that develop (bearing in mind that you may now be activating your quads MORE than before in this new position, which may bring about some initial aches (top of patella) while you acclimate)

What i’ve come to realize throughout this process is that ‘hallmark’ methods for sizing up a bike-fit almost organically fall into place; things like heel on pedal method for correct saddle height are only effective if your sitbones are properly engaged in the saddle, and this becomes apparent once you nail that down.

As a quick test: while on the trainer, sit upright, hands off the controls and rotate your pelvis back (think of sucking your belly button in). Feel your sit bones engaging then try the heel method for saddle height and observe how much you sway and which side you may be favoring. Then, try to reach for the controls while maintaining this sit bone engagement and see how your body reacts.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to send this to me!!!

This really bums me out. The TrainerRoad community is SO strong though, you’ll get some good advice here for sure!

Re: Prologo dimension saddle doesn’t rub, but there’s numbness, could this saddle potentially work if you had a chamios with better density near the pubic bone? Have you tried mixing it up with a different chamios to see if it makes a difference?
I know if I have chamios that are more than a couple season old, too, the padding under sit bones/pubic bones will compress overtime and become ineffective. Could it be a result of that maybe?

Wow you took so much time to send me this. Thank you so much.
I will take everything you said into detail to see if I can get to a good place with my positioning.

I’m going to try what you suggested regarding saddle height. See what I can find out and if I can engage my sit bones

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This community is actually amazing. I’m so pleased that people are patient and so willing to help.

I have tried various chamois with the prologo. It’s a frustrating thing to deal with this. Alot of people say that the saddle disappears under you when you find the one. I have yet to feel that.

But thanks so much for reaching out

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My pleasure!

As someone who never really sat on their sit bones due to a lifetime of anterior pelvic tilt, I can say it was a largely underestimated component when I began to dissect my woes. It really only dawned on me once I felt it. Other areas saddle height and posterior self-awareness helped out were: hot spots in the foot (No longer compensating for what feels like a leg length discrepancy), general circulation issues/numbness in feet and groin, glute recruitment (tbh biggest win since these guys are really the powerhouse behind your pedal stroke) and just overall better control of the bike with what felt like command being taken over by the hips rather than the cockpit.

Best of luck!

It’s amazing how a pad can change the way a saddle feels under you. Maybe it’s not your saddle or your fit or how you pedal…

Just a thought, but is there any chance your reach is too long/the bike is too big? If it is, in overreaching you maybe roll your pelvis forward, disengaging your sit bones. Strengthening your core may also help. But just as an experiment, see if you can borrow a bike with a shorter reach.

Also as a double check, use the wet paper method to check sit bone width. It is possible that you have unusually wide or narrow sit bones, and might need (for example) a women’s saddle. I’m not trying to poke fun - if that is the issue, it will help .

My fitter did say I would benefit from a smaller frame. He reduced my reach 5 cm after my fit. It made a huge difference.

And no offence taken!!! I’m actually waiting for a women’s specific saddle to come in tomorrow.

I’m back to weight training. I bodybuild. Starting base training and doing weights again. I’m doing more core work again so I’ll see what happens paired with mobility

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I know you said you couldn’t find someone that does saddle pressure mapping nearby, but is a day trip a possibility? Saddle pressure mapping was the tool that provided insight into resolving comfort issues that I had been dealing with for over a decade. I had other fittings, but a year ago ended up driving 50 miles to a fitter that was recommended to me and it was well worth it. After my first session I cried half of the drive home, because I finally started to understand what was going on. It was like I was in a dark room for 10+ years and someone turned on the light.

Regarding saddles, the pressure map and measurements are helpful in finding a saddle that is both the correct width to support you, but also the correct shape / curvature. I could see in real-time peak pressures and we could change what part of my undercarriage takes the load with different positioning changes. This might sound strange, but have you explored/poked/prodded the structure of your sit bones with your hands? It was only during my fit journey and poking / prodding my own body that I learned about some asymmetries in my pelvis and sit bones in particular.

Regarding fits, did the fitters include follow-up sessions? Did you take notes and give them detailed feedback on how you felt when riding inside / outside after the sessions and make adjustments? Or did they just try to get your body to meet the parameters of their fitting methodology and not take much feedback? My view going in was that I’m paying to optimize my position and get more comfortable and they need to meet my needs. But I also have a responsibility to communicate how the changes felt. I also took detailed notes after every ride and sent them to the fitter prior to my follow-up appointment.

My issue with people recommending certain saddles, or dropping your seat x cm, or things like that is that nobody here knows enough about your situation to know those are going to help. Over the course of my sessions my seat was rotated up, moved back (relative to the BB), and moved up (relative to the BB), all changes one might initially expect to actually increase peak pressure. I switched to a leather wrapped, plastic version of the saddle from carbon which also helped.

I never felt like my sit bones were ‘engaged’ with the seat in any way before or now. My view is that if things are just right, I won’t notice anything, because there is nothing to notice. If there is something to notice, something isn’t right.

I had the exact same problem and also was close to quitting. I feel your frustration on a personal level. It’s painful physically and mentally!

I going to say something I hadn’t seen much online and is the opposite of what others have said and I’m by no means an expert. I actually tilted my seat up a couple of degrees. This had the effect of pushing me back on my sit bones and not crotch ride. Everything I had read said have the seat level to down a couple of degrees. I finally read what the touring riders do instead of the racers. The touring folks suggested up to 1-4 degrees.
It’s hard because your posture on your bike matters. I ride a hybrid bike that is aggressive posture but not as much as a road bike.
I just made this change and it feels great but I haven’t done a long ride yet which is the real test. So far it feels great and I’m back! I was able to move my seat back to be in a better position for power as well.
Good Luck!