When having a look at the saddle positioning of many middle- and long-distance triathletes, it becomes obvious that often the athlete only uses the saddle tip on the bike split. The back part of the saddle is visible, as the pelvis has no contact to the saddle behind the tip. For many, this seems inevitable as they believe that in an aggressive aero-position it is impossible to use the entire saddle.
But: Is this really so? Is it true that only the saddle tip can be used to position the pelvis? What consequences is this positioning likely to have? Let’s take some time to address these questions using a recent case:
Our case uses a male triathlete, who is doubtlessly ambitious in his discipline. We have analysed his bike position – aka his bike fit – considering the resistance he is pushing for several hours in racing constantly.
Figure 2 shows his pressure distribution on the saddle in the tri-position (starting position). It is striking how small the contact surface in the area of the saddle tip is. The strained surface is ‘only’ 4650mm2, based on our experience this is small even for triathletes. The small contact surface also explains the high maximum pressure of 1416 mbar. As pressure is defined as force / area, a small surface automatically results in heightened peak pressure. Over time, these peaks can lead to saddle discomfort. Often, the athlete compensates for the lacking comfort by increasing the movement of the hip, which is potentially counterproductive in terms of aerodynamics. In the worst case, the athlete needs to change to riding holding the hoods – a position in which everything is lost from an aerodynamics perspective.
As measures for improvement, we have adjusted both the saddle height and the saddle positioning by 5mm each. These measures were based on the analysis of the pressure distribution in conjunction with analysing the angles of the knee, hip and ankle joints.
Read the whole article here: The perfect saddle positioning in triathlon – gebioMized