When it comes to saddle choice, there are many variables to play with. Most importantly, it’s crucial to have your bike position dialed before you do some saddle testing. I’ve seen clients who tested 20 different saddles and couldn’t find a good one for them. In that case, it’s not the saddle fault, but the position.
Don’t get me wrong, saddle width matters but I don’t think it’s best determined by measuring ischial tuberosity separation distance. A saddle that is too wide will typically push the rider forward so that their inner thighs can clear it. On the other hand, a saddle that’s too narrow will not offer sufficient support and the rider will fall off the edges and perhaps try to move his pelvis further back than the saddle design intends to compensate for the lack of a platform.
Shape viewed from the top
A saddle can be a little more T-shaped or V-shaped. Getting that variable right is crucial. Among the SMP range, an exemple of a saddle with a more T shape would be the Forma and one with a more V shape would be the Composit.
Shape viewed from the side
For the majority of people, a saddle with some kind of wavy shape will follow the curve of their pelvises better which will result in enhanced comfort and stability. SMP make the most wavy saddles on the market which suit the majority of people really well. However, for some people, a more gentle curve works better.
In the majority of cases, a perineal pressure relief channel is an invention that it would be stupid to do without. If you can sit with an adequate symmetry, it will (almost) always feel better and work better as a good pelvic anterior rotation is desirable to activate the glutes, belly breathe and protect your spine.
Padding is a concept that is extremely simple but rarely grasped. The more the saddle matches a rider’s pelvis contour, the less padding is needed to make the seat comfortable. I mostly recommend saddles with no padding to minimal padding during my fits, especially when ridden with padded bib-shorts.
There is no single brand or saddle model that will satisfy everyone. Even though I have great results with SMP saddles and I think they are the best solutions for many riders, I know that for some people, something else will work better. Finally, there is no substitute to sitting on the saddle itself to find the best one for you, we can use comparative testing to narrow down the options and make our way to a seat that will nail all of these variables and make your cycling experience even more enjoyable.