Saddle discomfort

So, I have a very long term saddle discomfort issue.
It doesn’t seem to matter what I do or what I try, I always feel pressure and soreness on my right sit bone/pelvis.
I must’ve had 20 bike fits in the last 25 years, some even trained by the legendary Steve Hogg.
And yet I’m still uncomfortable.
I’m now 46 and have been riding and racing since I was 13. I’ve never been really comfortable on a bike saddle, in my younger days I shuffled a lot, but I managed.

I come from a background of road racing, but I’ve given up club runs and long rides with my friends. 3 hours is a long ride for me and the end is dictated by how sore I am, not how tired I am.
I now compete in Sprint and Olympic Triathlon and Cyclocross. So 3 hours is fine from a training perspective, but I miss riding with my friends, I miss those long sunny days out on the bike clocking up a hundred or so miles.
I’m at the point I feel like packing in riding altogether, giving up on nearly 35 years of cycing and just becoming a runner, such is the discomfort and frustration.

I’ve tried pretty much every well known saddle, £350 fancy 3D printed saddles, minimal saddles, maximal saddles, wide saddles, narrow saddles, short nose, narrow nose, SMP saddles.
They’ve been moved up, down backwards and forwards, as have my bars.
I’ve used shoe inserts, wedges, shims, all fitted by numerous fitters over numerous years, and still no relief.

So I’m thinking is it just my pelvis doesn’t like bike saddles.
Is that a thing, is anybody else like that?
My right sitbone/right side of my pelvis is just so bloody sharp it grinds itself in to the saddle, any saddle, with every pedal stroke, gradually getting more irritated and more painful.
is anybody else like this? Did you manage to solve, or at least improve things?

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I don’t know if @colbypearce frequents the forum much but he is someone who has experience and has trained with Steve Hogg. If you have had that many bike fits with the goal to solve this issue then something has not been addressed. Maybe Colby has an idea that could open the door to the solution. I hope you find relief. Saddle pain is a problem all too often and I know the issue personally trying to find my right saddle and set up. Even a small mismatch can lead to pain and discomfort.

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Have you ever modified just that side of the saddle by removing some of the padding where this pressure point is?

In order to do so you would need a saddle with some foam in that area, as well the ability to recover the saddle.

In enduro riding (motorcycles) often seats are customized and I have done this myself with good success.

In cycling my issue was similar but different to yours, my saddle would bend on the rails and form to this issue, but sounds like you may need to try altering a saddle.


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@MattE76 I can sympathize. Sorry you are having so much trouble getting comfortable. I too have had a lot of trouble for several years. I’ve had five professional fits and tried literally forty different saddles. I can tell you what worked for me, but each person is different. First of all, the fitter I finally found this year is an out-of-the-box thinker, and I have learned to do that too in bike fitting.

I went to short, 160mm cranks which changes everything including how you weight and unweight the saddle. I use pedals with a wider q-factor (stance width) for both road and gravel (65mm Assioma Favero Duo Shi road pedals, 60mm gravel MTB pedals – XPedo with extra long special order spindles). and I raised the bars way up – embarrassingly high and non-aero, with 30mm of spacers under the stem and a Ritchey 25 degree rise stem on a bike that has a tall stack to begin with. Despite the lack of aero, I can ride in the drops for hours and it’s so much more comfortable that I can match and even sometime break my former all-time records. My saddle is an SQLab 611 Ergowave Active 2.1 saddle. With this setup I can ride for 4 hours before I run out of endurance. I could go longer if I had better endurance – the saddle is not the limiting factor anymore.

I would also suggest working with a sports medicine physical therapist if you haven’t already. Someone who knows cyclists. I hope some of this helps.


You might also try saddle pressure mapping if you haven’t done that already.


This sounds like a classic case of R side bias, from what you have written, but there can be several complicating factors. If you have excessive visceral inflammation, or a facilitated R psoas and/or illiacus, this can cause the R side of the pelvis to become “stuck” in flexion and this can drive the R ishial tuberosity into the saddle. While we have to accept that a simple explanation could be the cause [a more pronounced ischial tuberosity on the R side, for example] it is far more likely that your muscle length tension relationships, fascial tone and posture on and off the bike are contributing to this outcome.

For the record, about 85% of the riders who walk through my door have this same denominator. The difference is in the outcome, but it is the same fundamental problem: the bicycle demands exceptional symmetry which most people’s bodies don’t have, and the rider isn’t willing / doesn’t know to do the work to restore symmetry to the point where they can enjoy the sport.

Without actually seeing you on the bike, I can only give limited advice. Some possible routes are:

  • GPS or ELDOA programs for myofascial stretching
  • deep tissue massage by a qualified therapist
    [the above are assuming you have a well designed stretching and mobility program that targets your facilitated muscles, and that you have done it for a while and not seen results]
  • core conditioning, and no I don’t mean planks and crunches. If you have asymmetries, it means you have tight areas [to be mobilized] and loose areas [to be stabilized]. This nearly always indicates a lack of proper core function and over recruitment of phasic muscle fibers.

Fundamentally, you have to unwind a tight, wound up body. Then stabilize the parts that are moving around too much. We know these exist because of the tight parts, it’s how bodies work. Then you can start riding again.

The order of operations is: 1. flexibility 2. stability 3. strength 4. power. if you do these out of order, you have problems.

All that is a lot of work. One magic bullet that *might *work is an Infinity saddle. It won’t fix your problem but it might keep your riding.

I hope this helps you get pointed in the right direction.


Thanks for everyone’s input.
I’ve been looking at yoga and ELDOA options in the UK.

Hi all,

Be sure to see more saddle info for members:

Saddle Sores and Other Male “Saddle Diseases” featuring Dr. Andy Pruitt (@andrewpruittedd)

Choosing the Right Bike Saddle for Your Body’s Biomechanics, also featuring Dr. Pruitt.

Colby has contributed several other Cycling in Alignment episodes on bike saddles. See all our bike saddle and related episodes and stories.

We also have quite a bit of free and member-only info on bike fit.

Hope this helps!

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