How to measure tree size on english saddle

What size is that Saddle tree?

The tree in Stubben saddles is a spring tree of wood and steel. The webbing on the seat determines its depth.

The size of a saddle tree makes a huge difference in saddle fit. Readers will remember that recently I bought a saddle on eBay that didn’t work out at all. One of the issues was that the tree, which was described as medium to medium wide, was way too narrow for Freedom.

When I challenged the seller on this she told me that it fit her client’s horse perfectly and he was a medium. Now I have three thoughts about this. First, more than 50% of the time when someone tells me their saddle fits, they’re wrong. Second, medium means different things depending on the manufacturer. And third,even when a saddle is marked with a specific tree width, if it’s a used saddle, someone could have adjusted the tree so that it’s wider or narrower than its original measurement. I have a County saddle that is marked as a medium but must have been widened by a previous owner as it fits like a wide. In general, a tree will stretch slightly so it’s not unusual for an older saddle to run a bit wider than it’s “official” size.

What is a tree, anyway?

The saddle tree is the rigid structure that gives the saddle its shape and helps distribute the weight of the rider. Remember, the tree size is not the same as the gullet size.

Kieffer saddles feature a synthetic tree that is reinforced with fiberglass. This tree can be adjusted by certified dealers.

Traditionally, trees were made of wood. Then spring trees were developed which combined wood and steel. Today, spring trees are still prevalent but you also see manufacturers using synthetic materials such as polyurethane, often reinforced with fiberglass.

The size of a tree is the distance between the two points of the tree. This measurement is calculated in centimeters.

Trees are available in different sizes — some manufactures give a centimeter measurement, others use narrow/medium/medium-wide/wide. This is a somewhat approximate measurement since no two manufacturers seem to use exactly the same method and the measurements are based on the distance between the tree points. Since the length of the tree points differs by saddle manufacturer it’s almost impossible to compare them.  Therefore, although your horse may be a medium-wide in some brands, he might need a wide (or a medium) in another! If the tree is too narrow, then those tree points will dig into the trapezius muscles (behind the shoulder blade). If the tree is too wide then the saddle will sit on the withers, potentially pinching the nerves that run down the spinal cord.

So, how do you measure tree size?

There are three basic ways to measure the size of a tree on a used saddle. Most commonly people provide the measurement of the distance between the D-rings of the saddle. While this may/may not correspond with the position of the points, it’s a common distance that allows you to compare different saddles.

Another low tech method to estimate the width of a saddle is to clench your fist and put your knuckles up to the front of the saddle. A woman’s hand will generally measure about four inches across. If there’s 1/2″ to 3/4″ of space on either side of your fist, the saddle is approximately a medium tree. If there’s 0″ to 1/2″ then the tree is narrow; and if there’s more than 1″ of space on either side of your fist, the tree is wide or extra wide.

Then if you want to get really technical, pull out your protractor and start measuring the angles of the points! According to an article on the Lorien Stables site:

  • A narrow saddle has an 86 degree angle. Measuring the angle of a saddle tree. Image source:
  • A medium or regular saddle has a 90 degree angle–a “right angle,” like the corner of a square.
  • A wide saddle has a 94 degree angle.

A tree that is too narrow for your horse will perch the saddle high on their withers and tip the rider toward the cantle. This is a problem because it puts too much pressure on the back of the saddle — and the weakest part of the horse’s back: the loins. If you are tipped slightly back, you may feel like you are “behind the motion” of the horse and always working to keep up.

A tree that is too wide, puts the pommel of the saddle onto the horse’s withers. Add the rider and you are putting a lot of pressure right onto one of the nerves that runs down your horse’s back. In addition, the position of the saddle tips the rider forward, putting the rider out of balance.

A saddle that fits properly, will lie flat on the horse’s back with the deepest part of the saddle level. Not only is a properly fitting saddle more comfortable for the horse, but it puts the rider in a more balanced position, too.

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How To Measure An English Saddle

When it comes to saddles. There are English saddles and Western saddles, and they do differ slightly in size and design. So, to ride with an English saddle. You will need to measure it up and ensure it is just right for you. 

If you are new to the world of horse riding. You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of riding equipment, tools, tack, and everything else you need for your horse. One of a rider’s most important tools is the saddle. Your saddle has to fit you perfectly and has to comfortably suit the horse. 

So, how do you measure an English saddle? Let’s find out in this simple and easy-to-follow guide. But first, let’s take a look at the English saddle, and how it compares to the Western saddle.

What is an English saddle?

An English saddle is used to ride horses for English riding styles and disciplines throughout the world. It is not just used in England or the United Kingdom. This saddle can also be used for Olympic equestrian sports, dressage horse riding, and other types of horse riding events. Where this style is preferred.

For the most part, an English saddle is based on a solid tree. Which is what we call the base of the saddle, where webbing, leather, and padding are added.

The tree of the English saddle is built of high-quality wood, reinforced steel, and many other strong materials. They do have some flexibility to allow movement and comfort when riding.

Leather is also added to the saddle to create a seat. It has flaps and panels coming down the sides to provide cushioning between the horse’s back and the saddle.  

How does an English saddle differ from a Western saddle?

English saddles and Western saddles have different purposes. English saddles, as you could probably guess, are for English-style riding, whereas Western saddles are for Western riding. In Western riding, riders take both reins in one hand and allow the other to fall by their side.

This style of riding, the horse is ridden with little to no contact, as the rider uses their weight and neck reining to aid and guide the horse.

In contrast, during English riding, the rider makes direct contact with the horse’s mouth with the reins. The rider uses these to control and communicate with the horse, and the rider holds the reins with both hands for greater control. 

The English saddle in comparison is much lighter and is designed to give the rider a closer contact and feel with the horse’s back.

Western saddle

The Western saddle is much larger and heavier, as it is mainly used for spreading the weight of the rider across a larger area of the horse’s back, for greater comfort for the rider and horse during long days farming or herding. 

As the English saddle is designed to create closer contact with the horse, you have to ensure that it fits properly and is the right size for both your horse and the rider. So, how do you measure an English saddle?

How to measure an English saddle

When you are looking to purchase an English saddle, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. For instance, the saddle has to have the right configuration, as the seat size and flaps need to be just right. 


The thing is, English saddles do not come cheap, so you’ll want to measure up beforehand and get it right the first time! To measure for an English saddle, you will definitely need to measure your current saddle.

To do this, first ensure that the saddle is level, as this will make things so much easier. Grab a measuring tape, and measure from the center of the button on the pommel at the front of the saddle.


For most adult riders, the saddle will need to be about 17 inches in length, but for teenagers, you may need to go down a few inches. Alternatively, if you are a tall rider, then a larger saddle may provide you with more support when riding. 

Then, take the measuring tape from the pommel and measure to the middle of the cantle at the back of the saddle.


After measuring that distance, you’ll have your seat measurements good to go. But first, you should check if this size saddle works for you.

To do this, balance the saddle on the horse, and have your horse standing in a level location. Then, place your feet in the stirrups and sit on the saddle. 

If you can fit your hands between where you are sitting and the back, then the seat is the right size for you. If not, then it’s too small and you need to size up. Check both the back and front, and you should have a hand’s width. If there is more of a gap, then the seat is too large. 

Check the Flaps

After checking the seat size, you’ll have to consider the flaps. To do this, you need to check that the flip contours with your leg when in the stirrups. Your knee should be directly behind and in line with the forward point of the flap if the saddle fits properly.

However, if the knee falls within about an inch of the flap, then this should be perfectly fine too. 

Next, you need to determine the length of the flap. This can be gauged by looking at the rider’s leg. You will need the flip to hit about a third of the way down the calf, but you will not want it to keep hitting the riding boots. 

You can also measure the flap length by lifting the skirt of the saddle from the pommel to reveal the metal stirrup bar, then you will need to measure straight down from the center of this bar to the bottom of the saddle flap to determine the right flap length.  

Finally, place your saddle upside down so the cantle is touching the floor and the base of the saddle is up and exposed. Then, you should see the gullet, and on either side of this, you will find the panels of the saddle. At the front of these panels, you will see four felt dots. 

Locate the two felt dots closest to the gullet, and measure the distance between them. This should give you a dot-to-dot measurement that can help you find the right saddle tree width no matter which brand of saddle you go for. 


To summarize, an English saddle is slightly different and smaller than a Western saddle, and you will need to measure it extensively to see whether it will be suitable for you and your horse. Luckily, with our guide, you can find the exact perfect fit and the saddle that works best for you. 

how to choose the size, how to dress, types (Cossack, sports, ladies, walking), how to make it yourself

02. 02.2020 8 745 0 elements of equipment for riding. This is a kind of conductor between the horse and the rider, and its correct form determines the comfort of both the animal and the person. Therefore, it is important not only to put the saddle on the horse correctly, but also to choose the right one, because it affects not only the movement of the horse, but also its health. An incorrectly chosen item of equipment will cause discomfort to the animal, can lead to physical damage (abrasions, creases) and even back injuries. What are the main types and what does it consist of, let's look at it together.

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How horse saddles are made

Classical sports (dressage, show jumping, triathlon) usually use English type saddles. This saddle includes:

  • Front pommel;
  • Cantle;
  • Fender liner;
  • Wing;
  • sweatshirt;
  • Grip;
  • Girth;
  • Front girth;
  • Rear girth;
  • Cushion;
  • Schneller;
  • Top and bottom putty belt;
  • Stirrup;
  • Stirrup support.

Riding Saddle Construction and Basic Construction

Experts recommend using stainless steel stirrups because they are considered the most durable.

Girths are designed to hold the saddle in place. Their types depend on the constitution of the horses, the types of saddles and the work performed. The classic girths were leather, but nowadays they can also be synthetic.

Saddle pads with saddle pads are placed under the saddles. They are more comfortable on the backs of horses than leather saddle bottoms. For their manufacture, natural materials are used that absorb horse sweat. The central parts of the sweatshirts are tucked under the chambers of the saddles so that they do not put pressure on the spines of the horses.

To prevent the saddles from sliding back, they are provided with underarms (bibs). Martingales are used primarily to keep horses from lifting their heads above certain levels.

English saddles are also divided into:

  • Racing;
  • Training;
  • Universal sports.

The last two are used for rental or training of beginner riders.

The Wintec 500 All Purpose saddle is ideal for walking or participating in several disciplines

Making a saddle with your own hands stop at ready-made saddles. If you have a good understanding of your needs and the needs of the horse, and also already have experience with leather and wood, then the following instruction is for you.

Before you get started, we recommend that you watch the video on how the pros make saddles.

Video — Making an English saddle

Tree tree

The creation of any saddle begins with the creation of tree tree. In order for the tree to turn out to be of the highest quality, you must first create its layout. To create such a layout, you will need a one and a half meter wire, cardboard and scissors.

Correct saddle position on horse

A tree mock-up can be made in three easy steps:

  1. The wire should be placed on the horse's back and pressed so that the material takes the shape of the animal behind the shoulder blades. The front of the tree will be located on this site;
  2. The bent wire should be placed on cardboard and clearly traced the resulting contours;
  3. Cut out any portions of cardboard outside the outlines. As a result, you should get a section of the back of the animal in a cardboard version. It should be applied to the animal and see if the layout matches the real outlines of the horse. In case of inconsistencies, it must be corrected.

You choose the material for the tree according to your preferences. It can be wood, plastic, plywood or fiberglass. Each of the materials will require its own working tool. With this tool, you cut out the contours that follow the horse's back in the same way as you did with cardboard earlier.

An example of a self-assembled tree made of wood

As you can see, the main difficulty in creating a tree is not so much in designing a tree, but in working with plastic or wood. In the absence of relevant skills, it will be problematic for you to get the right form the first time.


Once you have finished with the tree, you can start making the upholstery. You will need to create two types of upholstery - external and internal. Each type of upholstery has its own material.

For upholstery, it is recommended to choose only high-quality and durable materials
Inner upholstery

Inner upholstery, as a rule, is made of foam rubber and involves the following sequence of actions:

  1. Foam rubber is folded in several layers;
  2. The contours of the upholstery are defined using a ready-made tree. In this case, the upholstery should extend a few centimeters beyond the edges of the contours;
  3. We recommend using plywood for the base of the saddle. To determine the size of plywood, it is enough to attach it to the tree and cut off everything superfluous;
  4. The foam layer must be placed between the tree and the plywood backing. To prevent the structure from falling apart, it is necessary to fix it with nails. It is important that the nails penetrate all layers and reach the base of the tree, otherwise the saddle will be unsafe to use.

Saddle lining

Popular saddles

  • Dressage saddle for horses: These saddles have deep, straight-winged saddles that allow riders to ride with longer stirrups for better leg contact with the sides of the horse;
  • Show jumping saddle for horses: have longer and flatter trees, shorter and more advanced wings to help riders maintain the right fit, namely to bring the body forward;
  • Triathlon saddle for a horse: very similar to jumping saddles, but their wings are even more advanced, and the stops for the legs become more pronounced. This may be required for field plantings;
  • Racing saddle for horses: are even more suitable for landings. At the same time, the knees rest against the wings with shortened stirrups. They are extremely lightweight, it is simply impossible to confuse them with other types of saddles;
  • Horse training saddle: designed for use in rental groups and for training beginner riders. Training saddles are made on the basis of show jumping trees with slightly straighter wings (without offsets) and without benfutors. Such saddles are made of genuine leather;
  • Universal horse saddle: universal saddles, in contrast to jumping saddles, have a slightly smaller forward wing extension. All-purpose sports saddles, like training saddles, are almost the same, some experts refer to them as hybrids of show jumping and dressage saddles.

There are some other types of saddles that are quite specific and are exclusive to a certain area.

Complete officer hunting saddle

These are:

  • Cavalry saddle;
  • Cossack saddle;
  • Officers;
  • Farming;

Saddles for horses, like bridles, are traditionally made of leather, but these days it is increasingly common to find cheaper synthetic materials.


Consider what types of saddles are.


Main purpose - travel over long distances, often used for hiking or hunting. Features a soft seat.

The wide rails allow the horse to move freely, and they do not put pressure on his back, as the weight of the rider is evenly distributed. The seat is equipped with additional rings to which equipment can be attached.


The distinguishing feature is the deep seating position that allows the wearer to straighten their legs. It has a shortened seat, wings are narrow and long.

Do you know? Ancient saddle blankets began to be used as early as 700 BC.

In dressage, the horse must quickly respond to human commands, which in most cases are given with the body, so almost all dressage saddles are not upholstered, and the shelves are made narrow and short.

Universal sports seat

The name of this seat suggests its purpose. It has a universal shape used in all types of equestrian sports.

We advise you to read about how to choose a horse for yourself.

You can also go hunting with it, it is ideal for walking, various trainings and other purposes.


Used for show jumping and has some differences from the usual saddle: the wings can protrude forward, the pommel has a rounded or square shape.


In appearance it is very similar to the universal one, it can be used for different purposes. However, there is one difference - the pillow and the wing are slightly pushed forward, which makes it possible to change the landing to the field for the time of the cross.


The main purpose is horse racing. It has a simple shape, flat seat, shortened putlish. Many are interested in the question - how much does this ammunition weigh. Its mass is very small - only 400 grams. This species is easily confused with treeless.

Cavalry (race)

The main purpose is a long stay of a person on a horse. For the manufacture of saddle tree, durable materials (steel or wood) are used, which has a beneficial effect on wear resistance.

We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the most popular types of harness for horses.

Thanks to these materials, there is a proper distribution of the load on the horse's back. Previously, such ammunition was used in the army and long campaigns, so it has additional mounting components for weapons.


The design of this saddle was developed taking into account the wishes of rangers and hunters. Thanks to its device, the rider's correct landing is maintained, it does not hinder the movement of the animal.

Do you know? A horse can find its seat by smell, distinguishing it from others.

The horse's back is not injured, the seat does not come into contact with the withers, it allows you to evenly distribute the weight of the rider and pack. For the manufacture of the tree, wood is used, reinforced with wrought iron. For linings, natural leather is used, which protects the back of the animal from namin and namin.


Refers to the marching type of saddles, but a different technology was used for its manufacture. The main elements are wings, pillow and archak. The seat has a small shape and a handle - so a person can rise and carry out horse riding.

Officer's (Warsaw)

Most often, such a seat is found at military events, parades, it is put on mounted police animals. It has a lot of mounts for various weapons and other things.

Western (cowboy)

It was previously used by American cowboys to graze cattle. It has a slightly different shape from the standard saddle, thanks to which a person can comfortably and comfortably sit in it and feel confident even with unexpected movements and a horse stopping. The Western has an ideal layout, and it is convenient for the horse to move around with it.

Pack saddle

A specialized type of saddle designed to carry heavy and large loads on a horse.

Women's (ladies')

For the first time, the ladies' saddle was known in the 7th century. At this time, women wore fluffy skirts, it was very uncomfortable to sit in a men's saddle in them, so ammunition was developed specifically for the weaker sex.

Learn how to make your own: bridle, halter, saddle cloth and blanket.

However, as soon as trousers entered women's fashion, such saddles ceased to be popular. But lately they have become popular again. All of the above types, with the exception of the Western saddle, belong to the "English saddle" group.

Sport saddle arrangement

Saddle for equestrian practice in dressage and obstacle arenas

Each sport saddle consists of:

  • pommel;
  • Seats;
  • Rear pommel;
  • Pillows;
  • Loops to tuck in the end of the putty;
  • Rear fender cushion;
  • Wings;
  • Front fender cushion;
  • Rings to fasten underarms;
  • Schneller (lock for fixing putlishch).

Sports saddles can have a combination (wood and metal) or plastic tree. Cushions of sports saddles are stuffed with wool or modern soft polymer materials.

Combat and Cossack saddles

If you plan a long ride on a horse along a not very good road, in rain or sleet, and you also take a lot of things with you, then it is best to opt for a drill or Cossack saddle for a horse. Initially, these types of horse saddles were invented for cavalrymen who spent most of their time in the saddle. That is why such saddles are still the most comfortable for long walks and rides.

Combat officer's saddle

Ladies' saddle: features of fit

Women's saddle, which was widespread among European aristocrats of the 18th-19th centuries, is now considered truly exotic. From the usual, a ladies' saddle may differ in that it contains two horns or wings. These are the so-called bows, with the help of which it is possible for riders to hold onto horses more tenaciously. The upper wings serve as supports for the right legs, while the lower wings hold the left legs and act as stops when jumping over obstacles.

Complete saddle: Stuben leather girth 135 cm, balance girth, safety stirrup

On average, old side models fully equipped can weigh approximately 12 kilograms. Today, craftsmen prefer to use lightweight materials. For example, trees are made from plastic, as well as from foam filler, as a result, the weight can be reduced by almost half.

The main girths used in side saddles must be wide and secure. The girth locks are located under the bows and work mainly in extreme situations, with the release of the putlisch. In modern and improved models of ladies' saddles, riders can feel more comfortable.


Each type of saddle for horses is very different from all others, so do not equalize all saddles. So, when you come to the store, you will have to explain very clearly what exactly you need a saddle for and what you plan to do. So, for example, you should not try to put a saddle for any breed of pony on an adult horse, because it is not something that will not work, you simply cannot put it on a horse. It is also not a very bright idea to load the horse in a race saddle, or, conversely, in a pack saddle, force the horse to take a barrier.

Now about everything in order. In fact, you should not think that horse owners have all 15 types of saddles. And why is it? There will not be a man, together with a horse, to do everything at once. Therefore, a saddle is chosen for its intended purpose and when it is really needed for certain purposes.

Preparing the frame from scratch

  • The first thing to do is to determine the size of the animal at the highest and lowest point of the withers and in the bend of the back. The resulting dimensions should be transferred to cardboard, then draw a drawing of the frame for the tree and cut it out along the contour.
  • The next step is to create 2 shelves. After cutting out of wood, connect them with wire so that they keep their shape along the back of the animal. Each shelf has a hole for a girth.
  • They take a piece of wood, apply a tree pattern and cut it out, and then attach it to the shelves with nails.

What the saddle is made of

All parts of the saddle are precisely adjusted to the structure of the back of the animal. Standard design includes:

  • rigid frame (tree) constructed from hardwood, fiberglass or metal;
  • seat (seat) - rider seat;
  • pommel (front and back) - raised parts of the frame that allow the rider to sit more firmly in the saddle;
  • wings - leather parts covering the buckles that secure the girth and stirrups;
  • girth - a belt that wraps around the body of the horse, with its help the saddle is held on the back;
  • stirrups - belts on which stirrups hang;
  • stirrups - metal devices for resting the rider's legs;
  • pillow — a leather bag stuffed with sawdust or wool, used to protect the animal's back while riding.

Such a structure of the saddle has developed over many years of using horses as a vehicle. Devices have different sizes and are selected for the horse individually.

How to choose a bicycle saddle | Kotovsky's website

The issue of pain in the ass when cycling for the average rider is much higher than everything else - so in this article we will talk about what a saddle should be on a bicycle.

There are practically no people who would not experience discomfort after a certain mileage, usually this threshold falls on a distance of 60-80 km. The more resistant ride 100 kilometers or more, so the choice of cycling needs to be taken seriously.

For three years now I have been actively recommending to my friends and readers the best comfortable seat for tourism - English leather Brooks. Because of this, I am suspected of colluding with this manufacturer. 🙂

Unfortunately, the Brooks firm does not remember me at all, but this will not stop me from conducting my missionary work. I will try to convey the main idea - what types of bike seats are there, what is the difference, what materials are made of, etc.


Training is everything

First, I want to say a little about adapting the rear to the bike. No matter how super comfortable the saddle is on your bike, the first hundred or two hundred kilometers your butt will hurt. Pay no attention, this is normal: a specific load.

Don't rush to buy a new seat if you've just started riding. You need at least 5-7 rides to get used to the bike as a whole. Cyclists who have already "rolled in" do not feel any discomfort at distances less than 60-80 km.

Most likely, the conditional limit, when the unpleasant sensations from below begin to disturb even constantly riding amateurs, is 100 km. If this is the case in your case, then it makes sense to look for the best option.

If the pain comes earlier than at 50km distances, then try to ride more often, sometimes the ride starts with a feeling of pain due to a bruised butt, but this discomfort quickly passes. It often happens that the problem is not in the seat, but in how it is set. Read how to properly adjust your bike saddle.

At the same time, analyze what kind of pain is bothering you. Press on the pelvic bones on which you are sitting, if they hurt stupidly - this means that you have not “rolled in” yet. If the discomfort is from rubbing, then this is a problem of fit, seat shape and clothing.

Sweat soaks into underwear and irritates the skin. The right move would be to buy cycling shorts with a special diaper pad. This diaper is made of synthetics and almost does not get wet, sweat passes through it and evaporates. As a result, you can ride much longer without exposing the skin of the buttocks and perineum to chafing.

Read my article on cycling clothing.

Types of bicycle seats

For an active cyclist, there can be only two types of seats: sports and tourist. You should not even consider all sorts of comfortable, walking, "sofa" options designed to move the owner's backside for five kilometers at a snail's pace.

By sports bike seats, we mean all those that are installed on mountain and road bikes, at the moment this is the most common seat option. Moreover, with a certain level of adaptation, sports specimens may well be used in cycling trips.

Narrow or wide saddle - which is better

An important parameter of a bicycle seat is its width. It must be clearly understood that the ass sits on the seat with exactly two pelvic bones, and if the surface is wider than the distance between them, this will not add comfort at all.

But discomfort - as much as you like, because the inner thighs will begin to rub against the wings, with a predictable result. To find out exactly what width you need a saddle, just measure the distance between the ischial tuberosities. How? Get creative. 🙂

Bicycle descriptions almost always list the seat width, usually between 140 and 180 mm. By measuring the distance between your sitting bones, you can see if your butt will fit well on the seat you plan to buy.

By the way, there is a common misconception that obese people need a wide seat. In fact, a layer of fat in the back does not guarantee a wide skeleton, so the pelvis may not be wider than that of a lean cycling colleague. Consider this.

Soft or hard seat

I have already described an example of the negative impact of a soft seat in an article about cycling and men's health. I repeat briefly: the pelvic bones fall into the soft material of the seat, and after a while the soft tissues are compressed, the blood supply slows down, and numbness begins.

On a hard seat, the pelvis hangs above the surface, touching it only with bumps. In my experience, the best combination is a very stiff seat and a carbon seat post plus shorts with a thin diaper.

Such a bundle provides maximum comfort over long distances - a thin diaper effectively removes sweat without collecting it, and at the same time carbon absorbs vibrations.

Saddle shape

It's quite simple here - the seat should be with a hard platform (platforms) for the pelvic bones, wide enough in the back. The platform on which they sit should also be long enough, since during the ride you have to move back and forth a little.

The nose should be narrow, the wings should not protrude - it is important that the inner sides of the thighs do not rub when moving the legs.

After reading this, older people may object to me, they say, in childhood they rode their Storks and Eaglets on completely opposite saddles: wide and soft sofas, and everything was wonderful.

Friends, the mileage that you did as a child does not come close to the mileage of even a weak amateur. I remember that I put an odometer on my Salyut, and it turned out that during the summer I drove as much as 500 km, and adults were surprised at such a huge figure.

Of course, why would there be negative effects if I drove 5-10 km a day? If your today's distances are like that, don't even read further, don't bother yourself. You can drive ten kilometers on anything, the saddle has absolutely nothing to do with it. But we're talking a bit about long distances here, right?

With or without a crotch hole

This was the hottest battle on the bike forums, especially when such options were just starting to hit the market. In fact, the idea is quite worthy - to completely eliminate the pressure on the prostate, so perforation fans defended their seats with the fury of lions.

The skeptics of this decision noticed that if the distance between your pelvic bones does not match the calculated one, then instead of good, you can get harm. Imagine if your butt is a little wider, then the bones will be located at the edges of the saddle platform, and since it is usually arched, the crotch will be a little deeper on the seat than necessary.

Normally there will be no problem as the weight of the crotch will be distributed over the entire area underneath. And if instead of a platform there is a perforation, then the perineum, as it were, is placed on this hole, and its edges press on the prostate with their faces.

Of course, all this is mostly theory, the butt does not sit statically on the saddle, the cyclist is constantly in motion. Therefore, I believe that all these holes are, to a greater extent, marketing, designed to make a profit on well-known fears. I've ridden quite a bit on the crotch-hole seat, but haven't noticed any noticeable difference.

Material: plastic, imitation leather or leather

With plastic, everything is clear - this is the worst material. They are usually upholstered with the simplest and cheapest options, as a rule, coming with bicycles. Plastic does not let sweat through, and if you do not have cycling shorts with a diaper, then discomfort will come very quickly.

The main symptom is chafing. At a long distance, this is a terrible thing, you can erase your intimate places into blood. Therefore, if you have a plastic saddle, then immediately buy a bike uniform. It will come in handy in any case, but at the moment it's just a necessity.

Imitation leather is a material widely used in mid-price items. The only problem here is that there are many types of leatherette, and there is no guarantee that it is good in the saddle you buy. Bad leatherette allows sweat to pass through as badly as plastic. Pampers and veloform are also needed here.

Finally, leather is the material for the most expensive seats. It “breathes” well, passing sweat, and of course, it is most comfortable to travel long distances on it. I’ll add a fly in the ointment: almost all modern leather seats are of a sports type, so the leather is used there not as a load-bearing element, but only as a cover for a plastic or carbon base.

Sweat still does not have the ability to quickly evaporate, because under the skin is not air, but a solid material. One of the few seats where pressed cowhide is also a load-bearing base is Brooks. It is quite possible to ride on it for any distance, even in ordinary clothes - sweat removal is ideal.

A couple more questions

Do I need springs for the bike seat? Springs are an attribute of city bikes, where the landing is vertical. On bumps, the entire rider is hammered into the spinal column, and this is not too good.

Springs help absorb these shocks. On modern bikes, be it mountain bikes, road bikes or touring bikes, the seating position is elongated, with no more than 60% of the weight on the rear. Springs are a perfect vestige in this case.

Do I need gel inserts in the seats (gel covers). In no case. This is also an accessory for those who like to ride in their yard. The pelvic bones sink into the gel, which even at a medium distance will lead to squeezing and numbness. Refuse categorically!

And yet, which bike seat to buy?

Let's sum it up - what is the ideal saddle for long distances: flat seat, high stiffness, shape with adjustable wing width, perforation/no perforation, leather as a load-bearing element. Only Brooks is perfect.

Add to that Brooks' unique ability to take the shape of the wearer's ass. This is due to the fact that small depressions are pressed under the pelvic bones in the pressed skin.

The initial feeling is quite stiff, but after a while of driving it feels like you're sitting in your old comfortable leather chair, so comfortable. I wouldn't trade my Brooks for any lightweight sport leather seat.

I don't care about the "unsportsmanlike" look and heavy weight. I have been looking for the perfect option for myself for four years, and finally I found it. Many thousands of miles on Brooks have convinced me that if I've spent my money on something useful, it's on this saddle.

So when I hear now that I'm being accused of "aggressive advertising" by Brooks, I can ignore it. I have to tell the readers about my personal experience, and they decide for themselves. Perhaps someone will be scared away by the price, someone - too "tourist" look. And perhaps someone will buy, and will remember me with a good word.

Updated 2019: Over the years of this article, I have received dozens of thanks from my readers for pointing me to this leather saddle.

I bought my Brooks at from this online bike shop, look at the price (don't forget to list your country, they deduct 20% VAT for non-EU countries). You can add some more useful little things, and if the total amount of the order is at least $149, then the delivery is free.

However, there are people I trust who claim to have found their ideal fit in a lightweight sports saddle. Maybe so, I, when I was a cyclist, spent several hundred euros, but I never came to a satisfying option.

The main idea that I want to convey to readers is that don't focus on one thing, don't trust me, don't trust others. Analyze the information, think for yourself - what will be best for your driving style. If you are just at the very beginning, then maybe it is not worth investing in expensive equipment just yet. Ride, adapt to the bike.

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