How to fit a saddle

Saddle fit your horse like a pro. We’ll give you the tools to evaluate your horse, your current saddle, and see if there’s a problem to fix. View our videos and download our Saddle Fitting Guide.

There is no standardization in the industry for a Regular (or Semi-Quarter horse) tree and Wide (or Full Quarter horse) tree so different saddle brands will not fit the same. The fit may also vary among disciplines. The gullet measurement is important, but it is the most misunderstood. It is not the defining factor of saddle fit. Most importantly, not every saddle with a specified gullet measurement will fit the same. The angle and twist of the bars affect how the saddle will fit.

How to fit a saddle

Julie Goodnight:

HD bridge pads to help a horse’s back, help in saddle fit

My horse is really tall so he needs a wide tree.
Actually, the horse’s height has nothing to do with proper tree fit. You’ll want to look at the horse’s conformation starting at his withers – are they well defined or are they rounded? Is his back typical or dropped? Answering these questions first will help your horse enjoy comfortable saddle fit.

My horse has to have a __” gullet.
We hear this quite a bit, and it’s not always the case. The bar angle and rock are also very important to fit. Gullet width is only one aspect of tree fit.

My saddle is pinching, I need a wider Tree.
Not always. If the bar angle is too wide for the horse, it will pinch at the contact point. If your horse has a narrow “A” shape, the saddle may be too wide.

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

Impact Gel is designed to be different.

This world class product is pushing the envelope of saddle pads. The patented gel in the saddle pads minimizes shock, weight, heat, and inconsistencies of saddle fit — for the most comfortable ride of your life.

Tired of uncomfortable rides filled with soreness afterwards?

How to fit a saddle

Shock Absorbing

Every Impact Gel saddle pad includes gel technology bladders. The semi-solid Impact Gel has incredible shock absorption properties because of how energy is transferred and dissipated through the molecular structure of the gel. Energy flows horizontally through the gel away from the impact location, similar to ripples on the surface of a pond. Impact Gel pads are unsurpassed in relieving pressure points caused by a poor fitting saddle – a major cause of white spots. The benefit from this is the horse stays fresher longer and performs better.

How to fit a saddle

Comfortable

The technology and fit of Impact Gel saddle pads was perfected and has been a first choice for riders for fifteen years. The gel bladders are shaped and situated to fit under the bars of the saddle and keep pressure off the spine. The craftsmanship of the saddle pad includes a cutout at the withers providing free range of motion, cut away at the billet for perfect rigging, and contour cut along the spine for maximum fit. The wool blend of the saddle pad is moisture wicking and allows air between the pad and horse, improving circulation.

How to fit a saddle

Durable

Impact Gel saddle pads are hand crafted in Wisconsin and built to last. Impact Gel is unaffected by extreme temperatures. Between -40⁰F and 250⁰F Impact Gel retains its energy absorbing properties. Our unique wool blend wicks moisture and is incredibly durable. Heavy duty wear leathers are made with fresh-prepared hides which can maintain their properties at least 50 years.

Our most popular saddle pads

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

See what others are saying.

After searching and searching and searching for the right pad, I sprung the cash and bought an Impact Gel. Best decision I ever made. It fits everyone of my horses just right and I’ll most definitely buy another. Spring the cash if you want your horse and yourself comfortable. There’s a noticeable difference with these pads!.

This saddle pad has been amazing for my horse. The horse before this pad would always get a sore back after riding all day, and with this pad he doesn't at all. I love how it's versatile for both my round skirt barrel saddle and my square skirt all around saddle. The fit is perfect and this pad lasts forever not wearing down like other brands pads.

I have no more back or shoulder soreness issues after switching to Impact Gel pads on my barrel & rope horses. After having my back rebuilt I also use the Impact Gel pads on my saddles for my comfort & protection! It makes my orthopedic doctor feel better too as he knows I will not give up riding & competing. I am 56 years young. Impact gel pads extend both mine & my horses lifestyle.”

Learn how to optimize your bike fit and find the best saddle height for you.

Proper bike fit is paramount. And that’s true whether you’re gunning for the yellow jersey at the Tour de France or bragging rights at your local Tour de Coffee Shop. The fact is, an ill-fitting bike is an invitation to pain, injuries, frustration, and poor performance.

Remember: Your ideal riding position results from adjusting your bike to fit your body, not the other way around. Saddle-height adjustment has always been a bit of a dark art, but in general it is the amount of distance between the center of the bottom bracket and top/center of your saddle.

Your local bike shop can determine it scientifically, but here’s a quick and simple way to estimate it. Once you are dialed into your fit, you’ll become more comfortable (and maybe even faster) on your bike.

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

Position your stem so that the top of your handlebar is about an inch below the top of your saddle. Aspiring racers may want a slightly lower position for aerodynamics, while touring cyclists may opt for a more upright posture to take some pressure off the lower back. As always, listen to your body and adjust your bike accordingly.

There are various formulas for determining saddle height, but you needn’t be a mathematician to achieve the correct height. Your knees should be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and when pedaling, your hips should not rock on the saddle (when viewed from behind). To determine this, we recommend mounting your bike in a trainer or leaning it against a wall. (As shown in the video above.)

If your saddle height is correct, your heel should just graze the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke (in the 6 o’clock position). When riding, if you encounter pain at the front of your knee, raise the saddle slightly. If you have pain in the back of the knee, drop the saddle. Make saddle height changes 2 mm at a time to avoid leg and knee strain.

  • If you are using clipless pedals, you can also use a mathematical formula. Here’s how: Stand barefoot on a hard floor, back to a wall, with a book snugged up between your legs, spine facing away. Measure from the floor to the top of the book spine. Multiply that number by 0.883, and subtract 4mm (1/8th inch). The result is your seat height, measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat, along the seat tube.

To determine fore/aft saddle position, sit comfortably in the center of the saddle with the crankarms horizontal. Drop a plumb line from the front of your forward kneecap. It should touch the end of the crankarm. This is the neutral position, and you should be able to achieve it by loosening the seatpost clamp and sliding the saddle fore or aft. Climbers, time trialists, and some road racers prefer the line to fall a centimeter or two behind the end of the crankarm to increase leverage in big gears. Conversely, track and criterium racers like a more forward position to improve leg speed. Remember, if your reach to the handlebar is wrong, use stem length to correct it, not fore/aft saddle position.

The combined dimensions of top tube and stem length, which determine your “reach,” vary according to your flexibility and anatomy. While there is no end-all answer, don’t be afraid to spend a little time and money to find the right mix. This measurement, more than any other on your bike, will dictate your comfort level. A good starting point: When you’re comfortably seated with elbows slightly bent and hands on the brake hoods, the front hub should be obscured by the handlebar. This is a relatively upright position. With time, you may want to swap in a longer stem to improve aerodynamics and flatten your back, especially if you get into racing.

Your saddle should be level, which you can check by laying a straightedge along its length, or try one of the free leveling apps that can be downloaded onto most smartphones. A slight downward tilt may be more comfortable if you’re using an extreme forward position with an aerodynamic bar and elbow rests. But too much tilt causes you to slide forward, placing excessive weight on your arms.

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

When buying a new bike, consider a model with a taller head tube. Unless you are planning on doing a lot of racing where you’ll want a lower, more aerodynamic riding position, the taller head tube allows for a more upright position and can help increase comfort and overall handling and stability. Many bike manufacturers offer their bikes in both standard and extended head tube models to accommodate this trend.

Bike seats for everyone: road racers, mountain bikers, endurance riders, bike tourers, leather lovers, commuters, and more.

Out of all the parts on a bicycle, it’s likely that no single component can affect your ride—positively or negatively—quite like the piece of plastic and foam that supports your buns. The right saddle makes the bike feel more like an extension of your body instead of a contraption that you are perched on top of. Pick the wrong one and each mile can be grim and painful.

But selecting the right saddle can be tricky. Unlike other cycling gear that can be objectively evaluated, saddles are a very personal choice, one that is usually based on body shape, riding style, preference on how much or how little padding the saddle provides, and of course, comfort over the long haul.

Check out five top-rated saddles below, and then continue reading for buying advice and more in-depth reviews of these and other great options.

How to fit a saddle

Cooling and pressure-relieving cutout.

How to fit a saddle

Cheap way to upgrade a budget bike.

How to fit a saddle

3D-printed cushioning is firm in the front, soft under the sit bones.

How to fit a saddle

Noseless design relieves more pressure.

How to fit a saddle

Titanium rails and carbon fiber-reinforced shell.

What’s New

The trend toward short-nosed performance saddles, which originated with riders looking to optimize soft-tissue comfort while leaning forward on aero bars, is now reaching the mainstream. Why go short? Reducing the saddle length up front means you can ride the drop portion of your bar for longer periods. But the newest saddles aren’t just short; they’re also wider up front, allowing riders to shift forward without compromising power.

Another trend, this one long overdue: more performance-oriented options for female riders. And good news for riders who never plan on racing: Everyday bike seats are becoming more comfortable, lighter, and more able to withstand the weather.

How to fit a saddle

Find the Right Fit

Saddles come in various widths, and most manufacturers say that the right size supports a rider’s sit bones, the bony part of the pelvis where your butt and your leg join. The best way to find the right size saddle is to get a professional fit. “Every saddle manufacturer has a tool to measure sit bone width,” says Jeff Kerkove, head of marketing and customer experience at Ergon. “It’s not going to give you exact measurement, but it’ll get you close.”

How to fit a saddle

Get a Bike Seat Designed for How You Ride

A road saddle will typically be v-shaped, with a more pronounced seating area and a longer nose. A cross-country mountain bike saddle will have a similarly pronounced seating area, but will sometimes be more t-shaped to let the rider move forward for aggressive climbs. Gravity, enduro, and trail saddles are v-shaped, with rounded edges and a shorter nose to make it easy to move around on the saddle without hooking the rider’s shorts. Women’s saddles usually have a shorter nose.

The Right Amount of Padding

Performance saddles often have less padding to save weight, which is important for racers. Comfort bike seats are shaped like other saddles, but usually have thicker foam or added gel. For casual riders, extra padding can prevent sit bones from feeling bruised after a two-hour ride—but spending longer hours on an extra-padded saddle can actually cut off circulation. It’s all about finding the right amount of padding for your riding style and comfort level.

How to fit a saddle

Cutout or Not? How to Decide Between Bike Seats.

You don’t need a cutout, but most riders do prefer a saddle with a relief channel or a cutout that prevents pressure on soft tissue when they’re riding. Saddle channels are usually gender-specific—a man’s pelvis is v-shaped while a woman’s is u-shaped, and gender-specific cutouts can keep pressure off a rider’s soft tissue. Rider flexibility and natural pelvic tilt in the riding position also determine what saddle will keep pedaling pleasurable and not painful. According to data from Giant, 80 percent of men and about the same ratio of women have a forward-tilting pelvis.

How We Chose the Top Saddles

Because saddle fit is such a personal thing, we turned to the user reviews to support our reviews and get as much feedback as possible. The saddles that made this list were researched and recommended by staffers, and backed up by a majority of positive online reviews. In order the find a seat that works for you, it’s important to select the right style for the riding you will be doing. Follow our advice for finding the right type, and try a few different models to see what works—and feels—best. Many local bikes shops have a supply of test saddles so you can try a few before making a commitment.

Here are 11 saddles for everyone from road racers to commuters to mountain bikers, and more.

How to fit a saddle

Setting the correct saddle height is essential to comfort, performance and injury prevention on the bike, and finding the optimum saddle height is the foundation of a bike fit.

While setting the correct saddle height can take some time and requires plenty of tinkering, the results they produce to both comfort and overall performance make them absolutely essential. The right guidance makes it fairly easy to get sorted at home too, meaning you don’t have to spend extra money on bike fits.

The saddle height measurement is the distance between the centre of the bottom bracket and the centre of the saddle.

Former pro rider Jimmy George, who now works as a bike fitter, doesn’t underestimate the importance of finding the optimum saddle height either.

“When I do bike fits, after the cleats, it all starts with saddle height,” George said.

Everything else – handlebar height and reach – comes after. Getting your saddle height is important because you need to be comfortable when you ride, as this will enable you to ride longer and to push harder.

“Getting the height right will also prevent injury – compression injuries from having it too low and over-stretching issues from having it too high. Really, cycling shouldn’t result in any injuries, unless you fall off the bike.”

There are many methods and formulas now used in calculating a rider’s saddle height, but George suggests the old favourite works just as well.

Image: V02 Cycling

George’s recommended method entails sitting on the bike, unclipping, and placing your heel in the middle of the pedal axle with it at the furthest point so that the crank is in line with the seat tube. Your leg should be completely straight, so that when you clip in there is a slight bend – though your hips shouldn’t have to rock to reach the pedal.

Checking if the back of the knee cap is in line with the ball of the foot, when a plumb line is dropped from the knee, is imperative for this method to work, because the ball of the foot shouldn’t protrude over the axle of the pedal.

This method therefore requires adjusting the saddle forwards or backwards. When complete, checking the saddle height again will help make it more accurate.

A process of trial and error through riding the bike will find the optimum saddle height thereafter, with only minimal 1mm changes needed. Going too high will mean you rock on the saddle or feel a strain at the back of the knee, while going too low causes compression at the front of the knee.

Signs your saddle height may be wrong

Knee pain is one of the most common indicators of an incorrect saddle height.

Typically, a saddle that is too low will result in pain at the front of the knee, but one that is too high creates pain behind the knee – or in the hamstrings as a result of overextension.

A rider whose saddle is too high usually rocks as they pedal too, and the excessive movement required to reach the bottom of each pedal stroke as your hips roll can also cause pain.

Is there another method?

One slightly more technical method focuses on inseam measurement.

To find the initial number, stand with your feet hip width apart (shoes off), place a straight instrument between your legs, such as a ruler or a spirit level, and mark a point on the wall where the top of it sits. Note down the distance from floor to the dot. Then multiply this by 0.9 to give you 90 per cent.

However, because this method is basic mathematics, and bodies aren’t formulaic, it doesn’t always produce the most accurate of results for finding the correct saddle height.

Different muscle tensions can cause the saddle height to feel either too high or low, meaning this method doesn’t necessarily take individual differences into account. A mobile person could feel that the saddle height using the formula is too low, while someone with tighter muscles might feel that it is too high.

Still can’t get it right?

If, after numerous trial and error attempts, you still can’t find the right saddle height for you, then a bike fit may be necessary. This is because there are other factors involved in finding the optimum height, such as saddle tilt, fore aft and cleat adjustment, that make it so difficult when doing at home.

However, as a beginner, riders should find that the aforementioned methods should work adequately, until they become more serious cyclists.

Saddleman has been the name in custom seat covers for over 30 years. First to the market. Our design team is constantly updating our catalog with new vehicles and designs. If you do not see your new vehicle listed on our webpage call us and we will go the extra mile to create the custom seat cover of your choosing.

OUR CUSTOM FIT SEAT COVERS

Our factory uses state of the art technology to take our Seat Covers from the intangible to the concrete. We use state of the art digitizing technology to make sure our custom made seat covers fit your car seat or truck seat like a glove. We cut the fabric for every seat cover on our robotic cutting machine to ensure each piece is cut with precision and is given the utmost care when it is being sewn together.

MADE IN THE USA

All of our custom seat covers are proudly made in the United States. From the design process of every car seat cover or truck seat cover to the sewing floor where your custom seat covers are made by hand, every step of the manufacturing process takes place using American ingenuity and skill. To back up our seat covers we offer a one year manufacturing warranty on all of our Surefit products.

SELECT YOUR VEHICLE’S YEAR, MAKE, AND MODEL

Order Now – Simply Select A Fabric

Below To Get Started

Saddle Blanket Seat Covers

Our Top seller! A rugged saddle blanket seat cover made to order, of tightly woven olefin, hand crafted in the USA. Extremely durable and comfortable. Machine washable, drip dry only. All of our made to order seat covers, are proudly made in the USA!

Description

Saddleman is the name in Saddle Blanket, we pioneered the seat covers and we are one of the last remaining companies to use actual Saddle Blanket in our custom seat covers. Saddleman’s saddle blanket seat covers are fully weaved, thick and they are extremely heavy-duty saddle blanket seat covers, no imitation fabric pasted to foam, real genuine saddle blanket, unlike some of the others out th. Read More

Our fitters are specialists in comprehensive evaluation, which is why we can achieve an ultimate fit for both you and your horse. Our unique fitting system enables us to problem solve even the most difficult to fit situation.

Performance Saddle Fits is now represented in most states of Australia. With our focus on internationally recognised training, top notch customer service and access to some of the leading UK and EU saddle manufacturers, Performance Saddle Fits is a leader within the equine industry in Australia.

All our fitters are either qualified with, or studying towards their Society of Master Saddle Fitters UK qualification – the most sought after qualification worldwide. You can be guaranteed of a well rounded, experienced and mature approach to your saddle fit session!

How to fit a saddle

How to fit a saddle

Custom Made Saddles

Performance Saddlefits Australia is proud to offer an extensive range of great saddles to suit every budget, level of performance and riding style. We specialise in custom made options to guarantee you the optimum fit for both horse and rider.

How to fit a saddle

Missing the energy of the studio and our instructors? Join the crew for a live online experience through Zoom. The same Ride, Row, or Realign classes, curated playlists, guidance from our instructors, and the same #SaddleStrong energy at real time.

How to fit a saddle

Access your favorite Ride, Row, or Realign classes and online exclusives through our extensive Saddle Row Video On Demand library. Get #SaddleStrong at your own time and revisit your favorite Saddle Row class as many times as you want!

How to fit a saddle

The new way to get #SaddleStrong at the comfort of your own home. If you missed our in-studio Ride classes, our Ride-at-home Kit is perfect for you. Inclusive of a cycling bike, 120-consecutive day unlimited Ride & Realign LIVE online classes, resistance bands, Saddle Row t-shirt and bag.

How to fit a saddle

The new way to get #SaddleStrong at the comfort of your own home. If you missed our in-studio Row classes, our Row-at-home Kit is perfect for you. Inclusive of a rowing machine, 120-consecutive day unlimited Row & Realign LIVE online classes, resistance bands, Saddle Row t-shirt and bag.

How to fit a saddle

ride

Cycling is a heritage sport that has become a global trend. The sense of community it fosters has given rise to a new subculture.

How to fit a saddle

row

Once an exclusive Ivy League sport, Rowing is fast becoming the hottest full-body indoor workout. Saddle Row is Manila’s first and only indoor rowing studio powered by a crew of top instructors.

How to fit a saddle

realign

Our Realign program will bring you full circle to a more holistic level of fitness, health, and mental well-being.

Saddle Row is a boutique fitness concept creating tailor-fit indoor workouts for cycling and rowing. Since it opened its doors in 2015, it has built a reputation for being a consistently safe and smart fitness experience. Inspired by the badass bespoke tailors of London’s most famous suiting street, Saddle Row merges customized and measured workouts in a stylish dual-concept studio space.

We bring together Cycling and Rowing—two sports rooted in tradition, function, and style— in an environment tailored to the needs of urban warriors who demand excellence in the shortest possible time.

How to fit a saddle

What’s happening

How to fit a saddle

BASICS OF ROWING

Mastering the basics and building a solid foundation is important for any form of exercise. Watch this quick video as Bernardo takes you through the Basics of Rowing.

How to fit a saddle

From the first stride under our dynamic EQFlex™ panels, the horse transforms. Strides lengthen. The back relaxes, allowing more energy and swing to come from the hindquarters. Shoulders lift, the wither elevates, and the horse moves evenly on both reins.

Riders marvel. The simplicity of the design creates a feeling of closeness and stability that is unmatched in the conventional saddle world.

Two decades of research and development led to the creation of this remarkable saddle, with benefits proven by Dr. Hilary Clayton’s research.

How to fit a saddle

We are all about solutions.

Our Saddle Science Experts have deep equestrian backgrounds and extensive training. Rely on us to make your saddle testing experience simple.

Need better lateral work? Or an assist sitting a bouncy trot? Want a horse that doesn’t resent being saddled? Or a saddle that stays in the middle of the back? Lay your problems at our feet.

EQ Saddle Science™ is organized to provide a better outcome for horses and riders than conventional tack allows, with a customer service ethic that is second to none.

How to fit a saddle

Crest Ridge Saddlery starts with expert saddle fitting to produce the best saddle, saddle pad and tack for your horse or mule. Our approach is the same regardless if you are riding a gaited horse, stock horse, draft horse or mule. You form a unique combination with your equine. Each saddle is built to order using your measurements. A master saddle fitter uses your measurements to select which one of our 19 different trees will provide the best fit for your equine partner and advise you which of our models work best with that tree. Since each saddle is built to order, you also have the opportunity to have your saddle customized at a surprisingly affordable cost. Instructions on how to measure your horse can be found by clicking on the “How-To Measure Your Horse” link found in the banner on every page.

We design and produce all of our saddles, tack, and saddle pads here in the United States. We provide you exceptional value by combining saddle fitting, top-of-the-line materials, everything custom built by Amish master craftsman, outstanding customer service, and the reasonable prices possible with a family owned and operated business. We stand behind our products and guarantee saddle fit and the quality of our tack. We welcome your visit and thank you for considering Crest Ridge Saddlery for all of your saddle, tack, and saddle pad needs.

How we can best help you get a saddle that fits you and your horse:

Start with “How to Measure” your horse

CRS is always on the Move!

Watch our FaceBook page to see where we are headed. If you need a fitting, contact us and ask to be included on our route and we will come to you!