Why Cutout Dimensions Matter

Meld Solutions
Sep 18, 2017 · 2 min read

We’ve been asked a few times, “A cutout reduces the area of contact with the saddle, that means more pressure on the rest of the body. Isn’t that a bad thing?”

We gave some thought to that question and we believe that if the increased pressure is on load-bearing parts of the body and not on the perineum, then it’s fine. Put in a different way: if the cutout is wide and long enough to prevent any pressure from being placed on our perineum, then it is a good thing. We elaborate very briefly on our answer below.

The Basic Zones

We divide the body surface in contact with a saddle into two general zones: load-bearing (around sitbones and rami), and soft-tissue (perineum).

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Representation of the general contact zones, as viewed from above

The Correct Cutout

The saddle with the right cutout is one where the perineum (that will otherwise be in contact with the saddle) fits entirely within the cutout:

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Cutout wide enough to fit perineum

In this scenario, body weight is borne entirely by the sitbones, which is fine.

Wrong Cutouts

On the other hand, a cutout that is too narrow results in the sides of the perineum experiencing pinching/higher pressure (shown in red):

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Narrow cutout: Red zones indicate sides of perineum encountering higher pressure

We could have a debate about whether such a scenario is better or worse than, say, a saddle without a cutout, but it is safe to say that neither is as good as one with a sufficiently large cutout.

Found this (really, really, really short) article useful? Check out other cycling-related stuff at meld3d.com/blog.

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