ISM Saddle Setup Guide
In order to have the best possible cycling experience on your ISM saddle, proper setup is key. Please take a look at the resources below, which will help guide your installation and setup. You can download a PDF version HERE.
NOTE: These guidelines do not change the rider's body position compared to a traditional-style saddle. The proper positioning of the ISM saddle is simply removing the uncomfortable saddle nose from under the rider's soft tissue areas.
ISM's patented shape and design has eliminated the nose area of the saddle. As a result, the front arms of our seat must be placed significantly further back than the "nose" of a traditional saddle - about 2-3 inches, or 5-8 centimeters. This will vary depending on which saddle you used to ride, which ISM you choose, and your personal preferences. There should be 1 - 3 inches of seat showing behind your body when riding ISM.
Due to the patented, anatomical shape and design of the ISM front arms and how your pelvis rests upon them, you must place your ISM saddle slightly lower than a traditional seat to maintain the same body height. A good starting point is 5 millimeters, or 1/4 inch lower (relative to the ground). The "nose" section of a traditional seat jams up higher within the pelvis and soft tissue, for a given body height.
Saddle Angle (Tilt)
Finally, we need to set the angle of the saddle. For this, we recommend starting with the saddle level (parallel to the ground), or tilting it down up-to-2 degrees. A high amount of downward tilt is not necessary or desirable. When setting the saddle tile, you must look at the top of the saddle (the surface on which you sit), not the rails or any other part of the saddle.
Visual Reference for Saddle Angle:
When setting saddle angle, the area you look at for visual reference varies slightly between our different saddles. The images below show you which portion of the seat to look at for reference, represented by the blue line. Again, look at the top of the saddle, not the rails.
Performance Long and Performance Narrow saddles
Performance Short and Performance Recreation saddles
After following these initial setup guidelines, bring a wrench in your pocket and head out for a short ride. If you are new to ISM, there is a good chance that you'll want to tweak the position slightly, to ensure that it's set up perfectly for your unique body.
1. How long should my first ride be?
We suggest that you keep your first few rides shorter than normal, and slowly work your mileage up. It is not uncommon to feel some tenderness on the sit points with ISM saddles at first, simply because you sit on ISM saddles differently than other saddles. Our seats remove the pressure from soft tissue and shift it to the pubic rami bones. If you've been riding traditional seats for many years, it can take a little time to re-learn how to sit properly.
2. What if I already paid for a professional bike fit on a different brand seat?
Rest assured. Our setup guidelines are intended to recreate your existing body position coordinates that you achieved with your professional bike fit. We are simply moving the seat to a more optimal place underneath your body - not moving your body to a different place. If you put your ISM saddle in the exact same location as your old traditional seat (e.g. NOT according to our instructions), it will be uncomfortable, and it will reduce the blood flow and health benefits. The only potential difference with your fit on an ISM saddle is that many riders can rotate their hips further forward for increased power and comfort.
3. What if my ISM saddle feels too wide?
If your ISM seat feels too wide, it is either too far forward, or too high (or both). We suggest moving the seat further back, or lower.
4. What if I can't get my ISM seat far enough back on my bike's seatpost?
We find that for most riders to get their ISM seat in the correct position, they need to use a setback-style seatpost. Many triathlon bikes have dual-position posts, and the rear position is more commonly used with ISM.
5. What if I am still having trouble?
If you are still having trouble with setup or comfort, please give us a call at 813-909-1441 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST. Whether it's a setup issue, something related to your bike, or something else entirely, we are happy to offer our help however we can.