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SQlab Helps Dial in Ergonomics at Home

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Sometimes riders get so caught up in the mechanical specs of their bikes that they neglect the components that take a much more significant toll on their bodies.

Sure, having the latest Di2 or eTap systems installed, saving a few grams with a set of carbon handlebars, or swapping out tires may seem like logical upgrade choices, but if your contact points on the bike are uncomfortable, little else is going to matter.

A man holding an SQlab home measurement kit.
SQlab’s Measure at Home kit allows riders to measure the width of their sit bones, hands, and feet to find the perfect ergonomic fit on the bike; (Photo/SQlab)

Bike saddles, pedals, shoes, and grips come in as wide a variety of options as the hands, feet, and backsides that mount them. But a lot of people gloss over these critical elements until they encounter a noticeable problem. Even when that happens, many riders resort to guesswork, trying tons of products with different widths, shapes, and sizes until they arrive at a Goldilocks moment, or at least get close to one.

SQlab, a leading industry purveyor of all things ergonomic including saddles, grips, handlebars, bar ends, pedals, and more, has worked for years to cut out that trial and error. For example, in 2002, the brand claims it was the first manufacturer to design a system that measures a rider’s sit bones, the key contact points with the saddle. This helps dial in the correct saddle width.

While that system used to require folks to travel to a local SQlab retailer, the brand now offers the aforementioned at-home measurement kit. which can help riders measure their contact points with the bike, including the sit bones, hands, and feet.

A man sitting on a chair to measure his sit bones with the SQlab home measurement kit.
SQlab offers its home measurement kit for free in North America and the European Union; (Photo/SQlab)

According to SQlab, its kit includes everything a rider needs to measure each contact point.

First, for the sit bone measurement, SQlab uses a piece of corrugated cardboard that riders place on a flat surface and sit on. After that, they can measure the distance between the imprint left by their sit bones to find their perfect saddle width. The last step assigns a value for the individual sitting position. This result matches the rider’s saddle size with one of the brands’ five different widths.

The right saddle can increase performance and blood circulation, keeping nerves, fibers, and blood vessels sufficiently supplied, according to the brand. A saddle that doesn’t fit right can lead to a host of issues including back pain, knee pain, and numbness.

Saddles with a flat, or even upwardly bent surface, can create high pressure on the perineal area, resulting in pain and numbness; (photo/SQlab)

According to SQlab, only an optimally sized saddle guarantees that the sit bones can fully be supported. This relieves the sensitive perineal area, which is a common area of complaints in both women and men.

The measuring kit can help with common misconceptions such as a softer saddle fixing comfort issues. SQlab states extremely soft bike saddles are only recommended for rides up to 30 minutes, as they cannot offer support and damping for the sit bones. Instead, the sit bones sink into the soft material, which irritates deeper-lying, sensitive tissue, such as muscle and tendon attachments.

Starting with a good idea of your measurements can help riders avoid nagging issues.

A man measuring his sit bone width on a piece of cardboard provided in the SQlab home measurement kit.
Sit bone width is a key factor in determining the right saddle fit; (Photo/SQlab)

To measure the hands for the right grip, SQlab gives riders a sheet they can use to measure the distance from the tip of the middle finger to the crook of the thumb, which informs which diameter, length, and shape of grip will best suit a rider.

SQlab grips come in up to four different sizes, all of which vary in length, shape, and diameter. Finding the right fit can make long rides far more comfortable, and reduce the risk of injury from being in the wrong position.

A man measuring his hand with the SQlab home measurement kit.
SQlab grips come in a variety of sizes to fit people with different size hands; (Photo/SQlab)

Finally, SQlab includes another sheet that helps riders measure the shape of their foot, leg axis, and foot length. This measurement helps riders identify the best insole to fit the unique profile of their foot.

An image of SQlab's home measurement kit foot measurement sheet.
SQlab’s foot measurements help riders find insoles for added support and stability; (Photo/SQlab)

For a sport considered by most to be “low-impact,” a rider’s feet are subjected to a ton of pressure, shock, and vibration. A reliable, stable platform at the feet tends to translate to increased comfort throughout the rest of the body, while the same is true for an unreliable and unstable platform — discomfort.

A man draws a line around his foot using the SQlab home measurement kit.
Ill-fitting saddles, shoes, and grips can lead to a wide variety of issues on the bike, including numbness and discomfort; (Photo/SQlab)

The best news about the SQlab system is that it’s free throughout North America and the European Union. Anyone who wants to find a better fit on the bike can go to sq-lab.com to get a measurement kit.

Order your home measurement kit now for free:

North America

European Union

Once riders have their measurements, SQlab offers detailed explanations for each of their products and the concepts behind them on their website. To simplify the decision-making process, products can be filtered according to their area of use, and any further questions can be answered by SQlab’s specialist retailers.

You can find your next specialist bike shop through SQlab’s store locater for either North America or the European Union.

This post is sponsored by SQlab. Visit sq-lab.com to learn more about ergonomics and measurements.

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9 months ago

For the kit, EU includes UK.

9 months ago

It seems nobody in the Southern hemisphere counts as far as SQlab is concerned. 🙁

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