Back pain

Back pain when riding a bike?

Back pain is one of the most common complaints while riding a bicycle. SQlab has developed the Active Saddle Technology for relief of the intervertebral discs and sit bones. This enables a physiologically correct movement of the pelvis. In this way, a round pedaling movement is guaranteed, which can provide relief for intervertebral discs and facet joints.


More than half of all cyclists suffer from back pain, making it one of the most common complaints among cyclists. 

Walking is what the human body is designed for when it comes to movement. In order to be able to move forward with ease, the body is equipped with the ingenious pelvic swing system. The pelvis is tilted with every step, and the spine reacts with a movement to the opposite side.


Why is the correct co-movement of the pelvis necessary?

This lateral movement of the spine should be maintained when cycling. The SQlab Active Saddle Technology makes it possible to move the pelvis in the horizontal plane. In this way, the

strain on the lower lumbar spine in the pelvis and hip area can be reduced.


SQlab Active Saddle Technology 


In spring 2010 the SQlab Active Saddle Technology was introduced with the MTB saddle 611 active. Since 2011, at least one active model is available for every area of use.

Now over the half of SQlab saddles sold is equipped with Active Technology. The Active System is designed to allow the pelvis to move horizontally.

Dr. med Markus Knöringer Specialist in neurosurgery, intervertebral disc and spine surgery, sports medicine

This ensures that the so-called pelvic swing is performed as in natural walking. The ability to move the pelvis along minimizes the risk of discomfort in the lower lumbar spine, pelvis and hips and specifically relieves the intervertebral discs and facet joints.

For specific strengthening of the back muscles, we have developed the SQlab Back Guide in collaboration with Dr. Markus Knöringer, specialist in neurosurgery, intervertebral discs and spine surgery.

The pelvis

When sitting normally, the sitbones support the body‘s weight and have the capability to withstand high pressure. This should also be the case when riding a bicycle. With an athletic riding position, the perineal area of men and the lower positioned pubic bone arch of women on the saddle.

The well branched out network of nerves and blood vessels of the perineal area reaches from the anus via the genitals to the upper pubic bone arch. On the sides it reaches past the pubic bones. 

These are capable of carrying a small weight – but a pressure reduction is essential. An even pressure reduction in the perineal area and the pubic bones is achieved through the lowered nose of our SQlab step saddle concept.

The sitting position

When sitting, the sitbones (areas marked in green) serve the purpose of supporting the body’s weight, hence they can endure a high load and pressure. They should also be utilised in this way when riding a bike.


In a dynamic riding position the contact point moves from the tip of the sitbones, forwards along the pubic arch to the pubic bone and the central perineal area is used for resting on for both genders. Women however, typically have a lower pubic arch which can result in higher pressure from the saddle nose when riding in a dynamic riding position. The surface area the riders weight is resting on is especially critical in a very dynamic and forward riding position and in such a case the riders weight should not only be supported in the centre but also on the pubic bone.


The sitbone and pubic bones both come together from their widest points in a “V” shape. This means the more dynamic the riding position, the narrower the saddle is allowed to, and should be.

Already in 2002 we developed a simple equation which uses the distance of the sitbone tips in dependence of the riding positing to calculate the perfect saddle width. This method has meanwhile been established globally. The method may be interpreted slightly differently from different saddle manufacturers and many leave the adjustment equation away all together, but our basic concept is used in all of these measuring methods.


The flexibility of the spine has much less influence on the positioning of the pelvis as often assumed. Spine and pelvis should remain in a natural position relative to each other and not be forced into a certain position, even if the body is very flexible.


Especially with the SQlab step saddle it is no longer necessary to tilt the pelvis backwards as the typical pressure zone of the perineal area and pelvis arch no longer pose a problem due to the lowered position of the saddle nose. The energy which is often required to hold the pelvis upright while the upper body taks a dynamic and forward position is no longer required with the SQlab step saddle and can instead be used for pedalling and propelling the bike forward. In addition, there is substantially less load on the spinal discs.