A Revolution in Women’s Cycling Comfort from our Ergonomistry Project

The Ergonomistry project

Ergonomistry aims to improve comfort. Comfort is a worthy aim in itself (who doesn’t want to be comfortable? But, crucially, it’s also a pathway to higher performance through reduced fatigue. The Ergonomistry philosophy is very simple: Ergonomic innovation and comfort engineering, backed by both medical science and rigorous rider testing… Love at first fit guaranteed.

We’ve partnered with renowned physiotherapist and ergonomist Phil Burt for the Ergonomistry Project, and are excited to present its first output: the ground-breaking Women’s Pro SL EMG Bibshort. Together we’ve embraced the taboo of women’s saddle discomfort with this novel concept developed with a wide pool of serious, highly critical female road riders, and also tested and proven by pro athletes Lucy Charles-Barclay and Denise Schindler.

Phil Burt is an internationally recognised cycling health and performance innovator having spent 12 years as the Head of Physiotherapy at British Cycling, as well as 5 years as Consultant Physiotherapist at Team Sky. After a long career supporting some of the world’s best athletes at three Olympic Games and seven Tours de France, Burt joins forces with Endura.

The collaboration of Phil’s unrivalled medical and ergonomic expertise and our disruptive engineering approach catalyses the “Ergonomistry” concept. The aim of this partnership is to develop products that supply superior comfort and wellbeing on the bike through a collaborative process from concept through development, refinement and rigorous testing. Only products that have been successfully created through this process will bear the “Ergonomistry” mark.

The first result of this partnership is the NEW Women’s Pro SL EGM bibshort featuring the revolutionary Women’s 800 Series ConForm EGM Pad.

Comfort is often, wrongly, separated from performance. Phil Burt explains the motivation and need for the new shorts: “If you are thinking of your saddle pain you can’t focus on your training or race performance. If saddle injuries are preventing you from training back to back days you can’t develop to your full potential as a rider. A lot of people adopt a riding posture that is suboptimal to alleviate saddle pressure – pushing back in the saddle or sitting in a more upright position. Good shorts allow you to sit where you want to sit and achieve the position that allows you to perform to your best.”

To find out more about the problems women riders face, taboos had to be broken down for the women of the test group to talk openly. Phil Burt says: “It can be really hard and distressing to talk about saddle sores and their causes. We don’t know how many women give up cycling and are lost from the sport. The ones we know about are the tip of the iceberg.”

“Saddle sores are caused by four specific things; heat, water, pressure and friction, which is why we have developed a complete system to approach the problem. The new short pad with medical grade silicone elastomer prevents pressure, it sits within a foam pad that wicks sweat and aids breathability. To reduce friction, we have developed a pad cream, plus a wash to remove it after your ride and a post-shower moisturiser to support skin health,” explains the ergonomist. (Endura Ride Skincare will be launched later this year).

Positioning of the gel in the short is key, continues Phil: “Gel at the back supports the sit-bones but we know women have problems further forwards. Because of a woman’s mechanical structure, the hips tend to rotate slightly forwards transferring weight on to the soft tissues at the front, so we have put more gel in this area. Gel doesn’t wick away sweat and foam doesn’t fully protect against pressure so you need both. To house the gel and foam together Endura has employed a chamfered edge so you can’t feel where the gel begins or ends.”

The pad is the heart of the short design but only part of the story. “The short itself is really important, the pad needs to be positioned and held in the right place throughout your ride. In the past there have been over-engineered solutions for going to the toilet, or how to position straps over breasts, but with this design we have kept it simple. Throughout the process we checked every detail with our team of female product testers to ensure legs are the right length, grippers stay in place and that whilst you can easily wee without taking off your jersey it’s secure and doesn’t impact the fit of the shorts.”

Read more from our group of testers and find out more about the technologies we’re developed and deployed in The Ergonomistry Project – Part Two



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