Custom Bike Seats Created with 3D Printing

3D printing company, Carbon, is producing one-off bike saddles designed for individual riders.

Rob Spiegel

June 26, 2024

6 Min Read
3D printed customized bike saddles

At a Glance

  • Bike saddles use uniform-density foam to fit different ischial bone widths and shapes.
  • Fit factors can be tuned specifically to the rider for a comfortable ride and better performance.
  • Additive manufacturing makes it easier to manufacture one-off production parts.

Bike seats – known in the sport as saddles – are a crucial point of contact between riders and their bikes. The right saddle can make a huge difference in riding experience, comfort, and performance. Saddles typically use uniform-density foam for padding and are made into different sizes to fit different ischial bone widths and shapes. Often inserts are added to provide additional comfort in specific contact spots. Riders may try multiple seats before finding the saddle that fits their particular body characteristics and riding position.

Saddle maker, Fizik, has a track record of using technology and data to create its products. Using rider data from their own testing and performance technology – powered by 3D printing technology company Carbon – Fizik has designed and produced multiple latticed saddle models using elastomeric materials and the Carbon Digital Light Synthesis (Carbon DLS) process. Since Fizik customers liked the results, Fizik decided to take the next step of creating custom saddles with its One-to-One production system.

The Importance of a Perfect Saddle

A bike saddle designed for many can provide a generic solution to very specific problems, but when multiple fit factors can be tuned specifically to the rider, you get a comfortable ride matched with improved performance. Many cyclists go on a long quest to find the right saddle. A saddled specifically designed for an individual rider solves that problem. If Fizik could record the pressure the rider exerts on the saddle dynamically while riding, and then produce a map of the unique pressure profile, the company could then use this data to produce a custom, 3D-printed saddle topper.

Fizik has already introduced its Adaptive 3D line of saddles using Carbon DLS. Carbon’s portfolio of elastomeric materials, lattice design software, and 3D printing technology allowed them to develop a saddle without the constraints or limitations imposed by traditional production methods and materials. They designed and manufactured multiple functional zones within the saddle, joined together progressively and seamlessly in the same padding. The next step for Fizik was developing a custom saddle for their riders.

The Individualized Solution

Fizik collaborated with gebioMized, a leader in pressure map data, to engineer a system for collecting pressure map data from individual riders. With this data, Fizik was able to customize a saddle design with distinctive zonal cushioning tuned to adapt specifically to the rider’s body.

Additive manufacturing makes it easier to manufacture one-off production parts. Traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding require a larger-scale production system that requires high tooling costs. Without the constraints of batch production imposed by injection molding, each 3D-printed saddle padding can be unique. That means it’s possible for saddle padding to be produced based on the individual rider’s needs. With this as Fizik’s goal, they spent three years researching, developing, testing, and confirming a process through which they could capture, interpret, and translate a rider’s personal pressure data into a 3D-printed saddle.

Measuring for the Perfect Saddle

To create a truly custom saddle, a rider’s pressure data must be captured, including the body force transferred to the saddle. The data maps how the force is distributed across the saddle’s surface. That pressure will change continuously while riding, which means it’s crucial to capture pressure measurements dynamically while in motion and over time.

To get the data, Fizik worked with gebioMized to develop a pressure sensor mat capable of measuring pressure at 64 points spread out across the saddle’s surface. The data is relayed in real-time wirelessly. A mat is applied to a saddle and the cyclist rides that saddle in a normal riding style. This allows gebioMized’s software to capture pressure distribution when static or dynamic and in a variety of seating and handlebar positions.

Unlike traditional tools that aim to measure sit bone distance or sacrum angle, measuring pressure while riding reflects the actual sitting position on the bike and allows Fizik to identify the parameters that matter most, like indicators of stability on the saddle, peak pressure identifiers and hotspots, and pelvic tilt.


Riders can get measured and assessed easily on their own bikes, which can be set up on a Wahoo Kickr Rollr at select retailers. A trained bike fitter guides the One-to-One fit session using a dedicated mobile app. Relevant information about the rider’s current bike setup and saddle position is gathered through a simple questionnaire, then pressure data is captured on the rider’s current bike and saddle setup in all relevant riding positions.

Pressure data from each measurement session is recorded while riding on the handlebar tops, hoods, and in the drop position for various types of bikes. After processing, this data is cross-checked with a rider’s discipline and gender to ensure correct interpretation.

The results are displayed in a pressure chart showing the mean pressure across the saddle, the front and rear and left and right saddle pressure comparisons, the maximum pressure values and their locations on the saddle, the center of movement and pelvic tracking pattern, and the gross angle of pelvic hemisphere alignment.

From Measurement to Design

One the data capture is complete, Fizik uses Carbon’s Custom Production Software to automate the design of each saddle according to the data. A software program powered by Carbon Design Engine software translates pressure data into parameters for the elastomeric lattice structure that forms the saddle’s topper, dynamically fine-tuning it with distinctive cushioning. Thicker struts result in a denser zone offering more support, while thinner struts are used for more open zones that offer more comfort and compression. Transitions between zones are progressive and seamless. The automation of this design process lets Fizik offer this product to all customers, not just elite racers.


The rider can select their exact saddle configuration (rail type) and finalize the order. The order is automatically transferred to Fizik, where it will be processed to create a custom saddle.

From Design to Production


Utilizing the Carbon Custom Production Software, custom-latticed saddle toppers are then marked with a unique serial number, added to print projects, and sent to a production facility via a fully automated workflow.


Once printed, the saddle topper is assembled by a team of skilled technicians at Fizik, ensuring the highest-quality saddle.


Once the new One-to-One saddle has been received and mounted on the bike, the rider can return to the dealer for a final session when pressure data will be captured on the new saddle for comparison to the initial saddle setup, highlighting all the parameters that have improved.

About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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