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Uh Oh, here comes the new guy...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

 

I am new to cycling and would really like to incorporate it into my life. Just the other day, a buddy of mine gave me his 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper. Man, that thing was well taken care of. Anyway, just went to the bike shop and got everything back in working order (new tires, minor adjustments) and now I want to hit the road!

 

 

 

IMAG0919.jpg

 

 

I do have a couple questions regarding seats. From what I've heard, the thin seats are good for maintaining speed, whereas a wider seat is more for the "comfy" biker? I recently bought a new gel saddle from Wal Mart that is quite wide in the back and thins out in the front. Is this ideal? Or should I try to get used to the seat I have now?

 

Thanks guys! I look forward to spending lots of time on here, as well as on my bike.

 

 

post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimLube22 View Post

Hey Guys,

 

I am new to cycling and would really like to incorporate it into my life. Just the other day, a buddy of mine gave me his 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper. Man, that thing was well taken care of. Anyway, just went to the bike shop and got everything back in working order (new tires, minor adjustments) and now I want to hit the road!

 

 

 

IMAG0919.jpg

 

 

I do have a couple questions regarding seats. From what I've heard, the thin seats are good for maintaining speed, whereas a wider seat is more for the "comfy" biker? I recently bought a new gel saddle from Wal Mart that is quite wide in the back and thins out in the front. Is this ideal? Or should I try to get used to the seat I have now?

 

Thanks guys! I look forward to spending lots of time on here, as well as on my bike.

 

 



The seat is a interesting problem.  I would take the wide seat back to Walmart unless you're a very large person.  If you're a very large person the try the wider seat until the weigh comes off then switch to the narrower seat.  If you're not a very large person the wider seat will hurt your butt like crazy especially on longer rides of more then a 3 miles.  If your not a wide guy take the wide seat back to Walmart and try using the saddle that came with the bike for awhile.

 

Saddles are a personal thing and sometimes searching for the right saddle can literally be a pain.  The best way to eliminate about 70% of the hit and miss in saddle searching is to get a styrofoam block, place it on a hard chair and sit on it naked...yes naked, just don't let the neighbors see you!  Let your butt settle into the foam then stand up and look at the block, you should see two indentations on both sides indicating your sit bones, measure that distance from center to center of the indentations.  Then take that measurement to an IBS and make sure the sit bones will sit squarely on the center of the pads without landing on the area that is sloping downward.  Warning, make sure you put your clothes on first before heading out to the LBS!!

 

The other odd thing about saddles.  On the surface a soft cushy thick gel seat would seem like it would be the most comfortable to ride on, and you would be right if only going a mile or two or three, but soft saddles will actually hurt your butt more the longer distance you ride then a harder saddle will.  Also give your butt time to break into a saddle too and to firm up.  The more time you spend riding the harder the butt becomes, I can ride well over 100 miles in a day and not feel a whole lot of discomfort but I've been riding for more then 40 years.  I got a friend of mine involved in cycling and it took him a year of training to be comfortable sitting on a seat for 100 miles.  So if you're not use to riding don't expect the seat to immediately comfortable for awhile.  Make sure the bike is properly fitted to you to so the comfort level will be greater.

post #3 of 17
It all depends on what you call "wide". Measure the width and give that figure.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

IMAG0932.jpg

 

 

This the seat I'm talking about. It's 9-1/2" at it's widest point. I'm not a BIG guy, I've got a little bit to lose, but I'd consider myself average. I don't even fully plant myself on the biggest part of this seat.

post #5 of 17

That seat looks huge! But that is a bike seat and not a bike saddle. A seat is something to plop down on after a long day. A saddle is a platform to help support one's dynamic weight while pedaling/riding, there's a difference, albeit maybe subtle. A saddle's width should correlate roughly to sit bone width.

 

Some big guys have narrower sit bones and are appropriately fitted on saddles narrower than some smaller dudes. I.e. the width does not usually correlate to weight. Non riders typically comment that my saddle looks very uncomfortable but it works well for some pretty long rides. Ironically I probably wouldn't last a mile on the Walmart seat. Sometimes what feels good around the block isn't great for even a short 30 or 60 minute ride. But we all know our own butts best, and how we'll probably be using the bike.

 

There can also be quite a difference in the comfort levels between the various narrow saddles (and some models come in multiple widths), based on one's own personal anatomy. Because one narrow saddle does not feel good does not mean all narrow saddles will not feel good but I would hazard a guess that over 95% of the peeps vising this forum are riding on "narrow" saddles, or what we just call saddles. wink.gif

 

Question, Was the original seat uncomfortable from the getgo? From the first photo it looks tilted down a little possibly moving the riders weight forward to be supported primarily by the perineum and not by the sit bones, but that too is a personal fit/preference thing.

 

 

PS. In any case you got a great bike to start on.

 


Edited by danfoz - 2/22/12 at 3:38pm
post #6 of 17

Great information from Froze and danfoz!

 

You would think... that for as long as bicycles have been around the saddles/seats wouldn't hurt. And really that is sorta the way it is. The seats don't hurt... your butt does. If there is a fast easy way to make your butt adapt and condition itself for cycling I don't know what it would be. It just takes a while to toughen your butt up AND find a good saddle that you like. Once you already have a sore butt nearly any new saddle will seem comfy... at least for a short while. So plan on taking your time and accepting the soreness as just part of being new. Just don't confuse your "newbie butt" with blisters, saddle sores, chafing, or soft tissue issues.

 

You're starting out with a nice bike! The little bit of discomfort you have starting out is well worth the many years of fun and great exercise ahead. You might want to search the youtube videos on bike fitting. Be sure you get the saddle and handle bars at the best height for you too.

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimLube22 View Post

IMAG0932.jpg

 

 

This the seat I'm talking about. It's 9-1/2" at it's widest point. I'm not a BIG guy, I've got a little bit to lose, but I'd consider myself average. I don't even fully plant myself on the biggest part of this seat.


Any bike shop worth having your money will let you buy a saddle and then switch it for another if the first doesn't work. In fact, such a bike shop should let you do that process until you find something that coddles your peaches. Of course if you damage a saddle in the tryout process, you own it. Understand that trying a saddle out properly requires using it for a while, at least a week IMHO, unless the saddle is such an a$$ hatchet that you can't ride it for a week. More shops are starting to stock test saddles made up of saddles from their own inventory or of designated test saddles from saddle manufacturers. Fizik and Selle San Marco are two saddle makers that can supply LBS's with test saddles. If your LBS has such a saddle, it's likely no money or at least a minimal deposit will be required to test that saddle.

Saddles can be counterintuitive: you might think that cushy saddles are more comfortable, but on road bikes and longer rides more firm saddles work better because the more firm foam doesn't bottom out. Also cushy saddles allow you to sink into the saddle and can put undue pressure on sensitive bits. As has been mentioned, the right saddle for you will likely have a width that will be equal to or a bit wider than the distance between your sit bones. This isn't always the case though. For whatever reason, there are riders who need saddles that are a bit more narrow than the distance between their sit bones. Another confounding bit about saddles is the "cut-out", literally a hole or a softer area along the center of the saddle that's designed to decrease pressure on grollies and associated blood vessels and nerves. Some people need a saddle with a cut-out and some don't. Alarmist publications and people will have you believe that if you don't have a cut out, your giblets will go numb, turn black, and fall off. That's simply not true in every case. Whether you need a cut-out or not is dependent on your physiology, not anyone else's.

You may get lucky and find you're one of those people that can get on with most any saddle, but it's more likely that you're not. Like every other cyclist, you're going to have to go through the time honored process of finding out if you need a flat saddle or one that is concave from front to back; one that's flat from left to right or one that's arched from left to right; one that's narrow or one that's wide; one with a cut out or one without.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well, took the "BIG SEAT" back to Wally World, and proceeded to my local bike shop with old saddle in hand. They decided it was good enough to continue riding on, and helped me adjust it. I already feel a world of difference. Hooray! Thanks for all the feedback, guys!

post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienator View Post

..... Another confounding bit about saddles is the "cut-out", literally a hole or a softer area along the center of the saddle that's designed to decrease pressure on grollies and associated blood vessels and nerves. Some people need a saddle with a cut-out and some don't. Alarmist publications and people will have you believe that if you don't have a cut out, your giblets will go numb, turn black, and fall off. That's simply not true in every case. Whether you need a cut-out or not is dependent on your physiology, not anyone else's.
 

 

I use a cut out saddle myself... and had decided not to get into any explaination about cut-outs here. Mainly because of the mis-information and misunderstandings about cut-out saddles. I agree completely about alarmist warnings being simply not true. But I am also thankful that those misunderstandings [from a few years ago] lead to the cut-outs. I am perfectly comfy on any seat I sit myself on... for say 10-12 miles even in non-cycling clothing. My pickiness in saddle selection only begins to become apparent after 25-30 or more miles. It took me four different saddles and a entire season to figure out what I liked and/or needed. But... I think... much of the effort was wasted as I mostly just needed to toughen up my rear end.

post #10 of 17

I ride mostly cutouts, but my Brooks B17 and Swift are not but they don't need to be.  Mostly I like cutouts, I don't have that going to sleep down hither sensation.  I don't know if all of that sterile stuff is true if you don't ride a saddle designed properly, I know there use to be a lot of people screaming that it was true with evidence to support it and it's still pretty much the same today.  I figured if there was just a chance of it being true then why risk taking a chance going sterile when the cost to prevent it is relatively cheap.  Now I'm 58 so I guess I no longer need a cutout saddles since I won't be getting remarried and having kids.

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Froze View Post

I don't know if all of that sterile stuff is true if you don't ride a saddle designed properly, I know there use to be a lot of people screaming that it was true with evidence to support it and it's still pretty much the same today...................  Now I'm 58 so I guess I no longer need a cutout saddles since I won't be getting remarried and having kids.


Actually... the old stories reportedly had bicycling assocated with Erectile Dysfunction (and the stories are still around, Even at Sites like livestrong ). I've read a better history than found here, but it may say enough. As I remember it.... the warning first came from a Urologist that heard reports of problems by some patients who were also cyclist. He put two and two together and got four. But as it turns out... an aging cycling population may also add up to four. The percentage of cycling males with ED problems doesn't appear to be any greater than non-cycling males.

 

But health conscious men (like cyclist) may be quicker to mention both health and “life-style problems” to their doctors than less healthy men. Plus... many ED problems in men are almost automatically blamed on medications (like those used to control blood pressure) that may or may not be used in the same percentage by cyclist. So if my brother and I each reported an ED problem to our doctors... his doctor may blame his blood pressure meds, whereas mine may ask me about my bicycle saddle... as I take no medications. But the concern(s) could be caused by a whole host of other problems.

 

It's a big ball-of-wax... complicated with fears, rumors, sales people, hoax, and actual expert medical advice. As well as men hoping to get medications to use for recreational sex.

  
 

 

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post


Actually... the old stories reportedly had bicycling assocated with Erectile Dysfunction (and the stories are still around, Even at Sites like livestrong ). I've read a better history than found here, but it may say enough. As I remember it.... the warning first came from a Urologist that heard reports of problems by some patients who were also cyclist. He put two and two together and got four. But as it turns out... an aging cycling population may also add up to four. The percentage of cycling males with ED problems doesn't appear to be any greater than non-cycling males.

 

But health conscious men (like cyclist) may be quicker to mention both health and “life-style problems” to their doctors than less healthy men. Plus... many ED problems in men are almost automatically blamed on medications (like those used to control blood pressure) that may or may not be used in the same percentage by cyclist. So if my brother and I each reported an ED problem to our doctors... his doctor may blame his blood pressure meds, whereas mine may ask me about my bicycle saddle... as I take no medications. But the concern(s) could be caused by a whole host of other problems.

 

It's a big ball-of-wax... complicated with fears, rumors, sales people, hoax, and actual expert medical advice. As well as men hoping to get medications to use for recreational sex.

  
 

 


I actually agree with that last website you gave.  When I use to race we, and I, had the seat at least 3 inches higher then the bars, and I remember when I rode like that you could feel the pressure of the seat pressing rather hard on the region below.  But back then we weren't aware of any problems doing so, so on we rode.  Fortunately riding like that never caused me any problems..

 

ED can be caused by a whole host of problems, like causes for Alzheimer's.  I think some of the problems we're having is related to chemicals we either eat, or drink, or the combination of both.

 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post

As I remember it.... the warning first came from a Urologist that heard reports of problems by some patients who were also cyclist. He put two and two together and got four. But as it turns out... an aging cycling population may also add up to four. The percentage of cycling males with ED problems doesn't appear to be any greater than non-cycling males.

 


I think he put two and two together and got 5. I've experienced some degree of numbness in the junk during almost every single ride longer than 30 miles over the last 3 decades, and on many different saddles. Tens of thousands of miles on and the general still salutes when he needs to, and sometimes even when he doesn't.

 

I currently use a cutout saddle and still experience the same. In addition, on rainy days I experience soaked shorts.

 

post #14 of 17
I never get any numbness, except over one short period of time about 8-9 years ago when my Selle Italia Flite saddle (the original version) had sagged (their weak point was that after a while, they would start to sag) enough that over a week or two I started having numb and tingly episodes in my grollies. I didn't want to lose my spot on the bedroom olympic team, so I bought a new saddle. Didn't much care for the numbness and tingling, and it can come with a big downside: if your junk becomes unresponsive girls won't get the visual clue needed to tell just how much you like them when you're leering at them. See, our lycra bike kit is great for helping womynz key in on our emotions. If only women offered us visual clues to help us read their emotions.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by danfoz View Post


I think he put two and two together and got 5. I've experienced some degree of numbness in the junk during almost every single ride longer than 30 miles over the last 3 decades, and on many different saddles. Tens of thousands of miles on and the general still salutes when he needs to, and sometimes even when he doesn't.

 

I currently use a cutout saddle and still experience the same. In addition, on rainy days I experience soaked shorts.

 


Gee and I thought the private saluted or should I say stands at attention whenever it see's a majorette. Silly me.
 

 

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