A rant about saddles and sizing them.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Ronsonic, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Guest

    Lately I've been shopping for a saddle. Not the easiest or fastest process, and
    not the cheapest thing either.

    Yeah, yeah, the local LBS and yadda yadda. It doesn't matter how much the guy
    knows he can't sit on it for ya and the recommendations I've gotten have varied
    from utter cluelessness to non-commital "if I tell ya then you'll want a refund
    when your butt gets sore."

    The manufacturers are generally no help whatsoever. In fact, their sales blather
    is downright unhelpful. EVERY saddle is a "perfect balance of speed, comfort and
    rigidity with styling so hot euro babes get wet when you ride by."

    How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.

    Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items. Only two saddle
    makers even publish width measurements. Could you imagine if frames were made
    the way saddles are, each size being a completely different model with
    completely different geometry and materials and colors. "Oh, that Crit bike's
    too small for you, you should ride this TT bike instead - we'll try you on a
    tourer if that doesn't fit well."

    Specialized earned my scorn years ago, but I've got to hand it to them when they
    do something right. Making the same damn saddle in three sizes, as stupid and
    obvious as it is, represents a breakthrough of cycling marketing. Now I don't
    know if I'll like the things, but I'm giving them a try. If for no other reason
    than they deserve a shot for being the only company smart enough to realize that
    different sizes are needed as much as different models.

    Anyway, enough of that rant.

    I'll let you know if their saddles work out for me.

    Ron
     
    Tags:


  2. hobby

    hobby Guest

    >
    > Specialized earned my scorn years ago, but I've got to hand it to them
    > when they
    > do something right. Making the same damn saddle in three sizes, as stupid
    > and
    > obvious as it is, represents a breakthrough of cycling marketing. Now I
    > don't
    > know if I'll like the things, but I'm giving them a try. If for no other
    > reason
    > than they deserve a shot for being the only company smart enough to
    > realize that
    > different sizes are needed as much as different models.


    Yes Specialized is different, in that they don't cost you and arm and a leg
    and they give you a great ride. I have about six other saddles for sale
    with name brands on them; because I now have three Specialized saddles on
    the three road bikes of my wife and I.

    Tom
     
  3. On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:08:37 -0500, wrote:

    >
    > Lately I've been shopping for a saddle. Not the easiest or fastest process, and
    > not the cheapest thing either.
    >
    > Yeah, yeah, the local LBS and yadda yadda. It doesn't matter how much the guy
    > knows he can't sit on it for ya and the recommendations I've gotten have varied
    > from utter cluelessness to non-commital "if I tell ya then you'll want a refund
    > when your butt gets sore."


    I don't get this. Many saddles have guarantees, usually of the form that
    will refund your money if you don't like it for any reason. This is
    despite whatever your shop guy said. I returned one under those
    conditions, with no problems. The next one I got turned out to be the one
    I kept.
     
  4. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Guest

    On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 00:03:12 -0500, "David L. Johnson"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:08:37 -0500, wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> Lately I've been shopping for a saddle. Not the easiest or fastest process, and
    >> not the cheapest thing either.
    >>
    >> Yeah, yeah, the local LBS and yadda yadda. It doesn't matter how much the guy
    >> knows he can't sit on it for ya and the recommendations I've gotten have varied
    >> from utter cluelessness to non-commital "if I tell ya then you'll want a refund
    >> when your butt gets sore."

    >
    >I don't get this. Many saddles have guarantees, usually of the form that
    >will refund your money if you don't like it for any reason. This is
    >despite whatever your shop guy said. I returned one under those
    >conditions, with no problems. The next one I got turned out to be the one
    >I kept.


    Maybe I was just getting lousy help. No reassurance at all that I could bring it
    back if it wasn't working for me.

    Then again maybe I'm turning into that guy who's so expecting to be disappointed
    that he's hard to make happy anymore.

    Ron
     
  5. Lou Holtman

    Lou Holtman Guest

    Ronsonic wrote:
    > Lately I've been shopping for a saddle. Not the easiest or fastest process, and
    > not the cheapest thing either.
    >
    > Yeah, yeah, the local LBS and yadda yadda. It doesn't matter how much the guy
    > knows he can't sit on it for ya and the recommendations I've gotten have varied
    > from utter cluelessness to non-commital "if I tell ya then you'll want a refund
    > when your butt gets sore."
    >
    > The manufacturers are generally no help whatsoever. In fact, their sales blather
    > is downright unhelpful. EVERY saddle is a "perfect balance of speed, comfort and
    > rigidity with styling so hot euro babes get wet when you ride by."
    >
    > How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.
    >
    > Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items. Only two saddle
    > makers even publish width measurements. Could you imagine if frames were made
    > the way saddles are, each size being a completely different model with
    > completely different geometry and materials and colors. "Oh, that Crit bike's
    > too small for you, you should ride this TT bike instead - we'll try you on a
    > tourer if that doesn't fit well."
    >
    > Specialized earned my scorn years ago, but I've got to hand it to them when they
    > do something right. Making the same damn saddle in three sizes, as stupid and
    > obvious as it is, represents a breakthrough of cycling marketing. Now I don't
    > know if I'll like the things, but I'm giving them a try. If for no other reason
    > than they deserve a shot for being the only company smart enough to realize that
    > different sizes are needed as much as different models.
    >
    > Anyway, enough of that rant.
    >
    > I'll let you know if their saddles work out for me.
    >
    > Ron
    >


    You are absolutely right Ron. One advice I can give you: if you found a
    saddle that fits you buy three of them because when you wear out the
    first one they changed the model for sure.

    Lou
    --
    Posted by news://news.nb.nu
     
  6. ron rants-<< How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about
    ANYTHING objective. >><BR><BR>

    I have two suggestions. Buy from a bike shop that will give you a fitting along
    with that multi-$ saddle and also swap for another if you don't like it.

    Saddles are no more objective than pe4ples butts or riding styles or fits. I
    use a saddle that it seems NOBODY likes but I love(Rolls Due).

    Even if you had objectives measurements, it doesn't mean the thing will woirk
    for you. Almost everybody raves about Brooks, I tried two and resold them
    both..

    Peter Chisholm
    Vecchio's Bicicletteria
    1833 Pearl St.
    Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535
    http://www.vecchios.com
    "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  7. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    Oi. Yet another saddles-don't-fit thread. Should I even respond?
    Hasn't this been beaten to death often enough?

    On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:08:37 -0500, Ronsonic <> wrote:

    >... the recommendations I've gotten have varied
    >from utter cluelessness to non-commital "if I tell ya then you'll want a refund
    >when your butt gets sore."


    That sounds like the most clueful response you've received, then.

    >How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.


    Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.

    >Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items.


    Yes, and that's because for those components, the effects of size and
    their relation to the needs of the rider are broadly quantifiable and
    fairly well established. But seats aren't like that. I have a total
    of four reasonably comfortable seats (for me) at the moment, and none
    of them resemble each other closely. Maddeningly, I have found that
    two seats which are nearly identical in physical characteristics may
    be so wildly at variance in their comfort level as to make one
    intolerable; I have learned that the only way to evaluate a seat is to
    ignore what it looks like, sit on it, and if possible, take it for a
    ride. Length, width, taper, upper surface curvature, padding and
    cover material are all individual characteristics that logically might
    seem to be important, but I've discovered that for me, none of those,
    and no combination of them, is a reliable indicator. I've heard the
    same thing from a lot of other riders.

    >Specialized [is doing] something right. Making the same damn saddle in
    >three sizes, as stupid and obvious as it is, represents a breakthrough
    >of cycling marketing.


    Unfortunately, that's really all it is; marketing. Yes, different
    people may need different sizes of seat, and three saddles of
    identical design except for scale will fit three different groups of
    people well...but the same is true for any three different saddles.
    The fact that those saddles are the same in their relations of various
    measurements does not change the fact that they will only work for a
    limited and unpredictable subset of the market, the same as every
    other saddle out there.

    >Now I don't
    >know if I'll like the things, but I'm giving them a try. If for no other reason
    >than they deserve a shot for being the only company smart enough to realize that
    >different sizes are needed as much as different models.


    I'll agree with that to an extent, but I'll still note that "big
    rider, big saddle" (or any such variation) is an assumpion that is no
    more likely to be correct than any other; i.e., it's most likely
    wrong. Most importantly, with saddles, what works perfectly for one
    rider may be absolutely intolerable for another even though the two
    riders appear to be very similar in physical characteristics.


    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  8. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 09:06:54 +0100, Lou Holtman
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > One advice I can give you: if you found a
    >saddle that fits you buy three of them because when you wear out the
    >first one they changed the model for sure.


    Isn't that the truth! (With the possible exception of the Brooks
    saddles, most of which have been unchanged for decades.)
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  9. RE/
    >How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.


    Don't hold your breath.

    Perfomance Bikes regularly publishes page after page of saddle ads without
    giving widths (much less *usable* widths....) except for Brooks' saddles.

    All I can think of is that the ischial tuberiosity width bell curve is so
    compressed that 99% of all people's butts fit within a very narrow range -
    making stated usable widths moot.
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  10. RE/
    >Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    >interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    >shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    >No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.


    Not quite so - at least with one critical dimension. At least some people know
    their ichial tuberosity width. All somebody has to do is sit on a sheet of
    styrofoam or cardboard...or just sit on a piece of paper on a soft rug...and
    then measure the dents to get their ischial tuberiosity width.

    Certainly not the whole story, but if the saddle is too narrow for your butt
    bones, there's really no hope.
    --
    PeteCresswell
     
  11. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Guest

    On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 16:18:15 GMT, Werehatrack <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >Oi. Yet another saddles-don't-fit thread. Should I even respond?
    >Hasn't this been beaten to death often enough?
    >
    >On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:08:37 -0500, Ronsonic <> wrote:
    >
    >>... the recommendations I've gotten have varied
    >>from utter cluelessness to non-commital "if I tell ya then you'll want a refund
    >>when your butt gets sore."

    >
    >That sounds like the most clueful response you've received, then.
    >
    >>How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.

    >
    >Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    >interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    >shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    >No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.


    Well, that's the thing. I may not yet know what perfect would look like but I've
    got a real good Idea what I want to try next... Flattish with a drainage ditch
    and 130 - 140 mm wide.

    >>Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items.

    >
    >Yes, and that's because for those components, the effects of size and
    >their relation to the needs of the rider are broadly quantifiable and
    >fairly well established. But seats aren't like that. I have a total
    >of four reasonably comfortable seats (for me) at the moment, and none
    >of them resemble each other closely. Maddeningly, I have found that
    >two seats which are nearly identical in physical characteristics may
    >be so wildly at variance in their comfort level as to make one
    >intolerable; I have learned that the only way to evaluate a seat is to
    >ignore what it looks like, sit on it, and if possible, take it for a
    >ride.


    See, I'm not prepared to accept that there's no way to know except to ride all
    of them - at least I'm not prepared to ride all of them.

    >Length, width, taper, upper surface curvature, padding and
    >cover material are all individual characteristics that logically might
    >seem to be important, but I've discovered that for me, none of those,
    >and no combination of them, is a reliable indicator. I've heard the
    >same thing from a lot of other riders.


    There's got to be something quantifiable and knowable here.

    >>Specialized [is doing] something right. Making the same damn saddle in
    >>three sizes, as stupid and obvious as it is, represents a breakthrough
    >>of cycling marketing.

    >
    >Unfortunately, that's really all it is; marketing. Yes, different
    >people may need different sizes of seat, and three saddles of
    >identical design except for scale will fit three different groups of
    >people well...but the same is true for any three different saddles.


    Here's the thing, I have a saddle that's pretty darn good, it'd be perfect for
    me if only it were about 1/4 - 3/8" wider. That's all I wanted, that saddle just
    a little wider.

    >The fact that those saddles are the same in their relations of various
    >measurements does not change the fact that they will only work for a
    >limited and unpredictable subset of the market, the same as every
    >other saddle out there.


    True enough, saddles are weird science.

    >>Now I don't
    >>know if I'll like the things, but I'm giving them a try. If for no other reason
    >>than they deserve a shot for being the only company smart enough to realize that
    >>different sizes are needed as much as different models.

    >
    >I'll agree with that to an extent, but I'll still note that "big
    >rider, big saddle" (or any such variation) is an assumpion that is no
    >more likely to be correct than any other; i.e., it's most likely
    >wrong. Most importantly, with saddles, what works perfectly for one
    >rider may be absolutely intolerable for another even though the two
    >riders appear to be very similar in physical characteristics.


    Again true. A lot of variables and the few things that are actually measurable,
    well I ain't handing another man a tape measure to check 'em for me. An example,
    I'm 6'1 - 190 and I take a fairly narrow saddle with a very narrow nose. Living
    proof a big guy doesn't necessarilly fit a big saddle.

    To me, all the voodoo factors argue FOR a rationalized product line rather than
    against. "We got your Flat and Crowned, (each with and without groove) in two
    sizes each." Not only covers 60% of everybody any rider can take one look and
    know which has a chance of working for him. Okay, except guys with really fickle
    backsides like yourself. There's no predicting that anyway.

    Anyhow, I've got something I'm trying, we'll see how it goes.

    Ron
     
  12. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    >>On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:08:37 -0500, Ronsonic wrote:
    -snip saddle-
    >>>How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.

    -snip-
    Werehatrack <[email protected] wrote:
    >>Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    >>interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    >>shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    >>No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.


    Ronsonic
    > Well, that's the thing. I may not yet know what perfect would look like but I've
    > got a real good Idea what I want to try next... Flattish with a drainage ditch
    > and 130 - 140 mm wide.
    >>>Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items.


    Werehatrack <[email protected] wrote:
    >>Yes, and that's because for those components, the effects of size and
    >>their relation to the needs of the rider are broadly quantifiable and
    >>fairly well established. But seats aren't like that. I have a total
    >>of four reasonably comfortable seats (for me) at the moment, and none
    >>of them resemble each other closely. Maddeningly, I have found that
    >>two seats which are nearly identical in physical characteristics may
    >>be so wildly at variance in their comfort level as to make one
    >>intolerable; I have learned that the only way to evaluate a seat is to
    >>ignore what it looks like, sit on it, and if possible, take it for a
    >>ride.


    Ronsonic wrote:

    > See, I'm not prepared to accept that there's no way to know except to ride all
    > of them - at least I'm not prepared to ride all of them.

    -snip-
    > Again true. A lot of variables and the few things that are actually measurable,
    > well I ain't handing another man a tape measure to check 'em for me. An example,
    > I'm 6'1 - 190 and I take a fairly narrow saddle with a very narrow nose. Living
    > proof a big guy doesn't necessarilly fit a big saddle.
    >
    > To me, all the voodoo factors argue FOR a rationalized product line rather than
    > against. "We got your Flat and Crowned, (each with and without groove) in two
    > sizes each." Not only covers 60% of everybody any rider can take one look and
    > know which has a chance of working for him. Okay, except guys with really fickle
    > backsides like yourself. There's no predicting that anyway.


    I'm sympathetic to your thesis. But you neglect a lot of
    variables. All the varioius permutations exist because
    _someone_ is ideally suited to each of them.

    Cosider that generally a low and forward riding position
    needs thigh clearance and generally a firmer saddle (on that
    won't bounce with rpms). The opposite position - a German
    shopping bike- leaves the rider bolt upright. There, a
    wider format with springs or gel is useful as one's full
    weight is borne by it.

    The rest of us are somehwere in the great middle of that.

    Base materials are firmer and softer. The width can be
    measured but how to account for subtleties of shape? Brooks
    are high and firm on the back so one stays up off the center
    much more than most saddles. Even within Brooks, Pro and
    Tean Pro arc slightly across the back (11mm over 160mm)
    where B.17 Champion Specials are flatter (8mm over 173mm).

    The big Italian houses differ subtly in that Selle Italia
    products are a bit smaller width across the center and Selle
    San Marco generally wider there. Ride a classic Turbo and
    then a classic Concor or Rolls and that difference is
    dramatically obvious ( 80% of everythng they've made in the
    last twenty years is just a variant of those two classic
    designs).

    Throw in gel inserts and cut sides and you get varying
    amounts of 'sinking' into a saddle, which either means you
    contact more area to spread out the contact patch (which
    some riders like) or you end up with pressure on the center
    of the saddle. I can't predict which for a given rider,
    position and saddle.

    So even if every measuremant were printed, I don't think
    you'd get the result you expect - the ability to be
    comfortable on a saddle selected by the numbers.

    --
    Andrew Muzi
    www.yellowjersey.org
    Open every day since 1 April, 1971
     
  13. Specialized isn't the only manufacturer hat makes saddles in different
    sizes (or shapes!). Brooks of England, which has been manufacturing
    bicycle saddles for as long as there has been bicycles to manufacturer
    saddles for, also makes a large selection. They don't specify a "size"
    to each one, but they do offer suggestions on the type of riding each
    model might be best for.

    They're still doing it after 100+ years, so they must be doing something
    right.

    I found Wallingford to be the best place to order. They offer a 6 month
    guarantee so you can be sure it fits right.

    http://www.wallbike.com/

    - -

    "May you have the wind at your back.
    And a really low gear for the hills!"

    Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

    Chris'Z Corner
    http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  14. Ronsonic

    Ronsonic Guest

    On Sun, 28 Nov 2004 10:44:53 -0600, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:

    >>>On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 21:08:37 -0500, Ronsonic wrote:

    >-snip saddle-
    >>>>How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.

    >-snip-
    >Werehatrack <[email protected] wrote:
    >>>Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    >>>interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    >>>shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    >>>No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.

    >
    >Ronsonic
    >> Well, that's the thing. I may not yet know what perfect would look like but I've
    >> got a real good Idea what I want to try next... Flattish with a drainage ditch
    >> and 130 - 140 mm wide.
    >>>>Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items.

    >
    >Werehatrack <[email protected] wrote:
    >>>Yes, and that's because for those components, the effects of size and
    >>>their relation to the needs of the rider are broadly quantifiable and
    >>>fairly well established. But seats aren't like that. I have a total
    >>>of four reasonably comfortable seats (for me) at the moment, and none
    >>>of them resemble each other closely. Maddeningly, I have found that
    >>>two seats which are nearly identical in physical characteristics may
    >>>be so wildly at variance in their comfort level as to make one
    >>>intolerable; I have learned that the only way to evaluate a seat is to
    >>>ignore what it looks like, sit on it, and if possible, take it for a
    >>>ride.

    >
    >Ronsonic wrote:
    >
    >> See, I'm not prepared to accept that there's no way to know except to ride all
    >> of them - at least I'm not prepared to ride all of them.

    >-snip-
    >> Again true. A lot of variables and the few things that are actually measurable,
    >> well I ain't handing another man a tape measure to check 'em for me. An example,
    >> I'm 6'1 - 190 and I take a fairly narrow saddle with a very narrow nose. Living
    >> proof a big guy doesn't necessarilly fit a big saddle.
    >>
    >> To me, all the voodoo factors argue FOR a rationalized product line rather than
    >> against. "We got your Flat and Crowned, (each with and without groove) in two
    >> sizes each." Not only covers 60% of everybody any rider can take one look and
    >> know which has a chance of working for him. Okay, except guys with really fickle
    >> backsides like yourself. There's no predicting that anyway.

    >
    >I'm sympathetic to your thesis. But you neglect a lot of
    >variables. All the varioius permutations exist because
    >_someone_ is ideally suited to each of them.
    >
    >Cosider that generally a low and forward riding position
    >needs thigh clearance and generally a firmer saddle (on that
    >won't bounce with rpms). The opposite position - a German
    >shopping bike- leaves the rider bolt upright. There, a
    >wider format with springs or gel is useful as one's full
    >weight is borne by it.
    >
    >The rest of us are somehwere in the great middle of that.
    >
    >Base materials are firmer and softer. The width can be
    >measured but how to account for subtleties of shape? Brooks
    >are high and firm on the back so one stays up off the center
    >much more than most saddles. Even within Brooks, Pro and
    >Tean Pro arc slightly across the back (11mm over 160mm)
    >where B.17 Champion Specials are flatter (8mm over 173mm).
    >
    >The big Italian houses differ subtly in that Selle Italia
    >products are a bit smaller width across the center and Selle
    >San Marco generally wider there. Ride a classic Turbo and
    >then a classic Concor or Rolls and that difference is
    >dramatically obvious ( 80% of everythng they've made in the
    >last twenty years is just a variant of those two classic
    >designs).


    The Concor caused me such pain that I involuntarily whimper whenever I see one
    now.

    >Throw in gel inserts and cut sides and you get varying
    >amounts of 'sinking' into a saddle, which either means you
    >contact more area to spread out the contact patch (which
    >some riders like) or you end up with pressure on the center
    >of the saddle. I can't predict which for a given rider,
    >position and saddle.
    >
    >So even if every measuremant were printed, I don't think
    >you'd get the result you expect - the ability to be
    >comfortable on a saddle selected by the numbers.


    All true. Thanks for adding perspective.

    I was particularly frustrated that I had on the bike a saddle that was pretty
    darn good but just a bit narrow and short. All I wanted was one just like it but
    a bit wider at the back and a longer nose. Nope.

    Ended up with something rather different but the width and flattish profile with
    a groove I wanted. Did 40 miles today with no great pain. Don't know if I'll
    love it but it sure ain't bad.

    Ron
     
  15. RBS

    RBS New Member

    Joined:
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  16. Ronsonic <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Lately I've been shopping for a saddle.
    >How about a freeking MEASUREMENT.


    Measurements for Brooks saddles are widely available - although apparently
    not from Brooks, who appear to have redesigned their Webshite to make it
    even less useful than the previous steaming mess of Flash.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!
     
  17. Tim Howe

    Tim Howe Guest

    Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    <snip>
    > >How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.

    >
    > Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    > interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    > shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    > No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.
    >
    > >Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items.

    >
    > Yes, and that's because for those components, the effects of size and
    > their relation to the needs of the rider are broadly quantifiable and
    > fairly well established. But seats aren't like that. I have a total
    > of four reasonably comfortable seats (for me) at the moment, and none
    > of them resemble each other closely. Maddeningly, I have found that
    > two seats which are nearly identical in physical characteristics may
    > be so wildly at variance in their comfort level as to make one
    > intolerable; I have learned that the only way to evaluate a seat is to
    > ignore what it looks like, sit on it, and if possible, take it for a
    > ride. Length, width, taper, upper surface curvature, padding and
    > cover material are all individual characteristics that logically might
    > seem to be important, but I've discovered that for me, none of those,
    > and no combination of them, is a reliable indicator. I've heard the
    > same thing from a lot of other riders.
    >


    Nonsense.

    Shoes have a variety of sizes and widths. Ideally I happen to wear a
    size 10 E width in American sizing. That doesn't mean that every shoe
    of that size fits me, some are apalling, some are a dream. Even ones
    that appear to be very much the same shape. But I also know it's
    useless to look at 7B's Furthur for riding shoes I tend to size down
    about a half size for a more snug fit. For rock climbing shoes I may
    size down as much as 2 sizes depending on the shoe.

    Saddles would be similar. You know roughly what size you need for a
    given type of riding and that at least narrows the field of
    possibilities. It doesn't mean every one would work, but it would
    narrow down the possibilities to 2 or 3, rather than 25. Those of us
    who have ridden for a while do this automatically based on past
    failures. I know that Selle Italia flites are too narrow for my
    tastes so I avoid similar saddles. Big poofy gel monstrosities are a
    horror. etc. But it wouldn't hurt to quantify things.

    -Tim
     
  18. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 30 Nov 2004 06:27:40 -0800, [email protected] (Tim Howe) wrote:

    >Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    ><snip>
    >> >How about a freeking MEASUREMENT. Maybe a profile. How about ANYTHING objective.

    >>
    >> Well, without a measurement chart for your personal posterior
    >> interface, what good would this do? Do *you* know what the precise
    >> shape and exact dimensions of the perfect seat would be *for you*?
    >> No? Here's a big clue: Neither does anyone else.
    >>
    >> >Frames have sizes, so do cranks, bars and other fit items.

    >>
    >> Yes, and that's because for those components, the effects of size and
    >> their relation to the needs of the rider are broadly quantifiable and
    >> fairly well established. But seats aren't like that. I have a total
    >> of four reasonably comfortable seats (for me) at the moment, and none
    >> of them resemble each other closely. Maddeningly, I have found that
    >> two seats which are nearly identical in physical characteristics may
    >> be so wildly at variance in their comfort level as to make one
    >> intolerable; I have learned that the only way to evaluate a seat is to
    >> ignore what it looks like, sit on it, and if possible, take it for a
    >> ride. Length, width, taper, upper surface curvature, padding and
    >> cover material are all individual characteristics that logically might
    >> seem to be important, but I've discovered that for me, none of those,
    >> and no combination of them, is a reliable indicator. I've heard the
    >> same thing from a lot of other riders.
    >>

    >
    >Nonsense.


    Truth. I have four comfortable saddles. They vary in width by over
    40mm, and in length by almost 60mm. They vary tremendously in taper
    and curvature. Others of similar size and shape were often
    intolerable. Mere raw size numbers mean very little for saddles, in
    my experience, and while there are some riders who appear to be able
    to tolerate just about any saddle (I've only met one, but that
    establishes the possibility), I've heard far more gripes about
    precisely this subject (the irrelevance of size to predictability of
    fit) than can be discounted. If size works for you, call it a
    mitzvah; for the rest of us, things are not so easy.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  19. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 00:34:05 -0500, Ronsonic <> wrote:

    >Maybe I was just getting lousy help. No reassurance at all that I could bring it
    >back if it wasn't working for me.
    >
    >Then again maybe I'm turning into that guy who's so expecting to be disappointed
    >that he's hard to make happy anymore.


    Cynicism is, in my experience, the normal reaction to the operation of
    time and exposure to the real world.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  20. Ronsonic wrote in message:

    > See, I'm not prepared to accept that there's no way to know except to ride all
    > of them - at least I'm not prepared to ride all of them.


    Why not? Just do it. Besides, you probably won't have to ride all of
    them because you'll find one you like in the process.

    I totally agree with your rant, and started trying every saddle on the
    market in frustration. I already had a flite trans am and a san marco
    era.
    Ten weeks ago I bought a new trico-split-rail for $30 on r.b.m. I
    like
    it but not enough to stop trying others and buy one for each bike.
    So,
    three weeks ago I went to supergo and got a max flite gelflow, a
    prolink gelflow, and an SLK all on sale for between $50 and $60. I
    also got a
    barely used san marco aspide arrowhead on craigslist for $60.

    Just for fun I bought a second max flite gelflow new for $50 and sold
    it on ebay for $60. I will sell the rest of them one at a time, also
    for
    more than I paid, after riding each for a week.

    I'm about to unload the max flite and the aspide arrowhead. Why don't
    you
    pick them up from me for what I paid and then resell them for the
    same.

    Some notes on specifics:
    - For me, most popular saddles are a tiny bit too narrow for my
    sit-bones.
    I can get both sit-bones on the flite trans-am and the aspide, but if
    I
    roll just a bit to either side, one sit-bone rolls off. This leads to
    gnarly saddle sores.
    - Since the aspide arrowhead is [barely] to narrow for my sit-bones,
    there's not much point in me trying a regular aspide.

    - The Max flite was wide enough for my sit-bones, but too wide in the
    taper.
    So the forward edge of the taper pushes into the back of my thigh and
    cuts
    off blood flow which results in lactic build-up (methinks). Just like
    I get
    from seats which are too soft, which I sink into.
    - I'm loving the SLK. It is just a bit wider than the aspide and is
    wide
    enough for my sit-bones. Unfortunately is is not quite perfect. The
    rear
    part is tilted a bit, I think, so I tend to roll forward if I don't
    have
    it perfectly flat to begin with, and I usually like saddles to be
    tilted
    down in front. So there is zero pressuure on the jewels. However,
    the
    SLK is so comfy that I've got it mounted flat, and it's working well.
    - I have not yet mounted/ridden the ProLink gelflow yet.
    - Somewhere I read, and it seems to be true, that all flites use the
    same
    piece of plastic, including the max. Looking at them, I would agree.
    So,
    Why do my sitbones sit OK on the max flite gelflow, and not my older
    flite
    trans-am? I think that because of the way the max flite holds the
    plastic,
    it allows it to curve downwards less at the edges, thus making it
    wider
    effectively, even though it's the same piece of plastic.
    - my flite trans-am is an older one, not a "gelflow". "gelfow" seems
    to
    have replaced "trans-am" across the selle italia line. Also, with
    this
    change, the cutout got wider. The cutout on my older flite-trans-am
    is
    so narrow it is probably useless. Anyway, I normally despise gel, but
    in
    the max flite gelflow it's not bad. My problem with the max flite
    gelflow
    is with the width of the taper-area, not the gel. So, maybe I'll
    still
    have to buy a flite gelflow to know for sure.

    So, I think these things are know-able, it just takes more than a
    little
    effort to know them. I like a saddle which is flat on top, not
    curved,
    and which is wide at the back but still has thigh-clearance. This
    means
    that the saddle I like will be a bit more bulbous than sleek looking.
    Probably not the shape that the euro babes will get wet for. But
    that's
    ok because I live in silicon valley where the babes a) are pacific
    rim,
    not euro, and b) only get wet for BMWs and indigo girls, if at all.

    Doug
     
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