How do you pick a saddle?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Prometheus, Mar 24, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Prometheus

    Prometheus Guest

    This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and heard a lot of people saying,
    "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until you find one you like, but
    surely there is some other thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    Performance catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious. Do
    "bad" saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just pure discomfort? Physically debilitating? Mine
    is not overly comfortable, but I haven't tried any others.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    Tags:


  2. In article <[email protected]>, Prometheus
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and heard a lot of people saying,
    >"I don't like this saddle."

    The usual translation is "I don't like how my ass feels" which often has relatively little to do
    with the saddle and a lot to do with inadequate mileage on the soft parts.

    There is such a thing as a badly fitting saddle but I think many saddle complaints are "rider error"
    - they need more miles on their ass but prefer to put the blame on something that can be purchased.

    --Paul
     
  3. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and
    heard
    > a lot of people saying, "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until
    > you find one you like, but surely there is some
    other
    > thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    Performance
    > catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious. Do "bad"
    > saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just
    pure
    > discomfort? Physically debilitating? Mine is not overly comfortable, but
    I
    > haven't tried any others.
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >

    Saddles are a tricky issue. Shops usually won't take them back as a return. But our shop used to
    have a bunch of standard saddles that we'd lend out to good customers. You really can't tell how a
    saddle is going to work for you unless you ride it for an hour or more. I've never really had an
    issue with any saddle personally, but some people are very picky. I've recently switched to a Body
    Geometry saddle to get a little more comfort/less numbness on long rides, but the only saddle I
    really had a great problem with was the solid plastic saddle that used to come on BMX bikes! It was
    great when I was 12, but since then.... ;-)

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  4. Mikeyankee

    Mikeyankee Guest

    This is a repost, but since I put some thought into writing it, what the hell...

    ---------------------------

    Discounting gels and cutouts, there are three basic parameters to road-bike saddle shape.

    1. "Top view" width, length, taper, etc.

    2. "Side view" -- profile flat, bowed, or ramped up in rear.

    3. "Rear view" -- profile can vary from almost flat to quite convex

    I think too many people focus on #1 and that #2 is probably the most important, although #3 can be a
    real disqualifier if it is badly wrong.

    Generally (for experienced riders) a firmer saddle is more comfortable on longer rides. Saddles like
    the Regal, which is nicely padded overall, are OK for me but variants like the Flite or Trimatic w/
    gel inserts are not.

    The angle at which you place the saddle is extremely important. Start with the saddle absolutely
    level; rest a yardstick on top of the saddle and adjust the tilt so it's perfectly parallel with the
    top tube. Then experiment and note what works for you. Generally too far nose-down puts pressure on
    your hands and too far nose-up makes your sit-bones ache and increases pressure on the perineum.

    Everybody's butt is different and saddle preferences are highly personal. Just for info, here's how
    I'd rank the ones I've tried on my bikes or others I've ridden and remember, over the last 10 years:

    LIKES (#1 is best)

    4. Trimatic (non gel)
    5. Regal
    6. Coda (~ Flite shape)
    7. Flite (non-gel)
    8. Max Flite
    9. Turbomatic 2
    10. Rolls
    11. Terry Sport
    12. Bassano Vuelta

    DISLIKES (#1 is worst)

    13. Turbo
    14. Concor
    15. Expedia
    16. Squadra
    17. Vetta

    Somebody told me the Turbo, which killed my butt after 30 miles, actually had the same profile as
    the Turbomatic 2, which it quite comfortable to me. So go figure.

    Mike Yankee

    (Address is munged to thwart spammers. To reply, delete everything after "com".)
     
  5. Jeff Martin

    Jeff Martin Guest

    I've been riding for over 30 years and have found very few seats that I like. That said, what I like
    and works for me may be totally wrong for someone else. In those 30+ years of riding the seats that
    have worked for me are the orignal Brooks Team Pro, both generations of the Concor and the also the
    Regal. I am now riding the Regal, but if needs be can switch back to either generation of the
    Concor. I would never go back to the Brooks. "Prometheus" <[email protected]>
    wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and
    heard
    > a lot of people saying, "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until
    > you find one you like, but surely there is some
    other
    > thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    Performance
    > catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious. Do "bad"
    > saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just
    pure
    > discomfort? Physically debilitating? Mine is not overly comfortable, but
    I
    > haven't tried any others.
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
     
  6. "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and
    heard
    > a lot of people saying, "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until
    > you find one you like, but surely there is some
    other
    > thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    Performance
    > catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious. Do "bad"
    > saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just
    pure
    > discomfort? Physically debilitating? Mine is not overly comfortable, but
    I
    > haven't tried any others.
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >

    FWIW, Mail order houses will generally take back anything that's still in new condition. Once, years
    back, when a shop balked at ordering a saddle I wanted to try, I simply picked up the phone and
    ordered five (yes, 5) different ones from one place. I taped my seatpost clamp to preserve the rails
    and rode each one around the block a few times. That's enough for me to know whether a seat warrants
    further time or is a no-go, so I kept the one I liked best and sent the rest back, all in new
    condition. One shipping box, a few bucks spent on return freight, and I got to try all the seats I
    was curious about. My butt thanked me for it, and I'd do it again in a minute if my current LBS
    wasn't as accommodating as they are.

    SB
     
  7. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and
    heard
    > a lot of people saying, "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until
    > you find one you like, but surely there is some
    other
    > thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    Performance
    > catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious. Do "bad"
    > saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just
    pure
    > discomfort? Physically debilitating? Mine is not overly comfortable, but
    I
    > haven't tried any others.
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    >
    >
    One of the ways to test out a potential saddle is to test ride a buddy's bike. Even though the
    position may not be right, you can usually tell pretty rapidly whether something is close and may
    warrant another try.

    Over the years, I've decided by trial and error, that the Concour/Light, the Avocet O2Air40,
    Specialized ProLong, and several other saddles just don't work for my butt. The Flite/Gel, the
    ProTeam Indurain, the Turbomatic, the Era, and the Rolls, but not the Max Flite all work Similar
    saddles in the same "family:" Flite, Turbo, Turbomatic are mostly going to fit similarly, but try
    them just to make sure.

    If you test ride the saddle on your buddy's bike and you seem to like it, buy one to really make
    sure... Then if it still doesn't fit, I'd bet that you have friends in the same position you are
    that would love to take that saddle off your hands.

    Mike
     
  8. On Tue, 25 Mar 2003, Jeff Martin wrote:
    > I've been riding for over 30 years and have found very few seats that I like. That said, what I
    > like and works for me may be totally wrong for someone else.

    I have been riding racing bikes for exactly 30 years, now, and got stuck with my very first saddle.
    That is, after a while I got used and fit to it, not vice versa. So, I bought more saddles of the
    same type and more recently I just picked them up for free since, as fashion rules, they were
    discarded by all. The whole lot of my bikes have the very same type of saddle. As long as I maintain
    fit that'll be fine.

    For the record, that was a Cinelli Corsa. This is not a suggestion for anyone else, though.

    Sergio Pisa
     
  9. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and heard a lot of people saying,
    > "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until you find one you like,
    > but surely there is some other thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    > Performance catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious.
    > Do "bad" saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just pure discomfort? Physically debilitating?
    > Mine is not overly comfortable, but I haven't tried any others.

    I don't know that there's any way to predict how you'll like a saddle, and yes, I do think saddles
    make a huge difference, even after all the fit issues are tweaked.

    I was reasonably comfortable on many of the generic saddles, the kind that come on new bikes. Most
    LBS have a bunch of them taken off new bikes for upgrades, available for $5-10. These can be a
    reasonable starting point to see what you don't like in padding and shape.

    Despite all efforts, saddle selection may still be a trial and error thing though. I'm a distance
    rider, and needed a saddle that would be good for rides longer than 200 miles. Many distance riders
    use and recommend the Brooks leather saddles. I tried 2 (Pro & B17) of the most popular models, and
    had nothing but discomfort, even after trying every permutation of tilt, height and setback. I wound
    up swapping the saddle with someone who had bought a new bike with a saddle they hated, in the end
    we were both happy, I did a 250 mile ride with the new saddle and had no problems.

    A poorly suited saddle can cause many problems: genital numbness (that may persist a while (days)
    after a long ride), saddle sores (the Brooks Pro almost wiped out my summer riding season), a
    feeling of being "unbalanced" (can't get comfortable, sliding back & forth, etc.), or just soreness
    at the pelvic "sit bones" -- I rode a double century on a Selle Italia Flite which was pretty
    comfortable for ~150 miles, then became positive torture for the last 50, I was literally yelping
    with every bump in the road.

    Bike saddles are a lot like shoes, and as far as I know, there's no way to predict how you'll like a
    pair of shoes exactly, but most people become aware of their individual preferences, like heel/toe
    width, arch support, etc. Shoe stores don't let you bring them back after a week or two either. Some
    shops will, or may, with qualifications. One I asked said that they'd take it back if it was
    unmarked in any way -- that's kind of a gamble.
     
  10. davburke-<< This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and heard a lot of
    people saying, "I don't like this saddle."

    Go to a bike shop that will- -put the new saddle in the same place as the old one-height and
    fore-aft wise(assuming the fit is proper) and -will swap for another if it isn't comfy(assuming the
    saddle looks new)-

    << but surely there is some other thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    Performance catalog.

    See a bike shop-

    << I'm curious. Do "bad" saddles give you saddle sores???

    Most saddle problems we see are bike fit issues, not saddle design issues..

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

    Dansmeyers Guest

    < This is not a troll >

    what exactly does this mean?

    Dan
     
  12. Jay Hill

    Jay Hill Guest

    DanSMeyers wrote:
    > < This is not a troll >
    >
    > what exactly does this mean?

    He's sincerely asking and not trying to start a flame war.
     
  13. In article <[email protected]>, Jay Hill <[email protected]> wrote:
    >DanSMeyers wrote:
    >> < This is not a troll >
    >>
    >> what exactly does this mean?
    >
    >He's sincerely asking and not trying to start a flame war.

    ...which typically results in exactly that. :)
     
  14. Scic

    Scic Guest

    >From: "Peter Cole"

    >A poorly suited saddle can cause many problems: genital numbness...

    I think I solved this problem by changing... my shorts! That is, I went to a short with a THINNER ,
    one piece seamless pad. For me, thicker pads were worse than no pad - gel being the worst.

    > I rode a double century on a Selle Italia Flite which was pretty comfortable for ~150 miles, then
    > became positive torture for the last 50,

    Some pads begin to bunch up after many miles and create high and low spots which cause discomfort.
    After a long ride, look at the pad and see if it's creased from having bunched up.

    Thin pads and firm(er) saddles seem to work for me.

    Sig Chicago
     
  15. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Scic" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >From: "Peter Cole"
    >
    > >A poorly suited saddle can cause many problems: genital numbness...
    >
    > I think I solved this problem by changing... my shorts! That is, I went to
    a
    > short with a THINNER , one piece seamless pad. For me, thicker pads were worse than no pad - gel
    > being the worst.

    For several years I've used PI shorts exclusively, their pad is very thin. Thick pads really go
    counter to the main function of the pad, which, despite the name, are there to prevent friction, not
    to cushion.

    > > I rode a double century on a Selle Italia Flite which was pretty comfortable for ~150 miles,
    > > then became positive torture for the last 50,
    >
    > Some pads begin to bunch up after many miles and create high and low spots which cause discomfort.
    > After a long ride, look at the pad and see if it's creased from having bunched up.

    I've never had shorts so loose or thickly padded as to bunch up. Cheaper shorts (6 panel, typically)
    don't fit as well at the thigh/torso junction and can develop a crease there, which can rub you raw.
    The problem I had with the Flite, for such long distances, was probably its flatness. It's a subtle
    thing, but it adds up after many miles.
     
  16. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and heard a lot of people saying,
    >"I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until you find one you like, but
    >surely there is some other thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    >Performance catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious.
    >Do "bad" saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just pure discomfort? Physically debilitating?
    >Mine is not overly comfortable, but I haven't tried any others.

    It's tough and I'd opine that anyone that isn't blessed with a cast-iron butt can expect to
    accumulate a number of saddles before finding the one they like.

    To keep the numbers down I would:

    1) Measure my butt. Sit on a piece of soft cardboard or styrofoam until you can see the dents made
    by your ichial tuberosities. Once you've got the dents, measure the center-to-center distance.

    2) Bump my butt measurement up against each prospective saddle. Don't, however, look at the top of
    the saddle. Look underneath and then determine where your center points will rest. Some saddles
    have fairly wide I-beam-type reinforcements around their outside edges which limit their usable
    width. You want a saddle that's wide enough but not too much wider.

    3) Maybe try one soft saddle. "Some kids just have to touch the stove..." and all that. In general,
    however, I'd just bypass saddles with more than a certain amount of padding. Likewise, I wouldn't
    waste any time looking at jel-covered saddles.
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  17. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Paul Southworth" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:KTOfa.33859$A%[email protected]...
    > In article <[email protected]>, Prometheus
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and
    heard
    > >a lot of people saying, "I don't like this saddle."
    >
    > The usual translation is "I don't like how my ass feels" which often has relatively little to do
    > with the saddle and a lot to do with inadequate mileage on the soft parts.
    >
    > There is such a thing as a badly fitting saddle but I think many saddle complaints are "rider
    > error" - they need more miles on their ass but prefer to put the blame on something that can be
    > purchased.

    I do agree with you, Paul; but some of the newer saddle designs are much kinder to the soft tissues.
    This is extremely important to many riders, myself included. I've ready many reports of relief from
    prostatis related pain after switching to a cutout saddle. I love my Terry Liberator saddle. Very
    comfy. My wife rode it and laid claim to it - and wouldn't let me have it back! So, I bought her
    one. Now she has both of them - one on the tandem and one on her road bike. I'm thinking of trying
    some of the newer Terry designs, or similar "cutout" road bike saddle designs.

    Having said that, I'm also thinking of replacing my old Brooks saddle, which was stolen. I can't
    honestly explain why it was so comfy; but I think it gets your butt conditioned more quickly than
    most by being very hard. Perhaps that is the answer: A shorter period of discomfort every spring,
    followed by a longer period of toughness that provides superior rider comfort. Sounds like a sales
    pitch, eh?

    -Barry
     
  18. "Prometheus" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > This is not a troll. I just finished a century ride this weekend and heard a lot of people saying,
    > "I don't like this saddle." Now, commonsense says you try them all until you find one you like,
    > but surely there is some other thought behind it than having to purchase all of the ones in the
    > Performance catalog. Would they even accept returns if you didn't like them? Anyway, I'm curious.
    > Do "bad" saddles give you saddle sores??? Or, is it just pure discomfort? Physically debilitating?
    > Mine is not overly comfortable, but I haven't tried any others.
    >
    > Thanks in advance.
    Most won't believe but saddle comfort is more related to the rider's position on the bike than the
    saddle itself. The single most important thing IMO is to get a more upright position if you want
    saddle comfort. This means the fashion police will come after you. When I discovered this my
    bottom immediately felt so much better but I spent a lot of time looking at my upright position in
    shop windows as I sped by in comfort and realized that I did not look like the the other riders.I
    got over it.
     
  19. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Michael Pearlman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Most won't believe but saddle comfort is more related to the rider's position on the bike than the
    > saddle itself. The single most important thing IMO is to get a more upright position if you want
    > saddle comfort. This means the fashion police will come after you. When I discovered this my
    > bottom immediately felt so much better but I spent a lot of time looking at my upright position in
    > shop windows as I sped by in comfort and realized that I did not look like the the other riders.I
    > got over it.

    As Sheldon Brown describes so well in one of his articles on bike fit, best posture on a bike has
    everything to how hard you ride. An upright posture will put more weight on your butt, all else
    being equal. The harder you ride, the more weight will be borne on your feet. Getting the right back
    angle is about generating power and reducing aerodynamic drag, both of these are non-issues for
    cycling at slower paces. Rotating the pelvis forward to achieve low back angles may cause saddle
    pressure in the perineal area; low-moderate pedaling in this mode doesn't take enough weight onto
    the feet, and can then cause discomfort. Cyclists who ride at low-moderate intensity shouldn't
    imitate the postures of racers.
     
  20. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Scic" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >From: "Peter Cole"
    >
    > >Rotating the pelvis forward to achieve low back angles may cause saddle
    > pressure in the perineal area...
    >
    > Hmmm... I always thought it was the opposite - less perineal pressure. Along the axis of rotation,
    > your sit bones are rotated forward and down into the saddle. As a result, the perineal area, being
    > in front of the sit
    bones,
    > is rotated forward and up, relieving pressure.

    I don't understand your geometry, perhaps it's a confusion in terms. When I say "low back angles", I
    meant more parallel to the ground, AKA "flatter" (as in going down into the drops).
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...