Preventing butt pain - new saddle or get some bicycle shorts?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by DaveInPA, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA New Member

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    I just went for my first ride on my new bike, about 10 miles, and my butt HURTS! :eek:

    The bike has a pretty basic Bontrager SSR saddle.

    Since I just bought the bike and accessories and will be getting new pedals and shoes, my budget it a little bit limited. This means that I can't afford to get a new saddle AND shorts right now. So the question is - which will help me more - getting a new saddle or getting bike shorts?

    If the saddle is most important, what are some recommendations?

    If the shorts are more important, what do you recommend? I would want baggy MTB style shorts with a good "butt pad", not form fitting shorts.
     
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  2. RMD Photography

    RMD Photography New Member

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    I was recently in the same position you are in and will pass along the advice people gave me. Your going to want, and in a way need, to get padded cycling shorts whether you get a new saddle or not so start there. After you have ridden a while in your cycling shorts and if you still have pain then you can look into saddle options.

    check out Bike Nashbar - Always a Great Deal on Cycling for good prices on shorts. I might also reccomend to get form fit shorts and wear them under like basketball or jogging shorts if ya dont like going out in the lycra/spandex look. personally to me a lot of the "baggy" shorts are too short, like mid thigh looking like your out of the 80's.

    Also were you properly fitted to your bike? If not this may be a major factor as well.
     
  3. Apis

    Apis New Member

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    I disagree. The saddle fit is totally more important than shorts. People still ride all damn day in street clothes and a proper saddle...ask Grant Petersen. Look for a saddle that fits your sit bones, and is made from a breathable material.

    That being said, saddle preference is a very personal thing. There isn't a universal answer out there.
     
  4. gman0482

    gman0482 Member

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    +1 with Apis. Saddle comes 1st. See if your LBS has a measuring pad, usually from Specialized, where you sit on it, and it shows position of your sit bones.

    Nobody can really tell you what saddle is good for you. Only you will know that.

    Trial and error... ;)

    With that said, if it's your 1st ride, that's just you not being used to it. It will pass in time.
     
  5. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA New Member

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  6. Apis

    Apis New Member

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    Loads of people swear by them. I have a couple of WTB saddles myself.
     
  7. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery Well-Known Member

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    Road cycling involved "endurance". It's quite probable that your butt endurance is lacking even if everything else involved (saddle, shorts, bike fit) is just as they should be. From your post, I'd guess you're a newbie road cyclist as 10 miles is just a warm-up for myself and the warm-up period can be the most unconfortable part of the ride until my muscles get up to proper operating temp.

    I put that out there, but (no pun intended) in my opinion I tend to go for bike fit as being the major culprit of rearend pain. I'd be willing to wager your saddle is too high causing an inexorbitant amount of pressure to be borne by your sit bones instead of the fleshy part of your rearend.

    Between a touring saddle and shorts - for me, it's most definitely the saddle as being most important. The padding on a touring-type saddle will be much better at distributing pressure than the thin (relatively) padding in shorts. Now a racing saddle could be a different story...

    My $0.02CAN worth...
     
  8. DaveInPA

    DaveInPA New Member

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    Thanks for all the info guys. The guy at the LBS fit the bike for me. When at the bottom of the pedal stroke, my knee is slightly bent and when I put my heel on the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, my leg is straight. He told me that's the proper saddle height adjustment. The bike is a Gary Fisher Kaitai hybrid.

    I'm going to get a pair of lycra padded under shorts and a pair of padded bib shorts. Both will be worn under "normal" clothing. I'm going to try that padded WTB saddle I posted a link to earlier as well.
     
  9. BluesDawg

    BluesDawg New Member

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    If the bike is set up pretty close to right, your best bet is to hold off on spending money to alleviate butt pain until you get enough miles in your butt for it to stop hurting. You will want bike shorts eventually, but the best bike shorts and the perfect saddle won't prevent newb butt pain.;)
     
  10. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Blues Dawg is spot on. As a newbie, you will feel posterior pain to a degree for awhile, until your body gets used to the seat. Get your padded shorts though, they will help a little. If you ride regularly(i.e. daily) and still feel the pain after two or three weeks, then start looking at new saddles. And find a shop that has a return and swap program so that you can try several until you find the one that suits you best. One thing that you really want to watch out for is if you begin to feel numbness in your nether regions. This indicates that the seat tilt is not set properly and you need to get that corrected immediately if you value your sex life. Anyway, butt pain is part of beginning riding. Even after 40+ years riding, I feel a little pain in my calloussed backside to start if I have been off the bike for a month or two.
     
  11. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    +1

    There is an acclimatization period, particularly if you're just getting into riding. Before you get past that there's very little benefit from switching to another saddle.
    There isn't a saddle in the world that'll be comfortable from scratch for a rookie.
    Heck, I do plenty of commuter miles through winter but I still experience discomfort when I bring the MTB out of hibernation.

    Also, don't expect too much from a saddle. There is a hint to be had in that there is no other sitting appliance that looks like a bicycle saddle. Think in terms of manageable discomfort rather than comfort. Still, it shouldn't be actively hurting though. If that is the case, even after a few weeks of regular riding, then consider another saddle.
     
  12. Apis

    Apis New Member

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    Yeah...I forgot about the t'aint break in period. Takes a few hundred miles afore it's ready.
     
  13. 64Paramount

    64Paramount Active Member

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    I don't ride during the winter, so despite the fact that I have been riding for many years, I always have butt pain for the first couple of weeks in the Spring.

    I've got a good saddle and well padded shorts, but when I don't ride for 5 months I have to get the ole bod used to riding again. Seems to take longer as I get older......
     
  14. OldGoat

    OldGoat New Member

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    As others have said, saddle fit is a highly individual thing. Having said that, I'd add that the WTB Comp V saddle I initially put on my Van Dessel became excruciatingly painful after 25-30 miles, due no doubt to its very narrow profile which didn't mate up well with my wider sit bones. Swapped it for a Brooks Swift, and haven't had a painful ride (welll....lots of pain, but not in the butt) since....and the Brooks isn't even broken in yet. Note that the Swift, like all Brooks saddles, is entirely unpadded, though it does flex a bit. Cush for the tush doesn't necessarily correlate with comfort at the end of a long day in the saddle.

    My thought would be to go to your LBS, sit on the Specialized thingie to get your sit bones measured (takes 30 seconds), and then try several appropriate saddles. If the one you choose doesn't turn out to be right for you, they should let you swap it for another. While you're there, get yourself a good bike short or bib short with a decent chamois. Forget about the underwear-type pads--if you want to go that way, wear real bike shorts under whatever other pants you want to be seen in.
     
  15. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    over the past few days in the saddle, i've had some soreness from the bum on my specialized toupe but yesterday evening, after a short ride in the daytime, i re-adjusted the seat, moving it back about two-three millimeters and slightly lowered the nose to where it's still pointing up but not as much, almost parrallel to the ground and todays ride felt better perched than it's ever felt. in other words, adjust and re-adjust your seat ( whichever one you are on) to accomodate for best and most suitable comfort if you think you need it as a lot of the time it could be the arrangement of the seat and not the seat itself that is the problem. it may take a few rides.

    good luck.
     
  16. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    and trade that trail ride in for a roadie and get re-fit to it and pay attention to all the things the fitter is telling you and ask questions as you can take that knowledge home with you and re-adjust accordingly if and when it's needed. if it's not a paid professional fit (if you're not in top athletic form there's honestly no reason for one imo) and you are not in the best of shape or anywhere near it, your body will strengthen and get more lean ( it will, gauranteed) and you will need to do some re-adjustments yourself as many of us if not all of us have along the way.

    and don't be scared to work on your bike/adjustments yourself. it's your body, know one knows it better than you but be careful to never have your seat so high that your legs at the 6 o'clock position are completely straight. like you said the bike fitter for your gary told you your knees being slightly bent was right, it is and that goes for any kind of bike, trail or road or cross or hybrid or recumbent. you can hurt your knees if you go straight and you'll feel the pain pretty quickly. the fitter will let you know all you need to know again.

    good luck.
     
  17. agotangelo

    agotangelo New Member

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    It helps a bit to release transfer weight from the saddle to the pedals when you're going to hit a stone or a bump, even slightly raising your bottom.
    On rough roads (not uphill) is useful to change to a longer gear for the same reason.

    Many times I had bottom ache after the (slow) first half hour of a ride, but never after the last hour going fast.
     
  18. randochap

    randochap New Member

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    Certainly get some bike shorts. Harder to say if you need a new saddle. Bike fit is the single most important arbiter of comfort.

    Find a shop that will let you try a few saddles and perhaps help you set up the bike.

    And, yes, if you are new to riding, it's going to take a while to break your butt in.
     
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