Saddles

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Sam Ford, Mar 9, 2003.

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  1. Sam Ford

    Sam Ford Guest

    I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
    finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
    is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the look of
    the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
    experience of them.
     
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  2. Ken

    Ken Guest

    "Sam Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    > I am not finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should
    > be as it is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the
    > look of the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
    > experience of them.

    Saddles are a very personal issue. Personally, I like the long narrow saddles like the Flites. The
    narrow body keeps the saddle from chafing my legs. The long nose lets me scoot up or back to use
    different muscle groups.

    Regarding cut-outs, there are some Flite models with those, but I'm not convinced they really work.
    Comfort is mostly a matter of proper saddle position and riding style. If you sit upright with all
    your weight on your butt, the problem isn't your saddle.

    Ken
     
  3. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    > I've just returned to cycling ...

    > ...I am not finding the >saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it
    > should be as it is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to >be so good.

    A few of observations from personal experience:

    1) Width can be critical if your sit bones aren't spaced like most peoples. You seem cognizant of
    that already so it's probably moot.

    But one correlary is that there can be a beeeeg diff between measured saddle with and effective
    saddle width. Look at a plastic saddle like WTB's Speed V. On top it looks pretty wide. OTOH, if you
    check out the underside, it's pretty obvious that your sit bones had better not be spaced wider than
    about 3" (really, more like 2.5") center-to-center or they'll be riding on the very hard outside
    rails of the saddle.

    My personal take is that the retail industry is at an impossbibly-crude level of sophistication
    saddle-wise. Such a fundamental factor, ye you can go through a big bike catalog like Performance's
    and see listings for many saddles that don't even *mention* width. My guess is that you went into
    one of their stores and started talking about "effective width" or "ichial tuberosity spacing"
    somebody'd call the cops.

    2) Gel is hell....for me, at least. My sit bones sink into it, allowing the rest of the saddle to
    press on places it shouldn't be pressing on. Also I can't get used the the squishy feeling of
    sliding around on it. Seems to get between me and the feel/control of the bike.

    3) Your butt toughens over time. When I surfed, everybody had these lumps on the upper end of their
    shins just below the knee cap. We called them "surf knots". They seemed to be fibrous growths
    that developed over the bone to protect it. They made a huge difference in comfort...once you had
    them, you could knee paddle all day with no discomfort. Without them it hurt a lot.

    I've heard that people who are active in religions that involve a lot of kneeling prayer get the
    same thing. My son-in-law's rotweiler had them at all the contact points where he used to sleep on
    the concrete garage floor that he preferred in the summer months.

    My (otherwise-unsubstantiated) guess is that cyclists get something similar internally on the ichial
    tuberosities. Before the cold weather, I was doing 3-hour-plus rides with only minor soreness. Today
    and yesterday (first rides for a couple of months...) an hour was enough to call attention...

    4) Posture counts. I started out in a bolt-upright position. Over the course of several years, I've
    come to a sort of final configuration where I've got just a little weight on my hands most of the
    time, my body is at about 45 degrees, my spine feels straight, and I feel balanced on the pedals
    - i.e. I can take all my weight off the saddle without changing my fore-aft weight distribution.
    Yet I can sit bolt upright with two fingers of one hand on the bars when I want to stretch or
    look over my shoulder. For me, this position takes a lot of weight off the saddle - more so the
    harder I'm riding, but a significant amount even when spinning along slowly.

    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  4. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    << I would greatly welcome any discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been
    made recently. I am not finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears
    that it should be as it is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so
    good. I like the look of the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and
    groin but have no experience of them. >>

    New technology? Can you say marketing gimmicks? I find it astonishing that a "high-end" bike
    retailer such as Colorado Cyclist would sell these gel-filled and cut-out saddles almost
    exclusively. I find gel saddles to be too soft and squishy for proper support, actually increasing
    crotch pressure and friction. The cut-saddles are even worse. I tried the Max Flite Trans Am for
    one ride. My "soft tissue" got squeezed down into the hole, and the edges of the cutout, despite
    being padded, cut into my crotch big time. I had *welts* down there after ten miles. A narrow,
    smooth leather saddle with firm foam padding is a sensible choice. For normal crusing on the bar
    tops or brake hoods, you want to be positioned on your sitbones at the back of the seat. As a
    starting point, set the saddle level, and don't try to emulate the "pros" by adjusting it too high
    or too far back.
     
  5. On Sun, 09 Mar 2003 14:43:18 -0500, Sam Ford wrote:

    > I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    > knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    > discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
    > finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
    > is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good.

    Maybe it's too broad. What makes you think you need a broad saddle? And the gel filling is marketing
    BS. It tends to be worse than no padding at all, since it squishes around from the place where you
    should be pressing on the saddle (where your "sit bones" are) to those places where you should not
    (in between said sit bones).

    I like the look of the saddles
    > with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no experience of them.

    I have one that happens to have this cutaway and like it for a couple of reasons. 1) It is
    comforatable for me. 2) I can adjust the bolts on my old Campy seatpost easily.

    Finding the right saddle takes time. Don't go looking for a permanent solution now. Get your butt in
    shape first, by putting some miles on the bike. Then, if you still have trouble, try one or two.
    They usually come with an exchange warrantee.

    But before you do anything, make sure the saddle you have is adjusted correctly.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all _`\(,_ | mysteries, and all
    knowledge; and though I have all faith, so (_)/ (_) | that I could remove mountains, and have not
    charity, I am nothing. [1 Corinth. 13:2]
     
  6. Joe

    Joe Guest

    On Sun, 9 Mar 2003 19:43:18 -0000, "Sam Ford" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    >knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    >discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
    >finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
    >is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the look of
    >the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
    >experience of them.
    >

    An interesting new saddle design modeled after the Aeron chair has just become available. See:

    http://www.saddleco.com/flowmain.html

    Performacebike had them amd will be getting additional stock.

    http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.html?SKU=16417&siteID=zoQVN%2Ao8yT0-yFkIwbdBG1cGhp-
    F%2FP4cypg

    My main concern with this design is durability. I have an Aeron chair, which is simply the most
    comfortable desk chair I have ever sat on. However, after 3 years the seat cover had to be replaced,
    under warranty. I don't know if the Saddleco Flow saddle utilizes exaclly the same or similar
    material. I would be concerned regarding the Saddleco warranty period, which appears not to be
    stated. Shame they didn't construct the saddle to enable in the field saddle seat frame material
    repleacement. Othewise, it appears to be a very comfortable saddle.

    Joe
     
  7. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Sam Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    > knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    > discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
    > finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
    > is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the look of
    > the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
    > experience of them.

    New riders have the hardest time with butt pain. This comes from a number of factors. If you
    consider that a cyclist's weight is supported by the hands, feet, and butt, you'll understand that a
    more developed cyclist will place very little weight on the saddle, most of it going to the pedals,
    so sore feet can become a bigger problem than sore butts as the activity becomes more like running
    than sitting.

    The pelvis is a basket shaped structure that holds your guts, and provides attachment for your legs.
    Since your legs need to move constantly to propel you, you don't want to sit on the muscles that are
    in use (you'll get "recum-butt", a problem with some recumbents that use lay-z-boy seating). The
    bottom of your pelvis has two convenient protrusions that are supported well by a fairly narrow,
    hard saddle, holding your weight without pressing on soft tissues, or chafing, or otherwise getting
    in the way. Less is more in this situation.

    It takes some time for the skin to toughen up, and even longer to get the leg strength and aerobic
    conditioning that enables supporting most of your weight on the pedals. Novice cyclists try to
    improve things with wider, softer, saddles. That doesn't work well. The "cutaway" saddles, as you
    call them, are designed to prevent a tipped pelvis from pressing on the nerves and blood vessels
    that run beneath the perineum. Novice cyclists generally adopt an upright posture, which makes this
    particular problem much less likely. Good cycling shorts have no seams to chafe, and have a pad
    that's designed to absorb sweat and reduce friction, both help keep the skin from breaking down at
    the contact points.

    For all this to work well, a rider has to become somewhat fit, have a good posture and fit on the
    bike, and use a saddle that's well shaped to their unique anatomy. The last issue can be somewhat of
    a trial and error process.
     
  8. x

    x Guest

    RE/
    >The cut-saddles are even worse. I tried the Max Flite Trans Am for one ride. My "soft tissue" got
    >squeezed down into the hole, and the edges of the cutout, despite being padded, cut into my crotch
    >big time. I had *welts* down there after ten miles.

    I'm glad to hear somebody else say this.

    I've got three (from my "searching" period...) of those split-butt saddles with no horn-just
    two independently-moving pads. Two were so hopeless that I never took a ride longer than down
    my driveway and back - but the third one could actually be ridden so I tried a few 1-2 hour
    rides on it.

    After every ride my bunghole was really sore and bled for about a week. Thinking about it, I came up
    with the same imagery that you did. Also, I think somebody else alluded to the same phenom, calling
    it a "pressure ring".
    -----------------------
    PeteCresswell
     
  9. Mgs

    Mgs Guest

    Opinions on saddles are like butts, everyone has one.

    And mine is that I've had many saddles including every new variety and style on the market. One year
    I went through three different saddles to find the one that fit my rear.

    The saddle which I find the most comfortable I've ever had, and I mean, I never had a saddle produce
    no numbness, pain or discomfort right out of the box, was the Selle Italia prolink transam gel.

    Now, I realize everyone has been bad mouthing the cutouts, the gels, the suspension, etc,....

    However, these saddles sell because some people find them the best for their body type. And I agree
    that body position and saddle set up are probably more critical for comfort than the saddle, but as
    for cut outs being hype and gels being useless, check out Roadbike review for opinions on these
    saddles. More often than not, they are considered the saving grace.
     
  10. One word: Brooks.

    I've ridden on the fancy gel, the leather/Kevlar, foam, probably a half-dozen different types, and
    will never ride on anything but a Brooks again. Mine's nicely broken in after about 300 km, and is
    worth the price and maintenance involved. If you don't want the hassle of breaking one in, they make
    'em pre-softened.
     
  11. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "Sam Ford" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    > knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    > discussion of the changes
    in
    > saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not finding
    the
    > saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it
    should
    > be as it is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said
    to
    > be so good. I like the look of the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx
    > and groin but have no experience of them.

    Go back to your bike dealer and exchange the saddle. Most LBS are understanding of the fact that one
    cannot evaluate a saddle without some real miles. And if the second one isn't right don't hesitate
    to exchange again. That's all part of a bicycle sale. (You should pay a bit extra for a more
    expensive model if that catches your eye). There are hundreds (literally) of saddle models from
    which to choose!

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  12. Paul Kopit

    Paul Kopit Guest

    I don't know how it rides but it is looks what I'd imagine and ass hatchet would be.

    On Sun, 09 Mar 2003 23:49:14 GMT, Joe <[email protected]> wrote:

    >An interesting new saddle design modeled after the Aeron chair has just become available. See:
    >
    >http://www.saddleco.com/flowmain.html
     
  13. samford- << I would greatly welcome any discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to
    have been made recently. I am not finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it
    appears that it should be as it is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to
    be so good.

    Bike fit is much more important than saddle design.

    Spend the $ to have a good, anatomic bike fit.

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

    Mikeyankee Guest

    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.

    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".)
     
  15. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    >
    >I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    >knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    >discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
    >finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
    >is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the look of
    >the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
    >experience of them.

    What works for some butts, doesn't work for others. Make sure you have your saddle properly adjusted
    before you start trying new saddles. This is an instance where your best bet is to work with you
    LBS. They might have a bunch of different saddles they can let you try until you find the one that
    fits your butt best. I haven't tried the cutaway saddles because I don't see a reason to pay for a
    feature I don't need.
    -----------------
    Alex __O _-\<,_ (_)/ (_)
     
  16. Harris

    Harris Guest

    Sam Ford <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I've just returned to cycling on retirement after a long absence and have gained more technical
    > knowledge of the vast changes from this news group than anywhere else. I would greatly welcome any
    > discussion of the changes in saddle technology that seem to have been made recently. I am not
    > finding the saddle on my new bike at all comfortable although it appears that it should be as it
    > is broad enough for me and has the new gel filling that is said to be so good. I like the look of
    > the saddles with cut away areas to remove pressure from the coccyx and groin but have no
    > experience of them.

    If you've been off the bike a long time, you have to expect some discomfort until your butt toughens
    up again. Give it a few weeks before you start looking for a new saddle. You might want to try a
    more traditional saddle without the gel and cutouts, just dense padding.

    Make sure you're positioned such that your weight is supported by your sit bones.

    Art Harris
     
  17. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

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

    The Turbomatic _is_ a slit version of the Turbo - same shape and material. But I love my Turbo and
    can't stand the Turbomatic. So I agree with you that some small subtleties are important in saddle
    selection.

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  18. Sam Ford

    Sam Ford Guest

    Thank you all so much for the most helpful replies to my appeal for help in the matter of saddles.
    It's thirty years since I last cycled but I see that the companionship is still the same.

    I have now managed to test the Body Geometry Comfort saddle and so far am finding it much more
    successful though it looks vastly less comfortable than my original one. Handsome is as handsome
    does however, and I suspect that it will do me well when I have 'hardened up' a bit! Certainly I now
    longer hurt or freeze up in front as I had been doing.
     
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