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  1. #1
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    Saddle with some compliance

    I'm trying to iron out some harshness on my 29er hardtail so i'm looking for some ideas on a saddle with some more compliance then the one that's on it (stock, a nothing special Syncros XR2.5). I don't want a thudbuster.

    I was thinking something with carbon rails would be best? What about a carbon body? Seems like titanium would another option as well.

  2. #2
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    Brooks leather Team Pro Titanium. You want compliant? The titanium rails and fact the leather is only attached at the nose and rear (leaving your privates suspended, like being in a hammock) gives a surprising amount of compliance. Once molded to your body shape no plastic and foam saddle can touch it...except in the weight category....

    I personally have a B-17 on my full-rigid drop-bar 26'er. With two bad spinal discs it allows me to ride such a beast and not end up sore at the end of the day.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  3. #3
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    Yes, that does look like the bomb if you want compliance, but it is heavy and $$$

  4. #4
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    An alternative would be a flexible carbon post such as Syntace Hiflex or Niner RDO. The RDO will set you back $200 and the Syntace can be had for around $175. I have the Syntace on a hardtail and the give is very noticeable. Also, Koobi PRS saddles have built in elastomers to give a bit of extra cush. They go for $200.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    Yes, that does look like the bomb if you want compliance, but it is heavy and $$$
    I was worried about the heavy factor of my B-17, and I told myself that I should not be a weight-weenie, my backside (and spine) would thank me, plus if it was really all that heavy it would add to the workout (which I need anyway).

    Turns out I was on the right path with the B-17. I have one on my road bike now as well. Mine is the plain one, bottom rung model, purchased for about $80 online. This was the end result of a lot of research and experimenting with a lot of plastic and foam saddles as well as three different suspension seatposts.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  6. #6
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    Right on, the B-17 looks great, I am kind of a weight weenie so I'm not sure if I'm willing to commit to it yet.

    I do have a carbon post already, a Carbon Haven, but I do need to find a better saddle.

  7. #7
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    Well today i went out on my Scale with it's original saddle....I only went 1.4 miles before i came back in. While out there I thought to myself on how my sit bones felt like they were sitting right on the steel rails. There's just no give where you put your butt, now towards the center there was a lot of give. It's just so harsh, i could feel every little thing.

    So i came back in and decided to do a test which was swap the "Charge" saddle I recently picked up at Jenson onto the Scale to see how it felt. Well it felt better right away. It just felt like it softened the sharp and harsh impacts, great! I can probably do better than this saddle though. The original saddle may as well have been solid steel!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    Well today i went out on my Scale with it's original saddle....I only went 1.4 miles before i came back in. While out there I thought to myself on how my sit bones felt like they were sitting right on the steel rails. There's just no give where you put your butt, now towards the center there was a lot of give. It's just so harsh, i could feel every little thing.

    So i came back in and decided to do a test which was swap the "Charge" saddle I recently picked up at Jenson onto the Scale to see how it felt. Well it felt better right away. It just felt like it softened the sharp and harsh impacts, great! I can probably do better than this saddle though. The original saddle may as well have been solid steel!
    There are many factors that govern how a saddle feels and absorbs shock. Different densities of foam or gel if part of the saddle construction, outer covering, rigidity and deflection of the shell (base material of saddle), shape of the shell, shape and material of rails are just a few.

    One problem with most modern saddles is the stuff filling the interior of the saddle between the cover and the shell. Foam compresses only so much before it is, for the most part, as hard and unyielding as the base shell. The addition of gel can reduce this a bit, but even gel finds a limit of compression before it "pushes back" (due to the limit of it's containing envelope). Making holes in the saddle (pioneered by Georgena Terry with the "Liberator" saddles in the 90's) to relieve pressure in sensitive areas helps, but there is still difficulty for some people at the point where their "sit bones" contact the saddle.

    Suspensions in the rail can alleviate some pressure, but that starts to complicate an elegant design, as well as possibly creating more weight and a source of noise and needed maintenance. Different rail materials can help, as well as creatively designing the shape for better deflection.

    A big problem a lot of people miss is how their pelvis (sit bones) "sits" on the saddle. If the saddle is too narrow, or too short/long, you may have your pelvis sitting at the wrong spot on the saddle, giving you more of a sense of bad support and pressure on your sensitive areas. Almost all saddle manufacturers have addressed this by producing a variety of widths and lengths for their saddle lines. Specialized is one that pursued this pretty well, with their Body Geometry lines of saddles that gave you options on width and a developed "fit system" to help a cyclist determine the best width for them.

    I experimented with a lot of saddles for the different bikes I have. On the bikes where I spend a bit more time "in" the saddle, I discovered I wanted something with a bit more compliance than the common structure of a nylon/foam/gel saddle was giving me. On my bikes that saw me out of the saddle more often, the man-made saddles were fine. On the longer sitting bikes I went with the old fashioned Brooks leather as it does not have a shell of any type to push back against my body, nor foam/gel that compresses into a solid. Being only attached at the nose and rear my sit bones are suspended by what amounts to a leather hammock, moving in concert with my body instead of slamming upward against it. As the saddle wears, it will form to my body shape and take on a very personal fit.

    You will hear a lot of people complain that these old fashioned leather saddles are "ass hatchets" until they break in. They do seem stiff at first glance, but that is one of the sources of actual comfort. With a nylon/foam/gel saddle most of the time you get a lot of cush (squish) that suddenly ramps up to hard when everything compresses. At first you actually have too little support (as you sink into the foam/gel) and then you have too much support (everything compressed against the nylon shell) with no give, no compliance. When you have no support for your bones and tissue, the saddle might as well not even be there. When everything compresses and there is too much "solid" pressing against your bones and tissue, you might as well be sitting on concrete. With the leather, you get support at the same time you get deflection and compliance. Your bones and tissue are supported by the solid structure of the taught leather, but by moving up and down with your body you get the deflection and compliance you need for shock absorption. And once the leather forms to your body shape, then everything is perfect.

    Zephxiii, it looks like your Scale's original saddle gave you the experience of riding on concrete, with everything compressed at the sit bones. You said that saddle in the middle had a lot of give, but since you don't ride in the middle of the saddle that does not help. The shape is rather flat (as I see in photos) so that may be something going against that if flat doesn't match up to your body shape. The Charge saddle (is it the Spoon?) has a better, more anatomical shape to the shell. There are a lot of good reviews out in internetland on that saddle, so you may have found something that works for you. One review I saw advised the Charge saddles have a little bit of a break in period (not like a Brooks!) of several rides. You might as well get out there and ride that one for a bit and see if your ass is happier. But when you do, concentrate on where any pressure points are. If you still feel unsupported, you may want to find a wider saddle. It takes experimentation, but eventually you will find what works for you. Saddle comfort and fit is one of the most personal things on a bicycle.
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  9. #9
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    Thanks, and yeah it is the Charge Spoon. I have only 30 miles on it so far...no problems yet. I was fine with the original saddle that came on my 2011 Hardrock Disc, it worked pretty well for me. There's an older body geometry saddle on my 99 FSR Comp that works well. It's just the one that came with the Scale was no good.

    I'm still down a saddle so I need to get one. I do like the specialized saddles and have been eyeing out the Henge Expert since it has Ti rails, carbon shell, and was tuned to have flex...but I'm stalled out on what width to get.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zephxiii View Post
    Thanks, and yeah it is the Charge Spoon. I have only 30 miles on it so far...no problems yet. I was fine with the original saddle that came on my 2011 Hardrock Disc, it worked pretty well for me. There's an older body geometry saddle on my 99 FSR Comp that works well. It's just the one that came with the Scale was no good.

    I'm still down a saddle so I need to get one. I do like the specialized saddles and have been eyeing out the Henge Expert since it has Ti rails, carbon shell, and was tuned to have flex...but I'm stalled out on what width to get.
    If you go to a Specialized dealer that also has the Specialized Bicycles fit service they can advise on the proper width of their saddles for you. I don't know if it is still used or if a different thing is in operation, but they used to have a gel pad that you would sit on which would indent and tell them what width saddle in their lineup to sell to you. Takes all of 30 seconds and as far as I know is free (with a saddle purchase, of course).
    "You're messing with my zen thing, man!"

  11. #11
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    I always thought that the SLR was surprisingly comfy because of its compliance despite its looks.

    I don't like wide or saddles with lots of vertical sides because of the rubbing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bokchoicowboy View Post
    If you go to a Specialized dealer that also has the Specialized Bicycles fit service they can advise on the proper width of their saddles for you. I don't know if it is still used or if a different thing is in operation, but they used to have a gel pad that you would sit on which would indent and tell them what width saddle in their lineup to sell to you. Takes all of 30 seconds and as far as I know is free (with a saddle purchase, of course).
    Ok. My LBS has a wall of Spec' Saddles so they probably have the butt-o-meter.

  13. #13
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    I'm really happy with the Charge Spoon...i'm pretty sure that's the one. I recently got a Nashbar XR1 as my 26er HT needs a saddle but it seems like it doesn't support me as correctly...(but really I need more time on it to know).

    Charge Spoon FTW!

  14. #14
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    I have a Koobi saddle with the built in elastomers. It isn't quite as comfortable as my Brooks saddles, but I don't get hung up behind it on steep downhills like the Brooks.

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