Saddle choice - help in selecting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    db9
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    Saddle choice - help in selecting

    Nothing will polarize opinion more (well maybe flats/clips )
    Hopefully not to long a story and you can skip to the end for the question..
    Looking to the experienced in the forum...
    When I put together my 29er in 2010/2011 I put the saddle from my previous bike on it (Sella Italia SLR) from what I can remember it worked on my previous bike and setup dimensions (saddle height, tilt, fore/aft etc) on my new bike are same(similar) I couldn't get comfortable and soreness was the order of the day. I've tried flat saddles - curved saddles, narrow - wide - I've spent too much time and money to be honest.
    I've measured the sit bones (115mm) and while most shops (Mississauga) carry the 'test' saddles - they will be Specialized saddles. Never had much luck with them - but then I may have given up due to frustration.

    I've tried a number of saddles and ultimately settling on a Bontrager Evoke (mid width 143mm I think) - while it works for a couple of hours (and I suspect mainly because I'm in and out of the saddle - single track) any longer soreness settles in again - sit bone pressure and soreness at the transition to the inner thigh. If I'm grinding away (think rail trail) I won't last as long.
    To compound things I've started riding a bit more road at 2-3 hours duration with a similar saddle (typical road rides for me in the past are around town - to the store etc)
    The bikes have both had 'fits' done with saddle soreness being my only complaint.

    I use cream and wear shorts (Endura brand) - I'm 6-2 190 - thin build - thin thighs.

    So here are the questions..
    1) Do any shops other than the Specialized stores have a try/buy me programs? who carry a broader range of brands
    2) How to relate saddle shape to anatomy shape - width, and width shape (flat, semi curved, curved)
    2a) Flatness - fore/aft
    2b) Shape - fore/aft
    3) Different shape MTB vs road?

    I'd really like to get a box of different shapes (I'd leave a deposit) and spend time going thru them

  2. #2
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    I don't think there would be any controversy here about saddles. Everyone's body is different and needs an appropriate saddle. I don't know anyone that will let you have a bunch of saddles to try. You mention two saddle manufacturers. Have you tried WTB or Fizik saddles. I like the Silverado from WTB, but my buddy had one that came with his bike and hated it. I now have it. There are some standard shapes. Start with that and then work on the slight variations. All the saddles I have ever ridden, have been essentially the same shape. Variations in hardness and construction have been the only changes. If you sit on a few bikes at a bike shop, there should be something that feel pretty close. Even in the same saddle, you can spend a lot for a titanium version or a lot less for the same shape and size in a cheaper construction. Maybe go that route with a couple of sample saddles. I always thought my Selle Italia saddle was ok until I started pushing it to the 3 hour mark and I had issues with it too. Could it be that you are not used to riding this long and are loosing some form on the saddle? If you have been fitted and the saddle is at the correct height and position that would eliminate the usual culprit of extra motion or rubbing, but you might want to double check that. Maybe get another rider to check if you are quiet on your saddle or you have a lot of movement.
    Burnt Norton

  3. #3
    sock puppet
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    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    I don't think there would be any controversy here about saddles. Everyone's body is different and needs an appropriate saddle. I don't know anyone that will let you have a bunch of saddles to try. You mention two saddle manufacturers. Have you tried WTB or Fizik saddles. I like the Silverado from WTB, but my buddy had one that came with his bike and hated it. I now have it. There are some standard shapes. Start with that and then work on the slight variations. All the saddles I have ever ridden, have been essentially the same shape. Variations in hardness and construction have been the only changes. If you sit on a few bikes at a bike shop, there should be something that feel pretty close. Even in the same saddle, you can spend a lot for a titanium version or a lot less for the same shape and size in a cheaper construction. Maybe go that route with a couple of sample saddles. I always thought my Selle Italia saddle was ok until I started pushing it to the 3 hour mark and I had issues with it too. Could it be that you are not used to riding this long and are loosing some form on the saddle? If you have been fitted and the saddle is at the correct height and position that would eliminate the usual culprit of extra motion or rubbing, but you might want to double check that. Maybe get another rider to check if you are quiet on your saddle or you have a lot of movement.
    yeah, nothing polarizing about saddles.

    i have tried many and settled on Selle Italia SLR, even though it is one of the narrower ones that i tried and my trunk is not small. actually it is quite big. but that is a subject for another thread in the porn forum.

    based on your write-up - it seems that you have not nailed the setup of your bike yet. you tried 143mm bonti - which is a pretty comfortable saddle, wide enough to support anyones sit bones. i was quite pleased with specialized phenom 143 saddle, but did not like the width in situations where i had to move my but behind it - hence narrower Selle Italia with carbon rails.

    my suggestion is to first play with the existing saddle and change the setup with some help from someone who knows what they are doing in this department. only when your position on the bike is nailed down properly - you should work on the type of the saddle that you are using...

    some questions that you may ask yourself in trying to address the issue:

    - do you have soreness anywhere else during your longer rides
    - any lower back pain?
    - any shoulder pain?
    - any neck pain?
    - do your arms get tired?
    - any knee pain?
    - do your legs get tired quickly?

    etc... if you answer these - maybe we can try to figure out what the problem with your current position is...

    also - what is the angle of your saddle relative to ground?

    this is a good start...
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  4. #4
    db9
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    Re: Polarizing.. sorry bad attempt at some humor an a Friday

    Yep realize everyone backside is different . Bikes have been fitted using the BF (specialized system) in the end I found these numbers (from the fit) were pretty much what I was using that I setup on my own based upon observation and listening to my body.

    Secret.. thanks, I'll pay attention to form a bit more. I know that after a while I have a tendency to drop to one side due to no ligaments on my right shoulder.

    Osokolo... I'll fill in the blanks..

    - do you have soreness anywhere else during your longer rides
    See below

    - any lower back pain?
    I have a herniated L5 - on a good day no back pain - on a bad day - well. Setup has been adjusted for a slight more upright fit to adjust for some lack of flexability

    - any shoulder pain?
    No, but I have right side drop due to ligament ruptured.

    - any neck pain?
    On the road neck becomes sore. Neck extension is restricted from upper back and neck injury. I sit up off the bars more to manage - so I'm not riding locked in one position.

    - do your arms get tired?
    No

    - any knee pain?
    No - unless I hit something

    - do your legs get tired quickly?
    No
    Typically ride on my own and so possibly the pace will reflect this..
    Road - I'll ride from home (dundas/dixie area) to clarkson so down and then across Lakeshore at a decent pace (for me) (usually see 20Kph on the speedo) and back - not fast but then not slow either (in my mind) and back - legs are fine - slight tired feeling.
    On trail - - my legs are fine - I can feel the effort when climbing but not sore afterwards. Last time I rode in a group (well if you can call 2 people a group) with a faster rider (and younger) at Kelso - faster pace for sure and after 1 1/2 - 2 hrs feel the effort - but no pain ..


    also - what is the angle of your saddle relative to ground?
    Parallel

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    I've just worked on the assumption that my butt is going to hurt after a couple of hours. Like you, I've found that pretty well any saddle will do for riding single track. I'd like to find something more comfortable for the rail trail type riding.
    I've always bought cheap saddles since I figure my butt might as well hurt on a $39 saddle as a $139 saddle - no guarantees even on expensive saddles. I'd spend the money if I could be sure I'd get the performance to go with it.
    HammerCity Cycles on the Hamilton mountain has test Fizik and WTB saddles. He's just around the corner from me so the plan is to ride down, swap saddles and then go for a ride - some day soon.

  6. #6
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    Oxygen Bikes in Etobicoke (Lakeshore & Brown's Line) has a selection of WTB test saddles.

    I don't get along with Specialized saddles and Selle Italia & Fiziks ones feel like I'm getting a prostate exam, or at least what I'd imagine a prostate exam feels like since I've never had one. I get along with most SDG and WTB saddles, ended up with the WTB Rocket V since it came in better colours.

  7. #7
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    Hmm..have you tried other shorts with a different chamois as well? Size, thickness, and what not could could effect your interaction with the saddle as well. Maybe your the type who needs a different chamois for non trail riding.

    This made me think of this Velominati recent article on saddle sore issues and mention of saddle position.

    Velominati ? Guest Article: Saddle Sore Galore or Taint Misbehavin?


    It wasn’t until early spring this year, while inspecting my bib shorts, when I noticed an unusual wear spot on the edge of the chamois. The chamois turned out to be slightly smaller than my previous one, and it seems I not only dress left, but also ride a bit left in the saddle as well. Purchasing new bibs wasn’t an immediate option, so I pushed the saddle back a touch and removed the chamois edge from the equation. Complete relief at last.



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