Saddles

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Saddles

Postby isabella24 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:06 pm

Hi there, I am experiencing discomfort with the standard bontrager saddle that came with my trek Madone. I expected "new saddle breaking-in soreness" but after 1000kms my sitbones are still sore after a ride. Yes I wear padded knicks (pearl izumis). I know saddle fit/comfort is a very subjective topic but it is very expensive to buy new saddles only to find they are no good! I was wondering if anyone would mind sharing their experiences with what worked for you? Cheers :D
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by BNA » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:45 pm

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Re: Saddles

Postby marinmomma » Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:45 pm

I bought a Specialized WSD saddle, best money that I've spent! I have a Jett on my Scott.
Ensure that your bike fit is spot on too.

I have PI knicks but I don't like them on any rides longer than 40 odd k's.....I prefer a thinner pad in my knicks, Sugoi's are my favourites.
It is a bit hit and miss with saddles and knick but good luck!
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Re: Saddles

Postby PawPaw » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:03 pm

Go to a LBS that is a Specialized dealer. They lend out saddles, for a deposit.
Master bike fitter Steve Hogg recommends Selle SMP saddles and wrote a good article about it....google will find it.

I have a Trek Madone, and think their Bontrager saddles are cheap rubbish. I broke two in 14 mths before writing them off.
It's common for new bike owners to replace the cheapish saddle (and wheels).
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Re: Saddles

Postby Nobody » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:11 pm

There are many threads on saddles on these forums. When it comes to comfort alone, more people recommend Brooks or Selle SMP than others. I'm not saying that others like Specialized won't suit you, but on average you may go through more models before finding a saddle that suits you.

You might be able to find a bike shop with a saddle loan program. Another way to save is to buy secondhand on eBay and sell them again if you don't like them.
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Re: Saddles

Postby grasshopper » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:33 am

isabella24 wrote:I was wondering if anyone would mind sharing their experiences with what worked for you? Cheers :D

Yes, you're right, a very expensive learning curve and it is personal (after ruling out you've been sold the wrong size bike or it's not fitted properly). I think you're right to be looking for alternatives after 1000 km. I have a Selle Italia Ldy (specific model no longer made, but it has some padding and the cutout) as an all-day saddle, and several friends have the gel flow/Diva models on multiple bikes as their saddle of choice. So they might be worth a look.

But I also have a SI Ldy SLK gel flow which is pure torture; only good for cx races (which are short and the saddle shape matters and I don't care if it breaks). I tried a Brooks pretty cheaply once too and it was torture, but I could pass it on at no cost; last count it had tortured three people. And I don't know about you, but I wouldn't put a Brooks on a Madone. But I have a Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour on the roadie, which is comfy. So they are different saddles for different uses. You might find a shop with a loan program, or keep an eye out online/swap meets for some to try cheaper than RRP. It's great if friends can lend one from the spares box to try too. It's difficult.

It's worth checking your sitbone width before buying new (or cheaper online) too. There's plenty of instructions online but essentially put down something soft, put some foil over it, sit in bike position (leaning forward) and measure the sitbone width. Just in case you're particularly wide or narrow through the hips, so you'll have an idea when looking at saddle dimensions online.
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Re: Saddles

Postby isabella24 » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:47 am

Thanks for all your help. I must have missed the previous threads on saddles in the womens section when I first looked - id only found the mens! So I apologise for posting this thread again.

The Specialized dealer is a good tip, thank you PawPaw. I will look for one in my area (Sydney).

I am pretty sure the fit of my bike is ok - i was fitted out by the team at Clarence st. Cyclery in Sydney, and they seemed pretty good and it feels "right". I haven't had any other issues. I guess I was wondering if 1000km was too soon to be looking and thanks grasshopper for helping me with that.

I might also try another brand of knicks to be sure like the Sugoi's that marinmomma suggested.

Much appreciated all! I will do some looking around.
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Re: Saddles

Postby marinmomma » Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:23 pm

isabella24 wrote:
Much appreciated all! I will do some looking around.


No worries, hope that you don't spend too much money in your search for the right saddle. :wink:
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Re: Saddles

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:02 pm

G'Day Isabella, welcome outside.

May I suggest you take up Grasshoppers extremely kind offer of a Brooks saddle to test? I know many will look sideways at one atop a Madone but if it makes your bum happy then the opinions of others count for zero minus lots. I was a sceptic for many years until I tried one. Now, all my bikes wear leather.

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Saddles

Postby steveo » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:16 pm

+1 for the Specialized. I spent $500 on trying saddles, went to the specialized dealer and sat on their arseometer. They measured my sit bones, $50 deposit on a loaner and that comes off the sale price when you decide which one you like. They have lady specific saddles.
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Re: Saddles

Postby isabella24 » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:14 pm

Hello again,
I did some reading last night and today had a go at measuring my sit bones using a rule and 1) a bag of rice 2) a bag of flour 3) al foil on carpet as per some of the methods I found.
I pretty consistently found that the distance between my sit bones seems to be 125mm. (I am a small 156cm tall, 45-47kg woman so don't know if this is within a "normal" range or not!)

My old (stitched together to stop it falling apart) mountain bike saddle which I have used for over 10 years with no problems is 130mm width. My new bontrager WSD saddle giving me a sore bum is 145mm.
Could the difference in width be the issue?

I am going to try and find a specialized dealer that loans saddles and give that a go.

May I suggest you take up Grasshoppers extremely kind offer of a Brooks saddle to test? I know many will look sideways at one atop a Madone but if it makes your bum happy then the opinions of others count for zero minus lots. I was a sceptic for many years until I tried one. Now, all my bikes wear leather.


To Mulger bill - Grasshoppers offer is extremely kind and I very much appreciate it, especially as I am new to this forum.

I tried a Brooks pretty cheaply once too and it was torture, but I could pass it on at no cost;


Grasshopper - I will give the Specialized dealer a go and if I have no luck I would like to try the Brooks, if you don't mind of course.
I would certainly pay for all postage costs, and be happy to put down a deposit for your peace of mind.

I will let you know either way.

Thanks again everyone :)
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Re: Saddles

Postby grasshopper » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:01 pm

isabella24 wrote:Could the difference in width be the issue?

I have no idea, but it seems like a useful piece of info to have with you, along with a tape measure. But do have a look at this piece on saddles from Steve Hogg, who always makes a lot of sense to me. If nothing else, it's excellent background based on vast experience so you might find it interesting. Have pm'd you about the Brooks. :)
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Re: Saddles

Postby Nobody » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:31 pm

It really depends what Brooks saddle it is too. Not only does a Brooks not suit everyone, but the saddle might not be the best one for the application. On top of that they are sensitive to angle and require a slightly more nose up position than other saddles. Brooks also need to be broken in over some hundreds of kilometres. This is more critical if you are a lightwieght. A colleague at work is only about 70Kg and has had trouble breaking in a B17 on a flat bar. This might be why it hasn't worked for these women.

I have three Brooks saddles. I'm looking to get another too (but not from Grasshopper).
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Re: Saddles

Postby geoffs » Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:15 pm

A SMP lite 209 would most probably be fine for you. That's what most of the women with saddle problems seem to end up finding the most comfortable. A few of the women in our club use them and my wife who is a similar height and weight to you, has 3 of them.
Find a shop that will loan one (Steve Hogg does) and I'm sure there are others. Just make sure you spend some time getting the position right as they can be uncomfortable if you get it wrong
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Re: Saddles

Postby isabella24 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:10 am

Hi everyone, thought i'd give you all an update on my saddle hunting!
I went to Clarence st Cyclery in Sydney and they were able to give me two test saddles to try out:
1) A Selle Italia SL XC
2) A Prologo Zero Pas gel

Went for a 65km ride on each on the weekend, the Prologo was a definate no, but the Selle Italia is quite comfortable, so it is now on my shortlist.

Today, I am going to another Sydney LBS, MC Cyclery.
They have a range of Selle SMP test saddles which I hope to try to compare against the Selle Italia SL XC.
I also hope to take Geoffs advice and give the Lite 209 a go.

Anyway, will let you know how I get on, even if this post only helps other Sydney riders find shops that loan saddles.
Thanks again everyone :D
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Re: Saddles

Postby isabella24 » Sat May 05, 2012 5:43 pm

Hi Everyone,
After a few test saddles, I have found my perfect saddle!

It is an SMP Glider and feels like in sitting on air.

I thought i'd post the outcome as it is quite different to the sizing chart on the SMP website.
As I am a womens size 6-8, approx 47kgs and 5'2' (on a tall day!), based on their sizing chart, I tried a Stratos (the most padded saddle recommended for my size).
It caused agony in my sit-bones as it just wasn't wide enough, and my bones were stradding the saddle. All the other SMP saddles recommended for my size were narrow.

Going against the chart, I went for a saddle the next width up - the Glider - which is recommended for larger riders, however it was perfect for me.

I guess the lesson here is that while SMP make great saddles, don't feel forced into buying a saddle based on their sizing chart - get a test saddle and try it for yourself, even if the chart says its not suitable for your size.

Thanks for everyones help, including MC Cyclery at Clarence Street, Sydney for letting me try the saddles.
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Re: Saddles

Postby Ross » Sun May 06, 2012 9:02 am

http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/f ... 1xme1.html

When cycling is a pain in the bum
May 3, 2012


Chasing comfort ... a correct cycling position is crucial for saddle comfort.

I first realised I was developing a problem when I was driving home from a ride, and put an ice-cold energy drink bottle between my legs.

After years riding a hybrid bike, I'd just bought my first racer, and had been out riding on rough, potholed rural roads around Camden, in south-west Sydney.

I knew I'd taken a bit of a pounding from the saddle, but I was still surprised at the soothing effect of an ice-cold container on my groin – even through padded cycling shorts. Until then, I'd only half-noticed that I'd often experience a tingling discomfort after long rides.

Suddenly, the fear that no man likes to mention began to percolate. I'd taken up cycling as a way of having a healthy, active life, with all the benefits that implies. Was cycling putting me on the road to erectile dysfunction?

If you ask Dr Google, as I did that evening, you can find a lot of conflicting information on the issue, from those who are convinced that cycling could cruel your love life, to others who say that the theory is unproved, and any possible problems can be averted with the right equipment and posture.

Blair Martin, a Sydney physiotherapist whose practice, The Body Mechanic, specialises in fitting people on bicycles, says cycling's possible relationship with sexual health problems is difficult to quantify, and much research appears to be anecdotal. “It's not the kind of thing where three longitudinal studies of large sample sizes, including control groups, have shown that this is the case,” he says.

In the weeks after my Camden ride, I found a shop that would lend me saddles for test rides. I tried wider saddles, soft ones, saddles with cut-outs – nothing made much difference.

Finally I consulted Steve Hogg of Cyclefitcentre.com. He recommended a Selle SMP, a distinctively weird saddle with an epic centre cut-out and a beak for a nose. “I already tried an SMP Strike, didn't work,” I told him glumly.

“A big bruiser like you needs the wider style,” he told me. “This is the Pro model. Try it for a week.”

Five days later I called him to say I'd pay him any money - there was no way he was getting the saddle back off me. In the six years since, I've ridden on rough roads and smooth, sometimes doing a hundred kilometres every day for a week at a time, with no deleterious effects (thank you for asking).

The issue lies with the perineum, the area between the genitals and the anus that is a mass of soft tissue, nerves and blood vessels. The perineum can make contact with the saddle, but weight needs to be borne by the bones of the pelvis.

Problems can manifest in many ways – men speak of numbness in the genitals and urinary discomfort, but Hogg says some women have worse issues.

“Women tend to get pain during urination and sex, or burning when they shower - their anatomy is more delicate and located differently,” he told me recently. “I reckon this is a major reason why there are fewer women cycling than men.”

But is saddle choice the magic bullet? Hogg and Martin both say it's only part of the equation, and that a bad position is always going to be a problem.

“I'm a huge fan of seats with a perineal cut-out; but with most of them, the cut-out is a token effort,” Hogg says.

As for fitting, Hogg says: “The majority of people sit too high, which exaggerates the problem. You're not bearing your weight on bone, you're rolling forward towards each pedal, which means you're pivoting on soft tissue.”

Martin agrees: “My first approach is to get you to effectively distribute your weight across five contact areas [hands, feet and seat]. If the issue persists following that, it's likely to be a saddle issue.”

Some cycling shops offer a saddle-fitting system that measures the width between your "sit bones" to help you optimise your saddle choice.

Of course, comfort is only a problem for some. Most people quickly find an agreeable set-up – and often, problems only develop when people move from commuting to training, when distances increase, or performance equipment is chosen, such racing bicycles or triathlon bars.

But many cyclists believe that discomfort is part of the deal. It shouldn't have to be. There has been an explosion of saddle innovation in the past decade, with something for everyone, and there are increasing numbers of experts who can help with riding position. It can be a vexing and drawn-out process for some, but the results are worth it.

As for the chance of the unkindest injury of all? Well, it's worth noting that major proven causes of erectile dysfunction include depression, stress, smoking, being overweight and not exercising.

And cycling can help with all of those.

Have you ever had saddle problems, and how did you beat them?

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Re: Saddles

Postby shann » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:30 pm

OK, I've just (like literally, tonight) switched from MTB to road bike, and my saddle is killing me. It feels like air in the sit bones area, but further forward, it just hurts. I don't know how to explain it delicately, but I'm sure you can imagine. :oops: The pressure is in exactly the wrong spot.

It's the same wide gel saddle that I had on my MTB, because I thought the saddle that shipped with the bike might be a men's one - Selle Italia X1. Am I better off going narrow? I have no idea what to do. Advice please!
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Re: Saddles

Postby Nobody » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:35 pm

Start by looking at the angle. A road bike saddle should be angled down more at the nose than a MTB (in general).
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Re: Saddles

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:40 pm

Girly saddle nose problems. I don't suffer but can imagine. :(

As Nobody suggested, try adjusting the tilt downwards a tad and see if this relieves the pressure. As to width, that is dependant on the width of your sit bones.

The right saddle for you may or may not be a womens specific, it all depends on your unique shape. If your current unit can't be made to work for you with a positional tweak, go back to the Selle X1 and try that for a while. If you're still unlucky, it might be time to look into a Terry or maybe a Brooks womens design, these typically have a shorter nose section to prevent or reduce the frontal pressure problem you're experiencing.

Good luck with it.

Shaun
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Re: Saddles

Postby grimbo » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:43 pm

[email protected] wrote:fizik airone tri 2 wing flex is by far the best saddle availble


I've got a Trek Madone 4.7 with the bontrager saddle, and it's an unforgiving piece of kit. It's not quite uncomfortable enough for me to replace though. My other bike has the Fizik Airone mentioned above, and that is a really comfy saddle (at least, for me).

Have to say, if I was replacing the bontrager, I would probably go the specialized "measure and try before you buy" route - only heard good things.
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Saddles

Postby RonK » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:58 pm

shann wrote:OK, I've just (like literally, tonight) switched from MTB to road bike, and my saddle is killing me.

Position is much different on a road bike and may cause your pelvis to roll forward so sensitive tissues are irritated.
While it's probably a little optimistic to think the MTB saddle will be equally as comfortable on your roadie, it may be ok if your position is right.
Are you riding in the drops? There is a tendency for first time users to think they must ride in the drops, but the bars are wrapped for most of their length for a reason, and recreational roadies would spend more time on the tops and hoods. The controls are designed to be operated from either position.
Are you feeling any discomfort in your hands/wrists? This might indcate the reach is too long or the saddle to bar drop is excessive. All these things may require repositioning of the saddle height and fore/aft position, bar height and stem length so your pelvis does not rotate forward too much. Have you been correctly fitted? Perhaps the place to start is to return to the shop, explain your discomfort and ask if you can be better fitted. Don't be embarrassed about this - bike shops have heard it all before, from men as well as women.
Then of course there is the saddle itself - which one is right for you is entirely personal, and you might have to try more to find what suits your physiology best.
And finally, since your experience is in MTB, are you wearing good quality road knicks? Are you still wearing underwear? Do you use a liberal application of chamois creme?
So you see there is much more to finding comfort than the choice of saddle.
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Re: Saddles

Postby Kaete » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:09 pm

isabella24 wrote:Hi there, I am experiencing discomfort with the standard bontrager saddle that came with my trek Madone. I expected "new saddle breaking-in soreness" but after 1000kms my sitbones are still sore after a ride. Yes I wear padded knicks (pearl izumis). I know saddle fit/comfort is a very subjective topic but it is very expensive to buy new saddles only to find they are no good! I was wondering if anyone would mind sharing their experiences with what worked for you? Cheers :D


Hi Isabella,
What worked for me, really well, was fitting a 'noseless' saddle.
No more of the perineal pain I used to have after long distance.
The one I use on my Gazelle Fuente Trekking bike ( http://www.gazellebicycles.com.au/fuent ... ?task=view ) is the Moonsaddle ( http://moonsaddle.com.au/ )
There are many more, though.
best wishes,
Kaete

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Re: Saddles

Postby Welsh Dragon » Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:44 pm

I tried LOADS and I think was one of the previous posters on this. I LOVE my specialised saddle-and tried a few of them before I got the right one.

However, if in a tri and will be on the bars a lot, I love my ADAMO-weird looking and not great round town, but great for the aero bar position.
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Re: Saddles

Postby reefer » Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:15 am

My wife is experiencing quite a bit of soreness forward of the sit bones. She has on Orbea Onix.

I am considering getting her a ISM saddle. http://www.ismseat.com .

Any opinions out there on this type of saddle?


Welsh Dragon wrote:I love my ADAMO-weird looking and not great round town, but great for the aero bar position.


Could you expand on this, as my wife is in a far more aggressive position than me on my Avanti Cadent, I would have thought the Adamo would be good around town as well. I have read the only real issue is with inner thigh chaffing, i guess from the twin design.

We generally do 50-60k on a saturday and sunday and just 30k each morning.

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