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27 Aug ’09 Comments (16) Blog, Cycling Tips, Ride

Let’s Talk Saddles : Intro

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Stone SaddleThere are three comfort zones or places your body touches a bicycle.   As long as you can bear the weight of your body okay between those three places without numbness, pain or pinching then you can ride all day long.

Today we will be touching upon the saddle.  This is also the hardest thing to explain or go super indepth about in only one article.  Think of this as the first of many thoughts on saddles or reviews.  Please read through and email about specific questions you have about saddles to continue the discussion.

The very first thing to know about those comfort zones, especially your seat, they are very personal!  A good bike fit is important and so is the feed back to who ever is helping you with your seat alignment.

Depending on the type of bike you are riding, the distance and the angle of your upper body to lower body will change how narrow/wide or soft/hard you need. The wider seats are comfortable and soft but after 5-10 miles.  The hardest seat is going to be supported by your sit bones and not be supported by your soft tissues.

In this series I will do my best to cover these topics :

  • Various levels of saddles from your beach cruiser to road racers.
  • Sit bone measuring devices and what it all means.
  • Saddle bike fit.

Thanks to Melissa for writing in for this topic.  Hopefully over the series I can find answers to your questions about bicycle saddles.

Bike fit is a whole section of itself so please talk to your local shop that has fitting knowledge.

16 Responses to Let’s Talk Saddles : Intro

  1. Savnac says:

    This is just in time! I am in the process of looking for a new seat. I just did my first 64miler and my butt was incredibly numb. I wish I could have done more because everything else was feeling fine except for my butt so it sucked. P

  2. carol says:

    I had alot of pain on the Performance brand Forte T1 saddle, which is a knock off of the Profile Design Aero Strike saddle. Caused alot of chaffing and saddle sores beyond 40 mile rides. I think too much gel padding is not good. It let heat build up or something.

    A couple female friends told me about John Cobb’s V-flow plus saddle. It was not super comfy at first, and John Cobb looked at a photo I sent him. He told me to lower the saddle. I also had to move it forward a bit, so my sit bones were contacting the saddle properly. Now, I am loving it, and am able to get to 80 miles on it without significant pain issues. Training for an IM, so I need to be able to put in the miles without worrying about my butt!

    I still have to be smart, tho. Use Chamois But’r, wash my shorts right away, and sit on my saddle such that my sit bones are bearing the bulk of the weight. Sometimes I still tend to scoot around on the saddle to get power and that ends up putting too much pressure on my front area.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Jen Planker says:

    I love my Bontrager WSD inform saddle. The sizer system works? I have never been more comfy on my road bike. Can’t wait to get one for my errand bike.
    -J

  4. Sarah says:

    At the end of the day I think that where cycling comfort is concerned, time in the saddle counts just as much as the brand/design; also having the saddle slightly nose-down helps.

    However my last two saddles have been Specialized BodyGeometry ones (women specific). The first one I found very comfy both for off- and on-road cycling. I cycled from Prague to Warsaw with it (over the course of a week, not in one go! About 60-70km-ish a day on a hybrid bike) and it was absolutely fine.

    Sadly the bike it was on got stolen :o( but I didn’t hesitate to go and buy another BG saddle for the new bike, and it’s proven to be just as good. I don’t really notice it when cycling; I guess that is how you know when a saddle suits you!

    I should add that I took the ass-o-meter test in the bike shop for the second saddle, where you sit on some foam and it measures how wide apart your sit bones are. Potentially not very pleasant experience when in a male-dominated bike shop, but I took a girlfriend with me for moral support and we treated it as a venture of great hilarity, so it was possibly more the poor shop guy who was embarrassed! And it was worth it to get the right sized saddle.

  5. I have exclusively ridden on Brooks Saddles since 1989, and there’s no going back. Natural material and great craftsmanship they are absolutely beautiful. I generally do no ride in lycra unless I’m out over 50 miles.

  6. Jean says:

    I have four bikes and Brooks saddles are on all of them: two pro s (on the road bike and the tandem), a colt (road bike) and a B72 s (the commuter). the pro s saddles are the most comfortable ones I have found. it also helps to have a wider pad in your cycling shorts so the seams doesn’t rub on your sit bones.

  7. Tamberlyn says:

    Do saddles wear out like your favorite chair, best pair of shoes, or your most supportive sports bra?

    Does one try a new saddle or stay with the same brand?

  8. Tamberlyn

    Saddles do wear out. The padding and gel can start sagging and you’ll start feeling pressure in areas you’ve never felt before!

    Normally women try various saddles till they find the right one. Some women are lucky and get it on the first try.

  9. […] I of our on going Saddle Talk, I welcome all comments, questions and feedback on this subject.  Our Intro was a short and sweet piece from about two weeks back, now let’s get […]

  10. jamesmallon says:

    Three Brooks, no regrets.

    Some other makers of similar models have come out lately: Cardiff Saddles and Velo Orange, Sela-Anatomica. A bit cheaper, but the durability is unproven; Brooks has a reputation older than anyone living.

    On the cheaper side (though what’s cheaper than a saddle that will last decades?), most people have their saddles set much too low.

  11. […] of my bikes are stock, nor have they been from day one.  Normally the first thing I switch out is saddle and handlebars, to something that fits me […]

  12. Neil Cherry says:

    I’m a Brooks rider too, I’ve had 4 on three bikes (broke the rails on one, still trying to figure that one out). The thing with Brooks saddles is that it has to fit your sit bones. If it doesn’t the saddle will never feel good. Actually I think that’s true of any saddle. As a rule I never have to break them in I can just ride them. I put the last one on and went and did a century. But I do go slightly nose down.

  13. sophie eaton says:

    Check out the new LUNA Sport saddles for women at Lunasportgear.com!

  14. Long time reader / 1st time poster. Really enjoy reading the blog, keep up the good work. Will most definitely start posting more oftenin the future.

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