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  1. #1
    Senior Member EGreen's Avatar
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    Considerations on buying a saddle

    My best saddle is a Specialized Avatar. Though I've used it for quite some time, I don't find it particularly comfortable especially on my longer rides. (often I'll get a welt from friction in my perineal area) Besides, it is on the heavy side.

    What makes for a more comfortable saddle? What factors should be considered, starting with my own sit bone geometry? How does one determine the best width, length, type of cushioning, style etc for themselves?

    I know that it's often recommended that one try them out prior to purchasing, but I find it's not practicable to do so as usually a poor fit isn't fully revealed until many miles later.

    This of course, aside from shorts padding and how I sit in the saddle

    Any thoughts would be appreciated as I have a couple of long rides planned in the near future.

  2. #2
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, saddle comfort is so unique to each rider that what works best for one could be the worst for another. For some reason, my butt likes the narrower btu harder saddles so I find the Selle Italia Flite to be great for me, and I'm wondering if the Flite Gel Flow would be even better for my prostate. But the lack of padding could be terrible for another rider.

    Here's what I did. When I thought a particular saddle might feel better, I hunted for a bargain... clearance, used, ebay, whatever. I got it cheap and tried it, and if it didn't work out I could sell it for about what I paid. Also, see if any of your riding buddies have what you want to try and see if they'd swap with you for a ride or when they're not riding. Once you find one, you can go spend the cash on a nice shiny new one if you like. I'm actually still on the Flite Titanium I bought on ebay for $15 though. It's slightly scuffed but nobody sees that when I'm on it anyway, and I gave up a matching celeste saddle for it so looks off the bike are already sacrificed.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    Get a Toupe, fit's like the saddle you have, just with more "give" in the middle.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bluehair's Avatar
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    I agree, the right saddle is very unique to the rider. The most comfortable saddle I've ever used is a Specialized Teluride, $40-45.00, and it's pretty light. Give some consideration to why the saddle you have is unstatisfactory. So much depends on the height of the seatube in relation to the handlebars as well as the angle of the seat and the distance on the seat from the handlebars. Try the following, it works for me anyway. Level the saddle parrallel to the ground as best you can. Ride the bike and get in a comfortable position with just your seat bones on the saddle and no pressure forward on soft tissue or your pubic bone (back straight not swayed and arms slightly bent) , if pedaling the bike pulls you forward on the saddle, three things may be wrong: 1. The saddle is too far from the handlebars, 2. the saddle may be tipped down in front or 3. you're hitting the cut-out with the back of your thighs as you pedal and pushing yourself forward (new saddle). If your not sliding forward the saddle may be tipped backward a little too far causing pressure forward in the pubic area.

  5. #5
    cs1
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    considerations on buying a saddle
    There is only one saddle to consider, Brooks. Don't sell your soul to the god of Style and buy some ridiculous piece of plastic. When your sit bones are chaffed and sore at the end of that Metric you'll wish you bought the heavier Brooks.

    Give it the ebay test. Have you ever seen any of those plastic saddles selling used for what you paid? The answer is NO. OTH, used Brooks fetch the same or more than NIB Brooks. It is the only saddle I've ever seen that used versions bring a premium. If it weren't a desirable saddle, people wouldn't be buying them. See how much used Fizik's go for. Good luck in whatever you buy, but keep the Brooks in mind.

    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  6. #6
    Senior Member EGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    There is only one saddle to consider, Brooks. Don't sell your soul to the god of Style and buy some ridiculous piece of plastic. When your sit bones are chaffed and sore at the end of that Metric you'll wish you bought the heavier Brooks.

    Give it the ebay test. Have you ever seen any of those plastic saddles selling used for what you paid? The answer is NO. OTH, used Brooks fetch the same or more than NIB Brooks. It is the only saddle I've ever seen that used versions bring a premium. If it weren't a desirable saddle, people wouldn't be buying them. See how much used Fizik's go for. Good luck in whatever you buy, but keep the Brooks in mind.

    Tim
    I've been eyeing Brooks saddles, less concerned with their weight than the price of them, not neccesarily prohibitive but steep. I didn't mention material in my original post but I've become convinced that leather is the way to go.

    I'm on email notification for a Selle Italia C2 Transam Gel Flow saddle from Probikekit, not that I'm convinced that it is ultimately the best saddle for me and what I'll wind up purchasing. I've got to find out its dimensions and compare it the the Specialized Avatar that I've been using. It looks wider, which is what I believe I need, considering the location of my sore points.

    To the best of my ability I've been fine tuning my bike's fit and believe it is nearly optimal for me. The real discomfort comes after I've done a lot of miles and fatigue sets in and I'm heavier in the saddle.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    There is only one saddle to consider, Brooks. Don't sell your soul to the god of Style and buy some ridiculous piece of plastic. When your sit bones are chaffed and sore at the end of that Metric you'll wish you bought the heavier Brooks.

    Give it the ebay test. Have you ever seen any of those plastic saddles selling used for what you paid? The answer is NO. OTH, used Brooks fetch the same or more than NIB Brooks. It is the only saddle I've ever seen that used versions bring a premium. If it weren't a desirable saddle, people wouldn't be buying them. See how much used Fizik's go for. Good luck in whatever you buy, but keep the Brooks in mind.

    Tim
    Here's the flip side of that coin:

    Back in the days when men were men and bike frames were all steel, Brooks saddles and their clones were all that was available. Through the years, many riders have been weened off of Brooks saddles. I can think of several personal friends who fall into that category. They wouldn't have done that, or even considered making a change, if they were perfectly delighted before.

    I'm not saying Brooks saddles are bad, I just get tired of hearing the Brooks Taliban tell me they are the ONLY saddle to consider.

  8. #8
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I'm not saying Brooks saddles are bad, I just get tired of hearing the Brooks Taliban tell me they are the ONLY saddle to consider.
    Alas, they are the only game left in town for a tensioned leather saddle.
    Top
    (NOT a Talibani; I ride vintage Ideale..... )

  9. #9
    Senior Member shoerhino's Avatar
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    I agree with the suggestion on bargain shopping saddles. You can find practically new saddles at a significant discounts and if you don't like them, list the for sale on eBay. Check the bargain bins at the bike shop or online retailers.

    I had the same problem with the Avatar when I bought on last year. After about 1 hour, my sit bones would hurt. I think that the sit bone pads are nice, but it almost forces you to sit in the same spot too long and although it works for many people, it didn't work for me. With each saddle you learn what generally works for you. I've found after trying many saddles (Avatar, Bontrager, BROOKS) that a saddle which is generally flat, has some relief in the middle, medium padding, some room to move on, and is about 145mm wide works best for me.

    I currently use a Selle Italia Max Flite gel flow and really like it. The Flite saddles and their variations seem to work well for most people.

  10. #10
    cs1
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    As far as Brooks goes, a standard B-17 can usually be had for $59 - $69 plus shipping online. That is pretty good compared to Fizik and most of the popular saddles. When you get the Special and Pro models the price usually climbs to over $100. Some Brooks can approach $300, they ain't worth that kind of money. Titanium rails raises the price a lot for not much weight savings. Remember where weight is concerned approx 32 grams = 1 ounce. That means 100 grams is just over 3 ounces. Personally, I can think of better places to save weight than on my saddle. Good luck on whatever you choose.

    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  11. #11
    Member doctorspin's Avatar
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    I agree with urbanknight's approach.

    Though currently satisfied with my Fizik Arione, there have been times when my favorites were the Brooks Pro, Terry Liberator, Avocet O2, and Specialized BG.

    Thanks to Ebay, I (and my friends) didn't need to spend a fortune to find out if the grass was greener on the other saddle (butchering a cliche )

  12. #12
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoerhino
    I currently use a Selle Italia Max Flite gel flow and really like it. The Flite saddles and their variations seem to work well for most people.
    I need to see if someone around me has that one and will let me borrow it for a ride. It's the only one I think might fit better than the standard Flite I have now.

    That was interesting above, as I realized the Flite fans out further back than the saddle my Veloce came with. I wonder if I just like longer saddles, since I think I slide forward and back a tad to change positions.

  13. #13
    Senior Member EGreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbanknight
    Here's what I did. When I thought a particular saddle might feel better, I hunted for a bargain... clearance, used, ebay, whatever. I got it cheap and tried it, and if it didn't work out I could sell it for about what I paid. Also, see if any of your riding buddies have what you want to try and see if they'd swap with you for a ride or when they're not riding. Once you find one, you can go spend the cash on a nice shiny new one if you like. I'm actually still on the Flite Titanium I bought on ebay for $15 though. It's slightly scuffed but nobody sees that when I'm on it anyway, and I gave up a matching celeste saddle for it so looks off the bike are already sacrificed.

    Best of luck!
    Unfortunately, I'm not finding any huge bargains at this time, and have developed a learned helplessness with respect to 'winning' on EBay

    I'm seeing the Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow Saddle mentioned here at a fair regular price. I might take a stab at it in my pursuit of finding the best saddle for me. Unfortunately, ProBikeKit is now telling me there is currently a shortage of saddles in Europe, particularly the Selle Italia C2 Transam Gel Flow saddle which was offered cheaper and has leather covering.

    Please do not hesitate to post links to bargains, clearance items etc. I got the TI frame I'm putting the saddle on for a steal thanks to a BF'er!

  14. #14
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EGreen
    Unfortunately, I'm not finding any huge bargains at this time, and have developed a learned helplessness with respect to 'winning' on EBay
    I never liked that whole bid thing on ebay either. That's why I use BIN, Buy It Now, instead. Just see if the price and shipping is fair. Then pull the trigger.


    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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