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Old 02-05-12, 09:15 PM   #1
jyl
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"C&V Appropriate" Saddle For Women?

What are some saddles suitable for women that would look right on a C&V bicycle, in this case my daughter's UO8?

The VO "Swallow" copy is uncomfortable for her, ahem, private bits. We've tried adjusting it nose-down and fore-and-aft. Now people are telling me it was silly to buy a narrow saddle for a girl. Well, what did I know. It was used and only $50, I'll use it on another bike someday.

I know nothing about women's saddles. I see that Terry makes saddles specifically for women with a 30 day refund/exchange policy, so that's possible, but they hardly look C or V, and most would cost more than I paid for the bike.

(Not that I don't expect to double or triple my initial outlay on daughter-san's around-town bike, by the time we add fenders, lights, bell, rack, seat, tires, etc. I'm just hoping to not quadruple it. This bike will be U-locked and left unattended all day at school etc . . . )

What saddles do you suggest we try? Ideally on the economical side, or a costlier piece that I might find used, let's say under $100?
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Old 02-05-12, 09:25 PM   #2
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Possibly the Colt?

My bride rides Raleigh Colts and uses the regular B66 saddles. We tried a B18 but it wasn't as comfortable for her, so back to the B66. FWIW I have been giving her my B66's that are already broken in.

They also make Flyers which might be a tad more comfortable on a drop bar bike. Then again she may be on of those people that just cannot get comfortable on a Brooks. Note that they make a "S" model of many of their saddles, that is a shorter saddle, supposedly for women so they don't catch their skirts on the nose of the saddle.

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Old 02-05-12, 09:37 PM   #3
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Old 02-05-12, 09:49 PM   #4
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My wife will ride nothing other than an Avocet WII Touring saddle, fwiw. All of her bikes are C&V.
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Old 02-05-12, 10:01 PM   #5
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There's a "Lady" model Turbo saddle frim the 80's I believe.
They pop up once in a while at ebay....
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-Selle-It...item4160fb6caa
This NOS one's priced quite high, maybe because they are quite rare, but I've also seen them for much less in good used condition...

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Old 02-05-12, 10:09 PM   #6
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That's the trouble with getting a good deal on a used bike,you can find yourself saying..
'it cost more than the bike'.. a lot .

I'd say drop by your local bike shop and see if they have any Take-off saddles,
that is.. customer wanted a new different saddle than the original build up
one that was in the new bike shipping list, in the carton.

You can find near new saddles that way.. + you are in bike shop saturated Portland,
so there Must be something the Tush likes.

School rack , leather is going to suffer.
& there are Brooks saddles taken, because Ebay is the universal 'Fence'..

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-05-12 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 02-05-12, 11:00 PM   #7
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My wife loves her 'sprung' Brooks B67. And she had told me I'd better get her the fattest, plushest gel saddle. Which I really didn't want to do, esp as it was to go on a Bob Jackson mixte. Fortunately the Brooks did the trick, saved the bike build, possibly the marriage.
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Old 02-05-12, 11:11 PM   #8
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Upon reflection, I think I'm going to be more relaxed about the look of this saddle. A modern saddle will be okay as long as it is basic black.

This bike is almost her re-introduction to cycling. She only rode around the neighborhood before, several blocks to the park with her little brother etc, and never had a "real bike", it was a purple Stingray and then a random folder, and she has hardly ridden for the past few years. Now she's old enough that she can really use a bike to get to school, the record store, the darkroom, the other places she goes, and she's also interested in exercising, eating right, etc. So if she likes this bike and gets comfortable riding, then I can get all vintage-picky, or even get her a different bike. For now, it's just important that she be comfortable on the UO8.

When she first got on the bike, everything was scary. The seat is so high. The toe clips are confusing. What do you mean, "shift"? How can I reach the brake levers way down there? I'm scared to take my hand off the bars to do the shifty thing.

It didn't take long, though. After one afternoon she was doing pretty well, feet in the (loose) clips, (gingerly) choosing gears, braking from the hoods, still a bit wobbly but not bad at all. A good start. I'm not going to let a painful seat ruin it. I'll look for a nice vintage saddle, but in the meantime, a modern ladies' saddle is going on there pronto.

Heck, this evening I installed a turkey lever on the front Mafac lever. Yah it hurt a bit, but I decided it was more important that she be able to brake from the tops, than for the bike to look right to me.
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Old 02-06-12, 06:05 AM   #9
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I have a seventies something women's Avocet saddle. They are wider than the normal issue Avocet, which should match the lady's fit a bit better.
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Old 02-06-12, 07:47 AM   #10
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Thanks, I didn't know they made ladies' saddles that far back. I'm going to look for something like that. The bike is mid-70s, so a '70s saddle would be ideal.
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Old 02-06-12, 08:21 AM   #11
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I would also consider the possibilities (a) that the offending saddle is set at the wrong angle and (b) that the rider's discomfort is due more to her unfamiliarity with this style of bike, and specifically this riding posture, than the saddle.

A rider who is used to a padded saddle may feel that padding is necessary, but it will in fact mean more pressure on soft tissues rather than less, since the sit bones will sink down into the padding. The padding will rub, chafe, and cut off circulation without doing anything to support the rider's weight, which is not good.
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Old 02-06-12, 08:42 AM   #12
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So, try setting the saddle more nose-down?
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Old 02-06-12, 08:48 AM   #13
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So, try setting the saddle more nose-down?
Maybe. It's hard to say. My point is only that if you change something, something will be different; try it and see if it's better that way, that's all.

I'm a great believer in leather saddles, but have no experience with the VO ones. Is the leather still firm, or has it started to sag? Older saddles can take a hammock shape that will cause pressure in the wrong places....
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Old 02-06-12, 07:02 PM   #14
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I like my B17 S - it has a shorter nose than the Swallow. I agree with what RHM said about making small adjustments to the tilt of the saddle. Additionally, if the seat post height is even a little bit too low, it can cause quite a bit of discomfort. A new leather saddle also takes some time to adjust to if one is not used to it.
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Old 02-06-12, 08:23 PM   #15
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My wife really likes the women's Terry Liberator Gel, FWIW. Not the most C&V looking, but I think comfort comes first.
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Old 02-06-12, 08:44 PM   #16
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my tandem stoker position has a late '70s Avocet womans touring II, but they had been around a while before I bought one. They started selling them soon after they started selling saddles
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Old 02-06-12, 10:56 PM   #17
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So, try setting the saddle more nose-down?
On a woman's bike, never set the nose lower than the tail, initially. Usually (it will depend on the particular saddle involved, among other things, however) a women's saddle tends to work best with the nose higher than the tail.
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Old 02-06-12, 11:07 PM   #18
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I have and can vouch for the Terry Butterfly. I have the cromoly version, which comes in a plain, black vinyl. Not exactly C&V but an excellent women's saddle. Bonus points for not being as attractive to thieves as, say, a Brooks might be.
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Old 02-06-12, 11:34 PM   #19
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Note that they make a "S" model of many of their saddles, that is a shorter saddle, supposedly for women so they don't catch their skirts on the nose of the saddle.
As the owner of an "S" Brooks, I think the only real benefit is that they wouldn't catch on a skirt. I think having a little more leather to "give" over bumps would make it more comfortable overall.

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Old 02-07-12, 12:59 AM   #20
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Maybe I'll get a Terry and put rivets in it . . .
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Old 02-07-12, 05:56 PM   #21
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As the owner of an "S" Brooks, I think the only real benefit is that they wouldn't catch on a skirt. I think having a little more leather to "give" over bumps would make it more comfortable overall.

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The "S" is actually a little shorter and wider than the gent's model. Has to do with the ladies' sit bones being further apart. I just bought this Professional S for my wife's next C&V bike:

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Old 02-07-12, 05:58 PM   #22
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Avocet Women's touring or Touring II
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Old 02-07-12, 06:29 PM   #23
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selle italia ANATOMICA !
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Old 02-07-12, 07:57 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 753proguy View Post
My wife will ride nothing other than an Avocet WII Touring saddle, fwiw. All of her bikes are C&V.
Quote:
Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I have a seventies something women's Avocet saddle. They are wider than the normal issue Avocet, which should match the lady's fit a bit better.
I have an Avocet Racing WII saddle, their special 'women's' model, likely from the seventies as well. I'm looking to include it in a build for my girlfriend. No ride report yet, but they're not terribly hard to come by - I pulled one down off ebay for $20 or $25, and it not only looks vintage, but is (and matches the Racing II on my Nishiki, which I rather like). Much wider rear portion, shorter 'nose', and the rails are designed such that the seat tends towards a 'forward' position when mounted (cutting top-tube length, which makes sense for a women's saddle, I think). Might be worth a try, as it meets your 'basic black' requirement and could likely be re-sold or traded if it's not to the rider's liking.

...either that or the 'Touring' WII model (which seems to come highly recommended), that is.
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Old 02-07-12, 08:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
My wife loves her 'sprung' Brooks B67. And she had told me I'd better get her the fattest, plushest gel saddle. Which I really didn't want to do, esp as it was to go on a Bob Jackson mixte. Fortunately the Brooks did the trick, saved the bike build, possibly the marriage.
My wife told me the same thing, then hated the gel/cushy saddle when it went on the bike. I bought her the sprung B67, and she loved it. Now she's got two of them.
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