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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-23-08, 02:13 PM   #1
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Brooks Swift or San Marco Rolls?

This past Saturday, I realized I hated my Specialized BG Avatar gel saddle. I didn't go numb, but my sit bones were screaming in pain after only 20 miles. Even with bike shorts, I was hurting and I put it down to "no give" in the saddle. Under the gel, it's just a hard, rigid platform.

So I've started saddle hunting and have narrowed it down to two choices: the Brooks Swift or the San Marco Rolls. I already have two B17s, so I'm leaning towards the Brooks, but the San Marco is a classic saddle that's also stood the test of time and it's less expensive. The saddle will be going on my roadie (Schwinn Peloton) so take the typical road bike position into account.

So my big boned brethren, if you've had both or ride one or the other, let me hear about your experiences, specifically:
  1. Is it comfortable in the drops? Any numbness?
  2. Is it comfortable when you ride on the hoods? Any numbness?
  3. Good for long distance riding (centuries, touring, etc.)?
  4. Any other insights?
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Old 06-26-08, 07:56 AM   #2
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BUMP!

OK, since no one responded, I take it to mean no one in the Clyde/Athena forum rides either a Brooks Swift



or a Selle San Marco Rolls?



BTW, my bike is blue and white w/ white bar tape so the white Rolls would look good, but comfort on long rides is paramount so chime in if you've got experience with either.
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Old 06-26-08, 08:04 AM   #3
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Jyo why don't you wait until the Brooks Imperial comes out? I have a feeling it might be soon. The reviews on it are awesome.



Brooks Imperial Saddle Reviews
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Old 06-26-08, 09:34 AM   #4
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I don't need the cutout so much as the "give" where the sit bones ummm...sit. Unless one of the other two saddles makes me go numb, in which case a cutout may be needed. Sigh...so complicated.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:42 AM   #5
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Jyo the Imperial "gives" more than the traditional Brooks BECAUSE of the cutout. It breaks in way faster. Take a look at that thread link near the end when the saddles are breaking in. You are talking about a one month/150 mile or so break in.
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Old 06-26-08, 10:43 AM   #6
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I'll keep it in mind. Thanks for reminding me about the Imperial. I don't mind saying that part of the reason I picked the Swift and the Rolls was how it looked. I already have two B17s and they're comfortable, but I want something swoopier for the roadie. If they do something about the Imperial's skirt, I may grab it when it comes out.
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Old 06-26-08, 01:14 PM   #7
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Do you mean for the skirt to be cut shorter? They are currently laced to you can adjust the support should it sag too much.
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Old 06-26-08, 02:24 PM   #8
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Yeah, the skirt is cut shorter on the Swift, at least that's how it looks. It's cut even shorter on the Swallow. The lacing is probably to make up for the loss of support due too the cut out.
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Old 06-26-08, 03:08 PM   #9
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Yes, most likely.

And (hint): I don't really have the time to look but I think there was a poster there within the last 10 pages or so saying they wanted to sell theirs because it wasn't working out for them.
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Old 06-26-08, 03:31 PM   #10
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I have a B17 on one of my bikes and it is a very good saddle, but I wouldn't break another one in, unless my back is against the wall. I just put a Fizik Arione on my bike and I couldn't believe the difference from the Spec. Toupe. Just a suggestion.
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Old 06-26-08, 03:54 PM   #11
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I tried an Arione and it was too narrow for my sit bones.
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Old 06-26-08, 04:32 PM   #12
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I like my Avatar but was thinking about a Swift. Do you think it will hold up for us big guys?
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Old 06-26-08, 04:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
This past Saturday, I realized I hated my Specialized BG Avatar gel saddle. I didn't go numb, but my sit bones were screaming in pain after only 20 miles. Even with bike shorts, I was hurting and I put it down to "no give" in the saddle. Under the gel, it's just a hard, rigid platform.

So I've started saddle hunting and have narrowed it down to two choices: the Brooks Swift or the San Marco Rolls. I already have two B17s, so I'm leaning towards the Brooks, but the San Marco is a classic saddle that's also stood the test of time and it's less expensive. The saddle will be going on my roadie (Schwinn Peloton) so take the typical road bike position into account.

So my big boned brethren, if you've had both or ride one or the other, let me hear about your experiences, specifically:
  1. Is it comfortable in the drops? Any numbness?
  2. Is it comfortable when you ride on the hoods? Any numbness?
  3. Good for long distance riding (centuries, touring, etc.)?
  4. Any other insights?
I am a long distance rider and I have a San Marco Rolls on both of my road bikes. Years ago I went through probably 4-5 saddles before settling on the Rolls. I have never had numbness issues with any saddle but have had issues with sit-bone pain.

The Rolls has multiple sitting positions to reduce fatigue. I have no problems on the hoods or in the drops. I understand that the Rolls may not work well if you have a large drop to the bars (it was designed before that became fashionable), but then neither would a Brooks, from what I understand. It is both less expensive and lighter than a Brooks, even in the steel rail version - (it's currently available for a <$50 at ProBikeKit). I have never tried a Brooks so I can't compare them.
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Old 06-26-08, 05:37 PM   #14
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I wonder if the Pro, would be easier to break in, than the Swift.
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Old 06-26-08, 05:38 PM   #15
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Antelope: I've got two Brooks B17s now and they're very comfortable. I'm sure they'll be fine for clyde usage. For the road bike, I wanted something more swoopy.

Thanks Indolent. The saddle to bar drop is about 1-2 in. That's to the tops. To the drops, it's 5-6 in. or so. I'm looking for comfort from the tops to the drops. I may give the Rolls a shot since it's less expensive. I was leaning towards the Swift from Wallingford because of their return policy.
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Old 06-26-08, 09:34 PM   #16
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I was just concerned that with less material on the sides as compared to the B17, that the Swift might sag and not hold up to our weight.
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Old 06-27-08, 07:50 AM   #17
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Actually, I think the more expensive saddles use thicker leather so they're stiffer than the bottom of the line B17s.
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Old 07-12-08, 05:07 PM   #18
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So I bought the Brooks Swift even though the Rolls was cheaper. I may pick up a Rolls later since I have another frame that's awaiting build-up. I already have two B17s, so I got the Swift and put it on Friday. Took it out the same day to adjust it and all I did was slide it back as far as it would go. Did a proper KOPS check and found the front of my knee is just slightly ahead of the spindle so if anyone has a spare 27.0 mm setback seatpost, feel free to send it my way.

Took a longer ride (27 mi) to pick up some new bike shoes (Lake MX190s) and the saddle felt fine. No numbness although you can tell it's got less give than a B17, but more than the Avatar it replaces. What's more, my sit bones feel fine! No pain, no agony and no bike shorts! Still got a couple hundred miles to break it in, but so far it's comfortable. I may still make some adjustments, but for now, it's working out well.

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Old 07-16-08, 05:46 PM   #19
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How is that Swift for you now?
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Old 07-16-08, 07:37 PM   #20
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Antelope, the last time I rode it was Saturday when I posted the above. It was comfortable during the ride, no numbness and no soreness. I also wasn't wearing bike shorts so that's saying alot to still be comfortable on a new saddle with a few hours of riding involved. I'm still not entirely sure about the saddle position either, but it felt good the way it was although the drops were still a little uncomfortable, mostly due to my legs hitting my stomach and my neck aching from looking up just to see ahead of me. I recommend it if you're wondering whether you should buy one. Check wallbike since they have the 6 mo. return policy.
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Old 07-16-08, 09:03 PM   #21
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Thanks for the update. I had a B17 once but it wouldn't go back far enough, kind of like your experienceing. I saw that the Swift is supposed to slide back farther, longer rails, so I was wondering how you were doing. I have a Thomson set back post now.
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Old 01-03-09, 05:09 PM   #22
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Get A pretty saddle please.

Obvious choice is San Marco..
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Old 01-03-09, 06:16 PM   #23
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1. Seat choice is very personal. What works for me may not work for you at all.

2. I don't use the drops, so nothing is comfortable in that regard.

I use a really narrow, stiff seat (Selle Stratos Hyper Pro). First one was a garage sale find ($1). Once I figured out I liked it, second one came from ebay. I don't think it is even made anymore. It looks like a really painful seat, but it works for me.
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Old 01-04-09, 03:53 PM   #24
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I have both, the Swift is a lot more comfortable to me and the shapes are nowhere near each other. If you want a more economical solution, get a Team Pro, if you want a Selle San Marco in a shape sort of like the Swift get a C40(I have one of those too)

(EDIT Heh, guess I'm late to the party, glad you like the Swift, I love mine :-)
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