Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Northern Colorado
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Titanium saddle rails may not be a good idea for some clydes.
Okay...so I was riding my bicycle up local Rist Canyon yesterday morning, and on the very last 100 feet near the top, I BROKE MY SADDLE. I was alternating standing and sitting on the last section of switch-backs, and I had grimly clamped my butt onto the saddle to power up the last 100 yards/meters to the top, and the saddle starts creaking really loudly for the first time ever. About 50 yards/meters from the top, I hear this loud pop, the saddle slumps to one side, and a piece of metal from my bike goes pinging downhill behind me like it came out of a slingshot. The rear half of the metal rail on the right side of my saddle, had snapped in two. I think "Holy s#!t".
I found a nice pine branch on the nearby forest floor, that was just the right size to wedge into the gap left by the broken part. A couple of minutes of scraping it on the pavement to make it fit better, and using one of the velcro reflective strips that I wear on my ankles when it is dark to hold the stick firmly into place, and I was back in business. I could lean back on the saddle with my legs on descents, but decided that it could not take up-hill pressure of sitting and pedaling (especially since I had already broken one side of the saddle doing that!). The trip back from there usually takes me about 1:10, but having to stand up so much, and also go a lot slower to be safe down those steep hills, took me over 2.5 hours.
Since the bike shop where I bought the bike was closer than home, I went straight there. They replaced the saddle in just a few minutes. For free. Most bike shops make you get a refund from the manufacturer yourself. I love that bike shop (Peleton Cycles in Loveland and Fort Collins, Colorado). The broken saddle was a Specialized Alias with titanium rails, and the new one is a Specialized Avatar with chromolly rails. Since the Avatar is less expensive, they also gave me a couple of energy bars (ready for lunch by then), and an inner tube at no cost as well.
Apparrently I'm the first person that they have ever seen break a titanium-railed saddle. They have heard about competitive bike racers breaking saddles with titnanium and carbon fiber rails, and regularly see racers permanently bend steel rails (very rarely clydes, though), but I'm the first person at their shop to actually break a saddle. I feel like a freak.
So...be careful if you are a clyde that tends more towards strength and endurance (below 70 rpm average cadence on hills, and no fear of big heavy gears), and your saddle is set more than half-way back on the seat post. Titanium does not flex as much as chromolly, and can and does shatter.
Have fun out there!