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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 04-28-09, 06:40 PM   #1
aboyd
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Saddle question-how comfy should it be?

I have been riding for about 4 years now, range somewhere between 500 and 1000 miles per year. I have tried different saddles and have been riding a Brooks B17 for the last year. I have done several metrics, and numerous 30-50 mile rides, and I find my Brooks to be comfortable enough. However I don't know how comfortable I can expect to be on a bike saddle. I usually stand up out of the saddle every 5-10 miles or so, and let my "nether region" have blood flow back in. I have never gotten any saddle sores or anything. Once I finish a ride and get off the bike, my backside feels pretty good after a few minutes, no lasting soreness or problems. However I read of people who have found saddles that seem to "disappear' beneath them, that they are super comfortable and they love them. Just how comfortable can I expect to be? My longest ride to date has been 65 miles, but I plan to do a century later this year. I plan to continue with the Brooks for now as I am not sure I want to spend the money on a continued search, but should I expect more comfort than I have now? Should I be able to find a saddle that is so comfortable I don't even realize it is there? By the way, I am 6'4" and 280 today, been down as low as 255, and hope to get back there.
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Old 04-28-09, 07:55 PM   #2
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500 to 1000 miles a year? Sounds like your not riding enough. Just kidding, (sort of) I have found if I don't ride every day, I'm not as comfortable. As long as there are no lasting issues or saddle sores, don't worry about it.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:15 PM   #3
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That is kinda what I was thinking. One of my riding buddies has done longer rides than I and he is much smaller, and he gave the same advice. He gets similar feelings as I do and stands up every 10 miles or so to let the blood flow.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:25 PM   #4
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Comfort isnt the criteria for judging a saddle, fit is. The saddle is one of the points where you exercise xcontrol of the bike. With more practice you will put less weight on the saddle and more on your feet. I take it you are wearing padded shorts that dissipate the sweat from your butt.
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Old 04-28-09, 08:40 PM   #5
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Should I be able to find a saddle that is so comfortable I don't even realize it is there? By the way, I am 6'4" and 280 today, been down as low as 255, and hope to get back there.
First, I am in your size range, 6'4" and today 265#, but was 279# 4 weeks ago. (Changed eating habit to get through the wall, and also some more riding time with weather improving.)

I have several bikes, the three I ride the most frequent are fitted (in order of frequency) a B68 on a Hybrid set in more upright position, B17 Imperial, Schwinn Continental, and a a B17 (new) sharing duty between to road bikes, a project 73 Super Sport and a 76 Superior.

All three bikes and saddles are comfortable, including the B17. The B68 is used on rides with the wife, 10 - 12 mile rides, usually every night and twice on weekends. The B17 Imperial has seen the longer distances, 60 - 75 miles a few times last year, and the longest this spring 29 miles.

I find, extending my legs and rising from the saddle helps me to relieve my back side of any numbness and also to correct my posture while riding.

My rule for a comfortable saddle, regardless of the distance I ride, is when I am off the bike, the ghost saddle is not felt, ever.

Before my Brooks, I could feel my bike saddle(s) for hours, and once a day plus an evening. I do not think I will need to try any more saddles, and consider myself fortunate to have found the Brooks B17 series fit me properly.

My son who is 6'7" learned that his sit bones are a bit wider than standard saddles, found a model of Specialized gel style better fitted and has no more issues with pain there or in the lower back when he rides.

If your saddle fits and provides comfort, then all will be good, it is natural to search for something better, or it may just be a slight adjustment. Try sliding it forward or back a little, even try tilting the nose up if level, or level if presently up.

At this time you should be observing the indentations on the B17 where your sitbones are resting, if the saddle is to forward then you are riding on the rivets, an error I have seen on more than one occasion. The same can occur if to far back, you are sitting on the nose area and supporting more of your upper body with your arms, not as comfortable as you can be.

PS: Riding shorts is a good idea, I just have not gone that route yet. I do select shorts with flat center seam, and no seam on undergarment. Same for legged pants, usually a nylon wind pant over the same shorts. Just haven't bought Lycra type garments, maybe some day.

Last edited by bab2000; 04-28-09 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:28 PM   #6
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on my race bike i have a terry fly Ti. it is comfortable for up to 85 miles. anything over 100 miles i am not excited about sitting on it but its no big deal. on my pacer i have a terry fly liberator race gel. that saddle disappears under me for stretches at a time. i love it. the more time you spend on the saddle the more acquainted your bum is, making it feel more comfortable. The expensive search for the perfect saddle that will "disappear" under you should depend on how long you are on the saddle a week, and how long of a ride do you plan on riding. If your lucky somebody has a saddle for sale for cheap you can try out before you buy. that's how i got the terry ti. but of course this is all assuming that your bike fits correctly before you dump money on more saddles.
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Old 04-28-09, 09:44 PM   #7
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Thanks guys for the input, the B17 is showing indentions where my sits bones rest, so I think the Brooks fits good. I do wear riding shorts, and I believe my bike is a good fit. I will start spending more time in the saddle and see how things feel.
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Old 04-30-09, 08:27 AM   #8
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Finding a saddle that works for you is like foating on a cloud. I struggled for two years on a stock saddle and a bonti for over 10,000k combined. I then bought a selle italia slr and it's like night and day. Did hill repeats the other day which usally killed my arse but no issues at all.
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Old 04-30-09, 06:19 PM   #9
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Should I be able to find a saddle that is so comfortable I don't even realize it is there?
Yes, but you may have to think outside the box.

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Old 05-01-09, 05:52 AM   #10
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Don't always think the most expensive saddle is better either, I have a $120 Toupe that I took off and replaced with a fizik aliante that cost me $20.00. I like the aliante better, looks like the toupe will ened up on ebay.
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Old 05-01-09, 08:35 AM   #11
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I think I going to go back to the saddle that was originally on my bike. Just getting used to riding I needed a little support. Not now so much.
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Old 05-01-09, 06:12 PM   #12
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Don't always think the most expensive saddle is better either, I have a $120 Toupe that I took off and replaced with a fizik aliante that cost me $20.00. I like the aliante better, looks like the toupe will ened up on ebay.
your right you dont need expensive saddles. you just need the one that fits you good. for me it came at a decent cost. i find it not fair my buddie can ride 10-20 dollar saddles all day and he loves them
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Old 05-01-09, 07:09 PM   #13
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It sounds to me like you're already doing the right thing (relieving pressure once in a while). Too many people ride like they are glued to the pedals, to the saddle and to the handlebars. Today's bikes seem to encourage that, with the clipless pedals and the brake lever shifting from the hoods.

No sores or anything seems to suggest you are getting good results. A bike is not a big comfy couch. It's an exercise machine at the same time as it is a vehicle. Think minimalist sports car with firm suspension and relatively thinly-padded seat, rather than Cadillac.

For longer distance comfort, a saddle needs to be firm but with a bit of overall give and good cradling of your sit bones, which very much describes a B17. But on the flip side of this, if you don't ride for a while, then you have to recondition your butt for it. If it's too comfortable right away, then it probably won't be in the long run. Many saddles that seem uncomfortable would be fine if the owner tweaked riding position to suit riding style and intensity.
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Old 05-01-09, 07:28 PM   #14
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I usually stand up out of the saddle every 5-10 miles or so, and let my "nether region" have blood flow back in.
That doesn't sound right. I can sit on my Brooks all day and not lose blood flow to my wang. Eventually, my ass bones will start screaming, but that's usually after 5+ hours. I know most people ride w/ their Brooks tilted up more than a regular saddle, but have you tried reducing the tilt a bit so you don't have the impaired blood flow problem?
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Old 05-01-09, 08:08 PM   #15
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It sounds to me like you're already doing the right thing (relieving pressure once in a while). Too many people ride like they are glued to the pedals, to the saddle and to the handlebars. Today's bikes seem to encourage that, with the clipless pedals and the brake lever shifting from the hoods.

No sores or anything seems to suggest you are getting good results. A bike is not a big comfy couch. It's an exercise machine at the same time as it is a vehicle. Think minimalist sports car with firm suspension and relatively thinly-padded seat, rather than Cadillac.

For longer distance comfort, a saddle needs to be firm but with a bit of overall give and good cradling of your sit bones, which very much describes a B17. But on the flip side of this, if you don't ride for a while, then you have to recondition your butt for it. If it's too comfortable right away, then it probably won't be in the long run. Many saddles that seem uncomfortable would be fine if the owner tweaked riding position to suit riding style and intensity.
This is really an issue, a lot of people have this idea that a bike ride must be a continuous event, that the first commandment of cycling is thou shalt not stop in reality, nothing wrong with riding for a while, stopping, even getting off walking around a bit, if that's what a rider needs to do to be comfortable. Then get back on and ride some more.
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