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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 08-13-09, 01:54 PM   #1
Rockin' down the highway
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: McKinney, TX
Bikes: Electra Townie 21 700cc
Posts: 25
Athena Saddle for Commuter

Hey folks.

I'm a noob here, but you all seem pretty knowledgeable about clyde/athena stuff, so I thought I'd ask. I have a comfort bike (an Electra Townie 21), that has the worst saddle I've ever had the displeasure of sitting upon. Unfortunately, I'm commuting on the thing (10 miles RT); I love the bike but my butt hates me. I'm looking for some good suggestions for an Athenaesque saddle. I weight about 295 and am 5'9". I expect from my size and the position that I sit in the saddle that I will likely need a saddle that's 155mm. Ideally, this will be a saddle that would enable me to increase my mileage as my fitness level increases.

Anyone got any suggestions?
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Old 08-13-09, 03:44 PM   #2
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Bikes: Reynolds 531P road bike, Rocky Mountain Metropolis, Rocky Mountain Sherpa 10, Look 566
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I'm using an Axiom 602c right now on my main commuter that seems pretty comfy. I also have a Serfas "Dual Density" women's saddle (not the one with the cut-out) on my other commuting bike that is pretty comfortable up to about an hour, then the softer padding starts to bottom out, no pun intended. The Axiom is a little firmer, so it feels a bit hard for 2 or 3 minutes, then more or less disappears.
The Axiom saddles aren't sold as mens or womens models, but by riding position. The packaging is a little confusing; you're supposed to peer at little stick figures on bikes, decide which one matches your usual side profile, then buy the saddle that goes with it. (Wide for upright, less wide for touring, narrower for road/racing bikes, very narrow for time trial/triathlon.) I never thought I'd ever like a narrow saddle, but I have their race saddle on my road bike and find it quite good.
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Old 08-13-09, 04:04 PM   #3
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Location: Central Coast, California
Bikes: Colnago C-50, Calfee Dragonfly Tandem, Specialized Allez Pro, Peugeot Competition Light
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Nobody here knows what your butt looks like so that is a difficult question. I suggest that you go to your LBS and have them measure your sit bones. Don't worry they won't have you in the stirrups. (My wife just told me that wasn't funny) They should have a foam pad or something like that for you to sit on. They will take the measurement from there. That should get you close. You will also need to make sure that the saddle is positioned properly on the bike for you. That means nose tilt forward /aft etc..
Good luck!

BTW From my experience Terry makes good woman's saddles as does Brooks and Selle Anatomica. good luck in your search!
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Old 08-13-09, 08:50 PM   #4
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
Bikes: 2006 Specialized Ruby Pro aka "Rhubarb" / and a backup road bike
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* How long have you been riding your bike? Sometimes your butt just needs to get accustomed to the saddle; and some saddles need a break-in period.

* Saddle width is selected by the width of your sit bones, not your pants size or weight. So you may be surprised that you don't need as wide a saddle as you might think. Also, as noted above, desired saddle width depends a great deal on your riding posture. More upright generally means a wider saddle. And it's not your overall body frame size - it's a specific measurement between the ischial tuberosities. The measurement is typically done by sitting on a gel strip then measuring the distance between the indentations in the gel with a measuring tape. You can probably borrow a pair of bike shorts ("trying them on") for the measurement.

* If you are carrying extra pounds below the waist (or have lost a lot from there) you will probably find bike shorts improve your comfort both while pedaling and while just sitting on the saddle. The chamois prevents chafing; the compression keeps saggy skin under control to prevent heaving, jiggling, sagging, and chafing. I found that they helped keep the saddle edges from irritating tender areas.

* Stay away from saddles that are so padded that you sink into them. I have a miserable cushy gel saddle that causes all sorts of problems since the wrong areas are being tasked to do weight-bearing. That's what the sit bones are supposed to do.

* A good LBS will let you ride on a new saddle for several weeks and then allow you to exchange if it is in good condition and you keep the packaging. Both old and new would need to be saddles that they had in stock anyhow, not special orders. Comfy saddles mean you'll ride your bike more and continue being their customer.

* Chamois cream can be your friend for longer rides especially if you get sweaty.

I have a Specialized Lithia saddle and am quite happy with it. After a 50 mile ride on rolling hills, plenty of things are tired and uncomfortable but generally not my butt. But my bike is a road bike with a fairly aggressive geometry; YMMV.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:44 AM   #5
Rockin' down the highway
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: McKinney, TX
Bikes: Electra Townie 21 700cc
Posts: 25
Thank you all so much for your input! I've taken some of your advice and have read up on other women's experiences here.

I went to the LBS yesterday, and let's just say that it isn't what it's cracked up to be. None of the male workers would help me, and there was only 1 female manning the register. I had to ask her 3 times if they had a sit bone measurement tool. Before she even measured me, she tried to sell me a saddle that was just like the one I was eliminating. Talk about frustrating. Anyway, based on the wonderful input you all write on the forums (and other reviews), I ended up with a Specialized Sonoma Sport (women's) with a cutout that's 175mm. I put it on my bike last night and made all the sizing/comfort adjustments. It's not a gel seat, so it'll take some time to break in, but I'm excited to do that.

Thanks again.
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