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  1. #1
    Senior Member teresamichele's Avatar
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    How did you choose your saddle?

    I've been using a borrowed mountain bike with a large, wide gel seat. When I first sat on it, I was amazed at how much more comfortable it seemed than the seats on the bikes at the gym.

    Several months in, I'm not sure all that cushioning is a good thing. I've had some TMI problems with my back end that got me prescribed some very nice (read: painful) steroid cream. I can't help but think that sitting on a harder surface that had more support might have helped prevent that.

    I understand trying saddles out before you buy them, but how do you know what will work well over time? I can't imagine anyone sits down on a Brooks saddle and thinks it's comfortable but people buy them all the time.

    So - how did you pick YOUR saddle?
    Grace and Spark - my blog!

    "It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them." - G. Eliot

  2. #2
    Draft Producer Fastflyingasian's Avatar
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    im sure many others will chime in on this, but i really did choose a seat that didn't feel like a torture device. at the time when i was trying different saddles (at least 6 different types) i felt that if i could ride my normal distance at the time of 20 miles for 3 days in a row i found the right one. i used to be able to go 12 miles and couldn't even sit on the saddle. but after trying a few different shaped saddles i was able to figure out what brand was probably for me. also having your sit bones measured can also help for your quest for the right saddle. too much padding on the seat can be a major nuisance depending on the type of clothing you wear also.
    "If you never suffered from over training then you've never trained hard enough"

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  3. #3
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Specialized has the "assometer" to measure the width of your sit bones. VERY HELPFUL. When I went through the process, and they picked a width based on the measurement, I found the width difference immediately noticeable vs. my old seat (old seat was too narrow).

    You kind of have to gage the seat to your bike and riding style. I read your race report, and it sounds like you are going from a mountain bike to a road bike. The seat that is comfy on one may not be comfy on the other. As way of explanation, I will give you my action packed seat story:

    I bought a Specialized Romin seat in a "155" width after getting measured. I compared it to a Toupe, which had more padding, and chose the Romin as essentially the lightest, hardest seat I could find. The guys at the LBS said I may regret it, because my seating position on my hybrid had the bars essentially level with the seat. I pshawwed them and got it anyway.

    I rode it for two weeks, and could not get used to the thing, hurt, hurt, and more hurt. So I put it in the someday box and put the old narrow seat back on.

    About a month later, I built a new hybrid, with the bars about 4.5 - 5" below the seat, changing my weight distribution. I slapped on the Romin, and loved it from the get go. Changing my weight distribution totally changed the seat. If I get a road bike, I will get that same seat again.

    So at the end of that, don't get a seat thinking it will work on everything, and when you do get a seat, listen to your LBS if they seem knowledgeable.

  4. #4
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    I really asked around but at the end of the day, I went with a brooks. Went to a dealership and really talked with them and felt great about it. Some people talk about the breakin period but it was short for me.

    I know what you mean about trying them out first. I feel the same way about shoes. Its kinda a crap shoot really.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Honestly ... I saw it on sale at Nashbar and ordered it ... and for the most part it works.

    It's not padded, at all ... and I like it that way. It's a Selle Italia something or other ... carbon fiber, etc

    That's why I wear bike shorts

  6. #6
    DEK
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    It came with the bike I bought. I like it a lot so no need to change.

  7. #7
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    My experience kind of flies in the face of conventional wisdom, especially here.

    The first three road bikes I had all came with inexpensive OEM saddles - Schwinn Varsity, Motobecane Mirage, Sekai 2000, in that order. The Sekai was the first serious bike I had, and the first one I put decent miles on, so it was the first one I tried different saddles on. After being somewhat unhappy with the original, I got a Brooks Team Pro, because that's what all the pros used back then (late '70s). It looked great - smooth black leather with big copper rivets on it. But it was hard as a rock, and stayed hard as a rock for as long as I had it. I finally gave up on it and went with a basic plastic-shell, minimally-padded, synthetic leather-covered saddle from Nashbar, which I was happy with for the rest of the time I was with that bike. My next bike, a much nicer racing Gitane, came with a Selle Italia Turbo, and I loved it so much that one version or another of that saddle ended up on the rest of my bikes until recently. Now, I have two other bikes currently sporting their own OEM saddles - a Fisher Marlin that I've had for 4 or 5 years, and the Cannondale Synapse I just got a month or so ago. So far I haven't felt the need to change either of those.

    The only saddle change I've made a conscious choice on since then is taking the old Turbo off my ca. 1990 Trek road bike this summer after some male pressure issues, and after a bunch of research, and some home measurement of my ischial tuberosities, I replaced it with a Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flo. Initial impressions are good, but to be honest, that bike hasn't seen much use in the month since I got the new Cannondale.

    So my experience in a nutshell is: Generally good luck with OEM saddles, bad luck with one Brooks. And the one time I deliberately chose a new saddle for good reasons (and not just because "the pros use it") it was based on a fair bit of online research, measurement, reviews, etc.

    I should add in defense of Brooks that I only recently found out that the Team Pro model is made with thicker leather than the B17 everyone around here loves so much, so it makes sense that it wouldn't have broken in as easily, if at all. Be that as it may, it doesn't answer the question why anyone would want a Brooks that doesn't break in.
    Craig in Indy

  8. #8
    of Clan Nrubso ChrisO's Avatar
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    ...I understand trying saddles out before you buy them, but how do you know what will work well over time? I can't imagine anyone sits down on a Brooks saddle and thinks it's comfortable but people buy them all the time.So - how did you pick YOUR saddle?
    I sit on my Brooks saddle and find it comfortable.
    For me it came down to reading a bunch of reviews on BF and taking a chance that I too would like the B-17. Luckily, it worked out great for me.
    I chose my Specialized Toupe saddle because I'd heard enough good things about them (though it wasn't all good- never is) and I'm almost embarrassed to say, because it came in white; which I wanted for the Moto.

    It's always something of a crap-shoot with saddles. There's no fixing that.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member catmandew52's Avatar
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    I've got a 15 gallon storage box out in the garage, full of saddles. Some are OEM take-offs, some from project/parts bikes, but most are like new one week or less use.
    I was a newbie to my local LBS, but they weren't. I know they are at least 3rd gen, maye 4 at there location.
    The next time I went there, I asked what type of saddle I should be using. They questioned me, what type of bike, what position, how long, what I wore and where was the discomfort. I was given several options based on budget, but also was told, better to bring the exact bike back and make sure I was fitted to it correctly.
    Next time I had a chance, I took my old Fuji with me and left with a very nice anatomical saddle. That saddle worked very well until I had enough $$$ to go back and purchase a NOS Selle Royale leather saddle. That was 1996.
    Start saving for a saddle like the Brooks b17
    and try and find a LBS with knowledgable help and get yourself fitted on the bike you will ride.

  10. #10
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    My first saddles were just the factory whatevers.
    When I started putting in century mileage I switched over to a more comfortable padded shell model which I found through trial and error with my LBS. I rode those for a very long time, until someone suggested Brooks. I tried a B-17 from Wallingford Bicycle, due to their generous return policy, and didn't end up returning it. I was so impressed with it that I signed up for the B-17 Imperial beta test a few years ago and got that one for free.
    After an injury last season (not related to the saddle choice, but affecting it during recovery) I needed to swap for a padded shell saddle again. In looking at saddle width and overall profile, I found most to be lacking. Too narrow (150mm for most "wide" mens saddles) and the profile drops off too steeply from the center at the rear (not enough platform.) In looking at brands, Selle Italia had the flattest of all profiles I could find. For width, I went with a WSD (Diva Gel Flow, 160mm wide). I've since switched back to my B-17 Imperial on my distance bike, but my CX bike uses the Diva now because it's more comfortable to do a flying remount on that than on a Brooks. And a Brooks is a piss-poor choice for a sport that takes place in the muddiest, rainiest, snowiest weather on purpose.
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  11. #11
    Getting older and slower!
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    My LBS helped me pick my saddle, as they have for every saddle I've owned in the last 20 years or so. They measure, listen, make suggestions, and let me try them out.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teresamichele View Post
    I understand trying saddles out before you buy them, but how do you know what will work well over time? I can't imagine anyone sits down on a Brooks saddle and thinks it's comfortable but people buy them all the time.

    So - how did you pick YOUR saddle?
    I borrowed one from the local bike shop and used it for about a week. I had tried two others that I wasn't crazy about, and the third time was the charm.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  13. #13
    Senior Member McCallum's Avatar
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    Seat that came with bike till I bought a terry men's cite y gel; I will let you know how I like it when it comes. I chose terry cause I have heard good things about the ladies seat they make and my wife liked hers; which I need to replace also but that is another story; she likes the OEM that came with her new bike (the terry ladies is on one of my cast off she rode.) The terry should be here tomorrow or Friday (the order is at the PO as of 10:26 this morning). So; I might get to ride it Friday and Saturday
    Last edited by McCallum; 08-31-11 at 06:06 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I started with a girlie hybrid bike with a big fat wide seat. I never was comfortable on that seat if I went more than three miles. I tried a neighbors somewhat t shaped saddle for a week and it was a huge improvement. I bought another bike, it's OEM saddle was very narrow and pear shaped. It was horrible. I measured the distance between the center of my sit bones by taking a damp towel, covering it with a piece of paper, sitting on it while leaning forward and then measuring from the center of the indents. I clearly needed a wider saddle based on those measurements. I erroneously assumed that since I am a small boned person that this distance would be small. It wasn't. I went for a bike fitting and tried out several saddles and ended up with a Terry Butterfly. I love my saddle. Next bike I am not going to mess around, I am buying the same saddle.

  15. #15
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Read Simply Cycle

    "I can still do everything I used to, but now I'm mature enough to take a nap without being told." - Me

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  16. #16
    not as fat as I was Biggziff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    It would be nice if it were only that simple. What works for one person is a torture device for another. I have a riding partner that can ride in tighty whities and any shorts on a seat he dug out of a dumpster. He gets some pain around the 40 mile mark. No one else I know can do this, but there are some people out there who seem to be anatomically built in such a way as to be able to ride with anything. If you're one of them pat yourself on the back, count your blessings and ride on, but don't presume to speak for everyone else.

    I tried a few saddles and finally went to get measured on the Specialized ass-O-meter. I tried a few saddles courtesy of my LBS and found one (Specialized Avatar) that works OK for me. I'm currently in process of trying a few other Specialized models (Romin, Alias and Toupe) in the same size to see if one is better for me.

    For most people it is trial and error.
    humans can be so....rude

  17. #17
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    One thing to consider is that your @ss is a moving target...

    By that I mean that as the years go by on the saddle, your tush will adapt. What works or doesn't work right now may actually work down the road.

    How upright do you ride? Guessing by the fact you ride a mountain bike I would think fairly upright. If that's so, a sprung saddle may be the ticket.

  18. #18
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Brooks is always the answer.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  19. #19
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggziff View Post
    It would be nice if it were only that simple. What works for one person is a torture device for another. I have a riding partner that can ride in tighty whities and any shorts on a seat he dug out of a dumpster. He gets some pain around the 40 mile mark. No one else I know can do this, but there are some people out there who seem to be anatomically built in such a way as to be able to ride with anything. If you're one of them pat yourself on the back, count your blessings and ride on, but don't presume to speak for everyone else.

    I tried a few saddles and finally went to get measured on the Specialized ass-O-meter. I tried a few saddles courtesy of my LBS and found one (Specialized Avatar) that works OK for me. I'm currently in process of trying a few other Specialized models (Romin, Alias and Toupe) in the same size to see if one is better for me.

    For most people it is trial and error.
    I don't presume to presume to speak for anyone, just my personal observations offer the years.
    Ass-O-Meter, huh? At least they let you sample,most shops don't.

    Marc
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  20. #20
    Senior Member marmot's Avatar
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    The Kona Bike Co. picked my saddle for me. I just ride the seat that came on the bike. It's fine, I guess, because I never think about it. I seldom ride for more than a couple of hours without stopping, so comfort has never been an issue. On the other hand, I recently tested a bike that came with a Brooks. I was not impressed (although it felt like it was leaving an impression on my butt). I don't think you break in a Brooks, it breaks you in.
    Last edited by marmot; 09-02-11 at 06:37 AM.

  21. #21
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    The shipped saddle that came with the Specialized bike was ok, but started chafing the inside of my thighs on longer rides. I read "155" on the side, read some saddles that people liked here, and ordered a Selle Italia Max Flite Genuine Gel in a 145 mm width, and it has been great. Very happy with it.

    While we're talking about saddles, spare a thought for poor Tom Boonen, currently riding in the Vuelta: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/boon...en-groin-wound

  22. #22
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brando_T. View Post

    While we're talking about saddles, spare a thought for poor Tom Boonen, currently riding in the Vuelta: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/boon...en-groin-wound
    That's nuts!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    I didn't pick my saddle. My saddle picked me.


    For years I was content with the stock saddle on my GT, but for years the most I ever biked was probably 4-5 miles at a time.

    Then one year I decided to bike farther, and suddenly I realised the stock saddle hurt after 5 miles. Figuring it wasn't padded enough I went and bought a cheap Bell "gel" cover for the saddle, which was ok up until 30 miles, but then hurt like hell. I kept that for 2 years and never looked into it further, simply thinking I was just too fat, and that was the cause.

    Then I got into biking again this year after 5 years off, and really dialed up the mileage. Unfortunately the gel pad began to hurt incredibly bad as I approached 50 miles, so I began the search for a better saddle.

    First I purchased a WTB Speed V Comp. It was a lot better from miles 0-15, but a LOT worse from 25+. Gave me some horrendous saddle sores.

    Then I purchased some biking shorts. They seemed to make a minor difference for the better, but I was still having to get out of the saddle every 10 miles to stop my ass from hurting.

    Finally after tons of recommendations I bit the bullet and bought a Brooks Champion Flyer (B-17 with springs) from Wallingford Bikes so I could return it if it didn't work out.

    The first minute I was on it was like pure heaven. My 3rd ride on it was 40 miles... without getting off of the saddle even once. Simply put, it's absolutely amazing, and I'll never use anything else but Brooks from here on out.

  24. #24
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    I searched many "which saddle?" threads (and started one or two) when I was looking for a replacement for the OE saddle on my bike. I ended up with a Terry Liberator Y. On my next bike I swapped out the OE arse hatchet for a Serfas Rx-921L. Both saddles are comfortable, but I give a slight nod to the Serfas, only because the leather on the nose of the Terry appears to be wearing through. Neither saddle is stellar, but they've both demonstrated to me that the perineal cutout is paramount to my comfort.

    I've often thought of graduating to a Brooks (the B17 Imperial, with Relief Cut-out) based on the overwhelming number of posters here who swear by the company's saddles. I also find the Selle An-Atomica to be intriguing, and I'm leaning toward it for my next saddle.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  25. #25
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    The place that did my Bike-Fit rents seats for $10 a week (applied to the purchase price in the end). My butt was killing me after about 10 miles. Numbness and pain. I ended up with an ISM Adamo Century saddle (actually two of them, one for my road bike, one for my Mtn. bike). This coupled with padded Bontrager shorts makes for an amazing ride. Still took a few rides for my bones in my arse to get used to them, but now I can ride all day.

    http://www.ismseat.com/products_century.htm

    Gary F.


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