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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 03-01-12, 11:49 PM   #1
Big Pete 1982
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A saddle question that's probably been asked before, but here goes...

OK, I know the theory behind why road bike seats or narrow and hard and supposed to support you're weight on your sit bones, but dangit, I just cannot find a comfy one that I can ride more than about 20 miles without being sore for a day or two after. I wound up finding a saddle with quite a bit of cushion to it, that is a few inches shorter in length than most saddles i've seen and it has been pretty good. I can go 40-50 miles and feel fine.

So my stupid question(s) is this: Is it because i'm a heavy rider? Am I just putting too much weight on my sit bones and if I lost a few more lbs would the pain go away? Am I going to do myself worse by riding the saddle that is comfy because it is softer and shorter than almost every seat i've seen on every road bike in every bike shop? Sorry for my newb stupidity, i was just hoping to get some clydesdale/athena opinions on this.
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Old 03-02-12, 12:09 AM   #2
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OK, I know the theory behind why road bike seats or narrow and hard and supposed to support you're weight on your sit bones, but dangit, I just cannot find a comfy one that I can ride more than about 20 miles without being sore for a day or two after. I wound up finding a saddle with quite a bit of cushion to it, that is a few inches shorter in length than most saddles i've seen and it has been pretty good. I can go 40-50 miles and feel fine.

So my stupid question(s) is this: Is it because i'm a heavy rider? Am I just putting too much weight on my sit bones and if I lost a few more lbs would the pain go away? Am I going to do myself worse by riding the saddle that is comfy because it is softer and shorter than almost every seat i've seen on every road bike in every bike shop? Sorry for my newb stupidity, i was just hoping to get some clydesdale/athena opinions on this.
The saddle that works for you works for you. If you can ride all day comfortably on a Bell saddle from Wal-mart, do it. If you need a Brooks, get that. Or a racing saddle. Whatever lets you ride in the most comfort.
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Old 03-02-12, 12:11 AM   #3
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I ride to work on a Selle Italia Max Gel Flow. I wear basketball/running shorts and cotton boxers and have no issues. Well, I do get 2 sore spots, but just some slight inflammation if I haven't been riding consistently.

It was very expensive, my wife doesn't know how expensive and if she knew, I think she'll be might upset...she doesn't like how expensive my hobbies are to begin with (I also like model trains, RC cars/trucks and am in IT). She hasn't seen prices of hockey gear yet so she is in for some sticker shock...what was the question? Oh yea...

I don't think it is because you are a heavy rider, that area for everybody is different. You just need to find some local shops that have test ride saddles and find one that works for you with how you ride. Don't do just one ride, go through a normal week for you on each unless it is absolutely horrible. You should know right away if a saddle is going to be an ass-hatchet. Obviously, if you do ride and ass-hatchet, let your but heal before trying the next one...

I was/got lucky. I found a saddle at Performance that worked for me several years ago and it lasted 2-3 years before I broke it from wear. It was only $40, but I used that saddle's dimensions to find something similar of higher quality. I also have a Felt Racing saddle on my Felt F75, I don't know anything about it but it is like butter to my ass.
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Old 03-02-12, 07:13 AM   #4
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+1 on what Neil said.

My wife has had trouble finding a saddle she likes and rides a wider, cushier saddle in a fairly upright position. She doesn't care about speed, climbing power, or endurance. She is happy cruising around just getting some sunshine and fresh air so it works for her. Bike fit and riding style are factors every bit as important as which saddle you choose. Myself, I've been going to narrower and harder saddles as my fitness has improved and find them more comfortable than the "comfort" saddle I started with. I find price and reputation to be overrated as factors in choosing your saddle. If it is comfortable for long rides and doesn't cause numbness or saddle sores, then it doesn't matter if it cost $29 or $290.

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Old 03-02-12, 07:26 AM   #5
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I got in a 105 mile ride on this one yesterday.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...Ride105012.jpg

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Old 03-02-12, 09:27 AM   #6
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Get your seat bones measured. Specialized dealers can usually do this for no fee if you buy a saddle from them, and they happen to make nice saddles.
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Old 03-02-12, 10:00 AM   #7
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Yep... I kept getting either too narrow a saddle or too cushy a saddle. Settled for minimal padding and wide. Also important to get one based on how you sit. I have a Specialized Toupe on my road bike and a Bontrager... something on my hybrid. Both are very comfortable... but the magic happens when I wear bicycle shorts
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Old 03-02-12, 11:07 AM   #8
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Saddles are a personal thing. Some people like longer ones that let them move around, some people prefer shorter ones. Generally speaking, wider saddles equate to a more upright riding position (I'm not talking about the distance between your sit bones). Some people like saddles with that droopy nose, some like a cutout in the middle...

I'd say if you found a saddle you can ride for 40 miles you're good to go until something changes (fitness, riding position etc). Comfort is dramatically more important than ANY other saddle feature.
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Old 03-02-12, 11:07 AM   #9
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Try a women's saddle. No joke.

They are wider and in my case more comfortable. I ride a Prologo, and the only difference between the men's/women's version of my model is that the female one is wider. Other than that they are identical in every way and you can't tell the difference unless measuring. My sit bones can, however, tell the difference in a great way.

If you think it's a dumb idea do a forum search here and you will see that a ton of guys ride women's saddles.

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Old 03-02-12, 01:15 PM   #10
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Leather saddles are the way to go. I love the Brooks for my upright bikes (I have a Lepper's in the herd too.. it's a Dutch version of the Brooks) and Selle An-anatomica for my road bike. The leather molds to your shape over a few weeks and then it's awesomely comfortable.

Hard plastic seats aren't always good after 20 miles. They cause pressure points. Some are padded with a closed cell foam, some are too spongy. Every manufacturer pads seats differently. It's a hunt that's wayyyy too expensive!
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Old 03-02-12, 01:50 PM   #11
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Everybody (or every body) has a favorite saddle, and while that's good information to know, the OP says he has a saddle that works. Why mess with something that doesn't need messing with?
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Old 03-02-12, 03:08 PM   #12
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what works best for me: Brooks b-17.

I tried many saddles and have had the same issues you are mentioning. Brooks solved it. I bought another one for my other bike. Love them!
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Old 03-02-12, 05:29 PM   #13
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Everybody (or every body) has a favorite saddle, and while that's good information to know, the OP says he has a saddle that works. Why mess with something that doesn't need messing with?
I guess I was wondering if my saddle that I like is gonna do some damage from being too soft. I don't have any chaffing problems with it and I can't remember ever being sore after riding it, but i've read that the reason saddles are generally less padded is because being too soft can cause tissue damage. I'll stick with what i got for now. Maybe if I lose some weight and gain some flexibility where my riding position gets lower, i might try something else.
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Old 03-02-12, 06:04 PM   #14
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I guess I was wondering if my saddle that I like is gonna do some damage from being too soft. I don't have any chaffing problems with it and I can't remember ever being sore after riding it, but i've read that the reason saddles are generally less padded is because being too soft can cause tissue damage. I'll stick with what i got for now. Maybe if I lose some weight and gain some flexibility where my riding position gets lower, i might try something else.
If you're not experiencing pain or numbness when you ride, then your saddle isn't likely causing any damage. It's when you experience pain or numbness and ignore it that you start to run into problems...
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Old 03-02-12, 07:41 PM   #15
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After seeing what some of the people ride on around here I am starting to think that a good number of people can adapt to anything. I ride with a group of guys three days a week and we go 25 to 40 miles. You should see some of their excuses for saddles! Big ass soft things that I don't know how they can stand. On the other hand, they don't know how I can ride on my hard little narrow saddle.
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Old 03-02-12, 07:57 PM   #16
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Get your seat bones measured. Specialized dealers can usually do this for no fee if you buy a saddle from them, and they happen to make nice saddles.
Quoted for emphasis. This is what I did. I got measured 2 yrs ago and was deemed mid/wide. They didn't have any wide in stock, so went for a mid. Seat was a big improvement over the stock seat on my Bianchi, and felt like I could get used to it with enough time on the road.

I went back last year and bought the same seat in WIDE from the specialized web page. I got it, unboxed it, and my heart immediately sank. It's only 10mm wider. For us non-metric heathens, that's less than 1/2 inch. I had to hold both seats together to tell ANY difference at all and figured I just wasted a really nice steak dinner on a redundant seat.

But tried it out and HOLY COW what a difference. I went from needing bibs and feeling sore on a 1hr ride to being able to ride the same route in basketball shorts.

So yah, get measured. Information is King, then make an informed purchase.
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Old 03-02-12, 08:27 PM   #17
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I ended up with a Brooks B17, I even tried a Cobb (btw he's got some good info on positioning http://cobbcycling.com/positioning.cfm). What I had to do was take several rides where every time I felt a bit of pain I stopped got off and adjusted the saddle forward, up, down, and even right and left until I finally got it to where I can ride now and not get sore. Butt butter helps too. I have never cared about what saddle another rider is riding, I may why, but if it works it works - more power to ya.
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Old 03-02-12, 11:24 PM   #18
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So yah, get measured. Information is King, then make an informed purchase.
You realize that the Specialized Ass-o-meter is only calibrated to work with Specialized saddles, right?
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Old 03-03-12, 07:02 AM   #19
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You realize that the Specialized Ass-o-meter is only calibrated to work with Specialized saddles, right?
Calibrated? Sure, as much as anything in the bike industry is calibrated. Every mfr measures everything differently and then puts a sticker on it in metric to make it look all precise. That's just the bike world we all live in.

But from my experience last season, I know that in the future if I have descriptors between "narrow" and "wide," my sit bones will probably fit the wide better, and that's where I should start. That's what I mean by information is king. Before that, I really didn't know.
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Old 03-03-12, 10:59 AM   #20
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But from my experience last season, I know that in the future if I have descriptors between "narrow" and "wide," my sit bones will probably fit the wide better, and that's where I should start. That's what I mean by information is king. Before that, I really didn't know.
Again: I wouldn't put too much weight on the "information" you get from a Specialized dealer unless you're buying a Specialized saddle. They told me I needed a 143mm (a.k.a. medium) saddle. Hated all of their 143mm saddles; the width was right but the shape was wrong. Ended up buying, and loving, two saddles that were much narrower than their recommendation. I suppose it's possible that two different guys in the same LBS didn't know how to use the Ass-o-meter... but I think it's more likely that their "measurements" just don't carry over to any other brand of saddle because, as you point out, there are no standard for saddle measurement.

If the measurement tool works for you, that's great! If not, I wouldn't be afraid to try other saddle sizes just because some cheap piece of foam told you they weren't the right size.
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Old 03-06-12, 10:22 AM   #21
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It's not rocket science, but there are a bunch of variables. #1 one is your riding position, if you ride upright what you'll need is altogether different than what you'd pick if you ride in an aero, flat back position... and there are lots of in betweens.

I wonder when people refer to "sit bones" (correctly, sitz bones) just what do they think that are referring to? Are they talking about yoga practice?

If you look at an anatomy illustration the area in question is shaped like a triangle. Hence, the measurements change as you rotate forward. If you are up and down when you ride, like going from tops to drops, then your needs are going to be different yet again. Same if you ride the nose while climbing, then slide back to mash.

To answer the OPs question, it may simply be a) you have the wrong saddle for your riding position, b) and/or you have the wrong tilt, and of course c) it's just the wrong shape and size. No, pain is not part of the deal. Any good fitting saddle ought to take you 100 miles without drama. If you ride fully upright, then it's more likely you end up suffering somethng like tailbone pain, coccydynia, from directing all that pressure to the area below the bottom of your spine.
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Old 03-06-12, 01:08 PM   #22
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It's not rocket science, but there are a bunch of variables. #1 one is your riding position, if you ride upright what you'll need is altogether different than what you'd pick if you ride in an aero, flat back position... and there are lots of in betweens.

I wonder when people refer to "sit bones" (correctly, sitz bones) just what do they think that are referring to? Are they talking about yoga practice?

If you look at an anatomy illustration the area in question is shaped like a triangle. Hence, the measurements change as you rotate forward. If you are up and down when you ride, like going from tops to drops, then your needs are going to be different yet again. Same if you ride the nose while climbing, then slide back to mash.

To answer the OPs question, it may simply be a) you have the wrong saddle for your riding position, b) and/or you have the wrong tilt, and of course c) it's just the wrong shape and size. No, pain is not part of the deal. Any good fitting saddle ought to take you 100 miles without drama. If you ride fully upright, then it's more likely you end up suffering somethng like tailbone pain, coccydynia, from directing all that pressure to the area below the bottom of your spine.
I'd say my riding position is neither aero nor upright. My position changes as I ride, mostly between hoods and flat bar, with occasional time in the drops. I rode about 40 miles on Saturday and did ok. I was a little sore, but I haven't ridden much this year so I think I just need to get some saddle time and it will get better. I used this saddle with pretty good luck last year.
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Old 03-06-12, 01:23 PM   #23
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The saddle that works for you works for you. If you can ride all day comfortably on a Bell saddle from Wal-mart, do it. If you need a Brooks, get that. Or a racing saddle. Whatever lets you ride in the most comfort.
That is a great point. I think a lot of folks worry about what is "right"
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Old 03-06-12, 11:34 PM   #24
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So far I love my Specialized Saddles. I have an Alias 155 on the Mountain bike (yes, I know, its a road saddle...) that I will probably change since my mountain bike is going back to "mountain" and put on the SS which is getting bike path duty. I have the stock BG saddle on my Sirrus, and, lets say I would buy another one, it gets along nicely with my butt!
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Old 03-07-12, 04:59 AM   #25
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All I have on the subject is right here!

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