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  1. #1
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    Saddles and comfort

    Are most of the larger riders, over 275, using stock saddles or have you found the need for upgrades? I am uncomfortable on my current saddle. 100lbs ago the seat worked fine now not so much. I am looking for something that doesn't make me numb after 1/2 hour or to sore to ride without a week long break. I still have the memory of soreness from when I rode 200 miles a week(20 years ago) and just thought "tough it out you wimp." I do not want to tough it out but I also want to avoid a cruiser seat with springs hanging below. Any ideas?

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    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    Yikes, you might get fewer opinions if you asked what color bike is fastest. But I'll tell you what worked for me. I fell for the gel padded hype, and bought a springy padded seat and suspension seatpost. It worked, for about 20 miles. Rides longer than that got more and more uncomfortable. So I bit the bullet, and got a Brooks B17 and ditched the suspension seatpost. Yes, breaking it in has been difficult, but it has reached the point (after 250 miles) that it feels better every ride.

    "If the saddle don't fit, you must acquit"-Abraham Lincoln.
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  3. #3
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Find an LBS that has a test saddle program that allows enough time on each saddle to give it a fair evaluation. RIDE on that saddle how you expect to be riding your bike...distance and time in saddle wise.

    Have your sit bones measured as well and buy a seat that is suitable to that measurement.

    Wear appropriate cycling shorts with a chamois and USE Chamois cream for long rides to avoid saddle sores.

    I recently tested several saddles and ended up with the Fi'zi:k Vesta.
    http://www.tofighthiv.org/site/TR/Events/AIDSLifeCycleCenter?px=2914622&pg=personal&fr_id=1770

  4. #4
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by printgoon View Post
    Are most of the larger riders, over 275, using stock saddles or have you found the need for upgrades? I am uncomfortable on my current saddle. 100lbs ago the seat worked fine now not so much. I am looking for something that doesn't make me numb after 1/2 hour or to sore to ride without a week long break. I still have the memory of soreness from when I rode 200 miles a week(20 years ago) and just thought "tough it out you wimp." I do not want to tough it out but I also want to avoid a cruiser seat with springs hanging below. Any ideas?
    I started cycling weighing somewhere around 280 (higher, but I'm never sure just how much higher, I think 290-something) and just used the stock saddle. Now I'm about 250 (although a lot of weight has shifted from my middle to my leg muscles) and still use the stock saddle.

    Have you tried adjusting the saddle? I assume "100lbs ago" means you used to be 100lbs heavier than you currently are, and losing that much weight will change your body shape in ways that might warrant a saddle readjustment. If you're getting numb then depending on just what parts are getting numb it may be you've shifted riding position so your weight is supported differently. That might mean you need a new saddle, it might mean you just need to reposition your existing one.

    Sometimes a saddle position can work for a short ride but not for a longer ride. I recently fiddled with my saddle position, took it for a 25 mile ride, and everything seemed fine. Then when I did a 200k brevet I got about 30 miles in before it felt like almost my entire body weight was pressing on my testicles. A quick tweak to drop the nose of the saddle about 1/4" and everything was fine again.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  5. #5
    Member slowpedaller's Avatar
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    Don't get a cruiser seat unless you're riding a cruiser. It won't be comfortable.

    I am a woman, have been up to 290, right now about 270. My bikes are men's bikes, and the men's stock seats have always been too narrow, as women's anatomy generally requires wider. I tried and returned about 5 different saddles that seemed well-reviewed for my cyclocross bike before I found one (a Terry) that was perfect comfort and I NEVER got sore. It didn't have much padding or a cutout, and wasn't super-wide, although I first assumed those would be "better". When I got a road bike, I bought the same saddle, but it was very uncomfortable with my more aggressive position on the 2nd bike. Again I just had to try about 3 at my lbs, and found one that was PERFECT, again not padded and no cutout, and pretty narrow looking, just the right shape I guess, and not the one I assumed when I looked at the selection. Out of curiosity, I tried saddle #2 on the cyclocross bike later, and it was uncomfortable as well. I needed to have the right saddle for each style of bike.

    There really hasn't been any change in comfort when I have varied up and down between about 220-290 lbs over the last few years. But the different fits of the 2 bikes made a big difference. So I suppose if your position is different that can have the same effect.

    So I guess my point is, find a way to try a few saddles, don't worry too much about what other people use, because they don't have your butt or your bike. Try a few types until you see what works best, and don't get it stuck in your head that it has to look a certain way.

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    Are you wearing bike shorts? I think a lot of clydes (me included) didn't want to be seen in bike shorts, and we didn't wear them. This is a huge mistake. Get some good bike shorts (mountain bike shorts are fine if you don't want the spandex look). They make a huge difference.

  7. #7
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    Bike shorts make a big difference. I like Aero Tech Designs' Top Shelf bike shorts (they come in lots of big sizes, too). Wear them (no underwear) with polyester workout shorts or polyester track pants (depending on temp) on top, to shield innocent eyes from the spandex. For saddles, I am really liking my Brooks B17. As soon as it got broken in so that I wasn't sliding off of it (they are slick to start with), it has been perfect. Took a few rides to get there, but now it is wonderful. The advice others have given about trying before you buy if you can is good, too.

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    Without any idea about what saddle you're currently using, or, if that 100lbs was a gain or a loss, I really can't suggest a course of action.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  9. #9
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tel0004 View Post
    Are you wearing bike shorts? I think a lot of clydes (me included) didn't want to be seen in bike shorts, and we didn't wear them. This is a huge mistake. Get some good bike shorts (mountain bike shorts are fine if you don't want the spandex look). They make a huge difference.
    What I did was to wear cycling shorts under a pair of baggy shorts. I figured the world didn't need to see me in spandex but I wanted the support of shorts. Overshorts gave me a bit of modesty, spared the world a sight it didn't need to witness, and also gave me some pockets for wallet and allen keys etc.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    It seems like the LBS will need to help me. "A hundred pounds ago" was when I was a 185 pound weakling. Truth be told I am over 3 bills so I took liberty with the 100 lbs. I did triathlons in my late teens and early twenties. Swam growing up and transitioned well into, at the time, a relatively new sport. I am that fat guy in the pool that is fast enough to demoralize the "skinnies." My fondest memories are of my bike time. A recent move out of the polluted Central Valley in California to the burbs south of Denver has made me want to jump back on the bike. After a couple of rides on my "vintage" early 90's road rocket and mountain bike my backside and other regions reminded me of the pain I used to experience. I would like to think I am wiser now and I don't need to suffer through that pain. I did pick up mountain bike shorts with padding and I am using those when I ride. I am using stock Specialized saddles from the previously mentioned era, the saddles came on bikes from the 2k range and at the time they were considered for "racing." They are very slim and sleek. I have read about "sit bones" and wonder if it custom sizing is the issue. I am a bit embarrassed to walk into the LBS, but it is interfering with my quest to ride again so I will swallow my pride and go.

  11. #11
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by printgoon View Post
    It seems like the LBS will need to help me. "A hundred pounds ago" was when I was a 185 pound weakling. Truth be told I am over 3 bills so I took liberty with the 100 lbs. I did triathlons in my late teens and early twenties. Swam growing up and transitioned well into, at the time, a relatively new sport. I am that fat guy in the pool that is fast enough to demoralize the "skinnies." My fondest memories are of my bike time. A recent move out of the polluted Central Valley in California to the burbs south of Denver has made me want to jump back on the bike. After a couple of rides on my "vintage" early 90's road rocket and mountain bike my backside and other regions reminded me of the pain I used to experience. I would like to think I am wiser now and I don't need to suffer through that pain. I did pick up mountain bike shorts with padding and I am using those when I ride. I am using stock Specialized saddles from the previously mentioned era, the saddles came on bikes from the 2k range and at the time they were considered for "racing." They are very slim and sleek. I have read about "sit bones" and wonder if it custom sizing is the issue. I am a bit embarrassed to walk into the LBS, but it is interfering with my quest to ride again so I will swallow my pride and go.
    Your sit bones will be in the same place they always were, but if you've gone from 185 to somewhere north of 300 you'll just have more padding around them. So much of what has already been said will still hold, you may still need to adjust your saddle to position it in a way that's more comfortable. If it was always uncomfortable the chances are either it's the wrong size/shape for you or it was never adjusted right in the first place.

    If the LBS treats you as anything other than a valued customer, go somewhere else. Whether you weigh 140 or 340 your money is worth the same.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by printgoon View Post
    I am a bit embarrassed to walk into the LBS, but it is interfering with my quest to ride again so I will swallow my pride and go.
    A good LBS will treat you with respect no matter your size, age, or whatever. If you get less than that, go elsewhere.

    I started riding a year ago as an overweight female not so far south of 60. I told the young men at a local LBS that I wanted a road bike. I was incredibly self-conscious since very few women my age are seen around here on road bikes-- and especially not many fat ones. In short, they have been wonderful to me. It is now a pleasure to stop in to ask a question, get a quick repair, or pick up supplies. Hope you find a good LBS too.
    ca. 2000 Specialized Expedition
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  13. #13
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    If your saddles weren't comfortable at 185 they can't be expected to be so now. Chances are reasonably good that you didn't have the right saddle all along. Or, that they weren't positioned properly for you. Sit bones don't change because of outside padding. However, the padding can get in the way of properly distributing the pressure where it's intended to go. Which can lead to discomfort, just as if you were using an over padded gel saddle.

    The gap between sit bones is not always proportional to the rest of your frame. I am reasonably broad across the shoulders and chest, yet, have medium sit bones and run fairly normal width saddles (Selle Italia Turbo or Flite). The Turbo is more of a T shaped saddle instead of a V shaped one.

    Don't be afraid to go into the LBS, tell them your story and what you're after. Several local shops worked with me through my saddle trials, even when I was honest about wanting to try as many as possible and my inclusion of other shops in order to achieve that. You should however, then purchase from one of the LBS' and not off the net. This and clothing are two of the areas where LBS' should be compensated for the convience of having a product on hand for us to try before buying.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  14. #14
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    If your saddles weren't comfortable at 185 they can't be expected to be so now.
    +1....275?! I hate stock saddles at my lowest weight of 220!

    Try as many as possible. I use a Terry Fly. I know some that hated the Brooks and now ride a Terry Fly and vice versa, all a matter of preference.

  15. #15
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    I started out at 360 and found the length of the ride was determined by comfort (or rather discomfort) from the saddle. A move to the Brooks B17 (recommended here in a number of threads) was an eye opener allowing longer rides. At my weight I wasn't aware of having to break the saddle in however I had a more relaxed bike fit, with saddle height a bit lower than optimum. This allowed for more miles and training. Having lost 75lb, and a new bike fit, I found myself sitting differently, and again struggling with comfort, prompting a move to a Selle Anatomica. There is no need to suffer through unbearable saddle pain, more comfortable saddles are available, and yes my LBS has been wonderful allowing me to trial saddles for a number of days.

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    Go see Andy Pruitt @ Boulder Sports Medicine Clinic. My wife and I both went and got fit and couldn't be happier. Andy is on the development team for saddles for Specialized, with a proper fitting saddle I was comfortable immediately. I'm 6'1" 280# and my wife is 5'2" 100# and we both have the same width on our sit bones, who would have thought? I started riding the year before last and have fought through the pain until our fittings in February. As I said I couldn't be happier.

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