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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 02-26-08, 08:18 AM   #1
Rob_E
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Tell me about your favourite non-leather saddle(s)

Everyone is in love with their Brooks, but I don't do leather. And probably wouldn't anyway on my commuter since it sits out in the weather all day when I'm at work, and I don't always remember to cover up the seat.

I read Sheldon's article on saddles, and I'm starting to see that maybe fatter, softer seats don't always make for a better ride, which might explain the fact that no matter how fat and soft my saddle gets, it never seems more comfortable than my original Schwinn seat that I did most of my original heavy riding on. Although that one, too, ran a little fat (but then, so does the associated part of my body ). So my latest fat, gel filled saddle is looking pretty ragged after a year of riding, and I'm thinking of making a more informed purchase this time around.

So, keeping away from leather (sorry, all you Brooksies), what do you find comfortable?
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Old 02-26-08, 08:42 AM   #2
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I use a Specialized BG Avatar. Very narrow with the central slit. It's extremely comfortable.

My only complaint is that the gel pads for the sitz bones, or at least the material covering them, slurp up water pretty readily. It can be a cold surprise when I forget to slip the cover on--and it seems that half the time I get home to find I've forgotten to take the cover off.

Nice, but it ain't no Brooks.
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Old 02-26-08, 08:47 AM   #3
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I think it would be important to know whether comfort on a given saddle requires padded shorts or not. My hybrid came with a padded, fairly wide seat, and I've considered trying something narrower/firmer - but I don't use any supplemental padding.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:03 AM   #4
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I like the Terry Fly CroMoly Gel so much, I have one on both my bikes. It fits my narrow, bony tush just right, the large cutout makes riding in jeans doable, and the gel takes the edge of city streets.

Conversely, the gel makes it unsuitable for all-day century riding. It's fine up to somewhere in the half-century or metric century range, after that, I just want off the bike. The local Terry rep was at the LBS last night when I stopped in and I asked her about it. She advised that something firmer, like the regular Fly, would be a better choice for centuries. So I may pick one up.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:10 AM   #5
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Nice to know that there are others out there who are not into leather.

I've had good luck with the Nashbar Men's Sport Saddle. Medium width, soft, so no need for padded shorts, but not squishy. Fabric cover keeps things from getting too sweaty. But most of my riding is short distance (10 mi. or less) in a pretty upright position. If you're putting in long miles on a road bike this saddle probably would not be the answer.

The Holy Grail would be a non-leather saddle with bag loops. All I have is an antique Brooks mattress job, would probably get uncomfortable quickly on a long ride. Is there anything else out there? I know about the Carradice Bagman but would prefer to keep things simple...
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Old 02-26-08, 09:17 AM   #6
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Best plastic saddle I found for me was a Selle Italia Prolink but I've since had a change of heart but it worked for a while...
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Old 02-26-08, 09:45 AM   #7
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Selle Italia Flite Trans Am - I have had several versions of this saddle. The skinniest and hardest one goes on my mtn bike, and I'm using a slightly more padded version on my road bike. When commuting, I don't wear bike shorts - just regular boxers - and I use an old Selle Italia Turbo. It's very broken-in, and I use duct tape to keep the leather on. I also have an SDG Bel-Air that goes on the rigid SS mtn bike. It's very comfy, with or without shorts, but it's heavy and vinyl, so it stays on that bike.
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Old 02-26-08, 09:54 AM   #8
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best saddles I've tried are specialized BG Avatar, Alias and Toupe for me, all 143 size.
don't need padded cycling shorts for Avatar and Alias, at least I don't feel like I need them.
I have a 155 Avatar as well, just as comfortable as the 143, but I can feel my legs hitting the outer edges. Amazingly my brooks is nearly the same size as the 155 and I don't get this problem.

It's pretty wet here right now so I'm using non-leather.
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Old 02-26-08, 10:25 AM   #9
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Koobi AU Enduro
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Old 02-26-08, 10:52 AM   #10
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I bought a Fizik Rondine on a whim last year after seeing it real cheap. It's miles better than the WTB Race that came on my Kona. Firmer and with better support. The 'wings' thing on Fiziks may be a gimmick, but this saddle is comfortable for my commute and 3 hour weekend rides. I'm keeping an eye out for another cheap one to hang onto for my next inevitable bike build.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:22 AM   #11
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+1 for the Fizik line.

You do need to think about position; many saddles are in the racing mode designed for low handlebars and near horizontal back. Not generally a commuting position.

It might be worth looking at what is put on touring bikes; I think Cannondale is using Fizik now.

Another possible option to padded shorts and padded seats is to put on a shock absorbing seatpost. Most have the capability of adjusting stiffness.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:25 AM   #12
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Koobi AU Enduro
Not a Brooks-style leather saddle, but it does have leather parts. Don't know what that means about how it holds up in the rain.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:36 AM   #13
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saddle.jpg

OOPS ! this one is leather.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:54 AM   #14
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I have a wide ass, Fizik are narrow=bad fit! I don't like them.

I've had lots of different saddles, but the ones that worked the best were the WTB saddles, specifically the late 90s SST series. They have a bit of a cult following because they worked so well. There are firmer ones and softer ones in the series.

For under 10 miles I like the SST 98...it has some elastomer insert that makes it pretty cozy. Beyond that I start getting pain in all of my fleshy between-the-cheeks areas. Also, for some reason it doesn't do my sciatica any justice. The firmer ones are better up to 25 miles, but I still end up with the pain.

To be honest, the only thing that I've found that works well at distance is the Brooks. It's just as bad as any saddle when you first sit down, but within 3 miles my butt finds zen and at 15 miles and beyond it's like a lounge chair compared to a plastic saddle. I'll never go back to plastic to be honest.
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Old 02-26-08, 12:05 PM   #15
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The important thing with saddle fit is the shape and width. After riding a Brooks B17 for a while, I tried a Fizik Aliante because I kept hearing raves about them. The Aliante was very comfortable but not quite wide enough for me, so I tried the Fizik Vitesse, which is sometimes marketed as a women's saddle because of its width. The Vitesse fits me better than any saddle I have ever tried, including Brooks, and is very light and relatively inexpensive. My Vitesse weighs less than half as much as the B17 it replaced. I've since put Vitesse saddles on all 3 of my road bikes.

I've also had good experiences with Koobi saddles (Enduro and Silver), but the shape of the Fiziks fits me better. Koobies are flat across the top, while Fiziks are more sloped with a slight hammock.
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Old 02-26-08, 02:17 PM   #16
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WTB Rocket series. Excellent saddles
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Old 02-26-08, 05:09 PM   #17
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Look at a Serfas Rx.
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Old 02-26-08, 05:51 PM   #18
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This '80s Vetta was probably the most comfortable non-Brooks I've tried, though it was terrible if I rode in a more upright position on another bike. And it has bag loops.

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Old 02-26-08, 06:28 PM   #19
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I use a saddle made by Specialized. It says "Body Geometry", ' not sure what model they are. My LBS has them for $26. Its the best one I've tried so far.
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Old 02-26-08, 11:09 PM   #20
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Fit changes through time to some extent. I rode a brooks with real chamois from 1971 to about 1993 when I changed from a 1974 bike to a 1993 bike. That didn't last, and the Brooks went back on. In the late 90s I used a range of synthetics. Started training and lost weight, picked up the Alias 143. Very comfortable. A little odd feeling. Changed back and forth with a Fizik Pave for a long time. Decided the Pave was better in perfect adjustment, but that the Alias was more forgiving. Had my dog wack my nuts. Pave was out! I lost more weight, and the Alias started getting hard!

So I've ended up extremely happy with a San Marco Arami 235 SIZE system saddle. Supposed to match my rear and my weight. It does. Has the balls-happy cutout, which I didn't used to need but do now!

Conditions change and I seem to have required saddle changes to keep up. I really did enjoy that Pave until it stopped working for me!
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Old 02-27-08, 09:00 AM   #21
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I have four Fizik saddles (Aliante, Poggio, and 2 x Arione tri) including on my commuter (Aliante is on this one). Fizik just seemed to fit me very comfortably so I stuck with them. I do wear tri shorts though when I commute.
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Old 02-27-08, 09:47 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the ideas. Based on what I've read so far, and what I've read on the Clydes forum, I think I'm leaning towards the Body Geometry Milan. Seems to have everything I need: wide enough for my ample posterior, padded enough to use without shorts, not leather, and narrow enough at the front that it shouldn't get in the way of free movement. There's some other great ideas in this thread, too, but with Body Geometry coming up again and again, and with my tendency to favor wider seats, I think I may have my answer.
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Old 02-27-08, 10:16 AM   #23
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For commuting I have several Bontrager saddles. Race Lite/Select/Race Lux/etc I'm sure there's some weight difference between them, but they all sit the same, and look almost identical - and they're cheap. When I bought my last fixed-gear I sold the toupe that was on it for ~$150 and picked up the Bont. for ~$12 shipped.





For longer/faster road rides I like the Fizik Arione currently, though I believe I'm going to buy about 20 or so ebay saddles soon and spend the spring working my way through them.




[edit] I am seriously toying with the idea of turning them into some sort of saddle loan/trial program for locals but haven't worked out the details yet.
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Old 02-27-08, 10:21 AM   #24
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Thanks for all the ideas. Based on what I've read so far, and what I've read on the Clydes forum, I think I'm leaning towards the Body Geometry Milan. Seems to have everything I need: wide enough for my ample posterior, padded enough to use without shorts, not leather, and narrow enough at the front that it shouldn't get in the way of free movement. There's some other great ideas in this thread, too, but with Body Geometry coming up again and again, and with my tendency to favor wider seats, I think I may have my answer.
While not a 'Clyde' in the official sense(I'm 190+) I accidently stumbled on a great saddle. I was doing a re-build for my wife and got a Bontrager Woman's mtb saddle for around 35-40.00 from my lbs. I tried it out for a couple of weeks and it's now on my #1 commuter/rb. They're a little wider and ergo. I do 120-200 miprwk w/no probs.
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Old 02-27-08, 10:38 AM   #25
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My favorite is my specialized toupe on my road bike. I plan on putting one on my fixed gear eventually.
My low end saddle on my MTB is super comfy for some odd reason.
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