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Old 09-18-05, 01:17 PM   #1
FarHorizon
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More saddle musings...

The LBS talked me into trying a "padded" saddle - A Specialized Milano. This plastic split-tail has heaps of confectioners' sugar style foam on top with a thin plastic cover. You know what? It's comfortable! Despite all the negative press I've seen on these forums about padded or gel saddles, this puppy isn't bad! On the plus side:

1. The saddle rails are long so that I can slide the saddle back enough in the seat post
(Not the case with my Brooks B-17)
2. The wide, split rear on the saddle seems to match my sit bones fine
(When I slid back on the Brooks, I was sitting on that hard rear rail)
3. The "well" in the center of the saddle seems to get the pressure off of my perineum
(On the Brooks, the perineum was always "on the ridge" of the saddle)

On the minus side:

1. Forget about "sliding around." On this saddle, you get off if you want to move forward or back.

Overall, an inexpensive, but comfortable saddle. I've so far been able to do do my daily rides without any soreness at all. I'll try a 40-miler tomorrow & let y'all know.

With such good results so far, I'm thinking of trying the Specialized gel saddles with the "body geometry" spacings. I tried one once before, but I think it wasn't really my size.

So far, I like the Specialized Milano better than my B-17! Time will tell if initial impressions will hold up.
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Old 09-18-05, 02:02 PM   #2
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I've decided it's just not possible to generalize about saddles, and you never know what's going to work until something clicks. Just because a saddle is great for a hundred other people doesn't mean it'll work for you, or me.

Although this isn't supposed to happen according to everything I've read here--the cliche being that stock saddles are always terrible--I got a new bike last week (Marin Larkspur) and the saddle that came on it (a fairly inexpensive WTB "Comfort," with slight padding and a channel down the middle) has surprised me by being a wonderful saddle--I've been able to do a 50-mile ride on it with no discomfort whatsoever.

That's not been true of any other saddle I've tried, including the Brooks B-17 (listed on craigslist last night, after a 1200-mile trial, and already sold!) and the Terry Butterfly (returned to the store for a refund after a week), both of which left me in pain on any ride of more than about 15 miles (I did an agonizing metric century with the Brooks a few weeks ago; it put a serious damper on an otherwise great ride) and were never anything that I could even remotely describe as "comfortable."

The WTB is also quite comfortable even without bike shorts on for shorter rides, which is important to me because I'm car-free and often use my bike for quick errands for which I don't want to don cycling clothes.

So if you haven't found your saddle bliss, keep looking and don't discount any possibilities.
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Old 09-18-05, 03:54 PM   #3
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Check this out.

http://www.bikecult.com/works/saddle.html



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Old 09-18-05, 06:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primaryreality
I...Although this isn't supposed to happen according to everything I've read here--the cliche being that stock saddles are always terrible--I got a new bike last week (Marin Larkspur) and the saddle that came on it (a fairly inexpensive WTB "Comfort," with slight padding and a channel down the middle) has surprised me by being a wonderful saddle--I've been able to do a 50-mile ride on it with no discomfort whatsoever....
WTB (Wilderness Trail Bikes) has a strong reputation for their saddles. The saddles are supposed to be excellent. I plan to try one of theirs soon, myself.
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Old 09-19-05, 10:05 AM   #5
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Well, I took off down the Mississippi river road this morning & did about 35 miles (round trip). Since I stopped frequently to admire the scenery, I averaged only 15.2 mph. I finished the ride WITHOUT a sore bottom! Kudos to the Specialized Milano saddle! This may not be the world's best saddle, but it's the best I've found so far. Your results may vary
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Old 09-19-05, 10:18 AM   #6
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Interested in selling your B-17?
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Old 09-19-05, 11:11 AM   #7
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Glad you found one to your liking. Saddles are without a doubt the one item of a bike which is the hardest to get just right. Good luck, and hope it works out in the long run (or ride).
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Old 09-19-05, 12:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
So far, I like the Specialized Milano better than my B-17! Time will tell if initial impressions will hold up.
Hi Far, glad you like your Milano! A few weeks back, I posted about my experiences with a B.17 Champion Special that I purchased and was trying to get used to. I really, really, really wanted to like that saddle, and actually do like a lot of things about it. But I had problems with numbness that would start a few miles into the ride and continue for a few hours after the ride. The Specialized Avatar that came new with my bike wasn't for me.

So, on a whim (and partly because Specialized has a no questions asked 30 day money back guarantee), I tried a 155mm Alias. What a pleasant surprise! From the first ride, I had no problems. No numbness, not even a hint of soreness. Since then, we've taken a number of 25mi (our normal) rides and no prblems at all. It just kind of disappears beneath me.

I know the B.17 is a great saddle, it's just not for everyone, and even after over 500mi of trying, it just wouldn't work for me.

Take care,

Steve
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Old 09-19-05, 04:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadd
Interested in selling your B-17?
I haven't decided yet, Cadd - I'm building a fixed-gear bike for REAL exercise, and I may try the B-17 on that. Thanks.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
...I tried a 155mm Alias. What a pleasant surprise!...
Thanks, Steve - That was the other recommendation from the LBS. I may try one of those too, just to see.
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Old 09-19-05, 04:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freeranger
...Glad you found one to your liking. Saddles are without a doubt the one item of a bike which is the hardest to get just right...
Thanks, freeranger! I just like to experiment, so I'll keep looking, but for now, the Milano's my fave!
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Old 09-21-05, 06:14 PM   #12
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The more I ride the Milano, the more I like it! I'm trying some other Specialized split-tails just to see, but they'll have to be GOOD to beat the Milano.
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Old 09-21-05, 06:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
The more I ride the Milano, the more I like it! I'm trying some other Specialized split-tails just to see, but they'll have to be GOOD to beat the Milano.
Make sure you give us a full report

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Old 09-22-05, 03:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
Thanks, Steve - That was the other recommendation from the LBS. I may try one of those too, just to see.
The more I ride the Alias, the more I like it. I'd still like to try other saddles though too

But that's half the fun is trying new stuff, right?

Take care,

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Old 09-22-05, 06:46 PM   #15
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nice post, enjoyed it. Ah the grand subject of saddles
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Old 09-22-05, 06:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
I haven't decided yet, Cadd - I'm building a fixed-gear bike for REAL exercise, and I may try the B-17 on that. Thanks.
I put a Brooks Professional on a fixed gear bike that I built last winter and it has worked out very well. On a fixie you (or at least I) don't move in the seat very much because there's always tension on your legs. And you can't coast, keeping your legs fixed, and assume a new position in the saddle. All told, the Brooks is as comfortable as it gets. And you're right about _real_ exercise. I rode my fixed gear about 15 miles yesterday, pretty much flat out and got a heck of a workout.

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Old 09-23-05, 06:28 AM   #17
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It's interesting to hear peoples perspectives. Been riding my new bike big time after a fourteen year lapse and feeling some discomfort. The thought ocurred to me of that old commercial - I could have had a V-8. Except changed to: I could have been breaking in a Brooks. Your musings have given me pause to reconsider.
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Old 09-23-05, 07:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savas
...I could have been breaking in a Brooks. Your musings have given me pause to reconsider.
Hi Savas! Just because the B-17 wasn't my cuppa, don't think that it'll be bad for you too! Most people seem to LOVE the Brooks line, and I'm sure they must have good reasons. I tried it, and it still left my bum sore.

I'd recommend to you that you scoop up a used Brooks B-17 on e-Bay for minimum $$$ and try it out. If you don't like it, resell it on e-Bay. Your monetary loss/gain should be minimum, and you can see if the style works for you. Low cost - high information - low risk.

There are saddles other than the Brooks on the market that have good reputations and that are worth checking out:

The Fizik line
The Specialized Body Geometry line
The Wilderness Trail Bicycles (WTB) line
The venerable Selle line

If you use my e-Bay strategy, and are willing to invest your time, experimentation can be an extremely low cost undertaking. I plan to experiment until I've tried at least one or two of the models in each of the above mentioned lines. Then, from my own experience, I'll be able to select the saddle that works best for ME under the exact type of riding I plan to do.

Unless someone posts to tell me that I've become boring or unuseful on the topic, I'll continue to recount my experiences here on the forums so others can benefit too. Happy shopping!
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Old 09-23-05, 01:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
There are saddles other than the Brooks on the market that have good reputations and that are worth checking out:

The Wilderness Trail Bicycles (WTB) line
I've been eyeballing a couple of the Rocket V Stealth Ti's on eBay for a couple of days. I've read great things about them in the forums here. There's one with a "buy-it-now" for $79 that looks interesting. If I get one, I'll be sure to report my findings

Has anyone reading this tried one?

Steve
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Old 09-23-05, 02:22 PM   #20
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The saddle with mine is a Fizik Pave. Given it's OEM equipment, I figure other Fizik offerings are of higher quality. Second hand tryouts are a good idea. Other suggestions you noted are appreciated.
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Old 09-24-05, 01:09 PM   #21
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All this talk about saddles is making me squirm. I hate to say it but Thanks to my type of riding, I have yet to find a saddle that does not at some point start causing a problem. My main riding is the longer enduro type rides, and I have yet to find a saddle that is comfortable after 6 hours. When you still have a few hours to go, then I can really apreciate the pain that some of us go through.

Difference is, there are two types of pain- muscular and pelvic bone. The muscular pain is something that I do get occasionally. When new saddles have been fitted, or I have not been out for a few weeks, and even that happens to me occasionally. This is one reason why I do not sit on exercise bikes down at the gym for longer than 20 minutes. After that it gets "Muscular" painfull. Easily corrected if this is your pain, just get out and ride to run in the Butt to your new saddle

The pelvic bone pain though is the real problem. This is where The real pain arrives and can be crippling for a few days. I have sorted a saddle for me for most rides, and bikes, but they have to be set up very carefully. I know on the Tandem, I have to use a wider saddle, but the nose has to be slightly tipped up to allow me to position the cheeks correctly. My co-rider has to have his saddle Nose down. Then there is the saddle height, and for and aft position.

It is ok to get a saddle that is recommended by another rider, but when it comes to eliminating the pain, you still have a bit of work to do to get it so that your saddle ,on your bike, is going to be comfortable for you, with your type of riding. I just wish that I could get the type of saddle I had 50 years ago on my single speed, 20" wheel roadster. I can never remember that saddle causing me any pain.
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Old 09-24-05, 02:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarHorizon
The LBS talked me into trying a "padded" saddle - A Specialized Milano. This plastic split-tail has heaps of confectioners' sugar style foam on top with a thin plastic cover. You know what? It's comfortable! Despite all the negative press I've seen on these forums about padded or gel saddles, this puppy isn't bad!
My bike came with a Milano stock. I never felt any discomfort with it either, and still own it. But the padding was so squishy that I couldn't "feel" the bike or the road through it (if that makes sense), and it had a negative bling factor. I replaced it with a Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flo, and I like its balance of firmness and padding better. But I do wonder whether the Milano wouldn't have served just as well over the long term.
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Old 09-24-05, 04:49 PM   #23
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If you like the Milano, you will love the Alias. I personally prefer my Brooks, but the Alias I used on my road bike this season gave me more comfort than any other plastic saddle has, over 2k miles too.
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Old 09-24-05, 05:04 PM   #24
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Spouse rode a Brooks B-72 on the back of our tandem for 35,000 miles and then broke the seat rails! Got another one just like it for her, and she never could get comfortable with it. Must've come from a tougher cow!
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Old 09-24-05, 10:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseflavor
I've been eyeballing a couple of the Rocket V Stealth Ti's on eBay for a couple of days. I've read great things about them in the forums here. There's one with a "buy-it-now" for $79 that looks interesting. If I get one, I'll be sure to report my findings

Has anyone reading this tried one?

Steve
I've tried the WTB Rocket, but I don't think it was the V Stealth. I think it had Cro-Moly rails. I couldn't adapt to it on rides over 35 miles. I have two of them languishing in the garage.
I'm using a Specialized BG Avatar now, and like it. If they ever fix my knee, maybe I'll get back on the bike and enjoy again.
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