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Old 05-30-06, 05:48 AM   #1
NOS88
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Saddle comfort & Tire Pressure

There's been a lot of threads dealing with saddle comfort lately (maybe it's continual, but only being on board since March, I don't know). It's always seemed a bit like "How much salt do you like on your food - a highly personal thing. Yesterday, however, I had an experience that got me wondering. I usually inflate my tires to 115 PSI. I've put on a new set and it says they can take up to 130. So, I inflate to 130. After about 2.5 hours my backside began getting a bit uncomfortable. This is highly unusual for me. I can almost always go 6+ hours without any major discomfort, but not yesterday. So, now I'm wondering if it's possible that the additional stiffness with the extra air in the tires could really change how comfortable my saddle feels. Any insights or experiences that would shed light on this is appreciated.
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Old 05-30-06, 07:58 AM   #2
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I know that higher preasure gives my tires less rolling restince and makes them less supseptable to some flats. I also know the ride feels slightly less supple, but the handeling seems a bit sharper. I haven't noticed noticed a difference with how my saddle feels.
I think a lot of the refrences to saddle discomfort have to do with people not riding through the winter and when you do that and start up riding again you go through a period of "adjustment" with regards to saddle comfort.
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Old 05-30-06, 08:04 AM   #3
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To carry this to its logical conclusion, taking the statement to heart that "Lower pressure gives a better ride," just try riding on 0 pressure, which should give you the softest ride of all!
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Old 05-30-06, 08:11 AM   #4
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Well, a less inflated tire will serve as a bit of a shock absorber and give a more comfortable ride. Also, you do not need to inflate the tire to the recommended level. I have heard that tire companies take a bike rim and put their tire on and inflate it until it blows off. They recommend a pressure that is 50% of the blowoff pressure. That might be a myth. All you need to do is inflate enough to prevent the tire from bulging and preventing "pinch flats". Heavy riders need to infate their tires more than light weights. Also bigger tires require less inflation for the same weight of rider. So a 200 lb rider riding 20 mm tires might have to inflate them to 120 PSI but can ride 25 mm tires at 100 PSI. A friend of mine switched from 20 mm tires to 23 mm tires and infated the 23's slightly less and he was impressed with the big improvement in ride comfort.
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Old 05-30-06, 08:11 AM   #5
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Well, a less inflated tire will serve as a bit of a shock absorber and give a more comfortable ride. Also, you do not need to inflate the tire to the recommended level. I have heard that tire companies take a bike rim and put their tire on and inflate it until it blows off. They recommend a pressure that is 50% of the blowoff pressure. That might be a myth. All you need to do is inflate enough to prevent the tire from bulging and preventing "pinch flats". Heavy riders need to infate their tires more than light weights. Also bigger tires require less inflation for the same weight of rider. So a 200 lb rider riding 20 mm tires might have to inflate them to 120 PSI but can ride 25 mm tires at 100 PSI. A friend of mine switched from 20 mm tires to 23 mm tires and infated the 23's slightly less and he was impressed with the big improvement in ride comfort.
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Old 05-30-06, 09:40 AM   #6
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Some riders inflate to the highest pressure they think their tires will take with the idea in mind that rock hard rolls faster. Maybe on very smooth pavement. I ride on a variety of surfaces...the more scenic the route often the more sucky the surface. Hard tires tend to bounce on poor surfaces and as every skiier knows, airborne time is slower than connected to the surface time. Rock hard also doesn't grip so well. And on long rides, rock hard takes a little toll on the body. My experience is that is, overall, more prone to flats.

I prefer moderate pressures as a compromise for shock absorbing, comfort, grip, rolling ease, etc.
I weigh in the 160's, ride 25's, and put 95 in back, 90 in front. Works for me.
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Old 05-30-06, 12:13 PM   #7
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NOS-I'm one of those that has gotten accustomed to riding with higher air pressure and would agree that some frames tend to translate the increased pressure up through the saddle. My Madone is a stiffer frame and seems to translate more road noise/vibration that some other frames I've ridden. As the result I've had to use a little different saddle to compensate for it. I suspect my experience was very similar to yours.....


Edit:

I'm sure you know but wheels can make a difference in ride quality as well. Some wheels produce a harsher ride than others.

Last edited by jppe; 05-30-06 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 05-30-06, 12:53 PM   #8
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I weight 220lbs, ride an Atlantis with Panaracer 700x37's.....do some touring and mostly commuting to work.....these tires say "inflate 45 to 90 lbs psi.". I ride with them at 60 psi....they have never gotten a flat yet after a year, and at 60 they still are pretty hard on the rear end...I have a Brooks leather saddle which is still breaking in. I will agree that too high a pressure will put a hurtin on your rear via the saddle....no matter what kind of saddle you have.
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Old 05-30-06, 01:01 PM   #9
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If you want good info on tire pressure go over to the Sheldon Brown's site at http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tires.html. You will learn more than you ever thought you could about bike tires. AND you will wind up putting a bit less air in the front than the rear; a bit less in the rear than what is listed as the max pressure; your tires will last longer and your ride will be more comfortable.
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Old 05-30-06, 01:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88
Any insights or experiences that would shed light on this is appreciated.
I always air up prior to a ride, and inflate to 120psi. I'll have to consciously try 110 tonight and I'll let you know what I find. I'm not having any issues at the moment, but the frame on the Roubaix is carbon, and I'm sure that helps. Also, I'm using 25c tires.

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Old 05-30-06, 02:20 PM   #11
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The cure to all your problems- and they do a road version too.

Must admit that this is necessary on the Tandem- but if the Butt is getting too much of a problem on the road- This will not help your cycling. The saddle will still have to fit etc. but for the odd pothole that I do not see- or hole on the ground or treeroot- Then this does work.

I ride on the road with slicks on the mountain bike and I find the harder I can get them- the better the Tandem rolls. Difference is that We use a wider tyre than most of you- a 26" x1.4. If we put in 100psi, then we roll well and no problems- 120psi and we do find that we skit about on poor quality roads, and 140psi we need perfect billiard tables to stay upright.
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Old 05-30-06, 02:39 PM   #12
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Saddle..........

stapfam,
How much offset does the 'Thud-Buster' have? I have a Brooks-B17 and thus have short rails so I need all the offset that I can get.

Don't mean to hijack this thread.

As always,
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Old 05-30-06, 04:18 PM   #13
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In an attempt to relieve hand pain with lower tire pressure, I put continental top touring 2000 tires on my recumbent. Max pressure; 56psi, down from 110psi. It didn't help the hands much, but it did make for a much more comfortable ride. bk
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Old 05-31-06, 10:57 AM   #14
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For another opinion favoring lower tire pressures see http://tinyurl.com/29jab.

If this ends up being a double post, I apologize. I sent a reply, but it did not appear in the thread.

Leland
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Old 05-31-06, 04:07 PM   #15
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I read the suggested info from other sites, lowered my tire pressure and went out for a quick 30 miles. It was quite a surprise to observe such a dramatic difference. Almost no additional effort, but a lot more comfort.
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Old 05-31-06, 04:42 PM   #16
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I've lowered my tire pressure also in accordance with a recommendation on www.roadbikerider.com

I too am pleased with the results.
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Old 05-31-06, 06:25 PM   #17
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I took it a step further, and removed my front tire entirely. Wow -- what a difference!
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Old 05-31-06, 07:00 PM   #18
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On my old Centurian David Scott bike, I use to put 110 in the front and 115 in the back tire, they were Michelins baldies. I use to ride all over San Francisco, up and down hill and yes, mountians too. Over some very bad streets and got very few flats. Oppose to when had 120 front and back, had quite a bit of flats and the ride was much stiffer and harder on the seat, if you know what I mean...

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Old 05-31-06, 08:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
NOS-I'm one of those that has gotten accustomed to riding with higher air pressure and would agree that some frames tend to translate the increased pressure up through the saddle. My Madone is a stiffer frame and seems to translate more road noise/vibration that some other frames I've ridden. As the result I've had to use a little different saddle to compensate for it. I suspect my experience was very similar to yours.....


Edit:

I'm sure you know but wheels can make a difference in ride quality as well. Some wheels produce a harsher ride than others.

ABSOLUTELY no question that different wheels produce different rides!! I changed out Shimano wheels for Mavic Ksyrium SSLs. The ride changed from a relatively harsh ride to one of the sweetest rides I have ever known. Not a commercial here, just a reiteration of the above comment. I weigh 185 and I run 100 rear and 95 front in Michelin Pro race tires 700x23s.
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