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Old 07-17-07, 08:29 PM   #1
geofitz13
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New saddle, now back hurts

In the ongoing effort to find a comfortable saddle, I switched to a Specialized body geomety saddle. Before that, I had a Trek model. The new one is a little firmer, and noticably narrower. (Changed the size on the advice of a tech who "fitted" me at the LBS). So now, I am experiencing lower back pain about 10 miles into a ride. Gets really uncomfortable by 25 miles. I did not have any lower back pain whatsoever before this saddle. As far as I can tell, the height is correct, with very slight knee bend with leg at the 6 o'clock position. Front to back feels right.
Could this new problem be due to wrong saddle size or saddle too low or high? I'm about ready to switch back to the old Trek saddle and put up with the butt pain. I am doing a 192-mile weekend in a little over two weeks, so any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm sure I can complete the 192-miles on the old saddle, but my butt will not be happy at all. Big time discomfort sets in about 50-60 miles, then I just have to work through it. Or maybe this is normal?
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Old 07-17-07, 10:16 PM   #2
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Would you go on a 192 mile hike in new boots? Even though your LBS fitted you in the process, your riding position has changed in some manner. If your pain does not receed, I would put the old saddle on for your longer ride.
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Old 07-18-07, 03:31 AM   #3
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Would you go on a 192 mile hike in new boots? Even though your LBS fitted you in the process, your riding position has changed in some manner. If your pain does not receed, I would put the old saddle on for your longer ride.
Agreed. Also, your question about feeling it alittle at 60 miles pretty normal, even for a well fitting saddle. Although I breeze thru a century on my B17, it's not without knowing it.
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Old 07-18-07, 05:18 AM   #4
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It is possible that the difference between saddle thickness could be 1cm or more. compare the saddles you may have to move your new saddle up a bit if it is thinner than the old one. I assume that you made sure the saddle nose distance to the bars remained the same and last check the saddle for level. If it is tilted back and you don't notice your back would be tilted back as you lean forward to reach the bars. This happened to me a few weeks ago when I put on a new saddle. Just by making sure it was level my back pain went away.
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Old 07-18-07, 06:21 AM   #5
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The new saddle is noticibly thinner than the old. But I thought the seat height was okay due to very slight knee bend at the 6 o'clock position. It is possible that the distance from the nose to the bar is different, will have to do some further tweaking.
I thought that getting the new saddle about three and a half weeks ahead of the event would give me time to "break it in" and get everything tweaked. But I think now that I will have to go back to the old one, at least for this event.
Thanks to all for the comments!
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Old 07-18-07, 11:46 AM   #6
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In the past I have had severe problems with saddles - but never them causing backache- I would not blame the saddle- It must be that something else has altered. No idea what either as I do have a back problem that is only never felt when I am riding.

In fact- if it is only a few weeks to the event- I would put the old saddle back on to ensure that you do not get The saddle pain that saddle normally cause- Butt Ache. Unless that is the reason you are getting a new saddle.
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Old 07-18-07, 12:02 PM   #7
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put on the old one, exactly as it was

put a level or straight edge across the saddle top - measure from the middle of the BB to the 'level' (along the plane of the ST.
Drop a plumb from the old saddle nose to the TT, put a piece of tape there.

comparo saddles for distance from nose to where you actually are/might be sitting - note any difference of more than a few mm.

put on new saddle, same tilt, set height using level and measurement from BB obtained prior, set fore-aft so plumb line drops to tape on TT - whilst compensating for any diff. in distance from nose to sitposition from old saddle to new...

that should put you pretty much where you were on the old plank...
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Old 07-18-07, 01:20 PM   #8
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Strangely similar here... Saturday morning I did a workout ride on my new tourer. I had just replaced the seat (back to an older favorite Serfas), raised it slightly, and moved the clips back a few MM in my shoes.

For years I've been elated that I could bike all day long with no back problems (previously had to give up running). But after getting off the bike saturday and lifting it up to hang on the hooks, ...major twang in the lumbar region that crumpled me and continues to hurt. Now I'm desparate knowing this is likely the begining of a major 4 week pain flare up. (business trip to CA next week, and beloved WI bike trip a week later). Bummer.

I'm thinking the seat raising and clip adjustment caused me to stretch the legs and lower back ever so slightly (I remember thinking the seat was too high but that I would gut it out for now), and resulted in a new aggravation to the dreaded L4-L5 herniation. Bummer.
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Old 07-18-07, 02:15 PM   #9
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after getting off the bike saturday and lifting it up to hang on the hooks, ...major twang in the lumbar region that crumpled me and continues to hurt.

Are you sure the damage happened while riding? Maybe you moved something wrong when you lifted the bike. That's the kind of thing that gets my back angry.
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Old 07-18-07, 02:39 PM   #10
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But after getting off the bike saturday and lifting it up to hang on the hooks, ...major twang in the lumbar region that crumpled me and continues to hurt.
Kickstand!
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Old 07-19-07, 06:04 AM   #11
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Sometimes it is not very intuitive but small changes <1cm to saddle position can really effect how your balanced on the bike. Throw off the balance and you end up with pressure on your back or your arms. Small change to height and next thing you know you have knee problems. I probably spend at least a week tweaking a new saddle even when I set it exactly as the old one was. Then of course you can still have days where you ride and find your knees, back or arms sore. I always wait to make sure that it happens on multiple days before I make any changes. Of course this makes for some tough rides if your hurting
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Old 07-19-07, 06:57 AM   #12
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Kickstand!
I like kickstands but geofitz has to represent us with the under 50 crowd at the 192 mile ride.................on second thought.....Kickstand.

Ride the comfortable saddle. change later.
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Old 07-19-07, 07:17 AM   #13
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Before I make changes such as saddles, I take copious measurements so I can have something as a base to make comparisons. I will measure from the center of the BB to a level (very useful tool for saddle adjustments) sitting on top of the saddle. I will measure from the nose of the saddle to the front of the bars and any other measurements I can think of. It all serves to take the guess work ( "does my knee look bent enough"? ) out of the equation.
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Old 07-19-07, 09:10 AM   #14
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Before I make changes such as saddles, I take copious measurements so I can have something as a base to make comparisons. I will measure from the center of the BB to a level (very useful tool for saddle adjustments) sitting on top of the saddle. I will measure from the nose of the saddle to the front of the bars and any other measurements I can think of. It all serves to take the guess work ( "does my knee look bent enough"? ) out of the equation.
Well said...but it is even more complicated. OP went from a softer saddle to a firmer saddle. Even with perfect measurements, the softer saddle will result in more compression with OP on the bike and the effective saddle height will be LESS. Rule of thumb is; raise saddle for sore knee and lower for sore back. The reason the back gets sore is that one does not have enough hamstring flexibility and the additional leg extension puts strain on the lower back. That is the theory. In practice, it could be anything including that OP may be standing more because the saddle is firmer or he slighly changed his posture. Considering one can make ~5400 leg extensions per hour of riding, minor changes can have a significant effect the muscles and connecting tissue.
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Old 07-19-07, 10:02 AM   #15
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Hmmm. This is getting interesting (read confusing!) Far as I can tell, I put the new saddle on exactly the same as the old one. And the saddle was the only change, so it would seem logical that my problem stems from the saddle. One interesting note...the lower back pain subsides very quickly after a ride. For instance, did about 26 miles on Monday night and noted the lower back pain. It seemed to disappear after 10 minutes or so, once I got off the bike. Then on Tuesday, did about 16 miles, noted the back was getting sore again. Got off the bike and the pain was gone within 10 minutes. It doesn't seem to be something that is lingering.
The measurement that someone mentioned about the nose of the saddle...on the new saddle, the nose is noticibly longer than the old one. So if I put that in the same position as the old saddle, wouldn't the seat portion of the saddle be farther to the rear, thus causing a problem?
Will keep experimenting, but also keeping the old saddle in reserve.
Thanks for all the comments.
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