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Old 07-18-09, 07:49 PM   #1
mexipat
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My saddle and my LBS

I'm a newbie and bought my Specialize Allez on June 6. I've ridden 350 miles and my sit bones still hurt so I was thinking about a different seat. I was surprised when my LBS (who's been very helpful to me) suggested a gel saddle. Does this seem to be good advice? From what I've read on these forums, gel seats are not highly regarded. Not sure all this matters but I'm 64 years old, my longest ride has been 31.5 miles (today), my goals are to ride 65 miles around my birthday late next month and a Century in November. I'm sex feet, 200 lbs (down from 220 and aiming for 188).

Should I just gut it our with the saddle that came with the bike or is six weeks a good enough test? If it's time for a new one, is gel a good idea?
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Old 07-18-09, 08:19 PM   #2
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My Roubaix Expert came with a Toupe Gel seat. I have used it for periods of time then go back to "plan B" a Specialized Phenom saddle. It's a saddle designed for MTB's but works great for me on my road bike. I do keep the Toupe on my Cross bike which I will use as a backup bike. I just haven't been able to make the Toupe Gel an everyday saddle for me.
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Old 07-18-09, 08:27 PM   #3
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Since you're near a Specialized dealer, go have a seat on their "ass-o-meter" (Real name) and make sure you're on the proper width saddle. You'll save yourself lots of time and money by finding out your sit bones width.

I ended up with a wider (155mm) Toupe saddle, but with less padding (versus the Alias I was using) and it's WAAYY more comfortable. Proper width trumps padding in my opinion.
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Old 07-18-09, 08:27 PM   #4
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I have a couple of saddles you could try, a fizik aliante and a Selle Gel, i use a brooks imperial. PM me if you want to borrow, I am not too far from Pompano.

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Old 07-18-09, 08:35 PM   #5
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I don't recall exactly how long it was between when I started riding and when my sit bones became accustomed to riding a bike, but I do know it was longer than 350 miles. Plus, every spring it takes a few hundred to get back in shape.

That said, I have a Terry Fly Gel saddle on one of my bikes. I like it on that bike. I like it so much, that I bought one for my other bike. I hated it there. I now have one without gel on that bike. The seating position is a bit different on each bike. That's the only thing I can think of as to why I love the saddle on one, but hate the same saddle on the other.

Keep in mind too that there's no "firm" definition of gel. I've seen some that are so squishy its creepy,
and others that seem no different than regular saddles. Largely, I think it's just another meaningless marketing term.

Confused? No more so than the rest of us.

And soon someone will chime in about a Brooks…
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Old 07-18-09, 08:47 PM   #6
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I guess that's my cue to talk about Brooks...

Saddles are highly personal. What works for us may not work for you. Right now, in fact, I'm struggling with a wonderful saddle I bought 4,000 miles ago that suddenly is *uncomfortable* for the first hour of a ride but is fantastic for any amount of mileage after that (I don't get it - it hurts at 5 miles but not at 105 miles?).

In any case, in my personal experience, any amount of gel or padding on a saddle feels great for the first few miles of a ride but starts to get annoying at longer distances -- say, over 40 miles. That's why I changed to hard leather saddles (Brooks) many years ago. They don't feel wonderful when you hop on the bike, but they don't feel bad...and they'll feel the same at 100 miles as they do at zero.

I'm sure that gel has gotten better over the years.

If I were in your situation I'd find a bike shop that has a "saddle swap" program - there are shops that let you try out saddles until you find the one you like....sometimes they are giving you used saddles until you settle on the one you like, then they give you a new one.

www.wallbike.com has a guaranteed program w/Brooks saddles. If you don't like it, they'll take it back. But Brooks saddles aren't for everyone.

p.s. I own 4 Brooks (no problems) and one Selle Anatomica (the saddle that is now mysteriously painful for the first hour of a ride).
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Old 07-18-09, 08:53 PM   #7
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What BengeBoy said, although I am (temporarily, I hope) down to two Brooks saddles at the moment.
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Old 07-19-09, 12:11 AM   #8
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There is a gel saddle that I use and it is the Flite Gel Max. The reason I got it was previous experience with a Flite Titanium saddle so I went for it. The gel part is minimal and the shape suits me.

But in general- Gel saddles are not good.

Stock saddles are not normally the best around for comfort but analyse where it hurts. Are you sitting fully on the wings? Whem mine went "Wrong" I realised that the saddle was not quite forward enough. Then the angle of the saddle for the Pubic bone. Couple of slight adjustments and I no longer feel the saddle.

And Like TSL- It tok longer than 350 miles before the butt became attuned to the saddle. But if the pain is that bad after that milage then it may be time to start the search for the ideal saddle.

Good luck in finding it within a few $00
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Old 07-19-09, 12:38 AM   #9
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Nothing gets more comments than saddle choice. Not willing to get into the best saddle for you but I also don’t think if you just returned to cycling that 350 miles is not enough to know what you want. Yes get yourself measured to see if the saddle is the right width but get the thing adjusted so you are as comfortable on it as you can and then after you get your bottom end used to riding you will know what you want. What works for me may not work for you.
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Old 07-19-09, 05:08 AM   #10
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I never met a hard leather saddle my booty didn't like. Every gel, super padded, highly contoured, "gee wizz" saddle hurt! I can't say I've ever sat upon an uber-expensive modern day marvel. Classics rock.

It's raw hide time!

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Old 07-19-09, 11:04 AM   #11
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As always, a lot of good advice here. I'm going to stick with the one I have for a couple hundred more miles and hope for improvement. I will get the fit checked again.
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Old 07-19-09, 11:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CollectiveInk View Post
Since you're near a Specialized dealer, go have a seat on their "ass-o-meter" (Real name) and make sure you're on the proper width saddle. You'll save yourself lots of time and money by finding out your sit bones width.
OK, I need to know if you are pulling my leg a bit before I walk into the Specialized dealer and ask for a seat on the "ass-o-meter." Is this like telling a girl you want to take her to the submarine races?
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Old 07-19-09, 11:25 AM   #13
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walk into the Specialized dealer and ask for a seat on the "ass-o-meter."
And ask them whether they want to see your sex feet.
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Old 07-19-09, 12:10 PM   #14
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OK, I need to know if you are pulling my leg a bit before I walk into the Specialized dealer and ask for a seat on the "ass-o-meter." Is this like telling a girl you want to take her to the submarine races?
Yup, that's what it's called. But if you prefer, you can just ask to use the device that measures you sits bones/saddle width.

It's not 100%, but it'll get you really close in regards to proper width.
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Old 07-19-09, 01:39 PM   #15
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Yup, that's what it's called. But if you prefer, you can just ask to use the device that measures you sits bones/saddle width.

It's not 100%, but it'll get you really close in regards to proper width.
Only problem I found was that when they measured me- I would only fit the expensive saddles- and they were wider than the saddles I currently use that are comfortable.
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Old 07-19-09, 02:42 PM   #16
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Never tried the ass-o-meter, maybe I should as well although I seem to have made friends with my saddles. I agree that 350 miles is probably not enough time hardening up. But 350 miles is probably enough time to know whether or not things are getting better. I would not get a soft saddle or extra padding in the shorts - this is asking for trouble on a long ride. Good luck
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Old 07-19-09, 03:55 PM   #17
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There is a lot of difference between the super plush super fat gel saddles and saddle pads that get so much hate on this forum and some of the better saddles with small amounts of gel in specific areas. Avoid anything mushy.
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Old 07-19-09, 03:57 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Saddles are highly personal. What works for us may not work for you.

p.s. I own 4 Brooks.
That's what I think too.

Unfortunately, it can be an expensive hunt and peck process. My only advice is, when you find the right one, buy two. When your "right one" saddle dies that exact model won't available anymore and you'll have to go through the process all over again.

I wonder if that's why Brooks are so popular. They've been making the same models for decades so the folks that like Brooks never have to hunt for another saddle that fits their tushie.
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Old 07-19-09, 05:46 PM   #19
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Never tried the ass-o-meter, maybe I should as well although I seem to have made friends with my saddles. I agree that 350 miles is probably not enough time hardening up. But 350 miles is probably enough time to know whether or not things are getting better. I would not get a soft saddle or extra padding in the shorts - this is asking for trouble on a long ride. Good luck
+1 on the milage. I put nearly 1,000 miles on the Alias before giving in and getting a proper fitting one. As for the person who said the ass-0-meter "fit him to expensive" saddles. Armed with the width, you can get all over (ebay, CL, locally, online, etc) and make better choices since you'll know which width you'll need. And save some money in the process.
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Old 07-20-09, 04:04 PM   #20
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OK, I need to know if you are pulling my leg a bit before I walk into the Specialized dealer and ask for a seat on the "ass-o-meter." Is this like telling a girl you want to take her to the submarine races?
It's a flat board with squishable foam on it. You sit on it and your sit bones make two depressions in it for a minute or so, so the width can be measured. ( I kinda doubt that's it's official name...)
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Old 07-20-09, 08:15 PM   #21
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Nineteen replies for far and no one has used the word recumbent. What fine restraint.
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Old 07-21-09, 12:52 PM   #22
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I would give it at least 500 miles before you decide. Had a similar issue when I got my Roubaix earlier this year. After about 600 miles it was fine, some of it may have had to do with correct seat height and positioning and the right shorts. Give it a litttle more time and tweak the seat unless you are satisfied with your current positioning.
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Old 07-21-09, 06:44 PM   #23
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Nineteen replies for far and no one has used the word recumbent. What fine restraint.

Why point out the obvious?

Some people have found saddles that are very comfortable and they have no problems spending hours on. A small percentage of those comfortable saddles are not Brooks.
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Old 07-21-09, 06:54 PM   #24
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Nineteen replies for far and no one has used the word recumbent. What fine restraint.
I didn't want to be the first one!

I've been dying to post the following message and watch the flurry of retorts....

"I don't use a saddle and am always super comfy.".
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Old 07-22-09, 10:36 PM   #25
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Nineteen replies for far and no one has used the word recumbent. What fine restraint.
And the replies suggesting Brooks have been very open-minded. Spooky.
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