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  1. #1
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    Advice on seat PLEASE

    I bought a Trek 7200 late last year and in two months put on almost 500 miles - my longest ride was 39. I have the bike in the shop for a tune-up/go-over and I am having the tires (35's) swapped out for 28's - which come on the FX series. PLEASE no debate on the bike etc. - I love it and with very very very bad shoulders - having the handlebars raised and moved back allows me to ride without pain - same thing with the front shock (so please no - buy a different bike suggestions). I ride very day - when weather allows - after work. I am signing up to ride for diabetes this summer - its 100km/62 miles. I believe I will be able to do it. Here's my question -
    I get 'butt-itis' after 3 hours.........and I know bike shorts are probably the way to go.....but - I can't afford 4-5 pairs of them - I don't want to look like a sausage and since I ride every day they will get rather 'stanky' after a bit. My LBS suggested a gel seat - so here's the question - gel seat? The LBS sells "serfas" and there are a couple models - one more cruiser like (like is on my Trek) the other is thinner and cut out in the middle. Yea or nay on the gel seat? Again - I cannot afford multiple pairs of bike shorts and on the weekends - in particular to get my old engine ready for the diabetes ride - i want to ride as much as possible. Help please? (BTW - soon to be 56 with type 2). I;ve dropped 10 lbs just by riding and when I do the 2-3 hour stints I actually don't need to give myself an injection - the riding takes care of my blood sugar. Thanks for advice.
    Ron

  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Finding the right saddle is one of the toughest searches in bicycle riding. We each have such individual preferences and requirements. For the upright position you have described, you'll want a wider saddle than someone on a racing style bike. I am not a fan of soft seats, gel or otherwise. Whatever pushes away will eventually push back.My first choice in your situation would be a Brooks Flyer, but there are many other choices.

    There is no good substitute for good bike shorts. I understand the concern with price, but I would strongly recommend getting at least one pair. You can wash them gently after each day's ride and they dry out easily hanging overnight. Definitely avoid shorts with gel in the padding.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    +1 on BluesDawg's comments. I would add the following. Soft gel seats, or other seats that are highly cushioned with soft materials allow you you sink down into them. On long rides this can have the effect of putting pressure on areas that normally are not in contact with the seat, and many find this very uncomfortable. Since you are in a more upright position, your backside will be carrying more of the weight. Ideally, you want that weight distributed on your two sit bones (see attached image). Many people find it more comfortable to have their weight on the sit bones on top of a surface instead of buried and surrounded by soft material that will put pressure elsewhere. This, however, does require some toughening up of the area. Perhaps a compromise, something fairly wide to give your sit bones a place to perch with some gel padding in the seat, but not overly padded. The ideal situation would be if you could borrow and try different seats before buying.
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  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Finding the right saddle is one of the toughest searches in bicycle riding. We each have such individual preferences and requirements. For the upright position you have described, you'll want a wider saddle than someone on a racing style bike. I am not a fan of soft seats, gel or otherwise. Whatever pushes away will eventually push back.My first choice in your situation would be a Brooks Flyer, but there are many other choices.

    There is no good substitute for good bike shorts. I understand the concern with price, but I would strongly recommend getting at least one pair. You can wash them gently after each day's ride and they dry out easily hanging overnight. Definitely avoid shorts with gel in the padding.
    Thats the Gen in one posting. But finding the saddle is the problem. But only 500 miles so far on a saddle and you "May" just need saddle time to attune the butt.

    And on shorts- some of us graduate to the more expensive short/ Bibbs- but if you do not use proper cycling shorts at present- then any respectable pair would do. Two pairs would suffice on a tour- Just wash them out nightly and use as a Marker Flag on the bike the next day to dry them out.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    seat

    all excellent advice - thank you. I have my doubts about the gel seat - I got laid off a few days ago and am currently pinching my pennies but perhaps the best advice is to hold off a bit - toughen my butt and invest in at least one - if not two pairs of padded shorts - when my budget allows. at the very least one pair for the 'tour de cure' and just tough it out with gym shorts on a day to day basis. God bless. and thanks for the input. any suggestions on a "cheap" place on line to purchase - if i go that route i want the ones that look like regular shorts with the padding underneath - i have enough issues being 'ugly' (lol) i don't need to look like a kielbasa!

    Ron

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    You've gotten advice from 3 different posters that I have a high regard for. As mentioned, saddle selection tends to be quite personal. From past posts I know that stepfam doesn't care for the Brooks saddles that I favor. That doesn't mean that one of us is wrong, it only means that we're different.

  7. #7
    Pat
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    I agree with Stepfam. It is important to have the ischeal processes on a firm platform, or it is for me. I used to ride gel saddles. But I got a bike with a narrow leather saddle that was as hard as a rock. I figured I would give it a try. What is there to lose? I did and it worked GREAT. Saddle fit is really important because once you get the processes positioned properly, it is a bunch more comfortable.

    Your more upright posture will put more weight on your rear. That will make things harder.

    You mentioned monetary concerns. My LBS has a dead seat box. That is they are given discarded seats by cyclists. Your LBS might have something similar. If they do, you might be able to try out a succession of very lightly used second hand saddles for a pittance.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Saddle set up---

    Make certain the saddle is at the right height and in the right fore and aft to ensure that the sit bones are on the wide part of the saddle. If you lower the nose you will feel if you are on the right spot on the saddle. Then adjust the nose up (Or down) till the crutch is just supported. If you continually slide forward then raise the nose just a fraction. Then ride for a bit and if the crutch starts getting teneder- adjust the nose down a bit and just keep pushing yourself backwards.

    Saddle position is critical for most of us and last year I had pain on a saddle after 10 miles riding. That was unusual for me- and I found that I had raised the saddle by 1/4" when cleaning the bike.

    On the saddles- Width is the main thing. My two main bikes both have a similar saddle One is a Selle "Aero" and the other is a Selle Gel Max. They are not rock solid and just have a bit of cushioning over a very firm base. A good way of finding a "Suitable" saddle is to go into your LBS the day after you have had pain on a ride. My shop has a stool that I can put a saddle on and sit on. I soon knew when a saddle was not going to be comfortable as it made the residual pain a lot worse. This is how I found the Gel Max as it did not hurt.

    Now about the cost of your little adventure into finding a suitable saddle- For some of us it took a long time and a lot of money. So ggod luck.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

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    All wonderful advice thank you. I will be picking up my bike with the new 28's in a few days - although with the weather here just outside of chicago it doesn't look i'll get to road test them for a bit. I went with the 28's as they have higher psi and for an hour i can average about 12 mph with the 35's. Over a two to three hour period my average is 10.something. I fugure the smaller diameter/higher psi will help my overall average. In my head right now - I believe I'm going to keep the original seat on the bike - toughen the old keister a bit - and at the very least (especially for the 62 mile tour de cure) i will invest in a good pair of shorts. thanks again everyone - i've been a long time lurker - new to posting - your responses are wonderful ron

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    And don't forget to lube up on the long rides.

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that in your quest for modesty you will loose some of the benefit of bike shorts by wearing the type with a regular short over the lycra. The unhampered movement and free breathing are part of what makes them work. I have found that I can ride fairly comfortably on shorter rides with my MTB shorts, but after an hour or so, I begin to feel hot spots as the fabric binds and presses on my butt.

    Performance lycra shorts have always been a good value for the price in my experience. Their Elite shorts are my budget favorite. Hoss makes good MTB shorts for a decent price.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    thanks again blues dawg - on my list when funds become available..

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    You are getting great advice. However, I worry about your trying to buy on-line. You really need to be able to try seats out. In my experience there is just no telling what will work without using a seat for up to a week. My local lbs has allowed me to take saddles home to try for an extended period of time. They are very good to me and he knows I will be very careful (not ride in the rain) and pay for any depreciation if necessary. This might cost slightly more (or not if there is a used one he wants to sell for a deal) but you have a better chance of getting a comfortable seat that you can live well with.

    I have six bicycles with four different seats. Plus my wife's which also has a Brooks. The best bet based on this sampling is a Brooks.

    Gel = fail.

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    smokester - i'm with ya = no buy before try - thanks for the advice as well

  15. #15
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    I rode everyday all spring and late into fall with 1 pair of bib shorts. I washed them after every ride, not a big deal.Wash and hang them up and next day ready to go. I wanted more pairs, which I have now, but funds were the reason only the one pair.
    Advice on the seats were all spot on in above posts, nothing else I could help with to be honest except when I first started riding I had borrowed one of my brothers bikes before I bought mine and at first the seat was brutal! I said if this is bike riding then I'm out! It took several weeks before the ole rear end got used to the seat. It did and now all is well. (Also a few adjustments were made too.)

    Good luck with the ride for diabetes this summer! I am sure you will do fine.

  16. #16
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Buy one pair of cyclings shorts now (lookin' like a Kielbasa? N-a-a-a-h!). Comfort surpasses looks anytime!
    Some baggy-type padded mt. bike shorts could fit the bill . . . then you'll just look like one of kidz!
    Toughen up the butt a bit more. Change hand positions every so often on the bars; give youself a butt break . . . coast and lift the buns or pedal standing for a half dozen pedal strokes.
    Agree that a soft gel saddle is not answer to long distance riding.
    Am 77 years old and still ride a hard/narrow racing saddle. My wife is only 75 and her saddle is not quite that hard, but by no means 'soft.'
    Cheering for you on that longer ride coming up!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  17. #17
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Buy a pair of good bike shorts but use them when you ride on longer rides you will soon find the value and you will get more. Don't get a pair with lots of padding - a good pair will have a moderate pad.

    As far as saddle goes, what was said - this is a very hard decision to make. The problem is - you won't know right away, good or bad. Some break in, some never do.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  18. #18
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    While we are talking saddles, how many of you guys ride leather? I rode a parsons for years when I was young, loved it. Now experimenting with the new designs, currently use BG, but seriously thinking of going back to leather?
    R

  19. #19
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    Once you get the saddle, and sooner or later you will, you can get deals on bike shorts or bibs on line. Nashbar often has deals. Performance bicycles is having a sale. Like some have said once you have some miles under your own “seat” you aren’t getting padding just for padding’s sake but for other reasons like moisture and support. And if you are going to be riding longer butt butter, Bag Balm whatever you like is worth a try. Let us know what you end up with. And to toss in my 2 cents, look at a saddle with a cut out or relief for the perineum. Next to the sit bones this area can be a problem on longer rides. May not be a problem for you but I thought I would toss it out.

  20. #20
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    Since you asked...
    I haven't had a lot of "problems" with the various saddles I've used over the years. Some were better than others, most would 'remind' me to change positions a lot on longer rides -- hot spots, numbness in the nether regions, etc.

    Last month I finally decided to try a Brooks B 17. I'd seen many riders in double centuries and brevets riding Brooks and every one swore by them.
    It is the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden. I've put about 500 miles on it so far -- hills, rollers, flats, 50-60 mile days, 30-40 mile days -- and it gets better with every ride. No hot spots, no numbness, no chaffing.

    YMMV

    Ps. Get one pair of cycling shorts. After your ride, toss them in the shower and when your shower is done, rinse them out. Squeeze them, roll them in your towel and walk on them to get most of the water out, and hang them up to dry.

    Quote Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
    While we are talking saddles, how many of you guys ride leather? I rode a parsons for years when I was young, loved it. Now experimenting with the new designs, currently use BG, but seriously thinking of going back to leather?
    R

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gracehowler View Post
    While we are talking saddles, how many of you guys ride leather? I rode a parsons for years when I was young, loved it. Now experimenting with the new designs, currently use BG, but seriously thinking of going back to leather?
    R
    I am a big fan of the brooks saddle. I have three bikes with B-17 saddles on them. I ride a fair amount (I don't own a car), and I do several long rides (Probably 10 centuries per year). I very rarely have sores on my butt, even after doing 500+mile rides. Having said that - that is me. I know others who have tried leather saddles and they have not worked for them. The principle of a hard leather saddle is that after a few hundred miles, the hard parts of your butt soften those parts of the saddle that they contact, while the parts of the saddle that are supporting your soft parts remain harder - the net result is that the saddle forms to your butt, to make a saddle which is great for YOU. Trying a test ride on a new saddle, or on somebody elses saddle, will tell you nothing.

    Work with your LBS on fit - part of a proper fit is to have the right saddle, and they should be able to help.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron B View Post
    smokester - i'm with ya = no buy before try - thanks for the advice as well
    That is one absolutely golden rule in Cycling. Try before you buy, and never make an exception even if someone else loves what they ride. The Saddle I love you might hate. That goes from Jerseys to shorts to shoes. You wouldn't buy a pair of shoes without trying them on I hope? Your saddle is every bit as important as a pair of shoes.

    It may take a bit more before you are used to riding enough to know what to look for but once you do listen to what Stapfam said about sitting on one after you have been on a long ride. You will know right away if you are picking the right saddle. My LBS mounted a Saddle on my bike and allowed me to ride it for a day of two. I tried a few before getting a new one. Any other selection method is a toss of the dice.

  23. #23
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    Supposedly, the more upright you sit, the wider your saddle needs to be because you're putting the weight on a wider part of the pelvic bones. So, if you're using a saddle that was meant for a more forward position, that could be uncomfortable because your pelvis is not being completely supported.
    Have you ever thought of trying a recumbant?

  24. #24
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    Brooks B67 sprung saddle- I absolutely loved mine when I rode my Expedition (upright). And get biking shorts. Pearl Izumi Attack shorts work well for me, REI brand do not- so finding shorts for you may be an experiment as well. BUT FIND SHORTS.
    Gel? no... for reasons others have stated above.
    If you don't like the look of the bike shorts, carry a light pair of regular (board or gym) shorts in your bag/jersey pocket and slip them on over your bike shorts when you get off. You can ride with both on, but it's not as comfy.
    Last edited by Dellphinus; 01-27-10 at 04:38 AM.
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    rhoda - yes thought about a 'bent' but not for me - yet - maybe some day (funds are a big issue - don't care what anyone thinks - i think they're cool).
    dellphinius/all - i actually tried on a pair of biking shorts today and I look wonderful (LOL) so no biggie - great advice from all. I've got nothin but time and I'm intrigued by the recommendation of the Brooks B67 - like I said - I'm hooked on cycling and maybe some day a different bike - but LISTEN please - my shoulders are so bad that I need an upright/non forward (i.e. the TrekFX series) type bike . the 7200 is a far cry from the old schwinn I used to live on as a kid so for me - it's totally fine. Talk to me a bit more about the Brooks? Is the B67 the 'one' with my more upright riding position? I found it online for about 110 but if its worth it im ok with that. I have decided NOT to go with gel and for now perhaps just stick with the saddle that is on my bike but.........talk to me about the Brooks and/or another perhaps less expensive alternative? ron

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