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  1. #1
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    Yet Another Saddle Thread. But the others didn't help!

    A relative newbie is me. My butt hurt and I was so numb I had trouble doing things. So, I read and read and read everything I could find. I asked others what to do.

    Some recommended a softer saddle, some recommended a firmer saddle, some recommended this and some that. Some even said pain is part of the game and just shut up and ride. Several said until you get over a 1000 miles in a summer(April-September) you just have't trained your butt yet.

    Well, I'm well over 1000 miles since April when the snow left. In fact I'm knocking on 1500 since then. I've changed saddles twice. No more numbness but at about 30 miles my sit bones get Very Uncomfortable. On my two 60+ mile rides I spent as much time standing as sitting for the last 20 miles. In fact now my speed and distance are limited not by strength or endurance, but by sit bone soreness.

    I move around, I stand for a minute of so every few mnutes. I've changed saddles to a harder one and then to a wider, flatter one. No difference. My sit bones hurt.

    I don't think I should have to spend the next year sampling saddles until I find one that works, should I? Plus, with winter coming on there is a logistical problem of testing.

    What to do?

    Maybe I just need to accept that my rides will be 30 miles or shorter? Maybe despite my enjoying cycling this just isn't my sport?
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  2. #2
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Well, there is always a recumbant; they have an entirely different type of seat and seated position.

    Talking about that, you need to realize that the upright bicycle is a basic design from the 1890s as the "safety bicycle." At that time, the designers had no idea of the science and art known as ergonomics. Seated exercise is a problem, and when you compromise to reduce weight, something has to "give." That give spot can be a royal pain in the @#$. So how do "modern" cyclists cope with that? Well, they go through different styles of seats until they find one that is right, go through different positions until they find one which works (have you done anything on your cycling position?), and also learn to bear up to the pain that comes. Even professional bicycle racers have seat problems; I heard on the recent Tour de France that Lance Armstrong had sores in painful parts, and that they were not caused by falls.

    I was not really joking about the recumbant design above. I have one, a Rans Stratus, and find its seat to be very comfortable and the cycling position to be much more ergonomically sound. You might want to read about how the Stratus came about in this article by Randy Schlitter. Maybe this could be a birthday or Christmas present to yourself.

    By the way, congratulations on the mileage since April. That is quite an accomplishment.

    Good luck,

    John
    Last edited by John C. Ratliff; 09-04-10 at 11:51 PM. Reason: add the link to the Rans Stratus
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  3. #3
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    how much do you weigh? how tall are you?

    have you had your butt measured (Specialized Butt-O-meter is a good quick thing). A saddle which is too narrow is obviously, no good.

    the better saddles for rides of more than a few miles, are all firm, to a relative measure...

    more important, saddle 'shape' has a large affect on comfort.

    how you are positioned on the bike, has a huge affect on your butt

    what are you wearing?

    how long - riding time - does it take for you to do the 60? how long does it take to do your 30?

    often issues are not just one thing, all of the above may be contributing to the whole.

    the prior threads have covered all this dozens of times. the reason they may nto seem relevent is likely cause you can't identify whats contributing to your issues.
    You might be best served by finding someone local who has real experience. I'm not referring to someone who has spent money on a fancy bike and kit. I'm talkin about someone who has 20/30 years coaching/working with riders. This is usually not found at most LBS.

    you give almost no real info on your situation, other than your ass hurts after some time in the saddle.
    not sure what you expect to define with your post.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    A relative newbie is me. My butt hurt and I was so numb I had trouble doing things. So, I read and read and read everything I could find. I asked others what to do.

    Some recommended a softer saddle, some recommended a firmer saddle, some recommended this and some that. Some even said pain is part of the game and just shut up and ride. Several said until you get over a 1000 miles in a summer(April-September) you just have't trained your butt yet.

    Well, I'm well over 1000 miles since April when the snow left. In fact I'm knocking on 1500 since then. I've changed saddles twice. No more numbness but at about 30 miles my sit bones get Very Uncomfortable. On my two 60+ mile rides I spent as much time standing as sitting for the last 20 miles. In fact now my speed and distance are limited not by strength or endurance, but by sit bone soreness.

    I move around, I stand for a minute of so every few mnutes. I've changed saddles to a harder one and then to a wider, flatter one. No difference. My sit bones hurt.

    I don't think I should have to spend the next year sampling saddles until I find one that works, should I? Plus, with winter coming on there is a logistical problem of testing.

    What to do?

    Maybe I just need to accept that my rides will be 30 miles or shorter? Maybe despite my enjoying cycling this just isn't my sport?
    I went through a period of this type of problem. I did not wait for the sit bones to start hurting, at the start of my ride i started doing stretches and unloading them every few minutes. At first i did these stretches only after the pain started but it did not relieve all the pain. When i did them at the start in increased the distance i can go without it becoming a problem. I went 67 miles last Tuesday and 57 on Thursday, did 48 miles without stopping and no sit bone problem. It took me about a month of doing the stretches to find relief. I don't stop or get off the bike to stretch. I unclip one foot and point my whole leg straight back and rotate my foot, then bend at the knee and raise my calf and foot up while gliding with all my weight on the other foot. I then switch sides and repeat. I usually am going about 20mph and slow to about 14 then speed up to 20 and switch. After about a month i was doing less and less until now i don't need to do this at all. You have to lean forward to get your leg to go straight back. I have done this at higher speeds as well. It takes a little time to find the right pressure to steer straight, so start at a slow speed. Hope this helps. If not then good luck on the saddle hunt.

  5. #5
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    Thanks LA.

    When a person gets to this kind of place they have tried several things and have, at least in my case, been fitted by a knowledgeable person. I guess what I'm looking for are two things: A direction of where to to next and some tips of things to try that have solved the problem for others.

    Your post is right in line with number two.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    You haven't mentioned shorts so do you use shorts with a liner fitted? That is not for comfort but if not wearing cycling shorts-then perhaps a seam is rubbing the wrong place.

    Never used it myself but Chamois cream. Others swear by it but if it would help the sitbones- I have no idea.

    But what weight of rider- what style of bike- what saddles have you used and a pic of you on the bike might help.
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  7. #7
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    My butt aches for you!!

    I don't have any suggestions, except that 30 miles is a pretty good distance compared with the rest of the world. Don't give up yet. Perhaps those long Alaskan winters, dark days, cold and correspondingly less riding time are a factor?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
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    30 miles was the limit for me as well for a long time. I tried the Specialized butt meter and it said I should be on a 155mm saddle, I bought one, and then a different one and they were no better. I'm currently on a Cobb saddle, 130mm and it's the best thing yet. I've tried Brooks, Selle Italia, Specialized, Bontrager...you name it, but this one came with a money back 6 month return policy.

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  9. #9
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    I've been riding a Specialized Toupe for several years. I can use it for all kinds of rides but if the ride is long enough I will get some soreness. I have come to accept that. But this week I remounted a Fizik Alliante saddle to my Ti bike in anticipation of longer slower rides through the winter. The shape and padding of the Alliante dictates I raise my bars or the soft nose will cause numbness. I did that and rode nearly 50 miles yesterday in total comfort. No numbness or soreness. A century will be the next test. I have another Alliante that I will put on my Roubaix. I'll also have to raise the bars on that bike but I think the higher bar doesn't really affect my speed much at all. I'm so comfortable that I can just pedal well and as well late into the ride.

    Fit is a dynamic thing for me but for longer rides comfort trumps all other considerations.

  10. #10
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    I thought the Terry Fly I'd been riding for a few years was comfortable. Last April I wanted something just a little more comfortable. Went to a Specialized dealer and they did the butt-o-meter thing. Bought a Phenom (143 mm for me). Very comfortable from the first ride.

    Good luck with your search for the perfect saddle.
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  11. #11
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    Like Stepfam says, what about shorts? When I started 1.5 yrs ago and was training for the Miami MS 150 4 mo later, the most common advise I heard was "spend at least $100 and get the best bike shorts you can." I've since learned the truth of this advise, and would add to it use chamois cream, and get a good seat that fits.

    I'm not sure that any combo of shorts, creams, and seats will make a long bike ride feel like sitting in the lazy boy, but like hand position, you should be able to move about, stand, and reposition and get into a satisfactory position.

    Yesterday on the 115 mi ride around Lake Okeechobee, everything was fine for the first 65 mi. Then we stopped for lunch. For the next 10 or 15 mi my butt could not get comfortable. I don't remember ever having so much trouble finding a comfortable position. But there was not choice. I had to keep going, and I had to keep up. Eventually, for what ever reason, the relative comfort returned. I was able to do the usual moves and ride happy.
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  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    None of us can tell you what your particular magic saddle or magic combination of saddle, shorts, saddle adjustment, bike setup, fitness and adaptation will be. Some are lucky and find it quickly. Others take years to find it. Some, I suppose, never do. It took me a few years to find a good solution. That was many years ago and I have needed to make adjustments over the years as I changed.

    Best I can offer is that your solution is out there for you to find (probably).
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    When I started riding I bought an inexpensive pair of Aerotechdesign shorts - these were good for about 20miles even with chamois cream. I bought the next most expensive pair from the same company (now have 4 pair) and shorts are no longer an issue. Next came the saddle - tried 2-3 saddles, but around 40 miles my butt would really start to both me. Bought a Selle An-atomica and my problem is solved. I can ride at least a 100K usually without noticing the saddle, but flat rides which offer little change in position can still be a bit of a bother. Now the Selle An-atomica is heavy and we have two on our tandem, but nothing is more important on a long ride in my opinion than butt comfort.
    Last edited by rdtompki; 09-06-10 at 02:54 PM. Reason: correct typos
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    Several things have been mentioned that make sense. Shorts: Where I am selection is extremely limited but I'll be down in Denver again next month where it is just a matter of finding the right store. Right now I'm wearing Sugoi Evolution shorts. To help me what do y'all wear? What kind of price range are those shorts?

    My wife says that my butt misery is because when I took off the 25 pounds it all came from my gut and butt. So, there isn't anything over the sit bones but skin. What y'all say about shorts fits right into that. Since I've been measured and fitted to bike and saddle maybe the answer is changing shorts.

    One thing this thread has in common with all the rest is that there are a couple posts that make the process of getting comfortable sound very hit or miss, or magic as BluesDawg says. That helps explain why I've met so many people who have tried cycling and given it up, eh?

    I'm not ready to give up. But, given the length of my cycling season I've got to get some direction so I don't spend years finding an answer.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Prostate surgery in 2001 and for the next 6 years I had pain. Tried just about every saddle going and even tried the OLD Brooks that I had tried before surgery. NO saddle worked. And that was on the Tandem- The mountain bike and even tried the wifes bike with a gel filled womans saddle. That was the best of the lot but only for 20 miles. All these were mountain bikes with upright riding position.

    Then in 2007 I bought a road bike. Basic Giant OCR3 with basic components- including the saddle. That was it-- The more laid out position of a road bike worked for me. The saddle was only good for 6 months before pain started to come in again so went back to the Original style I used to ride of a Flite Titanium saddle. This was still a flite saddle but the gel max. The gel pad is small but the saddle has a cutaway and has just a bit of padding before you hit the firm base. Next bike and I got a Selle "Aero" saddle. Same shape and width as the gel max and no gel- just a bit of cushioning. Both saddles work for me.

    I tried the Specialised Buttometer and according to it- I should be riding a 145 saddle. The Aero and the Flite are both 130. Tried the 145 in the shop on a bike before I bought it and it was not right.

    One thing I found worked for me after the surgery- was to go to my LBS and sit on saddles. They had a stool that I put the saddle on and if I felt no pain I would buy the saddle. Due to the surgery- My internal body shape was adapting so a comfy saddle this week- was pain in a months time. Some of those saddles were cheap ones so try the sit test and see what type of saddle suits you. You may be lucky and find the magic cure. Or you could have problems for a while longer.

    And Latitude-- Giordana Tenax bibs. 2 pairs now and they are good. Also have a cheaper pair of Giordana's for summer use- a lighter material but the same liner. Price difference of $ to £ but but these are high-Mid range bibs. I used to pay £30 for good Bibs-Or £5 from the sales bin. The Giordanas range from £45 to£60 before haggling.
    Last edited by stapfam; 09-05-10 at 02:59 PM.
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  16. #16
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    I really appreciate your inputs. One, about the bibs, may be closer than anything else. I had a pair of Specialized bibs in the old size lying on the floor of my closet. They were on sale a year ago and I bought them with the idea of trying bibs but never got around to it. Today I did 38 miles wearing them and with a break for a PayDay at the 20 mile point. Much thinner pad than the Sugois. But, I am not nearly as sore tonight as I was yesterday after 30 miles.

    So, after the holiday I'm going to visit my LBS about the saddle and I'm going shopping for some bibs.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    I've found every saddle I've owned - Brooks Pro, B17, Selle Anatomica, Toupe, E3, and others - must be adjusted to it's optimum position fo ryou. Finding it does not mean you'll never have pain, it means you'll stop the pain you're having now.

    What works best for me now is a Selle Anatomica (clydesdale and non-clyde). I'm lately using the latest Performance Ultra shorts, from Performance mail-order. Get the right size - I've lost a little weight and moved to a Medium from a large. I have a bib of that type in for "audition," but I can't say yet that this fine actor gets the job. Those who are sticking around include the Selle An saddles, the Ultras, and a B17 Imperial. The B17 Narrow Imperial is not real good for me, and neither is a standard B17, a Brooks Professional, a small handful of Selle Italias, or a vintage Ideal 92 Diagonale.

    In high school and college I rode Brooks Pros, and those were excellent then. Now they don't work at all for me.

    I've been searching for a good comfort combo for nearly 10 years now, and it's gettign pretty darn good. Leather saddles, such as the B17 Imperial and the Selle Anatomicas, that started out pretty good have become very good. In contrast, the Toupes and the smaller brother the Alias, start out well but do not keep me comfy beyond about 35 miles. This summer I've been doing metrics, and the Selle Anatomicas have been very good for that distance. I'm sure there's a lot more in them.

  18. #18
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    The Selle An-atomica saddle comes with a very good set of directions for adjustment that provide some insight into what to look for in adjusting a saddle or making a change. For example,the directions suggest gradually tightening the saddle until the contact points become "hot spots" at which point back of a quarter turn or whatever amount eliminates the hot spots. This absolutely works with the SA. This would suggest that a conventional saddle which continues to produce hot spots after several weeks is probably too hard. Also note the instruction to tip the saddle up slightly if the rider is having crotch discomfort; this absolutely works.

    By all means start with better shorts. they don't need to cost $100, but money spent on shorts is money well spent. I haven't found a need to go to bibs, but in a hot, humid area I can see that bibs would really help keeping things in place with all that water sloshing around.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    The Selle An-atomica saddle comes with a very good set of directions for adjustment that provide some insight into what to look for in adjusting a saddle or making a change. For example,the directions suggest gradually tightening the saddle until the contact points become "hot spots" at which point back of a quarter turn or whatever amount eliminates the hot spots. This absolutely works with the SA. This would suggest that a conventional saddle which continues to produce hot spots after several weeks is probably too hard. Also note the instruction to tip the saddle up slightly if the rider is having crotch discomfort; this absolutely works.

    By all means start with better shorts. they don't need to cost $100, but money spent on shorts is money well spent. I haven't found a need to go to bibs, but in a hot, humid area I can see that bibs would really help keeping things in place with all that water sloshing around.
    +1! And the words "gradually" and "slightly" are critical!

  20. #20
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Latitude-sorry to hear of the sit bone issues. All I can offer is there a solution. 30 miles should just be a start and not the end. Heck-there are a number of us that ride a lot of miles and even on back to back days and saddles are not an issue.

    My experience has been too much padding in the shorts is not helpful-sounds like you might be getting there as well. I've had good luck with Selle Italia saddles so you might check some of those out as well. I've been using the SI Prolight gel for several years as it's a little wider than the Flite and others-plus it has a cutout. The type of rail on a saddle can make a difference on how much road vibration you pick up, too. Good luck-there should not be a issue with doing rides 60-100 mile due to the saddle.

    Just a thought, but is the saddle height okay for you? Too high can cause issues as well.
    Ride your Ride!!

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    Looks like most of us have a story to tell re saddle misery. I rode the Specialized Allez seat from the LBS and regular bike shorts w/chamois for a few years with only minor irritation. Then my belly got a bit bigger and, apparently, the shorts wouldn't stay put. I went to a bib short and it helped. Also my 250 pound mail man buddy was riding a Selle Italia SLR, a tiny sliver of a saddle. So I shopped for one on EBay. I've been riding it for a year and found out less is more. Then with the recent heat spell I got saddle sores. Nowhere near my sit bones. I took 4 days off to heal, switched back to the other EBay seat I bought, a Selle Italia Flite, bought some Chamois Butt'r, wear two pair bib shorts and I seem to be on the mend. Bib shorts are not all the same. Pearl Izumi is the gold standard I think. Prepare to pay dearly.

  22. #22
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
    A relative newbie is me. My butt hurt and I was so numb I had trouble doing things. So, I read and read and read everything I could find. I asked others what to do.

    Some recommended a softer saddle, some recommended a firmer saddle, some recommended this and some that. Some even said pain is part of the game and just shut up and ride. Several said until you get over a 1000 miles in a summer(April-September) you just have't trained your butt yet.

    Well, I'm well over 1000 miles since April when the snow left. In fact I'm knocking on 1500 since then. I've changed saddles twice. No more numbness but at about 30 miles my sit bones get Very Uncomfortable. On my two 60+ mile rides I spent as much time standing as sitting for the last 20 miles. In fact now my speed and distance are limited not by strength or endurance, but by sit bone soreness.

    I move around, I stand for a minute of so every few mnutes. I've changed saddles to a harder one and then to a wider, flatter one. No difference. My sit bones hurt.

    I don't think I should have to spend the next year sampling saddles until I find one that works, should I? Plus, with winter coming on there is a logistical problem of testing.

    What to do?

    Maybe I just need to accept that my rides will be 30 miles or shorter? Maybe despite my enjoying cycling this just isn't my sport?
    Your fit and weight distribtion is probably wrong, including the tilt of your saddle. What you need to do is experiment a little, and get a little smarter about fitting yourself to different bikes. It will pay off in the long run. And, there are some great saddles out therr, like the Selle SMP line. Find a bike store that will will let you demo. 30 miles is a warm-up ride, you should not view this distance as any limitation.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member seemunkee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metric Man View Post
    30 miles was the limit for me as well for a long time. I tried the Specialized butt meter and it said I should be on a 155mm saddle, I bought one, and then a different one and they were no better. I'm currently on a Cobb saddle, 130mm and it's the best thing yet. I've tried Brooks, Selle Italia, Specialized, Bontrager...you name it, but this one came with a money back 6 month return policy.

    http://cobbcycling.com/cart/V-Flow_Max_C1P4.cfm
    I switched to a Cobb this spring and love it. This is the third saddle I've had on this bike and by far the most comfortable.

  24. #24
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    Wonderful comments. Somehow they seem to have a different perspective than those in other threads on this subject. Perhaps it is the language y'all have chosen to use?

    One of the difficulties for this summer is that my cycling for this summer is just about over. We are now into the Leaves Falling time which means that soon only the most hearty will be riding. I'm not one of them.

    But, I will be in the Denver area in Oct and again at Thanksgiving. Each time, if the weather permits, I'll be putting on a couple hundred miles. The bike there is the same make and model but a year older than the one I ride here. So, I will do some advance planning and try at least one of the saddles mentioned here. Also, I think I'm going to try different shorts. I noticed the Specialized Bibs with practically no padding were more comfortable than the Sugoi Evolution shorts with generous padding; counterintuitive to be sure.

    Over the non-riding time I will be on te Spin Bike for fitness and, if I can find a place to put it, on a trainer.

    If I can get something reasonable going than when I can start riding again next March perhaps I won't have to suffer so much and can do the long rides I know my capability will allow.

    Sound like a plan?
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  25. #25
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    latitude65, Saddle design, saddle height, saddle tilt, fore/ aft placement and your positioning on the bikcycle all have a profound effect on comfort. When one is fitted for a bicycle, one thing that can't be emperically determined is what's best for your butt. This is something honed over many miles. I recently removed the aerobars from one of my primary bikes, it has the same saddle I use on my other primary bike (Flite). I'm having a p*sser of a time getting the saddle adjusted properly (aerobars require some compromise between two positions) and really the only difference between the two bikes is the seatpost.

    I tried a Flite on my mountain bike... not a good match at all. A Fizik Nisene was perfect for it, but when experimenting with a road bike it was junk to my butt. Two saddles that have worked well for me (just throwing out less popular brands worth trying) are the OEM CODA from Cannondale and a Serfas Ti. The Serfas worked well with a more upright style.

    As far as cycling not being your sport just because of butt comfort... I've a friend who's ridden a minimum of 10K miles a year for perhaps 30 years and he's always on the hunt for the perfect saddle.

    Brad

    PS I forgot about cycling shorts, oops. In order of my preference, PI, Sugoi then Shaversport.
    Last edited by bradtx; 09-07-10 at 04:57 PM. Reason: PS

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