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  1. #1
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    Need advice on a Saddle

    I currently have a Terry aftermarket saddle for my road bike. I replaced the original one with this Terry. I just got into road biking about 4 mouths ago. I am 68 years old and in excellent condition. I am training for the "Death Ride" (This is a ride that crosses 5 passes in the Sierras, gains 15,000 elevation and 125 miles.) I rode a century a month ago. Three days ago I rode 3 of the passes in the death ride and regularly ride 100 miles for training. Today I rode from Mammoth to Benton and back which is an elevation gain of 4000 and 75 miles. I tell you all this to say that I have really worked hard on training for the Death ride. The thing that will keep me from finishing the ride is my sore Butt. I have Pearl padded shorts. About 30 miles into any of my rides (it is worse the steeper the ride is) my Butt gets so sore I can't handle it and toward the end of a ride I find myself stopping every half mile. I went down to my local bike shop and had the bike professionally adjusted just to improve the saddle comfort but this didn't help. The pain is right in my sit bones. The pain goes away immediately when I get off the bike and I am good for another half mile or so. (Less as the ride progresses) I know the "Professionals" say we all need the racer type saddle with little padding but this just isn't working for me. The shop that sold me the new saddle had me sit on a seat and my sit bones put an indentation in the seat which they used to select the correct saddle.My dad used to tell me that he put a motorcycle seat on his bike and it was very comfortable. I don't want to go that far but I need something different than what most people use and what the pro's recommend. Please help as I really want to finish the Death Ride but won't be able to with the conventional saddle.

  2. #2
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    If your position is correct, then you need a different saddle. Which one that might be is impossible for us to say. The Adamo saddles work well for some people who have found it impossible to get comfortable on anything else.

    PI bibs are OK, but you might want to spend the extra money on Assos and see how much they help. They're expensive, but in my opinion they're worth it.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ursa Minor's Avatar
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    Im impressed with your riding but unfortunately I dont know enough to help you with the saddle - sorry and good luck

    Charlie
    Grimly determined to have fun.

  4. #4
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    More than likely, you will have a lessor chance of finishing the DR with a nonconventional saddle. Post a pic of you on the bike. You may be putting too much pressure on the sit bones for your anatomy.
    Last edited by Hermes; 07-01-13 at 10:32 AM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  5. #5
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Have you tried 2 sets of shorts?

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  6. #6
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If your position is correct, then you need a different saddle. ..... The Adamo saddles work well for some people who have found it impossible to get comfortable on anything else.
    johnr9q,

    I agree with chasm54. Saddles are pretty personal and everyone has their favorite. I'll be 67 shortly and I ride on an ISM Adamo Prologue and put lots of miles on my bike. It has been, by far, the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat on, and I have tried many before finding the ISM. On weekends, I normally do 50 to 66 mile rides and I can honestly say that after the ride is over, I feel as if I just rode around the block a few times.

    Again, this is my favorite saddle and it may/may not work as well for you, but I certainly would not go without trying it before deciding. This being said, I am also 5' 7" and weigh 145 pounds. Because of the saddle design, it may not be right for much heavier riders since you don't sit on an ISM as you would on a standard design saddle.
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  7. #7
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I have not done the Death Ride but know many who have. The typical profile is a successful long distance rider who is good at climbing. The DR is all about climbing and descending. So there is a lot of opportunity to unweight the sit bones on descents.

    Here are a bib shorts that I think have a really good chamois. http://www.voler.com/browse/product/li/1110496 IMO, they are far superior to PI shorts which I have used. IMO, PI shorts and a Terry saddle are a widow maker combination. But hey, I am a trackie so I think 25 Km is a long way.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  8. #8
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I have gotten immediate changes in saddle comfort from tilting it forward or back.
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_V View Post
    johnr9q,

    I agree with chasm54. Saddles are pretty personal and everyone has their favorite. I'll be 67 shortly and I ride on an ISM Adamo Prologue and put lots of miles on my bike. It has been, by far, the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat on, and I have tried many before finding the ISM. On weekends, I normally do 50 to 66 mile rides and I can honestly say that after the ride is over, I feel as if I just rode around the block a few times.

    Again, this is my favorite saddle and it may/may not work as well for you, but I certainly would not go without trying it before deciding. This being said, I am also 5' 7" and weigh 145 pounds. Because of the saddle design, it may not be right for much heavier riders since you don't sit on an ISM as you would on a standard design saddle.
    This is what I've heard from other Adamo users, and is why I think it may be worth trying for the OP. If the discomfort is in his sitbones rather than soft tissue, that implies to me that he may be positioned properly and is just one of those people who has trouble with saddles: so an unconventional solution may be the most productive.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
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    I doubt that more padding is the answer but you never know. For me, Trombone Al's take on the situation is right on. Sometimes a minute change in saddle tilt can make a huge difference in comfort. I would keep a wrench handy and begin fooling around with saddle position while on a ride at the onset of discomfort.

  11. #11
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Your position on the bike and how you ride will have an impact on what saddle works for you. Generally the more upright you are, the more weight you have on your backside. So, a "motorcycle saddle" for you father may have been comfortable because of his riding position. From what you describe as your goals, I’m guessing an upright position isn’t the issue.
    Some of the saddles in the Terry line have a significant amount of padding. Which saddle are you using? The issue with too much padding is that you sink down into it which can reduce blood flow more than a firmer saddle. The saddle profile can have a similar impact. I generally like a saddle with a flatter surface. However, if the saddle top is rounded, a wider one will work. The primary place where my weight rests on a saddle is fairly wide apart. So, the flat or rounded and wide tend to work best for me.

    With all of that said, I’ve never had a saddle that I couldn’t at least make somewhat comfortable with proper adjustment. This is tricky because it involves fore/aft and tilt adjustment. To far forward and I’m putting too much weight on my backside. To far back and I can’t get my weight centered on the right spot on the saddle. Keep in mind that your hips tilt at different angles depending on position. Nose tilt for me is always very close to level. However, it varies depending on the saddle. With the Selle Italia SLK dead level works best. With the Selle SMP, nose up 1mm or so works best. With the Selle Anatomica Titanico, nose up 2 to 3 mm works best. With the Specialize Toupe, nose down 1mm works best.

    I guess my advice is to try adjustments, one at a time, of very small increments. Give what you’ve described, I’d be inclined to start with moving my saddle back 2 to 3 mm and see if that makes and impact. If not, I’d return it to the original position and try tilting the nose up 2 to 3 mm. Try to observe changes in hip tilt and note if a give tilt makes it better or worse. Then try an adjustment that exaggerates that tilt a bit.
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  12. #12
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    This is what I've heard from other Adamo users, and is why I think it may be worth trying for the OP. If the discomfort is in his sitbones rather than soft tissue, that implies to me that he may be positioned properly and is just one of those people who has trouble with saddles: so an unconventional solution may be the most productive.
    When I did my Retul fit and aero testing at the track, the fitter suggested an Adamo prolog so that it was easier to meet UCI rules for saddle set back. He said the Adamo would feel like I was sitting on a 2x4. He was right. I have the Fizik Alliant on my bikes including the track and TT bikes.

    The key to saddle comfort is fit and time in the saddle. However, small changes make a huge difference in comfort. Most shops in our area have a saddle demo program. You buy a saddle and try various saddles from a bunch of used ones until you find one that works. However, my fix was more saddle time, better chamois and more power applied to the pedals.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  13. #13
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Bike saddles are a very personal thing. For me, the Brooks "Professional" model is what I like for long rides. Perhaps your LBS has some "test ride" saddles you can borrow to try? Otherwise, Wallingford Bike has a generous 6 month unconditional return policy on all their Brooks and Berthoud saddles:

    http://www.wallbike.com/catalog/saddles

  14. #14
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    The Death ride is one of the toughest events in the USA. It is brutally long with a huge amount of climbing.



    OP will be tilted on the saddle the entire ride. I doubt that we will fix his issue over the internet but more standing may help. He can stand a lot on the climbs and unweight his sit bones on the descents. I have a friend who is on a weight loss program targeting a certain weight each week in preparation for the Death Ride.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  15. #15
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I've ridden well over a hundred centuries and even a handful of double centuries. I've had few saddle problems except for chaffing and good shorts plus something like Chamois Butt'r fixes that. However the last few years I've been having more and more sit bone pain. I've tried about a half dozen quality saddles and even had my sit bone spacing measured to get the correct width. It didn't help and I only did one century last year which HURT.

    I read somewhere that the area around the sit bones change with age. I'm 59 YO.

    So I went old school. Back in the 70s and 80s I used a Brooks B-17 saddle and it 'worked'. So I bought one last year and it was almost, but not quite, the answer. Even after 1K miles of break-in I was getting soft tissue pain 'down there'. This might be due to having aerobars and leaning forward. So I bought a B-17 Imperial which has a cutout. I finally got it broken in recently. In fact I did 51 miles yesterday and about half way though the ride I noticed that I hadn't noticed the saddle!

    One note: I've found that I need a slightly nose up adjustment for the Brooks saddles to keep from sliding forward.

    About the first B-17 that I bought: Last year I did 250 miles on the Katy Trail in Missouri on my touring bike. It was a pain in the azz. This year I had my 'older' B-17 on the touring bike and it felt much, much better.

  16. #16
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Only 4 months of cycling and you're already ready to challenge the Deathride ... and at 68 years old?

    All good advice here. Saddles are personal, and you just have to keep looking until you find the one that works. And you may have to make a lot of fine adjustments too. I'm surprised that you still have pain after cycling for 4 months, but eventually, you'll get to the point where your sit-bones won't hurt at all.

    The Alta Alpina 8 pass challenge was last Saturday ... Deathride + 3 additional passes and 200 miles. Yea, baby.
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  17. #17
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    Hi,

    All I can say at 50+ is I went from the original seat - which seemed to
    suit a skinny teenager - and caused problems in the perineum area, to
    a better fitting seat with a perineum cut out - but it was too soft and
    caused problems in the sit bones area, my third saddle is a lot harder.

    They are all pretty budget affairs so the makes won't really help you,
    and TBH I'm doing nothing like the mileages you are doing, my usual
    problems are usually general discomfort after the ride, not during it.

    Breaking in a leather saddle to fit your butt intimately is the solution
    most often suggested for those with long term serious saddle issues.

    rgds, sreten.
    Last edited by sreten; 07-01-13 at 03:13 PM.

  18. #18
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    Seems to me you are putting in hugh miles and clmbing if you have only been riding four months. You may need to back off the miles, set new goals further out and give you body more time to adapt to road riding long miles. The quest for the perfect saddle is usually a challenge. Some riders love the Brooks for long distance others don't want to break in and maintain a leather sprung saddle. Soft cushy saddles usually don't work for most riders doing more than tooling around the neighborhood.

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    One of the Selle Anatomica s designers was a lover of Grand tour race like stage, day rides,
    exceeding 100 miles..

    the design is such that the 2 portions on opposite sides of the center slot moved independently,
    with that leg.


    Me , I have a 30 year old Brooks Pro and a newer San Marco Rolls , and some Selle Italia Turbos ,
    they're similar sort-of shape..


    racers put their weight on the pedals , so really sit very lightly .. + young and skinny..

  20. #20
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    I have the answer. Listen to nobody and everybody. Nobody knows but you may glean something from almost anybody. The best thing you can do is start trying different saddles. If you have a good lbs you may be able to borrow a saddle for a few days, rinse and repeat. I would put Brook B17, Anatomica and the entire line of Fizik Snake, Bull and mid range (I forget the name). I've not ridden the Fizik but the hammock like idea behind it sounds like it has real promise and the feedback from those that have ridden it is really quite something. People also love the Anatomica if it doesn't end up pinching you. Above all, pay to try out some Fizik and other saddles if you need to, but realize that other people's recommendations have no specific bearing on you but collectively they may point you toward saddles that are well accepted.

  21. #21
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    Johnr9q here again. Thanks all for your good advice. I went to REI yesterday and asked the salesperson to recommend a saddle cause mine wasn't working. After he gave me all the standard advice I said, "what I want in a saddle is just the opposite of the advice you just gave" So we selected the Serfas, EG-800 Cruiser E-Gel 216mm width. Tomorrow I will go out on the American River Bike trail and go 80 miles or so and see how it feels and let you know. The salesperson at REI said some people (like himself) just can't go over 70 miles or so because their backsides get so sore. If this is the case for me, I guess I will just have to give up the idea of finishing the Death Ride. You all have given me much advice on seat adjustment but the problem is, my saddle is fine for the first 50 miles and once it gets sore, I doubt that any amount of adjustment would help. So, my point is, only 12 days left till the Death Ride, it is going to be difficult to use all the ranges of possible adjustments to find a solution, I would need to adjust before each practice ride and I only have about 4 rides left before the Death Ride. I will, however, do all the adjusting possible if this new Serfas Saddle doesn't work tomorrow, I'll try one of the ones recommended by you people. As someone suggested, I uploaded a couple of pictures of my normal riding position. Thanks again for all your help. John R



    009.JPG010.JPG

  22. #22
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnr9q View Post
    Johnr9q here again. Thanks all for your good advice. I went to REI yesterday and asked the salesperson to recommend a saddle cause mine wasn't working. After he gave me all the standard advice I said, "what I want in a saddle is just the opposite of the advice you just gave" So we selected the Serfas, EG-800 Cruiser E-Gel 216mm width. Tomorrow I will go out on the American River Bike trail and go 80 miles or so and see how it feels and let you know. The salesperson at REI said some people (like himself) just can't go over 70 miles or so because their backsides get so sore. If this is the case for me, I guess I will just have to give up the idea of finishing the Death Ride. You all have given me much advice on seat adjustment but the problem is, my saddle is fine for the first 50 miles and once it gets sore, I doubt that any amount of adjustment would help. So, my point is, only 12 days left till the Death Ride, it is going to be difficult to use all the ranges of possible adjustments to find a solution, I would need to adjust before each practice ride and I only have about 4 rides left before the Death Ride. I will, however, do all the adjusting possible if this new Serfas Saddle doesn't work tomorrow, I'll try one of the ones recommended by you people. As someone suggested, I uploaded a couple of pictures of my normal riding position. Thanks again for all your help. John R



    009.JPG010.JPG
    Actually, John, this is something to revisit. I've found that on very long days in the saddle, making adjustments during the course of a ride can make enough of a difference to get me home without tears in my eyes (we're talking 10 to 12 hour days). It seems that just a wee bit of tilt for half and hour or so, or a bit of fore or aft shift for a short period of time will provide some temporary relief. Of course, when you use this approach attempting to turn in personal best times isn't going to work.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  23. #23
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Well, in my opinion, that bike is too small for you, you are sitting in too upright a position and as a result you are very likely putting too much weight on the saddle, as opposed to the pedals. A bigger frame would allow you to stretch out more and redistribute your weight on the bike, allowing you to rotate your hips forward and take some of the weight off your sitbones.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  24. #24
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Well, in my opinion, that bike is too small for you, you are sitting in too upright a position and as a result you are very likely putting too much weight on the saddle, as opposed to the pedals. A bigger frame would allow you to stretch out more and redistribute your weight on the bike, allowing you to rotate your hips forward and take some of the weight off your sitbones.
    +1 have to agree with Chasm54.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
    Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831

  25. #25
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    There are some things to like in the pic. Your body weight looks great and your lower back is not rounded and your pelvis is rotated. However, you are sitting upright and the effective top tube is too short. The stem looks too short and could be extended.

    Note that the upper arms are not at 90 degrees to your body and they are extended back. They should be at 90 degrees from your body and you reach forward with a slight bend at the elbow.

    4 months is not much time to adapt to a bicycle.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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