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Old 07-20-06, 05:01 PM   #1
oldokie
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Saddles - educate me

I am relatively new to cycling and I have watched with interest other threads about saddle preferences and brands. I have a Trek 7500 Hybred with a Bontrager saddle that seems OK for now. Although I have not made any rides beyond 20 miles yet, I intend to do some 100+ mile trips later. I have noted that many people have a stong preferences to leather saddles such as the Brooks while others like saddles with other features. It appears to me that as I build up milage, I might prefer a better saddle but I don't have a clue about what features are highly desirable. Can you educate me about the pros/cons of different saddle features for someone who is interested in confort over a distance while riding a hybred bike (no road bars)? I know a saddle can be a personal preference but....... Leather vs other? Shape? Hard vs padded? Cutouts? Break-in time? etc...etc...etc.
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Old 07-20-06, 06:16 PM   #2
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There is no single saddle for everyone or all types of bike riding. If you find your current saddle to be comfortable then don't change it. If you notice numbness or pain when you start doing longer rides before you swap saddles you should adjust the angle of your saddle nose a little and after that if the saddle still doesn't work for you try out some saddles that have cutouts such as the Specialized Body Geometry saddles. I'd also recommend checking out Terry's mens saddles.
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Old 07-20-06, 06:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
you can try a brooks and if you don't like it you can send it back up to 6 months from when you buy it.

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+1
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Old 07-20-06, 06:53 PM   #4
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If your current saddle is working out OK, theres no "pressing" need to change it.

Some of the modern saddles have a channel or slot that runs partway down the middle of it allowing for some deformation as the pressure from your butt changes from side to side while you're pedaling. There's also many different kinds with varying thicknesses of gel. A little gel is OK, but a lot of gel is over kill.

The nice thing about Brooks saddles is that they change their form to your butt, making a perfect fit. But nobody else should ride it while its getting broken in, which takes a while.
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Old 07-20-06, 06:56 PM   #5
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Yes, Wallbike has a great return policy. I have a Brooks B17, and it far surpasses any other saddle I have ever owned, be that stock saddles, cut outs or giant gel fluff nonsense.

Basically the saddle is supposed to provide firm support of your sit bones so that your soft parts don't get any weight. The leather saddles do this by being firm and having a design such that the nose is a bit lower than the rear. Gel saddles are too soft all over and cause your sit bones to sink into the saddle, to the point that your soft parts now have considerable pressure on them. Those with cut-outs are supposed to eliminate that. However, you cannot completely eliminate the nose of the saddle without causing you to fall forward. Therefore all cut outs do have some nose which can press into the soft parts. Though there are some saddles which are noseless, but they are basically a suicide mission. Also, some cut-outs are sharp on the edges and can cause some sore spots. Additionally, non-leather saddles often have rough surfaces that can cause chafing. Leather saddles are very smooth and essentially eliminate saddle sores. The other advantage of leather saddles is that they conform to your body and provide a custom shape. And, yes one more advantage is that they provide a bit of suspension since the leather gives under one's weight over the bumps. Not so much that a high cadence will be bouncy, but sufficient to provide comfort over lousy roads. Yet another advantage of leather is that it is very breathable. Vinyl does not breath and can get very hot. One disadvantage of leather saddles is that they tend to be rather heavy. My B17 is around 400 grams. Of course, I am way over 400 grams overweight myself, so I could care less. But some people are put off by this. There is a titanium version of Brooks saddles that is much lighter, but still heavy by comparison to many other saddles. But, if you are riding during a century and you are in pain, I am sure you would gladly trade in those few grams for a painfree ride.
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Old 07-20-06, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
you can try a brooks and if you don't like it you can send it back up to 6 months from when you buy it.

wallbike.com
Me too. I am a completely satisfied Brooks B17 owner.
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Old 07-20-06, 08:43 PM   #7
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I'm about convinced that a Brooks is on the horizon, but like oldokie, my stock saddle is good enough that I can't afford a lot of expensive experimentation. If and when, it will be from wallbike. I hate doing returns, but it's nice to know it's there.
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Old 07-21-06, 06:32 AM   #8
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Another happy B-17 owner.
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Old 07-21-06, 07:36 AM   #9
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I only have about 120 miles on my Brooks but it felt better than my old one right out of the box. Love it.
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Old 07-21-06, 07:43 AM   #10
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Much good advice & info. I would just add that on the Brooks, Ideale, Pryma types, the leather is thick, approx 1/8"-3/16". This takes some time to mold itself to your anatomy, for many users it is comfortable right out of the box & improves with time but the leather can be damaged by to much rain or to much preservative. The alternative saddle type has a plastic or carbon fibre base covered with some type of padding which is then covered by a thin layer of leather or vinyl. Some of the vintage saddles of this type (Avocet, Turbo, Royale) are also quite comfortable and still available as NOS but aren't as durable due to the thin layer of cover material. Don

Last edited by ollo_ollo; 07-24-06 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 07-21-06, 07:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MERTON
you can try a brooks and if you don't like it you can send it back up to 6 months from when you buy it.

wallbike.com
+2

I'm going to get the thermometer. I think i have a fever since i just agreed with MERTON on something. Seriously, an investment in a good leather saddle like the Brooks B17 or similar will go a long way in accentuating your cycling experience.

I put on a Brooks B17 on my mountain bike not quite 3 years ago. Since then i have added a couple more to my road bike and other mountain bike. I've sat on those saddles for hundreds and hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of miles.

I often say i would give up cycling i had to part with the Brooks. Check the reviews here. Seventy four people can't be wrong.
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Old 07-21-06, 08:18 AM   #12
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Do they use brooks in the tdf? They are so great i would think most would.
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Old 07-21-06, 09:45 AM   #13
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There's an awful lot of praise for Brooks here. But even within the Brooks line you might want to consider your options. I suspect that I got the wrong Brooks. My B17 with 2000 miles on it is fine for trips under 12 mph. Against the wind, or going faster for sustained periods, the little "wings" press against the thighs, cutting off circulation. I'm thinking that I should have gotten one of the narrower models. I'm wondering if this is why some people thread the "wings" and if this would alleviate the problem??
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Old 07-21-06, 12:37 PM   #14
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I have Brooks saddles on all my bikes so you know what I recommend!

A lot of folks like the Fizzik Arione but it was the most uncomfortable saddle I've ever sat on. I used a Selle Italia XO Trans Am for quite awhile and it wasn't too bad.

Like the previous posters said.....everyone has special needs for saddles and what will work for one will be an a$$ hatchet for others.
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Old 07-21-06, 04:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shokhead
Do they use brooks in the tdf? They are so great i would think most would.
Haven't seen one yet- Must be a reason?

Saddles are very awkward- Despite all the praise For Brooks- I can't get on with them. I have a thin Flite Titanium and it works for me- My new road bike came with a Selle San Marco and that works for me. What doesn't work are the 20 odd saddles I have in the Bike shed- Including a Brooks- That do not work for me now- May have done at some point in the last 15 years but don't now.
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Old 07-21-06, 05:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
Haven't seen one yet- Must be a reason?
Yeah. Brooks saddles are heavy and made for comfort. You don't find much comfort or many heavy saddles at the TDF. So yeah, if you are planning on racing in the TDF, i don't recommend the Brooks. I guess I never noticed where the OP said he was going to enter. Good Luck!
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Old 07-21-06, 05:30 PM   #17
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Thanks for the advice. First, weight is not an issue from me. I am not a racer and I do this primarily for exercise so a few more grams will be insignificant compared to my waistline and other stuff I tend to carry. I think I can live with my current saddle for now but will shop around for something like the B17.
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