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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 04-30-05, 04:20 PM   #1
richc
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What to do about a sore butt???

Just got back into cycling after a 15-year absence from the sport. Been an avid runner for over 20 years, so the physical fitness part is not an issue. What IS an issue is the old butt--the soreness put a serious limitation on how far I can ride. I wear bike shorts and use a gel saddle pad, and my preferred mount is a comfortable one to begin with (Cannondale Road Warrior 800 with 700x32 tires at 80psi). I don't have much of a butt anyway so that doesn't help (could be from all the running, but most likely is just genetics). Does anyone have any suggestions on equipment or techniques to deal with this issue? Maybe I just have to log some miles and develop some sort of "cyclist's butt" over time. Appreciate any advice.
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Old 04-30-05, 04:32 PM   #2
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It sounds like you may benefit from trying another saddle. You would normally expect to have a liitle muscle soreness from any new physical activity, so that would be no different with cycling. However, it you are having "soft tissue" pain or extreme muscle soreness, the best place to begin is in the saddle and chamois. Both of these items are very personal and what works for me may not work for you. Some of my cycling partners swear by products that I can't seem to use. While you generally get what you pay for in the cycling world, cost is not always a good indicator of fit. Paying a ton of money for these items won't do you any good if they don't fit your body well. I would try going to my LBS and taking a few saddles on a test ride. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 04-30-05, 04:34 PM   #3
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as you can see from my forum handle, I have straggled with the issue my self.

After 6-7 different saddles and 6 months of riding I think I have figured it out. Each one has a different shape and riding position which means that one saddle doesn't fit all. Another very important lesson I have learned is that a soft saddle is not the solution. I know it is counter intuitive but stay with me here. With a soft saddle the first hours feels good, but then it gets really sore. I am not sure why, but a saddle that is a bit more firm worked better for me..

Also, you will need to tweak the position and angle of the saddle so the your weight is distributed between the 2 sitting bones and the flat soft area further to the front...... (I hope you get the picture) where most of the weight is on the two sitting bones and some is on that area..

I have a friend that is into the biking for the past 30 years and has a box full of saddles. I tried them all and ended up selecting a lesser known saddle by Avocet. If was just soft enough to the contact area doesn't hurt, but firm enough that I didn't just sink in like you do with a gel saddle.

If you have a friendly LBS, ask then to try some saddles. Every shop has a boxes of used saddles..

The most important factor is TIME.. it take a LONG TIME to get use to the saddle. A lot of the pain you feel now will go away as the area gets use to it.. When I started riding I couldn't even imagine sitting in the saddle for more then half an hour, and today I ride 6-7 hours and with no problem..


The saddle I ended up with
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Old 04-30-05, 05:00 PM   #4
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Your butt will adjust. Give it some time -- at least 3-4 weeks of regular, extended saddle time. The first few rides are the most painful. IMO there is no such thing as a saddle that can prevent a sore butt, especially if you've been away 15 years.
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Old 04-30-05, 05:09 PM   #5
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Even thr pros get sore butt at the start of their training "season". The only thing other than trying a new saddle is ride time that will cure it. Good luck!
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Old 04-30-05, 05:14 PM   #6
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Is your seatpost just a tad too high? Your butt shouldn't be rocking with every pedal stroke.

A firm saddle works for me. Apparently Specialized has a butt measurer (pelvic bone dimension) which recommends specific width saddles (body-geometry, made by Specialized of course).
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Old 04-30-05, 05:16 PM   #7
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Hi,
1) it takes 2-4 weeks for your butt to toughen up
2) it will never get used to crappy saddles and gel pads
3) Having been through roughly a zillion saddles I use Brooks saddles, and only Brooks.
4) Wall Bike specialises in Brooks and can help you figure out which one is right for you.
5) If you want to discuss the various Brooks models we will need to know if you bars are higher or lower than your saddle.
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Old 04-30-05, 05:18 PM   #8
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Even brooks saddles are not for everyone. I use a arione saddle and I love it, it is the best saddle I have ever owned.

Of course every application is different. On a hybrid you may want a little wider saddle, on a race bike it would be different.
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Old 04-30-05, 05:37 PM   #9
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Frank H is right on the money about saddle height. I've seen a lot of people get sore because their pelvis rocks back and forth.

I highly recommend Assos Chamois Cream. I've used it for years and I won't ride without. It's mildly astringent (surprising the first time you use it), and I'm guessing that cuts down the bacteria that cause saddle sores. Seriously. Try it. The stuff is magic.
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Old 04-30-05, 05:50 PM   #10
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get a fizik arione
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Old 04-30-05, 05:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat
get a fizik arione
what he said. just got one and am in heaven.
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Old 04-30-05, 06:08 PM   #12
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The Arione is a great saddle. But to paraphrase My58vw... no saddle is for everyone. I'd like to know what his riding position is like before recommending a specific saddle.
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Old 04-30-05, 06:18 PM   #13
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Yea, there is nothing like not being comforable in the saddle. I have been very comfortable with the Specialized MILANO TI SADDLE. Milano TI Saddle

Good Luck,
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Old 04-30-05, 06:19 PM   #14
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You may want to visit the Specialized website and read about saddle selection based upon sit-bone spacing. You can also put a couple cups of flour in a clear ziplock bag next to a wall and plop down a couple times and observe the spacing and shape of your sit bones. A properly sized Specialized Avatar is my favorite saddle. I think gel under the sit bones is a good thing if the saddle contains the spread, but you do not want a large thick slab of gel like a seat cover because the gel just gets pushed under your soft tissue.

The saddle should be adjusted for biomechanical efficiency and safety. When I mount my cleats, I always make sure to have the center of the ball of my foot align to the center of the pedal axle. Your shoes can change your saddle position both up/down and front-back. The common wisdom is to adjust saddle height such that your leg never fully locks straight, and to adjust the front/back such that a plumb bob from the back of your knee cap will drop just slightly behind the center of the pedal axle. If you like to spin, push the saddle back a little from this alignment. Knee damage is possible if you push the seat forward of this alignment.

Your bottom can also hurt if your stem is too long and you are bent over too much for your upper body length, or for your physical condition. A long stem puts your sit bones on the nose of the saddle. When you stretch out you also rotate your sit bones and put yourself into a position that creates more chaffing if the nose of your saddle is too wide and presses against excess leg body fat. Strong riders have strong stomach muscles to help support their upper body and their strong pedaling lifts their weight off the bars and saddle.

Lastly, wider tires that allow lower pressure without snake bit flats are your best shock absorbers! 25mm or 28mm inflated to 90 psi will remove shocks to your bottom.
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Old 04-30-05, 07:28 PM   #15
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http://www.brookssaddles.com/welcome.htm
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Old 04-30-05, 07:37 PM   #16
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see if the lbs will let you borrow an arione or ride one on a trainer. I just went out on my singlespeed and forgot how painful some saddles are (looks like I'll get an arione for it as well).

also, some lbs have decent saddle return policies. the only catch with an arione is the wing flex break-in slots. but it takes awhile to break-in so you could probably ride it for a few weeks and return if you need to.

try some crappy saddles first on their trainer bike or sizecycle, then ask for an arione, just for an immediate comparison.

check this article out, it explains how the arione works

BikeSport Michigan " Saddle Breakthrough: Fizik Arione"

saddles are a personal thing though, you might not like it

Last edited by Serpico; 04-30-05 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 04-30-05, 07:40 PM   #17
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Lets make this simple, put your butt in a bucket of ICE!!!! See how you feel afterwards.
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Old 04-30-05, 07:47 PM   #18
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when I got my allez, it came with a BG saddle. After a few weeks of riding, it felt great. So great in fact, that when I was fixing up my old huffy rigid as a winter beater, I had the LBS get rid of the Selle Royal Gel Couch Cushion that was there and put on another BG they had laying in a clearance bin for 10 bux. I love these saddles, even though I know there are better ones out there. They just aren't in my price range.

So, yeah, a new saddle may help with the sore butt. Also make sure your saddle is in the right position. I had to cut my ride about 10 miles short today because my legs were cramping up. Cause? My saddle was too low and my legs weren't extending enough. So make sure your saddle is in the correct position. (Front to back adjustment has more to do with butt pain than height does)

Your shorts won't help much. They do a little, but that pad is mostly there to keep you dry.

All in all, make sure you have a properly adjusted saddle that fits YOU, and get out there and ride on it a LOT. More time on the bike is the best cure for sore butt.
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Old 04-30-05, 08:04 PM   #19
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Funny how these posts always end up being an Airione vs Brooks argument
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Old 05-01-05, 12:06 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ajst2duk
Funny how these posts always end up being an Airione vs Brooks argument

I'll bet you, based on just a hunch, that the old-style, steel-is-real frameset group would go for Brooks, and the CF-Ti group will go for Fizik.

2 brother in laws, both GREAT riders. One has IF with Brooks, one has Serotta Ottrott with Fizik. Me- I have a De Rosa with an 8 year old Sella Italia.
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Old 05-01-05, 12:31 AM   #21
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Change the saddle. Gel is one of the worst for soreness, because inststead of sliding on your saddle you are sinking into it, this is not good.
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Old 05-01-05, 12:49 AM   #22
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Well, I agree with everyone. If you are looking for something to last, by all means go and spend the dollars. But if you’re looking to cure the cause of a sore butt get any saddle that fits. The key word is “fit”. Not too narrow that you’re getting bruised inside the bones that support your weight and not too wide that excess padding is pushing all up under your testicles or chaffing is occurring inside your thighs.

Take a look here (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html#hardsoft) for some more guidance.

I replaced the Avatar 143 saddle on my Roubaix with an old no-name seat that came off of a department store bike that I bought ages ago. The seat fits and still feels good. I can sustain a cadence of 70 or so with no discomfort at all. The 143mm was about a cm too narrow. How do I know? Forget getting your butt bones formally fitted … riding a good 15 or 20 miles on nearly any standard issue saddle will definitely point out to you where your ischial tuberosities are. And once you know, I don’t care how sore you are down there, you will not feel a thing as soon as you sit down on a saddle that is right for you.

By the way I should mention that my cheap saddle will play out long before the Brook’s leather. But I don’t know about the life of the Fiziks, which, by the way, rode great. When I do spend the money on a built-to-last saddle it’ll probably be this one (http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...and=&sku=14082).

Last edited by Landrick; 05-01-05 at 07:24 AM. Reason: Grammer
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Old 05-01-05, 12:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimJim
Lastly, wider tires that allow lower pressure without snake bit flats are your best shock absorbers! 25mm or 28mm inflated to 90 psi will remove shocks to your bottom.
I don't recommend this if you want your tires to last a long time or you want the best speed possible. Use a carbon seat post instead. They really work.
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Old 05-01-05, 04:36 AM   #24
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Brooks and Lepper (in the past, Wrights and Ideale) are the only companies making saddles that are designed to change shape to fit you better over time. Even then, certain leather saddles will never fit you- the different width fittings will always fit some people, but not all. If your sit bones are close together a wide saddle will never break in to suit you.
There are so many saddles on the market that there will probably be something to fit you perfectly..but you don't want to try them all, I suppose;-) As a starting point, think back to your earlier cycling experiences; what kind of saddles did you use- and were they comfy?
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Old 05-01-05, 04:55 AM   #25
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Great advice here.. I got into cycling on my first go round 20 years ago.. I had been running for over a year and was in decent shape... But my butt hurt when I started cycling..it dawned on me after reading a couple of beginners books on cycling that my butt was going to have to catch up with the rest of me..That means shorter rides on alternate days.One old book said limit your first weeks rides to less than 30 minutes every other day. And then work your way up.Jog on the non bike days..On my second time around I had a sore butt even following the above advice so I bought a Fizik arione..
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