I only ride ~500 miles a year and have been using the stock saddle on my Gravity Liberty 3 for the past few years. I am looking at upgrading the saddle, but there are so many options and so many price levels. Also, I can just pay more for a better saddle as what is better is rider dependent.
I really don't want to have to purchase multiple saddles just to test them all out, so any help in the selection process would be greatly appreciated. For some additional information, I am 6'4" and 240 lbs. Budget limit ~$100.
Trek has just come out with a new machine that measures pressure points when in the saddle. This is not the typical slab of foam type thing. It's a $6K device that will be coming to Trek dealers in the next couple months. They have also been developing a new line of Bontrager saddles that are supposed to work with this machine. This might help. It remains to be seen.
Yup, start by finding a dealer with a "buttometer" that measures your sitting bones. This gives you an idea on the width you need to target. Not all dealers offer demo or trial saddles, but if you call around I'm sure you can find one or two.
Alternatively some dealers will offer 100% satisfaction guarantee on the saddle purchase. For example my local Specialized dealer said if I was not happy with my new Romin saddle I could bring it back for exchange on a different model or full refund.
Ask the important questions upfront so you are not surprised later on.
Find a shop that will let you demo saddles... my local specialized dealer let me try a few different specialized saddles and some fizik saddles before I settled on a romin evo pro (which was also reasonably priced)
My current saddle is a selle italia that was NOT reasonably priced and no demo, but they said I could exchange freely if it didn't work.
For my money, I can ride on about anything for an hour. My kiester doesn't start getting finicky until the 30+ mile mark and 50+ is when you can really begin to regret a saddle purchase.