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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 07-11-07, 06:41 AM   #1
Redpath
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Shorts and Saddles

After two centuries in two weekends I'm thinking less about the bike and more about my posterior-in particular saddles and shorts. For those of you who put in some decent mileage on the tandem what are you wearing and what are you sitting on?
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Old 07-11-07, 07:19 AM   #2
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Me, Speciliazed BG Milano.. Wife, Terry butterfly. Regular padded cycling shorts.
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Old 07-11-07, 07:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by cornucopia72
Regular padded cycling shorts.
Could you be a bit more specific? Padded cycling shorts was kind of assumed.
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Old 07-11-07, 09:15 AM   #4
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Saddles are individual and most shops allow you to buy one and swap several times until you find the one you like. However, for shorts...I like these the best http://www.velowear.com/products/1110135BLKXSM.aspx. Bibs that have thin dense low friction Ion chamois. Our club, Webcor/Alto Velo uses Voler as the provider of our team kit.
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Old 07-11-07, 09:18 AM   #5
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We ride decent mileage on the tandem, including brevet distances (up to 400k). I wear Pearl Izumi on Fizik Aliante Ti, stoker wears either Pear Izumi or Terry on Brooks B-17. We have almost zero seat/butt issues.
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Old 07-11-07, 09:39 AM   #6
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[QUOTE=Hermes]Saddles are individual [QUOTE]
Understood. So what are you sitting on???
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Old 07-11-07, 09:41 AM   #7
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I wear Pearl Izumi ..
Which ones? They make lots. I am after specifics. Thanks.
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Old 07-11-07, 10:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Which ones? They make lots. I am after specifics. Thanks.
Betwen the wife and I, we have more than 20 different brands/models cycling shorts; they have never caused us any trouble in doble centuries and the like.... a non issue for us.
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Old 07-11-07, 10:47 AM   #9
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Brooks. Baby!!!!

My wife and I have been battling the Tandem Seat issue lately as well (see other thread below). I'm a brooks rider since about 1982. So the obvious choice for my was to take my trusty Team pro and put it in the captains spot.

On her single, my wife rides a Terry Butterfly. She was using a Liberator X before the butterfly. Neither worked for her on the tandem.

The LBS suggested a Specialized (body geometry?) and my wife bit on that one. We took a couple of 10ish mile rides on that one, and all I can say is that it was a total POS, as bad as the saddles that came with the tandem (cannondale). She took it back yesterday.

This past monday, we got a pair of Brooks saddles from Wallbike.com for her. I got a B67 and a champion flyer S. The B67 was just too wide and was pushing her forward. The Champion Flyer seems to be the ticket. We took a 20 mile ride last night on it (10 the night before), and so far so good. Her sit bones were a bit sore from the un-broken-in leather, but her major disconfort zones weren't tweaked. We'll do some more riding and get that sucker broken it, but so far it is the most promising of the bunch. He was having some issue with her right toes tingling, and the brooks got rid of that completely.

As a nice side effect, the saddle is sprung, so we could ditch the really marginal specialized suspension seatpost.

For me, there is two saddles out there: Brooks, and all the other crap that sucks.

On the tandem, we don't move around, coast and lift out of the saddle as much as on our singles (I'm all over the place on my single apparently). So the saddles have (absolutely have) to be comfortable and not cause problems. The tandem amplified the issues my wife was having with her saddles. She is now thinking brooks on her single.

We use a variety of cycling shorts. I use a couple pairs of LL Bean touring shorts, a set of ghetto Nashbar shorts, and a pair that I stole from my wife with some really strange name (yes I cross dress on the bike). My wife uses a variety as well, all with lycra and synthetic chamois pads inside, most with some sort of shell on the outside.

Sheldon
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Old 07-11-07, 11:25 AM   #10
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My favorites are the PI Slice Ultrasensor bibs, although I have several various brands/models that have worked well & not caused any issues.
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Old 07-11-07, 12:17 PM   #11
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As stated before, saddles are a very indidvual choice. Pilot prefers fairly hard saddles (no extra gel, no cutouts) and now has 15,000+ miles on a a Flite-Ti on our Zona tandem. On single he rides a rockhard SLR.
Stoker is riding a Serfas Cosmos (no suspension seat post) also with 15,000 miles on it.
Saddle adjustment is critical . . . a minute bit of nose tilt or too far forward/aft will make a big difference.
As for shorts, we have about a dozen pair each ranging from Louis Garneau, Descente, Tinley, Patagonia, Blackbottoms, SheBeest, etc . . . some we like better than others but all are pretty good.
We are much fussier over saddle choice than shorts.
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 07-11-07, 12:22 PM   #12
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I haven't heard complaints from the wife for a while she has a Forte Contour Saddle with a Forte Sport Saddle Pad and uses Performance Women’s Ultra Short's.
I only have the Forte Contour Saddle and using Performance Gel Lite Short's and I'm fine.
You need to make them happy (the wife that is).
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Old 07-12-07, 11:50 AM   #13
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Comfort and health are to some extent independent variables. Health for men means not squishing your prostate gland on long rides. The squishing may not be uncomfortable, but having just had a biopsy for an enlarged prostate the doc thought might be cancerous--trust me, that's a procedure you don't want to have. You avoid it by having a saddle with a groove or trench or whatever right where your prostate goes. For women it's not such a health issue but long-range comfort for them is also enhanced by not squishing the tender bits down there.

The other interesting issue (to me at least) is having the seat flat under your sit bones (ischial tuberosities). If it isn't flat where your bones go it's like riding a rail. Many bike shops have a little device Specialized makes that lets you determine your sit bone width (memory foam; you sit on it for a minute, get up & measure the distance between the indentations your sit bones made). I found that my sit bones were wider than most, but an Avocet O2 Air 40W did the job for me. It also has a nice nonslip finish, and cuts in at the nose sharply enough to let my legs move at a proper cadence. And it has the obligatory groove. But that's just for my sit bone width.
If a saddle doesn't put flat spots under your particular sit bones it doesn't matter how much someone else swears by it. Don't shop for saddles without knowing your measurement.

As for shorts, the number of panels used to sew them together seems to have a lot of bearing on comfortable fit. I have some 4 panel shorts I only use on short rides. I generally only buy 8 panel shorts. I have one with a gel pad instead of the usual foam. It's comfortable but doesn't absorb moisture so can get a little sticky on long rides.

One thing to consider for long sunny rides: knickers. They shade the thighs, which get the most sun, and arent' appreciably warmer than the normal shorts. Your calves/shins are mostly perpendicular to noonday sun, so they get a lot less UV exposure than your thighs.
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Old 07-12-07, 01:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Specialized makes that lets you determine your sit bone width (memory foam; you sit on it for a minute, get up & measure the distance between the indentations your sit bones made).
My wife tried that before the LBS sold her a god-awful specialized seat. We called it an ass-o-meter. I've got one of my own, it's made by brooks. It just takes a bit longer to transfer your sit bone position than the memory foam.

Sheldon
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Old 07-12-07, 01:50 PM   #15
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Seats are tough, what feels good for one, doens't for another. I like a Selle Italia Flight Gel-Flow with a cutout, but can live with a better Bontager saddle if needed. Wife likes her Bontrager WSD RaceLite Lux, better then her Terry or most any other saddle we've tried. Shorts is easy, Assos is well worth the money, fit great, superior pad, wonderful material. If you are spending several thousand for a tandem, why not drop a few bucks on some great shorts.
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Old 07-13-07, 04:03 PM   #16
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Saddles: Me -- rather ancient (1982?) but still very serviceable Concor San Marco Superleggera on the front of the tandem. The saddle on my single is a Selle Italia SLR XP. Both are excellent.

Stoker rides a Specialized BG Dolce Gel on the back of the tandem and a Specialized Ariel SL on her single. Swears by both.

My favorite bibs are these: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=1120

Stoker recommended two: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_id=1220
and
http://www.cannondale.com/clothing/0...odel-5F23.html (in warm weather she hates wearing a jersey).
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Old 07-13-07, 04:17 PM   #17
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Have never had an issue utilizing a saddle without cutouts and/or gel. My skinny butt (weight 135) gets along fine on a hard narrow perch. Over a quater million miles on hard saddles and without any type of dysfunction.
But (pun intended) everybody's comfort level is different when it comes to saddles.
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Old 07-13-07, 04:57 PM   #18
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Captain has Selle Italia Gel Flow, stoker has Terry Liberator. Performance Elite shorts are OK, but don't hold up. I just got a pair of Voler shorts from Hammer Nutrition, with the huge logo, but the price is right and the shorts are really good. I'll give them a good test with a century on Sunday. Stoker likes PI Ultrasensor. I like them fine, also.
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Old 07-14-07, 01:37 AM   #19
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Plain spandex shorts, no chamois pad. BROOKS saddles on every ride we have.
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Old 07-14-07, 01:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd
Brooks. Baby!!!! As a nice side effect, the saddle is sprung, so we could ditch the really marginal specialized suspension seatpost.

For me, there is two saddles out there: Brooks, and all the other crap that sucks.
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Old 07-14-07, 02:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd
On the tandem, we don't move around, coast and lift out of the saddle as much as on our singles (I'm all over the place on my single apparently). So the saddles have (absolutely have) to be comfortable and not cause problems. The tandem amplified the issues my wife was having with her saddles. She is now thinking brooks on her single.

We use a variety of cycling shorts. I use a couple pairs of LL Bean touring shorts, a set of ghetto Nashbar shorts, and a pair that I stole from my wife with some really strange name (yes I cross dress on the bike). My wife uses a variety as well, all with lycra and synthetic chamois pads inside, most with some sort of shell on the outside.
This is where a lot of us make a mistake in thinking that we can transfer a 1/2 bike saddle to a Tandem. For some it will work but I know that none of my solo saddles will work on the Tandem- I know- I have tried. I analysed my riding on the Tandem and I have to sit a lot longer and I am in a more upright position. By chance- My LBS had a sales box and jokingly they said I could take a few and try them on the T. I took all 6 and one of them was comfortable. A Selle italia Trans Am--Womens version. I now have the Male version and the womans version has been relegated to the pilot who does find it comfortable. A lot wider than any other saddle I would have contemplated and I can sit on the saddle for 4 hours without a major break and not feel any discomfort. Mind you- I still force the pilot in to takeing Butt breaks on some of the smoother downhill sections and this may have something to do with the comfort.

On the shorts side- I only have 8 panel shorts with a liner. I would call it chamois but it is all synthetic. I have 4 different makes in those shorts ranging from Sales box again to top quality Shorts. I just cannot wear 6 panels shorts as there is a seam that gets uncomfortable. Make doesn't seem to matter -Providing they fit right.
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Old 07-16-07, 04:42 AM   #22
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I like my flite saddles. Preferably nicely broken in so that they sag in the middle. (Yes some people don't like this but it works for me). While the latest ergonomic saddles may be great, I'm definitely not going to spend 80+ per saddle to equip my 5 bikes.

My wife stoker likes a Fizik Rondine, which is wider than normal man's saddle recommended by Condor when we bought her a single bike there. The difference when we swapped from the stock ladies Bontrager saddle on our Trek tandem was noticeable, not just to her comfort but her pedalling got smoother lost noticeable dead spots going over the top of the strokes so we work together better and go faster. Unscientific I know, but the bike goes better as a result.

On (bib)shorts, bibshorts are a must - I don't even think about buying shorts. They just work better.

I recently threw away my accumulated collection of aged and see-through lycra after realising that I am never going to wear out my 15 year old gradually deteriorating and pock-marked skin suit since I never even wear it on the turbo trainer as it had reached the point of no return. After pooh poohing clubmates spending money on shorts (you will fall off and trash them, the stitching will unravel in the wash just as fast, the lycra is the same...) I conducted an experiment - a 22 pair of Giordana bibshorts versus a 70 Assos F1 Uno pair. Unsurprisingly the 70 pair are better, but I was surprised by how much better. The lycra is thicker, legs are the right length, the shorts fit without pulling, bib edges are all bound and the pad has extra padding under the seat bones and is stretches, which IMO is a big step forward as the shorts then move with your body and therefore don't rub. Lastly they come with a mesh bag to wash them in, which will help with the unravelling problem.

In contrast the 22 pair have a thin, minimally padded coolmax pad and thin shiny lycra and too-long legs. If you've never worn cycling shorts, the 22 pair are a big step forward and are great value, but aren't as comfortable for longer rides. Normally I would have some discomfort and chafing after a long ride, but wearing my expensive shorts yesterday did a hot and hilly 80 mile ride without even noticing my seating arrangements, which makes it money well spent IMO. Stoker will be getting some for her birthday, or whenever needed, whichever is sooner.

Compared with other bike parts, really good shorts are a cheap upgrade.

Last edited by mrfish; 07-16-07 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 07-19-07, 05:11 PM   #23
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Did a double metric on my brand new (well, I washed them first) Hammer Nutrition shorts. They fit great, have a very good pad, and regular price is $39.95. I'll try to wear them out! Too bad about the logo, but at least they're stylish and mostly black.
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Old 07-21-07, 09:58 AM   #24
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Everyone's anatomy is a little bit different, probably quite a bit different in some cases. Add to that, individual preferences about what feels good and the variety of products out there starts to make sense.
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