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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 06-20-13, 07:36 AM   #1
Paul J
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Saddle Question

I'm really struggling with my saddle this season. I left the saddle on the Cannondale when we sold in this spring as it was one I had just put on the bike last season with little thought. It was a older model called Titino or something. The new bike has a Selle Italia Tans Am which hasn't been very comfortable so I replaced it with what I've been riding on all my singles both road and mountain which is the Flite, I've loved this saddle over the years but it is killing me. I know I stay seated much more on the tandem but wow. I've seen that some of the tandems builders are using a men's Terry saddle or WTB saddles. Reading TandemGeek's recent post on the Titanico has me also thinking about the Brooks type. So I thought I'd see what others might be using which has a little more padding or other thoughts?
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Old 06-20-13, 09:20 AM   #2
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"Normal" saddles put so much pressure on my perinial area that I can't ride for more than 10 or 15 miles. I have the Adamo Breakaway saddle on one bike and the Adamo Typhoon on another. They allow me to ride as far as my legs will take me without hurting "down there".

That's my experience, but the saddle that works for you may be very different than the saddle that works for someone else. I suggest that you find a retailer that has a saddle test program and try several saddles.
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Old 06-20-13, 09:25 AM   #3
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I've always used a Flite on my singles, but have settled on the Serfas Cosmos for the tandem and my fixed gear.

As you've figured out, there is less opportunity to take weight off the saddle on a tandem (or a fixed gear) so a different shape is in order.

Just a data point, good luck.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:28 AM   #4
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We both ride on Sella An-anaotmica and they are by far the most comfortable saddles we have ever ridden. We are on the second set on the tandem. In an expensive effort to save some weight I bought us both some new highly regarded light saddles and made two rides before the Sella's went back on. The light saddles are relegated to the singles for now.
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Old 06-20-13, 11:28 AM   #5
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We are both using John Cobb saddles. We are using the plus version, the nice thing about John is that he will work with you to get you the right saddle and he has a 180 day satisfaction guarantee. I started off with one model and was not happy with it, I discussed the issue directly with John and he sent me the saddle that he recommended immediately. I did not have to send the original back until I received the new one. There are shops around that stock his saddles and let you try them.
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Old 06-20-13, 01:17 PM   #6
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On previous tandem I used the Terry Fly with pretty good results. On our current Cannondale and on my half bike I have switched to Specialized Avatar. I visited my LBS and was measured and much to my surprise I was using saddles that were too wide for my sit bones. Best bet is to try either Specialized or other brand that offers in shop measurement and try it out.
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Old 06-20-13, 09:57 PM   #7
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Earlier this year I borrowed my buddies well broken in Sella Anatomica and it was the most comfortable saddle I've ridden. It sold me on the leather suspension design. But I ended up purchasing a Rivet Pearl saddle due to its feature of a riveted flap that prevents splay (and due to my desire to support Tom Milton's former partner). The Rivet took a few hundred miles to break in, but now I love it.

Last edited by cajoe; 06-21-13 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 06-21-13, 05:05 AM   #8
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Earlier this year I borrowed my buddies well broken in Sella Anatomica and it was the most comfortable saddle I've ridden.
And I offer an additional endorsement for the Sella Anatomica.

Bought the saddle from http://www.ebay.com/itm/Selle-Anatom...item41731d8856 and recommend the seller.
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Old 06-21-13, 08:15 AM   #9
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We use Specialized saddles on all of our singles but I agree more padding is needed on the tandem. My thin racing saddles just weren't cutting it, sore sit bones on rides over 50-60 miles. We ride on very bad chip sealed and pothole ridden roads. I've been using John Cobb 's Plus saddle with good results. It's funny looking but who cares.
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Old 06-21-13, 11:01 AM   #10
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terry /thread
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Old 06-21-13, 12:51 PM   #11
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That Sella Anatomica is starting to look interesting. :-)

Thanks sboy777 I tuned my search a bit more focusing on the Terry, I had done an advanced comfortable saddles search but was a little too broad.

I put one of my Bernard Hinault Turbo's that I'd stashed for a CV build and will ride that till I get things sorted out. I think I'm starting to get some clarity, I've ridden for years and this was the first time I've had this issue, normally I can ride whatever was on the bike so I was pretty surprised. The wife/stoker was getting a kick out of it as turnaround was fair play...
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Old 06-21-13, 03:52 PM   #12
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That Sella Anatomica is starting to look interesting. :-)
My stoker tried one and while it felt good, she had chaffing from the skirts which tend to flair outward more than her normal Brooks saddle. We have the Rivet saddles on our list to try. They are similar to the Sella Anatomica but seem to have a more traditional skirt profile.

Personally I no longer use a Brooks and have moved to a Fizik Aliante which is the only non leather saddle I have seen that has a hammock and frame setup similar to a leather saddle. There is a frame around the edge of the saddle and a hammock suspended between so that you sit on the flexible hammock rather than a plastic shell.

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Old 06-21-13, 09:36 PM   #13
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I have a terry fly on my tandem and tri bikes and a terry liberator on my mt bike. my wife has a terry butterfly on the tandem.. she picked it up at REI for $12 on clearance. I think I paid 45 for the liberator, and about 50 ea for the fly's off ebay and bike nashbar return section.

smalls
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Old 06-22-13, 01:44 PM   #14
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Debbie is still raving about the comfort of the Selle Anatomica....

Height adjustment is a bit of a challenge as it goes through the break-in process and accounting for natural sag.
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Old 06-23-13, 08:37 PM   #15
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I've been riding the Selle Italia Gel Flow Pro-link on my single and tandems for at least 10 years. The one on the Calfee broke last week. The Gel Flow Prow-link is not made anymore, but I noticed Selle Italia has a measurement system they are promoting. I got measured yesterday and have a Flite Selle Italia Team (L1 size) on order. Hoping the measurement system works and could let you know in a week or so.
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Old 06-24-13, 05:34 AM   #16
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Brooks Professional on the tandem and one of my singles. Brooks Conquest on my dirt road bike. Brooks Swift on my Merlin.

Highly personal. You will have to try a few until you find one that is comfortable.
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Old 06-24-13, 09:27 AM   #17
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We have a box full of worn out Terry saddles... Butterfly's, Fly, Zero, Dragonfly. After a few years they sag and the padding broke down. Wife/stoker is currently riding the women's FLX model which seems to have just enough padding. Though it is one of their narrowest saddles, it is still a touch wide for her in the back portion of the saddle (hits the hamstrings) until she painfully works through the break-in process. I assisted with that width issue by wrapping a couple cargo straps around the saddle during the off days.

I am now using the Specialized Romin EVO saddles on all my road bikes including the tandem. I can sit for hours without any issue - the best saddle experience I've ever had. Key again is to get the correct width... I require the narrowest they make, a 130mm special ordered as Specialized is no longer showing that size in their normal range.

If anyone is interested, we have 2 very new Selle SMP Stratos saddles (1 mens - black, 1 womens - white) available. We tried these but opted for the above.

Last edited by twocicle; 06-24-13 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 06-24-13, 09:33 AM   #18
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If your position is the same on a tandem as on your single bikes, I don't see why a different saddle would be sought for the tandem. Our positions are about the same, and we use the same saddles. I have Performance Forte Classic on all my bikes and Stoker has Specialized Lithia. Good for indefinite length of time, tested to 18 hours in my case, 13 hours for Stoker. If a saddle won't go easily over 4 hours, either it's the wrong saddle or you aren't riding enough. A saddle should easily go your total weekly saddle time on one extra long ride. On really long rides, we stand every 10 minutes, by the clock. Shorter rides, say up to 4 hours, we don't really bother with that, though we do stand some.
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Old 06-24-13, 06:27 PM   #19
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If your position is the same on a tandem as on your single bikes, I don't see why a different saddle would be sought for the tandem.
More than position comes into play.

For example, most teams compromise on cadence vs. what they use on their singles. That change can effect saddle comfort.

You're blessed that this is a non-issue for you, it isn't for many others.
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Old 06-25-13, 05:42 AM   #20
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More than position comes into play.

For example, most teams compromise on cadence vs. what they use on their singles. That change can effect saddle comfort.

You're blessed that this is a non-issue for you, it isn't for many others.
I think a lot of captains have more saddle issues on their tandem because they stand and shift around less often than on their single bike. Many stoker don't like standing and although mine enjoys standing it puts her in the red pretty quickly. As a result we usually just over the steepest patches and not for as long or as often as I would like. Standing every 10 minutes is a wise approach.
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Old 06-25-13, 07:13 AM   #21
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As a follow-up to a couple of thought and questions on this thread. I intentionally have the tandem set-up with a more upright position this, along with staying in the saddle more, is what I'm working through with the saddle issue. The Turbo is not helping and though more padded isn't anymore comfortable after 10 to 15 miles. This has really gotten me scratching my head as saddle time hasn't been a big issue for me in the past. I think back to the old days when we would do 50+ training rides without ever getting off the bike.

I haven't done a great job of verifying my saddle to pedal positioning which hit me on our ride last evening. So will work on that today. I didn't think Dennis Bushnell went very far afield with geometry but will be checking.

I really have been appreciating all the comments and personal experience. For some of you who have done a saddle measurement, how did you or the shop do that? I've read a bit about doing this over the past few days and wondered if the Specialized Shops have this as a feature? My LBS isn't a Secialized shop but I do know of one in the area that I could go to and see. Several folks have had good luck with a few of the Specialized saddles on this and other threads.
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Old 06-25-13, 06:04 PM   #22
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Been using a Brooks saddle and love it. Took over 500 miles to break in but it fits nice now. I also use brooks on my single rode bike. I have had one on for over three years and it is nicely broken in. I put one one for my stoker, but even after 900 miles she was complaining about it, so were testing different saddles for her
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Old 06-25-13, 07:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Paul J View Post
As a follow-up to a couple of thought and questions on this thread. I intentionally have the tandem set-up with a more upright position this, along with staying in the saddle more, is what I'm working through with the saddle issue. The Turbo is not helping and though more padded isn't anymore comfortable after 10 to 15 miles. This has really gotten me scratching my head as saddle time hasn't been a big issue for me in the past. I think back to the old days when we would do 50+ training rides without ever getting off the bike.

I haven't done a great job of verifying my saddle to pedal positioning which hit me on our ride last evening. So will work on that today. I didn't think Dennis Bushnell went very far afield with geometry but will be checking.

I really have been appreciating all the comments and personal experience. For some of you who have done a saddle measurement, how did you or the shop do that? I've read a bit about doing this over the past few days and wondered if the Specialized Shops have this as a feature? My LBS isn't a Secialized shop but I do know of one in the area that I could go to and see. Several folks have had good luck with a few of the Specialized saddles on this and other threads.
Specialized-carrying LBS will have an Ass-o-meter. You just sit on it, they read it. It happens that people fall in between sizes, and have to test ride both widths to see which one is better. My LBS has allowed us to test quite a number of saddles. Specialized are only available through LBS AFAIK.

We don't stand for as long as I would like, either, but it's enough.

Saddle to pedal distance varies a little with timing chain adjustments, though I don't usually bother moving my saddle.

Stokers without a suspension post will get hit harder on a tandem than on a single even if the captain calls the big ones. So maybe a little more padding would help in that case. My stoker has a telescoping one which she likes. It doesn't bounce, though it makes height adjustment more complicated. Captain has a cushier ride on a tandem so that shouldn't be an issue there.

Try rolling your pelvis forward to sit more on the anterior portion of your sit bones. Our used tandem came with a higher and closer bar position than I have on my singles. Over the years, as we've become more comfortable on the bike, I've gradually altered that until my bars are as low as the frame allows. They're now about the same as my singles.
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Old 06-28-13, 05:14 PM   #24
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Don't be afraid to make angle adjustments up and/or down to see what that does for you as well. I have found that a few degrees can make a difference.

I have tried many saddles over the years but for me Koobi is now my saddle of choice. They let me test ride several models. Put in many hours on each before settling on a winner.

Tons of saddles out there. Hope you find one that works well for you. Good luck.
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Old 07-01-13, 03:43 PM   #25
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I think a lot of captains have more saddle issues on their tandem because they stand and shift around less often than on their single bike. Many stoker don't like standing and although mine enjoys standing it puts her in the red pretty quickly. As a result we usually just over the steepest patches and not for as long or as often as I would like. Standing every 10 minutes is a wise approach.
Such an obvious, but overlooked issue that causes head scratching for single/tandem riders. This explains why I have a Fizik Arione on my road bike and it is perfect - but when I used it on the tandem it was dire. I have ended up with an antique Italian saddle on the tandem that I liberated from our Philbrook before it was sold (wait for it) - a Cinelli Volare SLX. It is just so much more supportive/comfortable with extended periods seated.
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