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  1. #1
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Yet another saddle question!

    I know, I know... there are a million and two questions about which saddle on here, but nothing seems to address what I need to know...

    I had never really thought about a saddle - just rode with whatever I had. I suppose I tended to buy women's saddles because.. well, I'm a woman. But otherwise, I didn't think much about the choice.

    I read sooooo much on here and elsewhere about the wonders of the Brooks saddles so I bought a standard B-17 before we left on this trip. My husband bought one too. Within a week or so, he was in love. I was never totally sold. It wasn't awful, but certainly not wonderful either. It was doable, so I just used it and dealt with whatever discomfort it dealt.

    Now, I've been on that saddle for over 11,000 miles and it started getting horribly uncomfortable. Seriously - I was in pain. About a month ago, my tush started really hurting at about 50 or 60 km. By last week, I was in pain after about 15 or 20 km. Then I started getting numbness in my leg..

    I figure the saddle is not supporting my sit bones and I'm sitting on the soft tissue and, over time, the pressure has built up. I've now swapped saddles with my son and I'm doing a lot better - but he wants his saddle back eventually. Which means - I need to buy a new saddle.

    I will be flying to New York in a few weeks, so plan to buy one there or buy one online and have it shipped there so I am pretty much open to anything. Part of me says the Brooks sounds good - a women's variety this time. On the other hand, what if it doesn't work and I'm stuck with it until Patagonia? Or there are a zillion other women's saddles out there.

    So - what do you think? Is the problem that I was sitting on the soft tissue all this time and a saddle that properly supports my sit bones will take care of it? Any particular saddle I should consider?

    Thanks for your help!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Have you tensioned your Brooks? After you ride the Brooks for a lot of miles, it will start to sag a bit more than you'd like, and you need to tension it. I had to tension mine after about 40,000 km. Use your little Brooks spanner and give the nut a half turn or so to tighten things up.


    And if you really figure you've been riding on your soft tissue with a Brooks, I'd guess that the Brooks you have isn't wide enough for you. The Brooks saddle should have you riding on your sitbones ... much more so than any softer saddle.

  3. #3
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    It doesn't look like it has sagged and frankly, I'm scared of riding that thing any more. The idea of permanent nerve damage is not something I want to entertain! I will say that the nose of the saddle has twisted a bit so that the saddle is not totally true any more - would that affect anything?
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  4. #4
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I'm a guy but ride a Fizik Vitesse saddle, which they market as a women's saddle in the US. You might want to check one out. It is the most comfortable saddle I've ever used, and I ended up putting them on 4 of my bikes. I was using B17s before, and have tried tons of different saddles over the years.

  5. #5
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I'll check it out - thanks for the tip!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    It doesn't look like it has sagged and frankly, I'm scared of riding that thing any more. The idea of permanent nerve damage is not something I want to entertain! I will say that the nose of the saddle has twisted a bit so that the saddle is not totally true any more - would that affect anything?
    Can you post a picture of it?

  7. #7
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I'll try to take one tomorrow, but the bikes are locked away in the hotel owner's living room right now!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  8. #8
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    Look at the Terry Liberator saddle for women. I have a Brooks on my bike but I can't say it's very comfortable so I may end up going with the mens Liberator. The quality of the Liberator saddle is very good and I've spoken to other bike tourists that have good things to say about Terry products.

  9. #9
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    A brooks is basically a hammock. If it starts to sag,instead of sitting on sit bones everything slides to center. Even if it doesnt look like it. It has enough miles on it to need like Machka said about a half turn,no more dont get carried away,a little is lots.. We all tend to be a little lopsided,im guessing with it sagging, its going off to the side your off on more than it normally would. My oldest B17 is slightly twisted cause im sure i am to. In fact my newer one is also going slightly same way. They are designed to mold to our way of sitting when reasonably stretched not sagging. Cheers.
    Last edited by ddez; 03-13-10 at 07:28 PM.

  10. #10
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    So when you tension it, does it throw off the way the seat fits?
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  11. #11
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    I wouldn't mess with the Brooks anymore. If there never was a point at which you thought that the Brooks was a good move without qualification, no amount of fidgeting with the saddle will make things better.

    I don't think that getting a female Brooks would be a good idea either. Female versions of Brooks are the same as the male versions except that they are shorter and wider. In your case, the problem isn't that the saddle is too narrow or too long.

    Terry Liberator sounds like the way to go for you. Personally, I'm very sold on Brooks saddles, but I realize that saddles are a personal thing. Above all, saddles should not hurt. You might have a period where you're aware that the saddle isn't broken in yet, but if there is ever a time that a saddle is positively uncomfortable, or if hurts to sit on the saddle, that's not the saddle for you.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    So when you tension it, does it throw off the way the seat fits?
    It tightens the leather up so it is more like when you first bought it ... or first broke it in. After 40,000 km, mine had sagged to the point I was sitting on the rails. A half turn of the nut and I was suspended above the rails again.

  13. #13
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    My $0.02 is that it's trial and error. And there's no one brand or model that works for everyone. For example, I can ride a Terry Butterfly but not a Terry Liberator. I can ride a Sella Italia Ldy Gel Flow but not the Ldy Gel Flow Sport.

    If I were you, I'd find a store with a great return policy, order every candidate saddle, and try them all. REI and Terry take saddle returns.

    Good luck.
    ...

  14. #14
    Senior Member blaise_f's Avatar
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    It's said tensioning it via the bolt is bad for the leather. Lacing it is where it's at.
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    I have several B17s. The one with the most miles on it has just over 5100 miles. I am a clyde and put a lot of stress on the saddle. Recently, I had been having problems with chafing in the soft tissue area, to the degree I could hardly ride on it. I did the following two things: 1- lowered the saddle a tiny bit (probably about 1/4 inch) 2- tensioned the saddle (probably about 1/4 turn). These fixed my saddle problems. I'm not sure if one or the other did it, or if they fixed my problems in tandem, but I'm no longer having saddle issues. And, no, my saddle didn't appear to be sagging and I have NONE of the infamous sitbone indents.

    I never ride it wet (other than sweat), as it's covered when it's raining. I've only used Snoseal on it 2x.

    By the way, I used needle nose pliars to tension the saddle - no need to buy a special wrench.
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  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaise_f View Post
    It's said tensioning it via the bolt is bad for the leather. Lacing it is where it's at.
    Tensioning your Brooks too early or too much is bad for the leather. But it is fine to tension a little bit when the saddle needs it.

  17. #17
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    All the info needed is on the Brooks site. Follow there instructions,the've been doing it awhile. Dont have to rely on "its saids ".

  18. #18
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Nancy,

    I have had a great experience with the Selle SMP saddles. Huge center cutout, down turned nose and models with as much or as little padding for the sit bones as you'd like. They have both a Men's and a Women's line of gear.

    Selle SMP: http://www.sellesmp.com/download/Selle_SMP_Gb.pdf

    Selle SMP Images: http://images.google.com/images?q=sm...N&hl=en&tab=wi



    Pics of Selle SMP's below:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by bobframe; 03-14-10 at 08:17 AM.

  19. #19
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Interesting that this thread came up. I've started spec'ing parts for a touring bike for my wife today and I got stuck with the saddle choice. She has little experience with long rides so she has no preference and I'm new to touring as well, my new touring bike is still on the stand being built up. Hers is coming next. We're hoping to start riding in late April.

    I did centuries on different saddles with different degree of success (and pain) but I never owned a leather saddle.

    I picked the Brooks narrow B17 for myself but I'm not sure what to do for her. We will do short tours in the beginning as she's not a very strong rider (yet, I hope), we're talking 2-4 day trips, 40 miles a day at most and she's like 130 lbs so I'm kind of thinking she should be OK with the B17, or any other decent saddle for that matter, but I'm a 200lbs guy with a different perspective and she doesn't know better so it's a tricky choice that I have to make for her. I want to make this right for her to avoid any injury early on and my knowledge of woman's anatomy doesn't easily transfer to this application

    So, from a woman's point of view, is the middle cutout important? Do women prefer wider or narrower saddles? Should I really look for WSD saddle?

    Adam

  20. #20
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Tensioning your Brooks too early or too much is bad for the leather. But it is fine to tension a little bit when the saddle needs it.
    Exactly - this situation is the one the screw was provided for. It'll give teh wide area a sort of drum-like tautness, that will suspend you. If you are sitting far enough back, your sit bones should be able to find a nice wider perch to be on.

    One problem often is that the rider slides forward off of the wide area onto the narrow area. This can happen if the tension is low and the "hammock" is too saggy, or if the saddle is not tilted up enough for you. Recommendations are generally of two types: "put a carpenter's level across the top, make it level, and never deviate from this" and "make small adjustments in tilt to optimize the saddle's long-term comfort," which IMHO makes a lot more sense.

    A corollary to this latter one is to make small adjustments in the saddle fore and aft positioning by sliding it forward or back on the seat rails. If a rider always slides forward during a ride (off of the proper support area) and the adjustments are pretty good, it could be that your natural riding position is just a little forward of where the saddle is placed. In this case see if moving the saddle forward to meet your sitbones makes it better. If you begin to feel pressure or bruising at teh back of your thigh due to hitting the wide part of the saddle, it's too far forward.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post

    By the way, I used needle nose pliars to tension the saddle - no need to buy a special wrench.
    Special wrench, needle nose, or any other tool that fits - don't really matter. Just don't tighten it too much at one time.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    So, from a woman's point of view, is the middle cutout important? Do women prefer wider or narrower saddles? Should I really look for WSD saddle?

    Adam
    From a woman's point of view ... I've never seen the point of the middle cutout. In fact, it looks painful. And we generally prefer slightly wider saddles. Now when it comes to the Brooks, check the measurements and you'll see that the woman's Brooks is only a teensy bit wider than the men's. I went with the men's standard.

  23. #23
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    @AdamDZ

    I'll admit that I bought my Brooks saddle because I wanted a Brooks saddle and I was anticipating to break in process and willing to suffer the consequences. In the case of your wife, if she is indifferent to saddle brands, you might want to try something other than a Brooks that might be more comfortable right off the bat. Some people DO say that a Brooks is comfy right out of the box but I think those people are the exception to the rule.

  24. #24
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    nancy are you wearing bike padded cycling shorts and im talking the best like assos .i had a french guy stay with me last summer great cyclists anyway his saddle had no nose basically a half saddle i never seen the like before ,but he reckoned it was fantastic no discomfort at all.sorry i've no idea what make it was but try the google trick and see if you can find it.
    oh yeah he use's assos shorts and assos cream great stuff.hope you find a saddle really soon.

  25. #25
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    I am a female and my favorite saddle is a Fizik nisene. I think it is actually a mens saddle. I have also tried one of the Terry saddles with the hole in it during a spinning class and did not find it comfortable at all. Unfortunately no one seat will fit everyone. Good luck.

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