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Old 08-02-10, 09:37 AM   #1
cliffmat
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YATST (Yet Another Touring Saddle Thread)

Ok, first of all sorry Ė Iíve held off asking this for as long as possible, thinking that with enough reading and trial and error Iíd find the answer myself, but nothing so far. I know this forum is flooded with the type, but still...

In 4 weeks Iím off on a long old tour, and Iím desperate to find a better saddle.
Have tried a range of saddles (below), in all manner of positions, angles etc.

All I know is that whatever saddle I ride, I get super sore sit bones (usually accompanied by some nice raised sores after a couple of days), and if I ride a saddle without a cutout I get that pins and needles feeling..

I currently ride a Specialized Alias on my road bike (around 20m a day commute and usually a century on the weekend), which is great during the week, but my sit bones usually hurt on rides over 60-70 miles.
Iíve also measured on both a Spec Ass-ometer and the trusty bin bag of flour Ė smack bang in the 145 rangeÖ.
FYI: I wear padded shorts, wash myself often enough(!), and while on tour use chamois cream, wipe down in evening (with anti-bac gel too), and sleep nude (er, in case that info helpsÖ).

Saddles Iíve tried include:
Specialized Alias
Brooks B17*
Specialized Toupe (&Gel)
Selle SMP Trk
Selle SMP Strike
Selle Italia Gel Flite Gel Flow

Iím not expecting a magical solution, just a last ditch attempt to find any suggestions about what to do/get
Happy to spend the cash to get the right one, only problem is Iím running out of time to keep trying new onesÖ
And yes, I realise I'm being incredibly difficult...

Current thoughts are between the Specialized Sonoma (bit like the Alias but softer), and the Selle Anatomica - does anyone know of any retailers in the UK for this? Bit anxious about buying one now and then trying to send it back days before I leave the country!

*The Caveat: I know this will probably automatically make me a bad person, but Iíve tried a Brooks B17 and it didnít work for meÖ I rode it about 700 miles and although my sit bones were ok, I could feel the impotence setting inÖ Iím pretty sure I need something with a cutout. Sorry.
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Old 08-02-10, 10:00 AM   #2
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I'm a big fan of my Selle An-Atomica; worth tracking down IMHO.

The new-ish Brooks Imperial also has a cut-out.

Another traditional-style saddle I don't see on your list is the Selle San Marco Regale.


It's very hard to know what to recommend for another rider. In my own experience, recommendations from other riders are nearly worthless; you have to try.
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Old 08-02-10, 10:06 AM   #3
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something tells me 60-70 miles could be your practical limit or you should be getting out of the saddle more often as you approach that limit. I am way out of practice for long miles but in retrospect my butt never stopped hurting even when I got into racing and long rides when I was young and fit. Since I've gotten heavier I'm very pleased with cut-out saddles and now have the Specialized Avatar. Works for me. The issue of raised sores sounds like some other problem. What is the position of your seat to handlebars? I've never got sore spots on sit bones but further in closer to the perineum.
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Old 08-02-10, 10:18 AM   #4
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I am way out of practice for long miles but in retrospect my butt never stopped hurting even when I got into racing and long rides when I was young and fit. .
When I was "young and fit" I kept trying saddles until I found one that "disappeared" even up to 100 miles.

Now I'm "old and slow;" I rode 154 miles on my Selle An-Atomica Thursday and never thought twice about saddle comfort.

IMHO there's no good excuse for a saddle that isn't comfortable -- might be bike fit, bike set-up, shorts, or saddle -- but the OP should keep trying.
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Old 08-02-10, 10:28 AM   #5
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When I was "young and fit" I kept trying saddles until I found one that "disappeared" even up to 100 miles.

.
I understand your point, when things are right even the bike disappears. I went from very long days in the saddle with no bike shorts to riding with a racing club in racing garb then racing. The exertion in my body masked the discomfort in the saddle but I can recollect fast 80 mile training rides where I'm off the saddle a lot on the way home. After a few years of racing I was pretty much set on riding for no more than 3 for fun. The last "tour" I rode was only two 75mile days. I'm at the point where two three hour stretches with a one and a half hour break is just right for long term comfort.
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Old 08-02-10, 10:47 AM   #6
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Current thoughts are between the Specialized Sonoma (bit like the Alias but softer), and the Selle Anatomica - does anyone know of any retailers in the UK for this? Bit anxious about buying one now and then trying to send it back days before I leave the country!
Why not just order two (or three) saddles, try them them out for a few days and send the one(s) you don't like back for money refund? (just a thought)

Have you checked out these online stores in the UK?

www.wiggle.co.uk
www.ukbikestore.co.uk
www.sjscycles.co.uk
www.chainreactioncycles.com
www.evanscycles.com
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Old 08-02-10, 11:13 AM   #7
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With 145mm sit bones it's going to be tough to find a saddle wide enough. Even the 155 Specialized only gives you 5mm on either side. For example, my sit bones measure 110mm and I found the Specialized 130 too narrow. The 143 is just right.
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Old 08-02-10, 12:08 PM   #8
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For me riding posture and bike fit are way more important than saddle choice even wrt saddle comfort. I am happy with the saddles that came on my bikes and would use any of them for a multi-month tour.

I think that an aggressive posture (bars 4-5" below the saddle in my case) is one key for comfort and a relaxed upper body is another. Weight should be carried mostly by the legs.

Sitting in chairs or on car, plane, bus, or train seats for long periods does bother me though and it would kill me to ride in the upright posture that some tourists prefer.
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Old 08-02-10, 12:58 PM   #9
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A Brooks B17 Special works for me.It not all about the miles you put on a saddle.It's how you set it up that counts.60 or 70 miles a day with out stopping for a break would be super tuff for my self.You need to take breaks and rest a few and the hotter it gets the worse it will get on your butt.With as many saddles as you have tried it my be your bicycle is not setup good for you or it could be the wrong size bike.My first Brooks B17 I did not take the time to get it set right for my self so I sold it after lot of reading and talking to people with a Brooks I went and got my self another Brooks B17 Special this time I took a lot of time and I had to make a lot of change to it a little here and a little their but in the end I found what it needed to be for me to be able to ride on it and feel good with it.You can also cut a slot of of it and make it feel a little better I hear but I would not do that to a good Brooks Saddle my self.Good luck on finding a saddle for your self I know you are trying so keep on trying and good luck to you too.
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Old 08-02-10, 01:15 PM   #10
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i had a french guy staying with me last year the saddle he had on his bike had no nose weird looking thing but he reckoned it was really comfy after you get used to it sorry no idea what make it was.but there's another saddle out therethat might just do it for you TERRYS saddles google it.
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Old 08-02-10, 01:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by cliffmat View Post
Saddles Iíve tried include:
Specialized Alias
Brooks B17*
Specialized Toupe (&Gel)
Selle SMP Trk
Selle SMP Strike
Selle Italia Gel Flite Gel Flow
Many of these saddles seem very similar. The Alias, Toupe and Selle Italia are all relatively flat with minimal padding, IIRC. The Selle SMP Strike also has minimal padding, while the TRK is overly padded. Based on what you don't like, I'd suggest looking for a saddle that's somewhat curved and has a moderate amount of padding.

My experience with saddles is that long saddles don't work for me, nor do flat saddles. I like a saddle that has a bit of a curve (like the Selle SMP or most WTB saddles), and some amount of padding. My current favorites are the Selle SMP Lite 209 and WTB Rocket V. Both work great for rides up to about 80 miles. For rides in excess of 80 miles, I find that shorts, chamois creme, etc. start to become more important, especially if you're sweating profusely.

Also, think about the problems you're having with your current saddle and use them to adjust what you buy next. Sit bone pain? Try something with a bit more padding. Chafing? Try something a bit narrower. Numbness? Try something with a bit less padding. And so on...
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Old 08-03-10, 09:20 AM   #12
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I have similar issues, though I do like Brooks the best of all the saddles I have. What works for me is to get my butt off the saddle a lot during the day. I stand up as I'm riding for maybe 20 seconds at a time, to allow blood to flow. I get off the bike and take short breaks from time to time - 5 minutes helps a lot, 10 minutes even more. Also, I find that I suffer less as the tour progresses. 65 mile days can be agonizing during the first week of a tour - by the third week they're routine and pretty painless.
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Old 08-03-10, 09:34 AM   #13
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I just checked my B68 and B67 for sitbone impression width, and find I am at 130mm. If you are at 145, you might want to try a wider Brooks. I did my own cutout and lacing.
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Old 08-03-10, 09:37 AM   #14
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Many of these saddles seem very similar.
That was what I thought too.

You might want to try more brands.

What I've found to work when looking for a new saddle is to first narrow down the choices by brand. Many times one brand will fit better than another for different riders.

For instance, I know from experience that, as a group, Selle San Marco fits me better than Selle Italia saddles.

Once you've found a brand that suits you then, hopefully, you can find the one in their range that fits you best.
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Old 08-03-10, 09:40 AM   #15
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I'm with BigBlue on this. The op has identified a particular time/miles on the saddle as being the culprit and a basic design preference. I don't see this as a saddle issue given the range of saddles used. To keep pushing that 60-70mile comfort limit takes a LOT of seat time to push for that extra two hours of riding. I'd suggest changing the manner of riding in that 60 miles, pedaling off the saddle more frequently, taking breaks more often, stretching while riding, etc. I wonder if the ops posture gets worse with pelvis tucked in and back curved at the end of the ride and that concentrates pressure on the sit bones. If getting sore is guaranteed in 70miles of riding what is the purpose of riding more than 70miles? The consequences are known so it would make sense to not create them. Reduce the time your butt is on the saddle in a fixed position, reduce the total time your butt is on the saddle, break up the ride time during the day that you're on the bike.
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Old 08-03-10, 02:29 PM   #16
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The Performance Forte Classic works for me, and I've also tried a lot of them. It's cheap to try.

I try to stand every 10 minutes, by the clock.
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Old 08-03-10, 03:02 PM   #17
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I have my stock Selle Marco Ponza and never had a single problem with it, however since I have changed my bike to touring and change my seated position a bit it is suddenly the most uncomfortable saddle I have ever been on, I had an old MTB Saddle that I threw on it is more padding and wider and helped a bit, but I am going to risk the money on a brooks and see if I can be successful with it. so much seems to go into what saddle will work, size of the person, both weight and hip width, the angle you sit on, the way you sit, I don't really believe there is one magic cure all out there because everyones ass is different so one would expect they wouldn't all work on the same style saddle
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Old 08-03-10, 04:14 PM   #18
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If you really can't get a good fit on your bike trying everything else, you could always change the type of bike you ride.. try a crank forward or recumbent. Crank forwards make great touring bikes. And your arse bones won't hurt again.
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Old 08-03-10, 10:16 PM   #19
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reading this thread, I realized I had no idea of the width of my sitbones., just checked my Brooks and see that it is pretty much 130, and on a B17, 145 might very well be too wide. Just an observation.

as others have mentioned, its such a personal thing how a given seat feels.

I would mention that when I got a pair of more expensive padded bike shorts , I noticed a comfort increase from my previous ones, the design and cutout shape of hte padding made things easier on me. A thought to consider, although you already do long distances and commute daily, so you know whats is about.

the super sore sitbones no matter which seat you use does seem odd. I too wonder if there is a set up issue here?

good luck in any case experimenting and finding a good fit.
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Old 08-03-10, 10:44 PM   #20
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Okay, this is not the suggestion you want to hear. Your problem may not have anything to do with the saddle, it may just be that you are putting too much weight on it. I don't mean you are too heavy, just that you have five points of contact (two hands, two feet and one bum). If you are not pedaling hard enough your weight will have to be somewhere: either numb hands or a sore bum. It is kind of blasphemy on the touring forum, but try riding a bit faster. It will make the inevitable breaks sweeter.
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Old 08-03-10, 11:34 PM   #21
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If you really can't get a good fit on your bike trying everything else, you could always change the type of bike you ride.. try a crank forward or recumbent. Crank forwards make great touring bikes. And your arse bones won't hurt again.
Not this crap again...
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Old 08-03-10, 11:51 PM   #22
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the super sore sitbones no matter which seat you use does seem odd. I too wonder if there is a set up issue here?
There's no great mystery here. The OP has tried four rock-hard racing saddles (Toupe, Alias, SMP Glider, Selle Italia Gel Flite Flow), one overly-padded plush saddle (SMP TRK), and the Brooks B17. What he needs to do is look for a saddle with some actual padding and maybe a bit of a curve to the profile.
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Old 08-04-10, 12:19 AM   #23
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Not this crap again...

Same jerk, different forum? My butt ain't the achy one with the saddle sores.

Last edited by Aquakitty; 08-04-10 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 08-04-10, 10:18 AM   #24
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Same jerk, different forum? My butt ain't the achy one with the saddle sores.
Yep! I'm the jerk that thinks saddle problems can be cured by buying a new saddle. You, on the other hand, are the jerk that thinks saddle problems are cured by buying a brand-new bicycle! Guess we'll have to let the OP decide whose advice is more practical...
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Old 08-04-10, 12:31 PM   #25
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good lord, this is the wonderful (not) aspect of internet forums, some people just cant follow the real-life social rules of speaking politely to someone as if you were at a party together.

nothing we can do about it, if you are going to be rude, you are going to be rude, but really stork, did you have to start this off so bruskley?
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