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Saddle Options for Fat Guy

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Saddle Options for Fat Guy

Old 04-17-15, 11:21 AM
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Saddle Options for Fat Guy

Hey all!

I just bought my first bike, a 2016 Trek CrossRip LTD. I loved it in test ride, with the exception of the uncomfortable saddle. Until I drop some lbs, I'd like to look into replacing the saddle to be more comfortable until I adjust. Being 6' 5" / 320lbs, I'll need something serious.

Does anyone have any recommendations? Comfort is obviously top priority, but I would also like to somewhat maintain the badass aesthetic that the CRip has.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-17-15, 11:52 AM
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You need to look into why the saddle is making you uncomfortable. You probably think more padding is the way to go, but it really isn't on a road/cross style bike. You may need a wider saddle if you have wide sit bones. Otherwise, it's more likely due to your bike being not set up correctly. Try raising your saddle. Almost all new bike owners have their saddle way too low.

Some bike shops can do saddle fitting as well. You might want to see about that. As well as a proper bike fitting.
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Old 04-17-15, 12:03 PM
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Go in to a local bike shop, get measured, ask about either return policy or a demo/rental program. Everyone's butt is different and what feels good for me vs you is different. And tons of weight does not mean wider saddle. Our skeletons will not change really as we drop weight. Our flexibility should increase (as you lean harder your sit bone width does change a bit) over time though.

Lots of padding is not necessarily good. Consider how you sit. Mostly straight up? Comfort and cruiser bikes have you basically sit straight up so all of your weight is evenly distributed on the saddle. That is why they feel good with padded saddles. But as you lean more and more down, more of the weight gets pushed forward. A highly padded saddle will let certain areas sink into it and may cause numbness and possibly even damage over long rides. If you feel any numbness while in the saddle it is probably not a good fit.

I went from a comfort bike to a used hybrid. Previous owner was a smaller guy. He had narrower sitbones. And hit bike was older so the saddle was fairly worn down. As I built my endurance on my bike I started to notice pain (could only support 1 side at a time, the other would hang over a little and hurt). So I was looking for a wider saddle. I headed to my favorite LBS and started looking at some midrange Bontrager saddles. I'd also looked into ISM saddles (Century and Typhoon specifically). Owner looked at me and the $100 saddle I was staring at and said that didn't look right. He handed me a $70 Serfas one and pointed out the 3 month comfort warranty. They didn't offer a demo or rental program (though many places do... you'll borrow a saddle for some time and then often you can buy that model and the demo price gets applied toward purchase price) but he had a warranty. So if I'm not happy with my cheaper saddle, then I can ask him to order an ISM Century.

If possible, try and get a fitting from the shop too. Some will do a "quick fit" where they quickly check your sitting position and angle, put the saddle on, ask you to to go ride around and make some adjustments for free. Some will require a full professional fit. This involves checking lots of things and can take 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on what they do and usually costs some money. My wife and I managed to get my saddle height and angle right pretty easily. All of a sudden it went from feeling a bit off to vanishing. It felt like sitting on a stiff office chair rather than plastic "ass hatchet". As my comfort increased, my speed did too. I was able to settle into my bike more easily so I could put more power into the pedals and less into correcting the pain.

Specialized is usually a good place to start for saddles. They have lots of options, come in 3 sizes for every saddle, and have equipment to check your sit bone width. LBS that I visit is a Trek shop. The owner even said that Specialized is a good place to go. He said Bontrager is getting better (finally) but selections can still be limited. ISM makes saddles that are good for soft tissue which can prevent damage if you like to ride long distances. Brooks B17 is popular with a lot of people. They are pricey and there is a breaking in period but I've heard that they are great once they are broken in. Fizzik posts a fit system on their website that takes flexibility into consideration. That may be a good place to go if you have the budget. I tend to need saddles that are around 147-155mm and they don't offer many in that range. So I passed on them for now but they seem to make saddles.
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Old 04-17-15, 12:16 PM
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yep get yourself a fit....how much you weigh is not really the issue. Expect to be sore for a couple weeks of riding, even on the correct size saddle as you get used to being on one.
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Old 04-17-15, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
You need to look into why the saddle is making you uncomfortable. You probably think more padding is the way to go, but it really isn't on a road/cross style bike. You may need a wider saddle if you have wide sit bones. Otherwise, it's more likely due to your bike being not set up correctly. Try raising your saddle. Almost all new bike owners have their saddle way too low.

Some bike shops can do saddle fitting as well. You might want to see about that. As well as a proper bike fitting.
I rode different sized bikes extensively to get sized for the frame, and that's what we focused on; not so much on the saddle sizing. Once the bike comes in, I'll definitely get a fitting. Thanks for the input!

Originally Posted by ChrisZog
Go in to a local bike shop, get measured, ask about either return policy or a demo/rental program. Everyone's butt is different and what feels good for me vs you is different. And tons of weight does not mean wider saddle. Our skeletons will not change really as we drop weight. Our flexibility should increase (as you lean harder your sit bone width does change a bit) over time though.

Lots of padding is not necessarily good. Consider how you sit. Mostly straight up? Comfort and cruiser bikes have you basically sit straight up so all of your weight is evenly distributed on the saddle. That is why they feel good with padded saddles. But as you lean more and more down, more of the weight gets pushed forward. A highly padded saddle will let certain areas sink into it and may cause numbness and possibly even damage over long rides. If you feel any numbness while in the saddle it is probably not a good fit.

I went from a comfort bike to a used hybrid. Previous owner was a smaller guy. He had narrower sitbones. And hit bike was older so the saddle was fairly worn down. As I built my endurance on my bike I started to notice pain (could only support 1 side at a time, the other would hang over a little and hurt). So I was looking for a wider saddle. I headed to my favorite LBS and started looking at some midrange Bontrager saddles. I'd also looked into ISM saddles (Century and Typhoon specifically). Owner looked at me and the $100 saddle I was staring at and said that didn't look right. He handed me a $70 Serfas one and pointed out the 3 month comfort warranty. They didn't offer a demo or rental program (though many places do... you'll borrow a saddle for some time and then often you can buy that model and the demo price gets applied toward purchase price) but he had a warranty. So if I'm not happy with my cheaper saddle, then I can ask him to order an ISM Century.

If possible, try and get a fitting from the shop too. Some will do a "quick fit" where they quickly check your sitting position and angle, put the saddle on, ask you to to go ride around and make some adjustments for free. Some will require a full professional fit. This involves checking lots of things and can take 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on what they do and usually costs some money. My wife and I managed to get my saddle height and angle right pretty easily. All of a sudden it went from feeling a bit off to vanishing. It felt like sitting on a stiff office chair rather than plastic "ass hatchet". As my comfort increased, my speed did too. I was able to settle into my bike more easily so I could put more power into the pedals and less into correcting the pain.

Specialized is usually a good place to start for saddles. They have lots of options, come in 3 sizes for every saddle, and have equipment to check your sit bone width. LBS that I visit is a Trek shop. The owner even said that Specialized is a good place to go. He said Bontrager is getting better (finally) but selections can still be limited. ISM makes saddles that are good for soft tissue which can prevent damage if you like to ride long distances. Brooks B17 is popular with a lot of people. They are pricey and there is a breaking in period but I've heard that they are great once they are broken in. Fizzik posts a fit system on their website that takes flexibility into consideration. That may be a good place to go if you have the budget. I tend to need saddles that are around 147-155mm and they don't offer many in that range. So I passed on them for now but they seem to make saddles.
Holy information! Thank you! I'll do some research and try some things after my fitting, and go from there. I really appreciate you taking the time to type that out.

Originally Posted by obed7
yep get yourself a fit....how much you weigh is not really the issue. Expect to be sore for a couple weeks of riding, even on the correct size saddle as you get used to being on one.
Yeah, I expect to be miserable while my odd adjusts. However, that's not going to stop me. Pain is just weakness leaving the body, right? Hah!
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Old 04-17-15, 01:47 PM
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Different brands for different bums...

I have found that amount of padding is irrelevant to a point, but if riding without cycling shorts, I do prefer a padded (but not over-padded) saddle.

And weight is not an issue... I know when I first started looking at cycling, I asked someone about a seat built for fat people... and he suggested some couch-like saddles, but I find I have more issues with saddles that are too wide than too narrow.
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Old 04-17-15, 01:51 PM
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For me (now under 350lbs) this is the saddle I like: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C1C88ZY/...JSCHOEF3&psc=1
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Old 04-18-15, 06:41 AM
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I agree with the above posters, a big cushy saddle is a huge mistake that way too many people make. "Comfort" saddles are only comfortable for short rides on upright cruisers. Far more important than the amount of padding is proper fitting of the bike. A saddle that is too high or too low, too far forward or back, or tilted incorrectly (start with level and then try maybe a couple of degrees nose up if level doesn't work) will make you uncomfortable no matter what saddle you choose. Second is saddle width. This is based on your ischial tuberosities (the bottom of your pelvis commonly referred to as the sit bones), not the overall width of your butt. I surprises many newcomers that an adult's saddle width never changes no matter how much weight he/she gains or loses. The next thing to consider is saddle shape and features like cutouts. This is a very individual thing and can be frustrating until you find the right one. Some people, like me, can ride a variety of saddles comfortably over long miles and many rides, others seem to need just the right saddle properly broken in (if leather) and in the exact right position. Notice that I left padding for last, you only need a very thin layer of firm padding on your saddle, even if you are a big rider (I started at 300+ pounds).

Same goes for riding shorts. You don't need or want an excessively thick chamois pad. A chamois has two purposes, to reduce friction and to control moisture. The small amount of padding a proper thin chamois offers is a minor bonus. More padding is not better despite some of the marketing claims.

I was given the advice "It's a bike, not a barstool" when I first started out and it has served me well. Another pearl was "If your thighs already rub together, the last thing you need is to wedge a bunch of padding between them".

Riding position is also an important contributing factor to saddle comfort. In my early days I was amazed to find out that a change in stem length and/or height could affect how my butt felt at the end of a ride.

Once all those things are considered, the only thing left is conditioning. If you haven't ridden much, expect soreness under your sit bones for a while. The more you ride, the less tender that area will be. If you have a good saddle and chamois, friction should not be a problem, but if you notice chaffing, use a little petroleum jelly (Vaseline) rubbed into the area before riding, or get one of the anti friction products available at bike and running shops (I like Glide but there are many others).
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Old 04-18-15, 07:54 AM
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saddles are personal....I tried multiple until I found the Specialized bg type saddles and determine that the saddles I was riding on were too wide. I thought big guy, wide saddle....nope. I needed a narrower saddle as my bones were more narrow. My current version is the ..Specialized Ronin Expert Gel...love, love, love it. Also helps when you use good riding shorts with good padding.
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Old 04-18-15, 01:20 PM
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330 and I use a brooks B67
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Old 04-18-15, 09:10 PM
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Took me (300#'s) three saddle strike-outs (Specialized stock, Selle SMP, Fitzik) before hitting a home run with this 2015 X Series | Selle Anatomica

Quite literally disappears underneath you (have to learn to love the 'sag' - kind of like a 'butt sling' for your bike) . . . Like riding on a stick'o soft buttah'!
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Old 04-18-15, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimbosays
Took me (300#'s) three saddle strike-outs (Specialized stock, Selle SMP, Fitzik) before hitting a home run with this 2015 X Series | Selle Anatomica

Quite literally disappears underneath you (have to learn to love the 'sag' - kind of like a 'butt sling' for your bike) . . . Like riding on a stick'o soft buttah'!
That was one of the most interesting feelings on a bike. When suddenly I got the adjustments right on my new saddle and it went from "meh" to "where'd it go?!". So in addition to the right saddle getting the right height on the seat tube, the right distance along the rails, and the right angle is important. The right saddle may feel wrong until it is fit correctly. And even then there is that element of break in. Especially for newer riders that need to toughen up that area.

That's one of the reasons I want to rent bikes on vacation. I don't want to go 2 weeks without riding and have to work on breaking myself in again
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Old 04-19-15, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisZog

That's one of the reasons I want to rent bikes on vacation.
When I am traveling to a cycle-centric area I take my favorite saddle (with fit measurements), shoes/pedals, and helmet with me. It is kind of fun to hop aboard a quality rental that is set-up to your "fit" and be able to experience a new frame.
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Old 04-20-15, 11:31 AM
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Sorry, there should be no pain in your bird. If your bird is numb or in pain that is not weakness leaving your body it's your body telling you that you are damaging it.

With that being said (as a numb bird kept me off a road bike for some time) I currently ride an ISM Adamo Attack saddle. It's a little on the narrow side, but I am not a big guy in the sense that I am 5'6" and 215lbs. It fits me great, but you need to find what fits you and doesn't cause numb bird syndrome.
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Old 04-20-15, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JKoby123
Hey all!

I just bought my first bike, a 2016 Trek CrossRip LTD. I loved it in test ride, with the exception of the uncomfortable saddle. Until I drop some lbs, I'd like to look into replacing the saddle to be more comfortable until I adjust. Being 6' 5" / 320lbs, I'll need something serious.

Does anyone have any recommendations? Comfort is obviously top priority, but I would also like to somewhat maintain the badass aesthetic that the CRip has.

Thanks in advance!
Hey, congratulations on the new bike! I have a 2014 CrossRip LTD and I really like that bike. I know Trek has had some supply issues with the LTD this year, glad to hear you got one.

I went with a SMP Selle Plus saddle on my CrossRip. That works for me, but I have very wide sit bones. I would highly recommend getting your sit bones measured before you start looking for saddles. Here's a video on how to measure them yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=33&v=E7j9LUVJrjA

Here's a picture of CrossRip with the Selle SMP. I really like how it looks.

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Old 04-20-15, 05:11 PM
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I am another fan of the Selle SMP seats. Have a trk for the time being. Just breaking it in and trying to get comfortable on it. How do you choose your angle on the seat, and how far forward or back do you put your seat?
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Old 04-20-15, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by seandidk
I am another fan of the Selle SMP seats. Have a trk for the time being. Just breaking it in and trying to get comfortable on it. How do you choose your angle on the seat, and how far forward or back do you put your seat?
Choosing the angle is easy: horizontal.
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Old 04-20-15, 06:31 PM
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I ride a Selle Italia flight with cutout which although a narrow saddle is very comfortable (at least on 20 mile rides).
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Old 04-20-15, 06:35 PM
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I ride the Selle Italia Kevlar "Flite". this has the cutout center, is a narrow saddle. I am 360 pounds and 6'3". Bike fit is the key and then finding a comfortable saddle.

Bike fit is not just raising the seat to the appropriate height, but also moving it forward or backward to find the right position, and measuring/replacing the handlebar stem to get you the angle that is the best for you.

me as a big guy can't ride doubled over for long as I don't get enough air, but get me more upright and I can ride for a long time with power. I can now get into the drops (the bottom part of the road bike bars) for a bit when coasting or pedaling and when I feel short of breath go for a more upright position to recover.

Good luck finding a saddle that fits you.
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Old 04-21-15, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
Choosing the angle is easy: horizontal.
Please don't take this as an insult, but it is this view from some riders that turns me off. If my saddle was completely horizontal I would still not be able to ride it, ISM Adamo saddle or not. Every time someone tells me that I don't need a noseless saddle or the angle is wrong I want to kick them in the groin then ask them how it feels and if that feeling is okay, because that is how it feels to me with the wrong angle. It is very little angle, but it takes pressure off where I need it and is all day comfortable.
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Old 04-21-15, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Yendor72
Please don't take this as an insult, but it is this view from some riders that turns me off. If my saddle was completely horizontal I would still not be able to ride it, ISM Adamo saddle or not. Every time someone tells me that I don't need a noseless saddle or the angle is wrong I want to kick them in the groin then ask them how it feels and if that feeling is okay, because that is how it feels to me with the wrong angle. It is very little angle, but it takes pressure off where I need it and is all day comfortable.
I'll stick by my advice. Horizontal is the best if you have a saddle that fits you. A small amount of forward angling is OK if you have issues with soft tissue, but the majority of people I see with forward angled saddles have put way too much angle on it.

I can't speak for your saddle, because you are riding on something that looks totally alien to me. I'm perfectly comfortable on a basic 130mm saddle I paid $14 for and I weigh 250lbs. I guess I'm lucky that I don't have to go searching for weird expensive saddles!

https://www.amazon.com/4ZA-Stratos-Li.../dp/B00HL9BQFQ
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Old 04-21-15, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by dr_lha
I'll stick by my advice. Horizontal is the best if you have a saddle that fits you. A small amount of forward angling is OK if you have issues with soft tissue, but the majority of people I see with forward angled saddles have put way too much angle on it.

I can't speak for your saddle, because you are riding on something that looks totally alien to me. I'm perfectly comfortable on a basic 130mm saddle I paid $14 for and I weigh 250lbs. I guess I'm lucky that I don't have to go searching for weird expensive saddles!

https://www.amazon.com/4ZA-Stratos-Li.../dp/B00HL9BQFQ
I am one of those lucky few that have major soft tissue issues. I even have to avoid the overly padded Adamo saddles because they compress me in the wrong areas too.

Last edited by Yendor72; 04-21-15 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 04-21-15, 09:49 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful replies! I had a sit bone measurement done at the LBS, and I am able to confirm that I have large/wide sit bones. I was on the widest line, which I believe was 148mm? Regardless, I will be on the prowl for an excellent wide saddle.

Will be doing some research on the options above. Thanks again for contributing!
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Old 04-21-15, 10:18 PM
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When I first started riding, I got a cheap mountain bike and the saddle felt like sitting on a 2x4. I assumed it was because it was a skinny little saddle, bought a $20 cruiser saddle on it, and all was good. Later, rode my Worksman with a cruiser saddle, and all was good. Then I got my Sojourn which came with a skinny little saddle. Only it was a Brooks pre-aged saddle, and it was comfortable from the get-go. So turns out, that first saddle wasn't uncomfortable because it was skinny, it was uncomfortable because it was a cheap piece of crap. So don't have pre-conceived ideas about what'll work or what won't.

Caution, some language etc., but The Man Who Could Sit Anywhere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHKiGl02NmU
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Old 04-26-15, 09:43 AM
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I (of similar body dimensions as the OP) take the winter off (sue me) so each spring I get on my bike again, knowing the (correct) fit hasn't changed, knowing my 20 year old saddle hasn't changed, and each spring my ass is totally sore for at least a few days if not a week...and each time week 2 feels great. I have the same exact situation with ski boots each fall.

I don't necessarily want to encourage you to injure yourself riding through some poor fit, bad adjustments, or on the wrong saddle...but also please bear in mind even a good fit + good saddle might feel sore for a bit while you're getting started.
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