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mattintosh 12-10-11 12:26 PM

Rookie with serious tailbone pain... Help!
New to cycling, weigh 280 BMI of 50 age 63. Worked up to 5 miles a day sometimes ten. Unfortunately after and during the ride my tailbone aches so much that it is almost impossible to get out of chair after returning home. Some say change out seat, others get a better fit or adjust bike, pedals, seat height, handle bars ect. One person said take up a different sport! Yikes! At my weight there is considerable strain on my hands and back. The seat I use is a wide comfort seat. I have read where soft tissue should not have contact or pressure on it while riding. My wide seat feels like its not wide enough! lol! Seriously it never seems to be supporting my mass. What can do? I really like riding have a good friend that helps with motivation. But my tailbone still hurts from three days ago. Oh my ride is a Diamondback w/26" wheels. 21 speeds.

Wolfwerx 12-10-11 01:00 PM

I find those "wide comfort seats" to be absolutely fantastic if you only ride around the block 2 or 3 times at a leisurely pace, then get off the bike. Anything longer than that, and they are a terror.

Also, maybe your seatpost is too low? Try raising it until you have to completely straighten your leg to reach the bottom-stroke of the pedal. (If you can sit on the saddle with your feet on the ground and your legs are bent, then your seat is too low.)

dcrowell 12-10-11 01:05 PM

I think a different shaped saddle is in order. Have a (close) friend help measure the distance between your "sit bones". Take the measurement to the bike shop. Don't pick a squishy saddle. You want one that supports your firmly in the right places (the sit bones).

I use a Brooks B-17. You may want a different saddle. Saddles come in many shapes and sizes, just like the body part that sits on them. :)

chefisaac 12-10-11 02:16 PM

You might consider going to your LBS and getting a professional fit done. NOT one of those in and out fast bike fits. A real professional bike fit is needed and I think it is needed more with big guys like us. At least for me it was. I had the same issues as you. My hands hurt and butt hurt. I changed to a brooks saddle and got the professional fit done and also got some stuff changed out like the stem to raise me up: if you want to increase your distance and enjoy riding get a professional fit done.

pg13 12-10-11 03:13 PM

Does your comfort seat have suspension on it or is it a normal rails only seat? How far forwards are you leaning to grab the handlebars? And what kind of terrain are you riding it on?

bassjones 12-10-11 04:14 PM

In order:
Professional fit
Saddle - goes against "common" sense, but narrow and hard > wide and cushy.

chefisaac 12-10-11 05:29 PM

agreed with bass.

Laserman 12-10-11 05:29 PM

Almost everything you need to know about saddles:

Nightshade 12-10-11 06:14 PM


Originally Posted by Laserman (Post 13586340)
Almost everything you need to know about saddles:

I agree. I think a the end of the day if you want to ride further than 2>5 blocks a different saddle is going to be required.

I favor the Brooks B33 since I ride upright. Brooks are expensive but you get a lifetime saddle so it's cheaper in the long run and soooooooooo comfy!!!

gbg 12-10-11 07:54 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by bassjones (Post 13586142)
In order:
Professional fit
Saddle - goes against "common" sense, but narrow and hard > wide and cushy.

I would agree with that, and I am 250ish down from 275, and my daily ride is 27-35 miles.
On the bikes I ride most I use this:


I have 2 of these that I ride a lot but I got them because they are red metal flake :)
I would also suggest some quality riding bibs with a good chamois. Ignore those thumbnails below , can't seem to delete them.

Myosmith 12-10-11 09:01 PM

I started riding at 270+ and can tell you first hand that much of the above advice was true for me. I started with a bike too small for me and rode with the seat lower than it should have been (the notorious "barstool" position). I also started with a "comfort" saddle that was the worst investment I ever made. Forgive me if this is blunt, but it was the best piece of advice I got early on: If your thighs already rub together, the last thing you need is a big chunk of foam rubber or gel wedged inbetween them when you are trying to pedal. A seat with a narrow front and properly spaced support for the sitbones (the bottom of your pelvis) is the way to go. Some seats have a cutout that relieves pressure on the tailbone.

Riding shorts with a chamios are a good investment, not for the padding, but for the reduced friction between your upper thighs. You can get styles that are intended to be worn under other clothing if you don't like the spandex look. I wear them under athletic, outdoor sports, or even jean shorts. I also have a couple pair of riding shorts designed for mountainbike riders.

Make sure your bike really fits you correctly. This will enhance your comfort far more than any padded seat could ever dream of. There are some online resources that show you how to fit a bike, but beware that not all of them are accurate. Several books explain the process well. One of my favorites is The Big Book of Bicycling by Emily Furia and the editors of Bicycling Magazine. It devotes an entire chapter to achieving proper fit.

Raising the seat to the proper height will help you tilt your pelvis forward into the proper position without your abdomen and your thighs fighting for space on the upstroke of each turn of the pedals. I found that having my handlebar too low caused back pain when I was heavier, but as I lost weight, I slowly kept lowering it. My bar position 60 pounds ago was about 2" above the level of the seat, but now it's about 1.5 inches below seat level (flat bar on road/touring hybrid) and I can ride comfortably even lower. You should chose a bar height fairly low but which allows you to keep your spine in a natural, straight position to reach the bar comfortably without locking your elbows. If you are rounding your spine to reach the bar, it is too low for your current fitness level. If you are using a flat bar, you can raise the stem or replace it with a better fitting one, or switch to a riser bar which can move the grips in an arc giving you some control of not only height, but of setback as well.

I think it is also important to mention that exercises that strengthen your core muscles (back and abdomen) as well as increasing your flexibility will go a long way to alleviate back pain. Check with your physician if you think your back pain is from an injury or degenerative process (like arthritis) or before starting a new exercise regimen.

Gravity Aided 12-11-11 06:51 AM

A Fitting and a new saddle may be all that's needed .
That is the best starting point .
What sort of riding do you do?
Mostly on trails, or streets, or mountain biking ?

jethro56 12-11-11 08:07 AM

After wasting money on 3 different saddles I got a Brooks B17. Now I waste money on different things.

10 Wheels 12-17-11 05:05 PM

New One:

Gravity Aided 12-18-11 05:42 AM

Looks like the "Bummer" saddle, re-imagined for the 21st century .

tony_merlino 12-18-11 09:04 AM

I've been thinking about this saddle issue for a while, and reading advice from various threads, and I think the reason it starts to sound like a very confusing mystery is that different riders with different riding habits need different types of saddles. I'm not an expert, but I wonder if this doesn't sum it up:

1) For people who ride only casually, for a few minutes at a time, comfort saddles with gel & whatever are probably more comfortable than anything else.

2) If you regularly ride more than a few minutes at a time, supporting the sit bones with a hard saddle just wide enough to do so (to avoid chaffing), and avoiding gel and padding, seems to be the consensus. Even when I was much lighter, riding on a hard, racing saddle without bicycle shorts and a chamois was torture. So I'll go out on a limb and say that, if you're riding seriously, getting good cycling shorts with a chamois to go with that "serious saddle" is a must. (Probably not a bad idea in any case, and, as another poster pointed out, you can always hide them under other clothes. It's a good idea to avoid pants with an aggressive seam bisecting your taint if you ride more than a few minutes. That means jeans are may not be not the best idea for this kind of riding.)

3) If you're stretched out when you ride, with handlebars lower than the seat, or if you ride hard (so that your weight is distributed among the sit bones, your feet, and your hands), things like seats with springs and/or suspension seatposts are probably not very productive. A hard, rigid saddle is probably best for this kind of riding.

4) The more upright your riding position, the more weight is supported by your butt, the more valuable it is to have some mechanism to dampen the vibration and bumps that would otherwise be transmitted up the the spine. This could be a sprung saddle and/or a suspension seatpost. (I have no experience with this, but a full suspension bike has the same effect?)

I know Sheldon Brown makes the point that a sprung saddle will last longer and weigh (marginally) less than a rigid saddle plus suspension seatpost, but if you look at the difference in price between something like the B33 and the B17, you could probably buy a B17 and replace 3 suspension seatposts before you'd surpass the price of the B33.

If the tailbone is getting sore, that really supports the idea that the OP's seat is too low. But I don't agree that the legs should be straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke. I was taught that the rule of thumb for setting seat height is that the leg should ALMOST lock straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke, with the HEEL of the foot on the pedal. That way, when you're really pedaling (with the ball of the foot on the pedal), there will still be some bend in the leg. If the seat is too high, the rider will wiggle from side to side, which will REALLY irritate the nether regions...

cyclist2000 12-20-11 11:51 PM

I'm thinking that your posture is wrong and you are sitting too upright.

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