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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-05-13, 06:05 PM   #1
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How comftorable should a bike saddle be?

I have a Trek 7.2 FX, with the stock seat. I'm fine with it for about 22 miles, but then it starts to get really uncomfortable. I'm not sure if a new saddle would help, or if I just need to suck it up.

I do wear bike shorts, and I weigh 275. I realize that being a big guy I'm putting a lot more weight on the saddle than a smaller rider. I rode some last year, but stopped mid season, and I have about 180 miles in this season. I feel like saddle pain is limiting me from going on rides of 30 miles or more, but I'm not sure if a new saddle would help.

I've looked around and I don't think any of the bike stores near me have a saddle testing program, so I would probably have to buy one new and hope it helps.
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Old 05-05-13, 06:57 PM   #2
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Saddles are really a personal thing. I rode a Velo saddle with springs for years. Still have it on my hybrid, though it is starting to wear out. Some years back, put a Serfas saddle on a Schwinn Le Tour I bought. It was OK, but I never really loved it. My wife, however, loves it and is using the Serfas on her bike. I am currently breaking in a Brooks on my Salsa Casseroll I bought last year. It feels pretty good now riding for a couple of hours at a time. I am not sure though if it is the saddle breaking in, or my butt getting used to the feel of a hard leather saddle, or some mix of the two.

One tip I picked up from someone is to get up out of the saddle every so often, just to give your butt a mini break. I try to do this every so often on a long ride and it seems to help.
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Old 05-05-13, 07:10 PM   #3
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A few questions -- is it level? Is it the right height? Are you using chamois creme? do you move around at all on the bike? you're not wearing undies under the chamois are you?

It's a saddle, not a seat. Think of it as a perch for power transfer. It's not supposed to feel like an easy chair.

It takes time to develop muscle and flexibility, and more advanced riders will place less weight on the saddle and more on their feet pedaling, and on their hands especially when standing (sprints, climbing).

If the saddle is level, at the right height and setback and you are using creme, it may simply not be right. Can you describe the pain, and where it is?
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Old 05-05-13, 07:17 PM   #4
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no shame in a break off the bike every hour or so, it's not like being teen girl in a Dhaka sewing factory.
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Old 05-05-13, 08:38 PM   #5
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Saddles.... oh man. btw, here's a good recent thread on the subject

Keep in mind some saddles are intended for more upright bikes so not all saddles are suitable for your bike.

I'd suggest buying saddles on ebay... you can resell them if they don't work. Loads of clydes seem to enjoy brooks saddles or selle anatomica, and those are intended for a more upright riding position. There are sites that sell brooks with a full money-back guarantee if you don't like them do I really encourage you to not just buy a saddle in the blind.
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Old 05-05-13, 08:55 PM   #6
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I agree with everybody - it's not intended to be cushy, but you should be comfortable. First thing to look at (because it's the least expensive option) is saddle adjustment. Fore/aft, tilt, and height. Experiment over a period of time. If you can't dial it in over the next couple of weeks, then think about getting a new saddle.

A very good option for a 275 pounder is a Brooks B17. I've used one for 8 or 9 months, and it is very comfortable. The B17 is intended for more upright riding positions, which is probably what you're doing on a Trek FX at 275 lbs. When I was 275 it was a godsend. Whatever happens, even if you have to sit on a bed of nails, don't quit riding -
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Old 05-05-13, 09:11 PM   #7
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All I have on the subject is here.

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Old 05-05-13, 09:13 PM   #8
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As a trek 7.2 owner, and lover - that's a good bike, I can say without reservation to ditch that OEM torture device. You have done well trying that POS out for a few long rides.

Get something else - I went with a Brooks B17 and couldn't be happier.

A saddle should largely be unnoticed. Comfort = lack of pain and numbness.
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Old 05-07-13, 02:23 PM   #9
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factory saddles are generally torture devices. i went through 5 different saddles until i settled for terry fly. i was lucky that i had friends that had used saddles i could try out. i personally got lucky that my lbs didnt like his terry fly with ti rails. got a killer deal on it. he prefers selle saddles.
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Old 05-07-13, 02:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ZManT View Post
As a trek 7.2 owner, and lover - that's a good bike, I can say without reservation to ditch that OEM torture device. You have done well trying that POS out for a few long rides.
I must say I don't waste my time riding stock saddles anymore. Years of new bikes only prove the stock saddles are good for about 20 miles IME. Not that they are painful, my issue is more of irritations. Stock saddles give me sore spots, pimples etc.

A good saddle will always have some discomfort at some point. I get uncomfy at maybe 50 miles. I have to get off but remounting is not a problem, like my arse recovered.

With a stock saddle, it would be more that my arse can't take anymore irritation.

Only stock saddle I kept is the MTB saddle as most those rides aren't over 10-15 miles and lots more lifting off the saddle vs bikes designed for pavement.
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Old 05-07-13, 07:12 PM   #11
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quick note, write down where your saddle was at before you start tinkering with positioning. you don't want to take a saddle that was ok for 20, make it unbearable for 5, and then forget how to make it comfortable again.
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Old 05-08-13, 10:52 AM   #12
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I bought a Brooks B-17 last year and it was a big improvement over a bunch of other saddles that I've tried in the last few years. However it wasn't perfect as I often ride on aerobars and the B-17 is designed for more upright riding. I was having some soft tissue problems. Therefore I just bought a Brooks B-17 Imperial with the cut-out. I rode it for the second time yesterday and have 80 miles on it now. Once broken in, I think this is going to be THE saddle for me.

As for my other B-17, it's going on my touring bike. I have a 5-day 250 mile ride on it in June and it's going to be much better than last year.
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Old 05-08-13, 11:11 AM   #13
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Brooks may not work for you.

I bought one $165.

Gave up on it yesterday after 440 miles.

Selling it on the local CL.
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Old 05-08-13, 01:33 PM   #14
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I personally noticed more of an improvement when getting a new pair of shorts than I did with saddles. But all mine are used and really comfy. I have a RavX on my roadie that is perfect for that, and a stock LBS Bontrager a co-worker gave me off his Trek single speed when he bought it that is on the MTB. Both bikes I ride daily and neither are uncomfortable for me.

BUT I used to ride with an old, and well loved pair of Canari biking briefs (they go under shorts) with my road bike and was really uncomfortable. But since I got my new Canari lycra shorts (once you go lycra, it's the only way to bike-ra) the road bike is super comfortable for any distances. The old Canaris are now my MTB under short briefs and really happy there, although they are falling apart.

Just my $.02.
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Old 05-08-13, 02:20 PM   #15
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When I got my BG Pro Fit, the Specialized trained expert who fitted me asked me so many questions I couldn't keep track. My primary reason for visiting was because of saddle soreness, but with my fitting like 3 weeks after I got my bike and having pushed through the initial 2 weeks of soreness, that wasn't even as big of an issue. And after measuring my behind, he said, that my stock saddle on the Allez was actually fine. So he didn't end up recommending that I spend any extra money in the store for that. If it still hurts or rubs you wrong after 2 weeks definitely do something/anything to fix the situation. The only thing I'd suggest is visit an expert who can check your structure vs. the structure of various seats they already have experience with.
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Old 05-08-13, 07:31 PM   #16
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comfortable? ... they ain't.
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Old 05-09-13, 07:46 AM   #17
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There will always be some level of lack of comfort, as long as it's not truly painful. I've been having a lot of issues with saddle pain and think that was a big distance killer until my recent saddle. But what is truly key is set up. I hear a lot of talk about leveling and straightening a saddle, however, at least two seat manufacturers known for comfort speak to the contrary. Here's the two I'm referring to:
Cobb Cycling Set up
Selle Anatomica Set up Video
Selle Anatomica Set up Instructions
I followed Cobb's guide for an old seat and it helped dramatically, but it wasn't enough for me. I bought a Selle Anatomica NSX and set it up their way and that was the ticket for me.

Cliff notes: Try to fit your current saddle and see if that works. If not, try a few others and set them up right as well. It's iterative and annoying, but when you find a good saddle, it'll be worth it.
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Old 05-09-13, 09:44 AM   #18
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I have used the Selle SMP Extra saddles on my road bikes for the last 6 years and I love them!
The Selle SMP saddles are available in various widths and padding options, but they can be expensive.
They do take an adjustment period,tho. Once you get the right one and get used to it,
it seems like it is not even there. (And, I've ridden them while weighing as much as 270#)
On my touring bikes I use the venerable Brooks B-17. Once broken in ti provides me with all-day comfort.
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