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Pakiwi 12-26-13 08:07 PM

Is there such a thing as a comfortable saddle
It's been about two months back on the bike and I still don't feel comfortable on the bike. 45 mins to an hour and I am about done. My lungs and legs are still fresh but my butt is about done. I have tried 4 different saddles, a Terry Liberator, Selle Italian Gel, velo and something like a vetta saddle. I have to move forward and back on the saddle to relieve some of the discomfort. I never remember it being this bad 12 years ago.
Any advice or is it a suck it up and ride.

jsigone 12-26-13 08:13 PM

Try different angles. I find with channel cut seat the nose of the saddle is bit higher. Also could be your bib shorts. Wish someone told me this sooner but don't cheap out too much on bibs. Same with shoes.

recumbenttoad 12-26-13 08:28 PM

I find my Brooks B-17s very comfortable.

Silvercivic27 12-26-13 08:30 PM

How tall and heavy are you?

10 Wheels 12-26-13 08:36 PM

Take many short rides and stand up much.

Took me 48,000 miles to find one.

It is a combination effort involving toning up the rear, the right shorts, and a saddle that works for you.

Fizik Wing Flex is a good one to start with.

Pakiwi 12-26-13 08:38 PM


Originally Posted by Silvercivic27 (Post 16360610)
How tall and heavy are you?

I am 5'6 220lbs
Don't think I have shrunk any. But I am replacing my stem from 90 to 60mm as I feel my arms are not supporting the weight I feel they should. The saddle is flat.
Bike is 51cm Jamis

Pakiwi 12-26-13 08:40 PM

What was it and did you know straight away. The Most comfortable is the Selle Italian which is the skinnier of all 4

TrojanHorse 12-26-13 08:42 PM

Find a shop near you that demos saddles... most specialized stores will let you try theirs (they may make you rent them) and Fizik also has a rental program. It took a handful before I found one I liked and even then, it's bib dependent. I have a definite preference for specific bibs when I go over 50 miles. :)

Another idea is to try an online store with satisfaction guaranteed returns.

Dave Cutter 12-26-13 09:04 PM

I bought a Selle Italian saddle and love it. Have ridden for hours on it without any soreness. It is every bit as comfily as my recliner. I do make a habit of standing up briefly every few minutes while out on a long ride.

I think it's natural to get a little tired and then remain in the saddle. This allows blood to pool in the big buttocks muscles.... and causes soreness.

the fly 12-26-13 09:53 PM

I have an Adamo Road saddle that I wouldn't trade for anything. Took awhile to get used to, and the price is a little steep. If you can borrow/rent one I'd try it for a couple hundred miles. I was really sore at first, but since then I love it.

exile 12-26-13 10:44 PM

Before changing the saddle you may want to get a bike fit. Judging by your post it sounds like you've been off of a bike for a number of years and are starting up again? If that is the case then a lot of things may have changed including flexibility and strength (and maybe the waistline :innocent:).

Give yourself some time to get acclimated, but don't be afraid to make some adjustments (shorter stem, lowering the saddle slightly, raising the handlebars, etc.). Though if you do change the saddle I am partial to the Brooks although the Velo Orange I have on my bikes aren't to bad.

chet31 12-26-13 11:03 PM

I had the same problem when I started riding more miles a few years ago. I had "soft tissue" problems. This seat worked for me.

Wanderer 12-27-13 06:10 AM

I ride a Brooks B17, and love it. Specialized Body Geometry saddles are quite comfy.

-VELOCITY- 12-27-13 06:18 AM


Originally Posted by recumbenttoad (Post 16360607)
I find my Brooks B-17s very comfortable.

I agree. I've owned 2 B-17's and they are great. Though the first one was more comfortable for some reason. Maybe because I was lighter.

Silvercivic27 12-27-13 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by Pakiwi (Post 16360629)
I am 5'6 220lbs
Don't think I have shrunk any. But I am replacing my stem from 90 to 60mm as I feel my arms are not supporting the weight I feel they should. The saddle is flat.
Bike is 51cm Jamis

OK, so what I can gather is that you have a small frame (pelvis) and are not that heavy (I'm 230). Your dimensions are definitely not very unusual. You should definitely be able to find a saddle that will work. I will tell you that 60mm is a very short, almost abnormally short stem. I ride a bike with a 60mm stem, but that's because the frame is way, way too big for me, but I keep it for sentimental reasons. If you have a bike frame that's in the ballpark, you shouldn't need to go to a 60mm stem. It will also have adverse effects on your bike's handling (like make the bike more twitchy and difficult to control).

I would say say the most appropriate first step would be to get a good fit, or find someone knowledgable in bike fitting to help you. If that still doesn't help, maybe you do have to go to a new saddle. The thing about saddle padding that is somewhat counterintuitive is that the heavier you are and the longer rides you do, the more comfortable a firmer saddle is. You have a small pelvis, so it's going to be tough to find a saddle that's too narrow, but a saddle that's too wide will cause chafing on your inner thighs where they contact the seat. Some of that at this point, however, may be unavoidable due to your weight. The hands down most comfortable saddle I've used is Koobi. I have a PRS Century and an AU Enduro, and both are equally comfortable, so you shouldn't feel compelled to buy the PRS system. They are made by Selle Italia, so the quality is top notch. As I mentioned previously, though, the first thing you should do is get a good fit. After you do that, make sure you record all of your measurements so you can reproduce your fit without paying someone again if you need to replace parts. Keep in mind too, that as your body changes and your fitness improves, your fit on the bike will change, so this is a dynamic thing. You may find that one of your current saddles will work fine.

Myosmith 12-27-13 08:57 AM

+1 on Exile's comment. While saddles get a lot of blame, the number one comfort problem is bad fit. The OPs comment about getting a shorter stem because his arms aren't bearing the weight they should indicates to me that there is a fit problem. Shifting weight off the buttocks and onto the hands is not a solution. Before going that route, try moving the seat forward and upward slightly to put more weight on the legs and to make it easier to stand/float over the seat. Flexibility and resistance exercises aimed at the core, glutes and hams will also help relieve saddle problems. If you don't have a good bike fit, no saddle is going to be comfortable. A professional fitting, even one of the basic fittings, is a good place to start. Beware of fitting information on the internet, there are some good fitting demos as well as some with serious misinformation. Stick with the ones from Park, Bicycling magazine, and other reputable sources. You can also check out the fitting sub-forum.

Standing for 30 seconds or so every 15-20 minutes and taking a minute or two off the bike every hour or so will also make a big difference.

Silvercivic27 12-27-13 09:19 AM

Ha ha, bicycling magazine as a reputable source, that's a good one.

Pakiwi 12-27-13 10:19 AM

I have to admit I am adjusting things for the fit. I did the hand on the front of the saddle and can only just touch the drop bars. The rim on the front wheel is behind the drop bars when I bend down. The saddle is as forward as it goes. I am looking at the bike fit website. They have some good info. I will rotate the saddle up a little as recommended. Would posting a photo be ok of my riding position?

decotriumph 12-27-13 10:36 AM

If you're having to move things around by trial and error to get comfortable, you might want to consider getting a professional fitting session. Most top dealers can do it for you and the resultant comfort will probably be worth the investment (about $125 around here, but credited to a new bike if you buy one). You might wind up with a new bike, though!

Pakiwi 12-27-13 10:56 AM

I have been considering doing a professional fit. I have my old steel bike which I did the three centuries in three days so know it's was comfortable but that was three kids and too many calories ago. The new bike to me which I tried to measure the old bike and get the new one dialed in.

bbeasley 12-27-13 11:03 AM

For me it's all about the width of the saddle. I seem to be comfortable on most saddles over 135mm. My current favorite (143mm width)is this one . I'm too lazy for the leather saddle lifestyle but if that's what it took to ride I'd do it. Comfortable to me means 2.5 - 3 hours on the bike with an occasional century thrown in.

sstorkel 12-27-13 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by Pakiwi (Post 16360576)
I have tried 4 different saddles, a Terry Liberator, Selle Italian Gel, velo and something like a vetta saddle.

Asking for saddle advice on an Internet forum is a losing game. You'll get 20 contradictory opinions from 12 different people you've never met. And there's a pretty good chance that all of those opinions will be incorrect. Here's some generic advice that will help you solve the problem on your own:

1) Make sure you own good bicycling shorts. No matter what people tell you, padded shorts are pretty much a requirement for riding a modern saddle. If you're embarrassed by the way you look in lycra bicycling shorts wear them under a pair of "normal" shorts.

2) Make sure your saddle is in the correct position. That means both vertical position as well as forward/backward. Many riders make the mistake of placing the saddle too far back and they end up riding on the nose of the saddle. I don't care how much you spend on a saddle: that's never going to be comfortable. Get someone local to help you with this. Pay for a professional fit, if necessary. You might also be able to get good advise from a more experienced rider.

3) Make sure the tilt of your saddle is correct. No magic here: if you're sliding forward on the saddle then raise the nose. If the nose of the saddle is putting too much pressure on your soft tissue, then lower the nose. Make small changes and test ride them. An infinitely adjustable two-bolt seat post (ex: Thomson) will make this process easier.

4) Try riding a bunch of different saddles. Everybody's butt is different. A saddle that works for another person won't necessarily work for you. Some shops have demo saddles that they'll lend you for free. My local shops don't do demos, but they do have a fairly liberal return policy on saddles. Rather than trying saddles randomly, you must be able to make a reasoned decision about what is wrong with your current saddle or what feature you want to change. Some things to consider changing: length, width, cut-out vs. no cut-out, flat vs. curved, less padding vs. more padding. By the way, people will tell you that less-padded saddles are more comfortable over long distances. This is generally true, but it might not be true for you! There's definitely such thing as a saddle with too little padding.

5) Don't believe people who tell you that a painful saddle with eventually "break in" and become comfortable. In my experience, it won't. A saddle which is mildly uncomfortable might eventually "break in" and become comfortable. A saddle which is painful will never become comfortable (or even tolerable) in my experience. For this reason, I don't give saddles much of a chance before I return them: I do one ride on my standard 30-mile training loop and if I experience any pain or significant discomfort I return the saddle immediately.

6) Realize that you may need different saddles for different bikes and you may need to change saddles as your riding career progresses. If you're relatively new to bicycling, for example, it's entirely possible that you might need a saddle with different characteristics (ex: more padding) now than you will 6 or 12 months down the road.

Silvercivic27 12-27-13 11:10 AM


Originally Posted by Pakiwi (Post 16361600)
I have been considering doing a professional fit. I have my old steel bike which I did the three centuries in three days so know it's was comfortable but that was three kids and too many calories ago. The new bike to me which I tried to measure the old bike and get the new one dialed in.

You should do it for sure. Don't try to have the internet eye-ball your fit. It will save you a lot of frustration and a lot of money in bike parts that you won't have to buy.

Pakiwi 12-27-13 11:47 AM

Thanks. Good information.
Going to take a look at fitters in the local area.
Just wondered if there is such a thing with my increased weight.

nkfrench 12-27-13 02:20 PM

Your description "butt hurts" is not specific enough -- you will need to be more detailed when you work with a fitter.
I have had problems with a cushy gel saddle not supporting my sitbones so I sunk into the saddle putting pressure on soft tissues. It also retained heat and moisture causing skin maceration and infections. Friction on inner thigh.
I have had problems with a racing saddle with firm edges that cut into the creases where the rump turns into the back of the leg.
I have had problems with spin bike saddles that had a domed top. No sitbone support at all and soft tissue was rubbed raw and bleeding despite wearing bike shorts. Cut-out saddles work better for me.
I have had problems with semi-recumbant stationary bike seats. My butt and feet went numb after 20 minutes. Blood flow was being restricted from sitting in one position without good sit bone support.
My road bike has a saddle that is very comfortable for me. I got my sitbones measured and used that as a factor determining appropriate saddle width (tempered by the amount I lean over to ride). The saddle does bother me on rides longer than 4 hours but that is helped by cleaning up sweat and re-applying chamois butt'r.

And my first few rides after a long layoff always involve butt discomfort like bruising no matter what the saddle.

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