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Saddle Width

Old 03-16-10, 09:49 AM
  #1  
bfoss
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Saddle Width

I just bought my first bike in about 7 years to commute to work. I've been riding it for a few days now and my "sit bones" are killing me. I remember some pain at the beginning of each summer when I used to Mtn Bike alot, but this seems different. It has been 7 years (and about 50 more lbs) since I've ridden, but I'm wondering if my saddle is too narrow. I'm a big guy 6'1" 280 lbs. I feel like the pain is slightly on the "inside" of my sit bones. By that I mean, if I sit on the edge of a desk, the pressure there doesn't bother the tenderness I've got from riding the bike. Does that sound normal?

Also, this is the bike I got https://www.globebikes.com/us/en/glob...sp?pid=10ROLL1

It has a pvc plastic saddle, which has a great shape and some "give" similar to the leather saddle I had on my XC bike. I love the theft deterrent nature of the saddle, but could the fact that its plastic be part of the problem?
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Old 03-16-10, 09:57 AM
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How far is your commute?
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Old 03-16-10, 10:05 AM
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There's no getting around the extra 50 lbs since the last time you rode. Your legs are probably a little weaker now as well, meaing less of that weight is carried on the pedals and more on the seat. However, it does sound that the saddle is compounding the problem. Rather than spend money on new saddles until you find one you like, see if you can borrow a few from friends and try them for a day or two - just to see if any make a difference. Also try modifying your seat and/or bar heights a hair either way. Sometimes little things can make big differences.

Be wary of specific saddle recommendations as what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.
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Old 03-16-10, 10:18 AM
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The most important question is: how long have you been riding for?

Starting to ride again after a few months, let alone several years, will always result in some butt pain while your muscles acclimate. The extra 50 lbs and fact you haven't been on a bicycle in seven years doesn't help. How long that pain lasts varies, but it can be a couple of weeks before a properly positioned saddle will stop hurting you.

That said, it is also very possible that your fit is off. Futz. Raise and lower you saddle, try different tilts, different positionings of your handlebars. It is also possible that your saddle is too narrow, but as finding a saddle that fits can cost hundreds of dollars (you can never know whether a saddle really works until you've ridden on it for a couple of weeks), that should be a last resort.
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Old 03-16-10, 10:24 AM
  #5  
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Is you seat height adjusted right. You will find your butt getting more constant pressure from you seat if your seat too low. A properly adjusted seat help relieve some weight off the seat while you are pedaling.

I have yet to buy a bike and not change my seat. Most are bearable but still somewhat not personally fit right. One on my favorite seat on my commuter bike is a Serfas Dual Density Gel. Just a note, what works for me may not not for you. It's more of a trial and error thing.
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Old 03-16-10, 10:50 AM
  #6  
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Another factor is how upright (or not) your riding position is. I've found that, if you are on a road-oriented saddle and riding more upright, it will be hard on your butt. If your pelvis is rotated forward by your being more horizontal, the road-type saddle will feel 'right'. The converse can also be true. If you have a seat designed for an upright position (wide and soft), it won't allow you to ride comfortably in a more horizontal position. Some seats are designed for you to ride "in" them; others are designed for you to ride "on" them. Some allow you to move fore and aft, others do not. Some are curved and allow the seat to nestle in between your cheeks; others are flatter and wider, so your bones rest on the wings and you stay on top of the seat. I just switched to one of the latter (160mm Bontrager)... feels great when riding, but leaves me a little sore. I expect that to go away, but(t) if it doesn't, I'll find something similar with a touch more padding.

You need to find a seat that not only matches your body, but(t) also your riding style.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:10 AM
  #7  
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Here's my worry: What if your bike is forcing you into an uncomfortably aggressive position? If you're using the stock stem, then your bars are considerably lower than your saddle.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:13 AM
  #8  
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I ride a Brooks B33 - no padding, broad base, sprung suspension. The break-in period is relatively swift and painless, and the saddle a true joy to use after that. (I'm 325lbs).

You may not need something like the B33, but a sprung saddle a little wider than the typical crotch-compactors would definitely do you good while you work on dropping those 50lbs. The Brooks B67 is nice...

I'd avoid "comfort" saddles - they're over-stuffed, and you sink into them too much, which leads to chafing and joint issues. If you need comfort, think springs, not padding and gel.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:20 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ortcutt View Post
Here's my worry: What if your bike is forcing you into an uncomfortably aggressive position? If you're using the stock stem, then your bars are considerably lower than your saddle.
If the saddle is BMX inspired like it says on their website, it could be totally wrong for that riding position.
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Old 03-16-10, 11:58 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by RI_Swamp_Yankee View Post
I ride a Brooks B33 - no padding, broad base, sprung suspension. The break-in period is relatively swift and painless, and the saddle a true joy to use after that. (I'm 325lbs).
A sprung Brooks isn't a bad idea, all things equal. Question is, how well would it work on the urban/messenger/track-ish Roll?
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Old 03-16-10, 12:07 PM
  #11  
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Are you worried about style or about the Brooks getting stolen?
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Old 03-16-10, 12:14 PM
  #12  
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There's NO REASON to fuss with or replace your saddle. Anyone who is telling you to has probably never really experienced this pain (probably either because they never stop biking, or because they ease in very gradually). This pain is normal, unavoidable, intense, and, believe it or not, very temporary. It happens any time a bone surface is being asked to become load-bearing for the first time (or the first time in a long time). If you only get on the bike once a week to start, you'd probably never have noticed. Go from nothing to every day, you'll be hurting, bad, as the tissues around your bone will be sore and swollen. My husband is going through this right now, too.

It's possible that this pain is more intense than the pain you remember since your riding style (in the saddle all the time, v.s., standing?), terrain (hard surface vs. dirt?), riding frequency (twice a day vs. once a week?), weight, and time away from the bike are possibly factoring in. It's the same kind of pain, though, right?

Within a week or two, your bones will be used to bearing your weight, and it won't be at all painful anymore. You'll know you're on the mend when you think "how can people stand this?" for the first few minutes, then only when you hit a bump, but aren't feeling half bad by the time you arrive at your destination. On the return trip, you'll have the same thoughts, but each day past that point you'll be feeling better. If you're still uncomfortable in a couple weeks, think about frigging with stuff, but I can virtually guarantee you won't need to.

Take a few days off the bike, if you like. It won't matter either way to how quickly this pain goes away, but if there's no need to suffer, sometimes it's best to just keep things fun

Last edited by hshearer; 03-16-10 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 03-16-10, 01:57 PM
  #13  
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Am I the only one who thinks the plastic saddle thing is weird? I've never tried one, but I can't imagine riding a bike with a plastic saddle.
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Old 03-16-10, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Am I the only one who thinks the plastic saddle thing is weird? I've never tried one, but I can't imagine riding a bike with a plastic saddle.
FWIW I've heard that the cushioning on most saddles is unnecessary and often does more harm than good.
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Old 03-16-10, 02:14 PM
  #15  
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The local specialized dealer here has a gel pad to sit on and measure the imprint of your sit bones. I didn't buy a saddle from them but I bought a wtb saddle online the width recomended and it fits like a dream.
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Old 03-16-10, 02:16 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by hshearer View Post
There's NO REASON to fuss with or replace your saddle. Anyone who is telling you to has probably never really experienced this pain (probably either because they never stop biking, or because they ease in very gradually).
I'm going to respectfully disagree with the fuss part. When one starts riding again, or start riding with a new bicycle, I think you should be fussing with saddle positioning every few days.

Adjust only one thing at a time, mark stuff (with masking or scotch tape) when you make changes, and give every change time (at least a day or two, if not more) to see whether you really like it or not, but yes, futz and fuss. It takes time, weeks or months, to figure out correct positioning after not being on a bicycle for years.

Futzing won't make the pain go away, but it will allow you narrow down your choices of what positions you like or don't like.

Also, it is possible to have a saddle that is simply too narrow. Likewise it is possible to have a saddle that is too wide. If the pain stays the same or gets worse after weeks of riding, regardless of any change in position, you very well may have a saddle that doesn't work for you.
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Old 03-16-10, 02:20 PM
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Just an observation. The pics of that saddle seem to show that where your sit bones go(widest part) it slopes downwards away from center. That means that you most likely would have pressure on inside of your sit bones instead of right dead on them. Unless that saddle is very wide. But as others said give it a chance and fool around with positions.
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Old 03-16-10, 03:42 PM
  #18  
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I'm not saying never fuss... I fuss constantly to fine-tune the fit with new bikes. I'm saying that this kind of pain has nothing to do with the saddle, so fussing won't help. The OP just needs to wait for his body to acclimate a bit. Once a couple weeks go by, if he's still uncomfortable, then yes, there's possibly a fit issue.

I've had that saddle pain returning to riding in spring, and had the same kind of pain in the arches of my feet when I got some new custom orthotics. Can't get a better fit than a medical professional making a mold of your foot, right? Well, it was the first time my arches had ever supported weight, and the bottoms of my feet were very sore for several days. I wear those orthotics all the time now, and they're fine. His saddle will probably be fine, too, in time.
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Old 03-16-10, 04:10 PM
  #19  
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I'm saying that this kind of pain has nothing to do with the saddle, so fussing won't help. The OP just needs to wait for his body to acclimate a bit.

This may be true for riders of average weight, but there's a lot of "there" between dem bones and the saddle, and a lot of weight put on the bones and butt. I have a Brooks "Bike Boom" era saddle from my old '70s Raleigh - it's padded plastic on a steel frame, and pretty good for the day, from what I read. I couldn't make it more than a couple blocks on the thing. The B33 is comfortable for hours in the saddle, but I also have an upright bike (Electra Townie, before that a riser and North Road bars on the Raleigh.)

For more aggressive riding positions, the B66 or 67 looks about right for a big butt getting used to riding again (or one of the competitors in the same vein, Velo Orange or Selle or Gyes)... you still get a bit saddle-sore for the first week or so, until you and the saddle come to an understanding, but it's going to be better than sink-or-swim with that plastic groin-gouger that comes stock.
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Old 03-16-10, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RI_Swamp_Yankee View Post
I ride a Brooks B33 - no padding, broad base, sprung suspension. The break-in period is relatively swift and painless, and the saddle a true joy to use after that. (I'm 325lbs).

You may not need something like the B33, but a sprung saddle a little wider than the typical crotch-compactors would definitely do you good while you work on dropping those 50lbs. The Brooks B67 is nice...
+1, I use a Brooks B68, which is the same as a B67 but without springs. I am 6'1" and 190 so not exactly petite, and the fairly wide Brooks works great. I don't use padded bike shorts either, just inner unpadded "compression shorts" and a semi loose outer cargo type short.
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Old 03-18-10, 06:28 PM
  #21  
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wild looking bike!
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Old 03-18-10, 07:12 PM
  #22  
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Thanks for all the tips. I picked up a memory foam pad to use for a few days and already the pain is subsiding. I'm still concerned that the saddle is too narrow though. The pressure points seem to be on the inside. I've been riding with pad on for my measly 5 mile commute, and then taking it off for bombing around town. I think I'll give it a few weeks before I look at replacing it, like I said, I'm feeling better already. I'm trying to ween myself off the pad asap!
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Old 03-19-10, 04:02 AM
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this one is comfy

Schwinn Adult Ergonomic Bicycle Saddle

https://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Adult-...8992815&sr=8-1

it's NOT long; thin and hard. my adult sized kids each have one
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