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What is more important for comfort, saddle or shorts?

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What is more important for comfort, saddle or shorts?

Old 08-05-13, 09:25 AM
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rms13
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What is more important for comfort, saddle or shorts?

Now that I'm starting to do 20+ mile rides on my Cross Check the WTB SST saddle is proving to be a weakness. Pain, discomfort and even numbness in an area that I don't want to be numb are common toward the end of the rides and I plan on riding longer so I want to address this. Let's say I have budget for either a new saddle or padded shorts which will is more important for my comfort and circulation?
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Old 08-05-13, 09:36 AM
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Well first I'd adjust your current saddle. If you're experiencing numbness, you may have a saddle that is tilted (even ever so slightly) upward. Second, check the location of it, in terms of "fore/aft" and adjust as needed.

After that, if it's still not good, I'd say it depends. If you're not currently wearing any form of padded shorts, I'd suggest that. If you ARE wearing padded shorts, then I'd suggest going to your LBS to get "fitted" for a proper saddle. THey'll measure your sit bones and advise you accordingly.
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Old 08-05-13, 09:36 AM
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Saddle, all the way.....
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Old 08-05-13, 09:42 AM
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I would solve the saddle issue first. There are numerous saddles available out there and no particular saddle is good for everyone. You have to try different ones. I have purchased many saddles over the years until I arrived on one that made me say, "Holy Cow, I wish these would have been available years ago" Now I would also suggest using padded shorts or undershorts in all cases regardless. Any kind of mileage will take its toll on you so best to be well equiped.
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Old 08-05-13, 09:52 AM
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As others said, see if adjusting the saddle first helps.

Next I'd go with a good pair of shorts. Don't get cheap shorts nor spend $150 for a pair just yet.
Two tips:
#1 Avoid thick gel shorts. They fell good at first but then the gel starts migrating to where you don't want it.
#2 The shorts should be snug. Loose shorts can bunch up in the wrong places.

Another thing: How often do you stand up off the seat? Do this frequently. Maybe make every little hill a reason to stand up on the pedals.
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Old 08-05-13, 11:02 AM
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With the right saddle, you can wear darn near anything and be comfortable.
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Old 08-05-13, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
With the right saddle, you can wear darn near anything and be comfortable.
This....saddle that works for your body, angle and rails dialed in, wear anything you want, for commuting/recreational purposes.
Only ride in regular shorts on my brooks saddled bike, no padding is much better.
Other two bikes I regularly ride, doesn't matter.
I do tend to wear cycling shorts when riding a pedicab....longer, tougher time in saddle, mtn biking shorts with lycra inserts work best......No brooks on the trike.

Last edited by AusTexMurf; 08-06-13 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 08-05-13, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde View Post
Well first I'd adjust your current saddle. If you're experiencing numbness, you may have a saddle that is tilted (even ever so slightly) upward. Second, check the location of it, in terms of "fore/aft" and adjust as needed.

After that, if it's still not good, I'd say it depends. If you're not currently wearing any form of padded shorts, I'd suggest that. If you ARE wearing padded shorts, then I'd suggest going to your LBS to get "fitted" for a proper saddle. THey'll measure your sit bones and advise you accordingly.
Agree. Saddle fore/aft is especially underrated and often improperly biased towards being too far away from the bars for proper comfort. Saddle level! The adjustment is built into the saddle clamp to acheive a level saddle regardless of seat tube angle or saddle design. Some saddles are designed to have a slighty nose or tail high section but there is always a certain portion of that saddle that is designed to be dead level when properly adjusted. Ignore that at your peril.

There are a LOT of saddles out there. Luckily you don't have to try them all to find one that will not hurt you! Just about any saddle you can purchase should be ridable! It is mostly due to misadjustment that there is so much saddle fever out there and so much swapping of saddles and the LBS's haven't really helped with their generous "try before you buy" programs... some of which involve paying an up front return fee.

All that said, when you find a saddle you really like. Buy a few. Buy several. Rent space in a zero tau molecular stasis storage locker and stash the ones you aren't riding on. You will realize the wisdom of this when your favorite saddle is redesigned into something that rhymes with Nurse Crachit (from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest). FWIW.

H
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Old 08-05-13, 02:03 PM
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I was going to say "Equally important," but after reading the responses above I would have to modify that to say: A poor set of shorts will be off-set by a great saddle, but even wonderful shorts are not going to off-set a really terrible saddle!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 08-05-13, 02:29 PM
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Yup -- saddle first. Personally, I've only gotten a benefit from the padded shorts AFTER about 40 miles.

My present saddle doesn't even work well with padded shorts; they provide no added benefit AT ALL.
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Old 08-05-13, 05:26 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone. So now , does anyone have any suggestions on saddles? On my fixed gear bike I have a Charge Spoon and it fits me well but it's also not a daily rider and I don't put a lot of miles on it at a time.

I was thinking of just spending the money and getting a Brooks or maybe in the middle with something like Selle Italia SLS

https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Produc...54_-1___202349
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Old 08-05-13, 07:51 PM
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Bike fit, including saddle adjustment is more important for comfort. Bike short construction and padding is intended to wick moisture away from your saddle contact area to keep you cooler and drier, not be an extra cushion to your saddle.

Last edited by martianone; 08-05-13 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:18 PM
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I really can't comment on padded shorts as I have never worn them. But I do think a comfortable saddle is more important. And yes I am partial to the Brooks, but I think the Velo Orange are also very nice.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:43 PM
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Another vote for Saddle first. Best advice from these forums was to find a LBS that has a host of saddles and will let you ride for a week and swap until you hit that sweet spot. Last year I tried several saddles, putting about 50 miles on each, until I found one that literally fits. And of all things, it's hard as a blasted rock. Even my son's Selle Italia put funny pressure in the wrong spots. Until this year I never wore chamious shorts / padded shorts, most of my rides being 20 miles, a couple 60+ when in my teens.

Now I have thin padded chamious biking "under shorts" from REI and that saddle is sooo much softer, and no hidden fit issues because of the shorts. I may swap for one of those split-leather seats if I start riding centuries, but not until my current seat proves uncomfortable.
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Old 08-05-13, 08:59 PM
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To have Me say for You, or Me For Me. ?
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Old 08-05-13, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
To have Me say for You, or Me For Me. ?
Que?

But I get it. Saddle fit is very personal. I find my charge spoon with very little padding to be more comfortable then the WTB which has a lot of padding compared to most saddles I've seen on friends bikes. I don't think my LBS is going to let me try a bunch and bring them back so I'll just have to invest and if it doesn't work out sell it on ebay. I think I should just spend the money and get a Brooks for no other reason but it seems to be a popular choice amongst the Surly CC crowd and that's what it is going on. My main hesitation is that I want to try cyclocross with the bike next season but I guess I can just put the WTB back on for race day
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Old 08-06-13, 12:08 AM
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Saddle... you may not always have shorts as an option.
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Old 08-06-13, 12:37 AM
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Needs for 6 hours on tours is different than a half hour in town...
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Old 08-06-13, 04:35 AM
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Every WTB saddle I have tried has been torture after 10 minutes. Something about that channel down the middle just doesn't work for me. I swapped out to a Brooks On my commuter and all is good with just my normal pants on
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Old 08-06-13, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Thanks for the input everyone. So now , does anyone have any suggestions on saddles? On my fixed gear bike I have a Charge Spoon and it fits me well but it's also not a daily rider and I don't put a lot of miles on it at a time.

I was thinking of just spending the money and getting a Brooks or maybe in the middle with something like Selle Italia SLS

https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Produc...54_-1___202349
Well, it is tough to recommend anything as not all saddles are for everyone but I can show you what solved all my saddle woes.

https://rideouttech.com/
They just plain work just as described in the technical section of the website. Best of luck in your selections.
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Old 08-06-13, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone View Post
Bike fit, including saddle adjustment is more important for comfort. Bike short construction and padding is intended to wick moisture away from your saddle contact area to keep you cooler and drier, not be an extra cushion to your saddle.
Do you really think that you pay $200 for a pair of shorts just so you can be cool and dry down there? I'd stick a few squares of Bounty paper towels down there and call it good in that case. My SO/CFO/STOKER bought me a pair of Pearl Izumi Quest shorts (MSRP $50) for no particular reason and they pass ALL the qualifications for an excellent pair of shorts regardless of price. I've got two pairs now, in addition to shorts by Nashbar and Trek. One of the main attributes of good shorts is the padding. Chamois wicks away sweat, padding under the chamois pads your contact with the saddle. I don't always need it but I find myself liking the comfort enough to wear shorts more often than not these days. And... it is apparent that many of you are not experiencing the slam dunk axis of bliss triumvirate of proper saddle, quality shorts AND chamois cream. Try some. Put a dollop in the center of the cheek area of the chamois. And a line down the centerline of the chamois. Put the shorts on... squish... eww... in a few miles eww turns to ahhh... I get it.

H

P.S. Jerry is right. Gel shorts are a bad idea. The Nashbar shorts were gel... had to do field surgery on the chamois and take out the gel pads.
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Old 08-06-13, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DX-MAN View Post
Yup -- saddle first. Personally, I've only gotten a benefit from the padded shorts AFTER about 40 miles.

My present saddle doesn't even work well with padded shorts; they provide no added benefit AT ALL.
Saddle. I'm in my late 50s and have done a couple of centuries wearing Carhart work jeans woth no chafing or soreness. You had better believe I put a lot of time and effort into getting the saddle adjusted just right.
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Old 08-06-13, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Thanks for the input everyone. So now , does anyone have any suggestions on saddles? On my fixed gear bike I have a Charge Spoon and it fits me well but it's also not a daily rider and I don't put a lot of miles on it at a time.

I was thinking of just spending the money and getting a Brooks or maybe in the middle with something like Selle Italia SLS
I have a WTB on my hardtail, and it's an ass-hatchet. FWIW, on my CrossCheck I have a Selle Gel Flite Ti that I obtained for no cost in a flip, and I like it fine. I also have a vintage leather Ideale on a different bike that I've been wanting to try, but I keep forgetting to go out and buy so SNO-seal to recondition it. If I had >$100 to drop on a saddle, my dream seat would be a Selle Anatomica Titanico X.

But saddles are about the most personal thing out there. I would suggest you at least give your Charge Spoon a try, see if it makes you happy.
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Old 08-06-13, 07:18 PM
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I bought a $13.88 Vader saddle with a cutout and i love it a lot better than the Cannondale seat my bike came with....I am gonna get a Forte XLR next... feels nice and at first glance side by side with the selle Italia it looked pretty comparable and for $49...me likey ...it was nice....All got better after i got a pair of padded shorts though...Bontrager $40.00....
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Old 08-06-13, 07:29 PM
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Get a local bike expert or someone at your bike shop to look at you on the bike and also your bike setup. Numbness is not tolerable, and you should correct that immediately. It could be that your position on the bike needs a lot of correction.
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