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Seat recommendations for long distance gravel riding

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Seat recommendations for long distance gravel riding

Old 06-11-21, 09:10 AM
  #1  
KatieC
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Seat recommendations for long distance gravel riding

I have a Trek Domane 3 that I bought last year and have started doing some gravel riding. I just signed up for a 100 km (~62 mile) gravel event. Even on pavement, the seat that came with the bike starts becoming uncomfortable after about 20 miles. On gravel its even less. I'm lookin for some recommendations on good seats for long distance gravel riding that won't have me sore after the first hour or less.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:17 AM
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Bigbus
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Find a bike shop that can measure your sit bones unless you know why the seat you have now is uncomfortable and go from there. No seat will be comfortable if it doesn't fit your sit bones, size of your glutimus maximus (bottom) is irrelevant. Good luck
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Old 06-11-21, 09:32 AM
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Noonievut
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Everyone is different and you just have to try some and find what works best for you. Some LBS have demo programs, that’s a good option.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:34 AM
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franswa
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As mentioned, finding the right saddle to match your anatomy is crucial, as is proper bike fit.
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Old 06-11-21, 09:40 AM
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I have a hybrid and a Domane 4. The road seat on the Domane was not comfortable. I had a professional fitting yesterday with the video and computer. Seat height was adjusted as well as fore and aft positioning of the seat. While on the bike was on the machine and I was on the hoods, the sitz bones felt better but there was some soft tissue discomfort. I have not rode the bike in the real world yet, but the advice from the fitter is to adjust the nose slightly if it remains uncomfortable. If that doesn't do it. then to go back to the store and he will measure the sitz bones and recommend the proper size saddle. He noted that all the Bontrager saddles have a 30 day return period so we should be able to dial in the right saddle if needed.

Best wishes on your 100k ride.

Mike
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Old 06-11-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Everyone is different and you just have to try some and find what works best for you. Some LBS have demo programs, that’s a good option.
This.

Also, a good fit can help and sometimes makes the difference between "this saddle sucks" and "oh maybe it wasn't the saddle" but not always.

Unfortunately there's no real good way to find the right saddle other than trial and error. However, a good starting point can be from looking at the bike setups of major events like Unbound Gravel and seeing what the top riders are using. Especially if you start seeing the same thing being mentioned by more than one rider. That can at least give you some ideas on where to begin.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:04 AM
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I can recommend the SQ Lab 611 Active: https://sqlab-usa.com/collections/sa...-s-tube-saddle

Whether the shape works for you is probably, as mentioned upthread, rather more a craps shoots than anything, but SQ Lab do have a fit and sizing protocol on their site to help you select, based on a sit bones measurement. I also believe that the Active line saddles, with their built-in flex and selectable elastomers, offers a touch of additional compliance which helps mitigate some of the high amplitude oscillation/shocks/vibration, particularly as we see in gravel riding.

That being said, and although I have and appreciate a 611 Active on my gravel cruiser, on my racy gravel bike I have very good success with a Fizik Vento Argo R3, despite it being an entirely different saddle in most every way (both do have perineum pressure relief). I guess that really suggests that there’s more than one saddle out there for you, which is hopefully reassuring.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:38 AM
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Female? Terry Butterfly is very popular.
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Old 06-11-21, 11:42 AM
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Maybe Selle Anatomica. (didn't work for me, but a lot of people like it for long distance.)
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Old 06-11-21, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Female? Terry Butterfly is very popular.
SQ Lab saddles are not sexed, although they do account for both sexes in their design, which can be read about here:

https://sqlab-usa.com/pages/saddle-ergonomics-explained
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Old 06-11-21, 01:07 PM
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I have had good luck with the Brooks Cambium. Three widths... C15 narrow, C17 med, C19 wide. Good to buy one at the 20% sale at REI - then you can return if it for up to a year if does not work out for you.
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Old 06-11-21, 01:11 PM
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I personally have found the saddles on all of my Trek bikes to be uncomfortable. I now use a Terry Butterfly which I like.
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Old 06-11-21, 10:14 PM
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I love Selle Italia saddles. They probably have a shape for just about any preference.

On my bike I've done long road and trail rides with the SLR Flow. Its been super comfortable to settle into for long stretches on the road while still easy to move around on when I am on the trails.
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