Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   Fifty Plus (50+) (
-   -   Can we talk saddles? (

tivoli1 01-17-06 07:40 AM

Can we talk saddles?
I put the word in search, and it's too broad/subject a word to search. The saddle that comes with the Breezer Liberty (that I just got!!) is really small and hard. I'd love something as comfortable as possible. Not really looking for high tech efficiency, looking for comfort. I ride every day for exercise. Any suggestions?

sch 01-17-06 08:28 AM

Saddles are VERY difficult. You might better ask about frame styles and haircuts. The answer will be as useful. Not trying to be snip, but saddles really are very individual and what works fine for 20-30 miles might not be so hot after 60 or 100mi.
My collection of castoffs is upto 12, the shortest (excrutiating) saddle was 34 miles on a new Selle Flite. Terry Liberties are my current preference. I would like to try a Honey Ti Brooks but $.

bmike 01-17-06 08:38 AM

Not sure what is on the Liberty - but if it is cushy to the touch it probably feels uncomfortable when you ride it. When I mounted my Brooks my local riding partners thought I was crazy - it is rock hard to the touch. No give, spring, gel, etc. Sitting on it is a different story. A saddle needs to be properly shaped (wide enough for your sit bones, narrow enough not to cause chafing).

How long have you been cycling? You'll need some base miles before anything starts to feel comfortable, as your bottom gets used to the riding position. As you get the mileage up, a crap saddle will only get worse, and a good saddle should only get better.

For me, moving to a Brooks solved most of my saddle woes.

As sch mentioned - this is personal business. I've gone through 6 saddles before getting a Brooks Team Pro on my commuter / tourer. I just ordered a Brooks Swallow for my road bike.

BlazingPedals 01-17-06 10:39 AM

I'm not the best person to talk about saddles, since my primary bikes don't even have them. But in my former saddle-using life my preference was toward saddles that had firm foam, or even a small amount of gel. Thick cushy padding or huge gel blobs got in the way, while minimalist saddles caused, er, 'male problems.' No matter what I used, I never found a way to avoid saddle soreness after back-to-back days or big mileage.

chipcom 01-17-06 10:56 AM

I ain't scared to make a recommendation - Brooks B17 or Champion Flyer (which has springs). My GF loves her B17 that we got in a swap with GrannyGear, and I have used B17s for years. Check them out at - Bill has a great return policy on Brooks saddles, if you try it for a while and don't like it, nothing lost. Do a BF search for Brooks saddles and you will find hundreds of posts pro and con.

But what others have said is also takes a few weeks of regular riding to toughen up your okole, no matter what kind of saddle you have. Thing about a Brooks though, if it suits you and once you have it broken in, you don't even need padded shorts! :)

Fred Smedley 01-17-06 11:08 AM

Brooks also solved the saddle dilema for me. Try to sit on different modals to find the width that works best for your butt. The Swift for me and B-17 for my wife. We both have tried and rejected many saddles before settling on the Brooks saddles.

I-Like-To-Bike 01-17-06 11:46 AM

5 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Fred Smedley
Brooks also solved the saddle dilema for me. Try to sit on different modals to find the width that works best for your butt.

I have a Brooks B66, bought in 1976 on my commuter and a Brooks B73 bought in 2001 on my around town cruiser. I put my 1972 Brooks B72 into semi retirement though it still is a good saddle. I've never treated any of the saddles with any waxes, creams or other concoctions. All were comfy from day one. The B66 and B72 originally came on Raleigh 3 speeds that I bought new in the 70's.

jcm 01-17-06 11:55 AM

As a relatively new rider, my pile of rejects is up to five. I have modified an old mountain bike for more comfort as well as touring capability. Speed and weight of equipment are not my concerns. Good health and fun most definitely are.

After going through all those saddles, I currently use a Specialized comfort saddle for women. Quite wide and pretty cushy. Big weak springs in back and longitudinal stretcher springs running for and aft. I've referred to it as the Barco-Lounger. I do wear bike shorts.

I have been told that I should be squirming, chafing and cussing after 10 to 15 miles but I ride it up to 40 to 50 with no breaks and no mentionable discomfort. I do this up to 4 times a week, time allowing. As spring approaches, I will see if those folks are right, with the warmer weather and all. They probably are.

About those Brooks saddles: I have recently found a used Brooks B-73 in excellent condition and I've put it on my old 3-speed because it is correct. This is a heavy weight, sprung saddle. Let me say that I am very, very impressed with the ride. I never expected it to be so comfortable. It's like being carried in a sling. So, the search for the Holy Grail of Comfort may end with me ordering a Brooks B-67 for my tourer. This is not a touring saddle, strictly speaking, but I am a guy who weights 235 and my ichial bones are farther apart than someone who's fighting weight is 180. Thus, the need for a wider platform.

The difference between the two saddles is that the 73 has 3 coil springs and 4 mounting rails while the 67 has 2 springs and 2 rails. The seat areas are identical. Note: If it comes to the B-67, I won't quibble over price. Good luck.

PaulH 01-17-06 12:31 PM

When I bought my present bike, I thought it was great, except for the saddle. After a few hundred miles, I loved the saddle, but was no longer comfortable with the one on my old bike.


Thrifty1 01-17-06 01:40 PM

I absolutely love the Brooks Champion Specials on my Specialized Expedition and Trek 1000C ....especially after full day (8 to 9 hours) of riding.

stapfam 01-17-06 01:56 PM


Originally Posted by tivoli1
I put the word in search, and it's too broad/subject a word to search. The saddle that comes with the Breezer Liberty (that I just got!!) is really small and hard. I'd love something as comfortable as possible. Not really looking for high tech efficiency, looking for comfort. I ride every day for exercise. Any suggestions?

Problem that all newcomers find is the Butt ache. Besides the fact that the saddle has not worn in- there has been no wearing in of the butt either. On the tandem I sit down a lot more than on the solo. I actually use a Selle Italia womens saddle and for me this is fine. Took a lot of purchases to find this one saddle that is comfortable, but then I only have to have the saddle position change by 1/2" down or up, and I am in pain after 20 miles.

Hate to say it but stay with your current saddle for a month-- Unless it is so painful that you cannot cycle. They say that it is the newness wearing off, but All of us had the same problem when we started.

You can go and buy most peoples reccomedation of a Brooks, but unless you have hardened up- that will hurt just as much initially. I was going to say grin and "Bare" it, but don't do that unless it adds to the comfort stakes. Give it a month and then start looking for a new saddle if it still hurts.

bjlaw 01-17-06 01:56 PM

I too have about 10 cast off saddles in the basement. My commuter has a Terry but after 50 plus mile rides the best saddle I have is on my road bike. It is a Specialized Body Geometry. They have many different sizes so go get fit at your LBS. It's a great saddle for me.

berts 01-17-06 01:57 PM

What saddle to ride = what shoes to wear = what tea to drink
I tried several in my time and found the Selle Italia Flite ti to be reasonably comfortable for my current physical characteristics after trying Fizik Nesene (really uncomfortable), Bontrager and Brooks B17.
Some saddle parameters which I found important were: flattened profile in the nose area (rounded profile was disastrous), hard and unpadded over soft, slippery over abrasive relatively long over short, long rails, narrow profile in the back.

You'll probably have to try a few before finally deciding and things change over the years thus the best one now may not be ideal in several years.

Thulsadoom 01-17-06 02:07 PM

Bike fit, bike fit, bike fit. You can have a great saddle, but if you are not fit to the particular bike, you will have problems. Some saddles work great when aero, some saddles are great when touring. Some saddles are great for 50 miles days, but not for centurys. Some saddles are great for 300 mile days, but suck for fast, hard races. I say Brooks for touring/long distance. Specialized Body Geometry for most general riding. Alliante for racing.

phoebeisis 01-17-06 02:10 PM

2 Attachment(s)
For years I rode with absolute bricks for saddles-uncovered plastic shells.I suspect they are the reason that I can barely clear my sneakers(urethral narrowing or scarring is my suspicion).I didn't develope any other signs-symptoms related to that equipment,but I finally got smart.Both thses saddles are very comfortable in all respects.They are heavy,but worth it.If you need the manu. let me know.One is an ultra lounge the 2 piece one,I not sure,but I'll find out.I don't care for the 2 piece one,but my wife does.I tilt the ultra way forward(even though it has a big cutout,I don't like any touching in that area-none at all).It is BS to say you will slide off if you don't support yourself on your perineum.You sit on those bones you sit on in everyday life.I wish I had wised up 35 years ago.Luck,Charlie
I find the cut outs to protect the perineum just aren't big enough-hence the tilted saddle.

cyclezen 01-17-06 02:17 PM


Originally Posted by tivoli1
I put the word in search, and it's too broad/subject a word to search. The saddle that comes with the Breezer Liberty (that I just got!!) is really small and hard. I'd love something as comfortable as possible. Not really looking for high tech efficiency, looking for comfort. I ride every day for exercise. Any suggestions?

You say "I ride every day for exercise". How many days do you have on the bike/saddle? If this is your the 1st time in a while that you've been on a bike for some regular riding, my experience is that 3 weeks of 3-4 days/wk of consistent 45 minutes or more, is at least what it takes for the backside to 'adapt' to any bike saddle. The 1st week is usually HELL. Once the soreness is over with, it gets easier to make judgements on 'support', 'leg freedom' and ancillary parts (if you know what I mean...)
Having gone thru that particular hell often, over the years; it was one particularly hard roadblock to overcome back in Summer 04 when I got back on the bike after an almost 8 year layoff.
What we guys find 'comfortable' will be less consistent with what women find works.

Other factor is that the more upright one is the judgement on saddle also differs.
I understand (from some general posts) that there is an invisible 'womens forum' on BF. You might contact Koffee Brown (a moderator on BF) and see if she can hook you up. Would seem that replies there might be more in tune to your needs.

Part of saddle issues is that more padding usually doesn't resolve the comfort issue. In variably the paddin compacts after a few minutes and you're sittin on a hard surface again, but this time with the pressure of the padding around it pushing up on your soft parts. Best always seems to be the right amount of 'flex' in the saddle shell combined with the right saddle shell shape for the behind in question.

I'm currently on the quest for the saddle grail myself, since my saddles are all getting very dogeared and will need replacing. Sadly the ones that work for me are long discontinued, so I 'scrounge' ebay and continue to 'test ride' newer models (with no apparent success yet).

That brings up saddle 'test rides'. Many LBS will allow you to buy a saddle and return it, if it shows no real 'use', and give another a try. A much better option than buying and being stuck with 'not quite right'.

Good luck - let us know what you come up with, that kind of info is always valuable as a start point for another rider, and would be valuable for the BF archives.

Grand Bois 01-21-06 12:10 PM

There's an alternative to brooks being marketed my the former U.S. distibutor:

I think that the #77 is similar enough to the Brooks Champion Special to be called a knock off. The shape feels better to me than the Brooks.

There's a black one on eBay.

jppe 01-21-06 12:55 PM

I might suggest looking at a Selle Italia Gel Flow-they make both male and female models and have the "ergo" cutout. My spouse and I use those models and like them very much. Excellent quality and comfort-but a bit pricey. You might check various cycling on-line stores or eBay for closeouts.

garth 01-22-06 05:43 AM

Years ago I rode a hard Brooks swallow copy saddle for hours a day, and sometimes all day and I never suffered a moment. Strange how something so simple can be so effective. In the eighties I tried a couple of the new fangled saddles that were foam covered plastic and much lighter and I never liked them as much for long rides. I missed my Brooks Swallow Italian look a like. In the late 80's, I switched to a mountain bike and tried saddle after saddle for long rides and couldn't get comfortable on anything.. I tried cushy sprung saddles to no avail. I tried cheap versions of whatever was popular and also found them lacking. In the late 90's I switched back to road bikes with tight racing geometry and tried Cinelli, and a vintage Concour and actually found them more comfortable than a foam padded seat. I was starting to get penis numbness, mild but disturbing. I finally switched to a Terry Tri for men. It's exensive but I get less numbing and it is a bit more comfortable. Still, I feel stupid that I haven't tried going back to a Brooks type seat. Sometimes what looks like it would work doesn't actually work. You need to try different saddles and tell us. I believe that the saddle needs to be level and the back needs to be strong and conditioned, so you can ride in the drops supported by balance and your back, not your penis and your hands. The back needs to be flat, not rounded nor overextended, stem extention is very important. Lastly, if your legs are weak and you literally are falling into your penis instead of supporting your weight with your legs, nothing will be comfortable. The more you keep the pedals moving the more you appreciate something minamalist. Also don't forget the patella needs to line up with the pedal axle, so the seat may be to low, to high or too far foward or backward. It takes a long time to dial in everything. You need to ride your bike on a trainer while an expert looks at every detail. If you ever find yourself in Miami with your bike. Look me up and I'll set you up for free.

Road Fan 01-22-06 08:00 AM

The Liberty (my wife has and loves one) has a fairly upright position. Hers came with a Velo Plush saddle, and she loves it. I tried a Specialized Womens' BG on it for her and a Brooks Team ProS (supposedly shaped for women) and she hated both.

You need to look at whether the bike is fit correctly, in terms of saddle height and setback. Then the saddle tilt angle. Everyone's good fit is different, but women typically tilt level to a bit forward, and men a bit forward to a bit backward.

Don't know if you're boy or girl, but women generally need wider saddles than men. If you're Liberty's saddle is narrow and hard, possibly you should go wider, but be very wary of going softer. Soft saddles tend to comform in minute detail to your entire bottom side, putting pressure where it shouldn't be and becoming painful. You'd trade one problem for another.

Something like a Brooks B72 or B66 might be pretty good. They were really common on the old Raleigh three-speeds, dating back to the '60s if not earlier.

Post some pix of your Breezer with its saddle position. That will let us see what you have. No-one here can tell if you really have a saddle that is too wide or too narrow.


TysonB 01-22-06 11:59 AM

Haircuts and frame materials!!! :)

The best improvement in comfort for a new rider is a tougher butt. No substitute for that.

THEN, and only then, saddles can be compared. The importance of finding the right one for the individual cannot be over-emphasized. Try a number of different ones. It's not easy. Often the right one will go unrecognized because it wasn't adjusted correctly or some other minor detail that could have been easily adjusted away.

Good luck!


Silver Sequoia 01-22-06 12:10 PM

Add my voice to those who recommend a Brooks leather saddle. I bought my Brooks B-17 especially for a bike tour I'm taking this fall. I have 600 miles on it now and it has finally become comfortable, but not yet thoroughly broken in. The breaking in period is a *****, but you've just gotta have faith. I can see that this B-17 will be my saddle for life!

michaelnel 01-22-06 12:21 PM

Another Brooks B17 devotee here. I have had my butt on lots of different saddles of different types and styles, but Brooks B17 and Brooks Champion Special are the two I will *always* ride from now on.

If you aren't sure, buy a B17 from Wallingford Bicycle Parts ( If you don't like it, he'll take it back any time in the first six months.

FarHorizon 01-22-06 01:30 PM

Two words: Specialized Milano. Buy one used on e-Bay so if you don't like it, you can resell it for what you paid. Nothing to lose, but LOTS to gain!

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:49 PM.