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How long do you give a saddle when testing a new one?

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How long do you give a saddle when testing a new one?

Old 10-07-08, 12:36 PM
  #1  
bobby c
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How long do you give a saddle when testing a new one?

For several years I rode the stock saddle on my '05 Giant TCR (a Fizik Aliante Sport) - didn't seem to have much of an issue with it. However on my last century I found myself constantly adjusting my position - I just wasn't that comfortable in the saddle. So I decided to check out other saddles.

Luckily, a friend went through this a couple of years ago an owns a few different saddles he's not using. So I've tried the first - a Terry Liberator. That saddle seemed nice at first, but after 10 miles or so, I found discomfort on one of my sit bones (the other pressure with the Fizik no longer exists). So my question is - do you find it takes several rides and/or many miles before you find your match? I've ridden the Terry maybe 6 times, but never over 35 miles so I'm wondering if I've given it enough of a test ride. I could see that perhaps more time would allow me to adjust, but I'm ready to move on to another saddle, unless some think I haven't given it enough of a chance.

Thanks!
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Old 10-07-08, 12:50 PM
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Saddles can be a problem. I settled on two for the road bikes as Like you- I got a Fizic Aliante sport on Boreas. That was one comfortable saddle ---for about 6 months. Then one ride it felt uncomfortable and the next it was definitely painfull. Luckily I had a San Marco "Aero" on the OCR and I knew that was comfortable. It has proved itself in the last 18 months. Then i got the TCR and the fizic saddle on that was not right so I took the MTB saddle- a Selle Max Gel- and swopped it over. Same shape and once again - no problems.

But the Fizic I took off the TCR- I put on the MTB and it is comfortable. Only done 40 miles max on it at one sitting but no pain.

The Selle Max Gel did at one point cause a problem but I analysed where the pain was coming from. Decided to lower the nose just a bit and bring the saddle forward 1/2". That worked. But that Fizic is not going back on the road bikes. It will stay on the MTB- but the Fizic Aliante that I put on the OCR is comfortable on that bike.

But a warning- Saddles do wear out. Or perhaps it is the Butt changing. As I found out- abit of thought about where the pain is coming from and you may be able to make any saddle comfortable. But I do have saddles that I will never put back onto a bike I will be riding. Just the memory of them makes me wince.
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Old 10-07-08, 12:59 PM
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I've found that not saddles are created equal and can't be fit to the bike the way the original one was. You may need to adjust the "tilt" a little if you are getting pressue in one location or feeling the saddle is pushing or pulling you forward/backward while riding hard. I have one bike, with a Brooks B17 N, that is tilted back from level while my main ride has the saddle, Specialized Phenom, with the back end higher than the nose, both are in the right location for me.
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Old 10-07-08, 01:01 PM
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The last time I changed saddles I did something really stupid that turned out well (yeah, how often does that happen?). I was having swollen prostate problems (sorry if that's TMI!) with my Sella Italia saddles, so . . . a day before the Eastern Sierra Double Century, I installed a Serfas saddle (yes, with a cut-out in the middle).

On the double, I found the Serfas to be quite comfortable (thankfully!), my prostate loved it, and I went back and bought two more for my other bikes!

However, . . . I don't recommend taking a new saddle on a double century right off the bat. It's just not smart.

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Old 10-07-08, 03:02 PM
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When I try a new saddle, I figure into the equation some long rides and lots of adjustments. For example, I want to be able to ride up to six hours with little or no discomfort. So, if I take a saddle out for a three hour ride and feel some discomfort, I'll make minor adjustments and try again. If I've done this four or five times and just can't get it dialed in, then I move on. If I can get is right for a three hour ride, experience tells me that it may or may not be good for a six hour ride. The Terry Fly is an example of a saddle I could ride for close to three hours, but anything over that and it was just too soft. If, however, I can ride it for multiple six hours rides, its a keeper. Currently, I have four different saddles that are all "keepers".
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Old 10-07-08, 04:28 PM
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I can tolerate most saddles for 20 miles. If you are into Centuries, then I would say you need to be doing something like 100 miles before you can be sure it will be comfortable for that distance
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Old 10-08-08, 03:01 PM
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The others have alrealy made my point but I'll repeat it..........I can tolerate a whole lot of saddles for 30-50 miles or 2-3 hours of riding. The real test is doing a 4+ hour ride of 60-100 miles that includes some less than ideal roads. If your eyes start tearing up after 4 hours you know you can toss that one in the saddle bin.

One of the key factors I know right away is the saddle width. It doesn't take very long to know if a saddle is too narrow or wide in the sit area just by sitting on one. Once you know what the right width of saddle is best for you (either by measuring or by trial and error), that will help you screen and rule out a lot of saddles without doing a lot of testing.
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Old 10-08-08, 05:00 PM
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I gave the original saddles that came with my bikes at least 300 and maybe 500 miles consisting of rides between 20 and 60 or more miles, before deciding if I liked them. At that point I have been satisfied with all of them. I guess I am not that fussy, I would do a century or even start another 4000+ mile cross country tour with any of the six that I own. I find riding position and form much more important than saddle choice. When everything is right there isn't much weight on my saddle, my legs support most of the weight. Unless the saddle is very wide or very padded, I figure that I can adjust to pretty much any reasonable saddle after 300-500 miles.
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Old 10-08-08, 09:26 PM
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When I worked at a Peugeot/Nishiki dealership in the early 1970s, my boss gave the Brooks Pro which came with his new PX-10 one week, then gave up on it and sold it to me for $5. 50k mi / 80k km and 35 years later, I am still using it, and it is extremely comfortable, although it is definitely showing its age.
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Old 10-08-08, 10:54 PM
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I give mine the "60 mile ride test" at the first opportunity. If it survives that and feels more comfortable than my old saddle, it's a keeper. I know, it's not rocket science but it's the easiest test that works for me. I find that a saddle is either comfortable or it's not, right out of the box. Keeping an uncomfortable one for 6 months and hoping that I'll "break it in" never seems to work. It's as terrible in 6 months or a year as it was on day #1.
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Old 10-09-08, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Suzie Green View Post
I give mine the "60 mile ride test" at the first opportunity. If it survives that and feels more comfortable than my old saddle, it's a keeper. I know, it's not rocket science but it's the easiest test that works for me. I find that a saddle is either comfortable or it's not, right out of the box. Keeping an uncomfortable one for 6 months and hoping that I'll "break it in" never seems to work. It's as terrible in 6 months or a year as it was on day #1.
Different strokes... but I think that the rider breaks in to the saddle, so doing a long ride right off eliminates a lot of saddles that might prove comfortable after a fairly short adjustment period. Different saddles contact you in slightly different ways and a saddle that feels bad the first few rides may be very comfortable after a bit of getting used to it. In the longer haul it might actually be better than one that felt great right off. I prefer to do several 20 or 30 mile rides first then when it feels OK do longer ones.

The saddle on my touring bike was not comfortable at all for the first couple rides. Just a few hundred miles later I liked it well enough that I decided to use it to ride the Trans America. I rode 4244 miles in 73 days and never had a complaint about that saddle after the first few uncomfortable rides.
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Old 10-09-08, 01:40 PM
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The way I found the saddle on the Tandem was after a 100 mile ride with pain after about 10 miles. That was on a wednesday and on Saturday I went to the LBS. They have a low stool and I sat the prospective saddle on the stool and sat on it. The Tandem is a bit more upright than my other bikes and when riding the Tandem- You remain seated for most of the time- other than arranged Butt breaks by getting off the saddle when down hills.

I still had a bit of pain in the Butt and sitting on certain saddles showed me what saddles not to get. Finished up with a couple that were not too bad- A Selle "Trans Am" and a Selle "Trans Am"---Womens form. I got the womens form as The "T" does require a wider saddle.

Just sitting on the saddles with a bit of residual pain from 3 days before most definitely did show what saddles not to get.

Another way to find a saddle is to sit on as many saddles set up on bikes in the shop as possible. Providing the variety is there- You can find the size and type of saddle you require. And that size refers to width of the saddle. It does not always go that a wide butt requires a wide saddle.It is the width of the sit bones that denote saddle width. Sit on a saddle of the right width-Or the wrong width- and you will see what I mean.
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