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Saddle Fitting: What to look for?

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Saddle Fitting: What to look for?

Old 11-18-16, 12:24 PM
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jazzgeek79
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Saddle Fitting: What to look for?

Hi all,

I am a clyde who mostly does in town road riding, and rides on local mups with the ocassional weekend overnight trip. The vast majority of the miles I've ridden in the last 5 years have been on a standard brooks b17. It's more or less the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden on, but its never been comfortable after two or three hours. I also have an issue with chafing at the top of my inner thighs where they meet up with my torso/groin. Kind of under my cheeks, but not quite. Last december we moved and I kind of stopped riding. I had just purchased a Selle Anatomica the kind with tru leather and no cutout. It seemed marginally better than the brooks.

I have started riding again but I have gained weight so my gut is pretty in the way. I've switched (at least for now) from a 89 schwinn Voyageur with drops to a 80 something trek 820 antelope with a old school bmxish style riser bar. I've been doing some slightly longer rides with the selle and notice that I have discomfort at the end more than pain. Sit bones seem fine more or less. Maybe a little sore but not screaming. But the soft tissue seems agrivated in a dull achey way, but no numbness.

Back when I was in better shape I had tried a brooks cambrium and an adamo century. There were things I liked about both. The cambrium felt really good for the first mile or two but then started to hurt my sit bones. The adamo definitly was a different beast. Really makes you use your abs differently. But after five or six miles it started to hurt the sits as well.

I am actually wondering If I should actually go back to one of those saddles. I started looking for a replacement for the b17 because it was becoming more deformed and less comfortable. Most of the time I was riding on it I was 295-310lbs. I'm currently sitting at 330 . I am wondering if I am overly deforming the leather saddles and putting my weight accross the soft tissues inbetween. As a result when I try a saddle that puts my (substantial) weight on my sit bones, they aren't really "broken in" and start to hurt.

Does this make sense? Should I try one of these saddles longer term, and try to slowly increase distance to see if the sit bone soreness goes away? Both the c17 and the adamo were demo's from lbs. I've also tried a few saddles with cutouts including an SMP (forgot which one) and they feel VERY uncomfortable to me. They feel like they are cutting into my soft tissue.

Any feedback is much appreciated. I don't really have the money to jump on a new saddle yet. But my wife just started a new job after being unemployed for a while so maybe soon.
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Old 11-18-16, 01:28 PM
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The more upright you sit, the wider the saddle you can usually handle (need?). The wider you are, the wider the saddle you can usually handle (need?). The Brooks line are not considered wide saddles especially, but they are kind of wide for riders that are on drops. For Clydes using a fairly upright stance... well I have no actual experience, but I think I would be looking for something marketed as a "comfort" saddle. Good news, they are usually at the lower price points of the spectrum. The Bontrager Comfort Saddles that come stock on their City type bikes are a good place to start exploring.
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Old 11-18-16, 05:28 PM
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Now there is a C 19, a wider sit up more version of the popular canvas topped Rubber C17.

Plus.. You can always Put a Gel saddle pad over it..
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Old 11-19-16, 12:01 PM
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The people over on the clyde sub-forum may have the best take on saddles for hefty humans so I'd ask there as well. There may be a saddle, among the hundreds available, that you will be totally satisfied with but it is not possible to try them all. My own approach is to identify the type that seems to provide some comfort and then to try as many of those as I can afford.

A second issue is to ride frequently so that the sat upon area becomes accustomed sitting on a bike saddle. Your own comment that you've not ridden much lately certainly effects your comfort. Lastly, being a clyde does nothing for your comfort on a bike so begin eating lots of veggies until you are no longer a clyde. It really is worth the effort.
Good luck Jazzgeek
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Old 11-19-16, 03:51 PM
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Just to clarify. I am not looking for recommendations for specific models as I have read a lot of saddle threads on this site and 'you have to try for yourself, it is too personal for someone on the internet to be able to tell you' seems to be a very common response. If you think you know of a saddle that I have to try based on my original post then by all means I'd love to know about it. But, what I am hoping to get from this thread, and the reason I posted in this forum (rather than the clyde forum), is to see if my approach to auditioning saddles in the past was wrong. I've avoided saddles that hurt my sit bones. Is that a mistake?

Last edited by jazzgeek79; 11-19-16 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Forgot to include all content
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Old 11-20-16, 03:06 PM
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As I've mentioned on previous posts, I customize my saddles in various ways. I've had saddles that hurt my sitbones due to too much padding. I've drilled small holes from the bottom and pulled out some padding to increase comfort. I'm not sure why this works. I just know that it does for me. I also need a saddle that is very narrow in the nose area immediately in front of the sitbones. This I've discovered by experiencing great discomfort on the inner thighs at the point where they contact the saddle.

My old saddle came to the end of it's useful life. The replacement has been undergoing modifications and is now quite comfortable most of the time. In the last month I've been packing up and moving leaving little time to ride. I could feel the lost of comfort after about 10 miles due to not riding much. There is no substitute for miles on the bike.
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Old 11-21-16, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jazzgeek79 View Post
Just to clarify. I am not looking for recommendations for specific models as I have read a lot of saddle threads on this site and 'you have to try for yourself, it is too personal for someone on the internet to be able to tell you' seems to be a very common response. If you think you know of a saddle that I have to try based on my original post then by all means I'd love to know about it. But, what I am hoping to get from this thread, and the reason I posted in this forum (rather than the clyde forum), is to see if my approach to auditioning saddles in the past was wrong. I've avoided saddles that hurt my sit bones. Is that a mistake?
Probably it is a mistake. However, a too narrow saddle will definitely cause sit bone pain that never goes away. OTOH I don't know of a documented connection with being overweight and having wide sit bone spacing.

The best way to make sure you are using a saddle with the correct width for you it to go to a bike shop and get your sit bone width measured. If one bike shop can't do it, try another. Most shops offer this free service now.

The best way to reduce sit bone pain is to ride frequently. Start with 1/2 hour every day and gradually work up to longer durations after you stop getting any pain at 1/2 hour, or if you have no pain at 1/2 hour, ride a little longer. Don't go out once a week and ride for 3 hours. That's a sure recipe for sit bone pain.
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Old 01-04-17, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Probably it is a mistake. However, a too narrow saddle will definitely cause sit bone pain that never goes away. OTOH I don't know of a documented connection with being overweight and having wide sit bone spacing.

The best way to make sure you are using a saddle with the correct width for you it to go to a bike shop and get your sit bone width measured. If one bike shop can't do it, try another. Most shops offer this free service now.

The best way to reduce sit bone pain is to ride frequently. Start with 1/2 hour every day and gradually work up to longer durations after you stop getting any pain at 1/2 hour, or if you have no pain at 1/2 hour, ride a little longer. Don't go out once a week and ride for 3 hours. That's a sure recipe for sit bone pain.

I agree with this ^. While I think the shape is important, definitely getting accustomed to the riding position in a consistent manner helps alleviate sit bone pain.
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Old 01-04-17, 01:30 PM
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there is No Padding on the leather saddles like Brooks , that so many Cyclists Love its a combination of the saddle forming to your sit bones
and Your tush toughening up where you contact the saddle .. standing up on the pedals occasionally gives your back side a break..


My weight Jumped up after I hit 45, but I Kept riding the same Brooks I bought in 1975.. My Hips did not change , just the Padding, Of Me..

as I changed the riding posture more upright and I moved to where it was Wet a Lot I changed my saddle ,
to something more deluge survivable, Pleather over dense foam.



Immediate comfort ? what is often recommended is a Recumbent , a Lawn Chair on wheels .. ..



...

Last edited by fietsbob; 01-04-17 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 01-18-17, 10:38 AM
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Based on my experience with a Brooks saddle, it's pretty clear to me that your butt needs constant riding to develop a toughness/become less sensitive to the saddle. I'm certain my butt did more breaking in than my Brooks did - but now I absolutely love it. The only other saddle I used that was truly comfortable was a "Becoz" saddle which comes in various widths and has just the right amount of padding for support but not squishing. Highly recommend wearing padded shorts until you reach the "break in" point.
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