Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

Berthoud saddle starts to hurt after about 25 miles

Notices
Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and donít know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. Itís more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, youíll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here yaí goÖ..the location for everything fit related.

Berthoud saddle starts to hurt after about 25 miles

Old 11-11-23, 11:53 AM
  #1  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
Berthoud saddle starts to hurt after about 25 miles

I've had a Berthoud Aspin saddle for about 4 years. It looks like this:



I use either it or my B17 (a slightly fancy one with copper rivets that I have had for about 10 years). Both have thousands of miles on them, so I assume they are broken in, whatever that actually means.

In general, my B17 is quite comfortable, but the Berthoud's form-factor, which is slightly narrower, actually feels better, until about mile 25 (with hard climbing. On a flatter ride, 50 miles is still ok.) My left leg and hip start to hurt.

I do get a somewhat similar sensation from the Brooks, but less pronounced. My hope was that the "open" version of the saddle would help, but I worry it (or something else) has the opposite effect.

The pain, BTW, isn't bruising or anything that persists in the sense that if I stop and get off the bike for a few minutes, it dissipates. But it returns when I get back on within 15 min or so, depending on the climb.

I hate to give up on this thing if there is a simple tweak that might help.

Any suggestions, especially if you have experience with a Berthoud?

It might be simplest to relegate the Berthoud saddle to a commuter bike, where most rides would be under 20 miles each way, but if I could make this work, I would prefer to keep it on my main ride (a steel "all-road"/gravel-ish road bike).

Last edited by Polaris OBark; 11-11-23 at 12:06 PM.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-11-23, 12:14 PM
  #2  
working on my sandal tan
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 22,577

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers), All-City Space Horse (hers)

Mentioned: 98 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3856 Post(s)
Liked 2,526 Times in 1,555 Posts
Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
My left leg and hip start to hurt. I do get a somewhat similar sensation from the Brooks, but less pronounced.
Same thing happens (or at least, did) to me. I assume some kind of asymmetry causes more pressure to be placed on the nerves/circulation on one side. Pointing the nose of the saddle slightly to the left moved that contact point slightly to the rear and almost completely eliminated the ache.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Likes For ThermionicScott:
Old 11-11-23, 12:21 PM
  #3  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Same thing happens (or at least, did) to me. I assume some kind of asymmetry causes more pressure to be placed on the nerves/circulation on one side. Pointing the nose of the saddle slightly to the left moved that contact point slightly to the rear and almost completely eliminated the ache.
Thanks! I will try that immediately. I really appreciate this kind of advice.

So just to be clear, your ache was on the left side? Wouldn't pointing the nose to the left move the contact point forward?
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-11-23, 12:43 PM
  #4  
working on my sandal tan
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 22,577

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers), All-City Space Horse (hers)

Mentioned: 98 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3856 Post(s)
Liked 2,526 Times in 1,555 Posts
I'm watching the 4-year-old at the moment, will try to find a way to illustrate it in a bit...
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Likes For ThermionicScott:
Old 11-11-23, 01:44 PM
  #5  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
No worries. I have pointed it to the left about 2į and will give it a try.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-11-23, 07:25 PM
  #6  
working on my sandal tan
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 22,577

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers), All-City Space Horse (hers)

Mentioned: 98 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3856 Post(s)
Liked 2,526 Times in 1,555 Posts
Okay, I've had a few hours, but I'm still not sure I know a clear way to illustrate it, since it's such a subtle change. I figure the saddle is partly blocking circulation by chafing my inner thigh, spot marked in green. When you point the nose to the left, you rotate the whole saddle counterclockwise. That means the left sitbone hits the saddle a little further forward, giving that thigh a little more clearance.


I dunno, I'll keep working on my story. I just know this really helped me, starting at least 10 years and many thousands of miles ago.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Likes For ThermionicScott:
Old 11-11-23, 08:13 PM
  #7  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
I didn't get a chance to try it today, but it is ready to go. Thanks for posting the images. I didn't mean to distract you from something much more important. Enjoy their evanescent childhood while you can.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Likes For Polaris OBark:
Old 11-11-23, 10:58 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 12,430

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 121 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4478 Post(s)
Liked 3,559 Times in 2,313 Posts
My routine for both saddles and handlebars is to go for rides carrying all the wrenches (usually for just bars or just seat). Stop and tweak as needed. For seats, I love the 2 bolt seatposts because they make it easy to do documented small changes that are easy to reverse exactly. I mark the location of the rails in the clamp and seat height with pieces of tape. Keep track of 1/8ths of turns of the front seat clamp bolt. (Stop, loosen rear bolt, tweak front bolt, re-tighten rear.)

Seat tilt, height and angle can all make a difference. I set my seat noses about a half cm to the left on all my bikes. Have the noses down but by different amounts.

I'm guessing your issue is an impinged either blood vessel or nerve. It may be that just a slight tweak will relieve it completely.
79pmooney is offline  
Likes For 79pmooney:
Old 11-12-23, 07:30 AM
  #9  
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24,080
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 3,410 Times in 2,337 Posts
I have never ridden with either saddle, but I think my brooks pro was more like a Berthoud than a B17. Usually people ride with the nose of a B17 pointed up. A pro is meant to be ridden flat, and I expect a Berthoud is the same way.

I got indentations in my Brooks that revealed a leg length discrepancy. Which makes sense given the knee problems I have had. It's really not bad enough to do anything about. The saddle was never comfortable, got a ridge down the middle. So I stopped riding it. I have thought about re-forming it and trying again.
unterhausen is offline  
Likes For unterhausen:
Old 11-12-23, 10:48 AM
  #10  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
Originally Posted by unterhausen
I have never ridden with either saddle, but I think my brooks pro was more like a Berthoud than a B17. Usually people ride with the nose of a B17 pointed up. A pro is meant to be ridden flat, and I expect a Berthoud is the same way.

I got indentations in my Brooks that revealed a leg length discrepancy. Which makes sense given the knee problems I have had. It's really not bad enough to do anything about. The saddle was never comfortable, got a ridge down the middle. So I stopped riding it. I have thought about re-forming it and trying again.
Just out of pure curiosity, what saddle works best for you?

I worry I don't have enough years left in my life to break in another leather saddle.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-12-23, 12:11 PM
  #11  
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24,080
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 3,410 Times in 2,337 Posts
Leather saddles break in pretty quickly. After that they start breaking down.

I have Fizik Aliante saddles on all my bikes, even my fatbike. Lots of people say it's the saddle to go to if you are used to a B17. Same company too.
unterhausen is offline  
Likes For unterhausen:
Old 11-13-23, 09:24 AM
  #12  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
Yeah, maybe mine is just starting to break down. A more likely explanation is that I am.

The nose 2į rotation has at least made the ache symmetric. It still hurt on the 17-21% grade, but seemed to recover more quickly.

(I did try the Fizik Aliante saddle a few years ago, and couldn't tolerate it at all. Maybe it was all of the spurious punctuation.)

Last edited by Polaris OBark; 11-13-23 at 09:43 AM.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-13-23, 10:29 AM
  #13  
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 24,080
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 3,410 Times in 2,337 Posts
Actually, they changed the Aliante design about 5 years ago, and the newer ones don't work as well for me. Forgot about that. There is one that's more similar to the old design, I'm thinking it's the one for endurance.
unterhausen is offline  
Likes For unterhausen:
Old 11-13-23, 09:24 PM
  #14  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
I bought the carbon fiber 3D printed one, thinking that might be the ultimate answer. Thankfully I was extremely careful with the packaging and put electrical tape on the rails, so I was able to send it back.

My wife is about to get a hip replacement, so maybe this is all psycho-somatic.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-14-23, 01:29 PM
  #15  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 78 Posts
Originally Posted by unterhausen
Leather saddles break in pretty quickly. After that they start breaking down.

I have Fizik Aliante saddles on all my bikes, even my fatbike. Lots of people say it's the saddle to go to if you are used to a B17. Same company too.
I have several Brooks seats (saddles as they like them to be called) for at least 3 decades. I do ride bicycles a fair bit (at least about 2,000 miles a year or more) so it wouldn’t be a wrong assumption that they are broken-in. So far none of my seats have stated to break down but I do periodically condition them with saddle wax (not using the shoe polish sized tiny pack for $15 possibly more now, but the one that is used by horse owners for their saddles - you can buy a quart of it for about the same price and it will outlast your children &#128521.
Alan K is online now  
Likes For Alan K:
Old 11-14-23, 01:52 PM
  #16  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 78 Posts
To the original poster:
If you have not already tried this by now, you may want to try changing the position of your seat from horizontal (or whichever way you have it now) to tipping it forward - lowering the nose the smallest unit, one at a time, your adjustment permits. While climbing, your your posture tends to change slightly such that the nose may be pushing harder on the area affecting blood flow and nerves. The steeper the climb, the more pronounced the shift of forces. I think that you will find a suitable position where you will be able ride comfortably, as I did.

Of course, there is no quick fix for overall soreness after a 50+ miles ride… a warm shower and good sleep helps and you are ready for another ride! 😉
Alan K is online now  
Likes For Alan K:
Old 11-15-23, 01:03 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Road Fan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 16,768

Bikes: 1980 Masi, 1984 Mondonico, 1984 Trek 610, 1980 Woodrup Giro, 2005 Mondonico Futura Leggera ELOS, 1967 PX10E, 1971 Peugeot UO-8

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1809 Post(s)
Liked 633 Times in 480 Posts
I don't generally agree that leather saddles break in quickly, but that's really just a side note. So Polar, Thermionic, and I have had saddle pains focused on the sitbone of one of our two sides - for me it's usually right, but for Polar and Therm it seems to be pain on the left.

I usually first lower the saddle nose about 1/16" to reduce pressure in front of the sitbones a little, and then ride. If it doesn't help, raise it 1/16 back to "normal," and then raise it another 1/16. Ride it again, and see - this might make you slide your butt back a little. If none of this helps, adjust the saddle nose back down to "normal."

Then try loosening the seat post just a little and move the nose of the saddle to the right about 1/16", by hitting it gently with a few short strokes of a hammer buffered by a bit of bath towel. Rotating the nose to the right also rotates the wide part at the right in the backwards direction. In my opinion this adjustment reduces pressure of the saddle leather on the right-hand sit bone or the right-hand groin, also helping to reduce a possible pinch.

I've often found, as well, that a 1/16" adjustment might be too much, due to creating too much new pressure on the sit bone or the groin. YMMV.
Road Fan is offline  
Likes For Road Fan:
Old 11-16-23, 10:10 PM
  #18  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Location: New England
Posts: 14

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Comp, 1990 Trek 750 Multi-Track

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by unterhausen
Leather saddles break in pretty quickly. After that they start breaking down.

I have Fizik Aliante saddles on all my bikes, even my fatbike. Lots of people say it's the saddle to go to if you are used to a B17. Same company too.
You really think they break in quickly? I was gifted a Brooks B17 last Christmas. I installed it on my touring bike with the intent to break it in on my trainer over the winter. Things seemed to be going well. I ended up nosing up the seat about 5 degrees to keep from sliding around on the saddle. Come spring when I had the bike on the road I started having inner thigh discomfort on rides over 30 miles. I figured I hadnít broken it in yet. Iím relatively small at 145 lbs and 5í7Ē, so thought it might take longer to break it in. For longer multi day rides I have been switching out the saddles with my road bike, which I can ride on all day in complete comfort. If the B17 doesnít break in soon or improve in comfort Iíll probably end up regifting. A shame, because it looks sweet on my touring bike.
RJfos is offline  
Likes For RJfos:
Old 11-17-23, 10:00 AM
  #19  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 78 Posts
Originally Posted by RJfos
You really think they break in quickly? I was gifted a Brooks B17 last Christmas. I installed it on my touring bike with the intent to break it in on my trainer over the winter. Things seemed to be going well. I ended up nosing up the seat about 5 degrees to keep from sliding around on the saddle. Come spring when I had the bike on the road I started having inner thigh discomfort on rides over 30 miles. I figured I hadnít broken it in yet. Iím relatively small at 145 lbs and 5í7Ē, so thought it might take longer to break it in. For longer multi day rides I have been switching out the saddles with my road bike, which I can ride on all day in complete comfort. If the B17 doesnít break in soon or improve in comfort Iíll probably end up regifting. A shame, because it looks sweet on my touring bike.
Brooks saddles do take longer time for break-in (and that is riding time, not just calendar based time). The saddle I used the most, started feeling comfortable after about 3-4,000 miles (about a year) and it still is after more than 15,000 miles (an approximate estimate). On the other hand, Selle Italia X felt comfortable much sooner so you may want to try that. They are sold in multiple versions, based on the maximum body weight. The medium weight version was suitable for me, and seeing your weight, it will be for you as well.
Alan K is online now  
Likes For Alan K:
Old 11-17-23, 12:18 PM
  #20  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Location: New England
Posts: 14

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Comp, 1990 Trek 750 Multi-Track

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 9 Posts
I appreciate the input. I will probably give the B17 some more time but I'll definitely look into the Selle Italia X saddles. I'm actually more of a runner then a cyclist with about 1,500 miles per year in both disciplines. A lot more time in the running shoes than on the saddle. Thanks.
RJfos is offline  
Old 11-17-23, 12:57 PM
  #21  
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 329
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 135 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 78 Posts
Originally Posted by RJfos
I appreciate the input. I will probably give the B17 some more time but I'll definitely look into the Selle Italia X saddles. I'm actually more of a runner than in namea cyclist with about 1,500 miles per year in both disciplines. A lot more time in the running shoes than on the saddle. Thanks.
Correction in name: Selle Anatomica X

Running/jogging didnít work for me in my younger days. My knees would start hurting after a few miles. Thatís when I started swimming. A combination of swimming and bicycling has proven quite satisfactory for me.

Whatever one chooses to do, ignoring pain is never a good ideaÖ with sensible care, what nature has provided, we can make it last a century. 😉
Alan K is online now  
Old 11-18-23, 11:54 PM
  #22  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
Selle Anatomica saddles are great. My only gripe is the edge irritates my legs, but I am a little bit reluctant to cut the leather and mess it up.

I moved the Selle Anatomica offa the bika on the traina and put on an Ergon Gravel saddle to try it out. I only did about ten indoor miles, but I am having trouble walking tonight. I nosed it to the left a little after a few miles, and that helped a bit, but fundamentally, I am better off with the Selle Anatomica, Brooks or Berthoud. I think my sorry arse needs a leather saddle.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-20-23, 01:44 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
squirtdad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: San Jose (Willow Glen) Ca
Posts: 9,669

Bikes: Kirk Custom JK Special, '84 Team Miyata,(dura ace old school) 80?? SR Semi-Pro 600 Arabesque

Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2209 Post(s)
Liked 2,567 Times in 1,406 Posts
Bearing in mind that saddles are very individual, here are my experiences

Brooks B17 use it on my upright utility/commuter bike with nose slightly up. I don't like th B17 for long rides

Brooks Swift was my go to for road bike and longer rides for a long time....still have it on my cino miyata

I love the the Berthoud solour which has replaced the swift

I ride both the swift and Solour with the nose tilted ever so slightly down

both the swift and the solour are narrower than the B17 and neither are cut out (tried a b17 narrow with cutout and it did not wokr)

my experience is that a leather saddle shoud be comfortable first ride, if not it won't work you can't break it in to be comfortable

so saddle tilt and noted earlier or maybe a narrower saddle?

__________________
Life is too short not to ride the best bike you have, as much as you can
(looking for Torpado Super light frame/fork or for Raleigh International frame fork 58cm)



squirtdad is offline  
Likes For squirtdad:
Old 11-20-23, 03:09 PM
  #24  
ignominious poltroon
Thread Starter
 
Polaris OBark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 3,598
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2020 Post(s)
Liked 3,040 Times in 1,598 Posts
Is the Berthoud solour narrower than the Aspen?

I wonder if getting the cut-out was a mistake? I got it mainly because the Selle Anatomica has a similar one, and it seemed like a good idea. (I don't have pudendal nerve issues unless I ride a hideous gooshy gel saddle.)

I put the Aspen cutout back on my bike (again) about a year ago, and only recently it is starting to bother me, which makes me worry that it is more me than the saddle.
Polaris OBark is offline  
Old 11-21-23, 01:49 PM
  #25  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Location: New England
Posts: 14

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Comp, 1990 Trek 750 Multi-Track

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 9 Posts
I think you have a point with my B17 saddle width and if it's not initially comfortable I probably won't be able fix it by breaking it in. My pedaling is much more knees-in vs knees-out. My sit bones are fine, but my inner thighs have noticeable contact with the sides of the saddle on the down stroke. I'm okay for the first 20-25 miles, but thereafter the contact starts becoming noticeable and eventually painful. My road bike saddle is a non-leather narrow saddle (143mm width) that tapers quickly from back to front. There is no noticeable inner thigh contact with the saddle, thus I'm able to ride this saddle comfortably all day. I just recently swapped this saddle onto my touring bike for a multi-day 400 mile ride. No pain, including one day riding w/o padded shorts.
RJfos is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.