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Does a seat 'bed in'?

Old 04-19-16, 12:45 AM
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m1tch
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Does a seat 'bed in'?

Hi all,

Just got my new hybrid bike yesterday - rather exciting and I am quite impressed with it as it's fairly light weight and the build quality is good etc, anyway, it comes with a Cosine road saddle, the reviews say that it is a very comfortable saddle and good for high mileage etc. So far I have just done a few laps around the garden with the bike to check things over and this morning I ache a bit from the saddle, I am not sure if I am simply sitting on it incorrectly (still adjusting position etc) or does it bed in and become slightly softer and more pliable once used?

Just wondering on this point as if it doesn't then I might need to ditch this seat and get something else, hopefully it's either user error or it will soften up slightly.
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Old 04-19-16, 02:27 AM
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Once you find your position on the bike, which could take a while, and which includes seat height and tilt,(most would say it should be level) and fore-aft/lay back, then you can better decide if you need a different seat. They do come in different shapes and sizes which could fit your anatomy better than the stock seat. It can be a matter of hit and miss even with descriptions/reviews of the product as you have discovered, so many shops have demo seats you can try and soft gelpads to help measure your sit bones width. If there are riders out there who tell you they experience absolute zero seat discomfort, I'd be surprised. There's always some degree of discomfort IMO.
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Old 04-19-16, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by m1tch View Post
Hi all,

Just got my new hybrid bike yesterday - rather exciting and I am quite impressed with it as it's fairly light weight and the build quality is good etc, anyway, it comes with a Cosine road saddle, the reviews say that it is a very comfortable saddle and good for high mileage etc. So far I have just done a few laps around the garden with the bike to check things over and this morning I ache a bit from the saddle, I am not sure if I am simply sitting on it incorrectly (still adjusting position etc) or does it bed in and become slightly softer and more pliable once used?

Just wondering on this point as if it doesn't then I might need to ditch this seat and get something else, hopefully it's either user error or it will soften up slightly.
If it's a plastic saddle with a leather or fake leather covering ... nope. It should stay exactly like it is until it is worn out and needs to be replaced.

If it is a leather saddle like a Brooks, it will conform to your shape and become nicely comfortable.
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Old 04-19-16, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gweedo1 View Post
If there are riders out there who tell you they experience absolute zero seat discomfort, I'd be surprised.
Surprise!!

A few of us have indeed found comfort.
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Old 04-19-16, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by machka View Post
surprise!!

A few of us have indeed found comfort.
^ ^ ^ ^ agree
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Old 04-19-16, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
^ ^ ^ ^ agree
You ride a recumbent, that's cheating.
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Old 04-19-16, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
You ride a recumbent, that's cheating.
60,000 miles on a saddle.



39,000 mi on this bike.

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Last edited by 10 Wheels; 04-19-16 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 04-19-16, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
60,000 miles on a saddle.



39,000 mi on this bike.

I see.
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Old 04-19-16, 03:47 AM
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I had just shy of 50,000 very comfortable kilometres on this saddle before the bicycle and saddle were stolen at Easter in 2010. Those kilometres included one 1000K randonnee and two 1200K randonnees, and a whole bunch of 600K, 400Ks, 300Ks, 200Ks, centuries, and shorter rides ...






Happily, we recovered the bicycle 3 years later, but unfortunately the saddle had been sold, and the buyer was not willing to part with it.

Since 2010, I've divided my time between several Brooks saddles, but have been comfortable on all.
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Old 04-19-16, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by m1tch View Post
So far I have just done a few laps around the garden with the bike to check things over and this morning I ache a bit from the saddle, I am not sure if I am simply sitting on it incorrectly (still adjusting position etc) or does it bed in and become slightly softer and more pliable once used?
The seat won't change. Your body will acclimate to a small extent. I personally tend to be sensitive to the difference between saddles that are flat versus rounded over from left-to-right. What works for me is to make sure my sit bones are what are bearing my weight toward the main part of the saddle. So the saddle needs -- for me -- to be around 145 - 150 mm wide back there. If my sit bones are taking my weight and the padding is minimal and the saddle is flat, that works for me. You'll want to pay attention to your body and do some experimenting to find what works for you.

A few additional thoughts: A) Sometimes a very small, almost unseeable tilt forward or backward can make a difference. B) Thick padding like on gel saddles can work against you, because it's material that gets jammed against your perineum and cuts of blood flow. C) Don't be put off by a stock saddle that is uncomfortable. It is normal to need to try a few different sizes and shapes before settling into something that works for you.

Last edited by JonathanGennick; 04-19-16 at 03:56 AM.
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Old 04-19-16, 05:05 AM
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Thanks for the input in this, I figured that it would be set and not change over time, I have a feeling that its either the wrong size or I am just not sitting on it correctly.

Is there a guide with regards to how to set up the saddle in terms of tilt at all - I believe I have got the correct height as my legs are almost fully extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke - however any higher I can't actually get my leg over the bike saddle!

I do agree with the fact that some of the 'comfort' seat covers etc won't really work as if the seat isn't the correct size then no matter how much you try and pad it, it will still be wrong - I will try and measure the size I need - might just find I am being a newbie and not sitting on it right.
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Old 04-19-16, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by m1tch View Post
Is there a guide with regards to how to set up the saddle in terms of tilt at all
Honestly, I'm not sure whether there is a generally accepted standard. I like level. Trouble is, seats are shaped in ways that leave me wondering what level is. So I take my best shot at level to start with. Then I ride the bike. If I feel like my weight is falling forward, then I tilt the seat ever so slightly upward. And of course the reverse if I feel like I'm falling off the backside. Sometimes it's only a single turn of the adjusting screw that does the trick. I go for a test ride, carry a wrench, and stop as needed to adjust until the result feels good.
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Old 04-19-16, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Honestly, I'm not sure whether there is a generally accepted standard. I like level. Trouble is, seats are shaped in ways that leave me wondering what level is. So I take my best shot at level to start with. Then I ride the bike. If I feel like my weight is falling forward, then I tilt the seat ever so slightly upward. And of course the reverse if I feel like I'm falling off the backside. Sometimes it's only a single turn of the adjusting screw that does the trick. I go for a test ride, carry a wrench, and stop as needed to adjust until the result feels good.
Thanks for that, I will check to see what my seat is currently at, it seemed ok when I was riding it around a bit yesterday, its only today where I found that it might not be correct - will have a multi tool with me in a saddle bag so might go for a ride, see what its like then perhaps adjust it if needed at the half way point.
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Old 04-19-16, 06:06 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Gweedo1 View Post
If there are riders out there who tell you they experience absolute zero seat discomfort, I'd be surprised. There's always some degree of discomfort IMO.
I ride four different leather slung saddles - and with definitely, absolutely no discomfort of any kind. I can wear whatever I please for shorts or pants, too; appropriate for the intended ride, of course.

Padding is bad for saddles/bottoms.

OP needs to ride the bike with an eye toward proper fit adjustment and miles in the saddle as is...
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Old 04-19-16, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
You ride a recumbent, that's cheating.
If gweedo1 can't find a comfortable saddle, he is a recumbent candidate too. After 20 years of trying, the best I could find was one or two that were tolerable for 50 miles as long as it wasn't on back-to-back days.
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Old 04-19-16, 06:15 AM
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When it comes right down to it, no one should use the words saddle and comfort in the same sentence. That why us older wiser cyclist are going to bents and trikes. Pain is for fools. Pain is your body telling you that something is wrong.
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Old 04-19-16, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Surprise!!

A few of us have indeed found comfort.
I would have disagreed up to just a few months ago when I bought a new saddle. On my stock saddle, I would be ready to get off the bike at 2 hours with about the 2.5 hour point being extreme discomfort (needing to stand to relieve pressure very often and easing back down on the saddle to suffer finishing the ride and get the heck off the bike kind of discomfort.) This wasn't getting use to it, this was after having the bike and stock saddle for 2 years.

I've had the new saddle for 2 months with very little riding in. Saturday I was out for 9 hours, 5.5 hours of that being continuous riding (2.5 hours halfway for ridiculous restaurant lunch service.) I was 100% comfortable for the entire 5.5 hours in the saddle. Leaning on and fatigue in the arms for that long and the soreness in the legs the following day having doubled my previous longest ride is a different story, but being on the saddle for 65 miles was no problem whatsoever.
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Old 04-19-16, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Gweedo1 View Post
If there are riders out there who tell you they experience absolute zero seat discomfort, I'd be surprised.
1967 Brooks Professional. No discomfort, even after century rides:

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Old 04-19-16, 07:02 AM
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IME saddles do become more comfortable over time, but it's not the saddle that's changing. How I'm sitting, where I'm sitting, pedaling mechanics all play a part.

I'm fine on my unpadded carbon fiber saddle (zero discomfort for hours) but only after adjusting the level and getting used to it. I can say the same for a randomly cheap (~$12) saddle I got online, which I was tempted to throw away after the first time I used it.

Also although we're told that the chamois is just for moisture I've found that biking shorts make a saddle more comfortable especially after an hour or two. Get some biking shorts or MTB shorts if you prefer the more casual look and try that before changing saddles.

Last edited by wphamilton; 04-19-16 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 04-19-16, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Gweedo1 View Post
If there are riders out there who tell you they experience absolute zero seat discomfort, I'd be surprised. There's always some degree of discomfort IMO.
I've only had discomfort with one inexpensive saddle; the rest have been absolutely perfect and this is with over thirty years of riding. It's just a matter of getting the proper position for me which isn't difficult - saddle level, right height, and right forward/aft position. I honestly don't notice my saddle at all riding.

Most everyone I ride with feel the same.
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Old 04-19-16, 07:37 AM
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I think a little discomfort is normal in the beginning...but achy, hurts to sit pain isn't. It depends where the pain is. If it feels like you're sitting on a metal pipe, your saddle is too narrow for your geometry. I think my first bike came with a 130mm saddle, and it was absolutely so painful but I kept talking myself into it being me needing to get used to it. I finally ended up at a Specialized dealer and got my sit bones measured, and ended up with a choice between a 143 in some sizes and a 155 in other sizes...I opted for the 155 Romin Evo, which I put on EVERY bike I've ever had to this day.

I think all authorized Specialized dealers have a 30 day test ride guarantee on their saddles. I'd honestly recommend stopping at one, getting measured, and going from there. And yes, I've had a Specialized seat on my Trek and my Cannondale....I now ride a Specialized anyway.
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Old 04-19-16, 08:02 AM
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The problem with the comfort of a recumbent seat is that they are on recumbent.
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Old 04-19-16, 09:20 AM
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A little bit of soreness is normal in the beginning, it takes a bit of time for one's meat cushions right under the sitbones to become conditioned to the saddle.
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Old 04-19-16, 09:41 AM
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It's quite interesting how different riders either like or hate any given saddle. It's hard to predict!

Don't give up until you've ridden at least 3 to 4 weeks, maybe 3 or 4 rides a week. Even short rides should help you get adapted. Your butt needs to get used to sitting on a saddle. (I remember putting some foam padding on top of the saddle when I was just starting riding--that helped on the first rides.)

Saddle setup
Start with the saddle level. If it tilts forward, you have to push back against the handlebars to keep from sliding. But some saddles work best with a very slight upward tilt to the front.

To set the seatpost height, I coast along, sitting on the saddle, then see if my heel can set on the pedal without stretching. That way, when I pedal on the ball of my foot, my leg has a little bend when it reaches the bottom of the pedal stroke.
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Old 04-19-16, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
The problem with the comfort of a recumbent seat is that they are on recumbent.
Which also means you have all the other advantages of a recumbent.
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