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Selle SMP Saddles

Old 01-22-17, 06:15 PM
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Selle SMP Saddles

I'm looking at a couple of different Selle SMP saddles, more specifically the Pro and the Hell/Well models primarily. I currently have a TRK which just replaced a Selle Italia man flow gel saddle that I bought last year and wore a hole through the leather on one side of the nose of it. It was ruining my cycling shorts so I had to get something quickly...so went with their least expensive saddle, the TRK.

I like it for the most part after doing a lot of tweaking and adjustments. The only complaint I have is a rubbing/chafing issue in my groin area at the very top of my legs. Best way to describe it is it feels like tendons that tighten up on every pedal stroke in my groin area....they end up rubbing the side of the saddle. If it wasn't such a gradual taper from the back to the nose of the saddle then I don't think this would be an issue. I'm sure all the padding on the TRK doesn't help either.

So enter the Pro or the lesser expensive Hell/Well. It appears that these saddles don't have such a gradual taper like the TRK does, along with not as much padding. So I'm wondering if these might be better options for me, and I'm wondering if people who use these saddles might agree with me here. I'm thinking I need to stick with SMP's wider saddles as I have fairly wide sit bones and these two look to be some of the wider offerings that Selle SMP has.

I'm definitely open to suggestions here, but I'm pretty sure that Selle SMP is the route I want to go from here on out due to the dramatic reduction in perennial pressure that I've experienced so far with the TRK. I like it a decent bit, but I'm wondering if I might benefit more from one of Selle SMP's other saddles.
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Old 01-22-17, 06:24 PM
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A few years ago I bought a Selle SMP Glider for my touring/winter bike, just based on the praise coming from an owner of one who I met on a ride.

I'm happy with it, but to tell the truth I'm even happier with the Selle Italia Flite 1990 I have on two of my other bikes. Now I've spent the last 20 years riding mostly the SI Flite 1990, so it might be that my backside has just adapted to it really well.
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Old 01-22-17, 07:45 PM
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When I bought the Selle Italia man flow gel last year I also tried out the Flite as well and didn't like it as much as the flow gel I ended up getting. I'm also questioning the choice in materials that Selle Italia uses. Granted I ride a lot, but to wear a hole through the outer cover in less than a year seems to be a bit premature. It did help with the perennial pressure some as compared to the Prologo saddle that came with my bike, but it ended up still having the same pain issues just to a lesser extent. Which is the main reason I'm looking at Selle SMP right now.
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Old 01-22-17, 07:53 PM
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In general:

SMPs like many saddle are very susceptible to tilt adjustments....but unlike other saddles where you slide off the front (nose low) or get numbness (nose high) the SMP due to its swoopiness (is that a thing?) can do other things. Also due to the top swoop, fore/aft can change things quite a bit. Ofc the swoopiness alters saddle height depending on how far forward/back you sit on it. 2-bolt seatposts are wonderful things, LOL.


Takes a while to dial in right. I loved my SMP Composit (no padding), up until a Dam Road that had terrible expansion joints every 10m for about 30km. Oouch. Went to a SMP Hell and enjoyed it since.
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Old 01-22-17, 07:58 PM
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How is the padding on the Hell? Really firm or is there some give to it? I'm not sure if I want a really firm saddle or one with softer padding. I keep reading how a softer padding can actually be more uncomfortable in the long run.

Do you spend much time on a trainer with the Hell? If so, how does it hold up after an hour or two on the trainer? Most of my riding anymore is in Zwift...so I'm hoping that whatever I end up using will be comfortable for long sessions on the trainer.
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Old 01-22-17, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by largefarva
How is the padding on the Hell? Really firm or is there some give to it? I'm not sure if I want a really firm saddle or one with softer padding. I keep reading how a softer padding can actually be more uncomfortable in the long run.

Do you spend much time on a trainer with the Hell? If so, how does it hold up after an hour or two on the trainer? Most of my riding anymore is in Zwift...so I'm hoping that whatever I end up using will be comfortable for long sessions on the trainer.
The Hell ("Well" I think is the same design...just with a less ironic name), I have a bit over 9,000km ridden on it (props to Strava's equipment page) about a year of riding with rollers and road. Hell I'd class as fairly firm, Composit is literally as hard as a rock....Composit I'm actually going to re-cover with some thicker leather (Had that saddle for 10 years almost in all kinds of weather-and it looks like it), the retail covering is paper thin so you really are riding on a plastic shell basically. Both are picky about setup, too much tilt can raise your effective seat height or vice versa.

"Hell" is far more forgiving with bad roads than Composit--AKA "roads" in the Great Plains USA.


That Dam Road seriously left my with a bruised backside, the ka-THUNKs were so bad. Was lucky to finish that tour.
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Old 01-22-17, 08:26 PM
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The Well is the same thing as the Hell from what I've read. It appears that mid-2016 Selle SMP changed the name to Well to be more PC or something to that effect. I'm very tempted to order the Well from nashbar due to their outstanding return policy, but I'm giving it a pause to see if maybe another option might be better for me. Hence why i'm also inquiring about the Pro as well (no pun intended). I wish that Performance carried the Well since there's quite a few stores in my area (Chicagoland) because then I could check it out along with a Pro at the same time.
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Old 01-22-17, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by largefarva
The Well is the same thing as the Hell from what I've read. It appears that mid-2016 Selle SMP changed the name to Well to be more PC or something to that effect. I'm very tempted to order the Well from nashbar due to their outstanding return policy, but I'm giving it a pause to see if maybe another option might be better for me. Hence why i'm also inquiring about the Pro as well (no pun intended). I wish that Performance carried the Well since there's quite a few stores in my area (Chicagoland) because then I could check it out along with a Pro at the same time.
Odd it would be like that since Performance and Nashbar are the same people just a different name.

Only reason I ever got my faithful Composit was because I couldn't afford it retail and Performance had the blue composit for $75USD. It has long since ceased being blue, and the cover has a hole in it or two. Building a gravel bike this spring and I think I can spray-adhesive a thicker new leather on and it'll work (epoxy and the edges maybe. Worst comes to worse it goes in the bin.
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Old 01-22-17, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by largefarva
I like it a decent bit, but I'm wondering if I might benefit more from one of Selle SMP's other saddles.
Be careful selecting the Pro, the 'taper' as you call it very aggressive. I ride it for MTB, but I can't tolerate more than a few hours on it for the road. It rides like a much smaller saddle on the road. The Glider has a flatter top, rides like a somewhat larger saddle on a road bike. Definitely feels wider than an Extra, which is the same width. But if you need a wide saddle, none of aforementioned works.
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Old 01-22-17, 08:59 PM
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everyone wants to give advice, but nobody asks questions? seems suspect to me.

anyway, what saddles, what bike? crank length? frame dimensions? body dimensions? long lower leg? knee pain? pain where? no, EXACTLY WHERE?! the internet is bad for this . . . apply your brain or pay someone, this is not something at which we can reliably guess.
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Old 01-23-17, 04:07 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit
Be careful selecting the Pro, the 'taper' as you call it very aggressive. I ride it for MTB, but I can't tolerate more than a few hours on it for the road. It rides like a much smaller saddle on the road. The Glider has a flatter top, rides like a somewhat larger saddle on a road bike. Definitely feels wider than an Extra, which is the same width. But if you need a wide saddle, none of aforementioned works.
I'll have to keep that in mind, but it does appear that the Glider is 12mm narrower than the Pro.

Btw the taper I'm talking about is when viewed from directly above the saddle going from the rear of the saddle where your sit bones would sit towards the nose. The TRK narrows a lot less gradual as compared to other saddles and it's in that area of the gradual narrowing where I'm experiencing the rubbing. Just in case I didn't describe it well enough.
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Old 01-23-17, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ypsetihw
everyone wants to give advice, but nobody asks questions? seems suspect to me.

anyway, what saddles, what bike? crank length? frame dimensions? body dimensions? long lower leg? knee pain? pain where? no, EXACTLY WHERE?! the internet is bad for this . . . apply your brain or pay someone, this is not something at which we can reliably guess.
Just looking for suggestions and people's opinions who own the saddles in discussion.
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Old 01-23-17, 08:01 AM
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I've ridden multiple SMP saddles and currently use both the Glider and the Evolution. I have medium wide sit bones so I may not have the same preference as you but I do understand what you are saying about the chafing as I experienced it with the TRK as well. I am using the Glider right now on my trainer and have had good luck. One common criticism of the SMP saddles is that they have a sweet spot for your backside and changing positions is less comfortable but to me I don't feel like I need to change positions as much as I did with my other brand saddles (Specialized, Fabric, etc). As previously mentioned it is tricky to find that perfect position for the SMP's but I have found it's pretty obvious once you have it right. SMP's aren't the lightest or the best looking saddles but for me they are the most comfortable.

When I went with the Glider for the first time I was able to try it from my LBS, is that an option for you? There aren't a lot of differences between the Pro, Avant, and the Plus but it seems like the Well is a lower level spec.

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Old 01-23-17, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by largefarva
Just looking for suggestions and people's opinions who own the saddles in discussion.


With the reference to 'taper' I was referring to what Steve Hogg discusses as 'tumblehome', the arch of the curve along the width of the saddle. Anyway, if you haven't read his discussion of the different fit of SMP saddles I think you will be pleased with how comprehensively he discussed the fit of each of these saddles (reviews toward the bottom of his article).


https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...ll-about-smps/
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Old 01-23-17, 04:56 PM
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I have read through that discussion a couple times over this past weekend while doing research on the SMP product line. I kind of figured that's what you where referring to when you replied about the taper topic I was talking about. Hence why I described it in a little more detail.

After reading through the article again and comparing pictures and whatnot I'm wondering if the Hell and Glider might be more similar to each other rather than the Pro. I'm intrigued to say the least, especially since Steve Hogg described it as being for endurance riders.

But Nashbar is really tempting me today with their 23% off sale for today only. If the boss (wife) gives the go ahead I'm going to go ahead and order a Well and see how it feels. Otherwise I plan on calling my LBS tomorrow to see if they have any SMP demo saddles I can try out.
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Old 01-23-17, 06:19 PM
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In my case I found the Pro to be a touch too wide. The Glider was my favorite and then the Evolution. I have had the Glider the longest and it now needs to be recovered or tossed. Thinking of taking it to an upholstery shop because a shoe store only lasted a year.

I am only discussing the SMPs because that is what you referenced. I like it because I can put in on the bike or even a new bike and start out almost perfectly flat with a level and it works. Sometimes I have to tweak is a degree nose down but that is about it. I have about four saddles I like and the SMP is number one on a drop bar road bike. But my problem has never been sit bones but rather perineum relief. Plus the SMP Strike saddles force a pelvic tilt for those of us who get lazy working on our core.
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Old 01-28-17, 01:09 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions on the Glider. I'm putting it on my short list for sure. Eventually I'll likely move onto one of SMP's premium saddles but I'm thinking I want to try out the Well/Hell first to make sure it's a good fit.

I've done some more tweaking to the TRK I have now and it feels pretty good for the most part, except that I think it's just a bit too wide and is causing chafing issues for me. What I've found to be the best for me so far is to bring it back up to level and just slide a bit further back on the saddle. Perennial pressure is just about non existent but the chafing is worse when doing this. But I like the fact that I can rotate my pelvis forward and not have perennial pain with this saddle, unlike any other saddle that I've tried in the past.
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Old 02-18-17, 03:14 PM
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Small update on this thread....I tried the Well and thankfully I got it from Nashbar a few weeks ago because it's already been refunded. It was terrible for me, it did minimize the chafing I was having as compared to the TRK but the sit bone pain was unbearable. It lasted I think 4 or 5 days (I do two rides a day btw) before I put the TRK back on and placed an order for the SMP Extra Gel from Nashbar.

I've had the Extra Gel on my bike a little over a week and have been making small adjustments to it, and it's working ok so far. I do have a little bit of perennial pressure that I don't really like too much and the chafing is similar to what I experienced with the Well....as it should since it's basically the same shape as the Well as viewed from directly above the saddle. Sit bone pain isn't anywhere near what I experienced with the Well either. It takes until about an hour or so before things start to feel like the saddle is too firm but that is nothing compared to how the Well felt. The last ride I did with the Well I was feeling it within 15 minutes and had to change it out mid-ride at around 50 minutes back over to the TRK.

I'm hoping that with a comprehensive bike fit that things will get dialed in and the saddle will become more comfortable still. I have a fitting scheduled for the 28th at my LBS. I plan on discussing this saddle and others during that time. It's unfortunate that they only have a few SMP's that I can demo there (Drakon, Stratos, and Pro) because I do like the huge cutout in the SMP's. Personally I believe that I would be really happy with the Extra Gel if it had a wider cutout....but the extra padding seems to narrow it a good amount.

Another saddle from a different brand that I have on my radar is the Cobb Randee.....but my biggest concern with that one would be since it's so wide in the front that I would have chafing issues. The cutout on that one looks nice and wide but I'm not so sure if it's going to be too wide overall to be comfortable.
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Old 02-19-17, 04:07 PM
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I'm not sure I understand how sit-bones - ischial tuberosities - are involved in riding an SMP. They're designed for riders to roll their pelvises forward. The SMP provides some support for buttocks, but most of the rider's weight is meant to be on the pubic rami. Check the US patent application for illustrations - sorry, I know it was available on the web, but I can't find a link.
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Old 02-19-17, 05:32 PM
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To be honest I'm not even sure how to tell the difference in feel between the pubic rami vs. sit bones....as far as I could gather from what I read they are very close to each other anyway. All I know is that the Well felt like I was trying to ride on a saddle made of concrete and every pedal stroke I could feel my ass grinding into that thing....so uncomfortable.

On a side note though....I made a slight adjustment last night before yesterday's 2nd ride of the day and just lowered my seat post by just an 1/8th of an inch and it all but eliminated any perennial pain that I was having. I couldn't believe that lowering it would have such an effect...but it did. Reason I lowered it is because I watched a video on seat height adjustments and I was figuring that I might have to raise it some but I followed the advice in that video and realized that if anything I should lower it a bit. So I lowered it and it really helped the perennial pressure issues I was having.

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Old 02-20-17, 09:37 AM
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Do you have any idea how the Well/Hell compare to the Dynamic or other saddles in the line?

I'd like an SMP saddle for my mountain bike, and current ride a Dynamic on my road bike, but not looking to spend $230 for another one.
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Old 02-20-17, 04:30 PM
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I have the Dynamic and the Lite 209. The Lite 209 is my favorite by far of a dozen saddles tried in the last few years.
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Old 02-24-17, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by philbob57
I'm not sure I understand how sit-bones - ischial tuberosities - are involved in riding an SMP. They're designed for riders to roll their pelvises forward. The SMP provides some support for buttocks, but most of the rider's weight is meant to be on the pubic rami. Check the US patent application for illustrations - sorry, I know it was available on the web, but I can't find a link.
I recently switched to a SMP T5 as it was the only saddle that got my pelvis to roll forward. I was previously on a Fizik Arione and could never get entirely comfortable or as efficient as I am now.
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Old 04-08-17, 02:46 AM
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Avant, trk gel, extra/hybrid gel

Hey largefarva,

I was wondering what your sit bones width was?
I've had the avant but bruises my sit bones but didn't have any thigh rub. I've just bought a trk medium gel and like you finding it rubs slightly on the thighs. Did you stick with the trk or extra? And did you find the extra's cutout much smaller than the trk?
Much appreciated!
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Old 04-08-17, 05:01 PM
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My sit bones are around 130-135 mm apart. I ended up sticking with the Extra gel, it feels even better after getting a bike fit done. The cutout on it is smaller than the trk, but it's wide enough to get the job done. It's a very comfortable saddle for me. It felt pretty good before the fit, but it feels way better after. It's a keeper for me.
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