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How to find a comfortable saddle?

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How to find a comfortable saddle?

Old 05-25-17, 07:23 PM
  #1  
johngwheeler
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How to find a comfortable saddle?

I find the saddle on my Giant TCX a bit hard and uncomfortable and am considering changing it.

However, how exactly do I find out what would suit me? I could go to my LBS and sit on a few bikes, but I'm not sure how much this will tell me about long-term comfort when riding.

I have read of some "sit bone measuring" device, but have never seen one at a bike shop.

Is there any way to suggest a style of size of saddle without have a professional measurement?

Or is it just a case of trial and error?
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Old 05-25-17, 07:50 PM
  #2  
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Saddles are unique, what works for someone else may not work for you. So, it is hit and miss until you find one you like. Specialized has a sit bone measuring device so you might want to start with any LBS that carries Specialized products.
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Old 05-25-17, 08:26 PM
  #3  
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Given that you're here in Australia, I'm not sure what the shops might have to help you out in that regard.

You can try measuring your sitbone placement by stacking some towels onto a low stool and sitting on them, then checking where your sitbones are.

Or putting sand into a deep tray and sitting on that.

Might give you a rough idea.

Or you can use your current saddle ... how do you feel on it?

When I've tried saddles that are too narrow, I feel like I'm being ripped in half. It's really painful because I can only get one sitbone on the saddle and the other one falls off the side. When I've tried saddles that are too wide, there's all kinds of friction on my inner thighs.

Then there's the curve of the saddle ... I like saddles that curve up in the back a little bit. I've tried flat saddles and they just don't work for me at all. I have read that has something to do with the fact that I've got next to no hamstring flexibility, but whatever it is ... curvy is comfortable.

And then, a halfway decent shop should let you try a saddle for a week or so. A good shop will let you try it for a month or so. A really good place will let you try it for 6 months.

When I decided to venture into the world of Brooks saddles, I ordered my first from Wallingford Bicycles in the US ... they had a 6 month trial period on the saddles.
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Old 05-25-17, 08:33 PM
  #4  
SylvainG
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You can try what is said there to measure your sit bones.

How to Measure Sit Bone Width For Bicycle Saddle Selection
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Old 05-26-17, 02:34 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
I find the saddle on my Giant TCX a bit hard and uncomfortable and am considering changing it.

However, how exactly do I find out what would suit me? I could go to my LBS and sit on a few bikes, but I'm not sure how much this will tell me about long-term comfort when riding.

I have read of some "sit bone measuring" device, but have never seen one at a bike shop.

Is there any way to suggest a style of size of saddle without have a professional measurement?

Or is it just a case of trial and error?
Do any of the LBS have a loaner program? In the past, I have been able to test out different saddles before spending any $.
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Old 05-26-17, 05:16 AM
  #6  
ad18
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Another vote for talking with the shop. Mine listened to my issues and ultimately suggested a saddle that the local police force used for their bikes. Different officers used the bikes and it worked for pretty much all of them, not absolutely perfect for all, but it worked sufficiently that they did not have to swap it out each time. I bought one and it worked great for me and the type of riding I did too. They gave me the option to bring it back for full exchange if it didn't work and said it may not be the best saddle if I intended to to really long rides. Still using it today.
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Old 05-26-17, 12:56 PM
  #7  
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Unless you happen to be extremely lucky and pick a saddle off the shelf and it totally works for you, the best way to find the perfect saddle for you is to try several of them. It takes several rides to know if the saddle you are using is going to work for you, so sitting on bikes in the LBS isn't going to cut it. I would try some of the shops in your area and see if they have a loaner program. With most loaner programs, the shop will rent you a demo saddle to try out and return until you find the saddle you really want. The cost of the rental is then applied toward the cost of the saddle if you purchase it from them.

When I was looking for a new saddle, I read all the posts on this and other bike forums to see what everyone else was riding. I tried several saddles before finding the perfect one for me; including one of the most popular ones - a Brooks B17. As popular as it is, it was the worst of the bunch. For me, it took riding on 5-6 different saddles before I found the perfect saddle for me. I've been riding the same saddle on all my bikes for 4 years now and have no intentions of ever changing.

Happy saddle hunting!
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Old 05-26-17, 02:01 PM
  #8  
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Trial and error. Ride a friend's bike, ride the shop mechanics bike, ride a bike with a saddle you like. Find one you like and pull the trigger.

FWIW, I may stray and buy a fancy saddle every few years but I always come back to my Brooks Pro. Hard to break in, and lengthy, but in the long run I think you'll find a Brooks is hard to beat. And, they have a number of different styles for different folks. Brooks aren't for everyone though; as evidence in the previous post. They just don't feel comfortable for some folks.

I am taking a liking to the new Brooks C17 I bought last year though. Non-leather and is on my fixed gear bike. Looks cool and is comfy too.
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Old 05-26-17, 02:04 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by ad18 View Post
Another vote for talking with the shop. Mine listened to my issues and ultimately suggested a saddle that the local police force used for their bikes. Different officers used the bikes and it worked for pretty much all of them, not absolutely perfect for all, but it worked sufficiently that they did not have to swap it out each time. I bought one and it worked great for me and the type of riding I did too. They gave me the option to bring it back for full exchange if it didn't work and said it may not be the best saddle if I intended to to really long rides. Still using it today.
Which saddle is it?
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Old 05-26-17, 03:39 PM
  #10  
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Selle AnAtomica, NSX, for me. It was comfortable right out of the box. My Brooks B-17 really took several thousand miles to finally get really comfortable. If I had to choose one, it would be the AnAtomica - and Specialized Body Geometry Saddles are pretty good, too!
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Old 05-26-17, 04:02 PM
  #11  
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I suggest a little reading -
https://www.ismseat.com/faq/,
https://www.cervelo.com/en/engineeri...f-road-saddles
BICYCLE SADDLE - SELLE SMP S.A.S. DI MAURIZIO SCHIAVON
https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...ll-about-smps/
https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...ion-smp-seats/.

Saddle width is most meaningful for riders who sit more upright and/or who bend their backs, rather than bending at the pelvis, to reach the handlebars. If you bend forward from your pelvis, you don;t ride with a lot of weight on your ischial tuberosities. For example, one of the illustrations in Selle SMP's patent app shows where a rider should fit on the SMP saddle. It works in some ways, but places a lot of pressure on the pubic rami (as does the ISM solution).

I do not mean to imply that you should choose an ISM or Selle SMP; it's just that they provide some good documentation. Their doc, BTW, doesn't explain to me why so many people love the Brooks B17.

You'll probably still have to go through some trial and error to find what works for you.
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Old 05-26-17, 08:35 PM
  #12  
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My favorite came about accidentally, just happened to be a popular saddle on a bike I picked up cheap, almost took it off and chucked it in the parts bin without even trying it (one time being lazy actually paid off for me). I'd have never in a thousand years think to go buy one to try, especially as it is an out of production model, but everytime I see one decently priced now I snatch it up.

As costly and time consuming as it may be, I agree with those that say "trial and error". I've got a whole box of saddles that fit OK, two that are heavenly, and two that I might as well chuck in a river because they hurt to just look at.
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Old 05-28-17, 08:57 AM
  #13  
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I second the Selle Anatomica. I am on my second one now and probably will never try anything else again. You can pick up their older models and odd color leftovers for quite a discount fwiw
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Old 05-28-17, 08:59 AM
  #14  
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Try a lot of different ones.. or maybe your butt will be OK with what others like, I cannot say , for you.


Hundreds of 'what saddle?' threads , to read back through.




...
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Old 05-28-17, 09:33 AM
  #15  
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My posterior will tolerate any rock-hard saddle--even a Brooks B17. I've always been of the lycra-spandexed clan (ex-racer); but recently, since I've really gotten into fixing up and riding vintage steel bikes, I've started to FRED it up by wearing jeans, baggy shorts on rides. Well, about a week ago I came back from a long ride with saddle sores (I ride over 10K miles a year, have done this for years and have NEVER had saddle sores)! So, in my estimation, shorts that are not somewhat form-fitting, that bunch up, are a much bigger issue than the saddle itself in terms of comfort.
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