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Selle Anatomica H2 - 500 Mile Review

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Selle Anatomica H2 - 500 Mile Review

Old 08-05-20, 07:20 PM
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Cycletography
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Selle Anatomica H2 - 500 Mile Review

After many years of skepticism and curiosity about leather saddles I purchased a Selle Anatomica H2 and a Gilles Berthoud Aravis for my brand new custom Surly Ogre. This is my 500-mile review of the H2. I absolutely love it!!!

Setup was easy. I put it atop a Promax SP-1 seatpost, which has a 20mm setback and a 2-bolt adjustment head. The angle is just slightly nose-up, and despite the setback seatpost I had to push the saddle all the way back on its rails. However, I had just enough room to get it properly positioned.

For my first ride on the H2 I planned a 50-mile route (all paved surfaces), but it was so comfortable I ended up riding 87 miles. Selle Anatomica's claims about the flex and movement is spot on even though the leather is fairly rigid. You don't really feel the movement of the leather top as you're riding. You just feel a constant and very comfortable support under your butt. As my ride progressed I never felt my sit bones or any part of my soft tissue compress against the leather top. For me, compression discomfort is very common with synthetic saddles that utilize a hard bottom shell (which is the vast majority).

I now have 500 miles on the saddle, including one century ride, and the H2 is awesome! No more chaffing, no compression discomfort, and even for long rides my need for chamois cream has been dramatically reduced.

As for the shape of the saddle, it's definitely a "hammock". It feels more like I'm "in" the saddle rather than "on" the saddle. Because of the hammock shape it's not a saddle that affords much movement, but that's not an issue for me. As long as I'm planted in the right position I don't mind being planted.

With roughly 200 miles on the saddle I did have to add tension to the tension bolt, as the leather had taken on more of a hammock-shape. After adding tension the saddle definitley felt more firm with much less of a hammock, but this translated into some testicle discomfort that lasted 20-25 miles... and then the discomfort was gone.

In the photo below I used the picnic tabletop to show the hammock shape of the saddle as well as the level of the saddle. While it is slightly nose-up it feels slightly nose-down, which I attribute to the hammock shape. Between 200 and 500 miles I've made no adjustments, but I expect I'll need to re-tension the leather top one or two more times before it stops stretching.



Based on my pre-purchase conversations with Selle Anatomica I learned their saddles are not intended for decades of use. In fact, the expected life of the leather top is only 2-3 years for someone (like me) that rides 200-300 miles per week. I was surprised and disappointed by that feedback from Selle Anatomica, but after riding the saddle I'll happily swap my leather top every 2-3 years to maintain such a high level of comfort.

I'll post a review of the Gilles Berthoud Aravis once I reach 500 miles. So far I've just done one ride on the Gilles Berthoud, but that first ride was 122 miles! Yeah baby!!!
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Old 08-05-20, 07:25 PM
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wgscott
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I have both of those, as well as a B-17, so I am interested in hearing your comparisons.

The only issue I have had with the Sella Anatomica is that the edge of the leather on mine is a bit sharp, and could benefit from being rounded off. I don't have the leather-crafting skills to do this without making a mess of it. My kid has had one for several years and it is still going strong.

As for adjustment, you use a 6mm hex wrench, which is convenient, because that slot should be about 6mm at its narrowest point, so you can measure it with your allen key.
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Old 08-05-20, 07:27 PM
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My H2 has over 11,000 miles on it, and still has most of the adjustment bolt unused. I don't think they have a definable lifespan.

I fitted an R2 on my most recent build (end of April,) currently only 1,050 miles on it.
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Old 08-05-20, 08:14 PM
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I have 1500 miles on mine and haven't needed to turn the adjustment bolt for awhile. Once I got it dialed in it is pretty comfortable.
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Old 08-06-20, 06:13 AM
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I've wondered about the performance of both of these saddles. It'll be interesting to hear how it goes with the Gilles. I just ordered my second Brooks Imperial..the first one has been very good to me.
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Old 08-06-20, 08:59 AM
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Berthoud

Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
After many years of skepticism and curiosity about leather saddles I purchased a Selle Anatomica H2 and a Gilles Berthoud Aravis for my brand new custom Surly Ogre. This is my 500-mile review of the H2. I absolutely love it!!!

Setup was easy. I put it atop a Promax SP-1 seatpost, which has a 20mm setback and a 2-bolt adjustment head. The angle is just slightly nose-up, and despite the setback seatpost I had to push the saddle all the way back on its rails. However, I had just enough room to get it properly positioned.

For my first ride on the H2 I planned a 50-mile route (all paved surfaces), but it was so comfortable I ended up riding 87 miles. Selle Anatomica's claims about the flex and movement is spot on even though the leather is fairly rigid. You don't really feel the movement of the leather top as you're riding. You just feel a constant and very comfortable support under your butt. As my ride progressed I never felt my sit bones or any part of my soft tissue compress against the leather top. For me, compression discomfort is very common with synthetic saddles that utilize a hard bottom shell (which is the vast majority).

I now have 500 miles on the saddle, including one century ride, and the H2 is awesome! No more chaffing, no compression discomfort, and even for long rides my need for chamois cream has been dramatically reduced.

As for the shape of the saddle, it's definitely a "hammock". It feels more like I'm "in" the saddle rather than "on" the saddle. Because of the hammock shape it's not a saddle that affords much movement, but that's not an issue for me. As long as I'm planted in the right position I don't mind being planted.

With roughly 200 miles on the saddle I did have to add tension to the tension bolt, as the leather had taken on more of a hammock-shape. After adding tension the saddle definitley felt more firm with much less of a hammock, but this translated into some testicle discomfort that lasted 20-25 miles... and then the discomfort was gone.

In the photo below I used the picnic tabletop to show the hammock shape of the saddle as well as the level of the saddle. While it is slightly nose-up it feels slightly nose-down, which I attribute to the hammock shape. Between 200 and 500 miles I've made no adjustments, but I expect I'll need to re-tension the leather top one or two more times before it stops stretching.



Based on my pre-purchase conversations with Selle Anatomica I learned their saddles are not intended for decades of use. In fact, the expected life of the leather top is only 2-3 years for someone (like me) that rides 200-300 miles per week. I was surprised and disappointed by that feedback from Selle Anatomica, but after riding the saddle I'll happily swap my leather top every 2-3 years to maintain such a high level of comfort.

I'll post a review of the Gilles Berthoud Aravis once I reach 500 miles. So far I've just done one ride on the Gilles Berthoud, but that first ride was 122 miles! Yeah baby!!!
I've had b-17, currently running several cambium carveds, and started out on a SA X1. I really did like the SA, though it seemed like I was frequently coming into contact with the edges of the frame as the saddle sagged, and it bled on clothing like crazy.

I'm contemplating going back to SA with the X2 series (reviews of their rubber ones didn't sound quite as wonderful as I'd hoped I would read), or one of the carved Berthouds. So, really interested to hear your review of the Berthoud too. Not sure I want to drop $300 a saddle for my entire fleet, but maybe if it were the absolute bomb....

There are some knicker options i'd like to try, but they are upfront that the abrasive nature of my current saddle (cambium) isn't compatible...and I already know that the b-17, while seemed good a few years ago, seems entirely not so any longer.
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Old 08-06-20, 03:18 PM
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On a lark, I swapped out the R2 on my SSCX for my previously-on-sabbatical H2, just to see if there's a noticeable difference in ride quality. The short answer is... absolutely. The R2 gives up quite a lot to achieve weatherproofing. As I've pretty much sworn off of rain riding (every time it rains, I either fall down, or get a tire-destroying glass cut) I'm thinking the H2 is back in service for the foreseeable future, and the R2 will go on hiatus.
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Old 08-06-20, 04:14 PM
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I have 4000 miles on my H2. It is the single best investment I have made in cycling.
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Old 08-06-20, 05:19 PM
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Funny how we are all different. I love my R2 . And no creaks in my neck anymore looking for sneaky storm clouds. Just glad many enjoying SA saddles.
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Old 08-06-20, 06:15 PM
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Absolutely love my H2. Extremely comfortable. My R2, not so much.
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