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Road saddle recommendation needed for heavy rider

Old 04-17-21, 11:32 AM
  #1  
objecttothis
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Road saddle recommendation needed for heavy rider

A number of years ago I purchased a Surface Performance RX Men's Saddle (amazon[dot]com /gp/product/B00075FG02/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) thinking, "this will be more comfortable." Man, I was wrong. After 5-6mi into a 10mi ride, my perineum is already numb and it gets incredibly sore. Without mentioning this, when I was at the bike mechanic's shop, he told me that I needed to get a harder seat. When I explained my experience he said that it was counter-intuitive, but a harder seat would actually be more comfortable. I'm a heavy rider (110kg+, 240lbs+), so I'm just looking for improvement at this point. I'm looking at all kinds of reviews, but I'm nervous to bite the bullet and get something that's as bad or worse. Can anyone recommend a road saddle for heavier riders that will be more comfortable but not likely to come with loan paperwork because of how expensive it is?
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Old 04-17-21, 11:36 AM
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Yes. that saddle would always be a poor choice. When they need to use RX and bring medical stuff into it you know it is not designed by anyone in the medical field who knows anything about saddles. Wider with massive amounts of soft padding is not generally a good thing. The person at the shop was correct. You want something to give your ischial tuberosity (sit bones) support and gel generally cannot support them only let them sink in a provide pressure points.

My butt happens to like the Brooks Cambium C17 Carved. However your butt might be different and you should reach out to your local fitter or find a shop with a sit bone measuring device and start from there.
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Old 04-17-21, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Yes. that saddle would always be a poor choice. When they need to use RX and bring medical stuff into it you know it is not designed by anyone in the medical field who knows anything about saddles. Wider with massive amounts of soft padding is not generally a good thing. The person at the shop was correct. You want something to give your ischial tuberosity (sit bones) support and gel generally cannot support them only let them sink in a provide pressure points.

My butt happens to like the Brooks Cambium C17 Carved. However your butt might be different and you should reach out to your local fitter or find a shop with a sit bone measuring device and start from there.
Thanks for the help. In measuring my sit bones at home using erasers to place them under my sit bones I measured the distance at 13.5cm and I was looking online which said that a general rule of thumb is to look at a saddle width at 2 cm wider than my sit bone width. I'm living overseas and I doubt the trainer/mechanic I talked to has a measuring tool, but he might have good experience with getting a good measurement.
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Old 04-17-21, 02:55 PM
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I've been using Sella Anatomica saddles. They are generally a very stiff leather but there's a SLOT down the center to keep pressure off the sensitive areas of the anatomy. There's an allen bolt to dial in the "sag" of that center slot area. Not particularly cheap but they generally have a sale.
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Old 04-17-21, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by objecttothis View Post
Thanks for the help. In measuring my sit bones at home using erasers to place them under my sit bones I measured the distance at 13.5cm and I was looking online which said that a general rule of thumb is to look at a saddle width at 2 cm wider than my sit bone width. I'm living overseas and I doubt the trainer/mechanic I talked to has a measuring tool, but he might have good experience with getting a good measurement.
I would find a local fitter then if your mechanic doesn't have anything.
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Old 04-17-21, 03:11 PM
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Tilt of the saddle can be an issue with your perineal area. Also, if you don't have your reach and saddle height/tilt correct, then you might be sliding forward on the saddle and your sit bones are dangling off either side unsupported.

Though I do agree that big comfy looking saddles really aren't comfy. If you start trying out saddles, look for differing amounts of cutout to see if, wide, narrow or no cutout works better for you.
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Old 04-17-21, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Tilt of the saddle can be an issue with your perineal area. Also, if you don't have your reach and saddle height/tilt correct, then you might be sliding forward on the saddle and your sit bones are dangling off either side unsupported.

Though I do agree that big comfy looking saddles really aren't comfy. If you start trying out saddles, look for differing amounts of cutout to see if, wide, narrow or no cutout works better for you.
Yeah, I had to mess around quite a bit with tilt and height to reduce the issue. After far more research than I care to ever do again, I decided to try out a Fi'zi:k Argo Tempo R3 150mm. Worst case scenario is I try it out and I don't like it and sell it to someone that wants it (after confirming that the angle, saddle position on the rails and saddle height are correct). Cycling in the country I live in is not big, so when you go into a bike shop and ask for a bike fitter they measure your inseam and say "here's your bike!"
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Old 04-17-21, 05:39 PM
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I have a Fizik Alante (I think that is right) which I love. Best seat I have owned.

HOWEVER, I rode today on a recently rehabbed bike with a new Brooks B17 leather saddle and it was fantastic. Enough that I am thinking about buying a few more to put on my other bikes.

some shops have trial models that you can test to see if you like them. That's how I bought my Fizik. Ask 'em.
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Old 04-17-21, 07:29 PM
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I have 2 Serfas RXrr saddles. The RXrr model is not heavily padded and measures wider than most road saddles.
They work well for me.

And I have 3 Brooks Cambium c17 saddles- clearly I like those too.


I mention both since wider sit bones seem to tend to go with bigger/taller/larger folk, of which I identify.

Saddles don't care if you are 150 or 300#. It's just a matter of matching the sit bones to the saddle width and the curve of the saddle to you(anything from flat to curved).
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Old 04-17-21, 07:56 PM
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Highly recommend checking out the Spongy Wonder saddle. I got one after trying about 5 other saddles after experiencing numbness, and now would not use anything else.
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Old 04-17-21, 07:56 PM
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I’m 6’4” 270” and love my Brooks, I have 3 different models.

C19 Carved is my newest favorite. Has required no break in. My other leather B17 took a LONG time to break in.
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Old 04-18-21, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by objecttothis View Post
A number of years ago I purchased a Surface Performance RX Men's Saddle (amazon[dot]com /gp/product/B00075FG02/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) thinking, "this will be more comfortable." Man, I was wrong. After 5-6mi into a 10mi ride, my perineum is already numb and it gets incredibly sore. Without mentioning this, when I was at the bike mechanic's shop, he told me that I needed to get a harder seat. When I explained my experience he said that it was counter-intuitive, but a harder seat would actually be more comfortable. I'm a heavy rider (110kg+, 240lbs+), so I'm just looking for improvement at this point. I'm looking at all kinds of reviews, but I'm nervous to bite the bullet and get something that's as bad or worse. Can anyone recommend a road saddle for heavier riders that will be more comfortable but not likely to come with loan paperwork because of how expensive it is?
Very likely your fit on the bike is not right. Perineum pain or discomfort is most often caused by fit, too high seat height, seat too far forward, or too great of reach. Seat height it most often the culprit. Check out this: SEAT HEIGHT - HOW HARD CAN IT BE? - The Steve Hogg Bike Fitting Team

I fought the same issue, though I am not heavy. The answer for me was dropping the seat height slightly. I followed the advice found on Steve Hogg's site. It fixed my perineum pain issue, and made me more efficient.

As for seats, the mechanic is correct, most often, a soft seat is worse than a hard seat when it comes to perineum issues. The soft material squishes down around your sit bones, an put pressure on your softer parts.

You might want to post your question in the clydesdales section of the forum for advice form other riders who are heavier. Good luck!
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Old 04-18-21, 05:06 PM
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Sitbone width is only part of the story, unless you ride an upright bike; then s.b. width is the whole story. If you lean forward at your pelvis to reach the 'bars, your weight is carried by your pubic rami, the bone structure between sit bones and pubic arch. They appear to be curved, and the space between them gets narrower as the bones go forward to the pubic arch. My bet is that the rami are more significant to seat comfort than saddle width.

I used to ride at 240. The Serfas Rx started transferring its fabric to my shorts while I building up miles, so I never did actually test it for comfort over the long haul. The Fizik (who was the branding schmegegi who named them?) Aliante was good for maybe 15 miles before I felt numb. The Brooks B17 Imperial (a B17 with a slot) was a little better than the Aliante. One of the ISM 'performance' series gave me absolutely no numbness, but the weight on my pubic rami gave me a hard to get rid of saddle sore.

The saddle that works best for me is the Selle SMP TRK - not expensive, too much padding, but it works ... except it may stop working soon, because my butt has changed as I have lost weight. In any case, see if you can find their patent application, or look at the documentation on ismseat.com to find out about the rami vs sit bones issue.

A soft seat allows a rider to sink into it, which can put pressure on the pubic artery and nerve, and that leads to pain and/or numbness. A hard seat supports a rider's weight on the bones, which keeps pressure from the soft tissues and thereby prevents pain and numbness.

Which sounds great - except that a good leather seat conforms to a person's anatomy, which seems to mean that soft tissues aren't protected against pressure once a Brooks, Ideal, Wright, Berthoud, etc. leather saddle breaks in....

Alas, no theory has allowed anyone to create a saddle loved by everyone. We're left with the necessity of trying seats out until we find one that feels good.
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Old 04-18-21, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by objecttothis View Post
m After far more research than I care to ever do again, I decided to try out a Fi'zi:k Argo Tempo R3 150mm.
Iím 255lbs right now, and just made the first ride on my new Argo Tempo R3...38 miles, no problems! Hopefully it will work out for you as well.

I ride all kinds of saddles, and generally get used to them all. I do most of my ride time on WTB Volt, SMP Dynamic, two Fizik Aliante R3, Supacaz Ignite, and PDW Dios Thronous. They represent a bunch of different saddle shapes, and while some are more comfy than others, I tend to think itís more about getting used to saddles more than it is about there being an ideal shape. Shape matters, for sure, but probably most people are quite adaptable to a range of shapes, and trial-and-error is about the only practical way to find out.

Thatís not really helpful I suppose, and I apologize for that, but good luck with the Argo Tempo.
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Old 04-19-21, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Iím 255lbs right now, and just made the first ride on my new Argo Tempo R3...38 miles, no problems! Hopefully it will work out for you as well.

I ride all kinds of saddles, and generally get used to them all. I do most of my ride time on WTB Volt, SMP Dynamic, two Fizik Aliante R3, Supacaz Ignite, and PDW Dios Thronous. They represent a bunch of different saddle shapes, and while some are more comfy than others, I tend to think itís more about getting used to saddles more than it is about there being an ideal shape. Shape matters, for sure, but probably most people are quite adaptable to a range of shapes, and trial-and-error is about the only practical way to find out.

Thatís not really helpful I suppose, and I apologize for that, but good luck with the Argo Tempo.
Thanks. I'm not expecting a lazy boy. I just don't want numb and painful fun bits after a 10 mile ride.
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Old 04-19-21, 12:21 AM
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you need a saddle that catches your sit bones , and you need to wear cycling shorts of a decent quality because it provides more support , specialized power saddles are hard to beat , its all i use now !!
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Old 05-06-21, 10:38 PM
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Follow-up:

I got the Fi'zi:k Argo Tempo R3 in the mail and was a little nervous while getting it dialed in on the trainer because it felt a little bit sharp on either side of the cutouts. Once I got on the road it was an absolute beast. After a short 90 minute ride absolutely zero discomfort or numbness and that is on the first ride of the season! Thanks for all the recommendations and help. This saddle really is a lazyboy compared to the Serfas Performance Rx that I had on there.
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