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Old 10-11-05, 12:22 PM   #1
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I bought a new bike and started riding last Thursday (Oct 6). Since then I have taken 5 2-mile trips around my area, which is kind of hilly, but nothing I can't handle. I am thoroughly enjoying myself, except for the massive pain in my butt and "other soft tissues" in the area. The bike is a 2005 Giant Sedona ST with a gel padded seat that originally had the nose turned up too far, which I have adjusted and almost leveled out over the last two rides. It is slightly better but still painful. There is about 2" of padding on this seat, which feels like way too much.

I have been considering getting a Brooks B-17 as a replacement, but the nature of the Brooks with the leather stretched between two pieces of metal with rivets holding it in place has me concerned. Will a B-17 hold up a 400 lb guy without stretching too much or tearing completely apart at the rivets or am I just paranoid?
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Old 10-11-05, 01:35 PM   #2
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I love my Brooks, but a seat is a personal preference. You may try going to your LBS and finding out if they will allow you to try some seats.

As an FYI, the first few rides will always cause some soreness. It is like riding a horse, your butt has to get used to the saddle. However, getting used to the bike saddle pain, is different from problems that occur after your butt is "broken in". You will just know the difference, one is a muscle pain, the other occurs from chafing/rubbing, saddle sores, etc. Get a good pair of bike shorts, dump the gel seat (these are usually bad news), and enjoy your ride.
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Old 10-11-05, 02:26 PM   #3
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Give yourself about a month of riding. The butt muscles will toughen up and it won't hurt anymore..
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Old 10-11-05, 03:19 PM   #4
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Get a recumbent bike.
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Old 10-11-05, 05:23 PM   #5
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Hi Avidday!

I'm "only" 260#, but my experience may be of use: I bought a Brooks B-17 based on glowing reviews in multiple places. I found that within two weeks, the leather had stretched and the sides were "bulging out" when I sat on the saddle. Tightening the bolt in the nose to stretch the leather helped, but at the expense of creating a "ridge" down the center of the saddle that created pressure on the perenium (look it up...).

Pains while riding come from two places: The sit bones and the perenium. In general, it is better to put as much pressure as possible on the sit bones, and as little as possible on the perenium. For riders under 200#, this doesn't seem to be much of a problem, but us Clydesdales put MUCH more pressure per square inch on the sit bones, causing bruising and soreness.

Saddles that are excellent for lighter riders (models that come to mind are the Brooks B-17, the Specialized Alias and ilk, and the Fizik line) put to much pressure on the sit bones of heavier riders. Despite exhortations from others to "toughen up" and learn to ride on the sit bones, it just hasn't worked for me.

What does work? A saddle with the following characteristics:

1. A PADDED sit bone platform
2. A perenial cutout that prevents perenial pressure
3. A long nose that allows "no hands" riding with good thigh control
4. An abrupt taper from the sit platform to the long nose OR
5. A gradual taper that allows the rider to slide around a lot

The saddle that works best for me so far is the Specialized Milano. It has the features listed above and (as an added bonus) it is cheap.

I believe that when I lose another 30-40 pounds, the less padded saddles may become an option, but for now, the Milano (and the Specialized Body Geometry Comfort) have been my best choices.

As you've already seen, saddle tilt is absolutely critical! Make sure the saddle is (at worst) completely level or (better) slightly nose-down. Nose down tilts don't work well with slippery saddles (you have to push back with your arms to stay on the thing), but with padded saddles (like the Milano), you pretty much stay where you sit - no pushing back with the arms required!

Good luck and don't hesitate to try a number of saddles. I buy mine used on e-Bay. If I don't like them, I can resell them and lose only the shipping. Happy shopping and KEEP RIDING!
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Old 10-11-05, 08:24 PM   #6
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I actually just placed an order for the B-17 a few minutes ago. has a 6-month satisfiaction guarantee, so I feel pretty confident about the purchase in general and if it is as bad as you say or stretches excessively, I can always send it back.

The pain I have now after only 6 days of riding is unbearable. I can barely sit in a computer chair at work, let alone get on the bike right now. Most of the pain I have now is in the perenium and forward. The gel padding seems to bunch up and press hard on these areas. My sit bones don't hurt much at all, but I think once I get rid of the gel padded seat I should be ok overall. It can't get any worst than it already is... I hope.
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Old 10-11-05, 08:39 PM   #7
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The B-17 is going to KILL you if you weigh 400 and are going to be putting the majority of your weight onto that hard piece of marble they call leather.
I'd think the expedition plus saddle from specialized would be more appropriate.
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Old 10-11-05, 09:32 PM   #8
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Modern saddle design is quite nicely advanced. After a couple of decades break in on my Brooks I transitioned to plastic/pad/leather and haven't looked back. Good position is essential. Then the fit of the saddle needs to be worked out by each person. I'm currently riding a Fizik "Pave" - would be hard for most people and maybe too narrow - on my road bike. Works perfectly for me. Whereas the sort of similar Fizik Dolomite on my commuting bike clearly wouldn't work for long rides, even though it is alleged to be a softer more comfortable saddle. And I have some kind of relatively early "Condor" on my tandem that fits me like a glove. But I couldn't look at another person and successfully guess what was going to fit their butt!

You might go to a shop and sit on lots of saddles. Get an idea of what works and what doesn't.
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Old 10-11-05, 09:49 PM   #9
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I agree with mandovoodoo, bring your bike to your local shop, and if permitted, pop on a dozen or so saddles. Try each one. I can tell you from experience that even with a sore butt, you'll be able to tell when you find one that fits you well.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
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