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Saddle questions

Old 08-08-21, 08:20 AM
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klhada
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Saddle questions

yeah, I know it's the most debated question in long distance riding, but I want to hear some thoughts about the type of discomfort I'm getting.

Yesterday I rode a 200k brevet. 212.48km, 2.947m of elevation. Rode it in 9:57:10. My bike is a MTB, with 2.2 29 tires with 40 psi and unlocked suspension (works the best for me, but I rode lots of brevets on road bikes).

Anyway, I got some problems with saddle. In the Retul assometer it showed that I need a 155mm saddle, and I got a Specialized Romin Evo.

My problem was not in the soft tissue in the center, but it really was some kind of rash in the point 'where the leg end and the butt starts' (for the lack of a better term). It looks like the skin can fold there, and the excessive friction hurts the skin. At the end I was struggling to pedal, and the legs were feeling fine. Should have finished faster and happier.

So, I will start testing things to fix this problem (no way I can do 300 or more in this situation). So what you guys recommend?
- different saddle? Probably would try with some cheap saddles first to test some shapes and formats. The spz I got looks like a agressive racer saddle
- better bibs?
- chamois?
- all of the above?
- better fit?

I always had some kind of discomfort on the brevets, but this time it was brutal.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:24 AM
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It is a problem that you must sort out.
Good Luck.
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Old 08-08-21, 09:36 AM
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Riding an MTB on a 200k when you have ridden brevets on other bikes (I am guessing with drop bars), your posture would be somewhat different on an MTB. On a bike where I sit more upright, I use a wider saddle that is flatter in the back than I use on a bike where I lean forward more.

Is your saddle selection for the right kind of bike?
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Old 08-08-21, 08:56 PM
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I have problems there in the heat if I sweat a lot. I don't think a saddle can do anything to fix that. I carry chamois cream for preventative use, bag balm for minor problems, and lantiseptic skin protectant if things really have gone bad.
The lantiseptic has been a ride saver, I'm not sure if you can get it where you live or not. It's a lot like diaper cream, but much more viscous. Bag balm is for cows. It's a lanolin cream for cows, but I think petroleum jelly will probably work similarly.
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Old 08-09-21, 05:17 AM
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I have that saddle but mine has the titanium rails not the carbon like yours but it should be the same otherwise. I have ridden one Brevet with it. I don't find it comfortable at all. It now resides on a racing bike that I am currently using to train on because my main ride is down. It still is not comfortable even on short rides and I have been on it for 5 weeks now. For my butt, the width is right but the way it tapers and flares is insufficient, it is too flat and too edgy. It is like it creases my wrinkly old, you know what. I can ride my brookes or berthoud almost forever without any butt pain. Sitting more upright on MTB bike would only make matters worse by the way those bones down there are situated.....I think. More viscous lube might help but I would not count on it......big assumption that you are dealing with the same issue. I also find the saddle creates small pressure points and the tissues also get sore. Years ago, I really tried to like this saddle but it was a waste of time.
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Old 08-09-21, 08:17 AM
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This is why I always borrow a test saddle. Saddles are expensive, I'm not buying a new one unless I have ridden at least 100 miles on that saddle.
On edit: 100 miles in one ride. 5 twenty mile rides will tell you almost nothing about a saddle.

Last edited by unterhausen; 08-09-21 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 08-09-21, 08:33 AM
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It sounds to me like your saddle is too wide. Possibly the edge is too hard; but if the saddle were narrower there, that wouldn't matter.

I am very doubtful about the utility of measuring your "sit bones," which are shaped kinda like the rockers on a rocking chair, but backwards; on a person they are close together in front and farther apart in back The points at which they contact the saddle are closer together if you tilt your pelvis forward, and farther apart if you sit relatively upright. To measure them correctly you have to mimic your position on the bike-- and this is the detail I never see in the "how to measure your sit bones" instructions.

That said, on the MTB you probably had a relatively upright position, so perhaps my misgivings are unwarranted in this case.
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Old 08-16-21, 04:45 AM
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thanks for the ideas. I'm still messing with the saddle. Right now I raised the saddle a little, and moved it a bit forward. Feels better, but I need to ride at least 80km or more in one ride to be able to tell.

Maybe for this bike and use case, I may try a saddle with a bit more padding. Nothing like those sofa style + gel cover things, but more than what I have now!
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Old 08-16-21, 06:04 AM
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Without more details about your bike geo, let's assume it's upright like most MTB's ...

Look at what other MTBers are riding on their bikes. WTB Volt is a pretty common shape for MTBs. Pretty flat overall ...

If you're intent on keeping the mtb as your brevet bike, I'd seriously look into a Brooks / Berthoud saddle.
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Old 08-16-21, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by klhada View Post
thanks for the ideas. I'm still messing with the saddle. Right now I raised the saddle a little, and moved it a bit forward. Feels better, but I need to ride at least 80km or more in one ride to be able to tell.

Maybe for this bike and use case, I may try a saddle with a bit more padding. Nothing like those sofa style + gel cover things, but more than what I have now!
Instead of one of those massive gel covers, maybe get a foam neoprene mousepad that is no more than a quarter inch in thickness. I am not suggesting this as a permanent fix, but as a one-time test device to assess extra padding, you can trim with a scissors and lash it on with some cord. Maybe put a rain cover over it to better hold it in place.

As I noted in my previous post, and also noted by SapInMyBlood, I think posture is part of decision making process.

I use a Brooks Pro or Brooks Conquest (Conquest is essentially a Pro with springs) on my drop bar bikes. If I am sitting more upright like on an MTB, I use a Brooks B17 or Flyer (Flyer is a B17 with springs). I am sold on Brooks leather saddles, but they are not for everyone. In this case I am not pushing leather, but making a comparison between the two saddle shapes, B17 and Pro.

And as SapInMyBlood suggested, look at what other MTB riders use.
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Old 08-16-21, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm not buying a new one unless I have ridden at least 100 miles on that saddle.
On edit: 100 miles in one ride. 5 twenty mile rides will tell you almost nothing about a saddle.
That's a great point. Although with some saddle changes, even that might not be enough. I tried a noseless saddle, and I *hated* it for two weeks. But I saw lots of owners say to try it for 3 weeks. Sure enough, by the end of 3 weeks, it seemed OK, and after 4 I loved it and now I can't imagine switching back.

Not that I think a noseless saddle is likely to help with the OP's issue. It doesn't seem like a saddle design issue to me, although another saddle might happen to help...there are just too many fine differences in anatomy, riding position and pedaling style to make blanket statements about any seat. Good luck, OP.
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Old 08-18-21, 07:25 PM
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You say "the point 'where the leg end and the butt starts'". The point, singular. Of course, you might have meant by this "the points 'where the legs end and the butt starts'"; but if you didn't, then it's highly likely that the problem isn't the choice of saddle, but instead something else:


However, as for choices among saddles, this video is worthwhile:

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Old 08-19-21, 02:37 PM
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Yesterday I rode a 200k brevet. 212.48km, 2.947m of elevation. Rode it in 9:57:10. My bike is a MTB, with 2.2 29 tires with 40 psi and unlocked suspension (works the best for me, but I rode lots of brevets on road bikes).
Seeing the description of your effort and equipment selection leads me to believe you are sucker for punishment. I like the part about the 40psi tire pressure and unlocked suspension the best.

Have you considered a tractor seat? Something like "big yellow" -- it comes on a John Deere 4000?




.
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Old 08-19-21, 03:06 PM
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40psi is high pressure for a tire that size. I don't usually bother to lock my suspension, but if you did a lot of climbing out of the saddle it might not be great.
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Old 08-19-21, 07:23 PM
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Sounds exactly like what I've been fighting for several years, through several saddle changes. I don't have an answer. Try really good chamois cream, like Assos, and plenty of it, a little on the problem area and the little on the pad. I've tried different pad thicknesses, no better. Tomorrow I'll try an oral yeast infection med on the advice of another BFer. The best saddle for me has been a Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow, but still not a fix. I might try a (shudder) Brooks B17 though I don't think it'll work for me, not on an aggressive road bike fit. I can borrow one though. My fit is all dialed in, had a pro fit which recommended no changes. This has nothing to do with your tire pressure BTW. I have the same problem on my carbon road bike and on our cushy steel tandem. More saddle down tilt doesn't help either, although there certainly is an optimum tilt angle.

Let me know if you figure it out.
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Old 08-19-21, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
... I might try a (shudder) Brooks B17 though I don't think it'll work for me, not on an aggressive road bike fit. ...
The B17 works for me as long as I do not use the drops, that is why I find it works well as an upright bike saddle but not good for drop bars. The touring crowd likes the B17, but their handlebar tops are usually about the same height as the top of the saddle. If your "aggressive" fit has the bars lower, ... maybe it will fit anyway. Amount of tilt can be important, commonly having the nose a bit up is good.

That saddle has very short fore and aft adjustability, so if you like your saddle far forward or back, you seatpost selection could be a factor too.
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Old 08-19-21, 11:33 PM
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+1. I don't see a B17 working if you're used to rolling your hips forward on a *checks Google* 130 or 145mm saddle with a cutout. A B17 Narrow would be closer in width, but still...
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Old 08-20-21, 04:42 AM
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Sit on two 1 x 8 boards spaced 155 mm apart for 9:57:10. I can ride mine of an hour or two

I can ride a B17 on an aerobar equipped bike.

I would do the Haldmann breakin procedure and see if that helps your problem. I doubt better bibs or better cream will fix your problem. A B17 is cheaper than a high end pair of bibs and is what I would try if I were you.

Lon's PACTOUR Blog: Breaking In a Leather Saddle

https://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/brook...-part-one.html
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Old 08-20-21, 06:10 AM
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There are as many break in procedures as there are leather saddle users. I would never suggest putting the saddle in a bucket of warm water, and doing a Mink Oil slather before even using the saddle. But if you really want to, go ahead, it is your saddle and your bum.

When I wanted to expedite things, I might soak the saddle for 15 seconds in cold water. Yup, seconds, not minutes.

And when my saddle is two thirds or three quarters of the shape that I want it to have, that is when I apply Brooks Proofide. Even though I use fenders on most bikes, thus tire spray from underneath is minimal, I still apply Proofide to both top and bottom. Some suggest only needing application to the bottom if you do not use fenders.

The Proofide (or other hydrophobic applications) are important for water repellency, avoid any chance of rain until you have applied that. But, once that is applied, the leather does not take shape to your bum as well, that is why I put off the Proofide application until I get the shape mostly where I want it.

I keep a waterproof saddle cover with my spare tube, so the cover is always with the bike in case of unexpected rain. On days with intermittent sprinkles all day long, I just leave the cover on all day.
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Old 08-20-21, 06:43 AM
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I broke a Berhoud Aravis in on Thursday using Lon's method and did a comfortable 300K on Saturday. A B17 saddles is what 150 bucks? If OP can afford it, give it a shot. Pain sucks. I don't think there is magic other than trying enough saddles AND giving it enough time. Buying used plastic saddles on eBay or borrowing from friends can save some money. Some weeks of riding but must do some long rides. A saddle good for 100km might be torture at 300Km. GL
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Old 08-23-21, 04:48 AM
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hmmm, thinking about it, I guess rhm might be right. I rode lots of brevets, from 200 to 400km (started a 600 but crashed a week before and had to abandon with 250km). Besides that 600, always finished in the allowed time. Lots of road bikes (I'm a bit of a bike flipper - not for profit, sadly - just burning money with what I like). hybrids, 26 mtb, super cheap bike. Will do the next 200km in my Brompton because why not?

What all those bikes had in common? Just the most common saddle size (135mm). I even finished a 200 with a road bike with a full carbon saddle, with ZERO padding. Always got that bit of discomfort in the saddle region, but after 10 hours or more, I guess even the sofa might get uncomfortable. Luckily I still got some 135mm saddle here. So now I got 2 155, one 135 and one 145 (or something like that). Testing time

By the way, worst Brevet 'investment' I made was a Specialized Awol Comp. That one with full Reynolds, swinger dropouts, yada yada. Meh, for me the bike SUCKS. With 700X35 tires, it was just 1.5km faster than my actual cheap ass mtb, with crappy tires, and with a lot less comfort. Right now it sits in parts here. I painted the frame metallic blue, and I'm in the process of polishing everything, to build a bike which I will ride sometimes in the city. At least it will look pretty.
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