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Road Fan 10-13-13 10:18 AM

Saddle Questions - Recommend a Specialized for long-distance riding?
I've been having trouble fine-tuning Brooks and SA saddles on my bikes for comfortable riding at my 14-15 mph speeds over 50 miles, with drop bars. I'm finding decent comfort up to about 35 miles, but after that I just don't want to sit still. Often I have abrasion and, well, blood. I want to venture into Specialized saddles, of which I have a few lurking in the Saddle Box.

Have any of you rando and long distance riders found some Specialized that work better than others? What about other plastic saddle brands?

Bacciagalupe 10-13-13 07:15 PM

I stopped using my Brooks recently and switched to a Specialized Toupe Gel.

Seems fine for rides up to a century (so far), I'm sure it will be fine for longer rides. Of course, what works for me might not work for you.

mprelaw 10-13-13 08:25 PM

You know, one of the most comfortable saddles that I ever had was a $30 Specialized Riva. I found a Romin for half price and replaced it with that, but, all in all, the Riva was just fine. It's on my spare bike. I did 3 centuries on the Riva before replacing it with the Romin. No issues at all.

Carbonfiberboy 10-13-13 08:42 PM

Many locals rando on the Terry Fly. I use a Performance Forte Classic on all my bikes. It's a lot like the Fly, but better made and cheaper. Both are only made in one width. Either works or it doesn't.

unterhausen 10-13-13 09:13 PM


Originally Posted by Road Fan (Post 16157048)
What about other plastic saddle brands?

Fizik is one of the more common plastic saddles among randomheads. I see a lot of people riding the Aliante

catonec 10-13-13 10:34 PM

Another vote for fizik, I use the antares 143. Of course, that does not mean that it will work for you. gluck

George 10-14-13 01:30 PM

After trying many, many saddles, I think I finally found a keeper. I have about 1500 miles on a San Marco Regal'E and it's the most comfortable saddle I've ever had. FWIW I don't like the Brooks either.

Road Fan 10-14-13 06:43 PM

Thanks a million so far!

I'm not sure I dislike Brooks, but ... I thought I'd like a 17 Select on my 650B, but it is just too wide. When I get far enough back on it for my sit bones to feel supported, the width at the middle causes abrasion - nasty! I got out my old B17 N Imperial (freebie from a few years back!!), and it is the correct width but the cutout, as always pinches the perineum. I'd need to precisely sculpt the cutout edge to make it work. I've tried the same thing with a Selle Anatomica, and so far not really a solution. I haven't found the magic balance point between saddle angle, bolt tension, and height. The result is a choice between pinching, abrasion, and stopping to dink around with the adjustments every 5 miles or so -- sheesh!

As far as my Specialized go, the 143 mm width has a good shape for me. The sitbone platforms are a good width and the center width at midpoint allows my legs to feel very free to move - nice, zero inner thigh abrasion! But on the Alias the padding is too deep, and once my sitbones settle in, I get the dreaded peri pressure. I have a plain Toupe also, again great freedom of motion, but the thin base is just too hard. So I like hearing that the Toupe Gel helps with that!

Any experience with the new Toupe RBX? The Spec site says it is designed for long-distance, but they don't clearly explain what's going on in the design - there are a lot of new buzzwords there.

starjag 10-15-13 05:29 AM

I have used the Toupe, Toupe RBX, Phenom, Avatar, and Romin. All 143mm with the exection of the Phenom (155mm). I currently have the Phenom on my pavement bike and the Avatar on my gravel bike. Very comfortable saddles!

Saddles like the Phenom and the Romin have rounded sides, so you need to size up. Toupe and Avatar are flatter, so you can stay with the size recommendation given by the ass-measurement thingy.

I would love to try the Romin in 155mm. A saddle with potential, but I only tried the 143mm, which was too narrow for me.

By the way, the Toupe RBX has slightly more padding than the regular RBX. I did not find it particularly appealing for comfort. I would rather have the Avatar, which also has a bit more padding, but I think a better shape for long-distance comfort.

starjag 10-15-13 05:32 AM

Just adding that all the models that I have tried have been "Expert" models.

Blue_Bulldog 10-15-13 06:45 AM

Ok, to be up front, my whole "thing" is getting the lower cost stuff that ends up being actually pretty good. I have this crusade that you don't have to spend lots of money to be awesome, just lots of calories.

That being said....

The guy at my LBS recommended the eleven81 touring saddle. It's kind of a hybrid between a race saddle and something off a commuter or trail bike. I'm in love with it. And it was totally under $30.

Road Fan 10-22-13 05:06 AM

I headed over to the Specialized shop Sunday and started talking about my situation, and asking questions about the Toupe Gel, RBX, and other current Toupe variants. After some discussion I bought a 143 RBX with gel. Haven't mounted it yet, however.

One interesting thing on the packaging: Specialized wants me to level the middle third of the saddle, not based on measuring from heel to toe.

I think this is interesting.

thebulls 10-22-13 01:48 PM

I rode a Specialized Avatar for most of 2006 and it was fine for shorter brevets, but beyond 600km it was excruciating. I switched to Selle Anatomica which is incredibly more comfortable and I've ridden in the region of 50,000 miles on SA saddles since then. Brooks might be fine but I can't get 'em back far enough so I get bruised by the frame.


Myosmith 10-23-13 08:22 AM

Since you asked specifically about Specialized saddles: The Toupe Pro would be my first choice, but I've had really good luck with the Avatars as well.

Road Fan 10-23-13 08:29 AM

What is significant about the expert models?

BLYTZPK 12-11-13 07:51 AM

Specialized with hole used here for LDC. Try covering the saddle with a standard USA plastic grocery store bag. Just knot the bag on loose: lubrication surface reducing skin stresses.

StephenH 12-11-13 12:24 PM

I think most riders would be willing to ride just about anything, from a cinderblock to a mink saddle, if it worked. If y'all find something really marvelous, clue the rest of us in. The LD riders I know use a variety of saddles, some S-A, some Brooks, some other brands.

unterhausen 12-11-13 01:14 PM

I really think saddles are so dependent on physiology and position that it's hard to generalize. That being said, I have been pretty happy with fizik alliante. I had problems with my regular road bike, so I rode my dirt road bike on saturday's 200k. It has a cheap fizik cross saddle on it that is like an arione without the comfort. I didn't notice it at all after a few miles. So the pile of Ariones I have in my spare parts bin might get a try. I have been wondering if the hammock-like fit of the Alliante doesn't have something to do with my sensitivity to shorts fit, so I have been thinking that an ass-hatchet like the Arione might not work better if my sitzbones can take it.

I would find a shop with a saddle loaner program and try it out. Good saddles are expensive enough that it is worth a good tryout. I have found that it takes at least an 80 mile ride to expose any issues unless the issues are immediately apparent.

Carbonfiberboy 12-12-13 12:47 PM

Specialized . . . In general, more men seem to do well on a Romin, women on a Lithia.

MagicJade 12-14-13 01:30 PM

If you look for Specialized, try to find the shop that is also doing the BG Fit. They will have the whole spec of saddles in all sizes, so you can try to find the best one. If you buy one of them at the end, the renting cost should be deducted from the price.

I have found personally that the longer the distance the more comfort I have with lower level saddles. I did my BG fit with Allay Racing Pro and was testing Romin & Toupe. Both seemed to be much harder and less comfortable. In the meantime I have bought a Rockhopper SL frame with the Rockhopper XC saddle. It was quite thick and soft, so after replacing it with Romin Evo Expert, the stock Rockhopper XC was installed on my Tricross Pro which I use on brevets. I made 200, 300, 400 & 600 km on it and found it better than Allay. On the longest ones I was always doing the second half with the shorts with thicker bibs, so the but pain was somehow minimized with the more comfortable bib. I plan to try the Romin on long distance next year, as I like the general shape of the saddle.

Road Fan 12-15-13 08:31 PM

Thanks, all, for the good input and assistance. I'm starting trainer riding this week (three hours snow shoveling today!!). So far one Mondonico has a 1st-gen Alias that I have positioned well for a 40-minute slog, the other road bike has the Toupe RBX Gel that is still getting tuned, and the random bike has a different Toupe Gel variant that is more like a tri saddle. Plus a Selle Anatomica. My overall goals, beyond becoming ready for a March 200k or a populaire, or at least a metric or two, are to have distance-capable saddle fitments on all three bikes. I've done all my formula fittings, now I can only improve it by riding distances indoors or outdoors to see if they work. My widths are all 143 mm, except of course for the SA.

I mentioned the Alias is positioned to work well for 40 minutes, next goal is to get the Toupe Gel similarly set.

So far my longer rides (just metrics) have all been on a Selle Anatomica.

We do have a really good BG fitting shop here in town, who sold me the saddle. I might just go back and get fitted.

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