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Is there dishonor in changing saddles?

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Is there dishonor in changing saddles?

Old 06-30-03, 05:55 AM
  #1  
mightypudge
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Is there dishonor in changing saddles?

Yesterday I took my MTB for a 17-mile run around Fairmount Park in Philly. Halfway through the trip I noticed I was really uncomfortable on the saddle and I was shifting around trying to relieve the discomfort. I probably would have done another few miles if I could have found the comfort zone.

I'm a big guy, around 210 pounds. The saddle is the standard for this bike, a Specialized Hardrock Pro. I was wearing a decent pair (I guess) of padded MTB shorts, but I only got about 8 miles out of them before, YOW!

So, I was thinking of exchanging saddles for something more...padded.

Typically I ride paved trails, but yesterday I took the bike onto a gravel path and also got brave and did some light off-road.

My questions are: Will a larger, heavily padded saddle be an issue? What kind of saddle should I look at? Is there a really good brand of padded MTB shorts I should be trying?

Me and my butt thank you.
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Old 06-30-03, 06:26 AM
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I have a 1999 Specialized Hardrock that I only started riding regularly for the past year. The original seat was TORTURE, (I am a bigger guy than you). The spot that was contacting my "sit bones" was the rear frame of the seat. I bought one of the inexpensive Specialized Comfort Saddles and it is excellent, compared to the original. The last day I used the original saddle, I could only ride for about 1 hour till I had to quit because of pain in the behind. The first day with the new saddle, I rode for an hour and felt like I could ride forever, I was very impressed.
I would try the Specialized 03 Sport Saddle, which I think is firmer than the Comfort model.
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Old 06-30-03, 07:21 AM
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Thanks! Any other suggestions?
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Old 06-30-03, 07:33 AM
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No-one else has your particular rear-end configuration, so saddle recomendations are not very transferable between riders. Ask your LBS if you can test ride a variet of saddles.
Generally the shape and contouring of a saddle contribute more to comfort than padding. Saddles should support your sit-bones firmly, and excessive padding will distribute weight to the squishy bits between the bones.
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Old 06-30-03, 07:56 AM
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Pudge, the secret to saddle comfort is to know the distance between your ischeal tuberosities -- the "sit bones" -- and buy a saddle that will support you there and nowhere else. You can sit on some wet sand and measure between the deepest part of the indentations to get this measuremebt.

If your saddle doesn't support you there, find one that does. Most of the saddle manufacturers publish the dimensions of their saddles.

In addition, saddle positioning -- fore/aft position and angle -- are critical. If the saddle is too far back, or angled down, you'll find yourself riding on the nose. In the opposite cases, you'll be on the back edge, chafing your thiighs.

Padding is usually a bad idea, especially if it's up the middle. The padding compresses against your various soft tissues, causing numbness or worse.

The ideal saddle doesn't contact your body at all, except lightly or during turns, except under your sit bones.

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Old 06-30-03, 07:59 AM
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If this saddle/bike is new to you, you may try it for a couple of weeks of riding until your but is broken in. I have three bikes with three different saddles and it takes a little while until my but is used to each saddle. Once I am used to the saddle I am fine for the season. So, after trying ridding this saddle for a while and if it is still painful, then look for a new saddle.
 
Old 06-30-03, 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by Rich Clark
Pudge, the secret to saddle comfort is to know the distance between your ischeal tuberosities -- the "sit bones" -- and buy a saddle that will support you there and nowhere else. You can sit on some wet sand and measure between the deepest part of the indentations to get this measuremebt.

If your saddle doesn't support you there, find one that does. Most of the saddle manufacturers publish the dimensions of their saddles.

In addition, saddle positioning -- fore/aft position and angle -- are critical. If the saddle is too far back, or angled down, you'll find yourself riding on the nose. In the opposite cases, you'll be on the back edge, chafing your thiighs.

Padding is usually a bad idea, especially if it's up the middle. The padding compresses against your various soft tissues, causing numbness or worse.

The ideal saddle doesn't contact your body at all, except lightly or during turns, except under your sit bones.

RichC
Do you know of an LBS in our area (Phila, PA or suburbs) that will work with me to help me find the right saddle? This seems like a complicated process and I could sure use the help.
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Old 06-30-03, 09:10 AM
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Maybe I should rephrase this question...

Since this is a new bike and I am a new rider (only about 30 miles on this bike so far) is it possible that I just have to get used to the saddle by doing shorter rides for the first few weeks? Or will buying a new and allegedly improved saddle make a difference?

I've read a lot of posts that lead me in contradictory directions. Some people say the saddles take getting used to. Others say that most saddles that come stock on sub-$1000 bikes are garbage.
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Old 06-30-03, 09:21 AM
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Does your saddle have a "cut out" in the back?

Supposedly these ergonomically designed seats take pressure off the area that is probably hurting you. They also make a womans seat but the cutout is more in the middle as opposed to in the back.

I have a Body Geometry seat that came with my newly aquired '01 Specialized Expedition Sport and it's pretty comfortable. I have really not gone on trips longer than an hour yet but that's not because of discomfort - mostlu due to lack of time

The one thing I'v found is that proper shorts would make a big difference. I've been riding in regular shorts and they tend to hinder free movement - causing you to switch your seat position alot.
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Old 06-30-03, 09:22 AM
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Originally posted by javajo
Does your saddle have a "cut out" in the back?
Nope. It's a full saddle.
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Old 06-30-03, 09:26 AM
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Then you might want to try one of the saddles I spoke about. They're built for comfort and I don't think they weigh all that much. If anything, they probably weigh less considering you're dealing with less material.

I'm also 210 lbs and I haven't felt any discomfort yet.
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Old 06-30-03, 09:48 AM
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Identifying the source and nature of the discomfort is an important first step. There's a big difference between chafing, compression, and soreness. Chafing comes either from wearing the wrong clothes or from rubbing a too-wide saddle, or one on which you're positioned incorrectly. Compression comes from pressure, and is caused by your weight being on the saddle somewhere other than at your sit bones. Soreness is just that; sore muscles that aren't used to this kind of use.

Where did you buy the bike, and is there any reason they can't help you with this? Saddle choice and positioning are part of the basic fitting process, and should be one of the services your shop provides.

Bike Therapy (on South Street) and Trophy Bikes (down by the river) are the best shops I know of in town, although I'm not personally a customer of either one.

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Old 06-30-03, 10:09 AM
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Just don't get one of those big saddles with the springs and 2 inches of padding
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Old 06-30-03, 10:27 AM
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My discomfort is definitely in the compression category. My muscles are fine and I'm not experiencing any chafing. Once I get up from the saddle and get the blood flowing again, I'm usually good an a few minutes.

I bought the bike at Guy's. They didn't offer to do a fitting and they haven't been particularly helpful after the sale. Unfortunately I didn't do enough research before bike shopping and I was not aware that I needed to ask for a fitting...
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Old 06-30-03, 11:09 AM
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Some further possibilities, then:

--Be sure you're not getting pulled forward onto the nose of the saddle, which will definitely cause pressure on the perineum. You get pulled forward if the saddle is too far back, if it's tilted nose-down, or possibly if it's too wide (thights push on the wide part of the saddle, and move you forward).

--If the position fore/aft is OK, make sure the nose isn't too high. Small changes in angle can make a big difference.

--Try rotating the saddle off-center a little, pointing away from the side you "dress" on. Give yourself a little more room on the side where you need it.

--Failing all that, try a saddle with a center cutout. But a saddle with a center cutout will cause the same problems as one without if it's positioned incorrectly the same way.

Oh, and make sure to have the right size allen wrench along with you on all your rides, so you can tweak position as necessary.

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Old 06-30-03, 11:26 AM
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Thanks Rich and everyone, you've all been very helpful.
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Old 06-30-03, 12:51 PM
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Hey Mighty, no one's said it yet, so I will. You really need to ride a bit to work up your butt calouses. Your gluteous maximus muscles are not used to supporting your weight like they must while on a bicycle. It's gonna take some rides to "tone" that area. I suggest to all new cyclists to do a series of shorter rides every day or every other day initially. If you go out and ride for over an hour right off the bat, it doesn't matter WHAT saddle you have, you butt is gonna be sore. Do a series of 15 to 30 minute rides a couple days a week.

After about a month, if you still don't like you saddle, then go shopping, but give yours a chance.

L8R
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Old 06-30-03, 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by a2psyklnut
Hey Mighty, no one's said it yet, so I will. You really need to ride a bit to work up your butt calouses. Your gluteous maximus muscles are not used to supporting your weight like they must while on a bicycle. It's gonna take some rides to "tone" that area. I suggest to all new cyclists to do a series of shorter rides every day or every other day initially. If you go out and ride for over an hour right off the bat, it doesn't matter WHAT saddle you have, you butt is gonna be sore. Do a series of 15 to 30 minute rides a couple days a week.

After about a month, if you still don't like you saddle, then go shopping, but give yours a chance.

L8R
This is good advice.

Truthfully, most of my pain/discomfort is in the perineal area and not really in the gluts. I think perhaps I should readjust this saddle and see if it helps. Even my 30 minute rides are not comfy.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-30-03, 03:30 PM
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obviously everyone writing these replys has never had the pleasure of riding Specialized's BodyGeometry saddles. THEY SUCK! I had one for a week and then i just said, "F*** this!" I ordered a selle italia prolink gel from pricepoint and never looked back. You should have to get "used" to a saddle, it should be the other way around. I love specialized but all of their body products are very poorly designed (to me). Their glove made my hands numb, their shoes weren't comfy, and the saddles are some of the worst out there(even though my girlfriend says that the women's specific is pretty nice).
Do yourself a favor and get the Selle Italia, bontager, or WTB saddle that is right for you.
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Old 07-02-03, 03:52 PM
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I found a Terry Liberator saddle on sale at Performance and like it. Its wider in the rear area, and has a cut out all the way thru it so air flows well and my butt doesn't get as hot.
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Old 07-03-03, 11:11 PM
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Originally posted by nismo400
obviously everyone writing these replys has never had the pleasure of riding Specialized's BodyGeometry saddles. THEY SUCK! I had one for a week and then i just said, "F*** this!"....snip...... I love specialized but all of their body products are very poorly designed (to me).
I'm bigger than everyone that's posted so far @ 250 lbs and I LOVE my Body Geometry saddles. I don't ride the "race" versions or the "comfort" versions Mine would fall into the "sport" catagory in between. I've put a LOT of miles on these seats and have NO copmplaints so obviously they work for some people so I think that your staement that they "suck" is a bit misguided.
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Old 07-04-03, 12:18 AM
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they suck
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Old 07-04-03, 04:04 AM
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Don't forget the guy featured in Bicycling mag who regularly trains by taking his seat totally off and rides for an hour on the pegs. Seat problem totally solved!
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Old 07-04-03, 12:18 PM
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Originally posted by nismo400
they suck
They provide no vacuum or suction effects so perhaps it's just you? Personal opinions are a wonderful thing but a blanket "they suck" is uncalled for especially when they work for myself and many others.
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Old 07-04-03, 12:39 PM
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Originally posted by Lovetobike
I have a 1999 Specialized Hardrock that I only started riding regularly for the past year. The original seat was TORTURE, (I am a bigger guy than you). The spot that was contacting my "sit bones" was the rear frame of the seat. I bought one of the inexpensive Specialized Comfort Saddles and it is excellent, compared to the original. The last day I used the original saddle, I could only ride for about 1 hour till I had to quit because of pain in the behind. The first day with the new saddle, I rode for an hour and felt like I could ride forever, I was very impressed.
I would try the Specialized 03 Sport Saddle, which I think is firmer than the Comfort model.
I'd agree with that.
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