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"Tender Posterior"... Is It the Seat?

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"Tender Posterior"... Is It the Seat?

Old 08-22-20, 09:03 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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"Tender Posterior"... Is It the Seat?

I've seen and read time and time again that too much padding is just as bad as too little when it comes to saddles, and padding is less important than the shape of the saddle. However, what happens when you're fine with the shape of the saddle, but your posterior is still getting "tender" even when you're in pretty good shape? Does this mean I should be looking for a saddle with more padding?

I've been putting on between 100 to 140 miles a week this summer and have been feeling really good on each ride... except for my rear. I know enough to know that while riding, I am sitting on my "sit bone" and not on soft tissue. I don't have any chaffing or weird rubbing with my current seat. The only problem I have is that by the time I'm done riding my ~40 mile rides, my muscles (or fat?) around my sit-bone area are tender for quite a while during and after the ride Many of the roads where I live are quite rough and I ride an endurance bike (Trek Domane) which has helped absorb much of the road shock, but maybe not enough. I have no idea how racers ride seats with little or no padding for so many miles... they must have some really tough butts(?)

I'm currently riding on a Bontrager Affinity Pro saddle which does have some decent padding, although it's pretty dense and is considered more of a race saddle than an endurance saddle. I'll admit that I have this carbon-railed saddle to limit the weight of the seat, but its also a race saddle. Maybe I need to sacrifice a few grams for a little bit of padding comfort?

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Old 08-22-20, 03:00 PM
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How do you mean you are sitting on the sit bones? If that is more upright, then that might be wrong. Sit bone are sort of like curved arches and as you lean forward in the saddle they actually get closer together. Also, if you back is arched it's probably putting your pelvis in a bad angle for your sit bones and saddle.

People have gotten a little too skittish about the perineum because of some half truths that have been propagated for over 40 years. So don't be thinking you will get E.D. or other scary things. You posture on a bike is important and perineal fears cause people to use bad riding posture.
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Old 08-22-20, 03:11 PM
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Can we assume you're using proper cycling shorts and not trying to ride in jorts or whatever? As mentioned, you could have a bad fit but most folks need to try a few saddles before they find what they like.
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Old 08-22-20, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
How do you mean you are sitting on the sit bones? If that is more upright, then that might be wrong. Sit bone are sort of like curved arches and as you lean forward in the saddle they actually get closer together. Also, if you back is arched it's probably putting your pelvis in a bad angle for your sit bones and saddle.

People have gotten a little too skittish about the perineum because of some half truths that have been propagated for over 40 years. So don't be thinking you will get E.D. or other scary things. You posture on a bike is important and perineal fears cause people to use bad riding posture.
I also think this is most likely, i.e. that it is a fit and position issue rather than a saddle issue. The standard road position involves leaning forward with the torso at least at an angle of 45°. This allows the butt to go up and down while the shoulders and upper back remain in the same place. The reason for this forward lean is primarily comfort, not aero as many people think. When I sit on my saddle, my ischial tuberosities don't touch the saddle. I perch on my inferior pubic ramus.

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Old 08-22-20, 04:45 PM
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I should have also mentioned pelvic tilt: Riding Position Discovery
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Old 08-22-20, 06:12 PM
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I am one of those that rides with a slight “nose up “tilt to my saddle. When I get a different bike I always start level and then slightly adjust the tilt every ride until it feels just right. I also like a short cockpit or top tube , but a tall frame because I have long legs and short trunk. Almost all my vintage road bikes are racing bikes not because I race, they are just real comfortable to me. It takes a lot of riding to find that spot that works for your body type . I recommend slight changes and only one thing at a time. There are a lot of factors that make up a comfortable ride when riding over thirty miles or so at a time.
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Old 08-23-20, 03:38 PM
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I'm a little embarrassed to report this, but I think I found at least one of the reasons for my saddle issues (other than rough and poorly paved roads all over the state I live in that cause my keister to take a constant pounding during every ride )...

Long-story-short, several pairs of my bike shorts have outlived their usefulness and need to be thrown away While the shorts look fine, an inspection of the pad (especially where I need the padding) revealed that time, wear, and the wash machine have done some serious damage and it's time for new shorts. I have a few shorts with gel pads and a few without... it's the shorts with the gel pads that are done. The gel has shriveled-up and is now a hard ball nowhere near where it needs to be. This explains a lot about some of the weird discomfort I've been feeling and I feel really dumb for not figuring this out sooner!

I probably wouldn't have looked at my short's padding except that I went on a 66 mile ride today and actually reverted my bike back to the stock (heavy) seat that has a lot of padding. My undercarriage was uncomfortable within just a few miles of leaving the house and I thought that was very odd. Inspecting my shorts when I got done showed that this particular pair of shorts is definitely one that needs to go in the trash.

Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 08-23-20 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 09-16-20, 10:46 AM
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Another update...

After going through 4 different seats, I finally found one that my brain and my butt both like... the Fizik Antares R1 (Whew!) The Fizik "saddle finder" recommended this saddle and the Tempo Argo R1/R3 and unfortunately I tried the Tempo Argo R1 first. It's certainly a well made saddle, but my body just didn't like it, so I returned it and got the Antares R1 off of eBay.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure what's so specially about the R1 that my body likes, but it does. It doesn't look much different than the Bontrager Aeolus saddle in my original post. I'm so happy that after riding several thousand miles this year, my posterior finally isn't the thing complaining the most! What's really neat, at least to me, is that this Fizik Antares is not only the most comfortable saddle I've tried, it's also the lightest! w00t for the weight-weenie in me! I also really like the odd, sandpaper-like texture of the Antares. I had found that the surface of the Tempo Argo R1 was way too slippery, where as the Antares is "just right".

I've also learned that my butt hates GEL short pads and prefers simple, thin pads. My relatively cheap Pearl Izumi shorts ($50) are just as comfy to me as my more expensive shorts and have a very simple, flat pad.

Enough babbling from me... Enjoy the ride!

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Old 09-16-20, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I should have also mentioned pelvic tilt: Riding Position Discovery
That will also engage your glutes and make more power.
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Old 09-16-20, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Another update...

I've also learned that my butt hates GEL short pads and prefers simple, thin pads. My relatively cheap Pearl Izumi shorts ($50) are just as comfy to me as my more expensive shorts and have a very simple, flat pad.
You might like Boure Pro shorts which still use a synthetic leather chamois. Drew Boure also does custom (different inseam, rise, bib strap length, etc.) for a small upcharge.

The padding is too soft on most shorts which has the same effect on soft tissue as a squishy saddle. I think most are made for casual riders or marketing departments, not avid cyclists.

I didn't like any modern shorts until I tried the Elastic Interface Technology Comp HP pad in Voler shorts with 120 kg/m^3 foam beneath the sit bones. That is more comfortable on 100-200 mile rides and beyond.

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Old 09-16-20, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Can we assume you're using proper cycling shorts and not trying to ride in jorts or whatever? As mentioned, you could have a bad fit but most folks need to try a few saddles before they find what they like.
Agreed, top line shorts are necessary if you spend a lot of time in the saddle. Also, the inside of your thighs should not touch the saddle or you will get blisters.
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Old 09-16-20, 12:06 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
You might like Boure Pro shorts which still use a synthetic leather chamois. Drew Boure also does custom (different inseam, rise, bib strap length, etc.) for a small upcharge.
Interesting... I'll have to check them out. I've been riding long enough that I remember when the chamois was actually made out of "animal stuff" instead of synthetic materials. Bacterial issues aside, I much preferred real chamois to today's synthetics in terms of comfort.
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Old 09-16-20, 01:18 PM
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I had a similar discomfort issue recently and, like you, the padding in my shorts was worn out. It's such a gradual degradation that I didn't really notice it, but I bought a new pair of shorts and compared the stiffness of the padding. My old shorts were definitely past their prime.
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Old 09-16-20, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by drewtk View Post
I had a similar discomfort issue recently and, like you, the padding in my shorts was worn out. It's such a gradual degradation that I didn't really notice it, but I bought a new pair of shorts and compared the stiffness of the padding. My old shorts were definitely past their prime.
Sounds like a new opportunity for the tech industry to put electronics in our shorts... A mobile app tells you when the pad sensor in your shorts is getting close to it's last ride
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Old 09-16-20, 02:22 PM
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I can't advise you on what is best for you but I do know that textured saddles like I see above wreak havoc with bibs if you put in miles. I ride 250mi/week yearly if weather permitting on a bare CF saddle (tilt is critical).
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Old 09-16-20, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
I can't advise you on what is best for you but I do know that textured saddles like I see above wreak havoc with bibs if you put in miles. I ride 250mi/week yearly if weather permitting on a bare CF saddle (tilt is critical).
You average almost 2x the mileage I do on a given week. The texture on the Fizik Antares is barely a texture at all... just enough to keep me from feeling like I'm on a Slip-'n-Slide.
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