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Why do high(er)-end bicycles come with saddles?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Why do high(er)-end bicycles come with saddles?

Old 06-01-21, 11:48 AM
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road292
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Why do high(er)-end bicycles come with saddles?

Wisely or not, no high(er)-end bicycle these days comes with pedals (I'm not counting the cheapie flat pedals on there for test rides and such).

Yet these same bicycles come with decent saddles, presumably at a non-trivial cost adder. Why? Does anyone actually use the saddle that comes with a new bike? I can't remember the last time I did. I either take the saddle from a bike I'm replacing and put it on the new bike, or I order the same model saddle I'm presently using and install that one on the new bike so that I know it will fit me properly.
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Old 06-01-21, 11:50 AM
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Because sitting on an exposed seat post is uncomfortable?
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Old 06-01-21, 11:52 AM
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Someday, when cycling shorts and saddles have a mechanical interface, bikes will be sold without saddles.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:04 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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I don't think most bikes come with very expensive saddles. Among the people who replace them, most are probably ok using the saddle that came with the bike while the new one ships?
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Old 06-01-21, 12:07 PM
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Often they come with popular saddles like a Fizik Arione, Specialized Power, etc. And the bike shops are usually more than willing to swap saddles
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Old 06-01-21, 12:12 PM
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Im sure the hassle to arrange test rides would just be too much for the shops, if there were no seat, no pedals, no bar tape, no etc.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:23 PM
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Some people aren't picky about saddles.

I still have the saddle on my Tarmac that it came with when I got it over a year ago. However pedals are a little more user specific. I would have immediately been throwing away the pedals as it likely will have come with SPD-SL or other type considered a proper cleat for a road bike.

As it was, I only had to replace the cranks.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:26 PM
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Doomrider74
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Originally Posted by road292 View Post
Wisely or not, no high(er)-end bicycle these days comes with pedals (I'm not counting the cheapie flat pedals on there for test rides and such).

Yet these same bicycles come with decent saddles, presumably at a non-trivial cost adder. Why? Does anyone actually use the saddle that comes with a new bike? I can't remember the last time I did. I either take the saddle from a bike I'm replacing and put it on the new bike, or I order the same model saddle I'm presently using and install that one on the new bike so that I know it will fit me properly.
Actually, yes: The Specialized Power saddle that came on my Tarmac is great, and the SDG that came on my Norco mountain bike is very good, too.
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Old 06-01-21, 12:29 PM
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A decent saddle will at least garner interest if you resell it. A take-off low-end saddle, not so much.
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Old 06-01-21, 02:19 PM
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Have you met people? Have you heard about the tide pod challenge? If bikes came without saddles people would complain that their seat post isn't comfortable.
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Old 06-01-21, 02:23 PM
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We read a lot about saddle issues and preferences on BF but I agree, lots of riders just aren't picky.
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Old 06-01-21, 02:37 PM
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The last time I kept the saddle that came stock on a bike was more than 20 years ago: a Selle Italia Flite that came on my '00 Trek 5200. The most recent bike I bought was a Canyon hardtail. I replaced that saddle with, wait for it, a Selle Italia Flite.
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Old 06-01-21, 02:54 PM
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None of my current bikes have the original saddle. I would prefer if they fitted a cheap demo saddle like they do with pedals. Especially on high end bikes where you are paying for a premium saddle that might not fit your ass or you simply don’t need.

My high spec Canyon MTB actually did come with a cheap throwaway saddle, which I thought was ideal.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:17 PM
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They should probably sell bikes without wheels, too, for the same reason. Not everyone is content to stick with the same wheels that came on the bike.

As a bonus, the box will be quite a bit smaller which will save money on shipping.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:28 PM
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Because some people aren't picky when it comes to saddle. I am one of them. If bikes came with decent pedals, I'd probably keep the originals as well.

While my factory saddles are clearly not ''perfectly'' fitted for my arse, they do the job and I don't have any discomfort.
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Old 06-01-21, 03:31 PM
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Since we are already heading down this path, how about cassettes too? Surely I am not the only one who finds that although the range offered by a 11-32 cassette is wide, it involves too many shifts that are too disruptive to cadence?
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Old 06-01-21, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
They should probably sell bikes without wheels, too, for the same reason. Not everyone is content to stick with the same wheels that came on the bike.

As a bonus, the box will be quite a bit smaller which will save money on shipping.
Plus they can list lower weights.
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Old 06-01-21, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I don't think most bikes come with very expensive saddles. Among the people who replace them, most are probably ok using the saddle that came with the bike while the new one ships?
Yep. And then they get tossed into the parts bin. Last year I put one of those old stock saddles on a neighborhood kid's bike, and he likes it well enough.

My 2008 Tarmac came with a Toupe, and I rode it for 11 years until it wore out. And then I bought another Toupe.
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Old 06-01-21, 04:39 PM
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I would guess to avoid the liability of selling a bike without a saddle.

Last edited by seypat; 06-02-21 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 06-01-21, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I would guess to avoid the liability of selling a a bike without a saddle.
Just because a bike ships without a saddle (or pedals) doesn't mean it has to leave the store that way.
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Old 06-01-21, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Since we are already heading down this path, how about cassettes too?
I can relate. I'd be happy to swap the saddle that came with my bike (Specialized Diverge) for a better one, but the one that came with the bike seems fine after nearly two years of riding it. Meanwhile, I've swapped the 11-34 cassette that came with the bike for an 11-28.
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Old 06-01-21, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
They should probably sell bikes without wheels, too, for the same reason. Not everyone is content to stick with the same wheels that came on the bike.

As a bonus, the box will be quite a bit smaller which will save money on shipping.
This...
My wife after 13 years has decided her road bike saddle is no longer comfortable. I've been trying to explain its probably broken down after all this time but she liked it up until a year ago. Still has the same saddles her cross and MTB bikes came with. I still have the factory MTB, and gravel bike saddles. I'd say 3/4 of our bikes have the stock saddle, but every single bike has had the wheels replaced with something prettier, lighter and faster.
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Old 06-01-21, 09:21 PM
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There should a display version of the bike, fully built. The rest should be ready to swap bars, stem, saddle, pedals, wheels or cassette. It always seemed pretty dumb to me when I was taping up the bars on a bike, when the owner hadn't even come along yet.

The stock tape could just be sold cheap, with the bike's new owner getting that much discount on the tape of their preference. Same with bars or whatever.
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Old 06-01-21, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JonnyV View Post
Have you met people? Have you heard about the tide pod challenge? If bikes came without saddles people would complain that their seat post isn't comfortable.
This day and age, some may not...
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Old 06-01-21, 11:09 PM
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Raleighs are famous for their Brooks Saddles!!!

One might consider "Window Dressing". Bikes look far more complete in bike shops with a seat. It would be a pretty odd looking shop with a bunch of bikes with no seats and no pedals.

I bet "House Brand" seats (Specialized, Bontrager, etc), are far cheaper to manufacture than the retail prices would indicate. So, it may well be a $5 seat on a $1500+ bicyle.

Most of my bike purchases are used, and often in parts. However, if I got a bike with a good seat, I'd ride it until either it wore out, or something else struck my fancy.
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