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Climbing saddles vs flat land saddles

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Climbing saddles vs flat land saddles

Old 09-09-23, 08:44 PM
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Climbing saddles vs flat land saddles

Is it possible that a saddles used for flat land riding be less than ideal when considerable climbing is required? As snow birds I have given into using only my Selle Anatomica saddled bikes when we are in our summer place in the foothills of the Bighorn Mtns and have found a little discomfort when bringing bikes with modern light weight road saddle that tend to be long and narrow with minimum padding.
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Old 09-10-23, 09:29 AM
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If it's terrain you don't ride often, then probably you just need to get use to it. But I've never really ridden in completely flat areas since riding became more than just going from point A to point B.
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Old 09-11-23, 09:47 AM
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Agree, you probably need to get used to it, adjust it or find one that works for you. Changing saddles for me is a big pain as once it is dialed in I don't want to move it.
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Old 09-11-23, 05:49 PM
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I was just watching a video discussing saddle angle and climbing. Apparently Tadej Pogacar tilted his saddle a couple degrees nose-down for some of the mountain stages. The argument is that when the road tilts up, you'll naturally tend to lean forward into the climb. Also, your saddle tilts up, too, which puts pressure where it wouldn't be on the flat. So, if you're riding a flat saddle on the flats, but experience discomfort - you didn't say where - perhaps a wave saddle would relieve the pressure?
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Old 09-12-23, 02:32 AM
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Yeah, our position and weighting on a saddle can change when climbing, as muscle recruitment and force on the pedals can change, too, so yes, a saddle can be optimized for flat road or climbing comfort.

That said, most people are pretty resilient and don’t need to change saddles for varied riding, and if the do a lot of one type or the other, it’s usually reflected in their bike set up preferences, e.g. saddle positioning.
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Old 09-12-23, 07:03 AM
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The weight shifts at the back when you climb, so you can expect your pressure point to shift as well.

Since I ride in the mountains, I always tilt my saddle to compensate.
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Old 09-12-23, 07:08 AM
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I'll give the tilt a try, couple degrees at a time and see what happens. These climbs can me miles so what your saying makes sense.
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Old 09-12-23, 08:25 AM
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It's less comfortable on the flat though. There is no such thing as a perfect fitt for all terrains.

I climb 800+meters (2600+ft) on my usual 50km (30mi) ride. For me, having a tilted saddle is a must. Not as much as Pogacar's saddle at the 2023 TDF though!

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Old 09-12-23, 08:40 AM
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There are also good reasons why triathlon saddles are very different and often nose-less.
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Old 09-12-23, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I was just watching a video discussing saddle angle and climbing. Apparently Tadej Pogacar tilted his saddle a couple degrees nose-down for some of the mountain stages. The argument is that when the road tilts up, you'll naturally tend to lean forward into the climb. Also, your saddle tilts up, too, which puts pressure where it wouldn't be on the flat. So, if you're riding a flat saddle on the flats, but experience discomfort - you didn't say where - perhaps a wave saddle would relieve the pressure?
I'm dubious about the argument for tilting it down considering the body is putting out dynamic forces of it's own while powering the bike up the hill.

Also wandering how much of a incline it has to be before Tadej does this. Mountain stages for them involve grades of 18% and more. Most of us are probably lucky to find a few brief areas of 10% where the grade only averages 4 to 5%. And the other question might be if he does this only for mountain top finishes with a steep ending climb.
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Old 09-12-23, 09:53 AM
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Yea. Tadej's saddle was extremely tilted. My body wouldn't like that, that's for sure. Mine is tilted just so that the bubble on a level touches the rear line. Nothing extreme.
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Old 09-12-23, 10:07 AM
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To clarify, I wasn't suggesting any of us mere mortals should tilt our saddles a la Pogacar. I was suggesting that if you're riding a flat profile saddle and find it puts pressure on your perineum when the road tilts up, it could be you'd be more comfortable on a wave profile saddle. The problem with tilting your saddle is it may put more pressure on your hands, arms, and shoulders, so you might just be moving the discomfort around, not relieving it.
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Old 09-12-23, 10:15 AM
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I use the same saddle, but I have played with tilt depending on the terrain. During the warmer months, most of my riding is up in the mountains with the elevation gain well above the golden ratio of 100'/mile. In those cases, I run a bit more tilt. I ease it off a bit in the winter months, as the elevation gain isn't quite so extreme. It's only a few degrees, but I notice the differences on terrain. Nose down on flat terrain...I'm not utilizing the width of the seat correctly and my ass gets sore. Flat saddle on extended uphills(30-60 minute long climbs) and I start getting a bit of tingling in a spot you don't want tingling.

Another factor is how much power you're putting out. I guess you could tend to roll forward/excessively weight the bars if you have a tilted saddle and aren't putting out a certain wattage. I imagine that Pogacar is putting out enough power that loading the bars really isn't an issue.
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Old 09-12-23, 10:33 AM
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I've never felt uncomfortable in the saddle (flat profile) on climbs.
I'm also a firm believer in "Don't buy upgrades, ride up grades".
However reading this thread reminded me of this; https://www.aenomalyconstructs.com/?...UaAk81EALw_wcB

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Old 09-12-23, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider

Another factor is how much power you're putting out. I guess you could tend to roll forward/excessively weight the bars if you have a tilted saddle and aren't putting out a certain wattage. I imagine that Pogacar is putting out enough power that loading the bars really isn't an issue.
Yes re: power
The tour level riders average crazy power compared to us amateur cyclist.
This means much more of the body weight is off the bars and saddle and into the spinning!
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Old 09-12-23, 02:01 PM
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Stand up when you climb (at least occasionally).
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Old 09-13-23, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra_rider
I use the same saddle, but I have played with tilt depending on the terrain. During the warmer months, most of my riding is up in the mountains with the elevation gain well above the golden ratio of 100'/mile. In those cases, I run a bit more tilt. I ease it off a bit in the winter months, as the elevation gain isn't quite so extreme. It's only a few degrees, but I notice the differences on terrain. Nose down on flat terrain...I'm not utilizing the width of the seat correctly and my ass gets sore. Flat saddle on extended uphills(30-60 minute long climbs) and I start getting a bit of tingling in a spot you don't want tingling.

Another factor is how much power you're putting out. I guess you could tend to roll forward/excessively weight the bars if you have a tilted saddle and aren't putting out a certain wattage. I imagine that Pogacar is putting out enough power that loading the bars really isn't an issue.
Interesting that you do this. I lower my saddle height a few CM in the winter months. Not sure why, I think it's because I ride slower and less often in the winter. You are about the only other person I've heard that adjusts their saddle for winter.
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Old 09-13-23, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
I was suggesting that if you're riding a flat profile saddle and find it puts pressure on your perineum when the road tilts up
If you're experiencing pressure from the saddle nose, maybe the saddle's in the wrong for-aft position.

When climbing in the saddle, I'm sitting taller, and gravity pushes my hips back on the saddle. On the pedal downstroke, I may even need to pull on the bars to hold my saddle position. Virtually no saddle nose pressure.
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Old 09-14-23, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
If you're experiencing pressure from the saddle nose, maybe the saddle's in the wrong for-aft position.

When climbing in the saddle, I'm sitting taller, and gravity pushes my hips back on the saddle. On the pedal downstroke, I may even need to pull on the bars to hold my saddle position. Virtually no saddle nose pressure.
Harsh on the arms! (triceps)! On those 2000+m (6500+ft) of total elevation rides, mines hurt for the rest of the day
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Old 09-15-23, 06:47 AM
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I thought I knew everything I needed to know about saddles and positioning.... hah hah .....but when the ol' ways no longer work it's time for new perspectives. Of the many "how to" position videos I've watched the only one that I could relate to was from John Cobb. While he may be most well know for triathlon saddles he's not limited to that and offers tip for road riders to find their ideal position also. I went to his website after having purchased one his Pro SR/San Remo saddles and unable to get it dialed in. I now have it some 40mm more forward and tilted up 4 degrees overall rather than down 3 degrees. The narrow mid section has inherent flex, so when tilted up you pubic bone supports you while remaining flexible, and the rear section stabilizes you. Every day I ride with it I'm amazed how nice it is to ride such a saddle. I never have any saddle discomfort. I don't think any other brand or model compares to how Cobb does saddles, as he's rides what he speaks, from experience. The 8 videos are very helpful as he offers practical tips for getting you best positioning.

The closest in design to the Cobb is a Ritchey Skyline Comp. I even bought one for an upcoming bike to see. Of course it's as nice of quality, but as ling as it functions similarly I'll be happy.

​​​​​​https://speedandcomfort.com/pages/fitting-tips
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Old 09-15-23, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01

Also wandering how much of a incline it has to be before Tadej does this. Mountain stages for them involve grades of 18% and more. Most of us are probably lucky to find a few brief areas of 10% where the grade only averages 4 to 5%. And the other question might be if he does this only for mountain top finishes with a steep ending climb.
Climbs in the Tour de France, for the most part are really not terribly steep. They’re long, and iconic from their role in racing history, so they get a reputation.

However, for steepness, a lot of the eastern U.S. such as the Appalachian mountains has substantially steeper grades than climbs such as Alp d’ Huez
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Old 09-15-23, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Climbs in the Tour de France, for the most part are really not terribly steep.
High mountain roads that get snow and stay open in Winter typically have moderate grades, so vehicles can get up and down them safely.

The very steep roads that are used in grand tours are often little more than paved goat paths.

Here in California, the silly steep roads are either at low elevation (Old Priest Grade), or on high elevation roads that close in Winter (Sonora Pass).
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Old 09-15-23, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Climbs in the Tour de France, for the most part are really not terribly steep. They’re long, and iconic from their role in racing history, so they get a reputation.

However, for steepness, a lot of the eastern U.S. such as the Appalachian mountains has substantially steeper grades than climbs such as Alp d’ Huez
The point I was making is more about whether Tadej tilts his saddle down for every mountain stage. I seriously doubt it. If he actually does this routinely at all, I would think it would be for the steep mountain finishes. However I can't imagine going through the misery of having the saddle tilted down for the part of the stage that is relatively flat.

I could also imagine Tadej whipping out a hex key real quick when no one is looking after the stage and tilting the nose down just to watch others and hear their comments about it.
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Old 09-15-23, 05:51 PM
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My point was simply to correct an mis impression that TDF climbs are steeper than what many of come across. While some of the shorter, non HC climbs can have some steep pitches, most of the HC climbs in the TDF do not have supe high grades.
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Old 09-15-23, 06:16 PM
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I set up my saddles so they're comfortable, and they feel just as comfortable in any terrain. I tilt them down about .5 cm. over their length. Works for me both sitting up on the tops and all the way down, forearms horizontal. Of course different parts of my anatomy are getting the pressure as I rotate my pelvis, but saddles seem to be designed with that in mind. I've been using Selle Italia saddles for a long time. A 10% grade is only 5.7°, hardly noticeable compared to our normal change in pelvic rotation in the various positions on the flat.
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