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Looking for a road saddle to ride without chamois (for non bib user)

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Looking for a road saddle to ride without chamois (for non bib user)

Old 04-01-24, 01:04 AM
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Tried the Spesh Romin mirror out properly yesterday on an 80km ride. Very forgiving in the perineum area. Must be the most comfortable saddle Iíve ever used.

Donít know how youíre supposed to keep it clean inside the mesh though, from mucky water thrown up by the back wheel.



Also donít know what those 2 threaded holes are for??

Last edited by choddo; 04-01-24 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 04-01-24, 01:41 PM
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I've been riding bikes my whole life and never once worn cycling shorts with any sort of padding in them. I've gone on some fairly long rides too and ride regularly.

In the past, I had some sort of gel saddle that was quite comfortable for many years and have since passed it on down to a friend though can't remember the brand. It was one of those that was probably more marketed towards commuters and the like but it worked great for me on multi hour rides.
I had a Brooks B17 for a while but just could never get comfortable on it.

These days, everything I own has some sort of mountain bike saddle. My main road bike and my commuter have similar, slightly older Bontrager mtb saddles. Both of those are excellent. Not necessarily light weight but nowhere near as heavy as your standard comfort saddle. Good balance of soft but supportive.
My lightweight carbon road bike has a high end WTB mtb saddle with titanium rails, quite light. A bit on the firmer side than the Bontragers not too bad. I took it on a 3 and a half hour ride yesterday and my butt was only very slightly sore by the end. Granted, I don't ride that particular bike all that often, if I did, probably wouldn't be an issue at all and it's already minor to begin with.
My mountain bike has a newer-ish Specialized mtb Body Geometry and, as others have mentioned, is quite comfortable. I have another bike with an older Body Geometry saddle and that thing is quite the couch cushion, I really like that one.

For whatever it's worth, the leg wear I use while riding is all over the place. On the commuter, it's typically rolled up Carhartt pants. On the road bike, it's usually a pair of casual fitting, non-padded cycling shorts (one could call them lifestyle shorts I guess) with conveniently zippered pockets. The kind you could wear around town and look like you're wearing regular shorts. On the mountain bike, it's anything goes. I've worn my Carhartts, the previously mentioned cycling shorts, board shorts, whatever. All have served me well.
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Old 04-01-24, 04:08 PM
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I think you must have an adamantium asspiece.
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Old 04-02-24, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
Like your fingertips playing guitar or your palette when playing saxophone, your sit ones need to harden up and acclimate to the saddle. More padding is rarely the answer. Though some padding can sometimes be helpful. More padding tends to lead to hot & swampy conditions which leads to friction and chafing. The purpose of a chamois isn't padding; it's to facilitate wicking and evaporation for a dry friction free posterior.

Specialized with their "Body Geometry" tend to be generally good. I also had a Terry leather over foam saddle that worked fantastic until the foam eventually broke down.

People swear that Brooks are the best-est. I never could make Brooks Cambrium saddles work for me. Maybe they mean Brooks leather are the best? I dunno. Leather tends to breathe. So, no doubt that contributed to why leather garners such high praise. (I know I liked my Terry with plain ol' blue jeans.)

What works best for me is a chamois on a smooth, unpadded hard carbon shell with a cut out. A Fizik Antares or a Specialized Riva if, for whatever reason I decide to go with out a chamois.

Different saddles tend to work different for different people and different bikes...And that's really all there is to it.
I would see this idea as applying to Brooks leather saddles.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:14 AM
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I was thinking about selle anatomica - unfortunately it is not available in Poland, where I live...
I had or tried following saddles (alphabetically):
1 Bontrager AELOUS Comp (now on my road bike - maybe it is best saddle for me when riding with chamois)
2 Bontrager VERSE Short Comp 145 (uncomfortable for me, shape ??)
3 Brooks C15 carved - (NOT TESTED YET - testing now - I will inform soon)
4 ERGON SF Sport gel Man M/L (too soft, loosing shape and presses fragile parts)
5 ERGON SMC Core Women M/L (tried in trekking bike: great padding - core 3d, but shape isn't good - presses fragile parts)
6 ERGON SR Allroad Pro M/L (i have the saddle for 2 years, i thought it would be the best, but... something is wrong....)
7 ERGON SR Allroad Pro S/M (same as above)
8 Fabric Line Elite Shallow (very comfy saddle for my road bike but bontrager aelous is even better)
9 Fizik Tempo Argo R3 (too firm)
10 Giant Fleet SL 145 (too firm)
11 Prologo Dimension NDR 143 (only tried and returned - great saddle, but i ordered space version thinking it will better)
12 Prologo Dimension Space (NOT TESTED YET - in transport to me)
13 SanMarco Shortfit 2.0 Dynamic Comfort Wide (too firm)
14 Selle Italia Max Flite Superflow L3 (great padding but shape is not good for me)
15 Selle Italia Max Flite Superflow L3 - special version E-Bike (great padding but shape is not good for me - little softer padding than other version of max flite, maybe too soft)
16 Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Gravel L3 tm superflow (too firm)
17 Selle Italia S5 S3 (NOT TESTED YET - on transport to me)
18 Selle Royal Vaia Athletic (too soft, loosing shape and presses fragile parts)
19 Selle SMP TRK Large (great padding, but shape is not for me, hurts my front fragile parts or rear fragile parts, can't set)
20 Selle SMP VT 30 (great padding, but shape is not for me)
21 Selle SMP WELL M1 (great padding, but shape is not for me)
22 Specialized Power Arc Expert 155 (too firm, but shape better than power)
23 Specialized Power Arc Pro Elaston 155 (too firm, but shape better than power)
24 Specialized Power Comp 145 (too firm)
25 Specialized Power Expert 145 (too firm)
26 Specialized Power Expert with MIRROR 145 (too firm)
27 Specialized Rivo Sport 155 (too thick padding, loosing shape and presses fragile parts)
28 Specialized Romin Comp (too firm, quite good shape)
29 SQLab 602 Active 2.0 (tried with my trekking - this saddle is not for tilted body position - uncomfy when more aggresive position)
30 SQLab 612 2.1 (too firm, great perineal area relief)
31 Terry Butterfly Exera Max Women (not bad, but rather for my wife)
32 WTB Pure steel (uncomfy at all)
33 WTB Rocket steel (uncomfy at all)
34 WTB VOLT Wide steel (uncomfy at all)

Best saddles for me so far: Prologo Dimension NDR, Bontrager Aeolus, Fabric line shallow - rather with bibs.
I will test prologo space dimension, brooks c15 and selle italia s5.
So far I can't find comfy saddle for my trekking....

Last edited by Bart78; 04-19-24 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:38 AM
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Sage advice from someone here on BF: "You sit on a seat, You straddle a saddle."

Saddles are not chairs. They are not intended to be super luxuriously comfortable; Merely "not uncomfortable." They are intended to be used with a chamois. The common denominator to all your discomfort is you and the absence of a chamois.

Find a chamois that works for you, put it on the best saddle found so far and go ride. Harden up your sit bones. You'll be fine. I promise.

The Specialized RBX shorts (non-SWAT) are on sale for $30USD
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Old 04-19-24, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
Sage advice from someone here on BF: "You sit on a seat, You straddle a saddle."

Saddles are not chairs. They are not intended to be super luxuriously comfortable; Merely "not uncomfortable." They are intended to be used with a chamois. The common denominator to all your discomfort is you and the absence of a chamois.

Find a chamois that works for you, put it on the best saddle found so far and go ride. Harden up your sit bones. You'll be fine. I promise.

The Specialized RBX shorts (non-SWAT) are on sale for $30USD
I am 45. When I was 25, i could ride 150 km with chamois and 60 km without bibs on selle Italia. Now i can't, so I'm looking for another saddles. I hate chamois when it is hot. I have many bibs, good brands. My weight is the same for years (80 kg).
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Old 04-19-24, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Bart78
I am 45. When I was 25, i could ride 150 km with chamois and 60 km without bibs on selle Italia. Now i can't, so I'm looking for another saddles. I hate chamois when it is hot. I have many bibs, good brands. My weight is the same for years (80 kg).
You haven't mentioned chamois cream (or if you did I missed it). If you haven't tried it, maybe you should. Assos and others sell it, but many riders find that other products work well, too. One example is Bag Balm, which is marketed as a treatment for cow udders. I use Nivea Cocoa Butter.
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Old 04-19-24, 08:35 AM
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Ignore the "experts" here who keep telling you that you need to use a chamois or harden up your sit bones (which as you've stated you've done over 20 years). It's very possible to ride, and to ride for long durations without a chamois. Lots of tourers, bikepackers as well as one of the top ultra endurance cyclists in the world (Lael Wilcox) don't use a chamois.

I've taken up riding quite often without one and right now my favorite saddle to use is the Terry Fly Gel Titanium. It has a smooth leather cover which I find allows for a nice low friction interface, and the combination of a decent thickness somewhat firm foam and the gel layer works really well for comfort. It has a pretty sizable cutout for perineum relief, though I've never had an issue in that regard so can't comment how well it serves that purpose. I've also been very comfortable on a Brooks C17 (not carved) so maybe you'll find the C15 Carved works well for you.

There's also a German company you may want to check out that has saddles and shorts designed around no chamois: https://www.everve.cc/ezero/
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Old 04-19-24, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Ignore the "experts" here who keep telling you that you need to use a chamois or harden up your sit bones (which as you've stated you've done over 20 years). It's very possible to ride, and to ride for long durations without a chamois. Lots of tourers, bikepackers as well as one of the top ultra endurance cyclists in the world (Lael Wilcox) don't use a chamois.

I've taken up riding quite often without one and right now my favorite saddle to use is the Terry Fly Gel Titanium. It has a smooth leather cover which I find allows for a nice low friction interface, and the combination of a decent thickness somewhat firm foam and the gel layer works really well for comfort. It has a pretty sizable cutout for perineum relief, though I've never had an issue in that regard so can't comment how well it serves that purpose. I've also been very comfortable on a Brooks C17 (not carved) so maybe you'll find the C15 Carved works well for you.

There's also a German company you may want to check out that has saddles and shorts designed around no chamois: https://www.everve.cc/ezero/
Thank You very much for specified info...I will look for terry...
I've tested brooks c15 - it was very painful experience ! The worst saddle for me ! I heard my ischial bones screaming...
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Old 04-19-24, 11:07 AM
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Selle SMP.

Here is a great article on the SMP saddles, written by a coach/ trainer/ fitter.

https://www.colbypearce.com/smp-primer/
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Old 04-19-24, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Bart78
I know everything that You wrote very well. I ride road bike for 20 years. My sit bones are certainly hardened, but as I'm getting older they need more comfort. I hate chamois, because after 1 hour ride it is full of moisture - I can live with that with road bike eventually, but I can't wear bibs riding my trekking when I travel to work or friends...
Distances: road bike up to 130 km, trekking - up to 60 km.
For years I rode selle italia max flite, and I could ride on it without chamois. Unfortunately, as it turned out some day, this saddle presses my sensitive perineum (numbness occurs).
Leather saddles - I think it will be same problem with perineum numbness....
I can't ride more than 20 minutes without chamois on most road saddles that I had....
saddles - The Max Flite has come in a few different 'variations' over the years, some with solid (no open groove) form, others with varying width of open space/groove down the saddle middle.
maybe look for a newer version, similar shape to what you had/liked (if you have the solid shell without open groove).
If the saddle is 'level' in setup, often 2-4mm drop takes the pressure off your 'parts'... It might take a few rides to let your legs become accustomed, but worth a try (and not costly).

shorts/bibs - vary quite a bit in the 'chamois' on them. Often hard to find those which work for anyone.
Perspiration - because of the riding position, all the perspiration which DOESN'T transfer thru the shirt/Jersey/Top and evaporate, goes down and collects down at your butt and privates...
ride with good ventilation and fabric which doesn't collect moisture - No Cotton ! - No Tight synthetics ! -Soccer/football Jerseys are the WORST material !
The more you can allow to evaporate, the less wet you will be at the chamois/saddle.
Buy enough riding bottoms (shorts/Bibs) to allow you to NOT ride the same shorts consecutively. For mulit-day rides carry at least one (maybe 2?) additional bottoms to wear on alternating basis.
And do a quick handwash/rinse on bottom used and then allow to dry.
I find 4 bottoms will get me thru 7-8 days of riding (with a quick rinse after use). I have 14-15 bottoms of varying style and fabric/thickness, which allows me t pick something appropriate for the ride/day. Not all bought in the same season - but now usually retire 1 or 2 each season and get new.
That for roughly 240+ days riding & 10,000+ km per year (I do a lot of other things, hike/multi-day backpack, alpine & XC ski, hockey...)
Ride On
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Old 04-19-24, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Bart78
I am 45. When I was 25, i could ride 150 km with chamois and 60 km without bibs on selle Italia. Now i can't, so I'm looking for another saddles. I hate chamois when it is hot. I have many bibs, good brands. My weight is the same for years (80 kg).
I am the same age & weight as you. Age and weight don't have much to do with it. It's the shape of your sit bones and a customization to time of duration of rides. As well as general overall bike fit.

Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Ignore the "experts" here who keep telling you that you need to use a chamois or harden up your sit bones (which as you've stated you've done over 20 years). It's very possible to ride, and to ride for long durations without a chamois. Lots of tourers, bikepackers as well as one of the top ultra endurance cyclists in the world (Lael Wilcox) don't use a chamois.

I've taken up I've also been very comfortable on a Brooks C17 (not carved) so maybe you'll find the C15 Carved works well for you.

There's also a German company you may want to check out that has saddles and shorts designed around no chamois: https://www.everve.cc/ezero/
I am by no means an "expert" but after 34-whatever saddles suggested, the statistical probabilities of the saddle being the culprit are vanishingly small. The common denominator between all of the fit issues is not the saddle. Can you come up with another alternative?

Originally Posted by Bart78
Thank You very much for specified info...I will look for terry...
I've tested brooks c15 - it was very painful experience ! The worst saddle for me ! I heard my ischial bones screaming...
As tends to happen when they are soft and unaccustomed to use. It's ok. Everyone has to work back into summer-time ride durations.

Originally Posted by riverdrifter
Selle SMP.

Here is a great article on the SMP saddles, written by a coach/ trainer/ fitter.

https://www.colbypearce.com/smp-primer/
The OP mentions 3 versions of the Seller SMP

Originally Posted by cyclezen
saddles - The Max Flite has come in a few different 'variations' over the years, some with solid (no open groove) form, others with varying width of open space/groove down the saddle middle.
The OP mentions 2 versions of the Max Flight, already.

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Old 04-19-24, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by base2
I am by no means an "expert" but after 34-whatever saddles suggested, the statistical probabilities of the saddle being the culprit are vanishingly small. The common denominator between all of the fit issues is not the saddle. Can you come up with another alternative?
Sure, I can. But I also don't know if the OP will find their perfect, comfortable saddle. There's just too much we won't know no matter how much he tries to articulate details here.

I'm just stating that it is very possible to ride without using a chamois and to still be comfortable, and also giving some more things to look into.

There's so much variation in saddles, that despite all those different saddles tried, that's not even 10% of what's available. I haven't dug into specs of each saddle listed to see how similar or dissimilar they all are. There could be a width, length, shape, material, etc. that hasn't been tried. Another possibility is that all the jumping from one saddle to the next to the next is part of the problem and he's not allowing enough time for his body to adjust to any of them, or to play with small adjustments to saddle position or tilt that might make all the difference. Discomfort from the prior saddle could be lingering and though the next saddle would be fine on its own, sitting on any saddle would bring back the past discomfort.
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Old 04-19-24, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
There's so much variation in saddles, that despite all those different saddles tried, that's not even 10% of what's available. I haven't dug into specs of each saddle listed to see how similar or dissimilar they all are. There could be a width, length, shape, material, etc. that hasn't been tried. Another possibility is that all the jumping from one saddle to the next to the next is part of the problem and he's not allowing enough time for his body to adjust to any of them, or to play with small adjustments to saddle position or tilt that might make all the difference. Discomfort from the prior saddle could be lingering and though the next saddle would be fine on its own, sitting on any saddle would bring back the past discomfort.
Yes, I've experienced this, I'm aware of it... After a ride on aeolus (wearing comfy bibs), next day I rode to work on ergon sr allroad and feeled much pressure on ischial bones, but another day everything was ok.
As far as c15 is concerned, I don't think it can match my butt, even after long time, it is cambium, not leather.

Last edited by Bart78; 04-19-24 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 04-19-24, 04:06 PM
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How long were your trials of these saddles?
Did you follow the manufacturer's setup recommendations?
How did the shapes fail you? All the same way, or did one saddle rub you in one place, other saddles in other places?
Have you found a shape that does work for you?
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Old 04-19-24, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Sure, I can. But I also don't know if the OP will find their perfect, comfortable saddle. There's just too much we won't know no matter how much he tries to articulate details here.
I guess the reality is that there is no such thing as a perfect comfortable saddle so long as the expectations are that of a seat.

I'm just stating that it is very possible to ride without using a chamois and to still be comfortable, and also giving some more things to look into.
In this we do agree. But I think that for most people, this is a very high bar for "success." Though I do know exactly one single person who rides without a chamois. He rides 400 miles per week and has been working at it for 25 years. I'd wager this is above average and generally not applicable to new internet bulletin board users.

There's so much variation in saddles, that despite all those different saddles tried, that's not even 10% of what's available. I haven't dug into specs of each saddle listed to see how similar or dissimilar they all are. There could be a width, length, shape, material, etc. that hasn't been tried. Another possibility is that all the jumping from one saddle to the next to the next is part of the problem and he's not allowing enough time for his body to adjust to any of them, or to play with small adjustments to saddle position or tilt that might make all the difference. Discomfort from the prior saddle could be lingering and though the next saddle would be fine on its own, sitting on any saddle would bring back the past discomfort.
Ok. This is a fair point. He may need to dial back his mileage and duration. Then ramp up into a promising candidate for 3-4 weeks instead of jumping cold-turkey into the no chamois game. IOW harden up with one saddle before making a 👍/👎judgement.

Last edited by base2; 04-19-24 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 04-19-24, 04:56 PM
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I don't normally plug my product, but Kontact saddles are great for no chamois or with street clothes because you just sit on your pelvic bones and the nose is narrow and out of your way.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
I don't normally plug my product, but Kontact saddles are great for no chamois or with street clothes because you just sit on your pelvic bones and the nose is narrow and out of your way.
Iím not sure that will help with his problem as itís discomfort from the pressure on his sit bones. Focusing even more pressure on that area isnít likely going to improve that.
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Old 04-19-24, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by NumbersGuy
Iím not sure that will help with his problem as itís discomfort from the pressure on his sit bones. Focusing even more pressure on that area isnít likely going to improve that.
It may not, but as the saddle is designed for sit bone support and has a perforated body under the sit bones that does not curve to the sides, it is supportive in a more comfortable and anatomic manner than other saddles.

No saddle works for everyone.
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Old 04-20-24, 02:28 PM
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My thoughts based on my experiences:
1. I agree with some statements from article about SMP saddles: the most important is shape - there is no need for any padding if the shape completely matches cyclist's body. Of course it is impossible to achieve this via mass production of saddles - padding helps a little.
2. Using bibs with chamois is not essential, but in most cases it helps...If You feel discomfort riding without chamois relatively short distance means the saddle is not perfect.
3. In my opinion chamois with gel pads is a misconception... I consider only thin foam chamois. Chamois is not for leveling lack of padding in the saddle.
4. I know exactly what features should have a perfect saddle for me. Aelous, prologo dimension and power arc have best shapes for me. The saddle should also have elastic shell.

Last edited by Bart78; 04-21-24 at 04:12 AM.
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