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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 03-20-24, 12:52 AM
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Looking for a road saddle to ride without chamois (for non bib user)

As the thread topic. I 've tested many saddles. I like specialized power, but padding is to firm for me (even wearing bibs).
I ride road bike and trekking bike. 12,5 cm ischial bones spacing. Riding position: 40 to 55 degrees.
Any recommendations ?
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Old 03-21-24, 04:51 AM
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What does 40-55° mean? Angle of your back?
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Old 03-21-24, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
What does 40-55° mean? Angle of your back?


I checked the position
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Old 03-21-24, 05:33 AM
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Old 03-21-24, 06:01 AM
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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.

Last edited by base2; 03-21-24 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 03-21-24, 08:26 AM
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I find the same hard saddles that work for me with cycling shorts and chamois work for riding without. However you probably need to define how long you ride and how hard you ride.

For short rides of less than 60 minutes and at a leisurely pace, you might want the ultimate comfort of a big cushy saddle with springs. But for longer rides, you'll find out that will cut into the back of your legs where they meet the saddle and/or your inner thigh repeatedly rubs along the nose of the saddle.

Cushioning is nice for the short rides but it tends to make additional place for rub to occur where the edges of the crater formed by your sit bones pushes out and up the cushioning material.

It does take time for your but to get use to saddles. And that applies both with and without a chamois. If yours's doesn't get use to normal road bike saddles, then spend some money on a Brooks or Selle Anatomica saddle that is hammock type saddle with a piece of thick formed leather stretched out. Selle A. makes other types of saddles too besides the hammock saddles. So be sure you know which you are looking at.
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Old 03-21-24, 09:37 AM
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For my posterior, the only saddles that work without bibs are Brooks leather saddles. YMMV
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Old 03-21-24, 09:42 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.
Based on my experience, I doubt that a chamois does much of anything to keep your posterior dry. After a ride, my chamois is soaked, as is the rest of my kit.

I suspect that the chamois protects the skin from rubbing against the saddle, and it's the padding that accomplishes that by separating the surface of repeated rubbing (saddle-to-lycra) from the skin.
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Old 03-21-24, 10:14 AM
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Saddle shape and chamois address different issues. Shape - the pressure points or areas, guiding your position on the bike, working for your soft places, etc. Chamois - you are constantly moving relative to the saddle. The chamois is there for your skin.

I've done the ultimate test of saddles, riding naked bike rides. The saddles that work well with good shorts also work with nothing. (Well, time might take its toll on the skin with chafing in warm weather - I've done those rides later at night and distances were short.)

For me, if the bike has a good seat, I only need the chamois as a friction assist. I don't like thick and heavily padded chamois and never have. If a particular bike requires one, clearly I need to keep looking to find the right seat.
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Old 03-21-24, 09:47 PM
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Naked bike rides? I hope the local police are understanding. I wouldn’t discuss the saddle thing with them.
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Old 03-22-24, 01:24 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.

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 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....
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Old 03-22-24, 02:53 AM
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I can’t imagine a situation where sweat from the effort of a 60km ride has dampened a chamois that wouldn’t be worse if wearing anything else. Damp cotton or even technical fabric underwear is going to stay wet too and chafe more?

I just got one of these and it seems very forgiving in the middle while supportive on the sitbones
https://www.certini.co.uk/components...--black__91822
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Old 03-22-24, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by choddo
I can’t imagine a situation where sweat from the effort of a 60km ride has dampened a chamois that wouldn’t be worse if wearing anything else. Damp cotton or even technical fabric underwear is going to stay wet too and chafe more?

I just got one of these and it seems very forgiving in the middle while supportive on the sitbones
https://www.certini.co.uk/components...--black__91822
I didn't say/write that the chamois is completely dampened after 60 km - there are different situations riding road bike and trekking bike. I don't use bib shorts riding trekking bike due to many reasons, obvious reasons when I travel tours.
As far as road biking is concerned, when I ride without chamois I stay dry for far longer time. Bib shorts cause too much sweating for me. I usually use road bike when it is warm.

I've tested specialized power expert with mirror and didn't notice any difference from power expert. I wonder if elaston version of power or power arc saddle would be more comfy....
Elaston may be the solution for my road bike, but for trekking bike - I doubt...The problem is that my position on trekking bike is similar to my position on road bike....and I don't experience chafing, problem is with ischial bones discomfort, sometimes even pain after very long ride....Road saddles and gravel saddles i've tested are simply to firm for me, especially when I ride without chamois. Selle italia max flite was an exception, but maybe my body has changed when I'm older and now brand new max flite presses my perineum...
So far, after eliminating max flite, record belongs to ergon sr allroad core - the longest ride without discomfort, but only 20-30 km...

Last edited by Bart78; 03-22-24 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 03-22-24, 05:37 AM
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So you’ve tried many saddles, and can’t ride any of them even a third of the distance you want to ride without pain.Perhaps you should just give in and use the equipment that is designed for your issue: bike shorts/ bibs.

if it’s an appearance issue riding bike shorts while trekking, there are bike shorts often used for mountain biking that have the look of regular shorts, made of a padded under short, and a regular short on top. You can also buy padded liners designed for biking to be worn under regular shorts or pants.

Given that you can’t comfortably ride without padded shorts, and don’t want to ride with regular bike shorts, I’d try one of those approaches
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Old 03-22-24, 05:53 AM
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Obviously you are going to have to invest some more time in trying a variety of saddles. I like the Terry Fly Century, has a cut out. I don't have any interest in riding w/o a chamois but it seems a comfortable saddle would work (as well as possible) either way.
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Old 03-22-24, 07:04 AM
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Saddles are very specific to the person, so it would be hard to suggest one. I'm usually in bibs when I am on my bike, but when I am commuting around the city to hang with friends or go to the local pub, I just use whatever saddle is already on my bike. I am not riding far enough in jeans to need a specific saddle to use with no chamois.
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Old 03-22-24, 08:17 AM
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It might be that what you are wearing when you don't use something with a chamois is the issue and not the saddle. If you have a lot of seams that you are sitting on or cotton underwear getting moist with sweat, then that's going to be uncomfortable on even the most comfortable saddle.
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Old 03-22-24, 11:37 AM
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I do ride with a chamois. But if I didn't, I'd be tempted to try one of Serfas' dual density or maybe a dual density with memory foam. They advertise a 90 day comfort guarantee. BTW-on my road bike, I'm using a Serfas Dorado (older model tho), and while I like it (as said-I do use a chamois), don't think I'd recommend it without one. Men's Archives - Serfas

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Old 03-22-24, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
So you’ve tried many saddles, and can’t ride any of them even a third of the distance you want to ride without pain.Perhaps you should just give in and use the equipment that is designed for your issue: bike shorts/ bibs.
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Old 03-22-24, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Naked bike rides? I hope the local police are understanding. I wouldn’t discuss the saddle thing with them.
Portland. The police are our allies (and enjoy it a lot!)
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Old 03-22-24, 06:41 PM
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I would think you would have your best chance with something that can conform to your bone structure such as a Selle Anatomica.
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Old 03-22-24, 09:05 PM
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i've found i often do better with mtb saddles vs. road specific saddles. my newest is the WTB rocket, no problem going hours on it. I only bother with chamois and cycling shorts on race day, any other time is often boxer briefs and cargo shorts and has been for years. Just more comfortable that way to me. MTB saddles often have a bit more padding but a relieved area underneath just like road versions to prevent numbness, while meant to be comfortable for just as long a day in the saddle over rougher terrain. Only down side is they're typically a touch heavier.
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Old 03-23-24, 10:59 AM
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I would recommend going down to whatever local bike shops which sells Sella Italia saddles and using their free demo program to find the saddle that works for you. People can recommend saddles all day long here, but only your bum can make the right decision.

Or find a bike shop that lets you demo saddles, period.
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Old 03-23-24, 08:08 PM
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I'm in the camp where if you can't ride your saddle comfortably for an hour without a chamois, you need a better bike fit.
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Old 03-31-24, 12:02 PM
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this saddle presses my sensitive perineum (numbness occurs).
That stuck out to me. The best saddles I've tried for perineal numbness have been from ISM and Selle SMP. The SMP TRK works best for me by far, though I'd like less padding. (The ISM worked for a while, but I pretty quickly (200 km) developed a saddle sore where my groin hit the 'horns' of the ISM seat I tried out.

I don't need padding in my shorts on my Selle SMP saddle, but I believe the modern pads do wick moisture. My groin is wet at the end of my rides, but I think it would be much wetter without the pad.

What clothing do you want to ride in? I ask because I'd hate to ride much on something with seems, like standard underwear and or trousers or shorts.

Last edited by philbob57; 03-31-24 at 12:17 PM.
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