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

Saddles and cutouts

Old 12-03-08, 08:49 AM
  #1  
bdcheung
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Saddles and cutouts

I've tried a number of saddles, both with and without cutouts, and find that I'm always more comfortable in the 'taint with cutout saddles.

Am I doing something wrong with the non-cutout ones? How is it that so many people are able to make them work, and I'm not - at any saddle angle?

A list of the saddles I've tried:
- Specialized Toupe (current saddle)
- Selle Italia SLR
- San Marco Aspide Arrowhead
- Arione
- Aliante
- Flite Gel Flow
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Old 12-03-08, 08:53 AM
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I currently ride the specialized toupe on ll my three bikes. i have developed a "sensitive taint" area when i turned 30 (am 35 now), and the toupe was by far the best solution to taint and bone issues.
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Old 12-03-08, 08:54 AM
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My Madone came with a non-cut saddle, and I was concerned that it wouldn't feel right, but it's just as comfy as my cut saddles (that I've been riding since 2000). Saddle fit is a strange beast...
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Old 12-03-08, 08:58 AM
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I used cutouts for years, and THOUGHT I was as comfortable as I could get, until I discovered the Alias.
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Old 12-03-08, 09:00 AM
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Is there a secret to positioning saddles without cutouts? something with saddle angle or something?
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Old 12-03-08, 09:13 AM
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Why waste time on this? If you are more comfortable with the cutout, then ride a saddle with a cutout. Just be thankful that you are comfortable on something.
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Old 12-03-08, 09:16 AM
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If I'm doing something wrong with saddles like the SLR, I'd like to know. Then I can do it right and see if I would, in fact, be more comfortable on a different saddle.
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Old 12-03-08, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
<snip> Saddle fit is a strange beast...
Word.

What works, just works. I consider the journey to find the saddle not unlike the journey one takes to find meaning for their life...

...they both take forever and cost a ton of money, but in the end you wouldn't change the outcome but always question if there are better options even though you know there aren't....

...or something like that.
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Old 12-03-08, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
If I'm doing something wrong with saddles like the SLR, I'd like to know. Then I can do it right and see if I would, in fact, be more comfortable on a different saddle.
FWIW, I find the SLR to be an ass-hatchet, too, but the Toupe 143 is good. I suspect that a wider SLR (as wide is Toupe 143) would be fine with me, but who knows...
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Old 12-03-08, 10:54 AM
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As saddles comfort is so personal and mysterious, why is the price range so wide? Does it follow that the more expensive ones have a higher chance of being comfortable? I had been riding the one that came with my bike but just bought one for a new build and was worried about splashing out only to find it isn't comfy and then have to replace.
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Old 12-03-08, 10:57 AM
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More expensive = more exotic materials.

Often the more expensive saddles utilize carbon fiber shells, titanium rails, etc.
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Old 12-03-08, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
More expensive = more exotic materials.

Often the more expensive saddles utilize carbon fiber shells, titanium rails, etc.
Thats probably it. I figured I would buy a cheap one and use it until I know it is comfortable. Then go for a more pricey lighter upgrade of a similar model. I saw the same saddles sometimes had a less expensive version with steel rails.
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Old 12-03-08, 11:13 AM
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My saddles are level but I tend to sit at the back, which is slightly raised, no perineal discomfort on the Arione or Aliante.

Assos bibs have a built in cut out in the chamois though.
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Old 12-03-08, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bdcheung View Post
More expensive = more exotic materials.

Often the more expensive saddles utilize carbon fiber shells, titanium rails, etc.
Well, despite all that, a lot of $200 saddles cost ~$12 to make.

Cutouts only make sense if the cutout is fully from back to front. Otherwise, the cutout just makes the saddle softer in the middle. Then the issue is width.

The biggest problem with saddle fit is the customer. Monkey see the pros in magazine ads, monkey do. 130lb guys who are ultra trained and ride mostly in the drops are not the average hobby rider or even cat racer. Weight, pelvic width and riding position matter. Specialized's buttometer measures one of these parameters.

Saddle height matters within millimeters: there is a fine line between grinding the prostate and bouncing at high cadence.

At some point in a rider's sore ass career, they give in and go for anything that relieves the pain at 100 miles, then they get it.

Which is why most stage riding pros in the mid-heavy range ride 200g+ saddles with traditional shapes, and not the superlight saddles of their sponsors. There are many examples of riders appearing in ads who do not actually use that saddle. This is why saddles are an extremely profitable aspect of road cycling.

And another little secret is that many pros run with custom chamois or even double thickness chamois. It's all part of the package, and makes no sense to buy $200++ saddles with a $30 short or bib.

Last edited by BikeIndustryGuy; 12-03-08 at 11:27 AM.
 
Old 12-03-08, 12:19 PM
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Many folks cannot get the non-cutouts to be comfortable. It all comes down to your body and we're all different. If it was consistent as 50/50 you might be in the 50% that needs a cutout.
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Old 12-03-08, 12:34 PM
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just find the lightest saddle you can afford. Sterility and reliance on cialis is not as bad as it sounds.
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Old 12-03-08, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeIndustryGuy View Post
Cutouts only make sense if the cutout is fully from back to front. Otherwise, the cutout just makes the saddle softer in the middle. Then the issue is width.
Insightful post - thanks. Why do you say that cutouts only make a difference if they span the entire length of the saddle?
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Old 12-03-08, 01:08 PM
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Cutout or not, what is actually important about saddle fit is finding a saddle that is sized appropriately for your sitbones. Hats off to Specialized and Bontrager for being perhaps the only 2 available sized saddles in the US?

I've searched and searched and not been able to get different sized euro-saddles.

Just FYI, the nerves and blood vessels that cutouts are supposed to protect run across your taint width wise, not front to back.
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Old 12-03-08, 01:11 PM
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My problem with the non-cutout saddles is pressure. When I sit on the SLR or Arione, for example, I can actually feel the area in my taint being squished - it feels as if my taint is the primary point of contact, and not my sitbones.
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Old 12-03-08, 01:12 PM
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You need a wider saddle. That means the first point of contact is your taint and not your sitbones, as it should be.

What sized Specialized do j00 run?

SHILL ALERT: Go try the Bontrager Inform RL or RXL in the same size as your Specialized (I think you mentioned you run a 143? The similar Bontrager size is 146, or the yellow sticker). If you don't like it, take it back within 90 days. All Bontrager saddles have a 90-day Comfort Guarantee!
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Old 12-03-08, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by carlfreddy View Post
You need a wider saddle. That means the first point of contact is your taint and not your sitbones, as it should be.

What sized Specialized do j00 run?
130mm, I've measured my ass on both the Specialized and Bontrager sit pads
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Old 12-03-08, 01:15 PM
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Damn, you beat my edit.

Try a 128mm Bontrager Inform RL or RXL.

Seriously.
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Old 12-03-08, 01:16 PM
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i'll give that a shot. my sponsoring shop is a Trek/Bonty dealer so I'll stop by there tonight.
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Old 12-03-08, 01:23 PM
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just called my shop, they've got one on hold for me.
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Old 12-03-08, 01:50 PM
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Pressure in the taint has to do a lot with the muscular orientation of your pubocoxygeous muscle, girth, size, and size/orientation of your pelvis. Compound that with weight and other particular anatomic abnormalities and you can see why one does not fit all. I had a regular SLR, which did me fine up to about 50 miles or so. I would develop some soreness after that point. I replaced it with another SLR with a cut out and now I am better. However, I do have a sore feeling (not really bad but I know it is there) after 75+ miles. I tried a toupe, and although my taint area was very well relieved and felt great, my sit bones felt like I was siting/resting my entire body on 2 nails.
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