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Saddle

Old 01-02-14, 10:17 PM
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Saddle

I've got some serious saddle issues I've got to remedy and I don't know where to start, hoping this forum can help.

I have a bontrager affinity rxl on my Madone as it came with the bike. I have find this saddle to be okay in the comfort department but never great. Lately though, as I've been doing longer base rides over off-season the discomfort can become overwhelming.

My main complaints have been what I'd describe as "dead dick" and on really long rides I have to move my weight constantly. It makes riding seem unbearable. The saddle is level and I do not have any back, leg, shoulder, or neck pains. It's strictly numbness and soreness between my sit bones.

Obviously no one can say what the problem is without a doubt but can anyone take a stab at it and maybe let me know what I might try? I've never had these issues before using a toupe or an arione.
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Old 01-02-14, 10:32 PM
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You might need a saddle with a cut out like a Specialized Toupe or Romin if you get numbness.
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Old 01-03-14, 05:50 AM
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Probably your prostate starting to get bigger. I used an arione for years until I started to go numb. I switched to a koobi and have complete relief. Not to get too personal, but my sperm count also tripled. I also tried many saddles with the same shape as the arione. Selle Italia Superflow S was second best, the worst by far was Selle Italia Teknoflow.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:53 AM
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Be careful! I have a riding buddy that decided to work through the pain of his Felt's stock saddle - issues similar to your own. He eventually went to the doctor and was recently diagnosed with a prostate infection caused by the pressure and irritation from the saddle! The doctor put him on antibiotics and told him to find a new saddle or stop cycling. After weeks off the bike my friend had a professional fitting done and switched to a completely different style saddle. So far so good.
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Old 01-03-14, 09:06 AM
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Unless you are a newbie rider I suggest you adopt a zero tolerance policy for saddles that put your man parts to sleep. That said, it may be the saddle and/or your bike fit that causing you problems, e.g. your saddle position and bar/reach/rotation position may need tweaking. My two cents is make changes until you solve the problem, and I would probably start with the saddle. Find a shop that offers a demo program, start testing. If you can find a shop that loans out the SMP line of saddles, that might be a perfect first stop. My son would argue for a Specialized loaner program as the first stop.

As I look at my herd of bikes in the garage I'm seeing 7 different saddles, and I like them each for a particular purpose. The is no one perfect saddle, for me anyway.

Last edited by FrenchFit; 01-03-14 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 01-03-14, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit
Unless you are a newbie rider I suggest you adopt a zero tolerance policy for saddles that put your man parts to sleep. That said, it may be the saddle and/or your bike fit that causing you problems, e.g. your saddle position and bar/reach/rotation position may need tweaking. My two cents is make changes until you solve the problem, and I would probably start with the saddle. Find a shop that offers a demo program, start testing. If you can find a shop that loans out the SMP line of saddles, that might be a perfect first stop. My son would argue for a Specialized loaner program as the first stop.

As I look at my herd of bikes in the garage I'm seeing 7 different saddles, and I like them each for a particular purpose. The is no one perfect saddle, for me anyway.
far from a beginner on the bike, but this whole saddle thing has me befuddled. I would run out and buy an s works toupe tomorrow if I was confident it would solve my problem, because I have that saddle on my allez and it is great (though I've never ridden the allez longer than 3 hours and my madone sees 5,6, even 8 hour rides), but on the off chance it is a fit issue, which I have explored and not been able to identify, I'd hate to be out $250 and not solve the problem. I went a degree nose up last night and I'm going to ride that today to see if it changes anything. I've tried moving the saddle forward and backward with no luck. I'm starting to think the nose is too narrow, and the saddle has a huge bulge on the front of it, which dictates that you sit in a specific spot, and this morning's research revealed that trek sells this thing as an upright position saddle, which I definitely am not. I like to be stretched out, low, and aero as I can be on the bike, a very aggressive position with a -17 105mm stem.

It may just be totally the wrong saddle for me. Here's a picture.

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Old 01-03-14, 11:02 AM
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I get the condition described above when I am doing extended hours on the trainer. I've learnt to deal with it but now I am once again worried. However, I am more concerned with my butt hole. I think I have some type of ulcer or hemorrhoid that looks awful! I spend countless hours on the saddle but I don't use chamy cream.
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Old 01-03-14, 11:05 AM
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Your local Specialized shop should offer a 30-day return period on a saddle purchase, so I wouldn't be concerned about being out the $250. I developed the same issue as you and it was over time as well. Moving over to a) a thinly-padded saddle that is b) wide enough that I could firmly plant my ass bones with c) a cut-out solved my problems. Even on 7 hour long day, when my legs were fried and I was sitting pretty heavy (less weight on the pedals, more on the ass, if you know what I mean), I didn't experience any issues. For me, it happened to be a Toupe 155. I do recall that, between the Toupe and the Romin, they recommended one more for aggressive positioning like yours, but I can't recall which.
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Old 01-03-14, 11:36 AM
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Also, try to demo the Selle SMP saddles.

Just be warned they take some getting used to, because your weight is 100% on the sit bones.
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Old 01-03-14, 04:28 PM
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It's definitely the bulbous nose on that saddle coupled with your stretched out position, why don't you just swap the toupe to the Madone and do the longer rides to check it out. I'd measure the sit bone distance to the stem so you can put the saddles in relatively the same position.
The toupe and Arione are definitely flatter designs.
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Old 01-03-14, 04:34 PM
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I had the exact same saddle (Bontrager Affinity RXL) and almost the exact same problem. I tried to work through the pain with the Affinity but I just could not get comfortable on it. I switched to a Romin and have been happy ever since. I have a Terry Fly on my winter bike that I love as well. Cutouts seem to work for me.
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Old 01-03-14, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bmcphx
I would run out and buy an s works toupe tomorrow if I was confident it would solve my problem, because I have that saddle on my allez and it is great (though I've never ridden the allez longer than 3 hours and my madone sees 5,6, even 8 hour rides), but on the off chance it is a fit issue, which I have explored and not been able to identify, I'd hate to be out $250 and not solve the problem.
How is swapping saddles to test your theory going to cost you anything?

You have saddle A and it works great!
you have saddle B and it's painful!

Test saddle A on longer rides and then if it doesn't work start looking around.
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Old 01-03-14, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit
... I suggest you adopt a zero tolerance policy for saddles that put your man parts to sleep.....
+1 I agree completely! BIG difference between a sore butt while you adapt to a new saddle.... and a saddle doing damage to you. I use a saddle with a cut out myself... although I rarely ever recommend them to anyone.... because very few people need a cut out saddle. But you may find a huge amount of relief with a proper sized (sit bone width) cut out saddle.

Also.... if you're new to road bikes you may want to be fitted and have bicycle adjustments made (even if only by a cyclist friend for now). So that... among other things... your butt is properly perched far enough back on the saddle that you benefit from a cut out.

Just MHO's
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Old 01-03-14, 06:32 PM
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Sounds counterintuitive, but it is likely the nose of your saddle is too soft or the middle is too flexible. What happens is your body start sliding down the saddle because of the soft nose or the flexible middle and you put pressure where pressure ain't supposed to be.

Those cutouts don't do jack, other than to cause some people to chafe. This is from personal experience.

Find a saddle that is stiff. Any padding should be sewn in over the top of a hard shell and be positioned under your "sit bones" (look it up) and there shouldn't be padding in the middle or nose of the saddle. If you are looking for a recommendation, try a Selle Italia Flite for starters. Some saddles come with a soft, rubbery flexible shell. Don't buy these. The saddle shell should be of hard plastic from nose to tail or thick rigid leather (if you fancy old-style Brooks saddles). After that, shape and padding are highly individualistic.

Also, just a warning, a good saddle will cost you in the range of $100. I was shocked at the price when I started riding seriously, but it is something worth investing in. Bicycle manufacturers know that most cyclists have their own preferences in saddles, so they purposely include the cheapest saddle that'll look good in their ad copy to sell with the bike. Pretty much everyone changes the saddle once they get the bike home.

A hard saddle might make your sit bones bruise when you first ride, if you are not used to it. This is a good sign. It means you are sitting on your sit bones like God intended. If you are chafing or pinching, then the saddle is the wrong shape for you. If you are feeling sharp pains in your crotch or numbness, then the saddle construction is wrong and you are sitting on the nerves and blood vessels that run to your sexy bits.

Lastly, if you don't know what you want, find a bike shop which will let you return the saddle after a few rides if it's not right for you. This is pretty common with most shops as they know that saddles are largely a trial and error sort of thing. Don't buy off the internet unless you are good at reselling things.
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Old 01-03-14, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff
...... Those cutouts don't do jack, other than to cause some people to chafe. This is from personal experience.
Find a saddle that is stiff........
Boy.... I agree with you that for most cyclists... your advice is spot on. That is why... although I wouldn't cycle without my cutout saddle I rarely recommend them. I think very few of us really need cutouts.

Just to satisfy my own curiosity.... did the hard plastic shell saddle cure YOUR "dead dick" problem... that the original poster described?
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Old 01-03-14, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter
...
Just to satisfy my own curiosity.... did the hard plastic shell saddle cure YOUR "dead dick" problem... that the original poster described?
Yup. I used to have a Bontrager saddle that came with my Trek Madone. It was a great shape, and the tail was nice and stiff and comfortable, but the shell didn't extend all the way to the tip of the nose. The nose was very soft, very padded and I was getting a lot of numbness. I switched to a Selle Italia SLR with gel flow and a cutout and that solved most of the problem. Later, I went to the Selle Italia Flite (because "mostly solved" was still causing me a bit of discomfort at times and the shape wasn't quite right), also with gel and a cutout which is stiffer in the middle and the problem went away completely.

Later, I found a good deal on the "classic" Flite (which was resurrected recently) which lacks both the gel and cutout and it was just as good if not better than the gel/cutout. Now I am pretty much completely on the classic Flite and nothing goes numb anymore.

This process literally took years and many hundreds of dollars. I took a few detours though the land of the too wide Max Flite (chafing), and the too soft Terry Fly (shooting nerve pain). I reckon I've seen it all during my path from occasional recreational roadie to road and track racing cyclist. Most racers have been through what I've been through as well. Just comes with the territory if you are riding a lot.

Everyone's different, but I'd like to save the OP a bit of time.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff

Also, just a warning, a good saddle will cost you in the range of $100. I was shocked at the price when I started riding seriously, but it is something worth investing in. Bicycle manufacturers know that most cyclists have their own preferences in saddles, so they purposely include the cheapest saddle that'll look good in their ad copy to sell with the bike. Pretty much everyone changes the saddle once they get the bike home.
I wish I would be happy with a $100 saddle lol. The saddle that came on my bike is most definitely not the cheapest, in fact, it's one of the most expensive Trek sells, it's just that it isn't right for me apparently. I spent a little over 10k miles on the bike in 2013, about 3k of those on the madone's saddle, and those are the only 3k I regret.

If I decide to race the Madone this year (which I probably will) then I won't be in such a hurry to replace the saddle, as the long rides are finished at least until after state rr.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:21 PM
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One word. Brooks. Or get a recumbent
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Old 01-03-14, 08:24 PM
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when I'm old I'm totally going to be one of those dudes on a recumbent with a mirror and a shiny vest.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
One word. Brooks. ...
No thank you. Them be as heavy as one of my front wheels. But to each his own.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:47 PM
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I know he was joking about the brooks, but I looked up the weight, 400g for the titanium railed saddle.
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Old 01-03-14, 08:56 PM
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I'm rockin bare CF at 95g. Very comfortable.
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Old 01-03-14, 09:03 PM
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So lately i have been very uncomfortable on my bike, the seat was level but I was clearly not comfortable always moving around on the saddle. So today before I rode i raised the front of my saddle a little bit, and I had a great ride today, no issues at all. That little change made all the difference.
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Old 01-03-14, 09:11 PM
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The Affinity is an ass hatchet. I've ridden quite a few saddles. The only one that was a literal pain in the ass was the Affinity.
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Old 01-04-14, 07:27 AM
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I haven't read all the posts, but I'll add that what works for me is a saddle of the appropriate width that's relatively flat side to side so it doesn't push up between the sit bones. And, the saddle needs to be relatively flat front to rear. I have 4 saddles of 3 different brands that meet these criteria and work well for me.
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