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Saddle Questions

Old 02-12-15, 10:57 PM
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Saddle Questions

Iím looking at replacing the stock saddle on my í15 Cannondale Synapse. I gather that this is a really personal preference choice, but I also see a lot of reference to sit bone width being a major consideration in choice. I believe my sit bone width is about 105-110 mm which is on the smaller side of medium for a man.

Iím generally interested in longer distance riding Ė centuries, etc. Iím also interested in a cut out saddle from what I gather about blood flow issues. Iíve recently been attempting to put more time in on the drops and this has primarily prompted me to consider I might benefit from a new saddle, but I have experienced what might be more discomfort generally with the stock saddle than what another saddle might offer. I do wear shorts with padding. Itís not killing me or anything, but riding for 4-6 hours regularly on it might be more than it is best suited for.

Iím looking at the Selle Italia SLR Max Gel Flow Saddle right now. The only thing that concerns me is the width of it seems to be wider than what might be recommended for me. What other options might be suggested if that is too wide? Itís 145 mm by the way.

Iíve also read too much padding is bad, but I assume that this is a relative thing and even though this saddle is billed as having extra padding it is not necessarily excessive.
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Old 02-12-15, 11:09 PM
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Test ride, test ride, test ride. A good LBS will let you test ride for at least a week. A better LBS will let you test ride for at least a month. A really great place will let you test ride for 6 months.

You're looking for a saddle that is wide enough so that both sitbones will sit on it but not so wide that there's a lot of extra saddle to deal with. Too narrow will provide you with the feeling that you're being torn apart. Too wide can distort your pedal stroke and give you knee and hip issues.

You're also looking at the curvature of the saddle. If you are flexible, you might prefer a flat saddle. If you are not, you might prefer a saddle that curves up in the back.

As for padding ... too cushy and you'll have too much friction. Gel is generally not considered a good choice for long rides. A firm saddle with some give is the way to go.

And the cutout ... try before you buy. Some cutouts might be OK, but I've ridden a saddle (Terry Butterfly) that lined the edges of its cutout with metal rods. Didn't matter that there was a hole in the middle designed to improve blood flow, or whatever its purpose was, when I had two metal rods digging into me and cutting off the circulation. I've also test-ridden a saddle where the cutout pinched.
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Old 02-12-15, 11:41 PM
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Take a look at the Selle Italia SLR Superflow 130
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Old 02-13-15, 12:18 AM
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The Selle Italia SL I currently have is comfortable to the ~50 mile mark, then it gets not-so-comfy. I switched it to my old (heavy) WTB Speed V to ride an MS150 (century + 78) and no saddle sores.

I'm hoping to find something comfortable like the WTB, but less brick-like.

Point is, figure it out in terms of the mikeage you ride.
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Old 02-13-15, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Test ride, test ride, test ride...

And don't be afraid to test out some of the women's saddles. I have a Mixte that my boys ride when they are in town. They claim it has the best seat in the stable and yet its just a simple women's saddle. No really big padding and light of weight. Think I ordered it from Planet Bike...
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Old 02-13-15, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01
I’m looking at replacing the stock saddle on my ’15 Cannondale Synapse. I gather that this is a really personal preference choice, but I also see a lot of reference to sit bone width being a major consideration in choice. I believe my sit bone width is about 105-110 mm which is on the smaller side of medium for a man.

I’m generally interested in longer distance riding – centuries, etc. I’m also interested in a cut out saddle from what I gather about blood flow issues. I’ve recently been attempting to put more time in on the drops and this has primarily prompted me to consider I might benefit from a new saddle, but I have experienced what might be more discomfort generally with the stock saddle than what another saddle might offer. I do wear shorts with padding. It’s not killing me or anything, but riding for 4-6 hours regularly on it might be more than it is best suited for.

I’m looking at the Selle Italia SLR Max Gel Flow Saddle right now. The only thing that concerns me is the width of it seems to be wider than what might be recommended for me. What other options might be suggested if that is too wide? It’s 145 mm by the way.

I’ve also read too much padding is bad, but I assume that this is a relative thing and even though this saddle is billed as having extra padding it is not necessarily excessive.
You may want to verify this, seems quite narrow.
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Old 02-13-15, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 02Giant
You may want to verify this, seems quite narrow.
One of the more high profile bike shops in town measured it for me. I agree though that I might want to double check it on my own. They seemed more concerned with trying to get me in for a ‘seat fitting’ than recommending a new saddle. I wasn’t going to pester them for a measurement until they insisted that my stock saddle wasn’t the problem and I just needed to be fitted. I came back that I would need to be measured to see how my current saddle fit in width.

It might actually be true that a pro fitting would benefit my setup, but I quite frankly believe they would very much like to make a big deal out of me needing a fitment since I didn’t buy my bike from them and get the fitment that they offer with a purchase. I might be wrong, but it’s something I’m considering.

I might buy the saddle that I think will be best and then have that one fitted for that matter and not throw $40 away on having my stock seat fitted that I’m pretty sure could be improved (if I’m not paying full retail of $200 at their shop and getting it for over half off of that online).
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Old 02-13-15, 07:42 AM
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People give up on saddles too soon. And/or they don't ride that much and their sitbones aren't toughened up. A degree of tilt here or there, a millimeter back or forward can make a big difference. I'm comfortable on almost anything, shape and width don't matter much as long as it isn't super narrow. Cutout or not, I don't really care. For me, curved saddles need to have a slight upward tilt and I like flat ones at zero degrees.
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Old 02-13-15, 09:52 AM
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Your sit bone width measurement and the saddle width aren't supposed to match. They need to be correlated, but the numbers aren't supposed to be the same. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know which way the difference is supposed to go, but folks at a Specialized store do. Get some professional help with this.

PS if you think you are medium for a man, than that would suggest a saddle width of about 140 mm I think. Once again, get a pro to help you.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:27 AM
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The saddle is *supposed* to be 25-30mm wider than your sitbones.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by GuyDebord
Take a look at the Selle Italia SLR Superflow 130
+1. Same saddle you're looking at but narrower. I love mine so much.
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Old 02-13-15, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker
Your sit bone width measurement and the saddle width aren't supposed to match. They need to be correlated, but the numbers aren't supposed to be the same. I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know which way the difference is supposed to go, but folks at a Specialized store do. Get some professional help with this.

PS if you think you are medium for a man, than that would suggest a saddle width of about 140 mm I think. Once again, get a pro to help you.
Sit bone width and saddle width correlation is extremely overrated. Actual saddle shape is far more important and there is very little a professional can (or is willing to) do to help you with this.

An example: my sit bone width is 110-ish mm; a 130 mm wide San Marco Zoncolan is quite comfortable for me; a 140-ish Fizik Antares is unusable. The difference is that, for me, the wide Antares is too narrow where it matters - and this is not something that can be measured on a gel pad, or that can be deducted from the saddle's max width.
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Old 02-13-15, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
The saddle is *supposed* to be 25-30mm wider than your sitbones.
I've seen this around the internet too. Thanks! If I'm really 110 then I'm afraid a 130 will be too narrow. I'm going to measure this myself with one of the methods I've see on the net.

Originally Posted by Sheik24
+1. Same saddle you're looking at but narrower. I love mine so much.
Thanks for brining this one to my attention. Even if the 130 is too narrow - I might consider the 145 of this model.
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Old 02-13-15, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01
I've seen this around the internet too. Thanks! If I'm really 110 then I'm afraid a 130 will be too narrow. I'm going to measure this myself with one of the methods I've see on the net.
For what it's worth, our sit bone measurements are about the same and I have about 6000 pain free miles on the saddle below. A few century rides and countless metric centuries. The cover is real leather as opposed to the fake pleather most have today, and it actually has a little more cushion than the average racing saddle. It's light and a good price. I may buy another one in case it becomes discontinued.

Selle Italia SLI Saddle -- Performance Exclusive

Mine.

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Old 02-13-15, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
For what it's worth, our sit bone measurements are about the same and I have about 6000 pain free miles on the saddle below. A few century rides and countless metric centuries. The cover is real leather as opposed to the fake pleather most have today, and it actually has a little more cushion than the average racing saddle. It's light and a good price. I may buy another one in case it becomes discontinued.

Selle Italia SLI Saddle -- Performance Exclusive

Mine.


That looks absolutely miserable. Cut-outs and heavily padded saddles don't mix well, the padding squishes into the cut-out and defeats the whole purpose of a cut-out. If you want to get a cut-out saddle, look for one with minimalist padding (a few mm) and a little more flex in the saddle itself.
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Old 02-13-15, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by gsa103
That looks absolutely miserable. Cut-outs and heavily padded saddles don't mix well, the padding squishes into the cut-out and defeats the whole purpose of a cut-out. If you want to get a cut-out saddle, look for one with minimalist padding (a few mm) and a little more flex in the saddle itself.
It's not quite, uh, "heavily padded" lol. I almost broke my thumb pushing down. Are you saying it really hurts me and I don't know it?
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Old 02-13-15, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
The saddle is *supposed* to be 25-30mm wider than your sitbones.
Yes ... otherwise your sitbones would be balancing on the edges of the saddle.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Yes ... otherwise your sitbones would be balancing on the edges of the saddle.
Ok, so, I verified that my sit bones are 110 mm apart. Is a 130 going to be too small? If I have to go 145 would that be the safer choice? That seems like a big spread between sizes.
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Old 02-13-15, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01
Ok, so, I verified that my sit bones are 110 mm apart. Is a 130 going to be too small? If I have to go 145 would that be the safer choice? That seems like a big spread between sizes.
Try some ... test ride ...
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Old 02-14-15, 12:46 AM
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Forget the weight considerations and buy a Brooks.

But I'm with you, the Prologo that comes stock on Cannondales feels like death. It's as if someone rubbed 400-grit sandpaper on my gooch. I've had good luck with the Specialized BG saddles, but nothing feels as good as my B-17. I recently got a new Supersix Evo and I absolutely detest the Prologo that came with it.

The saddle will definitely be the first part I replace.
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Old 02-14-15, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01
Iím generally interested in longer distance riding Ė centuries, etc. Iím also interested in a cut out saddle from what I gather about blood flow issues.
I'd suggest the Brooks C17 with cutout.

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Old 02-14-15, 01:18 AM
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ive been diggin on this. I love the downturned nose, no more jersey snag.

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Old 02-14-15, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
It's not quite, uh, "heavily padded" lol. I almost broke my thumb pushing down. Are you saying it really hurts me and I don't know it?
That's par for the course around here. I love when random internet posters know my business better than me!
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Old 02-14-15, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Fastfwd01
Ok, so, I verified that my sit bones are 110 mm apart. Is a 130 going to be too small? If I have to go 145 would that be the safer choice? That seems like a big spread between sizes.
It would probably be okay, but I would recommend 145. Too narrow will hurt for obvious reasons, but for my butt there's no such thing as too wide. Plus it gives me a little more room to move around without my sitbone hanging off the side. Your butt may vary.
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Old 02-14-15, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass
It would probably be okay, but I would recommend 145. Too narrow will hurt for obvious reasons, but for my butt there's no such thing as too wide. Plus it gives me a little more room to move around without my sitbone hanging off the side. Your butt may vary.
I ordered a 130. The Cervelo page The Four and a Half Rules of Road Saddles - Cervťlo recommends 20cm over sit bone width although it does say too narrow is worse than too wide depending on the saddle design.

Who knows… we shall see. I hope it’s not too narrow, but if it doesn’t fit me I’m not sure who they make it for. Possibly better suited to racing than longer distance? I see some information that narrow is actually better for more pedaling, longer distance, etc. It seems counter to logic to me that more narrow will be better for longer distance.

I found a pretty good deal on it. I don’t think it will hurt me too bad if I have to Ebay it if it is horrible. I almost wish I were brave enough to order both and plan to Ebay the one that doesn’t fit best or return the bigger one if the 130 fits. I might still do that actually.

Edit: I just ordered both sizes. Wiggle has these on sale for $117. I obviously haven't followed any of them on Ebay, but I have to believe I can recoup most of my money in the least at that price.

Last edited by Fastfwd01; 02-14-15 at 08:14 AM. Reason: Update
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