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Saddle Preference

Old 04-16-20, 06:22 PM
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Chrisp72
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Saddle Preference

Hi all!


I know from experience that people are different and saddles fit differently for everyone. There are many price points and styles and materials out there to choose from, and many bicycle set ups that vary between riders.


There are three manufacturers that I have seen that I'm interested in and I realize that trying out a saddle is ultimately the way to go. I currently have a non broken in Brooks B17 on my Kuwahara Caravan that will be used on my first journey but I'm wondering if anyone has experience with Selle Anatomica saddles and Gilles Berthoud touring specific saddles. The Gilles Berthoud saddle is a pipe dream for now but I'm wondering if it's worth the money? I'll know more once I ride but I would like to start a conversation about saddles based on what people on this forum are using to get some idea of what there is.

Last edited by Chrisp72; 04-16-20 at 06:24 PM. Reason: I forgot to mention my current saddle name.
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Old 04-16-20, 06:49 PM
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I owned two Selle Anatomica saddles, both had the "thickest" treated leather they offered which were supposed to stretch the least. They were both very comfortable but both stretched out and showed significant sag quite quickly, such that I went back to my Brooks. I weighed probably about 170-175 lbs at that time. YMMV
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Old 04-16-20, 07:08 PM
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+1
I tried the Sella and had the same result. I rode it around town for a couple months. It sagged and was generally uncomfortable for me. I can't imagine touring on a Sella.
I went back to the Brooks.

Some people speak very highly of Sella saddles.
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Old 04-16-20, 07:15 PM
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This is a friend of mine's SA saddle after not many days on tour (it was new when we took off), but in all fairness, he likes it and still uses it to this day though it continued to sag.

Last edited by robow; 04-16-20 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 04-16-20, 07:24 PM
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As you say, everyone's different, so I'll add my positive review of my Selle Anatomica Titanico to counter the preceding negative reviews.

I can't compare to Brooks (apart from a very hard, uncomfortable knockoff on a Viscount bike) or other leather saddles, but the Titanico has been more suited to my anatomy than all the previous saddles I'd ever ridden on since the mid-1970s. I'm 135–150 lb., depending on season and fitness. Yes, I've had to turn the tensioning bolt a handful of times to reduce the hammock sag effect, but I've been on the original frame and leather for more than 7 years, and I ride 150–200 miles/week pretty much year round.

SA makes several different models aimed at different ranges of body weight and kinds of riding, so you need to pick the model best suited for you.
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Old 04-16-20, 09:11 PM
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I bought a Terry Liberator a few years ago. About $75. Now I have one on every bike I own. I never looked back.
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Old 04-16-20, 10:28 PM
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I currently ride & test rode a comfortable Giant saddle from the LBS similar to this:

Terry Liberator Saddles | Love It or Return It Guarantee‎

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Old 04-17-20, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I owned two Selle Anatomica saddles, both had the "thickest" treated leather they offered which were supposed to stretch the least. They were both very comfortable but both stretched out and showed significant sag quite quickly, such that I went back to my Brooks. I weighed probably about 170-175 lbs at that time. YMMV
Mine lasted less than 3000k, which is on the low side considering the price. It stretched so far in that distance that the adjusting screw was adjusted so far it broke off from too much sideways force on it. In fairness this was some time ago, perhaps they have corrected this problem, but as a result they have lost me as a future customer. I went to a Brooks C17 and haven't looked back, hands down the best saddle straight out of the box I have used.
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Old 04-17-20, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tspoon View Post
Mine lasted less than 3000k, which is on the low side considering the price. It stretched so far in that distance that the adjusting screw was adjusted so far it broke off from too much sideways force on it. In fairness this was some time ago, perhaps they have corrected this problem, but as a result they have lost me as a future customer. I went to a Brooks C17 and haven't looked back, hands down the best saddle straight out of the box I have used.

tspoon...I haven't tried a Brooks C17 yet but would like to at some point. I think I'll give my B17 a good run and then look into a replacement down the road. There's less care required on the C17 so it would be ideal for longer, wetter rides. I know I'll encounter some rain at some point but I'll see how the leather holds up on my current saddle. It's good to know there's no break in period with you saddle though.
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Old 04-17-20, 09:30 AM
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B17, or any leather seat, in rain put a cover or plastic bag on it while riding. Overnight outside, always put a plastic bag or two over it. Don't let it get soaked and then ride on it, pretty simple.
and yes it will take a bit of riding to become more comfortable, but when it's dialed in and with kms in it, they are great, imo, and yes I've bought used ones too.
c17 is alright, b17 more comfortable overall though.
use padded bike shorts, they make a difference.
be very aware of slight saddle adjustments, so have an Allen key with you one b17 break in period and listen to your body. Make small adjustments and observe.
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Old 04-17-20, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
tspoon...I haven't tried a Brooks C17 yet but would like to at some point. I think I'll give my B17 a good run and then look into a replacement down the road. There's less care required on the C17 so it would be ideal for longer, wetter rides. I know I'll encounter some rain at some point but I'll see how the leather holds up on my current saddle. It's good to know there's no break in period with you saddle though.
I prefer the B17 over the C17. The leather just feels better to me. As for care? I really never understood they concern over the amount of care necessary for a B17. I treat it with proofide occasionally when I think of it, maybe once a year, and other than that, when parked at night on tour, I throw a shower cap on it. While riding if it rains a little, I don't worry about it unless it rains hard, then I stop and put the shower cap on it, or the Brooks rain cover. The show cap takes all of a second or two to put on.

My brother has a leather Brooks on his bike. The saddle came with the bike when my other brother bought it, used, in the early 70s. The brother who owns the bike now used it on Ragbrai numerous times, as well as riding it from Iowa to Oklahoma, then across Oklahoma. He has never treated the leather, and I never knew of him worrying about rain. That saddle is still on the bike to this day.
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Old 04-17-20, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
I owned two Selle Anatomica saddles, both had the "thickest" treated leather they offered which were supposed to stretch the least. They were both very comfortable but both stretched out and showed significant sag quite quickly, such that I went back to my Brooks. I weighed probably about 170-175 lbs at that time. YMMV
Looks like SA's leather supplier really lacked the expertise to tan those hides for intended application. SA ought to replace those saddles free under warranty.
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Old 04-17-20, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
I prefer the B17 over the C17. The leather just feels better to me. As for care? I really never understood they concern over the amount of care necessary for a B17. I treat it with proofide occasionally when I think of it, maybe once a year, and other than that, when parked at night on tour, I throw a shower cap on it. While riding if it rains a little, I don't worry about it unless it rains hard, then I stop and put the shower cap on it, or the Brooks rain cover. The show cap takes all of a second or two to put on.

My brother has a leather Brooks on his bike. The saddle came with the bike when my other brother bought it, used, in the early 70s. The brother who owns the bike now used it on Ragbrai numerous times, as well as riding it from Iowa to Oklahoma, then across Oklahoma. He has never treated the leather, and I never knew of him worrying about rain. That saddle is still on the bike to this day.
Phughes...I'll know more soon hopefully. I had viewed an intense debate in another group on Facebook about saddles and people gave all sorts of care advice on Brooks leather saddles. It was interesting to see and what I got out of it is that there are many ways to care for one and not many people agree on what that is. I've bought some saddle soap and I use that to clean it, then mink oil to help weather proof it. So far it's been all right but the real test will come in when I can ride again. The proofide that used to come with the saddle has some more ingredients in it and that's what recommended by the manufacturer but it's expensive and you don't get much. I'm thrifty and like to get more for my money.

The idea of the shower cap is a good one and I'll add it to my list of wants. They're cheap enough that if I lose it I won't be heart broken.
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Old 04-17-20, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
Looks like SA's leather supplier really lacked the expertise to tan those hides for intended application. SA ought to replace those saddles free under warranty.
They were very kind and quick in replacing that first saddle in the photo since it was less than a week old and had only been used on my bike trainer indoors. I thought it might have been just a poorly produced piece of leather but their new replacement saddle did the exact same thing and so I wrote the experience off.
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Old 04-17-20, 05:49 PM
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Chris, hate to tell you, but saddle soap and mink oil are exactly NOT what you should have put on it. You can't undo it now
Brooks specifically says not for mink oil because it softens the leather too much, same with saddle soap, horse saddles lay on a horse back, bike seats are suspended on rails, you don't want to over soften it.
Brooks proofide hardly is needed, I have the same tiny jar from 10 years ago. I can show photos of my Brooks with lots of years and riding in them, and hardly any sag at all.

​​​​ the only part of the seat you want to change shape is near your sitbones, the rest no.

Look at the Brooks website, they specifically mention not to use minkoil.
A bit of proofide, then just ride it and ride it. Keep it from getting wet and ridden, and they stay in great shape for 1000s of kms. I'll show you one of mine with probably 10000 kms and it looks a million times better than the saggy saddles shown here.
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Old 04-17-20, 05:59 PM
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This is a recent shot from last week to show you that I'm not making this stuff up. This b17 has been through lots of countries and really hot weather.
banana is in the way but you get an idea.
And I have practically never had to tighten the adjustment bolt either, on this or my other Brook leather seats.
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Old 04-17-20, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
Phughes...I'll know more soon hopefully. I had viewed an intense debate in another group on Facebook about saddles and people gave all sorts of care advice on Brooks leather saddles. It was interesting to see and what I got out of it is that there are many ways to care for one and not many people agree on what that is. I've bought some saddle soap and I use that to clean it, then mink oil to help weather proof it. So far it's been all right but the real test will come in when I can ride again. The proofide that used to come with the saddle has some more ingredients in it and that's what recommended by the manufacturer but it's expensive and you don't get much. I'm thrifty and like to get more for my money.

The idea of the shower cap is a good one and I'll add it to my list of wants. They're cheap enough that if I lose it I won't be heart broken.
I think using Mink Oil is not a good idea for leather saddles. While I have not used it on my leather saddles, I have used it on my work boots, and it really softened the leather. It was not that good for boots, IMO it almost ruined an pair of expensive boots by making the leather too soft.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-18-20 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 04-17-20, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Chris, hate to tell you, but saddle soap and mink oil are exactly NOT what you should have put on it. You can't undo it now
Brooks specifically says not for mink oil because it softens the leather too much, same with saddle soap, horse saddles lay on a horse back, bike seats are suspended on rails, you don't want to over soften it.
Brooks proofide hardly is needed, I have the same tiny jar from 10 years ago. I can show photos of my Brooks with lots of years and riding in them, and hardly any sag at all.

​​​​ the only part of the seat you want to change shape is near your sitbones, the rest no.

Look at the Brooks website, they specifically mention not to use minkoil.
A bit of proofide, then just ride it and ride it. Keep it from getting wet and ridden, and they stay in great shape for 1000s of kms. I'll show you one of mine with probably 10000 kms and it looks a million times better than the saggy saddles shown here.
djb...****. I can't undo what I've done unfortunately but I won't add anymore to the saddle. It's out of my hands now...
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Old 04-17-20, 07:35 PM
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Oh well, you can't go back in time, so I guess just ride it and see how it is over time, that's your only option.
my very first Brooks I probably put a bit too much proofide on it, but hey, live and learn.
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Old 04-17-20, 07:44 PM
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Yea, as a kid we used to break in our ball gloves and soften the leather with neatsfoot or mink oil. I agree with Doug and djb, you can't go wrong with Proofide.
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Old 04-17-20, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
Phughes...I'll know more soon hopefully. I had viewed an intense debate in another group on Facebook about saddles and people gave all sorts of care advice on Brooks leather saddles. It was interesting to see and what I got out of it is that there are many ways to care for one and not many people agree on what that is. I've bought some saddle soap and I use that to clean it, then mink oil to help weather proof it. So far it's been all right but the real test will come in when I can ride again. The proofide that used to come with the saddle has some more ingredients in it and that's what recommended by the manufacturer but it's expensive and you don't get much. I'm thrifty and like to get more for my money.

The idea of the shower cap is a good one and I'll add it to my list of wants. They're cheap enough that if I lose it I won't be heart broken.
I hate to say it, but you really shouldn't use mink oil on the saddle, it will soften it. As for Proofide, I'm still using the can of it I bought with the seat in 2010, and it still has more than half remaining. Oh, I also use it on my leather bar tape. It lasts a long time.

Yeah, shower caps a cheap.
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Old 04-18-20, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
I hate to say it, but you really shouldn't use mink oil on the saddle, it will soften it. As for Proofide, I'm still using the can of it I bought with the seat in 2010, and it still has more than half remaining. Oh, I also use it on my leather bar tape. It lasts a long time.

Yeah, shower caps a cheap.
Phughes...Looks like I'll be buying a tin of Proofide soon. I know the tin is small enough to be able to bring on a tour so there's that added bonus; good to know it lasts a long while as well.
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Old 04-18-20, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Chrisp72 View Post
I know the tin is small enough to be able to bring on a tour
Likely not even necessary, just give the saddle a good rub down before you head off and you're likely good for the tour, if not the rest of the season.
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Old 04-18-20, 11:44 AM
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No need to bring it on tour.i did once, not necessary.
I maybe put a smidge on seat once a year, just a bit near rivets, doesn't seem to appear to need any more to be honest.
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Old 04-18-20, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
No need to bring it on tour.i did once, not necessary.
I maybe put a smidge on seat once a year, just a bit near rivets, doesn't seem to appear to need any more to be honest.
Originally Posted by robow View Post
Likely not even necessary, just give the saddle a good rub down before you head off and you're likely good for the tour, if not the rest of the season.

Thanks all...Having to Proofide the saddle once a year is a nice touch. I'll be able to plan another tour while working and fiddling on the bike. Is there a good source for buying it online? What would you each recommend? I'm thinking either MEC or REI...
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