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Good Saddle

Old 09-22-13, 01:24 AM
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Good Saddle

Next year I am planning a tour and I am getting my 260 lb body back in to some better riding condition. Right now I am riding a mountain bike with road tires before I buy a touring bike next year.

For the past 2 months I have been riding everyday and now trying to ride further. As I am getting over 25 miles I am noticing my but hurts which is causing a shorter next day ride. I have a basic standard gel bike seat and need to find out what I should upgrade to?

I was at the Brook's booth at Interbike Friday and they were useless narrowing in on a saddle. The guys said he went through 7 or so Brooks saddles before he found one he liked. He said just buy one and sell it on eBay if it's not a good fit. I asked, should I get a saddle that has a wider sitting area with lots of springs for support? He said on long tours my back would probably hurt from the spring motion, and a wider saddle makes no difference because of the bones I sit on are what support my upper body.

I can sit in my computer mesh chair for 8 hours and I feel good. I would still think wider is better to displace more weight? Any input on saddle comfort for larger riders?

Thanks!
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Old 09-22-13, 04:25 AM
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If you want to try a Brooks saddle, I'd advise going for a Brooks B17. And if you're concerned about having to go through several saddles before, get your saddle from Wallingford Bicycles: https://www.wallbike.com/

From Wallingford Bicycles ...

"We guarantee you will be satisfied with your new leather saddle by giving a SIX MONTH UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE on all new saddles from Brooks and Berthoud."


So, you'll have 6 months to try the saddle and decide if it is going to work for you or not.

You should not need springs. A leather saddle has enough of a "spring" to it. Although note that if you go with a Brooks, when you take the saddle out of the box, it will be hard. Very hard. Worryingly hard. It will remain hard for the rest of its life. It should never be soft. But it is flexible and should conform to your butt.

You do not need a tractor seat. A tractor seat will cause other issues. You just need a saddle wide enough to support your sitbones.
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Old 09-22-13, 05:03 AM
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At the 25 mile level you are starting to push your body. It's going to react & let you know what it doesn't like. The first suggestion is to make sure the saddle doesn't need adjustment. Sometimes a slight tip back can fix the issue.
With that said, many of us have a specific saddle we hold on to/ Stick with as log as we can. Saddles a very personal & no one size fits all. Some of the better shops will have a sit bone gauge to measure the width of your sit bones. This will help determine the width of saddle you need. Then you need to find a shape that works for you. Some shops will have loaner saddles that you can borrow. This is where supporting your local shop really helps. Just as a suggestion, I rode a specialized toupe, for a while. It was a pretty comfortable saddle that is lightweight & comes in different widths. When I changed to steel bikes I had to find something that didn't look so freakish on a vintage bike. I'd give the toupe a try. It's the type of saddle that would be tough to make uncomfortable. I've never tried a brooks. People rave about them. The price, over the top vintage looks & the weight have always discouraged me.

Last edited by Blue Belly; 09-22-13 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 09-22-13, 07:53 AM
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Every saddle has a 'sweet spot.' For your sit bones. Your job is to tweek your bike's saddle to bar distance so that, in your most common riding position, your sit bones naturally find that sweet spot.

I've tried lots of saddles on my DF tourer. Several years now on Velo Bio:Logic. Never found one I was totally comfortable on. Main reason I went bent. After losing some weight and getting in better condition, I've come full circle back to the DF, in spite of the saddle. More fun to ride.

I deal with the pain issue by standing frequently on down hills. This does keep it bearable. Bare in mind, we never sit anywhere for long without some squirming around to releave pressure points. A bicycle saddle is certainly no exception.

Good luck.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:08 AM
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There are a number of things which can affect saddle comfort ...

1. Bicycle fit
2. Saddle
3. Shorts
4. Posture + core strength
5. Fitness

Get those things right, and you're good to go.


1. Bicycle fit - make sure that the bicycle is set up correctly for you. Make sure that the saddle is set up correctly for you ... the right tilt, the right fore/aft position, the right height

2. Saddle - wide enough for your sitbones, narrow enough that it does not cause chafing and hamstring problems, curved or flat as necessary for your body

3. Shorts - more or less padding as necessary for you, padding that covers your sitbones, seams that don't fall in bad places

4. Posture + core strength - we don't plonk ourselves onto the saddle like we're sacks of potatoes, we kind of perch lightly on the saddle, carrying some of our weight with our feet. A strong core helps us hold that posture

5. Fitness - the fitter you are, the more you have cycled, the greater the number of saddles that can work for you
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Old 09-22-13, 10:49 AM
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I can sit in my computer mesh chair for 8 hours and I feel good.
you have stated the reason why people buy recumbents , you said it yourself.


You went to Interbike, so you must have a job in the bike Biz ,

did you look at any of the many Recumbent bikes there?

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-22-13 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 09-22-13, 10:57 AM
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Sounds like lots of factors involved then. My legs are ready today for another 30 miles as I build up but once I sat in the saddle I was sore on the inner thigh towards the back, I am guessing that is the sit bone area. I did some adjustments to the seat to try and find a better position but I might need to retest this when I am not sore. I thought the answer was going to be a larger sitting area to disperse the weight.

I do support my local bike shop and so far have not ordered anything from the internet for the bike. But I live in the small town of Solvang and the bike shop has a limited selection.

I am expecting to need a change in seats as I go down in weight but it is disappointing that my legs are up for another long ride and my sit bone is in disagreement.
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Old 09-22-13, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
you have stated the reason why people buy recumbents , you said it yourself.


You went to Interbike, so you must have a job in the bike Biz ,

did you look at any of the many Recumbent bikes there?
I don't like recumbent bike and I have tried them. I don't work for a bike shop, this year Interbike allowed the public to come on the last day if you got an invite from an exhibitor.
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Old 09-22-13, 11:08 AM
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I saddle that is too wide or too narrow can be bad.

A saddle with too much or too little padding can be bad.

A saddle that fits you for one posture (upright) may not for another (aggressive).

In general "non-bikers" tend to err on the side of a wider saddle with more padding thinking that yes, it will feel just like my couch! and in fact it will for the first few miles, but your bicycle saddle was never meant to support your weight like that... OK, maybe on a cruiser that you're only going to be riding for a few miles, but when you really want a good fit for log distance, you want to go to a bike shop and have them find your saddle size based on your sit bones, and get something that is at least the appropriate size. Then work on the amount of padding from there.

I tell people about the specialized riva a lot, because it's a 20 dollar saddle, so there isn't much loss if you need to switch, and it's a great middle ground to start on. (has some, but not a lot of padding, and comes in many different sizes. A decent cutout reduces numbness) I rode one across the country, opting out of the brooks for it. Money does not a good saddle make. It must fit you and match the bike setup. Do not go based on looks alone. Avoid the thumb test at all costs.

and there's nothing wrong with going for a recumbent if you really want to sit in an office chair for the hours of pedalling. Don't let anybody discourage you away from a tour easy or similar bikes. There's a much higher upfront cost, but I've never seen an unhappy face on one either. If you don't like one type of recumbent, there are many to choose from.
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Old 09-22-13, 11:33 AM
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I cannot pick a saddle for you over the internet , all I can do is tout what I got for myself.
[pretty much what everyone else will offer ] in that case , 30 year old Brooks Pro, since New.

now a Fizik Vitesse on the commuter
(it's wet on the coast and so the easy care plastic stuff wins out. )

try a bunch of take offs that the LBS may have. LBS here swaps
if the 1st ones don't satisfy.

As said before, Wall Bike in NO LA does that with Brooks ,
return trade in within a certain time frame..
if the leather saddle thing is what you want.

maybe those 2 pad noseless ones will do ,

~o) .. having coffee, now ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-22-13 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 09-22-13, 11:42 AM
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I agree that you should experiment with adjustments first. I've found just a few mm of difference in position can make a noticeable difference for me. I tend to prefer my saddles as dead level as I can get them.

If you do want to try a Brooks, I also recommend the B17. It's a tad wider than the racing saddles but not a tractor seat. I have several B17's, a Flyer, Team Pro and Colt. The B17's are my favorite and the most affordable of their offerings. As someone already stated, Wallingford is a no risk way of trying one. If you do buy one elsewhere and decide you dislike it, a lightly used Brooks is easy to sell quickly.

I do also have a cheap artificial saddle made by Terry, which is currently on my tandem. It is nearly as comfortable as a B17. Doesn't look nearly as nice, though. All the other artificial saddles I have are "just ok" at best.

Unfortunately, the only way of knowing for sure is to try out some various saddles. Over time you will probably start to get an idea of what kind of shape, padding and adjustments work best for you, but it's still a lot of trial and error.
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Old 09-22-13, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lwik
Sounds like lots of factors involved then. My legs are ready today for another 30 miles as I build up but once I sat in the saddle I was sore on the inner thigh towards the back, I am guessing that is the sit bone area. I did some adjustments to the seat to try and find a better position but I might need to retest this when I am not sore. I thought the answer was going to be a larger sitting area to disperse the weight.

I do support my local bike shop and so far have not ordered anything from the internet for the bike. But I live in the small town of Solvang and the bike shop has a limited selection.

I am expecting to need a change in seats as I go down in weight but it is disappointing that my legs are up for another long ride and my sit bone is in disagreement.
Call nonstop Ciclismo in Ventura. Make a trip down & see if you can talk to Keith. He/they will help you try to find something that works for you. They do a lot of mail order, maybe you can work out some type of deal? I don't know. It's worth the trip, though. In sure they can help you.
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Old 09-22-13, 02:41 PM
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Thanks for the advice. Saddles seem to be one of the hardest things to get right. I did go down to the bike shop and they did measure my sit bone and when they matched it up on a chart for touring the magic number was 168. I am guessing that is 168mm. They did not have any in stock seats that wide but atleast it puts me on the right track.

I'll also look in to the Ventura shop. I head to LA on Wednesday and can stop by. My only concern with a Brooks for touring is they can get wet and from what I gather leather should not get wet. At interbike they had a rubber seat a lot like the B17 in size but it was for all weather.

Thanks!
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Old 09-22-13, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by lwik
My only concern with a Brooks for touring is they can get wet and from what I gather leather should not get wet.
Keep it conditioned with Proofide and it should be fairly water repellent, especially with your butt on the top. You can also get a cover for it. some folks have gotten their Brooks soaked while riding and said that helped the saddle to fit them even better. Even if it shortens the lifespan a little, most Brooks saddles have lifespans measured in decades.
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Old 09-22-13, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by lwik
Sounds like lots of factors involved then. My legs are ready today for another 30 miles as I build up but once I sat in the saddle I was sore on the inner thigh towards the back, I am guessing that is the sit bone area. I did some adjustments to the seat to try and find a better position but I might need to retest this when I am not sore. I thought the answer was going to be a larger sitting area to disperse the weight.

I do support my local bike shop and so far have not ordered anything from the internet for the bike. But I live in the small town of Solvang and the bike shop has a limited selection.

I am expecting to need a change in seats as I go down in weight but it is disappointing that my legs are up for another long ride and my sit bone is in disagreement.
Another aspect to conditioning is adequate recovery time. The recovery can be for anything from muscles to connective tissue to skin to digestive system, whatever needs a break. Recovery can be anything from minutes to days. So if your comfortable limit is 25 miles nonstop riding without next day soreness try breaking up a long ride day into longer breaks, maybe two 15mile rides with hours in between. Sometimes recovery might only be needed in the last five miles of a 25 mile ride through changing posture and getting out of the saddle more frequently. The trick is finding the right combo of relief during the ride and end of the day so you don't start the next day piling on more recovery time.

one of the things I learned from training with racers after years of touring was to schedule effort and recovery to build to higher levels of power and speed. Simply riding until things hurt doesn't work as well.
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Old 09-22-13, 03:27 PM
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Those are good points. I can now ride 15 - 20 miles trips day after day without issue. My goal is to ride 50 mile days for a cross country tour next year. The guy at the bike store also mentioned saddle by these folks https://selleanatomica.com/products/
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Old 09-22-13, 04:04 PM
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I find some gel saddles can allow your butt to go in so deep into the saddle that it seems to reduce the circulation in your butt when going over 10 miles. Then when you get off the bike, it feels like you were slapped in the butt.

I also find wider saddles force you to lower the saddle because at regular height, it doesn't allow you to move your legs that much.
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Old 09-22-13, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by lwik
My only concern with a Brooks for touring is they can get wet and from what I gather leather should not get wet.
It's not a big problem. I've ridden in a lot of rain with my Brooks saddles, and they've been just fine.

Remember ... Brooks is made in England.
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Old 09-22-13, 08:28 PM
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Saddles are not chairs. You can't pedal in your mesh chair, can you? So that's the difference. Your legs have to go up and down. Most folks like the saddle to have a nose that's between their legs so they have something that helps them use their butt to steer the bike or hold it steady. That's why saddles look like they do. Once you reason it out that far, it starts to make more sense.

Everyone's butt is different. What fits someone else may not fit you. That's the reason that bicycle stores and web sites have about a zillion different saddle shapes and designs for sale. Maybe only one will be right for you. That's also the reason that many of us have a large box of saddles that we once thought were the perfect saddle, but then turned out not to be. A perfect saddle doesn't have an upper time limit. RAAM competitors are on the road for ~10 days, ~20 hours or so per day.

Saddle problems can be divided into four issues:
Sit bone pain
Genital numbness
Friction sores
Saddle sores

Sit bone pain: Because of the above necessities of saddle shape, the area you can sit on is small. It works out to be best if most of your weight is concentrated on your ichial tuberosities. Proper position of these bones on the saddle looks like this:

The more you keep your weight concentrated on these bones, the fewer saddle problems you will have. Except there is still a little problem: you have some body tissue under these tuberosities. What happens when you sit on a bike saddle is that the blood flow, and thus oxygen, is decreased for that small area of tissue, maybe a square inch or so on each side. This hurts. Luckily, your body if very adaptable to environmental changes. What happens when you start riding with a properly fitted saddle is that these tissues gradually become tolerant of having their blood supply decreased, and the butt pain pretty much goes away. This is the problem with soft, cushy saddles: your butt sinks into them and the area of tissue with reduced blood supply increases. This increases butt pain and makes adaptation more difficult. So the best saddles are fairly hard.

Yet you don't want a steel saddle: an extremely hard saddle transmits every tiny bump and road vibration to your butt and can cause bruising or other tissue damage. Traditional leather saddles like Brooks manage this compromise by suspending a slightly flexible sheet of leather in a metal frame. Modern saddles suspend a slightly flexible plastic shell in a metal frame and add a certain amount of very stiff padding to absorb road shock.

I've found that you can't tell if a saddle will work for you or not until after the 3rd hour in the saddle. Because of this, most online retailers (Performance Bike is especially good about this) and local bike shops (LBS) have a return policy. If you return the saddle in the original packaging and it still looks new, they'll take it back and let you try a different one.

Genital numbness: in the channel between your ischial tuberosities is your perineum. It contains various nerves and blood vessels that connect to your genitals. If these blood vessels are compressed, blood flow is cut off or reduced, and genital numbness results. This is a very bad thing. No, no, no. If you do this enough, the numbness becomes permanent. Your saddle must be of such a shape and adjusted so that this is never a problem. Some people never have a problem with it, some people have a lot of trouble. It just depends on how you're made down there. However, there is always a saddle and fit that makes this problem go away.

I've separated sores out into two categories:
Friction sores: these are sores caused by your body rubbing against the saddle. They indicate a saddle that is too wide at that point or that is just not shaped like your body is shaped. Again, there is always a saddle that will eliminate this problem.

Saddle sores: this class of problem is primarily microbial. Infected hair follicles, etc. Never sit around in wet shorts after a ride. Change. Shower frequently. Wash your shorts. I advise washing the area with a dandruff shampoo. This in general has nothing to do with a particular saddle shape.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 09-23-13, 09:24 AM
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last long tour of Ireland And Scotland, also Wet, my Brooks always had a plastic bag over it ,
and I was wearing my rain gear .

you may not need to have the bag on it all the time..

but you can/should, always have one on hand, for anytime your butt is not on it.
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Old 09-23-13, 10:41 AM
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I too had a similar experience tried a few modern seats and then bought the Brooks B17 best purchase ever takes time to settle in but even on my first ride I was in love check my videos outhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfSL...e_gdata_player
I have now done hundreds of miles no pain only thing is I got a pair of cheap padded shorts and the combo really helps
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Old 09-23-13, 05:57 PM
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Hi Iwik,

You might find some useful information here. This doctor's medical education, experience, and background enable him to analyze, understand, detail, and explain aspects of the situation fairly well:

https://www.docstoc.com/docs/3662955/...s-well-as-Tips

https://www.slick.co.za/saddlesores.htm
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Old 09-23-13, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by lwik
I can sit in my computer mesh chair for 8 hours and I feel good. I would still think wider is better to displace more weight? Any input on saddle comfort for larger riders?

Thanks!
While sitting comfortably in that mesh chair, you can also be getting yourself in shape and burn cals with this. Mine came today and so far it's a winner.
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Old 09-23-13, 08:28 PM
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Thanks for the additional info. I don't plan to by a pedal system for my desk since I love getting out and biking, but thanks for the thought. Many people have recommended the b17. I assumed to being over weight was the major contributor to the pain but there are many factors. The things I thought would help would be bad like springs from a B33. So I am sold on the Brooks b17 or the Titanico X https://store.selleanatomica.com/
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Old 09-30-13, 01:48 AM
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I placed the order on Friday for a Titanico X. They are on special right now on line for $139 for the watershead. Reviews sound really good.
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