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Bike seat pain, long trips

Old 04-07-20, 09:20 AM
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cnnx
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Bike seat pain, long trips

yesterday I did 19km by bike and had pains on my but after a while during the trip, what do you recommend as a upgrade to my current seat to have no pains on long trips?

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Old 04-07-20, 09:40 AM
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I'll preface this with I am assuming you are fairly new to biking & you are on a "comfort" bike of some variety.

I don't recommend buying your way out of a problem until you know there is a problem.

Just like reed instruments or guitar fingers, you gotta build up strength to use the instrument.

After a few dozen longer trips you'll "harden up." After that, if there is still a problem, it could be bike fit, the saddle, how you ride or some combination.

Sometimes saddle issues can be solved by pressing harder on the pedals.

More padding does not necessarily equal better comfort. Often it makes it worse. So much depends on saddle shape, where that padding is, the shape of you, and how you fit the bike, & how you ride that no reasonable internet determination can be made until your backside hardens up & you can determine how the current saddle doesn't fit right.

If you don't play guitar, how do you know if nylon strings are better or worse than metal? Number 2 reed is the one for this alto?...Bike saddles are similar & intensely personal.

Last edited by base2; 04-07-20 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 04-07-20, 09:45 AM
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The OP seems like an "give me the easy solution" type of guy. So...


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Old 04-07-20, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cnnx View Post
yesterday I did 19km by bike and had pains on my but after a while during the trip, what do you recommend as a upgrade to my current seat to have no pains on long trips?
On such extremely short rides as 19 km it is mostly about developing skills (physically training your body / butt for new kind of load) and fit - saddle height, angle, offset in particular. Saddle itself matters much less, it'll be tough in any saddle at first.
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Old 04-07-20, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by cnnx View Post
yesterday I did 19km by bike and had pains on my but after a while during the trip, what do you recommend as a upgrade to my current seat to have no pains on long trips?

It is hard to say because saddles are personal. It could be that OP just needs to harden up a bit. I go through this whenever I am off the bike for an extended period of time. A couple of weeks of regular riding and I am fine. Or maybe it is a need for some minor adjustments to the height, or the tilt of your current saddle. Or maybe get some bike shorts and see if that helps. Or it could be that saddle doesn't hit your posterior in the right places. So you have some things to try.

If none of those things work, then you need to try some different saddles. I ride a Brooks B17, which is a very traditional saddle and requires a bit of break in before it really gets comfortable since it is leather. But I am not telling you to do that because you might love the Brooks or you might hate it. And unfortunately, it gets kind of expensive to buy a lot of saddles.
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Old 04-07-20, 02:34 PM
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There's really no substitute for trying seats. I think butts vary as much as feet, so we can't really know what's going to be comfortable for you. I know that seat is wayyyy too big for me, but that says nothing about why you find it painful.

And if you're just starting out, I wouldn't call 19k extremely short like someone else did.
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Old 04-07-20, 02:46 PM
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It is extremely short to judge seat comfort. While someone is starting bike riding 19 km can be indeed a long and challenging distance to complete but it is not useful to judge the seat and rush to buy another one. At this stage any seat will be uncomfortable and ensuring proper bike fit and getting good bike shorts will give more benefits. Basically, pretty much any seat can be adjusted to feel "good enough" for 19 km (< 12 miles).
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Old 04-08-20, 04:41 AM
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If that was about a 90 minute ride, I agree with base2 - give it a few weeks to build up your butt and legs' endurance.

Then, before you look at seats check your bike fit. In normal times, a good Local Bike Shop could do that, now you can search and find a lot of decent YouTube videos on how to do a simple self-fit. Just moving your seat up or down and/or back and forth, or changing the seat angle, a little bit can make a big difference.
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Old 04-08-20, 06:35 AM
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If you search, you'll find hundreds of threads on saddles, and as many different recommendations. One thing you'll find in common on most is that a saddle which is too soft and "cushy" is going to be anything but comfortable on a long ride. You want a saddle to support but not be a brick either. Most of us have gone thru several trials and errors finding the saddle which we eventually found to be "the one" for us-some of us are still looking. Are you wearing bike shorts with a chamois? Or you can wear lightly padded underwear, such as Andiamo makes, for more comfort, and can be worn under running shorts, or whatever. Before buying a new saddle, check the return policy-some have a trial period, allowing it to be returned or exchanged if it doesn't work for you. Here's a link to Andiamo: https://andiamounderwear.com/
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Old 04-08-20, 06:38 AM
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That saddle looks to big and squishy to actually use. If you are having pain then switch saddles. Take a look at Wilderness Trail Bikes saddles. I had two bikes that with the saddles that came originally on the bike I was in so much pain by the third ride I would have had to quit cycling if forced to continue to use them. I switched to the pure model and found immediate relief. All of a sudden it was not a mistake to have bought bikes.
WTB Saddle fit System
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Old 04-08-20, 06:41 AM
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WTB Saddles

Take a look. Do not ride with pain.
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Old 04-08-20, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
It is extremely short to judge seat comfort. While someone is starting bike riding 19 km can be indeed a long and challenging distance to complete but it is not useful to judge the seat and rush to buy another one. At this stage any seat will be uncomfortable and ensuring proper bike fit and getting good bike shorts will give more benefits. Basically, pretty much any seat can be adjusted to feel "good enough" for 19 km (< 12 miles).

There's a chicken-egg component to this. I disagree that "any seat can be adjusted" to be comfortable for any distance. If the seat is too uncomfortable for a beginner to ride beyond 12 miles, that rider will never be able to stay on the bike long enough to be able to develop the fitness.

"Proper bike fit" is always a good idea, but "good bike shorts" may be a far more expensive and impractical adjustment for OP than trying a couple of other styles of seats.
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Old 04-08-20, 07:28 AM
  #13  
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I think the OP's saddle is too wide. The most excruciating saddle I ever had was the one that came on my fat bike. It was really wide. I felt like I was being split in half. My usual rule of thumb is that any saddle will do up to about 50 miles/80km, but that saddle was the exception. Hurt right at the start. We really need to know what part of the OP's butt hurt though. If it was the sit bones, then riding more will help. Just about anything else points to a saddle that has too much padding and is too wide. There is a reason virtually all enthusiasts don't ride saddles like that or with a lot of padding.
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Old 04-08-20, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
There's really no substitute for trying seats. I think butts vary as much as feet, so we can't really know what's going to be comfortable for you. I know that seat is wayyyy too big for me, but that says nothing about why you find it painful.

And if you're just starting out, I wouldn't call 19k extremely short like someone else did.
LDL normally gives really good advice, but I have to respectfully disagree with this.

IME, the vast majority of butt pain is caused by (a) saddle position/bike fit, and (b) fitness. If the saddle is incorrectly positioned, or if the bike fit is off, or if your butt is simply not accustomed to long periods of time in the saddle, then it doesn't matter what saddle you have, your butt will be sore.

I would begin trying different saddles only if I was sure that the current saddle was correctly positioned on a bike that fit me, and that I had sufficient time in the saddle. Exception: if the saddle is correctly positioned and the bike fits, butt pain is normal but excessive chafing (raw spots on your skin) and/or saddle sores are not symptoms of a lack of fitness, they are probably caused by the saddle.

I have ridden probably a dozen different saddles. While some have worked better for me than others, none has been so bad that I couldn't ride for multiple hours in comfort. If you (the OP) are not comfortable with adjusting the position of your saddle yourself, then get to your LBS (local bike shop - NOT Wallyworld/Target/et al) and ask for help.

(Note: I will agree that the saddle pictured by the OP is unlike any saddle I've ridden. It looks wider, softer and has a MUCH bigger dip in the middle than any saddle I've ever ridden.)
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Old 04-08-20, 10:27 AM
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One thing a do for butt pain. Stand on the pedals and stretch and cling your butt muscles. Get's the blood moving again.
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Old 04-08-20, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
LDL normally gives really good advice, but I have to respectfully disagree with this.

IME, the vast majority of butt pain is caused by (a) saddle position/bike fit, and (b) fitness. If the saddle is incorrectly positioned, or if the bike fit is off, or if your butt is simply not accustomed to long periods of time in the saddle, then it doesn't matter what saddle you have, your butt will be sore.

I would begin trying different saddles only if I was sure that the current saddle was correctly positioned on a bike that fit me, and that I had sufficient time in the saddle. Exception: if the saddle is correctly positioned and the bike fits, butt pain is normal but excessive chafing (raw spots on your skin) and/or saddle sores are not symptoms of a lack of fitness, they are probably caused by the saddle.

I have ridden probably a dozen different saddles. While some have worked better for me than others, none has been so bad that I couldn't ride for multiple hours in comfort. If you (the OP) are not comfortable with adjusting the position of your saddle yourself, then get to your LBS (local bike shop - NOT Wallyworld/Target/et al) and ask for help.

(Note: I will agree that the saddle pictured by the OP is unlike any saddle I've ridden. It looks wider, softer and has a MUCH bigger dip in the middle than any saddle I've ever ridden.)

Of course try adjusting it first, which really isn't rocket science. But if it's hurting you right away once it's been adjusted (which I have definitely seen people experience), it's a throw away. Your first several miles shouldn't feel like torture even if you're not in shape yet, major thing is that if it is that bad, you may never get in enough miles to make it better.

OP could definitely be experiencing a "no way this thing will ever work", and I don't think telling him to suffer through that is doing him any favors.
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Old 04-08-20, 11:26 AM
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Before you spend any money, put all the wrenches for your seatpost (the seatpin and the saddle clamp) in your toolkit. Now go for that ride and stop whenever you feel discomfort and tweak the saddle height, tilt and/or fore and aft adjust. (I use tape to mark rail position and seat height, putting it 1" above the top of the seattube. I lay a yardstick on the seat and measure how far it is over the handlebars.

This stuff matters as much as the seat itself does. Keep tweaking until you've got the best possible setup. Now where is that seat uncomfortable? Knowing that, you can start looking for seats to address that.

Now, as at least one other poster above mentioned, you have what looks to be a highly padded seat. Those seats spread the load your butts have to handle to areas that weren't designed for that job. The classic :good" seats tend to be quite firm with the emphasis on our sitbones giving much of the support (for those who ride in a more upright position as I am guessing you do. Also as pointed out, our butts vary a whole lot; probably as much as our faces. (No, I have not done the research, but I've been riding with others a long, long time and seen many very varied favorite seats. A long time ago I did a long ride with a clubmate and we both noticed and commented on the fact that were we setting off for more than 100 miles on seats the other would call an "*ss-hatchet". It was a VERY hard ride, but our seats worked just fine, Now, had we swapped seats; that would have been two real life nightmares.

Something more enlightened bike shops have been doing is selling bike seats but you can bring it back after putting real time on it if it isn't "the one"' and giving you full credit toward another (or other merchandise should you go elsewhere for the seat. A shop here in Portland takes this one step further. They have a library wit about 25 seats. You pay $25 for a library card that allows you to take out any seat for a week. You can do this as many times as you want. If you find :the one", they will sell you a new in-the-box one and credit that $25 toward it.

Sorry, this isn't a quick answer. Sorry to have to tell you that bike seats are the most critical fit issue on a bike and getting the right one can be a lifetime journey. In part because we change. As we ride more, our bodies adapt and we can not only ride seats that would have been torture on day one but we find we want and love those seats, And we age. For us males, that often means we have to pay real attention to the area of our perineums that was never an issue when were we young. (Hence seats with cutouts.)

The right seat is out there for you. With a good seat, it just disappears. Don't give up until you find it. But that doesn't mean you have to toss money away like leaves in the fall.

Ben
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Old 04-08-20, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cnnx View Post
yesterday I did 19km by bike and had pains on my but after a while during the trip, what do you recommend as a upgrade to my current seat to have no pains on long trips?
A firm narrowish saddle shaped to suit your anatomy/posture with correct positioning.

Your weight will be supported by your ischial tuberosities. With squishy padding on your saddle or shorts, it will apply pressure on tender bits like your pudendal nerve when you sink far enough for your sit bones to have solid support.

Wider saddles will chafe on your thighs. You just need enough so the saddle contacts the bottom of your sit bones not their sides. That depends on how far apart your ischial tuberosities are which can be measured by sitting on something squishy like memory foam. Specialized has an assometer.

You need a saddle shape that doesn't roll you forwards when it's level. For some people that must be flat. Some people do well with a more convex shape.

When the saddle is nose high it will put pressure on your tender bits.

You need to be positioned correctly on your bike so you don't roll forwards. Stand with your butt and heels against a wall and bend forwards. Note that you fall over. Try the same in the middle of a room. Your butt moves aft to counterbalance your torso so that doesn't happen. Your saddle needs to be in a good place so you balance correctly.

You also need some time for your butt to toughen up.



I like a 143mm wide Specialized Toupe for rides up to 209 miles (336 km), although your anatomy is different.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 04-08-20 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 04-08-20, 11:46 AM
  #19  
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Building off of the above comments, that thereís a lot more than just the shape of the seat that goes into rider comfort.
It all works together, though, like livedarklions said, itís a chicken-or-the-egg problem, that the Ďrightí saddle changes depending on how you fit on the bike, but changing the saddle can change how you fit on the bike.

Lots of other things, too, like handle bar height, reach, tire pressure, to say nothing of being on the correct size bike to begin with.
Thereís also things riders do to themselves because they donít know better like running tires at max psi when they weigh 120 lbs, an think they need fat gel saddles and suspension seatposts because the ride is too harsh.

We we donít know much about the OP and his bike besides what the seat looks like, and as much as we all love to push our favorites on everyone (this is BF, after all) letís find out a little more, shall we?
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Old 04-08-20, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
I would begin trying different saddles only if I was sure that the current saddle was correctly positioned on a bike that fit me, and that I had sufficient time in the saddle. Exception: if the saddle is correctly positioned and the bike fits, butt pain is normal but excessive chafing (raw spots on your skin) and/or saddle sores are not symptoms of a lack of fitness, they are probably caused by the saddle.
Yes, this is a very important clarification - sitting pain vs chafing pain. I'd also add that excessive chafing is also very frequently caused by badly fitting (or simply bad) shorts, in particularly the ones that are too big, so instead of moving together with the leg as a whole, they rub against the skin.

Originally Posted by Gyro View Post
One thing a do for butt pain. Stand on the pedals and stretch and cling your butt muscles. Get's the blood moving again.
Yes, and one more thing that no one mentioned so far - many riders at first always ride as a dead weight, as a sack of potatoes mounted and glued on top of the saddle, always strictly fully seated, including the moments while going over quite rough terrain (pavement cracks, potholes etc.). Lift up yourself at such moments a bit (or more), so that road bumps instead of transmitting directly from the saddle to the butt will be soaked and amortized by leg joints. Avoiding these kicks in the butt over the rough road makes a huge difference for the stress on the rider's body as well as for the stress on the bike itself. Roughly, if you remain always glued to the saddle than if a bike goes over an obstacle than it lifts whole weight of a bike + rider, if you are already lifted though then only bike weight needs to lift and "springs" (legs) compress.
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Old 04-08-20, 12:31 PM
  #21  
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In my experience, a new rider's butt will always hurt until it gets acclimated. Horseback riders go through the same thing. I'd say start small - maybe 19 Km is too far for a first ride. Ride every other day, slowly increasing your distance. See how your butt feels after 2 weeks. Chances are, that saddle will be fine until one day you'll decide you need something a little less plush. If you never reach that point, that's fine, too.
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Old 04-08-20, 01:24 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Of course try adjusting it first, which really isn't rocket science. But if it's hurting you right away once it's been adjusted (which I have definitely seen people experience), it's a throw away. Your first several miles shouldn't feel like torture even if you're not in shape yet, major thing is that if it is that bad, you may never get in enough miles to make it better.


OP could definitely be experiencing a "no way this thing will ever work", and I don't think telling him to suffer through that is doing him any favors.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.


When getting your butt used to long periods of time in the saddle, I'm sorry, but there is just no getting around the fact that there can be some pain, no matter what saddle, no matter how perfect the position of the saddle and the fit of the bike. The fact that sitting on the saddle is painful is not sufficient evidence to indicate that the saddle is the issue. Every time I significantly increase the length of my rides, or the frequency of my rides, I get a sore butt. It has nothing to do with the saddle, and changing the saddle will not help.


Changing saddles because there is pain without considering other factors, including position, fit and fitness can lead to an endless (and expensive) round of experimentation with different saddles. IMHO, it is a disservice to new riders to advise them to change saddles purely on the basis of the fact that their butt hurts.


First, make sure the bike fits.

Then, make sure the saddle position is correct (experimentation may be necessary, particularly for new riders who may not know how a saddle is supposed to feel)

Then, time in the saddle

If there is pain, consider the type:

- "sit pain" (like sitting on bruised tissue) is probably related to fitness - more saddle time and/or more rest between rides is needed (reconsider if pain doesn't lessen over time)

- pain in perineum - could indicate saddle is wrong shape, or could indicate saddle position (tilt, height, fore/aft position) are incorrect

- "the boys" are being crushed - could indicate saddle is wrong shape, or could indicate saddle is tilted up too much

- chafing or saddle sores - can be related to the saddle, or could be an indication that fit or position (particularly saddle too high) is incorrect

- hands/wrists/back/neck are painful - could indicate poor bike fit, or that saddle is tilted down too much, or can be an indication of weak core

- knee pain - could indicate poor fit, poor saddle position (height, fore/aft), other factors

- etc.


Unless you take the time to experiment and diagnose the problem (and, yes, I am sorry, this may involve some pain and discomfort), you are potentially throwing away money on a fruitless search for an equipment fix to a fit or fitness problem.
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Old 04-08-20, 01:38 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
Yes, and one more thing that no one mentioned so far - many riders at first always ride as a dead weight, as a sack of potatoes mounted and glued on top of the saddle, always strictly fully seated, including the moments while going over quite rough terrain (pavement cracks, potholes etc.). Lift up yourself at such moments a bit (or more), so that road bumps instead of transmitting directly from the saddle to the butt will be soaked and amortized by leg joints. Avoiding these kicks in the butt over the rough road makes a huge difference for the stress on the rider's body as well as for the stress on the bike itself. Roughly, if you remain always glued to the saddle than if a bike goes over an obstacle than it lifts whole weight of a bike + rider, if you are already lifted though then only bike weight needs to lift and "springs" (legs) compress.
Good points. Also, on really long rides, I find varying things up a lot makes it more fun.
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Old 04-08-20, 01:43 PM
  #24  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

It's just that I have seen beginners sit on a seat, know it's intolerable right away, replace it and be fine. Honestly, nothing is universally true when it comes to fit.
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Old 04-08-20, 02:12 PM
  #25  
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Unless you take the time to experiment and diagnose the problem (and, yes, I am sorry, this may involve some pain and discomfort), you are potentially throwing away money on a fruitless search for an equipment fix to a fit or fitness problem.
This should be required reading for all ... I was going to say 'all riders,' but 'all' is probably more appropriate. I'd 'Like' the post, except that would set up an annoying reminder then next time Noimagination comes online and would require multiple clicks to clear the notification.

The first question I want an answer to is 'How many rides has the OP done this year?' If the 19 km ride is his first, or if it's a big distance jump from his previous ride, he probably needs more riding time to get his butt used to the bike. Then, by all means, get that saddle off the bike. It looks like a sure way to spread the load onto the soft tissues that were never designed to bear much body weight. JMO, of course.
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