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'Should' road saddles always be rigid?

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'Should' road saddles always be rigid?

Old 08-09-11, 09:09 AM
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mortenfyhn
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'Should' road saddles always be rigid?

I'm trying to find a good saddle for my Cervelo S1. I've tried several, but I'm a bit confused. Are good road bike saddles necessarily hard? All the hard saddles I've ridden (none of them very far, though) have been at least somewhat uncomfortable. A combination of sit bone pain (I want to say that if feels like sitting on something very hard, but that's a poor description. I don't have any trouble sitting on, say, a stone bench, which is a lot harder. But I think you know what I'm talking about.) and perineal discomfort. The sit bone issues go away with softer saddles I've ridden, and the perineal discomfort seems to go away with saddles that have a groove along the middle. To me, this suggests a fairly soft saddle with a groove as optimal. Is this a correct assumption, or would I still be likely to be better off with a typical, fairly hard road saddle?

The WTB mountain bike saddle (well padded and with a groove) off my low-end MTB is the best I've tried on the S1 thus far, but 1) it leaves my MTB with no saddle and 2) I haven't ridden it further than a 60 km / 37 mile ride yet.
I'm currently borrowing a 'Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow' demo seat from my LBS. It feels too stiff, but I haven't ridden it at all far yet.

How far do I have to ride to determine whether a saddle really is comfortable or not? And how far should one expect to be able to ride comfortably with a well adjusted bicycle and a well chosen saddle? I rarely go far without stepping off the bike at all. There are always raisins to be purchased, water bottles to be refillled, photos to be taken, phone calls to answer, and so on and so forth.
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Old 08-09-11, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mortenfyhn View Post
And how far should one expect to be able to ride comfortably with a well adjusted bicycle and a well chosen saddle? I rarely go far without stepping off the bike at all. There are always raisins to be purchased, water bottles to be refillled, photos to be taken, phone calls to answer, and so on and so forth.
I really thought you were kidding here, but I think you're serious? It's just my opinion, but it appears that you are trying to fit a circle into a square? Who suggested this type of bike and saddles for your style of riding in the first place? (And this ain't some road snob response).

Maybe getting away from high performance (or racing) saddles would work. Have you tried a Brooks saddle?
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Old 08-09-11, 09:39 AM
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Just to be clear where I'm coming from. There may be some that will scoff at the notion of putting a Brooks saddle on a Cervelo, but it's your arse and saddles are very individual. There will be a weight penalty, but I'm not reading that you're racing, group training, or individually hardcore performance training for a sustained amount of time. Is this correct?

A good lbs will loan you a saddle for 30 days to determine if you like it or not. Either way, take your time. There is a break-in period that varies from saddle to saddle.

Last edited by Sundance89; 08-09-11 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 08-09-11, 09:44 AM
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Like most inquiries in this forum, the correct answer is "it depends."

Nothing is more subjective than saddles.

My saddle is 100% carbon fiber, about as rigid as it comes.

If is plenty comfy for me, maybe it took a few shorter rides of 1-2 hours for me to get used to it but now I can ride it for hours and hours without problems.

Are you wearing good cycling shorts?? I highly suspect a lot of so-called saddle problems are caused by folks not wearing appropriate shorts. Or using underwear.
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Old 08-09-11, 09:48 AM
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I find the thick padding good with just athletic shorts but uncomfortable with padded cycling shorts.
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Old 08-09-11, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post

Are you wearing good cycling shorts?? I highly suspect a lot of so-called saddle problems are caused by folks not wearing appropriate shorts. Or using underwear.
+1
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Old 08-09-11, 10:10 AM
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I'm also confused about the 37 mile ride and then the comments about stopping frequently. Saddle fitness is something that comes in gradually and you just have to stick with it. Discomfort is normal until you have put in some time. However numbness is not normal, and if you have that you need to make a change to the seat angle or seat itself.

I have a WTB Rocket V Pro on my hybrid (lately doing time almost exclusively as a MTB) and I like it a lot. It's narrow and has enough give for stutter bumps on the trail, but isn't overly padded so you sink in and get sore.

I have a Selle Italia Prolink on my road bike and it's firmer than the WTB Rocket for sure. However they are both rated as 130mm, both have center relief cutouts, and they both work well for my sit bones. The Prolink has a little more room on the back of the saddle to shift around a little, which I find very helpful for longer rides.

Width is the most critical thing. If the saddle you like is wider or narrower than the one you aren't liking, that's an obvious thing to change. In the end there's no rule that says you can't run a mountain saddle on a road bike, so worst case you should get another saddle the same as the WTB you prefer.
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Old 08-09-11, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Sundance89 View Post
I really thought you were kidding here, but I think you're serious? It's just my opinion, but it appears that you are trying to fit a circle into a square? Who suggested this type of bike and saddles for your style of riding in the first place? (And this ain't some road snob response).

Maybe getting away from high performance (or racing) saddles would work. Have you tried a Brooks saddle?
I may have exaggerated a bit. I think the 'rarely go far' part may have come out wrongly. What I'm saying is that I would probably not do a century without at least a few short stops. The stops may coincide with, say, buying raisins. Being diabetic, I often use raisins to keep my blood sugar stable. It was just an example.

Nobody directly suggested road saddles. I just have (had?) the impression that road bikes go with road saddles, partly because I reckon different riding positions demand different saddles. I don't care much about what sort of saddle it is, as long as it's comfortable. Weight, style, etc., are very much secondary considerations, of course.
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Old 08-09-11, 10:30 AM
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I recently had saddle trouble and bought a Cobb saddle, I am still trying it out but so far I love it. It's heavy, it's ugly, but it's comfortable and comes with a 180 day money back guarantee.

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Old 08-09-11, 10:32 AM
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Oh, in that case it's clear that you ride enough to have ample saddle fitness. I'd stick with what works or at the least try to borrow seats you want to try, rather than purchasing.

If you want a vote that MTB saddles are ok on road bikes-- yes, absolutely. Not a big comfort saddle though.
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Old 08-09-11, 10:35 AM
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If you want to try a Brooks, wallbike.com has a six month return policy, which is plenty of time to break it in and know if it will/will not work for your needs. I have them on my three bikes, and while I occasionaly try a saddle that is sleeker and lighter...I always return to the Brooks.
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Old 08-09-11, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Adrianinkc View Post
I recently had saddle trouble and bought a Cobb saddle, I am still trying it out but so far I love it. It's heavy, it's ugly, but it's comfortable and comes with a 180 day money back guarantee.
I apologize to the OP for the thread hijack, but what did you have before the Cobb, and what do you like about this over your previous saddle?
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Old 08-09-11, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeB14 View Post
I apologize to the OP for the thread hijack, but what did you have before the Cobb, and what do you like about this over your previous saddle?
Fizik Antares regular and VS. Fizik aliante regular and VS. Specialized toupe and romin. Well it's got softer padding and smaller width, 130mm compared to the others which varied from 142mm to 155mm.
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Old 08-09-11, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mortenfyhn View Post
Nobody directly suggested road saddles. I just have (had?) the impression that road bikes go with road saddles, partly because I reckon different riding positions demand different saddles. I don't care much about what sort of saddle it is, as long as it's comfortable. Weight, style, etc., are very much secondary considerations, of course.
Most people figure out sooner or later that different butts demand different saddles. It is very individual so there is no point in recommending one saddle over another. Go with what works for you. Try different saddles until you find one that you like.
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Old 08-09-11, 04:16 PM
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If non-cycling friends don't look at it and cringe, it's probably too padded.
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Old 08-09-11, 04:23 PM
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There's an old (ok, maybe not that old) saying that says: "The harder you ride, the harder your saddle should be."

To me, it sounds like you should strap a pillow to your seat post.
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Old 08-10-11, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by mortenfyhn View Post
How far do I have to ride to determine whether a saddle really is comfortable or not? And how far should one expect to be able to ride comfortably with a well adjusted bicycle and a well chosen saddle?
You should be able to ride at least 40 miles without significant discomfort.
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Old 08-10-11, 09:34 AM
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the idea for reducing perineal pressure is to be supported on the sitbones.

if the saddle doesn't cradle the sitbones well, then something else has to hold you up...

first try to determine what minimum saddle width will generally support the bones without allowing you to slip off, side to side. Not all 143 saddles are 143 exactly where you're placing the bones. Some people need wider to 155, some can use 130.

A soft saddle almost guarantees that the bones will sink in enough to create more perineal pressure than a less forgiving sitbone surface.
But the sitbones do need to adapt to the pressure of your torso's weight, so it takes some weeks of consistent riding to get to that point.
Small changes in the saddle tilt, based on your riding position, will have huge affect on comfort. Some find it easy to adapt to any saddle; others hunt for a long time til they get a good match.
Usually - soft/padded - is very counterproductive to longer times in the saddle.
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Old 08-10-11, 10:06 AM
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I have a good firm traditional road saddle. When I put it on a new seat post and rode, it was uncomfortable pressure on my perineum or prostate. It was level. I tilted the nose down a degree or maybe two, just below level, and that solved the problem. The pressure was relieved from the perineum area and went toward my sit bones where it should be. Minor adjustment, big improvement. Sometimes it's more like trial-and-error to adjust everything to your comfort. Good luck to you.
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Old 08-10-11, 10:11 AM
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I bought the BD "harder is better" line but eventually found that for me, there is nothing wrong with a little padding on a saddle. I have a Cervelo R3 and eventually settled on a Fizik Arione that I used for a couple years (best saddle I could find of the 8-10 saddles i tried).

Then I bought a Cervelo TT bike and it came with a modestly padded Profile Design TT Elite saddle - http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=16449

This saddle had almost the exact shape as my Fizik Arione but it had some extra padding. I was instantly more comfortable on rides up to 6 hours. I have since sold my Fizik Arione saddles and now have this saddle on 4 different bikes (all bought pretty cheap on Ebay). The TT guys use this saddle some and I think they understand that there is nothing wrong with a little padding on a narrow saddle. It solved my comfort problem.
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Old 08-10-11, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by mortenfyhn View Post
I'm trying to find a good saddle for my Cervelo S1. I've tried several, but I'm a bit confused. Are good road bike saddles necessarily hard? All the hard saddles I've ridden (none of them very far, though) have been at least somewhat uncomfortable. A combination of sit bone pain (I want to say that if feels like sitting on something very hard, but that's a poor description. I don't have any trouble sitting on, say, a stone bench, which is a lot harder. But I think you know what I'm talking about.) and perineal discomfort. The sit bone issues go away with softer saddles I've ridden, and the perineal discomfort seems to go away with saddles that have a groove along the middle. To me, this suggests a fairly soft saddle with a groove as optimal. Is this a correct assumption, or would I still be likely to be better off with a typical, fairly hard road saddle?

The WTB mountain bike saddle (well padded and with a groove) off my low-end MTB is the best I've tried on the S1 thus far, but 1) it leaves my MTB with no saddle and 2) I haven't ridden it further than a 60 km / 37 mile ride yet.
I'm currently borrowing a 'Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow' demo seat from my LBS. It feels too stiff, but I haven't ridden it at all far yet.

How far do I have to ride to determine whether a saddle really is comfortable or not? And how far should one expect to be able to ride comfortably with a well adjusted bicycle and a well chosen saddle? I rarely go far without stepping off the bike at all. There are always raisins to be purchased, water bottles to be refillled, photos to be taken, phone calls to answer, and so on and so forth.
Sit bone pain goes away with conditioning.
Numbness or chafing is what I use to judge the signs of bad fit/positioning or bad saddle shape.

Saddles should not be hard, they should be springy. I ride a Toupe 130, it has virtually no padding, but it's composite shell is springy, and quite comfortable for many many hours.

Turn your phone off when you ride, put the world away for a couple hours.
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