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Saddle Recommendation for long gravel ride

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Saddle Recommendation for long gravel ride

Old 08-11-19, 10:01 AM
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Saddle Recommendation for long gravel ride

I'm looking for a recommendation for a saddle suited for a long gravel ride. My goal is to be able to use the same saddle in the Dirty Kanza next year.

Just a bit of background: I ride the Canyon Grail CF bike and still using the factory delivered Fizik Alliante R5 saddle. I've been training and building up my mileage on gravel and I noticed that my sit bones start to hurt after the 40 - 50 miles range. Up to the point that I have to pedal standing up every 15 minutes or so after that point.

Wondering as well whether this is a saddle issue or I just have to toughen up and get used to it. I'm 5'10, 150 lbs, and wear size 29 pants.

Many thanks for your input,
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Old 08-11-19, 11:14 AM
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Completely depends on the individual.

For example, I love Brooks c17 saddles, but those are hated by some while loved by others.

The saddle width is important, the curve is important, and the nose width is important. All those matter for some riders while others couldn't care less.

A c17 is curved while ergon saddles are flat. I have an ergon and it's ok for 20mi...then is awful.

Best to go to a shop and try some out. Some shops have a rental program where you can try out a demo then buy a saddle from them.
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Old 08-11-19, 11:43 AM
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Same as what was said above. There is no way to know what saddle will work for you without trying a few. The stub nose ones work great for me, but a lot of people hate them.
Also, standing up and peddling every 15 minutes or so is never a bad idea if you’re doing a long distance ride. Even if I’m completely comfortable, I still try to do it so I stay completely comfortable.
If it pain isolated to just the sit bones, it may be you just getting used to riding. Normally things like saddle sores and numbness are indicators that you dont get along with a saddle or if your bike fit is off.
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Old 08-11-19, 12:53 PM
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I haven't used one myself but the only one I've ever come across that people seem to universally have positive results with is the Specialized Power saddle.
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Old 08-11-19, 02:05 PM
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Similar expirience

I ride a 2018 diverge e5 comp. Was having the same thing: soreness after 40 - 50 miles. On my next ride I used a cambium c17, went 95 miles and did fine, but I have to admit I used butt'r as well
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Old 08-11-19, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by richard.susanto View Post
Wondering as well whether this is a saddle issue or I just have to toughen up and get used to it.
Sounds like you are just getting started. Everyone's butt hurts until it gets used to sitting on a hard saddle for hours at a time.
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Old 08-11-19, 02:56 PM
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As others have mentioned, fit (and width) is a personal thing. I have ridden the Aliante and I find it too wide. I have also found that ďfor meĒ I prefer a flat saddle, as it allows me to move around a bit on an all day ride. For as many years as I can remember, I ridden the Fizik Arione, including the last two DK200ís and numerous 100 milers.

as was also mentioned, any saddle (even the perfect saddle) takes a while for you to adapt to. Finally, donít forget about fit - fore, aft, up, down all have an impact on how you sit on the saddle.
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Old 08-11-19, 05:19 PM
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As everyone has said, none of us can tell what will be comfortable for you. Experimentation, unfortunately, is the only way to find a good saddle. Try asking bike shops in your area if they have demo saddle programs. Alternatively, some brands will let you return a saddle within a set time period (30 days usually) and exchange them for another one.

For what it's worth, I, and believe several others on here, have had good luck with the Fabric Scoop line of saddles.

However, it's also important not to overlook another part of the comfort equation: bib shorts, and specifically the chamois. Here, too, what works best for you will be personal. But consider trying out bibs explicitly designed for longer rides. These usually have more padding that might help make multi-hour rides more bearable.

Finally - HTFU.
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Old 08-11-19, 05:53 PM
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While I agree saddle choice is highly personal, itís good that you're asking around. No bike stores in my area seem to have any sort of try-before-you-buy program (barring a box of take-offs, which are all cheap junk). If you buy a higher end saddle from a local bike store and find out you donít like it after your first 50 mile ride, good luck returning it...maybe some would do an exchange, but even then youíd be limited to the models they stock.

my best advice is to measure your sit bone width (google how...can be done with a hard bench, a piece of cardboard and a crayon) and then estimate your saddle-to-bar drop, and then scan the forums to see what people with similar measurements like. I personally found Selle Anatomica NSX fit me wonderfully, and is about as comfortable as a lazy boy even after 10 hours in the saddle. I researched it thoroughly before ordering, but otherwise had never tried it or even spoke personally with anyone that had...but it was exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 08-11-19, 05:56 PM
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Try a Fabric Scoop. I find them super comfortable and switched all my bikes from Fizik saddles after I tried one.


There are three profiles - Flat, Shallow and Radius - depending on whether you are low and aero, upright or inbetween.

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Old 08-12-19, 06:22 AM
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Another one to add that it is completely personal, but I am always interested in what saddles people have tried to understand what saddle I might try next.

I'm currently using the Brooks C13 Carved 145mm All Weather and still tweaking the position.

Other saddles
The good - Specialized Power Arc 143, Specialized Romin Evo 143, Selle SMP Drakon
The ok - Specialized Power 143, Selle SMP Dynamic, Fizik Antares (fine for CX races), Fizik Aliante (need to try cut out version)
The bad - Original Brooks C13 132, Fabric Scoop Shallow Race, Bontrager Evoke RXL 128
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Old 08-12-19, 07:44 AM
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Thanks to everyone who provided their input here. What a good read. It looks like the Fabric Scoop, Specialized, and the Brooks C17 were mentioned several times.

I actually got the Fizik Aliante Gamma from Amazon (sold by Amazon). Took it on a 75 miles ride this weekend on Gravel, and I returned it to the local Kohl store. The saddle was in a brand new condition when I returned it, and my money was fully refunded a few hours after. Just want to let everyone know that Amazon (and REI) is a good alternative store for buying and trying out saddles.

Still on a quest to find a good one. Next that I just purchased from Amazon is the Selle SMP Pro saddle.

Thanks again, everyone,
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Old 08-12-19, 02:54 PM
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I've tried the Fabric Scoop Shallow as well as the C17 and didn't like either. The texture of the C17 bothered me, but I wear street or gym clothes when I ride. Shorts with padding may of helped.

What worked best for me was a WTB Rocket, all of my bikes have them now. I can ride for hours on this saddle.
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Old 08-12-19, 03:06 PM
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No shops around me seem to have a saddle program - so I do my own program. I buy saddles on Ebay that are new or slightly used, ride them for a couple hundred miles, then sell the ones that don't work for me.
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Old 08-16-19, 07:35 PM
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I did Dirty Kanza on a Brooks C17. At the end, the only part of me that DIDN'T hurt was my backside. (Besides the expected, I also had a torn labrum and wrecked knee.) My comment on the ride to the hotel was that my backside didn't feel as if I had ridden a bike at all. I was very impressed with the C17. But it fit me.
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Old 08-17-19, 02:25 PM
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I like my Fabric Line Elite Shallow. Even after a long ride where other parts of my body may experience fatigue like shoulders or neck, it's never my ass.

eric/fresno, ca.
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Old 08-17-19, 07:04 PM
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another vote for Brooks C13 Carved 145mm All Weather, all weather is a must for me because the regular cotton version would shred my bibs
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Old 08-18-19, 09:49 PM
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I'm currently breaking in an ISM saddle in the hopes of improving my comfort on long rides. Their approach to interfacing with the body is different from the typical seat. You sit on the pubic rami bones (a slightly different area of the pelvis). There is no need to measure your sit-bone width.

Last edited by stanion; 08-19-19 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 08-19-19, 02:06 PM
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If you're interested I have a Fabric Scoop Shallow Elite in excellent condition and willing to sell it for a fair price.
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