Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Touring saddle help- final piece to the puzzle

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Touring saddle help- final piece to the puzzle

Old 10-02-18, 07:38 PM
  #1  
feldy0084
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Touring saddle help- final piece to the puzzle

I realize this question is very hard to answer, since what works for one person wonít work for anotherÖand everybody has their own preferences. But, I am looking for some alternative saddle choices that would be good for touring. I bought my first ďreal" bike 8 weeks ago and just completed my first overnight backpacking trip. Totally hooked. I want to go further, but the saddle is my only holdup left to make the bike completely comfortable. Not sure how to post a pic here, but I could do that to show setup.

My Salsa Vaya came with a WTB Volt 135 that felt just awful. I swapped it for a B-17 Flyer and have about 200mi on it. I realize the Brooks' have an extensive break-in period, but it just isnít comfortable at all. I have experimented with moving it up (nut crusher), moving it down (slightly better, but the front part still really bothers me and instead of nut crushing, it feel more like perineum pressure). I have moved it back and forth without much help there either. My primary problem is the hard front of the saddle part putting pressure.

I have trekking bars and have my bars are above my saddle. I need to ride relatively upright due to previous medical issues. My drop bars were ďok,Ē but the b-bars seem to be supremely comfortable for me and my gamble on a conversion paid off. I donít have enough funds to keep sampling saddles. Wondering if anyone has any ideas. Would a wider leather saddle like a B-67 be going in the right direction? Maybe something with a cutout or a groove in it that is optimized for touring but non leather? A C-19? A nose-less saddle? I would preferably like something that I can tour in just bike shorts with and not the ones with the chamois pad. I feel like the butt padding helps me tolerate the hardness of the Flyer, but the crotch pad is SO uncomfortable to me!! It puts more pressure and makes the front part of the saddle hurt more!

Thanks guys
feldy0084 is offline  
Old 10-02-18, 08:46 PM
  #2  
gauvins
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: QC Canada
Posts: 1,152

Bikes: Custom built LHT & Troll

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 401 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Two things.

First, it is not entirely clear to what extent if it is the saddle that breaks in, or your butt that is getting used to the saddle. Try hammering nails all day, bare handed -- you'll suffer for a few days, then develop calluses. try walking barefoot. Try riding a bike. Different stresses but the process is somewhat similar. So maybe you could give it a little more time, and see if things get better.

Second, "somewhat similar" means that there appears to be a couple of principles worth looking into. Having read extensively and spent an irrational amount of time looking into this, I was struck by the analyses offered by chiropractors, sport physicians and ergonomists, in support of radically different suggestions. Two, actually. One being that comfortable saddles should provide support on either sides of the perineum (leading to the slotted hammock design) the other suggesting that most if not all the weight should be under the sit bones (platform design).

I've tried and adopted the Selle Anatomica, a slotted leather hammock, that will progressively stretch to fit your anatomy (much faster than the Brooks, though), and a SQLab 610 (platform design, with the addition of a perineal slot). It may well be that SQLab is a more comfortable saddle in the long run, but I want to ride with regular (unpadded) shorts such that the pressure under the sit- bones made it painful after a couple of hours. Whereas I could easily ride 6hrs+ on a Selle Anatomica

I believe that you can order both and return either or both if you are not satisfied, keeping in mind that it probably takes more than a month to really adapt to a saddle...

I'd also add that, for me, it takes weeks before I can comfortably ride all day unpadded. (It also takes weeks to be able to run a 10k comfortably when I stop for a few months)
gauvins is offline  
Old 10-02-18, 09:28 PM
  #3  
feldy0084
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Appreciate the insight Gauvins. I actually feel the back part of the saddle is relatively comfortable and getting softer. That part doesn't really bother me though. I can ride it around commuting without padded shorts and it isn't super comfortable, but tolerable. The front part is where I feel it bothering me and I am assuming with how rigid the leather on the nose is that it will probably never soften much.

Given my upright position with the trekking bars, what are your opinions on going wider? I was under the impression that the more upright you are, the more width you should aim for (as the Selle and SQLab are significantly more narrow than the Flyer).

As far as padded shorts, do any companies make them with just butt padding and not the front "crotch" padding part? Like I said, I went 40-50mi in them, but man it was just not a super fun experience between the nose of the Flyer and the chamois pad.
feldy0084 is offline  
Old 10-02-18, 09:33 PM
  #4  
Oso Polar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Westchester County, NY
Posts: 160

Bikes: Trek 3500, Jamis Renegade Escapade

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 88 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
200 miles is about right to get a conclusion about how *one* saddle adjustment worked out and try another - and it sounds that you already tried a ton of them in these 200 miles, so it sounds like your butt is not yet accustomed to bike riding in general and any saddle is uncomfortable. And, may be, on top of this you have a problem with uncomfortable bike shorts. Your saddle height and angle can affect seating comfort dramatically but you need to make adjustments (especially for the saddle angle) in very small increments as it is very easy to get from one bad position to another bad, missing the one in the middle that works much better. To start set saddle completely level (for this you can put something like a cutting board on top of the saddle and use some app for your smart phone to measure the angle, e.g. https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...meter&hl=en_US), ride for a week. Adjust by 0.5 degree. Ride for a week. Adjust by 0.5 degree etc. For saddle height adjust in 3 - 5 mm steps. As your bars are very high and you have pretty upright seating position, you'll probably be better of with saddle nose significantly up - this should relieve pressure from the frontal area (and move it to your sit bones which will suffer instead).
Oso Polar is offline  
Old 10-02-18, 09:43 PM
  #5  
Oso Polar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Westchester County, NY
Posts: 160

Bikes: Trek 3500, Jamis Renegade Escapade

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 88 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by feldy0084 View Post
it was just not a super fun experience between the nose of the Flyer and the chamois pad.
Well, this kind of pressure is the only remaining unresolved issue with my current saddle which I'm addressing right now. And I also thought that the issue is in the chamois. But... But I have different shorts with different pads and shorts with the thickest and firmest padding, including in frontal area, are more comfortable and produce least amount of pressure. By far. I've no idea why, I also thought like you that the ones with the thinnest padding in front will have least amount of pressure but this is not so.
Oso Polar is offline  
Old 10-02-18, 10:46 PM
  #6  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,834

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
Brooks tend to have a hard rounded nose & if/when they sag that becomes a worse problem. I have an SQ Lab 610 Active...nose is narrow but dropped so minimal perineum pressure. SQ makes plusher versions for upright riding. I'm also liking the Terry Liberator Y Gel--it's well-padded so should work for upright style & has a deep slot to minimize perineum pressure. On a recent 50--mile ride I was surprised to have no saddle discomfort.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 05:08 AM
  #7  
DanBell
Senior Member
 
DanBell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: On the road...
Posts: 505
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 113 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I don't know if they still do, but Fizik used to have neon orange loaner saddles at some shops that you could borrow to try. In addition, since lots of people go through this process, many of us have several spare saddles at home. The local cycling forum that I'm a part of has a thread on the forum for people to borrow, try, and hopefully buy used saddles from other members. Otherwise, as mentioned above I've heard good things about SQ Labs and Selle Anatomica and I believe they both have comprehensive return policies.
DanBell is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 07:49 AM
  #8  
fdimike
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Ex-pat American living in Thailand
Posts: 14

Bikes: Surly LHT, & Merida Matts 40 MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm currently using a Brooks B-17 Select which I've been touring with on and off for about 4 years now. My typical tours run about 6 - 8 weeks. I think it's a good saddle which I can ride on all day comfortably. I also tried a Selle Anatomica and found it to be quite comfortable right out of the box as advertised but it's longevity was really poor. The leather stretched so much that I had to contact the company for a replacement leather top in less than a year. They replaced the leather cover under warranty but that began to stretch very quickly so I sold the saddle. You definitely have to break in the Brooks as well as breaking in your butt in order to ride comfortably.
fdimike is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 11:59 AM
  #9  
boomhauer
Senior Member
 
boomhauer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 651
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 165 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 1 Post
I finally bought an offset seatpost that had the most offset I could find. ( 31mm?)
This did this for both of my bikes that have Brooks saddles.
I believe the railing attachment on brooks saddles is somewhat too short.

I've experienced similar problems as the OP but finally realized my feet needed to be further forward, at least this is what it felt like, which turned out to be correct. Hence the offset seatpost.

Last edited by boomhauer; 10-03-18 at 10:42 PM.
boomhauer is online now  
Old 10-03-18, 12:59 PM
  #10  
3speed
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 3,345
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 310 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
One thing to keep in mind is that a LOT of people arenít comfortable on a Brooks. You donít have to keep trying to be comfortable on one. For me personally, Brooks is the most uncomfortable seat Iíve ever tried. I also feel like it murders my perineum. I ride a lightly padded Selle Italia Trams Am with a cut-out. It was pretty comfortable from the start. I just ride in regular zip-off hiking shorts and boxers when touring. If you really want to make a leather seat work, Iíd recommend the Selle Anatomica with a cut-out. Iíve briefly tried a friendsí and it still wasnít quite for me, but certainly better than a Brooks. As you mentioned, though, the Selle Anatomica isnít cheap to try if it doesnít work. To me, light padding and a cut-our are most important, followed by a narrow nose and a slick surface texture. If youíre gonna wear the padding on your butt and are riding more upright then Iíd just prioritize a cut-out and a width that supports your butt, yet is narrow enough in the nose.
3speed is online now  
Old 10-03-18, 01:28 PM
  #11  
blacknbluebikes
Senior Member
 
blacknbluebikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 318

Bikes: two blacks, a blue and a white.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
you probably saw this: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/p...e-saddles-4525

but I moved to these 2 yrs ago and haven't looked back.
https://www.ismseat.com/
blacknbluebikes is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 04:01 PM
  #12  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 5,209

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 969 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 26 Posts
From OP's posts, it sounds like the only thing not dialed in is the saddle angle. My guess is you need to angle the nose down slightly. It's pretty much hit and miss with a single bolt seatpost; it's darn hard to change the angle one notch and get everything else back where you started. The other possibility would be to get a 2-bolt Kalloy seatpost (about $40); then it's dead simple to loosen the rear bolt a quarter turn, tighten the front a quarter turn, and you've changed the angle a smidgen without everything else going haywire.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 04:23 PM
  #13  
davester
Senior Member
 
davester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Berkeley CA
Posts: 1,516

Bikes: 1981 Ron Cooper, 1974 Cinelli Super Corsa, 2000 Gary Fisher Sugar 1, 1986 Miyata 710, 1983 Nishiki Cresta

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 398 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 14 Posts
I don't like the standard B-17 due to perineum pressure, but I love the B-17 Imperial, which is a standard B-17 but with a cutout on top and lacing holes along the side that allow you to prevent the sides from flaring out due to the cutout. It is by far the most comfortable saddle I've ever used. Since you already own a B-17 you have two choices: 1) sell it and try buying an Imperial; 2) Take it to a leatherworker along with some photos of an Imperial and tell them to cut and punch to convert yours to an Imperial. Forum member rhm, who hangs out on the Classic and Vintage forum, rebuilds and recovers Brooks saddles so he could probably do this for you quite inexpensively.

Also note that my Imperial was comfortable right out of the box. It has improved over time but it really didn't need any break-in period to get comfortable.

Last edited by davester; 10-03-18 at 04:27 PM.
davester is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 05:32 PM
  #14  
feldy0084
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
One thing to keep in mind is that a LOT of people arenít comfortable on a Brooks. You donít have to keep trying to be comfortable on one. For me personally, Brooks is the most uncomfortable seat Iíve ever tried. I also feel like it murders my perineum. I ride a lightly padded Selle Italia Trams Am with a cut-out. It was pretty comfortable from the start. I just ride in regular zip-off hiking shorts and boxers when touring. If you really want to make a leather seat work, Iíd recommend the Selle Anatomica with a cut-out. Iíve briefly tried a friendsí and it still wasnít quite for me, but certainly better than a Brooks. As you mentioned, though, the Selle Anatomica isnít cheap to try if it doesnít work. To me, light padding and a cut-our are most important, followed by a narrow nose and a slick surface texture. If youíre gonna wear the padding on your butt and are riding more upright then Iíd just prioritize a cut-out and a width that supports your butt, yet is narrow enough in the nose.
It seems like the Anatomica is consistently mentioned. Just worried about the width with my upright position and price is obviously very high.

Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes View Post
you probably saw this: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/p...e-saddles-4525

but I moved to these 2 yrs ago and haven't looked back.
https://www.ismseat.com/
Someone had mentioned the ISM noseless saddles to me. But, from what I have read, people recommended against them for loaded touring. Maybe your experience is different?

Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
From OP's posts, it sounds like the only thing not dialed in is the saddle angle. My guess is you need to angle the nose down slightly. It's pretty much hit and miss with a single bolt seatpost; it's darn hard to change the angle one notch and get everything else back where you started. The other possibility would be to get a 2-bolt Kalloy seatpost (about $40); then it's dead simple to loosen the rear bolt a quarter turn, tighten the front a quarter turn, and you've changed the angle a smidgen without everything else going haywire.
I have a 2-bolt system to make micro-adjustments. I have gone both down, up, forward, and back. I went again today again to my friend at the LBS and we tried again. 20mi later it's not much different. The back of the saddle is not amazing, but no problem with padded shorts. And, the front still sucks and is uncomfortable.
feldy0084 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 05:35 PM
  #15  
feldy0084
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Also was recommended Selle SMP TRK Large, B72, C-17 Carved, and C-19. Not sure if anyone has experience with these. Re- going to a leather shop to cut it out probably would probably not appeal to me. Would rather sell it and see if there is anything that just plain feels better.
feldy0084 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 05:47 PM
  #16  
feldy0084
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts


current try today with nose up a bit
feldy0084 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 08:26 PM
  #17  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,834

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
Feldy0084, since you have an upright style & are using a sprung saddle, have you thought about a suspension seat-post like the Thudbuster ST? True it costs $120 but it gets good reviews & it might make it easier to find a saddle that fits right
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 09:17 PM
  #18  
feldy0084
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 24
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Feldy0084, since you have an upright style & are using a sprung saddle, have you thought about a suspension seat-post like the Thudbuster ST? True it costs $120 but it gets good reviews & it might make it easier to find a saddle that fits right
Probably want to focus on finding something that fits first before going to a new seat post. Money is also starting to evaporate lol.
feldy0084 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 10:22 PM
  #19  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,477
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 767 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 23 Times in 15 Posts
It might be camera angle, but the saddle's nose seems to be pretty high.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 10:42 PM
  #20  
acorn54
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 351
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
i don't mean to confuse the op anymore than necessary. a bike seat model that is rather inexpensive, but seems to work for alot of folks is the wtb speed v model, which you can check on amazon, for people's experiences with it. i finally found that carefully raising the nose upward slightly and putting the major weight load of my sitting position on the tail of the seat, the sit bones, did the trick.
hope this helps.
acorn54 is offline  
Old 10-03-18, 10:45 PM
  #21  
schoolboy2 
Easily Led Astray
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Sonoma County, California
Posts: 51

Bikes: Trek 5200, Trek Domane 5.2, Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Never had much luck with a Brooks saddle, get a Terry Liberator Y Gel. It's been the best saddle for my weary butt.
schoolboy2 is offline  
Old 10-04-18, 09:09 PM
  #22  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,834

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by schoolboy2 View Post
Never had much luck with a Brooks saddle, get a Terry Liberator Y Gel. It's been the best saddle for my weary butt.
I have the same experience & actually I forgot that it was reasonable $65 price which is cheapest among touring saddles I've bought. It's also the most padded touring saddle I've tried yet no uncomfortable "squish" or chafing.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 10-04-18, 11:42 PM
  #23  
elcruxio
Senior Member
 
elcruxio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Turku, Finland, Europe
Posts: 1,820

Bikes: 2011 Specialized crux comp, 2013 Specialized Rockhopper Pro

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 317 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
What this sounds like to me is incompatibility between the brooks and OP's pelvic bone anatomy. People have pretty large variation in how their pelvises are structured even though sex can give some indications on pubic rami angle which is usually steeper in men and shallower in women. The B17 will require either shallow pubic rami angle or narrow sitbones or both to work. If OP has wideish sitbones and steep pubic rami angle there's no real chance the B17 will work. There's also a diminishing chance any other leather saddle will work since leather saddles tend to be relatively T-shaped after one sits on them due to how the hammocking works. What people with steep pubic rami require is pear shaped saddles such as many Selle SMP's, some WTB saddles, Specialized Power and other noseless designs, ISM's, etc.

But at the end of the day we don't know the OP's situation or anatomy. But in OP's position I'd ditch the leather saddle since there should NEVER be pressure on the perineum or nuts.
elcruxio is offline  
Old 10-05-18, 07:03 AM
  #24  
deanew
deanew
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: North carolina
Posts: 15

Bikes: 2018 Surly LHT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rivet cycle works is a good option between a saggy selle anatomica and a brooks imperial. The owner is a serious long distance cyclist. I went with the pearl on my LHT.
deanew is offline  
Old 10-05-18, 11:19 AM
  #25  
phughes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,131
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 231 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by feldy0084 View Post
Probably want to focus on finding something that fits first before going to a new seat post. Money is also starting to evaporate lol.
When you swapped saddles, did you adjust the seat height, or did you simply install the new saddle? The B17 sits higher than many saddles, so it may be too high. I had a lot of problems with perineum pressure until I got the seat height correct for me, mine was too high. I used Steve Hogg's methods of setting seat setback and height, and found mine was substantially higher than it needed to be. I also resisted lowering it the last 5mm that seemed to be necessary according to his methods. Once I did, all pain went away, and I was more efficient as well. The nose of my saddle is almost level as well. I have no issues sliding forward, and have no real weight on my hands. Very comfortable.
phughes is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.