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Saddle Tweaks

Old 08-28-18, 06:51 PM
  #1  
Idak
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Saddle Tweaks

I'm 6'2" and 280. I have a Felt road bike with 105 and a triple. I struggled a bit with flats. But the Gatorskins seem to have me staying afloat for now. If I could go back 6 years and do it again, I'd get a gravel bike to get the bigger tires. I am riding in padded bike shorts and I was a 3000 mile a year rider 20 years ago. I am 61 now.

The problem that's limiting my mileage is numbness in parts that aren't supposed to be numb at about 50 miles a week. I started with the stock saddle. Then I changed to a Vetta MTB saddle I had from 20 years ago, when I was riding a lot and weighed 50# less. It was high end enough that it had a Ti rail version. I bought the steel one. If I want to lose a few grams of weight to drag up the hill, I need to skip desert, not spend $50. Both are about the same for numbness.

I really don't want to go through $500 in saddles to find one that's works. Should I just go out and buy a gel saddle? I think my saddle is adjusted a little low. If I pull it up a little, will it help? If I adjust it a little nose down, will that help. Do I need to suffer until I lose the 50# to be able to ride these lower profile saddles? Other than the numbness, the saddles are great. I have no chaffing or butt pain problems at my current level of riding. I'd like to get to 100 miles a week.
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Old 08-28-18, 07:40 PM
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Not sure about what adjustments you should make to minimize numbness, but i do know very small adjustments can have a big impact. You might want to experiment a little with that.

Regarding not spending a lot on saddles to find the right one....i’m Going through that right now. My LBS has a deal where you “rent” a saddle for $30. You can then swap it out and try another one that they have for demos. After you finally decide on a saddle and ready to purchase, the $30 goes to the price of the saddle. I tried a few of the Fabric saddles, and liked them, but nothing i wanted to stick with. Tried the Infinity saddle, i couldn’t even get a lap around the building before i said “Take it off!” I”m now on the Selle SMP TRK. Unfortunately i picked up a respiratory infection and haven’t bee on the bike since i got it, so i can’t give you feedback on it. However, when i spun around the parking lot, it felt really comfy, so i’m Looking forward to finally putting some miles on it. ( BTW, i’m 6’3” 300lbs )
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Old 08-29-18, 01:00 PM
  #3  
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The saddle I liked 20 years ago is an ass hatchet to me now!

I agree with Glenn - see if you can find a shop that has loaner saddles and that can help you figure out what's making you numb. You may also be able to find deals on ebay you can jump on - there's a vigorous secondary market in saddles for obvious reasons.

I personally never have problems with numb stuff, just a sore ass.

Many people seem to find success with Brooks B17 or a selle anatomica (although those are spendy). I personally really like my specialized romin evo (if you have a specialized shop in town, I know they demo saddles for a low fee that applies to purchase) and I have a selle italia that was eye wateringly expensive that is nearly as good.
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Old 08-29-18, 04:10 PM
  #4  
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There are a number of manufacturers that address perineal numbness. Websites include: ismseat.com, sellesmp.com, kontactbike.com, rido-cyclesaddles.com/, Cobb saddles, and a few noseless saddle makers. (Just search for noseless bike saddles; I've never considered them because the nose is useful for controlling a bike.)

First I went through my 30 year old Avocet Touring, then a Specialized Toupe, a Fizik Aliante, and finally a Brooks B17 Imperial. without solving the numbness. The Brooks was the best, but I couldn't go more than 15 miles without getting numb.

I've used an ISM and a Selle SMP. The ISM did not work for me; it forced too much weight onto too small a portion of my pubic rami, which hurt a LOT, but ISM has a following. My next experiment was a bargain-priced Selle SMP TRK. Even with lots of padding in the saddle, it solved my perineal numbness problem - 2000 miles in mainly 20-30 mile chunks and hours on a trainer with no problem. That's good enough for me.

A lot of people like Selle Anatomica. I stayed away, because when I needed a seat, their heaviest duty one had a 450 lb. weight limit. I was about half that, but sometimes I hit a pothole or RR track or the like pretty hard, and I was afraid the force would exceed the weight limit.

The Selle SMP patent application is pretty interesting - one of the figures says it all. Unfortunately, I can't find it in the time I can devote to the search. Basically, the cutout reduces pressure on the nerve and blood vessels, and the 'eagle beak' of the saddle allows the soft bits trglide along with no pressure on them at all, except from whatever the rider wears for modesty....
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Old 08-30-18, 08:28 AM
  #5  
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I've had the same problem, years ago it seemed like I could ride any saddle, those saddles just don't feel comfortable anymore. Now I am riding a wider saddle. But as stated above, small adjustments in tilt really help with saddle pain, the fore and aft location also matter, this is the first thing to adjust when fitting a bike. I like to use a two bolt seat post to tune in the tilt adjustment, it make small adjustments easy. Also when fine tuning the saddle tilt, I just bring an allen wrench, ride a few miles then make a small adjustment.
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Old 09-02-18, 06:02 PM
  #6  
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Moved the saddle forward an inch and up a half inch and it's much better. Also changed from flat to 3 degrees nose down.
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Old 09-03-18, 09:21 PM
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I found that rotating the nose down slightly helped with the numbness issue.
Occasionally standing will help. Stand and pedal, or if that's a problem, stand while you coast.
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Old 10-14-18, 04:01 PM
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I'm up to 80+ miles a week, 30 miles yesterday, and I've made some progress. I bought a Selle SMP TRK Mans. That's the best I've had so far. Still not there. On the 30 mile ride, numbness was the biggest problem, though it recovered better than it has on past rides.

I spent a lot of time on YouTube and similar sources today and decided bike fit might be a driving issue. I'm not nearly as flexible as I was 25 years ago. I am heavier, my left hip is titanium and my right hip will need it soon. Based on some of what I read or watched, and the fact that hand discomfort is a close second on limiting me in a long ride, I flipped my stem. We'll how that works on the next ride.

I did the cardboard test, for sit bone width, and got 165mm. Based on my reading, this seems way too large. I am a big guy. At 42, I was 6'2", 220 lbs and only 7% body fat. So I am large frame. But this seems way too high for sit bone width. Is this measurement reasonable?

My goal is a century next year and the Seattle to Portland ride someday. So I need to get the saddle right.
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Old 10-15-18, 11:46 AM
  #9  
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I've gone through about a dozen different saddles trying to find one that's substantially better than the others. Some are little more than cruel jokes. Some are a little better than the others. Some are a little worse.

I've settled on the Serfas Dual Density. I run it just slightly nose-down. I've ridden over 75 miles on the saddle on a couple of occasions. The first 30-35 miles are fairly comfortable. After that, I have to stand up on the pedals for about a minute every 10 miles or so. I don't think I could endure more than 50 miles with any of the other saddles.

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Old 10-15-18, 11:55 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Idak View Post
I'm up to 80+ miles a week, 30 miles yesterday, and I've made some progress. I bought a Selle SMP TRK Mans. That's the best I've had so far. Still not there. On the 30 mile ride, numbness was the biggest problem, though it recovered better than it has on past rides.

I spent a lot of time on YouTube and similar sources today and decided bike fit might be a driving issue. I'm not nearly as flexible as I was 25 years ago. I am heavier, my left hip is titanium and my right hip will need it soon. Based on some of what I read or watched, and the fact that hand discomfort is a close second on limiting me in a long ride, I flipped my stem. We'll how that works on the next ride.

I did the cardboard test, for sit bone width, and got 165mm. Based on my reading, this seems way too large. I am a big guy. At 42, I was 6'2", 220 lbs and only 7% body fat. So I am large frame. But this seems way too high for sit bone width. Is this measurement reasonable?

My goal is a century next year and the Seattle to Portland ride someday. So I need to get the saddle right.
The reason I've ben searching for a better saddle is also looking forward to a century ride. I was having problems on a more upright bike at 45 miles, I knew 100 on a road bike wasn't going to be fun.

I also have a problem with either wrist or elbow pain. There's a fine line between having the seat too level (and therefore more uncomfortable to sit on) and having it pitched too far forward and then adding pressure to the elbows and wrists. Tire pressure plays a role too. I've moved my seat a bit forward, and have gone with a 12 degree stem that was about 15mm shorter than the stock stem. That has reduced the pressure on my elbows and they don't bother me unless I ride more than 200 miles a week or so.

I'm guessing 168 mm is not accurate. That seems wide.

-Matt
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Old 10-15-18, 04:58 PM
  #11  
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A very fine line - just one degree of a saddle tilt makes a very noticeable difference, so better to make adjustments in 0.5 degrees or so - in very small steps!
Also, saddle height, backward and forward position on a bike (saddle offset + stem length / angle) all affect seating comfort a lot. IMHO in many cases people start changing saddles even though the real problem is wrong fit.
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Old 10-16-18, 08:15 PM
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Bought a Specialized Toupe Comp Gel 155. Far and away best saddle yet. Just a little too narrow. Looking for something the same shape and 168 wide. The Toupe doesn’t come that wide.
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Old 10-19-18, 01:27 PM
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The Specialized Lithia Comp Gel is available in 168mm. It's a "women's" model, whatever that means. I have one myself. Probably the next most comfortable seat for me, aster the Serfas Dual Density.

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Old 10-19-18, 03:17 PM
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OOh another saddle thread.. When I sit on my saddle with my hips , I have long kept my hips upright,

so you reduce pressure on the 'taint' soft bits.. and been having bars closer and higher as I aged
(70, and got into 200# class)

Haven't thrown a leg over my road bike in a long time..

2 day STP seems doable,, start early 10 hours at 10mph will do it ,
maybe you can wheel suck behind a tandem and get a bit of a tow..

It's done..
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Old 11-10-18, 03:35 PM
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Moving the saddle forward and tilting the back up a little forces the saddle to engage the back of the sit bones instead on hitting the front. It made a huge difference for me. You might try a slightly shorter stem and see if that pushes you back on the seat as well.
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Old 11-12-18, 05:43 AM
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If the Specialized Toupe is too narrow, you might try the women's version, the Ruby (https://www.specialized.com/us/en/wo...=219797-132769).
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