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Non-leather saddle; ramping up day rides

Old 06-10-20, 06:52 PM
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tangerineowl
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Non-leather saddle; ramping up day rides

Slowly increasing the mixed surface rides (road/gravel etc.). Did a 14hr ride couple days ago on my Fabric Scoop Shallow which I've had for a few months.

During the last two-three hours started getting a little right-cheek (sitbone) pain which I'd alleviate by just getting off the saddle for a bit. Wear bibs and cream.

From what I understand a leather saddle once broken in won't? result in a compression action as the surface has been moulded to your rear end. Correct?
If so (more or less), does such a fit tend to minimize rear end soreness on longer rides?

I would like to stick with my current saddle for the time being. Am not sure if a slight tweaking in saddle shape (non-leather) could also minimize pressure pain. I guess that would be a hit and miss in trying different non-leather saddle shapes slightly different than my Scoop though.

Last edited by tangerineowl; 06-10-20 at 06:55 PM. Reason: txt
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Old 06-10-20, 06:57 PM
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unterhausen
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there is no guarantee a saddle is going to work for long distance. I have had saddles that worked okay for up to 200km that didn't work longer than that. Generally though, most saddles should be ok for 50 miles. If a saddle is still comfortable at 100 miles, It's probably okay for longer.
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Old 06-11-20, 05:53 AM
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Some people really like leather saddles, and some hate them. I have been using leather saddles almost exclusively for decades.

After seeing several riders on brevets that had Brooks Cambium (non-leather) saddles that really liked them, I tried a couple of them and found them to be torture devices. I went back to leather.

A lot of people that tour on bikes that use leather saddles prefer the Brooks B17 (leather). But I find that the B17 does not work for me when I use the drops on my drop bars, I mostly use Brooks Conquest saddles (leather), that saddle shape is essentially the same as a Brooks Pro (leather) but the Conquest is sprung. The B17 is a bit wider and flatter than the Pro.

Leather saddles usually take some breaking in and maintenance. If you use a wet leather saddle before you have applied any leather treatment to it, it can ruin it. I like to get a new saddle mostly broken in before I apply any treatment to it, Brooks sells Proofide leather treatment. Once I get a saddle mostly broken in, I apply Proofide top and bottom. That is a good water repellent, but you still need a waterproof cover when riding in rain. If you do not have fenders, the bottom of the saddle can collect a lot of tire spray too. There is a reason bike racers decades ago that used leather saddles all wore black bike shorts, the leather stain in the saddle can transfer to the shorts. I apply additional Proofide to my saddles every other year or so, even though they are over a decade old and have been treated several times. Some riders are more weight conscious than others, a caution, a leather saddle is heavy and my sprung saddles are more heavy than non-sprung. This quick summary of issues on leather saddles are the highlights of what you would want to know if you try a leather saddle. If you try one, I suggest a non-sprung saddle. I like the sprung Conquests, but most riders prefer non-sprung saddles.

And a final note, a lot of people tried leather saddles and decided they do not work for them. I usually need about 500 miles of riding on a new leather saddle to get it mostly broken in. But some people that have tried a leather saddle long enough to break it in, still did not like them and switched back.

I am not sure how many miles I have on the saddle in the photo, but most of my tours have been on that one, photo was taken last summer during my five week tour in Canadian Maritimes. And yes, it was comfortable for all five weeks.

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Old 06-11-20, 11:10 AM
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I've come to believe that your butt is more important than the saddle. At the beginning of the season all my saddles are uncomfortable and they're all fine by around the middle of May. I rode brevets on five different saddles last season. Only one of them was leather, and they're all good for about a 400k. After that I think there's going to be some discomfort no matter what.
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Old 06-11-20, 09:10 PM
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tangerineowl
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Thanks all.
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Old 10-07-20, 10:35 AM
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This is my first year on non-leather saddles in around a decade. Arione Tri 2. Liking it a lot as a wet weather compromise.

I came to road biking from aggressive street/dirt bmxing so sitting while pedaling was a rather new concept for me. A Brooks Team Pro opened up the roads for me and my skinny bones. Centuries were no worries with just basketball shorts.

I went most of this summer commuting and doing little 30-60 mi local rides on the Arione and only threw on an old Team Pro on a secondary bike last week and have been A/Bing them...

Fit is definitely key, but even with angle & setback perfect and wearing Cham shorts, Id be really reluctant to do anything near a Cent without planning on doing a lot of standing and pushing tall gears with the Fizik.

Do do lots of squats.
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Old 10-07-20, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
...Fit is definitely key, but even with angle & setback perfect and wearing Cham shorts, Id be really reluctant to do anything near a Cent without planning on doing a lot of standing and pushing tall gears with the Fizik...
I rode a full SR and a 1200k on an airone this season.
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Old 10-07-20, 04:38 PM
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I forget what the longest ride I've done on an Airone is. I'm thinking 400k. I want to put an Airone on one of my bikes again, I switched to Aliantes on everything, even the fatbike.
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Old 10-08-20, 11:31 AM
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Leather and next best thing

I rode a B-17 for 10 years with no issues on a 700c touring bike on tours, brevets, and commutes. The only rewson I got rid of it is it started cracking around the rivets. I was very good about keeping it out of the rain, however riding in hot humid FL there is nothing you can do about sweat. I got a Brooks Champion which is a little narrower and I liked it but the leather broke in unevenly and they wouldn't warranty it. When a rail must have bent while shipping my bike i decided to give a Cambium c-17 (non leather) a try. I got one second-hand and really like it. It's not quite as perfect a feel as real leather on very long rides but for me it's the next best thing. I did a brevet series and PBP 2019 on it and plenty of touring and have never had to worry about sweat or rain damaging the saddle. In all those miles the only comfort issue I've had is a minor saddle sore that developed on the last day of PBP. It was manageable and probably more to do with hygiene and chamois cream more than the saddle itself.
if I do go back to leather I will look into a Rivet brand saddle or Gilles Berthoud. They claim to pay close attention to hide quality so uneven break-in shouldn't be a concern.
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Old 10-09-20, 03:51 AM
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My Gilles Berthoud Aravis is the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned. I ride 300-400 miles per week, no chamois cream necessary, and my butt is the happiest its ever been!
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