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Saddle Test!

Old 01-24-22, 10:59 AM
  #26  
downtube42
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Yesterday I visiting the library and specifically looked for saddles with flatter profiles (side to side). There were two or three options, and I went with the WTB Koda. They only had the steel-rail model, but for testing purposes that shouldn't matter. I rode my cross/commuter bike to the shop, rather than the rando bike it's ultimately going on. Nonetheless I had them install it on the bike so I could give it a quick test on the 10 mile ride home. Immediately it felt very different, with my weight clearly on the sit bones. Which is the idea, right? Reading about this saddle, I learn it was designed by WTB for women with input from women. But then men tried it and like it, so WTB is marketing it as unisex. The goal here is a 1200km brevet saddle that doesn't make my junk go numb; if it takes a saddle inspired by female anatomy to do that, okay by me.

The test so far:

Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
WTB Koda 145mm test in progress
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Old 01-24-22, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Reading about this saddle, I learn it was designed by WTB for women with input from women. But then men tried it and like it, so WTB is marketing it as unisex. The goal here is a 1200km brevet saddle that doesn't make my junk go numb; if it takes a saddle inspired by female anatomy to do that, okay by me.
Given that it sounds like you want ones on the wide-ish side of average and a cut-out, you definitely want to be including women's saddles in your search space. Basically, from what I can tell, the development of most modern women's saddles went like this:
1. companies started making cut-out/channeled saddles marketed at men with numbness issues
2. women started buying them in droves but did sometimes complain they were too narrow, due to their slightly-wider average sitbone width
3. women's saddles (i.e. slightly wider ones) started having cutouts/channels too

So basically, if that one doesn't work, absolutely look on both sets of shelves for the next one to try.
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Old 01-25-22, 12:45 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Yesterday I visiting the library and specifically looked for saddles with flatter profiles (side to side). There were two or three options, and I went with the WTB Koda. They only had the steel-rail model, but for testing purposes that shouldn't matter. I rode my cross/commuter bike to the shop, rather than the rando bike it's ultimately going on. Nonetheless I had them install it on the bike so I could give it a quick test on the 10 mile ride home. Immediately it felt very different, with my weight clearly on the sit bones. Which is the idea, right? Reading about this saddle, I learn it was designed by WTB for women with input from women. But then men tried it and like it, so WTB is marketing it as unisex. The goal here is a 1200km brevet saddle that doesn't make my junk go numb; if it takes a saddle inspired by female anatomy to do that, okay by me.

The test so far:

Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
WTB Koda 145mm test in progress
Selle Italia: MAN, SLR Boost Endurance Superflow, Flite Boost Superflow
For me, the Flite was too hard, the SLR was just a tiny bit wrong shape in the middle, now I'm on the MAN on which I've done many LD rides. No nummie on any of them. ebay is a good place to look. DeporVillage has good prices sometimes.
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Old 01-25-22, 02:11 PM
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One thing to recognize is the sitz bones or ischial tuberosity is like a V shape rear to front. Wider in the rear and narrower in the front. In a more upright position, many riders will prefer a wider saddle whereas in a more aero position, the same rider might prefer a narrower saddle and different shape. On my slightly more upright randonneuring bike, I prefer my B17 Special (175 mm wide IIRC) and with a slightly more aero bike, I prefer the Berthoud Aravis (157 mm IIRC). I think my racing bike saddle is more like 148 mm. Basically, position on the bike can matter a lot in terms of saddle comfort (racing bike position vs upright position), what works on one bike won't be optimal on another.
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Old 01-25-22, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
One thing to recognize is the sitz bones or ischial tuberosity is like a V shape rear to front. Wider in the rear and narrower in the front. In a more upright position, many riders will prefer a wider saddle whereas in a more aero position, the same rider might prefer a narrower saddle and different shape. On my slightly more upright randonneuring bike, I prefer my B17 Special (175 mm wide IIRC) and with a slightly more aero bike, I prefer the Berthoud Aravis (157 mm IIRC). I think my racing bike saddle is more like 148 mm. Basically, position on the bike can matter a lot in terms of saddle comfort (racing bike position vs upright position), what works on one bike won't be optimal on another.
Yeah this is one if the challenges with a rando setup. Typically I'm going to be more upright, but a headwind stretch on a long brevet could be an hour or a day.
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Old 01-28-22, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
One thing to recognize is the sitz bones or ischial tuberosity is like a V shape rear to front. Wider in the rear and narrower in the front. In a more upright position, many riders will prefer a wider saddle whereas in a more aero position, the same rider might prefer a narrower saddle and different shape. On my slightly more upright randonneuring bike, I prefer my B17 Special (175 mm wide IIRC) and with a slightly more aero bike, I prefer the Berthoud Aravis (157 mm IIRC). I think my racing bike saddle is more like 148 mm. Basically, position on the bike can matter a lot in terms of saddle comfort (racing bike position vs upright position), what works on one bike won't be optimal on another.
Those saddles I mentioned above . . .I like a saddle that has some width in the back, but necks down quickly to narrow in the front, i.e. T shaped saddles rather than pear shaped.
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Old 02-03-22, 03:35 PM
  #32  
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Updated

The test so far:

Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
WTB Koda 145mm test. Very short test as I got sick mid-week. Maybe too short. The Ergon is similar so I'll do that next...
Ergon SM
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Old 02-04-22, 08:21 AM
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Downtube.....I forget but have you considered a B17 Special or a Berthoud Aravis or Auspiq?

I just swapped out a saddle with an old friend (B17) on a bike that I have fitted with very upright position to keep stress off my arm and neck. The leather conforms to my sit bones and I swear, the leather has a bit of a suspension effect. Of course, breaking it in is an art and in the PNW, rain would be a PITA to keep it in shape. One ride yesterday in the cold rain reminded me why I like it so much, I could not see the bumps due to the road being all wet but but when I hit them, the wide tires and saddle absorbed the shock pretty well.
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Old 02-04-22, 10:57 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Downtube.....I forget but have you considered a B17 Special or a Berthoud Aravis or Auspiq?

I just swapped out a saddle with an old friend (B17) on a bike that I have fitted with very upright position to keep stress off my arm and neck. The leather conforms to my sit bones and I swear, the leather has a bit of a suspension effect. Of course, breaking it in is an art and in the PNW, rain would be a PITA to keep it in shape. One ride yesterday in the cold rain reminded me why I like it so much, I could not see the bumps due to the road being all wet but but when I hit them, the wide tires and saddle absorbed the shock pretty well.
I'm intentionally experimenting with non leather options at the moment. The rain issue is a consideration, but a more important issue is perineal pressure (pun intended).
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Old 02-05-22, 11:54 PM
  #35  
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Update.

I rode 200K on the Ergon SM (Small/Medium) today. I didn't have much time to tweak angle and setback, as I just picked it up Wednesday. I set it up level, and tried to match the sit-bone location from my Sella. Sit-bone pain was definitely there; at 25 miles it was getting uncomfortable. From there on, I was out of the saddle on climbs or coasting down the steeper grades, just to get a break. I did some pulls in the wind, and found myself on the nose. I'd like to try the wider version, but the shop didn't have one in their loaner program.

Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
WTB Koda 145mm test. Very short test as I got sick mid-week. Maybe too short. The Ergon is similar so I'll do that next...
Ergon SM sit-bone pain at 25 miles. Maybe try wider version.
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Old 02-06-22, 05:40 AM
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downtube42 I知 following your tests with great interest, keep up the good work

Have you noticed during your tests whether you池e putting out the same effort (hard vs. easy)? I find that on my road bike when I知 riding at a faster pace, less saddle discomfort. When cruising around on another bike, same saddle, more discomfort.
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Old 02-06-22, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
downtube42 I知 following your tests with great interest, keep up the good work

Have you noticed during your tests whether you池e putting out the same effort (hard vs. easy)? I find that on my road bike when I知 riding at a faster pace, less saddle discomfort. When cruising around on another bike, same saddle, more discomfort.
Yes, I think for shorter high effort rides, the saddle requirements are different. More watts through the legs means less weight on the saddle.

Most of my brevets are solo rides or loose groups. Yesterday we did a fair amount of paceline riding, and the return leg was into a headwind. Being on the front or back of the group were the best situations. On the front I was pushing harder and had less saddle discomfort. On the back, I could unweight the saddle without disrupting anyone behind me. In the middle, where I had to ride smooth but not put out so much power, it was the worst.
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Old 02-06-22, 01:06 PM
  #38  
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This "Bike Seat Library" thing is great!

Wonder if they could stock seats for us Cheap Bastards?

In-spite of our Bike Fitters and Seat Measuring Devices, actually getting out there and using a seat is the way to go. The fact is if I were putting more miles on my rides I certainly would take the time to make trials and heavily invest in a better saddle, that's for sure!

Back in the 70s my first racing seat was a Selle Italia. It was the most uncomfortable seat I ever rode. Of course the Italians I was ridding with simply said I had no business sitting in the seat to begin with and that if your seat hurts it was a reminder to get off of it and ride.

Now I am older and weigh 100 pounds more than then. I have no problem using a women's "Charge Ladle" at 35 USD. I also have a box full of almost brand new saddles I tried just to find the one that fits.
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Old 02-06-22, 01:24 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
This "Bike Seat Library" thing is great!

Wonder if they could stock seats for us Cheap Bastards?

In-spite of our Bike Fitters and Seat Measuring Devices, actually getting out there and using a seat is the way to go. The fact is if I were putting more miles on my rides I certainly would take the time to make trials and heavily invest in a better saddle, that's for sure!

Back in the 70s my first racing seat was a Selle Italia. It was the most uncomfortable seat I ever rode. Of course the Italians I was ridding with simply said I had no business sitting in the seat to begin with and that if your seat hurts it was a reminder to get off of it and ride.

Now I am older and weigh 100 pounds more than then. I have no problem using a women's "Charge Ladle" at 35 USD. I also have a box full of almost brand new saddles I tried just to find the one that fits.
They had a WTB saddle in the $50 range, but most are $100+
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Old 02-06-22, 03:49 PM
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Update.

Turned in the Ergon and picked up a Giant Approach on the shop's recommendation. Sightly wider, more flex. No long rides this week, but I'll give it a test on the trainer. Trainer hours are 10x longer than road hours in terms of suffering in my experience.

Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
WTB Koda 145mm test. Very short test as I got sick mid-week. Maybe too short. The Ergon is similar so I'll do that next...
Ergon SM sit-bone pain at 25 miles. Maybe try wider version.
Giant Approach
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Old 02-07-22, 03:11 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Fredo76 View Post
If the saddle library has a Selle SMP TRK, try it. Your butt could be like mine. I find it distributes my weight along the entire inside edges of my sit bones, and if I want the weight all on the bottoms of them in a more traditional way, for a while, I just scoot back a little. For me, saddles should be saddle-shaped, with a dip in the middle.


I'll second this saddle 1000%! I was lucky - when I bought my first bike in June 2017 the seller threw this saddle in as an extra. I put it on and immediately felt "at home." That was over 26,000 miles ago. I have it on all of my bikes. Last year (2021) I rode it for 16 centuries and 7,300 miles. In 2020 I rode it for14 centuries and 8,501 miles.

It's not sexy. It's not feather light. The "experts" say it has too much padding. All I know is that it cradles my posterior and this is one contact point that I don't have to worry about.

Highly recommended!

Gary
Leesburg, GA
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Old 02-07-22, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BrazAd View Post
I'll second this saddle 1000%! I was lucky - when I bought my first bike in June 2017 the seller threw this saddle in as an extra. I put it on and immediately felt "at home." That was over 26,000 miles ago. I have it on all of my bikes. Last year (2021) I rode it for 16 centuries and 7,300 miles. In 2020 I rode it for14 centuries and 8,501 miles.

It's not sexy. It's not feather light. The "experts" say it has too much padding. All I know is that it cradles my posterior and this is one contact point that I don't have to worry about.

Highly recommended!

Gary
Leesburg, GA
Before using this saddle had you used one that had as much padding, or a less padded saddle? I知 thinking of saddles in two ways lately:

- Shape: flat vs. curved, T vs. pear, etc
- Cushion (including material) range of thickness of padding

I used to ride more curved saddles but struggled with them. They had moderate padding. I then tried a flatter saddle but still with moderate padding (still not happy). Now I知 trying a flat saddle, that quickly tapers towards the nose (my legs like this), and has only a little padding (happier), next I知 trying the same style of saddle but with more padding.
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Old 02-07-22, 06:27 PM
  #43  
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I'm going to start a recommendations section.
  • Selle SMP TRK,
  • Terry Fly Ti


Tests
  • Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
  • Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
  • Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
  • (pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
  • WTB Koda 145mm test. Very short test as I got sick mid-week. Maybe too short. The Ergon is similar so I'll do that next...
  • Ergon SM sit-bone pain at 25 miles into 200k. Maybe try wider version.
  • Giant Approach in process

Last edited by downtube42; 02-07-22 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 02-08-22, 07:33 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
Before using this saddle had you used one that had as much padding, or a less padded saddle?
The first saddle I tried (as a *newbie* rider) was the stock Bianchi saddle that came on the 2011 Sempre I bought in June 2017. My posterior didn't like it at all (and granted, it wasn't in cycling shape, I realize now).

I'm 6'-1", weighed 265 when I started, now riding in the 230-240 range. My average ride is 30-35 miles (based on mileage divided by # of rides) spanning over 26,000 miles in 4-1/2 years. For example, I rode 30 miles this past Saturday on dirt on my 2021 Salsa Warbird with the Selle TMP SRK saddle that I put on it after I bought it in December.

I get on my bikes, ride and don't even *think* about my saddle. The Selle TMP SRK works for me, thankfully. I tried the Selle Anatomica for 30 days last year - sent it back after a few hundred miles. I have a Brooks B-17 somewhere. I've ridden it a few hundred miles and it still doesn't feel great or comfortable, so I don't use it.

Best thing is, the Selle TMP SRK sells for $75 +/-, so it's cheap in the world of saddles.

Oh, one last thing. My wife, a casual rider, has been struggling to get the right saddle for her. In December when I bought another Selle TMP SRK (large) for my new Warbird, I decided to buy her one (medium) and try it - why not? She's only ridden it a couple of times but says she *thinks* she likes it. We'll see!

Gary
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Old 02-08-22, 10:04 AM
  #45  
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There is a good likelihood that a distance rider will not be satisfied with a saddle that is comfortable for 30 miles. Even a bad saddle is usually tolerable for 50 miles. It takes 80 miles for me to figure out if a saddle that's comfortable at shorter distances is even a candidate. It does seem like after 200 km you can know if a saddle is worth trying at longer distances.
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Old 02-11-22, 10:04 AM
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One question and one observation:

Question: have you found that if after a short ride a saddle is not comfortable, that it won't ever be "the" saddle for you (i.e., if it's not at least very good in the beginning, it won't ever be great)?

Observation: I went from curvy firm saddles, to curvy soft, to flat firm, to flat soft, and I think I'm settled on flat/firm. I cannot stand when the soft tissue around my sit bones is squished, it is very uncomfortable for me. My current flat/firm saddle could you a pinch more padding, but I'm not going to complain (well, until I do...we're talking saddles, I don't believe there is perfection).
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Old 02-11-22, 02:08 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
One question and one observation:

Question: have you found that if after a short ride a saddle is not comfortable, that it won't ever be "the" saddle for you (i.e., if it's not at least very good in the beginning, it won't ever be great)?

Observation: I went from curvy firm saddles, to curvy soft, to flat firm, to flat soft, and I think I'm settled on flat/firm. I cannot stand when the soft tissue around my sit bones is squished, it is very uncomfortable for me. My current flat/firm saddle could you a pinch more padding, but I'm not going to complain (well, until I do...we're talking saddles, I don't believe there is perfection).
In my experience, I can tell most of the time really quickly. I can learn to tolerate them and can try to accept but in the end, they just don't work and there is no love. Now, this assumes someone is accustomed to riding long distances. Not a newbie. I don't know how many miles or number of rides that it takes before you decide to "go steady" with a saddle. Unterhausen's post seems about right to me. I really regret ruining my Berthoud in some bad rain and then riding it saturated. I also let the bike sit in the rain while I tried to get warm, it was a mess. I see that Jan has replacement leathers. The Berthoud went from a blissful marriage to the dog house in one brevet.
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Old 02-11-22, 05:45 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Noonievut View Post
One question and one observation:

Question: have you found that if after a short ride a saddle is not comfortable, that it won't ever be "the" saddle for you (i.e., if it's not at least very good in the beginning, it won't ever be great)?

Observation: I went from curvy firm saddles, to curvy soft, to flat firm, to flat soft, and I think I'm settled on flat/firm. I cannot stand when the soft tissue around my sit bones is squished, it is very uncomfortable for me. My current flat/firm saddle could you a pinch more padding, but I'm not going to complain (well, until I do...we're talking saddles, I don't believe there is perfection).
I have made some very quick no decisions. The caution there is, tilt and fore/aft adjustments can make a good saddle seem bad.

The strategy I've come up with for fore/aft adjustment is

1. Install the saddle based on my original saddle's position,
2. On the trainer, pedal standing for a while, sit down, and note where my sit bones land.
3. Adjust fore/aft so the sit bones are in the right place for that saddle design
4. Repeat.

Then I do tilt. I start with eyeball level. Then adjust up or down based on how it feels to sit and spin for a good long while. I consider weight on the hands, how easily I can hover over the bars, and whether I find myself repositioning. Bias toward having the saddle tilted forward.

After I've set up like this, then I give the saddle a chance. If it hurts, it's dead to me.
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Old 02-13-22, 07:22 PM
  #49  
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Update.

35 miles on the Giant Approach today. A little discomfort, I'd like to try tweaking tilt and setback but it was due back today. It's a strong maybe. Next up: Terry Fly, recommended by a rando friend.

Recommendations section:
  • Selle SMP TRK,

Tests
  • Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
  • Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
  • Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
  • WTB Koda 145mm test. Very short test as I got sick mid-week. Maybe too short. The Ergon is similar so I'll do that next...
  • Ergon SM sit-bone pain at 25 miles into 200k. Maybe try wider version.
  • Giant Approach in process: decent, maybe tweak adjustment.
  • Terry Fly

Last edited by downtube42; 02-13-22 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 02-20-22, 05:19 PM
  #50  
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Update.

Terry Fly: After two indoor trainer sessions and one 30 mile outdoor ride, I'm calling this the best one yet. It's due back today, but I'm going to swap it for the the Ti version if available. I'll try to work it out to have this saddle checked out for my March 5th 300k.
When I first installed this saddle, I neglected to adjust it's the seatpost to compensate for saddle height. That made a huge difference, as this is a relatively tall saddle.

Recommendations section:
  • Selle SMP TRK,

Tests
  • Specialized Romin 150mm: No, too narrow. Consider the 158mm version.
  • Specialized Power 168mm: Maybe. Consider for a longer test.
  • Fizik Tempo Argo 160mm: No. Sit bone area pain 35 miles into 200k.
(pause in test, rode two 200k brevets on my Selle Anatomica. Which reminded me this is not the right saddle for me)
  • WTB Koda 145mm test. Very short test as I got sick mid-week. Maybe too short. The Ergon is similar so I'll do that next...
  • Ergon SM sit-bone pain at 25 miles into 200k. Maybe try wider version.
  • Giant Approach in process: decent, maybe tweak adjustment.
  • Terry Fly: best yet. Try on upcoming 300k.
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