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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Saddle Test!

Old 03-01-22, 11:45 PM
  #51  
anotherbrian
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I'm a 30 year+ recumbent rider (P-38, Metaphysic, M5CHR, Cruzbike S40), and have only done one SR series and that was on the P-38. I've done lots of double centuries and a couple 300K's on uprights. Plan is to do at least an SR this year and would like to do the SFR Adventure Series, and at least the Marin Mountains 200K is an absolute no-go on a recumbent.

When I decided I'd start doing doubles on the upright ~2010 I got a Selle Anatomica due to Tom Milton's (SA's founder) association with the California doubles scene. The saddles were everywhere around then. After a couple doubles I gave up on it though ... it was comfortable on the first ride, but over time not so much.

I found a dealer in NorCal that did Selle SMP demos and worked my way through a bunch of saddles. There are a bunch, and the differences between them are very subtle. It's now going on 10+ years, and I have Selle SMP's on all my uprights. I was certain the Selle SMP Dynamic was the saddle for me after a couple test rides then riding the Sierra Century with it (and bought it), then did the Mt Tam Double soon after and I was dying by the end. I then tried the Drakon (very very slightly wider) and it felt good like the Dynamic to start, and was still fine by the end of a double.

I did ride a 200K last weekend on the recumbent, and looked at my 20% fewer kJ's than had I ridden it on the upright, and wondered if I'm making a mistake with the upright, but I'd like to get back to the social aspects of randonneuring, and that doesn't work when you ride off the front on the flat rides, or are perpetually trying to catch back up on the long hills. So at least for the next couple months, plan will be to let my butt recuperate during the week on the recumbent, and ride the Selle SMP's on the weekends.

So my suggestion would be go test out a number of Selle SMP's. I think they're broken up into a couple lines based on the padding (way less padding than the Selle SMP that was posted above), so find the line that works for your sit bones and then work through the variations to find if one perfectly fits. It's important to get the tilt just right. I can't imagine riding any other saddle now.

Last edited by anotherbrian; 03-01-22 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 03-08-22, 04:22 PM
  #52  
downtube42
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Update.

Terry Fly 300k ride. Comfort was okay for the first 200k but became less so after. I found myself sliding forward off the sit bones, causing discomfort. I considered a mid ride adjustment, but decided against. When I'd force myself to stay on the back of the saddle, it felt okay. The next day i moved the saddle slightly forward and tilted up a bit, and rode a few miles. Even with a tender butt, it was decent. With that, I've decided to go ahead and purchase this saddle. It's not a pricey saddle, since I'm going with the cromoly version. Essentially I'm extending the test duration, as the library limits checkouts to one week.

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. Purchase
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Old 03-18-22, 06:33 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Yesterday I rode a 200k using my original Selle Anatomica. With vacations and holidays I'd returned my loaner saddles and didn't have an opportunity to get another loaner.

Verdict: As noted, supremely comfortable for a while, then not so much.

After reading ad nauseum about saddles, I want to try something that's more flat (less rounded).
Have you tried a tighter or looser screw on your Selle Anatomica? You haven't mentioned it. I find anything from Ĺ turn to a full turn at a time can be significant. In your pics, a tighter screw moves you toward the flatter condition on the right hand picture.
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Old 03-18-22, 03:12 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Have you tried a tighter or looser screw on your Selle Anatomica? You haven't mentioned it. I find anything from Ĺ turn to a full turn at a time can be significant. In your pics, a tighter screw moves you toward the flatter condition on the right hand picture.
Agreed. Personally, I found the SA very mediocre until I laced it which helps keep it from sagging. There is only so much you can do with the tensioning bolt. If I added enough tension to make it comfortable (before I laced it) then it would simply stretch out after a couple rides and I was back where I started. Lacing was the key for me.
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Old 03-18-22, 05:49 PM
  #55  
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I've been thinking about the rubber SA, my experience with the rubber brooks wasn't great so I dunno why I'd try again with another brand, but I've been doing alright on my specialized toupe at 155mm, but they've discontinued them it seems and I haven't had any luck on ebay or pinkbike lately... and they aren't the most durable saddles either, I've had the shell crack on one, and snapped a titanium rail on another.
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Old 03-18-22, 09:28 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Have you tried a tighter or looser screw on your Selle Anatomica? You haven't mentioned it. I find anything from Ĺ turn to a full turn at a time can be significant. In your pics, a tighter screw moves you toward the flatter condition on the right hand picture.
Yes. Snugged up it was better, but still too much nerve pressure. Living on the PNW, a leather saddle isn't the best choice anyway. I'll put it up for sale this spring.

For now it's the Terry Fly. I have a 400 km ride in a few weeks - that will be the true test
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Old 03-19-22, 06:47 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Yes. Snugged up it was better, but still too much nerve pressure. Living on the PNW, a leather saddle isn't the best choice anyway. I'll put it up for sale this spring.

For now it's the Terry Fly. I have a 400 km ride in a few weeks - that will be the true test
I used to ride a Terry Fly, maybe 15 years ago. It was a good saddle for me, but I found that the foam broke down much sooner than I would have liked. Perhaps they've fixed that now. My guess is that we have similar butts. Now I have this saddle on one of my bikes: https://www.selleitalia.com/en/saddl...een-superflow/
It's a bit hard but is a good fit. I'm tempted to try the Comfort+ version which has thicker padding: https://www.selleitalia.com/en/saddl...ort-superflow/
Pretty inexpensive saddles. The one I have now is on my rollers bike, which I don't ride for more than an hour and half at a time. Note the differences in suggested application on the Selle website. Performance Bike carries both of these and they have a return policy.
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Old 03-27-22, 08:32 AM
  #58  
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I put new leather onto my Berthoud and did a 200km on it but it was not the most comfortable. So, I started messing around with seat angle and tension but could not find the right spot until yesterday, just one turn and voila, I was back in love. Or maybe the leather broke in miraculously butt saddles are one finickly accoutrement
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Old 04-05-22, 04:47 PM
  #59  
anotherbrian
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My goal for the year is to do San Francisco's Adventure Series on an upright, so I've been trying to avoid falling back on the recumbent.
https://ridebike.org/sfr/adventure/

My Selle SMP Drakon on my road bike is still working well. In March I did a 130, 300, 200, and 400 in that order, and at least for the 300 and 400 I second guessed the upright choice as I drove to the start, but the Selle SMP worked out well.

In April it'll be a Fleche, a 200 or 300K, then a 600K, and I'm hopeful the upright will be fine.
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Old 04-17-22, 05:31 AM
  #60  
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Iíve following this thread to see if the OP finds the holy grail of saddles!

After toying with my own saddles (two of the same Selle Italia on different bikes), I recalled how important is saddle set up. I had been fitted on both bikes and while this saddle was the correct width re: sit bones, didnít cause any perineum pressure or other issues down below, I didnít feel stable on it and on both bikes I was getting sore neck, shoulders and sometimes tingly hands. Figured it was saddle tilt (too down) so I corrected and that made a world of difference. I was about to try another saddle, again, and I may still do so...now that I believe I have it correctly set up. The experience reminded me that the saddle needs to be set up up correctly for the rider, and then be judged for comfort (short to long distances).

I wonder how many saddles Iíve given up on over my 20 years of cycling due to set up issues?
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Old 05-14-22, 09:53 PM
  #61  
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Recently I've been experimenting with the Infinity Seat (E2 series) and despite its looks, my initial impressions are that they're the most comfortable I've sat on yet. However, I've yet to take it out on a really long ride (i.e. audax) yet so I'll reserve judgement until then. It's unfortunately leather though (at least the few bits of it that are actually covered).
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