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Let's talk about saddles...(14 posts)

Let's talk about saddles...pnitefly
Dec 11, 2002 1:47 PM
Okay, I have tried to convince myself for 2 years that I love my specialized body geometry race saddle. I now believe that there are alternatives out there that are just as light and a lot more comfortable. What are some recommendations for a saddle? Money is not an issue but value certainly is! I need something lightweight but comfortable for century type rides. Also, I need to protect the old twig and berries if you know what I mean ;) Any input is appreciated...
re: Let's talk about saddles...Trek Racer X
Dec 11, 2002 2:28 PM
I have been riding the Specialized Body Geometry Pro Magnesium, and the 2002 Specialized Body Geometry pro Forged stainless steel verson. I've tried to convince myself of the same thing as well. But it's just not comfortable on long rides! The tried and true Selle Italia Flite Genuine Gel Ti, has been my favorite. It's not the lightest saddle on the market, (given the SLR c-64 carbon "64 grams") but the saddle is a good compromise between lightweight and comfortablility. I also have a stock cannondale saddle, and WTB Tri Lite Ti, but they don't seem to work as well as the Flite Gel.

Of course on the other hand, everyone's twig and berries are set-up differently downstairs, so I can't say: "this is the saddle for you!"

If you can, try out a variety of saddles, and see what you like best. (Although it's difficult to see how good a saddle is, until you're 5 hours into a century ride.)

Just my two cents.

Not possible to answer this questionKerry
Dec 11, 2002 4:34 PM
I had two riding buddies, one with a Brooks and one with a standard plastic racing saddle. They got to talking about how they both did not like their saddles, so they switched. Both went away happy as clams. There was nothing wrong with either saddle, just that they didn't fit those guys. Saddle choice is way to personal to take someone else's advice about how much they like theirs. I like my Flite Ti, but that doesn't mean you'd like it. Likewise it's predecessor Cinelli. People who have Brooks saddles often got there by not liking other saddles. The fact that they like their Brooks doesn't tell you anything about what you might like.
Not possible to answer this questiondeHonc
Dec 11, 2002 8:55 PM
This is true - I read with some trepidation the reviews of the saddle that was coming with my new bike - and guess what? I love it - in fact, it is the best saddle I've ever had the fortune to own - but the reviews said it was shite. You just CAN'T ask someone else which saddle is comfy or which saddle is lowsy because it is totally subjective. Period.
Don't forget about the importance of proper adjustmentStarliner
Dec 11, 2002 5:19 PM
Different riders will ride a given saddle in different ways. Therefore, "proper" adjustment of a saddle for each rider can differ.

Assuming you've dialed in the proper saddle height, be sure to play around with different settings for saddle level. It can be surprising how minor a downward or upward adjustment of the saddle's nose can affect comfort.
Don't forget about the importance of proper adjustmentShaunus
Dec 11, 2002 7:32 PM
I do not recommend 'playing around with different settings for saddle level.' If you do not have any knee trouble and do a lot of miles, playing around with saddle level settings can detrimentally impact on your knees. However, proper adjustment is important, and if you're position is sorted, then you should'nt have any problems.

Saddle's are an individual choice. Personally, I prefer a long flat skinny saddle that flares out at the back to place my 'sit bones' on. Never had any trouble with discomfort. Long and flat alows me to move forward and back depending on conditions to fine tune my power delivery.
Dec 11, 2002 8:40 PM
Once you get your KOPS dialed in (or whatever method you use) you can really dial in your saddle by leveling it out if you have a 2 bolt seat post. I've angled mine back a tad and in effect have raised the saddle height. I like to feel the saddle underneath me and when I descend I can sit down and take the weight off my lower back and relax. Just a slight change in the angle can make a big difference. I started out with it perfectly level and tweaked it here and there on my rides until I found that magic spot.

Saddles are hit and miss and what works for one, might not work for another. Usually the guys with skinny butts have the problem getting comfi. I've had good luck with just about all the Selle Italia saddles, but I have a craving to go retro and am awaiting a Selle San Marco Regal that I bid on ebay. I have used a Fizik Pave, Brooks Team Pro, San Marco Era, Selle Italia Flite Gel, Selle Italia Max Flite. They all worked except the Fizik was a tad too narrow for my sit bones. I like the old stuff as they were made to be comfortable and not zeroed in on lightweight.

A good place to look is the "slightly used" saddles on ebay. You save a hunk of money and if the saddle works you can buy a brand spanking new one in that model (or a couple) later down the road....

The #1 selling saddle is the Selle Italia Fite Ti, if that means anything, it might not work for you, but it might be a good place to start.....
Max Flite Trans Ambsdc
Dec 11, 2002 6:01 PM
Slightly wider, a cut-out for your twig, and bit of suspension built into the frame of the saddle.
I've had a couple work for me...rockbender
Dec 12, 2002 2:02 AM
As posted above, this is a very personal issue! I've had Flite Ti and Flite Ti Gel... the regular flite ti doesn't work well for me, but the Gel model has been good to me so far. The longer shape lets me move forward and back a bit, allowing for a bit of adjusment for long rides.

I've got a WTB Laser V ti on my CX bike, and while I don't have a lot of miles on this one yet, it is definatley one of the most pleasant saddles I have used to date. I look forward to putting more miles on that one for sure.

Another long time favorite is the Avocet O2 Air. I've been riding these on my MTB for years now and it just works for me.

I've heard good things about the Terry's, and my girlfriend loves her Fly model (mens saddle). I, on the other hand, wasn't too fond of it. It wasn't that it was all that uncomfortable, but more that for me there was only one position on the saddle that felt at home - hit a bump and you're out of alignment!

Several of our LBS's, however, have been very good with try and exchange saddle purchases - keep on trading until you find one you like (providing you keep it in like-new shape). That alone is worth spending a few extra bucks to buy from the LBS.

Good luck!
Try Koobiabelson
Dec 12, 2002 8:22 AM
I've heard very good things about Koobi saddles but I have not tried one. If you don't like the saddle you can return it within 30 days. Checkt out
Try Koobi........I'll second that! I like mine. nmgogene
Dec 12, 2002 10:15 AM
re: Let's talk about saddles...cincy1
Dec 12, 2002 9:25 AM
Twig and berries? Your humility is refreshing.

I spent two years trying 15+ different saddles trying to find one that was comfortable. Finally settled on Selle San Marco Aero and their Arami saddles. Both have a firm yet compliant feel. They are also long and wide which turns out to be very important if you have a big butt like me. Here are the variables you must consider:

Width (rear)
Width (nose)
Padding, Gel or both
Amount of droop in the middle (like a hammock)
Cut-out or not
Rail Length and Material

For me the San Marco models I mentioned had the right combination. No one can tell you which one you'll like. Keep trying until you can ride for two hours and not think about your saddle.

Good luck.
re: Let's talk about saddles...tarwheel
Dec 12, 2002 12:10 PM
As others mentioned, the only way to know if a saddle fits you is to ride it for a while. Unfortunately, many bike shops won't let you exchange if the saddle doesn't work. Saddles are expensive, so you can spend a bundle trying to find the right one. If your bike shop allows exchanges, try some different saddles until you get the one that works for you. If not, try either Terry or Koobi, which both allow returns within 30 days. I tried a Terry Fly, but it was too narrow and too padded for me. I then tried a Koobi, using their fit table as a guide, and found that the Enduro model fits me perfect.

Another option is buy used saddles on eBay or RBR classifieds. I've bought several saddles that way, but you still have the hassle of trying to sell a saddle if it doesn't fit. I tried a bunch of saddles over the past couple years and found several that worked, but the Koobi Enduro was the best match. I also like the Brooks Swift, but it is very expensive and has very narrow "sweet spot," meaning that it has to be set up just right (height, front/back, and angle) to feel right. I got my Swift in a trade; I never would have dared to spend $150 on a saddle that may or may not have fit.
Regular Flite Ti for 10 years. Wouldn't use anything else. (nm)StevieP
Dec 13, 2002 4:51 AM