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saddle try-outs? Do LBS go for this?(21 posts)

saddle try-outs? Do LBS go for this?Spinchick
Aug 27, 2001 5:22 AM
I've come to the conclusion that my saddle is not working for me. After adjusting it aft and fore, up and down, tilt, etc., I just can't get it right. It didn't bother me so much the first half of the summer but now that I'm getting up there in the weekly mileage, my butt (et. al) is going numb. I'm wondering if it's kosher to ask my LBS to try out different saddles on my rides before actually buying one. I tried a friend's Terry but that particular saddle was too wide for me. Feeling a little pressured to get one and get used to it before the Seagull Century. Any suggestions and/or recommendations on women's saddles?
re: saddle try-outs? Do LBS go for this?Lone Gunman
Aug 27, 2001 5:50 AM
I too am in the middle of a saddle search and am trying a Brooks Pro from 6 month, money back trial session. This is standard policy. Brooks also makes womens saddles. What I have found out in my quest for a better fit is that I am making alot of adjustments right now. The old saddle, a Terry Fly, is thinner rails to tail and therefore it changed my seat post height final number because the Brooks is thicker and this in turn put me in a position height difference above the handle bar and in turn the tilt of my drops also changed. And the tilt difference msut be level or slight nose up with the Brooks and I am still playing with the correct forward/aft position. The bottom line is we as cyclist will spend alot of money on a custom geometry frame or orthotics for our feet so why not a custom fit saddle? The Brooks are supposed to form to the shape of your backside. For a 6 month trial, I'll try.
Saddle swapingBulldozer
Aug 27, 2001 5:52 AM

Some LBS's have an exchange program. You buy the saddle, if it doesn't work after a period of time, they will exchange it with another..... until you find one that works. Best thing I have found is to communicate your intentions of finding one that works to the LBS and don't buy it unless they have a policy you can live with. Make sure you both communicate on what is a reasonable time to "try out" the saddle before returning. I have found that the shops who have a good exchange program tend to be more knowledgeable and professional and get my return business.

How does your bike fit otherwise?Spoke Wrench
Aug 27, 2001 6:13 AM
The relationship of your handlebar to the seat, both up/down and fore/aft will affect how you sit on your saddle. If your handlebar position is wrong, there are no right saddles.
I'm starting to wonder about this...Spinchick
Aug 27, 2001 8:19 AM
I am 5'6". My bike is a 54cm. When I bought it, I did not know what I know now about sizing. I relied on the LBS to know. To their credit, I did tell them that I would probably only be riding 60 - 70 miles per week on a recreational basis. Well, who knew I would become an absolute cycle junkie and have to STOP myself at 140 miles per week (mostly because of other obligations). Anyway, the height is fine but the top tube may be too short. When I'm in the drops with my butt pushed all the way back in the saddle (saddle is nearly all the way back), I can still see the front hub. My KOPs position is a bit behind the pedals but I feel better that way. So, my problem seems to be a combination of saddle and reach.
I hateto suggest this...Jon Billheimer
Aug 27, 2001 8:54 AM
But quite aside from the saddle issue, sounds like you have a major bike fit problem too. You can go to a longer stem to adjust your seat to handlebar length. However, as you describe it--seat pushed back, sitting on the back of the saddle, head still hanging out in front of the handlebar--you may need a new bike! But try a stem adjustment first. Just remember that with too long a stem, though, you can end up with too much weight over the front tire which would make the bike twitchy on cornering and descents. Hope all works out.
I knew it, I knew itET
Aug 27, 2001 8:59 AM
A too short top tube is one of the possibilities I suggested in a previous thread, and your description was starting to sound more and more like this as the cause. Suggest you follow the advice of the poster above and first try a longer stem and see what that does.
I knew it, I knew itSpinchick
Aug 27, 2001 1:05 PM
I do remember that suggestion. Guess I'm in for a new stem. Hell, maybe I'll just go for a whole new bike if I can talk the hubby into it (after all, Christmas is only 4 months away :-)).
I knew it, I knew itJon Billheimer
Aug 27, 2001 1:28 PM

You rock! You're gonna turn into a true hammerhead yet. For some good fit info, check out the following sites:,,, Then start spec'ing out geometry and frame materials at manufacturer's websites. Oh yeah...start doing whatever femme fatales do to build up mega-points with their husbands!
Hubby's a happy guy ;-) nmSpinchick
Aug 27, 2001 1:31 PM
Off the topic: cycling and parentingBrian C.
Aug 27, 2001 9:01 AM
I recall you once mentioning that you're a mom. (If I'm wrong and it was someone else, profuse apologies.) How do you manage to log 140 miles a week? I haven't had a good ride in two weeks because parental/vacation commitments. Any tips will be appreciated.
Just curious.
(Sorry to drag you off topic.)
Brian C.
Off the topic: cycling and parentingSpinchick
Aug 27, 2001 1:11 PM
For one thing, I don't work (outside the home). I usually do 30 - 45 mile rides 3 mornings a week while she's in preschool. Then I do a longer 60ish ride on one or both weekend days. Sometimes less, depending on weather (sometimes more :-)). I also have a husband who does not ride so we don't have to compete for riding time. I may have to go back to work so I can afford a new bike! Maybe they'll hire me at the LBS...
You may have answered part of the problemTig
Aug 27, 2001 9:24 AM
I've been wanting to change my stem to a slightly longer one. I'm used to a more stretched out feeling I enjoyed on bikes I had before. I found out my stem was on the recall list so I took advantage to swap it with a longer replacement (went from 100mm to 110mm). Bang, everything started to fall in place. 1 click of nose-up adjustment and I was in heaven again... except for the actual feel of the saddle. A few long rides with this comfy position allowed me to know without a doubt that the saddle itself has been the cause of my sit bone area pains. The saddle used to feel fine, but that was 10 years ago when Flite Ti's were new. I think I actually have worn this old saddle out!

Finding a saddle that is right for you is difficult. Dialing in a bike's fit is also difficult and can confuse related problems. At 5'6" a 54 sounds too big, but women have longer legs so it might make sense. Usually top tube length is too long for women, but you may have found yours isn't.
Sounds to me like you're not matching any of the rules of thumb.Spoke Wrench
Aug 27, 2001 10:12 AM
That's not usually a good sign.

I have lots of questions about how you fit on your bike. Honestly, I can't say I'd spend any more money on new saddles until I got the fit thing fairly well ironed out.

Do me a favor. Measure the distances from the top of your seat and top of your handlebar to the floor. Without seeing either you or your bike, I'm betting you have 4" or more difference.
Sounds to me like you're not matching any of the rules of thumb.Spinchick
Aug 27, 2001 1:25 PM
You are right - 39" from saddle to floor, 35" from handlebar down. Also, another interesting thing: when I bought the bike, they told me it was 54cm. I just measured it - top tube is 52cm, down tube is 53 1/2cm. What size does that make it???
Try this:Spoke Wrench
Aug 27, 2001 1:41 PM
Four inches is a lot of difference between saddle and handlebar height. My personal bikes are set up with a one inch difference, but I'm old and fat and not very flexible.

I'd try to raise your handlebars two inches without changing the stem length. If you have a threadless headset, that may require some figureing. That will change the angle of your crotch on your saddle, which may solve your problem. It will also make your present stem length seem longer because the angle of your torso will change. I'm betting that your hub will disappear behind your handlebar.

I'd also keep an open mind to the KOP thing, but save that one for another day. As long as you aren't experiencing knee pain, only make one change at a time.
Try this:Spinchick
Aug 27, 2001 2:04 PM
I will try this. Thanks for the tip. Any idea what the true size of my bike is given the dimensions I posted?
It's a 54cm.Spoke Wrench
Aug 27, 2001 6:38 PM
Bike manufacturers have three or four ways of measureing frame size, so figureing out exactly what they mean by a 54cm frame size isn't always appearant. Bike frames generally come in 2cm increments, so the measurements you gave are about what I would expect for a 54.

From the information you have given so far, I think that your shop has served you well in helping you to select the appropriate frame size. I just think you need to get your handlebar position dialed in and everything else will fall into place.
re: saddle try-outs? Do LBS go for this?cincy1
Aug 27, 2001 8:04 AM
I've purchased several saddles over the Internet. All of the big manufacturers have liberal exchange policies. Note: In several cases a saddle that felt good to me with one pair of shorts, chafed and irritated with another pair. The size and thickness of the chamois is just one more variable to take into account when seeking the perfect saddle.
yes.Steve Davis
Aug 27, 2001 8:14 AM
There is a shop in Boston (Cycle Loft) that has about 10 different saddles mounted on posts so that you can put one on your bike to test ride. I did this last year and tried several different models before ending up with the ERA.

I think this is a great service.
re: saddle try-outs? Do LBS go for this?battaglin bob
Aug 27, 2001 5:56 PM
imho saddles are like a comfortable pair of shoes. a good saddle should feel good from the start and not require a 500-1000 "break-in" period.(unless it's a brook's) I've had good luck with the selle italia flite models. might want to try the max trans am model which has a cutout like the terry but is narrower. happy hunting