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How comfortable is a really comfortable saddle?(31 posts)

How comfortable is a really comfortable saddle?Len J
Apr 30, 2003 7:00 AM
Just wondering.

How did your most comfortable saddle feel after 65 miles?

Did it disappear?
Was it a dull ache, hardly noticible?
Was it noticible but better than any other saddle?

I realized over the weekend that I may not know what a good saddle feels like. The best I've found is the SLR trans am or the Prolink T/A. With the SLR, I know it is there but it's like a low grade noise, easily ignored but there non the less. If I strtch off the saddle every 30 to 45 minutes or so, I'm fine. With the Prolink, I have no discomfort at all on the sit bones but I do get chafing at the top inside of the thighs after a couple of hours.

Have I reached the pinnacle of comfort or is there another level?

Share your pain (or lack of it).


you know a saddle is really comfy whenJS Haiku Shop
Apr 30, 2003 7:12 AM
there's **ZERO** soreness whatsoever after most of the day on the bike.

last weekend's 400k: 250 miles, 14 hours on the saddle (~17 hours total time). brooks b17 narrow and voler team shorts. no chammy cream. happy arse.

i've been through a number of other saddles, and finally settled on the san marco regal, due to their shape and width at the back. however, any substantial number of miles left me sore, and frequently with sores (and that was better than the others!).

after the b17n "broke in" (~600 miles), WOW! at the end of the ride on saturday, i could have kept riding without any thoughts of a sore behind. and no problems the next day.

i'm migrating the other bikes steadily over to brooks saddles. at 152 mm wide in the back, they're the same width as the regal. out of the box, they're a little stiff, and not quite as comfy as the regal, but after a few hundred miles, no worries.
I was there; I saw it; I touched it! (the Brooks, not J's butt!)Dale Brigham
Apr 30, 2003 1:17 PM
J was so complimentary about his Brooks B-17 Narrow on last Saturday's 400K brevet that we heard all about it for, well, for a couple of hundred kilometers, at least. In fact, Jen and I admired it and touched it (again, the saddle, NOT J's rear end).

I never saw J stand on the pedals out of the saddle to relieve his, uh, his nether regions. In contrast, most of us were on and off of our seats like parishioners at mass, trying to find an undamaged spot to sit on. I have a San Marco (Buick) Regal that I like pretty well, but nothing like the true love that J has for his B-17.

Brooks is my pickcoonass
Apr 30, 2003 1:24 PM
also....since I changed to the Swift, the saddle is NEVER a thought from beginning to end of a matter the distance or road conditions....when I began biking in 1980, I was buying a new saddle every 4-6 months; needless to say that I spent the entire ride 'adjusting' my posterior to get comfortable....the Swift cured all of that. (I don't use any cream unless the ride is over 80m...)
really comfortable saddle?PaulCL
Apr 30, 2003 7:15 AM
Really comfy saddle is one that I don't even notice.

I realized this when I switched saddles this year. I always rode turbomatics but couldn't find a replacement for my worn out one. So, I bought a Flite to replace it. I put it on the bike, the bike sat for a week, I forgot I changed the saddle, I went out and rode and didn't give it any thought. My wife asked me at the end of the ride if my new "seat" was OK. I said it must be becuase I had forgotten I had a new one. The perfect saddle.
Same experience with hte Flite.I love mine (nm)PEDDLEFOOT
Apr 30, 2003 7:49 AM
Same here. I have the flite on my road and MTB.(nm)Mazinger
Apr 30, 2003 9:29 AM
No pain for me...DINOSAUR
Apr 30, 2003 7:16 AM
I've gone through about 6 saddles the past four years. When I found one that I didn't think about when I rode, that's the one. I found the saddle tilt made a big difference and I level out my saddles as much as possible. Makes it easy with a two bolt seat post such as a Thomson.

I kinda like the old retro saddles such as the San Marco Regal, but I have a Flite Gel on my old bike and I like it just as well.
I think a lot of it is your level of callousesDougSloan
Apr 30, 2003 7:19 AM
I rode the 508 on the SLR with no soreness at all. That was with a thin pad on one bike and no pad on the climbing bike (actually, I spent about 70% of my time of the whole ride on the climbs). I changed shorts once and used Chamois Butt'r liberally. Much of the flatter areas and descents was spent on aerobars, too.

However, at the time, I had been doing 500 mile weeks, with a solo double almost every Saturday. I actully had built up callouses on my skin in my crotch and rear end.

Now, after becoming a dad and riding maybe 100 miles a week, I get sore with the same equipment in 50 miles. My skin just isn't nearly so thick.

Some saddles are better than others, but still I think most of this is about *you*, not the saddle, at least in my experience.

You've hit the nail on the head...Matno
Apr 30, 2003 8:46 AM
I absolutely agree with you that your own butt is what needs to "break in" more than the saddle/butt interface. In my experience, you can make just about ANY saddle comfy if you ride it enough. I had a saddle that fit like a glove on my MTB for 3 years. Then I didn't ride for a few months, and when I tried it again, it was painful. There was no change in the padding, position, or anything else besides my butt. On my longest ride ever (1000 miles in 10 days), I rode a saddle from a Wal-mart bike because the hard leather saddle on the bike I borrowed was just too hard. The saddle I used was actually quite narrow with minimal padding. For the first three days, it was quite painful. After that, I never noticed it again.

This doesn't mean that I'm not still looking for the perfect saddle! Saddles are the only thing that I have replaced several times on my bikes. Just ordered a new one this week in fact, to replace my Koobi Xenon. However, the more I ride the Koobi, the less I notice it, so I may end up keeping it after all...
Keep LookingRJF
Apr 30, 2003 7:33 AM
I've used nothing but Selle Italia Flite's for 10 years. I can ride all day and never have an ounce of discomfort from the saddle. It completely disapprears from under me. Of course, everyone's backside is different, so your results may vary. But it is not only possible to have a saddle that is completely comfortable, but should be expected.
The every ass is different theory is way overratedelviento
Apr 30, 2003 7:52 AM
Most of the time it's bad positioning on the bike that causes problems. I can't help noticing on the road that novice riders sit in wrong ways on their bikes. Too high seat, too stretched out, too forward, etc.

When I was a novice rider, I found most seats uncomfortable. Now I find most of the saddles from respected brands like Selle Italia and San Marco comfortable, including Flite, Era, Prolink, Turbomatic, Trimatic, the slight SLR and Aspide, because I know how to sit on a bike. You ass becomes calous as your mileage goes up but also becomes sensitive in finding the "sweet spot". The truly uncomfortable saddle that I remember was a CODA.

Of course those selling saddles always have an interest in convincing people that they need to buy 8 saddles to find the right one. Some even went as far as convincing people cycling destroys your reproductive function so they can sell a POS at $150 (you know who I am talking about).
forgot to say that unless you are a triathleteelviento
Apr 30, 2003 7:56 AM
do not tilt the saddle nose down. You are going to slide forward and put greater pressure on the tender parts. Flat or very slight tilt up will leave your sitbones where they should be.
Good pointRJF
Apr 30, 2003 8:10 AM
Good point. While I prefer the Flite, the only saddles that have caused me discomfort are ones that were horribly designed or worn out. Every sensibly designed saddle that I have ever used has fit fine and caused no discomfort.
My bike fit is perfect............Len J
Apr 30, 2003 8:25 AM
been fit professionally by two different fitters who arrived at the same position (which was almost spot on to my prefit position), so I don't think that is the issue. I put slightly over 8000 miles on my butt last year in the first 8.5 months (before my accident) so I don't think it's butt conditioning that is the problem. That leaves the seat/shorts as the only variable that I can adjust to improve comfort.

So what would you suggest?

What am I missing?

Apr 30, 2003 9:00 AM
I bought some new shorts this season. 2003 redesigned PI Microsensor shorts with some seamless chamois technology.

Not as bulky as the terrible purple PRT chamois from the year before, but a little more padded than conventional chamois shorts.

They feel a little better. Not a huge improvement, more of a subtle improvement. Not cheap, but if you are in the market for new shorts, worth a look.
Please, there is no such thing as a perfect bike fit.MB1
May 1, 2003 5:33 AM
You can start out with a fine bike position and be very happy with it but things change.

Your fitness, age, flexibility, injuries (been in a crash in the last year?) strength, riding conditions and a lot of other things change all the time. That is a lot of variables to deal with.

As far as fitters go all they can do is give you an average place to start your riding position-not where you will actually end up but just a place to start. Over time I change my position on the bike a bit to get a slightly different "feel" while riding. The new position will work great for a while till I start to want a new "feel". It never ends.

I find that riding just one bike all the time can also cause soreness that can quickly go away by switching rides for a while.

So what I am trying to say here is to fool around with your position on the bike for comfort, don't feel like it has to be just one way for good results. My experience is that a using variety of positions is actually better for big milage riding and moving things around just a tiny bit can prevent overuse injuries and soreness.

BTW as you well know, both Miss M and I are big fans of Brooks Saddles although we do use a variety of saddles on our various bikes. If you are experiencing saddle soreness and you like to ride for more than an hour or two at a time Brooks Saddles are well worth an extended test (they do require some sort of break in and don't actually work for everyone). As far as weight goes, I have long since given up worring about that and just concern myself with how well things do their intended task (plus the Brooks Swift has titanium hardware that helps keep the weight well below 10 lbs.)
OK Word police..............Len J
May 1, 2003 6:16 AM
I shouldn't have said perfect.

What I was trying to communicate is that I don't think my discomfort is a function of bike fit. Plain & Simple. I still tweak my position as the season goes on but I am definatly close.

I still think it's a seat issue. But I could be wrong.

I tried a Brooks about 10 years ago & thought I was going to die. It was absolutly the most uncomfortable seat I have ever been on.

Yes but that was 10 years ago,MB1
May 1, 2003 6:34 AM
how many miles have you ridden since then? I bet you are 10 years older too.

I will and do admit that Brooks Saddles don't work for everyone.

Perhaps it is finally time for that recumbent.

I 've only aged 14 years..........Len J
May 1, 2003 7:16 AM
in the last 10.

LOL on the recumbant.

I am an old fart but if anything my butt has gotten more sensitive not less.

I may borrow a Brooks from someone & try it.

I 've only aged 14 years..........JS Haiku Shop
May 1, 2003 8:50 AM
you can get a b17 narrow for as little as $53 plus shipping (online).

trying someone else's brooks saddle would be like trying someone else's--i dunno, what do we have that's totally individualized? maybe prescription glasses? dentures? (you did say a recumbent might be appropriate, LOL!)

to get a good idea of if it will or won't work for your arse, buy one and put your arse on it for a thousand miles.
"everyone's backside is diff't'Steve_0
Apr 30, 2003 7:53 AM
exactly why a leather saddle is the best choice for EVERYONE, IMO.
still haven't found what I've been looking for...ZvierBoy
Apr 30, 2003 8:10 AM
I have two saddles: flite and transam. The Flite seems to be really disastrous for me, TransAM better but still there is a slight discomfort. I am starting to believe it is my set up, but i have checked it numerous times.

Are there any useful sites on a perfect saddle position?

TO me, no matter how far I move the saddle back (even with a retracted post) my butt ends up overhanging the saddle seemingly more than other butts do (he he)
Maybe it is because I need a wider saddle, not sure. I ordered a Arami (with a cut out) hope this one will work out.
The absolute best saddle ever...ohmk1
Apr 30, 2003 8:19 AM
I've never used it myself, but I hear she's-uh I mean it's real good and comfortable
mine will be less extravagant - nmZvierBoy
Apr 30, 2003 8:43 AM
re: How comfortable is a really comfortable saddle?brurider
Apr 30, 2003 8:58 AM
As someone else said, you shouldn't even notice it after a day's use. Try some chamois butter or equivalent to help the chafing. If I go out for over 2 hours or so, I usually try to apply some in the areas that are prone to chafing on the thighs, right below the business area.
when you don't notice ittarwheel
Apr 30, 2003 9:07 AM
The measure of a good saddle, to me, is when you just don't notice it. If I notice a saddle while I'm riding, I'll generally be sore afterwards and even more sore the next time I ride it. Set up is important, as well. Just getting the positioning right can make a huge difference. But if a saddle is too narrow, or wide, or hard, etc., no amount of adjustment is going to make it perfect.

I haven't found the "perfect" saddle where I never experience any discomfort. With the best fitting saddles, any discomfort is generally resolved by standing briefly or repositioning. I suspect that most people who have trouble finding a comfortable saddle would be well-served to try Brooks leather saddles and give them time to break in, but most cyclists are so overly concerned about weight they never try that option. The Koobi Enduro and Silver are the best fitting saddles I have found, for me. I suspect a Brooks B-17 would probably be more comfortable but I am reluctant to add another 1/2 pound to my already "heavy" steel bikes. I tried a Brooks Swift, but it was just too small for me, both width and lengthwise.
I don't feel mine.dzrider
Apr 30, 2003 9:57 AM
I've done a 600k brevet, multi-day tours, and charity rides, and my butt is very seldom a problem. When it has been one, I lower my bars a little bit and that takes care of it. I've used San Marco Concor (not Concor Lite) since 1984 and will not change unless I can no longer find them.
Prolink (regular) for me.KG 361
Apr 30, 2003 1:11 PM
No problems at all, even on centuries.
I used to wonder the same thing until . . .Steve98501
Apr 30, 2003 1:44 PM
I bought my first Brooks B-17 two years ago after trying several of the most popular ones, mentioned even in this thread. I could condition my butt to a previous saddle so that a 60 mile ride was tolerable, but not fun for my backside. I received my Brooks and installed it the night before an 80 mile ride, thinking it couldn't be any worse than what I would otherwise ride. It was good the first day and just got better. I don't notice it on most rides under 100 miles. My butt was sore after 200 miles, but then, so was my entire body. Nothing has done as much to improve my cycling comfort and enthusiasm for cycling as my Brooks saddle.

I suspect those who disbelieve that every butt's different, or that it is only a matter of conditioning, or dialing in the position, simply haven't been there. I need less conditioning for riding season, and dialing in saddle position - while important - is just a much lesser issue with the Brooks. It adapted to me, and the extra weight is irrelavent.

re: How comfortable is a really comfortable saddle?jptaylorsg
Apr 30, 2003 5:17 PM
I've been where you are. I had a Giant OCR saddle, and it was killing me. I swapped out to a Specialized Body Geometry model with only slight improvement. I thought maybe I was just being a baby, but I wanted to give it one more try. My latest saddle is a 2003 Specialized Milano. i did a 50-miler this weekend, and I never noticed the saddle. It IS possible. The Milano is a less-expensive, heavier saddle, but the weight of a saddle won't keep you off the bike as often as a throbbing pain will. Try out a bunch, you'll find one that fits.