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Road Saddles

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

 

I am in the market for a new saddle for the Road bike. Currently, I have the Specialized Rival 143  and, as I have been dropping weight, I have found it less and less comfortable.

 

I know that saddles are personal and demoing is the preferred method of trial. My question is this: How long (time and miles) does it usually take to figure out if the saddle you are demoing is right for you?

 

With skis, it is instant...if I am in the mood for a carver, I know within a few runs if I am on something I dig. 

 

Thoughts?

 

A shop down the road has a ton of stuff to demo from Fizik, WTB, Spesh, and Selle.  

 

Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 19

I have a BG Riva also.  I bought a Romin Pro Evo Gel for my road bike and put the Riva on the cyclocross bike (since I didn't like the cannondale saddle).

post #3 of 19

Really, whatever fits your butt.....  last change I ended up with a Fizik Antares but after eliminating obvious non-fits in the shop it took another month of trials to settle on the purchase.  Of the final contenders I had them on the bike for up to a week, doing a couple of shortish pre work rides (40-50kms) and a longer weekend ride (100-120kms) before making final choice. And of course saddle positioning can make a big difference to how a saddle feels, so play with fore/aft and angle adjustments on a trainer while in the shop before heading out on the road.

post #4 of 19
Quote:

Originally Posted by maineskiaddict View Post
 

I know that saddles are personal and demoing is the preferred method of trial. My question is this: How long (time and miles) does it usually take to figure out if the saddle you are demoing is right for you?

!


For me, tilt and nose shape and length are almost instant; by 10 miles in I'll know if the wing shape is wrong or too wide,  by 50 I know if the cutout/gel/topcontour/topstitching is going to work.     By 150 I've stopped thinking about it.  By 300 I can ride it in swim trunks it's that comfy.    

Not a fan of wide seats - my widest is 140mm.    If you've been losing weight you may want to consider going narrower than 143.

post #5 of 19

A ride around the block as long as my ass has been on a bike the prior month or so.

 

If not  any thng I ride seems uncomfortable at first.

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post
 


For me, tilt and nose shape and length are almost instant; by 10 miles in I'll know if the wing shape is wrong or too wide,  by 50 I know if the cutout/gel/topcontour/topstitching is going to work.     By 150 I've stopped thinking about it.  By 300 I can ride it in swim trunks it's that comfy.    

Not a fan of wide seats - my widest is 140mm.    If you've been losing weight you may want to consider going narrower than 143.

 

I don't know if losing a lot of weight changes the sit bones width

 

At least I know Specialized has a "tool" to measure it.

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post
 
I don't know if losing a lot of weight changes the sit bones width

 

At least I know Specialized has a "tool" to measure it.

 

The board with the flow gel pillow on it and the coloured lines?   Indeed.

The funny thing about that board is that one often finds the 'measured' sit bone width to be narrower, or even considerably narrower than the nominal wing width of the rider's current saddle.    It doesn't surprise me at all to find  someone who 'normally' rides a 143 Fizik or a 151+ Brooks actually measures out to something like - 125 to 127mm on that board. 

To my mind the inescapable conclusion is that the shape and volume of the flesh surrounding the  hip bones is as much of a contributing factor to rider perception of comfort as the actual hip bone width.   Once we open that door it is no surprise that if the rider loses a fair chunk of weight - or if the contact area is better toned -  all of that comfort perception can change.    Heck, if the rider drops their handlebar height or  all of a sudden starts riding in the drops or puts tri extensions on the bars - thereby presenting a different portion of the bum/thigh area to contact with the  saddle because the torso is rotated further forwards -    I see unsurprising comfort level changes. 

post #8 of 19

Yep, the board with the gel pillow.  Ironically, an actual specialized rep at the NYC Bike Expo (had to pick up my 5 boro tour packet there), measured me wrong. I didn't have the foot stool.

 

Interesting thing with Fizik is that they went away from the sit bone width, and went to 3 lines based on your flexibility.  According to Fizik, I would need a Antares (Chameleon) type saddle.  Specialized does have different saddles for different intended of applications of riding.

 

With the addition of Tri bars, the whole fit has to be readjusted, which usually means the saddle would typical move forward also to compensate.

 

One of the other parts in this is your shorts/ bibs and the quality of the "chamois"

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanscrazydaisy View Post
 

 

Interesting thing with Fizik is that they went away from the sit bone width, and went to 3 lines based on your flexibility.  According to Fizik, I would need a Antares (Chameleon) type saddle.  

 

That's a quite nice saddle;  the only reason I don't ride it is because they changed the forward ramp angles of their saddles to provide a 'bracing' feel against the pedal - and I very much prefer a floaty feel. 

post #10 of 19

IMO, asking people which saddle to buy is like asking them which shoe to try. There are are just way too many personal variables to make the answer useful beyond the broadest generalities. 

 

I wouldn't start out by getting too focused on a "road" saddle if you already have a saddle you like on your mountain bike. (I happen to know that the OP has one of those.) It MIGHT be that that the MTB saddle wouldn't work out as a road saddle for a variety of subtle reasons, but it's a much better place from which to start than scratch. 

 

All that said, WTB saddles as a family seem to suit me (and lots of other riders). Been riding a Laser V SLT on my MTB since forever, and it's hard to imagine one that would make me want to switch. My most recent road saddle is a WTB Silverado that I bought from Finndog, Official Provider of Almost-new Gear to Epic Ski. Seems very good, and much better than my old Terry Fly Ti, although I haven't done a century or back-to-back long rides on it yet. 

post #11 of 19

Yep, very personal decision.  I road a ti or carbon railed Fizik Alainte many a mile.  Still one of the most comfortable saddles for me.  But now I ride San Marcos that are a lot harder and a lot more narrow.  Still have a carbon Alainte stayed away new in the box how ever.  With chemo my weight has gone up and down 60# over time.  But still find a well used butt the biggest issue not my weight when picking a saddle that is comfortable to ride.

 

Less weight just makes the rifding easier and less of a briuised pair of sit bones.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane View Post
 

  But now I ride San Marcos that are a lot harder and a lot more narrow. 

 

Woohoo, another member of the 125 mm saddle club. Thumbs Up

post #13 of 19

Took me over 9 months to finish this one. But pleased with the end result. 13# 2oz. I would like to break 13# on a build but not likely to drop the $ on new 202s to do it.  Selle Italia Carbon SLR @ a measured 130mm.  Can't do 125 with my lard ass :)   Not my dbl century bike either!

 

 

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane View Post

Took me over 9 months to finish this one. But pleased with the end result. 13# 2oz. I would like to break 13# on a build but not likely to drop the $ on new 202s to do it.  Selle Italia Carbon SLR @ a measured 130mm.  Can't do 125 with my lard ass smile.gif   Not my dbl century bike either!
 








My deepest sympathies about those two oz. Let me ride it for a year and I will return it 3oz lighter.
post #15 of 19

OK then..that seems fair, what is your shipping address :beercheer:

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane View Post
 

Took me over 9 months to finish this one. But pleased with the end result. 13# 2oz. I would like to break 13# on a build but not likely to drop the $ on new 202s to do it.  Selle Italia Carbon SLR @ a measured 130mm.  Can't do 125 with my lard ass :)   Not my dbl century bike either!

 

 

 

KMC SL chain may shave an ounce or 2.

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for the responses.    I have noticed a huge difference in rider comfort in both the MTB and road bike as my weight has shifted. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post
 

IMO, asking people which saddle to buy is like asking them which shoe to try. There are are just way too many personal variables to make the answer useful beyond the broadest generalities. 

 

I wouldn't start out by getting too focused on a "road" saddle if you already have a saddle you like on your mountain bike. (I happen to know that the OP has one of those.) It MIGHT be that that the MTB saddle wouldn't work out as a road saddle for a variety of subtle reasons, but it's a much better place from which to start than scratch. 

 

All that said, WTB saddles as a family seem to suit me (and lots of other riders). Been riding a Laser V SLT on my MTB since forever, and it's hard to imagine one that would make me want to switch. My most recent road saddle is a WTB Silverado that I bought from Finndog, Official Provider of Almost-new Gear to Epic Ski. Seems very good, and much better than my old Terry Fly Ti, although I haven't done a century or back-to-back long rides on it yet. 

 

My original question wasn't quite so much "which saddle" as "how much seat time do you invest" before you find the right fit. There are a couple of decent shops in the area with demo programs (Beans actually has a surprising number of good demo saddles in the bike shop)

 

I should try switching my mountain saddle over and see how it rides.  

post #18 of 19

More than one commment above  was directed toward the difference between a road bike and a  mtn bike body position, and rightfully so.

 

"if the rider drops their handlebar height or all of a sudden starts riding in the drops or puts tri extensions on the bars - thereby presenting a different portion of the bum/thigh area to contact with the saddle because the torso is rotated further forwards - I see unsurprising comfort level changes."

 

I couldn't and wouldn't use my road saddles on my mtn bike.  Totally different body positions intentionally.

 

If you haven't yet I would back up a bit and get both your mtn bike and your road bike proefessionally fit first.  Then look at new saddles.

 

As you drop weight you loose the cushion on your sit bones.  So any saddle is going to get less comforatble if you only allow that one issue.  Dropping body should allow your body to assume a more effecient body position on the bike/bikes if you take advantage of that by adjusting the bike fit.   So you have a lot going on when you start dropping a serious amount of weight.

 

But seemingly from my own experience the biggest change in how comfortable a saddle really is  breaks down ot two things.  Does the saddle support your sit bones comfortably.  If it does, then how "seasoned" your sit bones are to the physical abuse of a bike saddle is going to make a huge difference IMO.

 

When my butt is in shape to ride.....which is when i can do a 200 mile day with no real comfort issues I can tell if a saddle fits or doesn't by a few laps around the block.

 

Every time I take extended time off the bike I can get one any one of my bikes and wonder "what the hell was I thinking" with the saddles I use now.  A week's worth of riding, adding time every day and being willing to suffer for the down time puts me back to where I was previous and comfortable in my choices.  But then all my bikes fit perfectly because I have made the effort to see that they do.     Hope all  that helps some.

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dane View Post
 

More than one commment above  was directed toward the difference between a road bike and a  mtn bike body position, and rightfully so.

 

"if the rider drops their handlebar height or all of a sudden starts riding in the drops or puts tri extensions on the bars - thereby presenting a different portion of the bum/thigh area to contact with the saddle because the torso is rotated further forwards - I see unsurprising comfort level changes."

 

I couldn't and wouldn't use my road saddles on my mtn bike.  Totally different body positions intentionally.

 

If you haven't yet I would back up a bit and get both your mtn bike and your road bike proefessionally fit first.  Then look at new saddles.

 

As you drop weight you loose the cushion on your sit bones.  So any saddle is going to get less comforatble if you only allow that one issue.  Dropping body should allow your body to assume a more effecient body position on the bike/bikes if you take advantage of that by adjusting the bike fit.   So you have a lot going on when you start dropping a serious amount of weight.

 

But seemingly from my own experience the biggest change in how comfortable a saddle really is  breaks down ot two things.  Does the saddle support your sit bones comfortably.  If it does, then how "seasoned" your sit bones are to the physical abuse of a bike saddle is going to make a huge difference IMO.

 

When my butt is in shape to ride.....which is when i can do a 200 mile day with no real comfort issues I can tell if a saddle fits or doesn't by a few laps around the block.

 

Every time I take extended time off the bike I can get one any one of my bikes and wonder "what the hell was I thinking" with the saddles I use now.  A week's worth of riding, adding time every day and being willing to suffer for the down time puts me back to where I was previous and comfortable in my choices.  But then all my bikes fit perfectly because I have made the effort to see that they do.     Hope all  that helps some.

 

That helps a ton. I actually haven't had my bike re-fit in the past year. I should definitely do it soon. Great suggestion. That might take care of the issues all together.  

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