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new saddle / deep tissue massage


Speeding Up
Jul 19, 2006
Just hoping to get some/any advise regarding buying a new saddle.
Got a new bike, my first, end of last year, and want to get a better saddle.
Been looking at Selle Italia and San Marco on the Internet and in the shops.
And I have absolutely no idea... except that I can spend up to 2 man yen.
Seems more difficult than choosing the actual bike, which took me long enough :)

Oh, and a bonus question.
Does anyone know where I could get a deep tissue massage or something similar.
I have back troubles, and it used to help me a lot back home (Australia).
It's also the reason why I haven't made an effort in joining you guys for a ride...
That and the length of your rides ;) Are they always around the 7 hour mark?? :)

Thanks for any help!
Brooks is the only way to go!

Brooks saddles are the best I've used but they are pretty heavy.
However,like I said they are so comfortable.
Depends on how much of a weight weenie you are.

Forsbrook, thanks for your post.
I did some research (read a lengthy forum) and it seems that Brooks are a popular choice for comfort.
I guess I was hoping to find answers to:
a) cut out vs. no cut out
b) gel vs. no gel
And in the end have concluded that the only way to go is to buy a saddle that you think you could be happy with, and use it.
Repeating the process until your ass is satisfied or you run out of money.
Saddles - this time it's personal!

Your saddle buying approach is pretty much the only way to go as some riders get on with certain saddles that others find grossly uncomfortable. Some of the manufacturers (WTB and Specialized, at least) have saddle demo programmes at their dealers. I think OD Box at Okachimachi offers this service. Also new from Specialized is a gauge that measures the width of your "sit bones" (ichial tuberosities) and they offer their saddles in three different widths for the same design.
Cut-outs are supposed to reduce pressure on your perinium and help with blood flow to avoid numbness. However they can increase pressure elsewhere which you might not get on with. Speaking for myself I've always avoided the cut-out for a completely different reason - if you're riding in the wet the muck and water comes through and soaks your shorts. Bad on the road and twice as bad off road.
Gel saddles try to mimic the effect of a Brooks or traditional leather saddle by conforming to your particular contours. I am not convinced since gel is a polymer and will creep over time due to constant loading, leaving a very thin layer of gel over the hard plastic base at the pressure points. Leather behaves similarly but the saddle design is more like a hammock; there is no hard plastic base underneath. The parts that stretch simply stretch as much as they need to to equalise the stress in the material (and hence saddle pressure). I have a gel saddle on one of my bikes but it is not noticably more comfortable than the non-gel saddles on the others.
Many of the modern plastic saddles rely on flexing of the plastic or composite base to provide comfort. The Selle Italia Flite and Fiziik Arione are examples. I find the Arione to be more flexible and hence a bit more comfortable. The "deck" of the Arione is very flat (front to back) though. The Flite is tougher and more durable with a bit more of a curve to keep you in place.
If you go for a Brooks, they require looking after - "breaking in", adding oil, cleaning and they do not like to get wet. The treatment oil also marks your shorts but this is only an issue for non-black shorts. They are renowned as the most comfortable saddle through. Plastic / composite saddles are (a lot) lighter, cheaper and don't mind getting wet or neglected.
More on Brooks saddles at the late, great, Sheldon Brown's site
Saddle should be parallel to the ground.

Happy shopping,
i hear brooks has many admirers and also that they take about 1000 km to 'break in'. Thats your arse doing the breaking in as well, not the least sensitive part of one's world.

I have run the gamut of saddles and I advise a visit to Mr Charlie's in Ikebukero where they have a nice selection of Seles etc. I love my latest one, it was very cheap and is super padded (seles). I had terrible bum pain after anything over 100km but this one has really cured the biggest problem I was having with longer distance cycling!

happy hunting. My advice, forget looking like Lance. Go for comfort.


thanks for the help guys. lots of good information there! :)

I was thinking there should be something up with the cut-out...
so less surface area means more pressure, i.e. when supporting the same weight.
although as you imply, less pressure over there but more pressure here, which is better...
back to having to actually try each to know.

and thanks for the information on the Flite, I was considering only the SLR before,
just because that looked the normal/traditional/?? saddle and I knew nothing about the others.

Ash, which saddle was that? if I may ask :)
and is Mr Charlie's that Y's Road store?

and if either of you have an opinion on Flite vs. SLR, I'd like to hear it.
if not, thanks a lot for your help nonetheless! :)

cheers :)
Hi Simon . . .

You may find this helpful. Every year Slowtwitch.com (popular Triathlon website) completes the 'Kona Count' - bicycles, wheels, groupsets, saddles etc. used by triathletes at the Ironman World Championships. The majority of these people buy their own equipment and use it extensively for training / racing. Therefore it is worth taking note of the choices they make. The commentary is written by someone who has owned his own bicycle brand and regularly does bicycle fit for the pro's.

You can see the article on saddle choices here:


Another good article from the guy at Bike Sport Michigan - "Three Steps to Saddle Comfort" is worth a read. Comfort is not just about the saddle!


Alan's comments as usual are very sensible.


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