Tech Saddle cutouts and short saddles

Karl

Karl

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#1
I'm in the market for a saddle upgrade. Haven't ever used one with a cutout so was wondering what folks experience was with them. Do they help? Also, what is the verdict on short saddles? Thumbs up or down?
 
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andywood

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#2
I'm in the market for a saddle upgrade. Haven't ever used one with a cutout so was wondering what folks experience was with them. Do they help? Also, what is the verdict on short saddles? Thumbs up or down?

I'm a big fan of cut outs. That Selle Italia is my favorite, been going strong for 15 years!

I have a cut nosed saddle on my TT bike (ISM). It's a totally different style of riding. Sitting perched on the end. You can maximize your position for pedaling for a TT or triathlon. But I wouldn't want to use it on my road bike for long rides.

At the moment I have a semi cut off saddle on my road bike (Bontrager), which is maybe the best of both worlds. Comfortable enough for daily riding but you can get forward on it for a hard group ride or racing.

Still love the selle italia though...

Andy
 
bloaker

bloaker

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#3
I also have a Selle Italia *Max Gel on my road bike as well as my commuter. A little heavy for this particular model, but super comfy.
 
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Cactaur

Cactaur

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#4
Some of my friends swear by the ism tri saddles for regular riding.

Years of different saddles I’ve finally settled on the astute pilarga vt as the most tolerable. Tried the old fizik Aliante with a channel but doesn’t agree with me anymore.
 
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Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy

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#5
Personally I've given up on the 'science' behind pressure relief in saddles. I used to use cutout saddles and found some of them better than non-cutouts. When I got a new (old) bike in Japan it came with an old Selle San Marco Rolls saddle. I meant to change it almost immediately to a modern saddle but didn't have the cash. I've grown to really like it and find it much more comfortable than almost any other saddle I've owned except the Brooks on my touring bike. Apparently other people must agree seeing as they still make it even though it's bloody heavy by modern standards.
 
Karl

Karl

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#6
@Joe McCarthy How old is that bike?

Thanks for everyone's input. I was looking at the Selle saddles so, given everyone so far has recommended them, it is nice to know. Probably gonna go with the cut out version. Thinking of getting the endurance type with a bit more padding.
 
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andywood

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#7
@Joe McCarthy How old is that bike?

Thanks for everyone's input. I was looking at the Selle saddles so, given everyone so far has recommended them, it is nice to know. Probably gonna go with the cut out version. Thinking of getting the endurance type with a bit more padding.
These days, lots of shops have test saddles that you can try out before you buy. Maybe worth thinking about.

Andy
 
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bloaker

bloaker

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#8
Karl, If you want to try out the Selle Italia Max Gel, I have one on my commuter I can swap out and loan you.
It is pretty beat up, but still comfy.
 
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OreoCookie

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#9
These days, lots of shops have test saddles that you can try out before you buy. Maybe worth thinking about.
Seconded. Saddle preference is highly personal, and you should try them for at least a week.
 
Karl

Karl

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#10
@bloaker Not sure I'll have time to take you up on your offer for a while, but much appreciated. Have you ever had any issues with the gel flattening a bit on longer rides and causing hot spots?

@OreoCookie Bike shops don't let you try saddles for a week, do they? Other than borrowing one from a friend who happens to have the saddle you're interested in, is there any practical way to try one for a week?

Zeroing in on the Selle Italia Superflow Racing, The Selle C2 Gelflow Racing, or the Selle Italia Novus Superflow Endurance. All are shaped similarly, the differences are down to the type of padding and weight. Gelflow is about 100g more, but would be worth it if the gel actually works as advertised. I've tried a gel saddle years ago, cheaper brand than Selle, and found the gel flattened down a bit and caused hot spots so have been shy about gel ever since.
 
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bloaker

bloaker

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#11
@Karl - never an issue. I have done up to 12 hour days on it (with a few breaks along the way)
The "max" part of the gel saddle is the material around the saddle rails. It has some shock absorbing going on there in addition to the regular gel upper. it isn't more gel in the contact area.

BTW - The saddle I am offering has a ton of miles on it and is on my commuter. I have other saddles at my house I also like, so you could do a month long test if you want. I would not be out or inconvenienced any more than just swapping saddles.
 
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andywood

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#12
@OreoCookie Bike shops don't let you try saddles for a week, do they? Other than borrowing one from a friend who happens to have the saddle you're interested in, is there any practical way to try one for a week?

Usually they will for sure. Best to go in a few shops and see what is happening.

For a brand like Fizik, it's in their interest to supply a shop with a range of test saddles to bring in more customers.



Andy
 
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baribari

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#13
The problem with saddles is that having a cutout isn't necessarily better or worse. You have to try them to know for sure.

Although I would recommend something with a BIG, DEEP cutout, not a wimpy little dimple, which I think can actually make things worse.

The next saddle I try will probably be an ISM or possibly a Selle SMP, which are both designed to reduce pressure on soft tissue, my main issue. They're both essentially cutout saddles with a nose that effectively disappears.

Keep in mind that angle and fore-aft has a huge effect on a saddle's comfort. Fore-aft isn't purely a matter of your knee's position over the spindle. It also affects how you balance on the saddle. Sometimes going back can actually reduce pressure on your hands. Counter-intuitively.
 
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Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy

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#14
@Joe McCarthy How old is that bike?
The original bike is a late 80's, early 90's bike made for Epson Bosco, a racing team in Japan of that era. My guess is it used to be a training bike. Most of the groupset is now modern 105 though. I also replaced the wheels recently too (interestingly, the wheels that came off were very slightly lighter than the not exactly premium Shimano RS11's I put on, a testiment to their potential racing heritage)
 
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Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy

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#15
Thanks for everyone's input. I was looking at the Selle saddles so, given everyone so far has recommended them, it is nice to know.
A note on the word 'selle' in the names of saddle manufacturers. It literally just means 'saddle' in Italian, so a lot of famous manufacturers have 'selle' in their names but aren't the same company. Some examples include:

Selle Italia
Selle San Marco
Selle Royal

All make decent saddles for a variety of purposes as far as I'm aware.
 
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leicaman

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#16
Best saddle I’ve ever owned is the Berk Lupina leather. Handmade in Slovenia, they aren’t the cheapest, but nothing has come close in terms of comfort and lightweight. Oh, and it has a cut out.
 
Karl

Karl

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#17
@leicaman So, Selle isn't a company name... good to know. Thought it was one company with various product lines. :innocent:

@andywood I've seen test saddles at Y's but didn't figure they'd let me try them for a week. I'll have to ask them next time.

@bloaker Thanks for the offer. I may just take you up on it, but won't be for a week or two. Interested to try the Max Gel. If it is comfortable on longer rides, I don't care if it is a bit heavier.
 
Karl

Karl

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#18
@leicaman I have a 1986 Panasonic order made with Reynolds frame. I really like that era's bikes. Still using it. Like you, I've upgraded the drivetrain but have held on to the original parts.
 
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OreoCookie

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#19
@OreoCookie Bike shops don't let you try saddles for a week, do they?
Mine did, I spent one week each with four different Fizik saddles — three test saddles and the owner’s personal saddle which featured a cutout. At the very least, you should spend a long ride in a saddle, but a week is much better so that you can tweak the saddle position to your liking.
 
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OreoCookie

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#20
The problem with saddles is that having a cutout isn't necessarily better or worse. You have to try them to know for sure.
Yup, saddle is really a matter of preference, and even the manufacturer recommendations can be off. I ended up with the Fizik saddle for “flexible“ people, even though I am as stiff as you get. However, I do tend to bend over much more than the average rider, it seems, so the “flexible” saddle works best for me. Next to cycling shoes, saddles are probably the bike part that is hardest to get perfect.

I ended up spending extra for carbon rails, and I chose the wide model. The carbon rails really make a difference to me (I don’t have a carbon seat post).