Saddles

theDude

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Oct 7, 2011
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Tokyo
app.strava.com
#1
I'm starting to look into a new saddle. The one I've got came with my bike, it's a San Marco somethingoranother. Apparently it is meant to be pretty good. Though one cycling person/mechanic looked at it once and commented that it doesn't look so comfortable (for long rides). Which I guess it isn't after about 2 hours, but not knowing anything else I just ride.

What are some basics in terms of saddle types/shapes and what are they generally 'meant' for? (if anything?)

e.g., here's the San Marco lineup.
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
#3
Saddle fit is so personal, I always have liked the San Marco Titanio Rolls. Nice and wide like my butt and sadly out of production. If that saddle you have doesn't give you grief don't listen to opinions of people with another butt that is different from your own.
 

Forsbrook

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Feb 13, 2008
399
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48
Katsushika-ku
#4
For comfort you've got to go with a leather saddle like a Brooke's though they aren't very light.
They are especially good in the Summer because the leather is kind of breathable.
Some say they require a bit of breaking in but the ones I have had have been comfortable right out of the box.
 

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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#5
kiwisimon 's advice is good; but if you want to read more then this explanation and this thread seem sensible.

Last year I too didn't know what I wanted on my freshly rescuscitated 1980s bike, but I was sure that I didn't like the convex-centre Italian thing that was already on it. I thought I'd get some 21st-century design that promised to be better but that was cheap, just as an education: I'd soon realize that this about it was too hard, or that that was too wide, or whatever, and would then be able to choose a saddle that was just right for me. So I got some "Scott"-branded saddle out of a bargain bin at Y's in Akasaka for about 3000 yen. This turned out to be better than I'd dared hope, so I haven't changed it. When I got an additional (1980s) bike I went back to the same bargain bin and fished out a second example for it.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
945
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#6
There seems to be no correlation between price and comfort. Just start trying saddles that are in a performance range you want. Road saddles where your position tends to be more rocked forward may feel completely uncomfortable to rando's who prefer more upright position. Sit bone spacing is very important - where the contact points are. No one is exactly the same - however most people will tend to fall into kind of a wide, medium and narrow placement. A good place to start is with the Fizik Lineup. Their Aliante, Antares and Arione hit just about those three points exactly. So - they are good road saddles from which to get a baseline. Whatever you do get - make it the same on ALL your bikes.
 

microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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#7
There seems to be no correlation between price and comfort.
I'm guessing that there's also no correlation between saddle quality and copywriting quality. Anyway, the interwebs bring us this gem:

Antares is the third "A" of the fi'zi:k road range. Antares is an "A" product. This is why Antares, as with Arione and Aliante, begin with the letter "A". Antares is a new dimension. Antares is the third dimension. Antares is the dimension between Arione and Aliante.

I picture the copywriter, wanting to perpetrate "An 'A' product for every ass!", having this turned down unsmilingly by the account director, and then just taking his/her revenge.
 

wexford

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Jul 3, 2012
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#8
I'm in the same boat. It's been 5 weeks of riding now. I've given it this long because I was thinking that my arse isn't used to this kind of punishment as I'm not cycling long enough. I thought I'd get used to the saddle or it would get used to me. However I'm in pain. So I think it's time I started to look for a saddle too. Must check what I'm riding right now.
 

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
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Asakadai, Saitama
#9
Not sure if all shops do it, but I'm borrowing a saddle from "nalisma friend" at the moment. They have a couple of boxes full of all kinds of saddles that you can borrow for 10 days. You just need to leave a 10,000 yen deposit which you'll get back when you return the saddle.
 
Likes: Doug3

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#10
I like my Brooks leather saddle. Yes, it's kind of heavy and I need to protect it from rain, but it's comfortable on long rides. No break in period required here either. It doesn't work for everyone though. Saddle fit seem to be very individual. The Brooks is the third saddle I've tried. Once you find something that works, stick with it.

The only general rule I can give is that soft, padded saddles that one commonly finds on shopping bikes are unbearable on long rides. They let the sit bones sink in too deeply, also exposing the soft tissue and nerves around them to pressure. To think that a softer saddle is easier on your behind is a common beginner's mistake. What may seem comfortable on a half hour ride is not necessarily comfortable on a six hour ride.

Even with the most comfortable saddle you want to get your butt off the saddle sometime, stand on the pedals for a little bit to help circulation. It makes a big difference.
 
May 22, 2007
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#12
I now have a Fizik Adrianopolous :p on each of my bikes. I tried a fancier white version with a groove running down the centre (seen on the Ti bike in the middle, below), but that didn't work for me at all. So now I'm all black.

I have a Brooks B17, too. I liked it for commuting for a while, but for me it doesn't work well on longer rides. The position/fit is fine, but it seems to cause me more saddle rash. Maybe I'm allergic to the proofing. I will experiment with it again, sometime.

20130324-144415-bikes.JPG


Also in the shed I have a Manta Saddle - a weird and wonderful contraption that I really must give a fair trial.

 

stanc

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Sep 4, 2011
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Brighton
#14
Saddle fit is so personal, I always have liked the San Marco Titanio Rolls. Nice and wide like my butt and sadly out of production. If that saddle you have doesn't give you grief don't listen to opinions of people with another butt that is different from your own.
Out of production? Unless I am getting confused here it is on the San Marco site for 103 euro
http://www.sanmarcovintage.com/en/Vintage/Saddles/222/Rolls Titanium.html

or Wiggle http://www.wiggle.jp/selle-san-marco-rolls-サドル-チタニウムレール付き-/
 

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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fudoushin.com
#16
While not providing answers or fixes, what follows may provide some increased understanding of the subject for some. IMHO, comfort in the saddle is a combination of the synergistic effect between four factors:
  1. shape of your arse
  2. saddle
  3. chamois
  4. riding form/technique/style
All four factors are variable. Even the shape of your arse and your riding form will change as your fitness and skill level changes. As many have experienced, it can be quite a daunting task to balance these four factors and reach a place of true all day comfort. With that understanding in mind, you've got to start somewhere. Personally, I highly recommend starting with your riding technique and chamois, and working from there.
 

jdd

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Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#17
I have three different Brooks' and am happy with all of them. Their main line runs something like Swallow, Swift, B17, B17 narrow, Team Pro. (along with some reissues, special lines, and so on)

According to Brooks, the Team Pro is their hardest/firmest model, a close 2nd in firmness is the B17 narrow. The Swift is maybe the next firmest, or at least is the next step between those first two and a B17 or Swallow. I'm unsure, but the Swallow, while being their oldest racing/road design, is one that they characterize as having the most "give" (of their road versions?). It's also the longest, giving you the most fore-to-rear options for shifting around as you ride.

The standard, non-narrow version of the B17 is really a touring saddle. But if I didn't have anything else, I'd use it on a road bike.

For any Brooks, besides the give of the leather, I think the smoothness/slipperiness of shorts on the saddle surface is a real advantage.
 
Dec 31, 2009
906
87
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Matsumoto
#18
I just have to say that your positioning on your bicycle dramatically affects your weight distribution on your saddle, hands and feet. Having a poorly fitting bike could be the root of your problem. Many people go through multiples of saddles before this becomes a reality.
I have several different saddles and can always find a good position on all of them. They all have various density's and widths.
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
945
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103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#20
Indeed! After having Chuck fit me, I found I don't even NEED a saddle anymore.

I just have to say that your positioning on your bicycle dramatically affects your weight distribution on your saddle, hands and feet. Having a poorly fitting bike could be the root of your problem. Many people go through multiples of saddles before this becomes a reality.
I have several different saddles and can always find a good position on all of them. They all have various density's and widths.