View Full Version : help me find the right saddle, please?

06-29-2008, 08:06 AM
Hi all,
I'm new to the forum and sort of new to biking. I used to bike all the time as a teen, but then had a serious health problem: a pilonidal "cyst" that was actually an absess the size of a grapefruit at the base of my spine. I had a total of four surgeries. It. Was. Not. Fun.
Why the overshare, you ask? Because during one of those surgeries they cut a nerve, which never came back, so I have a numb spot around my tailbone. All this makes finding the right bike saddle something of a challenge.
I recently bought a Gary Fisher Zebrano hybrid for fun and commuting. As I am off work for the summer, so far it's being used for fun.
I went to a LBS yesterday to take about saddles and got a male salesperson who started babbling about "female geometry" and Terry saddles. I do mean babbling. Nice guy, not comfortable talking to a woman.
So I throw myself on your mercy, fellow forumers.
To sum up:
Currently, after a 10 mile ride yesterday, my butt feels bruised and numb. That's with the saddle that came with the bike.
I am 180 to 200 pounds (and hoping that biking will help with that).
I am 5'5".
I am terrified of a new pilonidal cyst developing so I want OFF the tailbone.
I have a numb area basically at the top of my butt cleft (sorry for the details but I figure we need to be clear for this to be helpful to me).
I'm riding a hybrid commuter-style bike.

Any feedback is most appreciated. I know you guys know more about this that I do, as I know very little!

- Sophia

06-29-2008, 09:29 AM
I broke my tailbone falling off a horse, and to the best of my knowlege there isn't a comfortable way to fix it. That was 30 years ago. I haven't ever had a problem with the tailbone in particular from biking, but sitting in other situations for long periods of time is uncomfortable.
I use a specialized Ariel which comes in different sizes. I'm 5'7", 160 lbs, and I have the middle size. Your bike store should have a gel thing they can have you sit on to measure your sit bones. Specialized seats come in different sizes.I really like mine so far. It has less padding than the other seat that came with the bike, and even when doing regular sitting I've found that less is better.

06-29-2008, 09:56 AM
Springs are nice. No padding is VERY nice. Keeps pressure and impact off the tailbone. Flat top contour should be as comfy as a wooden kitchen chair, and you'll be on the ischial tuberosities and OFF the sacro-tuberous ligament and coccyx.

I highly recommend a Brooks B67 (or B67-S if you like short noses) for pelvic and spine issues. Haven't had a patient yet with your adventure, but I've had a couple with fractures. It seems like the needs would be similar as far as saddles are concerned.

Mind you, the Brooks B67 is mighty wide, and could be too wide for you. But the extra acreage might be perfect for getting you off any nerve-damaged areas and keeping your tailbone and associated ligaments suspended high above the surface of the saddle.

Wallingford Bicycle Parts gives you 6 months to try a saddle, full refund if you don't like it. www.wallbike.com

It might be worth a try, and you'll only be out the shipping cost if it doesn't work for you. http://www.wallbike.com/B67.html (scroll down to the bottom of that page: the lovely lady with the tandem is Team Estrogen's very own MimiTabby!)

Chicken Little
06-29-2008, 10:27 AM
Hey, excellent responses, esp. the Brooks recommendation. Because you have a numb spot, just remember to have a gander at that area fairly frequently. Things could go wrong without you knowing about it due to the loss of sensation.

06-29-2008, 06:06 PM
Hi Becca, Chick, and Knot,
Thank you for your advice! I had not heard of the Ariel. Will look into that. It's the second time I heard good said of Brooks. I looked on the site you linked, Knot. I'm seriously considering ordering a B67 and trying it out. Lots of good feedback there.
I appreciate your help!
- Sophia :D

06-30-2008, 12:59 AM
I have the mens version of the Selle SMP TRK. I don't have problems really and always used the Fizik Vitesse but was having less time in the saddle and it just wasn't as comfy.

I bet other people have given you better advice and I don't know how this would work for you but it seems like this one wouldn't have much pressure on your tail bone.

Be forewarned, it's funky looking. If you ever watch Star Trek, it looks like a Bird of Prey. It works for me though, even in tri shorts.

06-30-2008, 07:52 AM
I believe posture is very important here. Do your core exercises and make sure you stay on your sit bones (you have nerves there, right?)

06-30-2008, 09:42 AM
Hi Teig,
It looks cool! :) I am not very focused on aesthetics, anyway. But as a fan of sci fi, I see its appeal.
Hi Mimi,
I am going to start yoga back up (after a couple years off) after reading another pilonidal cyst suffer's post on how that helped her. Are there other exercises?
Yes, I do have nerves there. I just have a blank spot in a radius around my tailbone.
Thank you both for your feedback! I appreciate it.

Question: Can I do anything about getting sore wrists? I noticed that after a short ride yesterday. I try to let go of the bars and rest them when I can but my balance isn't super.

Thanks again.
- Sophia

06-30-2008, 09:49 AM
you sound like you need a bike fit. (Have you had a professional fit you to your bike?)
if your wrists are hurting, you probably are using them to do what your core and butt should be doing; holding you up.

I know crunches are good exercise for core :eek:

06-30-2008, 10:31 AM
Well, I don't think what I had as a professional bike fit. The guy asked how tall I was and said I needed a size Small. My bike is a hybrid; I don't think they come in particular sizes. Can I adjust the handlebars, perhaps? Bring them up a bit? :(

12-10-2008, 03:03 PM
I had a pilonidal cyst removed 25 years ago and re-constructive procedures after a split in the scar 2 years ago. I have searched to find a bicycle/saddle combo that I could ride comfortably, to no avail. Until a month ago.

That's when I found the Day 6 semi-recumbent bicycle with the upgraded seat (not saddle). I now commute to work and ride on weekends without feeling my scar at all! I actually look forward to riding.

If you are still looking and want a fit/test ride, there is a Day 6 dealer in Milpitas and one in San Carlos. Good luck!