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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
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    13

    CX Saddle recommendation for Brooks Swallow rider

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    OK TE Saddle Gurus, I need your recommendations. I ride a Brooks Swallow on my road bike. My focus on the road is brevets and ultraraces, so I'm used to a lot of hours on the bike.

    For a few reasons; saddle weight, replacement cost, not weatherproof, sharpish protruding metal parts, I don't want to use a Swallow for Cyclocross. Plus I think a Brooks is overkill for a 45 minute event.

    A friend loaned me an old Specialized Ruby 143. (I did get measured at a Spec store and was told that's the width I need.) I liked the Ruby at first, but when I started riding it regularly, for relatively short rides, I began getting saddle sores. I tried my old Fizik Vitesse. It is an awful fit for me. I don't know how I rode it as long as I did. I also briefly tried a Specialized Phenom 143, and while I don't hate, it irritates the same areas as the Ruby.

    Any recommendations on a lightweight plastic saddle with a similar fit to a Brooks Swallow?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    13
    Hi Muirenn,

    Thanks so much for your response.

    Based on my Brooks, my sitbones are 115mm c-c. As I recall that is also what they measured using the Specialized sit bone measuring device, which, according to the shop put me between a 133 and 143. The dents in my Swallow are just inside the metal cantle. Of course if I'm sitting on the metal at all, it wouldn't show a dent...hopefully. : )

    I do get some top-of-leg/buttock chafing on my Brooks. That starts after about 6 hours early in the season, and as my butt toughens up, it takes longer. It's worse with some shorts than others.

    The Ruby was giving me boil-like saddle sores at the top inside of my leg, about where you might feel a groin pull, so maybe it was the cut-out.

    Funny that the Selle Italia Turbomatic is in your list. When I was in my 20's, my favorite saddle was a Sella Italia. I think it was just Turbo then.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,557
    If the saddle works, use it.

    Brooks.

    Pee before your race, you will make up the difference in weight. Take a dump, even better.

    Metal is not that much worse to bump than hard plastic shell.

    Put some proofhide on the leather and it will be weatherproof. (just ask some of the Seattlelites on TE who ride Brooks year 'round.)

    Cost doesn't matter when you are looking at a lifetime of sexual dysfunction and incontinence. Ask me how I know (5 years of working in pelvic rehab teaches you more than you'll ever want to know about how crotches work).

    Suck it up. Do the right thing. Ride the saddle that works already.

    -------

    ETA: sorry to be crude and blunt, but g*d***it I'm jaded by listening to people complain about how they've found the perfect saddle but don't want to use it. Pull up those big girl panties, already! Half a pound is ONE CUP OF PEE. Fer goshsakes ladies, go to the bathroom! Do that, and you completely eliminate (literally) the weight difference. If your sorry excuse for muscles can't cope with 8 oz, you shouldn't be racing anyway.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 11-10-2011 at 08:20 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    13
    Knotted,

    I'm not worried about bumping into metal, I have bruises all over my body from bumping into various parts my bike and the ground. However, there are fairly sharp metal edges on the Brooks' underside and I'd rather not cut my finger off.

    Also, after multiple Proofide applications, top and underside, my Brooks is NOT weatherproof. My understanding is that Proofide is water repellent, not waterproof, and that has been my experience.

    Cathy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,619
    what exactly are the weather related problems you are having with your saddle? is it deteriorating?
    the only time I ever got that kind of chafing from a brooks is when the saddle was not in the right place. I adjusted it about 1/2" and all the chafing went away. Best of luck to you.
    I do agree with Knott about the weight.
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    I rode a Brooks Finesse for years, doing several double centuries and many 200 Ks on it.

    When I started racing tri I wanted to lighten up my bike and switched to a Selle Italia SLR. I love it.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,324
    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post

    Suck it up. Do the right thing. Ride the saddle that works already.

    -------

    ETA: sorry to be crude and blunt, but g*d***it I'm jaded by listening to people complain about how they've found the perfect saddle but don't want to use it. Pull up those big girl panties, already! Half a pound is ONE CUP OF PEE. Fer goshsakes ladies, go to the bathroom! Do that, and you completely eliminate (literally) the weight difference. If your sorry excuse for muscles can't cope with 8 oz, you shouldn't be racing anyway.
    If you already eliminating all bodily waste before a race, this advice doesn't work. A half pound can make a great difference in speed over a hilly ride. In a race 30 seconds is huge. On your commute, tour or fun ride... not so much.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by Veronica View Post
    If you already eliminating all bodily waste before a race, this advice doesn't work. A half pound can make a great difference in speed over a hilly ride. In a race 30 seconds is huge. On your commute, tour or fun ride... not so much.

    Veronica
    I agree. It also makes a huge difference in CX where you have to lift your bike over barriers and carry it up stairs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    894
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    So, you need a very "t" shaped saddle with no cutout, approximately 135 mm wide.
    Hard to give saddle suggestions since it's very personal, but from Muireen's description it sounds similar to what I need. Except that 135 would be a tad bit too wide for me, anything above 130 is not comfortable.

    The saddle I use is Selle San Marco Aspide Carbon SL or the sister model which is called Aspide Carbon Composite. They are exactly the same shape and size, the only difference is that the composite has metal rails and the SL has carbon rails.
    The width is 127 or 129 I believe, it is very comfortable and also lightweight.
    The only thing you have to be careful about is transportation: you cannot just randomly 'throw' your bike in the back of a truck or lean it against a wall or something, because the seat is a sheet of carbon, it will crack if hit very hard. It is definitely weatherproof because it is just that - naked carbon with a clearcoat on top.
    Doesn't get any simpler that this - and at least for my *bottom* - it doesn't get any more comfortable than this.

    One downside: San Marco does not make this saddle anymore, so you may have to ask a few shops before you find someone that has it in stock or can order it from a distributor. It comes in white carbon (silver), black, blue, red, team white, and team yellow - so there's a good chance that you can find one that matches with your bike.
    Good luck!

    AND, if you try this saddle and like it, then please say a big thank you to Muireen - she 'summoned' me to the forums to help out on this one...
    Hi everyone, it's nice to come back to TE from time to time, when I get a minute off from my hectic life!!!
    E.'s website: www.earchphoto.com

    2005 Bianchi 928C L'Una RC
    2010 BMC SLX01 racemaster
    2008 BMC TT03 Time Machine
    Campy Record and SSM Aspide naked carbon on all bikes

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
    Posts
    5,619
    what I don't get is why these saddle manufacturers are so quick to stop making a saddle (like the one you like TxDoc) that is being sold successfully. That's one of the things I like about brooks. over 100 years of the same models. You think they'd learn...
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    13
    Sheila, Thanks for the additional details. The Friction Free SLR Monolink looks awesome, but I don't think I'm ready for that investment. Based on your suggestions and Veronica's, I'll probably try a non-Monolink SLR. I'll probably also try an Aspide, as TxDoc suggests, though maybe not with the bare carbon shell.

    TxDoc, What's the longest ride you've done on the Aspide Carbon?

    There's no LBS near here where I might have the opportunity to test ride saddles so I'll see what I can find on eBay. I have to say that's one great thing about Specialized, the 30-day return policy.

    I used an Aspide Glamour for a few weeks because it came with our tandem. I really liked the flat shape, but it gave me the worst saddle sores I've ever had. Probably because it's too wide.

    Because the Swallow is wide compared to some of these options, I'm wondering if I could at least reduce the chafing with a narrower saddle. Though, for day-long and multi-day rides, I've stuck with the "devil I know" to this point, and been hesitant to try anything else.

    Thanks for all the input,
    Cathy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    13
    Biciclista, the worst experience I've had with the Brooks was getting caught in a downpour during my first 300k. I also had two flats during the rain, so the saddle was exposed while I was fixing my tire. The saddle got soaked, and I couldn't wait around for it to dry so it stretched out a bit. I've since learned to keep my body over my saddle as much as possible during rainstorms, cover it with a plastic bag if I stop, and ride with a cover if the rain lasts very long. Fortunately that's an unusual occurrence where I live.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    894
    Quote Originally Posted by cmc View Post
    TxDoc, What's the longest ride you've done on the Aspide Carbon?
    The longest ever with this seat probably was about 135 I think. It is a bit flexible but it is strong. I think San Marco has a weight limit on it, probably 185 or 195 lbs or so.
    There's two of us using this saddle in my group of cyclists, and neither one of us has ever broken one yet. And, my bike did fall a couple of times, I crashed a few, my buddy races and he also crashed a few times...
    Carbon is stronger than we often think
    E.'s website: www.earchphoto.com

    2005 Bianchi 928C L'Una RC
    2010 BMC SLX01 racemaster
    2008 BMC TT03 Time Machine
    Campy Record and SSM Aspide naked carbon on all bikes

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    13
    TxDoc,

    If I can find one, I'll give it a try. 135 miles is farther than I would have thought one could ride on bare carbon. : )

    Cathy

 

 

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