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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    37

    Back and seeking 4th saddle help

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    Hi all! I posted a bit here last summer when I was bike shopping but weather and life started to happen (I bought a house whoa!) and cycling got postponed. Needless to say, after hosting family friends for the 4th STP in a row and waiting at the finish line (and getting my brand new trainer back from one of them) I have rejuvenated my trusty new road bike, Silver Surfer. In the last weeks I've found a new (to me) paved and seemingly quiet trail that runs by a river and then follows an old railroad (definitely flat) and it's conveniently located between my house and work. I've jumped up from random 10-15 mile rides that finish off at the hamburger stand, to my first 30 miler yesterday! My legs feel great today, back is a little sore from the road position, but oh my the nether region took a beating!! So I find myself back, seeking the infinite wisdom of TE in looking for my 4th saddle.

    I've gone through some of the requisite long saddle threads and have found some saddles that interest me, but considering many good saddles are an investment I want to make sure I'm going in the right direction for my needs.

    I measured my sit bones by making the basic play doh and putting it in a ziploc and sitting on it on my coffee table in undies, no pants. When I remember to buy more flour I may make more to try a thicker impression without the ziploc. So far from what I can tell my sit bones measure 130-135 center to center, nearly 180 outside to outside and 80 inside to inside (I'm pear shaped so I've got a lot of fluff around the sit bones! Which is also why I want to try thicker play doh.) Either way I've concluded I've got wide sit bones.

    The saddles I've tried so far:

    Specialized Sonoma Gel 155
    (this is several years old and doesn't match what the website shows now, it looks more like the current Dolce with suede like trim on the nose) I've had this on my MTB for a few years and it's my first cutout saddle which was amazing, I had no idea what those could do for me! It suit me well for the ~20mi ride I frequent on my MTB.

    Bontrager Affinity 1 WSD
    (stock on my Trek Lexa) omg 15 miles on this seat and I had tingly numbness in the soft tissue up front. No good.

    Specialized Women's Riva 155
    - Got a groupon to an LBS that stocks Specialized with intention of getting another Sonoma for the Lexa. Well they changed the Sonoma to look like a cruiser seat. So the LBS guy and myself looked at all the Specialized saddles they had in stock that day and decided the Riva was most similar. It made the road bike more comfortable but I noticed I was getting some chafe on the left labia and that my sit bones didn't feel quite right once I exceeded 20 mi. When I measured the saddle with my sit bone width, they'd be toward the outsides of the saddle.

    So I put the Sonoma on my Trek and the MTB is in the garage with no saddle! Rode my 30 miler and it was comfortable until the final 10 miles (which had nasty headwind). I felt like I was getting bruised on the left side again, I swear I'm putting these saddles on straight! I'd stand up to relieve the pressure or peddle with my knees out a bit to get away from the seat. Today in comparison to the other seats I noticed the nose on the Sonoma is significantly wider and it's quite cushy compared to my riding partner's Avatar. Understanding now from the saddle threads that padding can be a detriment at longer distances, I probably need to move towards a less padded saddle on the road bike. I really like riding in the drops now that I'm used to them, frankly I can't imagine going back to a straight bar!

    If it's worth anything else, I wear PI Select shorts with the 3D Chamois. They seem just right, but maybe those plus gel saddle is too much? They don't seem too big, but I have lost about 15lbs since purchasing them last year and have purchased some more snug Novarra's that I'll try on my next long ride instead. I have not used any chamois butter, just nervous it may cause skin breakouts.

    So far given my sit bone width that I have very roughly measured I popped over to REI this afternoon to look at the SI Diva Gel Flow. My sit bone width would be towards the outside edges again just using a measuring tape. They also had a Terry Liberator X in stock and that seemed slightly wider but still not enough and probably too fluffy. The Terry Liberator Y (mens) was oddly wider and seemed the only contender at that REI which seems to cater to cruising seats. After that I went over to Performance across the street. SI Diva was on sale and as I was contemplating it, an associate came over. "Can I help you?" "Yeah I'm looking for a saddle, my last few haven't worked" "Did you get them here? We have unconditional guarantee!" "No, but now I might" "So looking for a hybrid?" "Road bike." "Oh!" (Guess I don't look like a roadie whatever that is.) "I have wide sitbones, about 130mm" "OH WOW!! That's a problem." (Thanks jerk.) Then he sauntered off with another customer with an easy question. So that was a bust.

    I now understand the bones are slightly narrower in a road position but I don't ride that aggressively, so I'm now unsure if 155 is even enough since I'm on the far edge or do I need to put a flower printed cruiser seat on?? I haven't made it through the entire Brooks thread but I'm seeing they seem to accomidate wider sit bones, but I'm concerned about lack of cutout.

    Anyone in the Seattle area know if there's an LBS with a trial program? I frequent Greggs, Recycled, Cycle U, Performance and REI but none of them are very vocal about trial programs if they have them. Well, Greggs has a fleet of men's fizik's but I don't think that's what I need.

    Sorry for the novel, but I'm hoping that if I put as much as I can out there maybe someone with similar saddle needs can maybe point me in the direction of things to look into or try! In the mean time, I'm going to let my soft bits and sunburn calm down before I hop back on for serious 20+ mileage.
    2011 Trek Lexa SLX "Silver Surfer"
    1998 Specialized HardRock AX FS

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Taylor, MI
    Posts
    220
    Have you looked at the Specialized Dolce Sport Gel? It is similarly shaped as the Ruby (i.e. T) but has more paddingand come in 155 and 175mm. I have it on a couple of hybrids and I like it. However for my roadies, I prefer the Ruby. Hope you find what you need soon.

    P2
    2011 Trek Madone 5.2 WSD - Ruby 155
    2009 Trek 2.1 WSD - Ruby 155
    2013 Giant TCX W - Jett 155
    2010 Specialized Amira Comp - Romin 155

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    I've heard that gels compress as you ride so end up actually harder than other materials. Have you thought about a wide brooks? Once you get them broken in they are shaped to your sitbones.

    Riding with your knees out can cause injury. I apparently developed a knees out habit on my bike, which I have to consciously correct for on a spin bike. I pulled one of those tiny adductor muscles in the hip.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    262
    I'm not near Seattle, so I can't help with an LBS. But I wanted to mention a saddle that I have had a lot of luck with (and I am similarly proportioned to you). The Selle Italia Lady is 160mm. I took a break from riding, but rode this saddle both before and after baby (did not have a vaginal birth - stubborn breech baby).

    Also, I would encourage you to use chamois butter. I rode for 15 years and didn't ever use it. Then this time around, I was experiencing some chafing and realized that with my weight gain, it made sense. So, I started using Udderly Smooth and it's wonderful! I am allergic to EVERYTHING. I have skin issues. This stuff is no problem for me. Again, try it at least a few times.

    Finally, I would say that although you *can* ride farther now, when you are breaking in a new saddle, it's important to go slowly. Think time, not miles. Day one, 30 minutes; day two, break; day three, 30 minutes; day four, 45 minutes; day five, break; day six, 45 minutes; day seven 1 hour... etc. The saddle is breaking in as much as your tushie is breaking in.

    Good luck!!
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,213
    Sounds like your bike shop guy doesn't know much about saddles, anatomy, or customer service.

    Road bike saddles do not have to be narrow.
    Hybrid saddles do not have to be wide.

    Re. Brooks and cutout: For me, I perch high up on my boney little bones, so there isn't much compression on any soft tissue against the saddle. YMMV

    At least the dumbazz just said "That's a problem." I swear, one of these days I'm gonna slap some stranger who says that my pelvic anatomy is 'freakish.'
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    85

    saddle solution (for me)

    Hi CoolJ-

    I too had terrible saddle problems until I went to a professional fitter, my second one. He spent 2 hours w me, and LOWERED my seat by about 7-8mm.
    No more boils, chafing and agony. That's all it took. I really love my Specialized Lithia, and bought another one on-line.
    Hope that helps
    Rubylvr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Pay a visit to kathleen at Free Range Cycle and see what she has in stock. I know she carries Brooks but not sure what else. I have found that in addition to "pear shape" and "t shape" the angle/slope of the saddle as it transitions to the nose makes a difference. I can't ride a Gilles Berthoud but I love my Rivet Pearl - sitting side by side they look almost identical in shape but the slope on the rivet is perfect for me - no chafing, no saddle sores. Have photos of both on our website if you want to look at them. Good Luck!
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    37
    Thanks for all of the tips so far, I have a great running list of different saddles to check out! There's a Specialized dealer in my new neighborhood so I'll probably swing by there and take a look at the Ruby and Dolce. The Dolce sounded familiar and when I thought about it, I test rode a Dolce last year and liked the saddle but not the geometry of the bike so that might be a good place to start. I believe that LBS also stocks Selle Italia as well, so I'll be sure to bring the measuring tape and maybe my bike too if they allow folks to try them out mounted.

    The various leather saddles look very intriguing, I didn't realize they also made some with cut outs! I'll definitely be looking around for some of those that may be wide enough as well. The lack of padding to have push back (or punch back!) and the fact that they literally form to your shape sounds really comfortable, like a nice worn in baseball glove.

    Either way I'm so glad to have a list to go from. I also have future plans to get a full bike fitting but I'm waiting for when I finally dive into clipless pedals (a little spendy at the moment) so that I can get everything aligned in one trip, fittings around this area seem to be pretty a pretty standard $150. In the meantime, making my bum happy for long trips is my #1 priority!
    2011 Trek Lexa SLX "Silver Surfer"
    1998 Specialized HardRock AX FS

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,686
    There is a dealer near Seattle that Specialized marks as "elite" in their dealer list:

    http://www.gerksonline.com/bg-bike-fitting/

    They do the body geometry Specialized fit and, if I remember correctly, they have some gadget to measure the sit bones. Since you are mentioning several Specialized saddles, this might be a good place to visit. It might be worth looking at a fit if you are considering a challenging ride like the STP (which I aspire to ride some day).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    37
    So I'm really liking the idea of a leather saddle the more I read about them. It looks like with my outside sit bone measurements of 180, I'd be needing about a 200mm width saddle... that's squarely in the touring realm. Since I've had success with cutouts, I'm thinking B68 Imperial. I like the look of the Rivet Pearl as well, but at 170mm I'm not sure if that'd be wide enough even in a drop bar position. I would be centered, but my outside edges would be well off which is the problem I have now with my Specialized 155. Looks like Wallbike doesn't have the B68 Imperial right now, but maybe I can find it locally (with a reasonable return policy).

    It really doesn't matter to throw a "touring" seat on a road bike? I suppose the Lexa doesn't really have aggressive geometry, and with a goal of riding the STP that's essentially touring right?

    I just keep thinking of my mom's step through mountain bike with a big cushy neoprene Serfas that feels like you're sitting on the sofa... no wonder she doesn't like riding her bike!
    2011 Trek Lexa SLX "Silver Surfer"
    1998 Specialized HardRock AX FS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    call free range and see if they have one. Even if they have a B68 your could try for an hour and not the imperial. We tend to only stock the b17 in imperial. We stock the b68 and the b68s and will order a B68 Imperial but hope you can find one in Seattle!

    Hopefully Kathleen can give you a hand, they are a great little bike shop.
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

 

 

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