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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    13

    New Rider with Saddle Troubles

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    Hello and thanks for reading this post when there are gazillions of posts about saddles. I've read through the very helpful links and articles about finding the perfect saddle, and still I'm struggling.

    My Trek road bike came with a Bontrager Affinity saddle. It's not awful, but I can't seem to make it work for rides longer than 30-45 minutes. I have no trouble with my sit bones; that part is perfectly comfortable. (BTW, I have no idea what "size" this seat is -- is there a way to find out?) I get lots of soft tissue pain from it. I've tried changing fore and aft positions, moved the nose up and down, etc. After reading through several posts, it sounded like a Terry Butterfly would solve my problems. OUCH! I tried and tried to like it, but it was torturous. The cut-outs didn't work in the right places and created pain in NEW places, and the nose was much too wide. I've determined that I don't like much padding, and I like a narrow nose on the saddle. Do you have any recommendations? Our LBS offerings are meager, and I'm really hesitant to shell out big bucks online to be stuck with something that won't work. If anyone has these specific issues and has found a good solution, I would love to hear it.

    Thank you in advance!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    The saddle you have is probably the Affinity R, which is the most padded version. If the size and shape is otherwise good, you can get the RL or RXL , which have less padding. The RXL is the firmest, but is also expensive and has different (carbon) rails which will require a different seatpost clamp due to their shape.

    If your LBS sells Trek bikes, they should also carry the Bontrager saddles. Or you can get one from http://www.bontrager.com/products/components/saddles. They offer a 30-day unconditional guarantee.

    As for determining the size of your current saddle, measure at the widest part. It would be either 134, 144 or 154 mm, if your bike is a WSD model.

    BTW I think if you look at the specs for your bike you can tell which version of the Affinity you have -- I think "Affinity 1" on the spec list means it's the Affinity R and Affinity 2 means RL.
    Last edited by ny biker; 09-23-2013 at 02:53 PM.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    492
    The Selle Italia Lady Diva Gel has a nice wide cut out. It worked well for me when the Terry saddles did not. You can get it from Performance which has an excellent return policy.
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1066809_-1___


    Grits

    2010 Trek 5.2 Madone WSD, SI Diva Gel Flow
    2002 Terry Classic, Terry Liberator

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    Specialized also offers a 30-day return policy on saddles purchased from their website. You might look at a Ruby or an Oura, or I know Muirenn has had good luck with a Toupé. There's no reason to limit yourself to "women's" saddles. Back in the day, "men's" saddles didn't come in the widths that women often, but not always, need ... and I'm pretty sure the cut-out was invented by Georgena Terry ... but nowadays, the differences are often more stylistic than substantive.


    ETA - modern Terry saddles are very wedge (pear) shaped, which sounds like it could be your issue. It's possible to need a very T-shaped saddle without having the characteristic thigh chafing ... what happens to me, if a saddle is too wedge-shaped, the pedaling motion forces me forward so all my weight is on the nose of the saddle, on my soft parts. Not good. The wider your sitbones are, the harder it is to find a truly T-shaped saddle outside of a tensioned leather saddle, but if you're narrower, you have a lot of options.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 09-23-2013 at 03:13 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    13

    ?

    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post

    ETA - modern Terry saddles are very wedge (pear) shaped, which sounds like it could be your issue. It's possible to need a very T-shaped saddle without having the characteristic thigh chafing ... what happens to me, if a saddle is too wedge-shaped, the pedaling motion forces me forward so all my weight is on the nose of the saddle, on my soft parts. Not good. The wider your sitbones are, the harder it is to find a truly T-shaped saddle outside of a tensioned leather saddle, but if you're narrower, you have a lot of options.
    Thank you, OakLeaf...that sounds like a probable explanation. So...are the seats you mentioned t-shaped?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    Yes, they are, although I can mention one or two even more T-shaped if your sitbone width is narrower. I'm riding a Selle Italia Turbomatic now, which has an effective width around 150mm or so, though I'm one of the few here that that saddle works for. SI makes an even more T-shaped saddle called the SLR Monolink, but they're pretty expensive (carbon rails and shell) and are only 131 mm wide, too narrow for me.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    13
    Thanks so much. I'm going to order the Specialized Ruby. If that doesn't work, I'll check into the other suggestions listed here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    10,889
    Quote Originally Posted by Grits View Post
    The Selle Italia Lady Diva Gel has a nice wide cut out. It worked well for me when the Terry saddles did not. You can get it from Performance which has an excellent return policy.
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1066809_-1___
    For me the Diva was much too wide, the LDY Gel Flow is also a good Selle Italia women's cutout saddle that might work if the Diva is too wide. There are a wide variety of options out there but, sadly, trying it out personally is the only real way to determine which works best for you. It is about more than the sitbones, it is also about the shape of the saddle and just WHAT hits WHERE...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,565
    Finding the right saddle is tricky business. But keep in mind that if you have a narrower pelvis, a lot of "mens" saddles will work for you too. That opens up a whole bunch more models to choose from.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    13
    Now I'm second-guessing my decision to purchase a Ruby. I'm not convinced I need the cutouts. I had such extreme discomfort with the cutouts on the Butterfly. I think if the middle channel on my Bontrager would continue all the way down the saddle it would probably be comfortable. I also want less padding on the nose. I'm looking at the WTB Deva SLT or the Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour -- thoughts?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    10,889
    Quote Originally Posted by CaliRider View Post
    Now I'm second-guessing my decision to purchase a Ruby. I'm not convinced I need the cutouts. I had such extreme discomfort with the cutouts on the Butterfly. I think if the middle channel on my Bontrager would continue all the way down the saddle it would probably be comfortable. I also want less padding on the nose. I'm looking at the WTB Deva SLT or the Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour -- thoughts?
    I don't have time to find it right now, but there is a "cut out test" that you can search for here on the forum that will indicate if you've a need for a cutout or not. Search for it and see what you think, Knotted Yet was the one who posted it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    Knott's cut-out test is pretty simple. You want to sit on a hard, flat surface like a straight chair or the top of a retaining wall with your sitbones firmly on the surface, and your legs and torso more or less at the angles they'd be when you ride. If your soft parts feel smashed against the surface, you'll probably want a saddle with a cutout. If they feel spacious, you might do better without one.



    .... but, if you're feeling a need for a longer channel on your Bontrager, then it doesn't seem likely that you'll want a saddle that has no room for your soft parts (whether it makes that room with a cut-out or with a channel).
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    Depends upon the cutout, too...some worked OK, some were torture devices. My only regret is waiting so long to try an SMP saddle. It was like a game-changer!
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    The shape, size and position of the cutout changes a lot. The Jett works reasonably well for me, though sometimes I wish it was a little deeper toward the back. I'm eyeing the SMP saddles that zoom-zoom's mentioned for a next bike. The cut out on the Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow I used to have did not work.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    13
    So....next question....can you tell immediately when the saddle is right? I just picked up a Toupe from the LBS (didn't have a Ruby). They're letting me try it for a week. I just took a quick spin and didn't find it particularly comfortable overall. So....how did you know when you'd found the right saddle?

 

 

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