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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,847

    Worn-out saddle -- how long does yours last?

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    I have a Bontrager Affinity RXL on my road bike. As near as I can estimate, I've ridden just over 3000 miles with it. And I think it's worn out and needs to be replaced already.

    Prior to getting the RXL, I had tried the R and RL versions of the Affinity, which are the same shape but have more padding. I generally liked the R and RL except for too much padding in the nose, which is why I switched to the RXL. In addition to being the firmest of the bunch, the RXL also has carbon rails. For the first year or so riding with it, I had no problems.

    Last year I started to have some chafing problems, but only on the right side. I think that was largely caused by a defective chamois in the shorts I usually wore for long-distance rides, as the fabric was loose in the irritated area. I have recently replaced the shorts (many thanks to TE for replacing them under warranty!).

    I'm still having the chafing problem, however, and now it's happening with shorts that used to be perfectly comfortable. I'm also seeing a visible change in the saddle -- there's a line running across it, like a slight indentation. The hard plastic shell of the saddle is not cracked or damaged, so I think I'm seeing a breakdown in the padding, like there are two separate pieces of foam that used to touch but now have a slight gap between them. One final thing -- though the saddle is level, it feels a bit like it's tilted up when I'm sitting on it.

    I'm going to replace the saddle with another RXL in the same size. Bontrager has a 30-day guarantee, so I can easily return the new saddle if it doesn't solve the chafing problem.

    It just seems to me that 3000 miles is not a very long life for a saddle. I know someone mentioned in another recent thread that they replaced their Specialized saddle (a Ruby, I think) every 4000 miles or so.

    This makes me curious -- when you find a saddle that you like, how long are you able to ride it before it wears out and needs to be replaced?

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,653
    Not sure I can recall, but definitely more than 3K miles. I bought my 2006 Trek used and have ridden > 2100 miles on the stock Bontrager Select saddle just this year alone. Did not track my miles last year, but who knows how many miles the previous owner had put on it. It's still super comfy and in good shape. I did replace the Terry Butterfly on my Bike Friday with a Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flo at some point, but that was just to move the B-fly to another bike (that I eventually sold). Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever had to replace a saddle for wear reasons. Usually I've sold the bike before the saddle wore out!

    My DH put > 6000 miles on his Terry Fly saddle on his Trek in 2011 and has over 4000 on it this year. I have no idea how many thousands of miles he put on it before 2011. It still appears to be in decent shape.

    I will be interested to hear what others say, but to me, that sounds low.

    Edited to add that the 2100 miles were not all on my Trek...d'oh...a bunch were on my Jamis MTB. So maybe more like 1100-1200 on the Trek this year, and < 1000 least year.
    Last edited by emily_in_nc; 05-05-2014 at 12:35 PM.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,847
    I suppose total hours in the saddle is a better measure than total miles for this. For example at my pace, a 60-mile ride lasts 5 hours or more. Someone who rides faster would be sitting in the saddle for only 3-4 hours over that same distance.

    But my brain is too full right now to try to estimate the number of hours I spent on all those rides, especially since my weekly hill rides are at a much slower pace. I think I might be able to get the numbers from Garmin Connect. I will check.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,045
    I bought a slightly used Specialized Jett from a TE member in 2010. I replaced it this winter, with somewhere between 15,000 and 20,00 miles on it....The leather was starting to tear.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,713
    Cut-out saddles don't last as long as "solid" saddles, but 3000 miles seems low. My roadie's Jett is about at that point and is perfectly fine...(and I'm slow!)
    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...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,466
    The Ruby's and Toupe's don't last so long. Minimal and cutouts do that, I suppose. My Romin seems so firm it may last longer, but we'll have to see. I've had it a few months, can't remember when I got it, exactly.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    My first SI LDY Gel Flow lasted less than 2K miles - my fitter tells me that there is something about my positioning that causes a different wear pattern than he normally sees in cutout saddles. Both of my saddles (same brand) showed the same wear pattern so it seemed apparent that it wasn't a factory problem.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,653
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I suppose total hours in the saddle is a better measure than total miles for this. For example at my pace, a 60-mile ride lasts 5 hours or more. Someone who rides faster would be sitting in the saddle for only 3-4 hours over that same distance.
    I'm slow too...typically average 13-14 mph. DH is faster when he rides alone, but not always -- when he rides with me, he rides my pace...so the numbers I gave you were with that kind of time in the saddle.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,130
    I wear saddles out quickly (around 2 years) and we always have an extra Terry Falcon X around because it happens suddenly. I am "crooked," seriously, and I wear out the left side in a noticeable way. I ride between 2,000 and 3,300 miles a year. It's just the way it is. I also go through helmets like crazy. The parts (padding) inside fall off, get weird from the copious amount of sweat I produce. I now have 2 helmets that I switch between, but even the newest one I have is already messed up looking.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    TIS rather than mileage makes sense, I hadn't thought about it that way. My average speed is around 12mph, so it takes me longer than many to go the same distance. Perhaps that 2k wasn't as short as I realized...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,847
    I suppose weight has an effect in addition to total ride time. I'm a good 35 lbs heavier than Crankin and Emily.

    I bought the new saddle and had it put on the bike last night. The foam in the old one definitely feels less firm than the new one. If the weather people are right and our lunch-time rain storm really does move out of here in the next couple of hours, I should be able to do a short ride on it tonight. That's not enough to see if the chafing is solved, but I can at least see if the feeling of the saddle being tilted is gone.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Rider weight, rider boniness, how aggressively you ride, how bumpy the roads are, whether you do a lot of climbing which takes weight out of the saddle even if you climb seated, particulars of how you fit on the saddle, particulars of how the saddle is constructed ... I think it's as individual as how long running shoes last. There's a range that people quote as a general rule, but in the case of shoes it's a very large range, and I'd expect it's the same thing with saddles.

    Just like shoes, there's generally visible compression in the saddle a good while before I notice the ride starting to degrade. It sounds like the compression you're seeing is fairly advanced, so I'm sure you're right about the saddle being worn out.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 05-07-2014 at 09:20 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,847
    Holy cow, what a difference. The new RXL is so much firmer than the old one had become, I'm surprised my sit bones aren't sore from last night's ride. It was certainly the first time in a while that I could feel them supporting me on the saddle. If I hadn't bought both saddles myself, I wouldn't believe they were the same make and model.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

 

 

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