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Thread: Saddle help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Saddle help

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    I am a new rider, in my first season. I've put a little over 100 miles on my bike this year. My bike, purchased used but in good condition, came with a Bontrager Suburbia FIT saddle which is very wide & padded, and IMO pear-shaped. I've always had discomfort with both genital-squishing and - not sure of the proper way to describe this - a bruise-like pain outside of where the labia are. Not exactly soft-tissue pain as I would think of it, but there's a bone under some very tender skin to the left & right of the labia, and it feels like that's bruising me. It's in an area that's not yet thigh, and not perineum, it's farther forward. I mean literally just left and right of the labia.

    It was worst when I first started riding, and I hadn't been noticing that pain much lately. I had been having genital squishing though.

    Yesterday I got a new saddle, a Selle SMP TRK - the men's version. (I noticed no difference between the mens and women's versions in the particular area of the saddle where my issue is - the womens is shorter, and wider in the very back, though). On my 13 mile ride (that's a long-average ride for me) I was pleased. The cutout prevented any labia squashing, and for the first time, I noticed my sit bones were fully engaged. I thought this is the right saddle!

    Today, I get on the bike, and those same bones I was referring to earlier were SCREAMING with pain. I mean, literally just sit down on the saddle, maybe 2 pedal strokes and AAAAHHHHH. I didn't notice any pain/pressure in that area on my ride yesterday. The nose of the new saddle is much narrower than my previous one, which I thought I wanted, to prevent this kind of pain. This new saddle is harder, though.

    Is this a case of I should rest up a couple days and keep trying this saddle, or is this a definite no?

    I can't even sit on my old saddle today, anything that touches those bones is painful.

    This is not a friction/skin issue, but a deep bruised feeling. The skin itself looks perfectly normal, touching it doesn't cause any discomfort, but pressing is very painful. And I so wanted to ride today

    Other data if it matters:

    Bike is a Trek 7100 WSD, fairly upright riding position
    I am 5'6, 120#
    Wearing lightly padded pearl izumi shorts

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    West MI
    One thing I learned with SMP saddles is that they have a rider's weight a bit further forward (and angled in) on the "sit bones" than most other saddles. I went through developing new sit bone toughness when I switched to SMPs...but it was worth it to no longer have the soft tissue areas. I'd say if what you're experiencing feels like bone pain and not soft-tissue that you're on the right track. Simply easing back into miles/time is probably what you need. BTDT!
    run/bike log

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Concord, MA
    I had the same experience when switching from my Terry Falcon to a Specialized Oura. There was immediate relief from soft tissue pain, and a very long adjustment period for my sit bones. I mean very long. Occasionally, I still feel it on my left side, where I have a tendency to lean. But, it's worth it.
    The male LBS owner warned me and told me it would take at least 6 30+ mile rides for me to get used to it. He was right.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura
    2017 Specialized Ariel Sport

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    But if I'm understanding correctly, this is not sit bone pain, it's much farther forward. I don't think you should ever have pain there. The only time I've had pain that far forward was when my saddle was too narrow.

    Looking at the saddle, I think you might try tilting the nose down a bit. But it might just be that you still have too much pressure in front and not enough of your weight supported by your sit bones -- the pressure that used to cause the squashing is now concentrated on the narrow areas on either side.


    - 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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Northeast Borders, UK
    I wonder if you have a similar lower back shape to mine - quite strongly concave - and not much flexibility? I'm thinking this might be the reason I'm having so much trouble with a similar area of sensitivity... I can't flex my pelvis forward enough to get my sit bones to engage with the saddle - and all that nice padding in my shorts is in the wrong place for me! The nearest thing I've found to a comfortable saddle is the ISM Adamo Typhoon - keeping pressure away from most sensitive front parts and offering a bit of padded support to the tender area where my bones are bearing my weight. The two 'prongs' that make up the nose of the saddle are a bit wide and can rub against larger inner thighs (like mine!) but these can be pulled together a bit with a cable-tie tightened round the rails at the front... I have to slide the saddle right forward (beyond the measured scale) on the seat post in order to reach the handlebars comfortably but because I'm of medium weight this doesn't compromise the structures. For my situation I doubt a minimally-padded saddle could ever work because there's so little natural padding between the contact bones and the saddle, and that area of all the shorts I've tried is hardly padded either! I've tried loads of saddles and have a drawer full of different padded shorts... Still on the hunt for the ideal, if such a thing is ever possible!! Good luck with your issue and maybe some other contributions will give us both some ideas!
    Jul 2013 - Genesis Croix de Fer
    Nov 2012 - 5yr old Specialized Ruby Comp
    2007 - Giant Cypress hybrid



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