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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
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    Back in the saddle search again (or not)

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    So, a quick forum search shows that I've been using the Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle for about five years now, maybe more. After a while these saddles develop a permanent indentation on either side, probably where two separate pieces of foam padding meet or something like that. Anyway I had one for a couple of years, it wore out so I replaced it, and now the second one has worn out.

    In general it's been a good saddle for me but is not perfect. I would prefer less padding in the nose and also have a bit of a chafing problem on the right side. But with the right shorts I've been able to do long rides with it without too much discomfort. This is what it looks like:

    http://trekbikes.com/us/en_US/equipm...addle/p/09729/

    Now that I am looking at getting a new saddle, it appears that Trek is phasing out the Affinity in favor or the Ajna and Yatra saddles:

    http://trekbikes.com/us/en_US/equipm...addle/p/13691/

    http://trekbikes.com/us/en_US/equipm...addle/p/13335/

    When I was at the LBS yesterday they had the Ajna in stock, and I spoke to the manager about it. But then I went home and looked online, and decided the Yatra is more likely to work for me. From what I can tell from the online photo (which of course is at an angle that makes it hard to see the shape ), the Yatra is more t-shaped. The Ajna is definitely more pear-shaped. And supposedly the Ajna is more for an aggressive riding posture, whereas the Yatra is for a more upright road-bike posture. I found this article, which is a bit old but still helpful:

    https://www.bikerumor.com/2015/06/09...namic-designs/

    So, I asked the LBS manager to order a Yatra for me, in the same width as the old Affinity. And since there are still some Affinity saddles available, he ordered one of them, too. We will try the Yatra on the bike in the shop, and if it seems okay I will do a few a test rides. If it's not okay I will get another Affinity.

    I'm hoping the Yatra does work and that the deeper divot will alleviate the "too much padding in the nose" problem.

    One concern is that I preferred the Affinity RXL -- most expensive version with carbon rails -- because it was the firmest version of Affinity available. The Yatra does not have a comparable version. For their old saddles, RXL was the "race" version with the least padding, RL was the mid-range and R was the least expensive version with the softest padding. For the new ones they are going with Pro, Elite and Comp instead of RXL, RL and R. The Yatra only comes in Comp and Elite, whereas the Ajna comes in a Pro version.

    So we shall see how it all works out. With all the changes in design and naming conventions, Trek still offers a 30-day guarantee on the Bontrager saddles (as well as all their other clothing and gear). I just hope we have good enough weather to get in some decent test rides.

    - 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
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    One thing I remembered from a few years ago was that you and I had a similar center to center distance, but that our outsides were much different, like mine was 160 mm, and maybe yours was around 134 ish. Is that true? Have you ever tried a saddle around that width?

    When I go to a bike shop, they try to put me on very narrow saddles because they can't really measure outside distance in public. I use a 155 specialized (I like the Romin best. Also the Toupe). The shop generally argues with me, and tries to talk me into a 143 or 130.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    I don't remember my sit bone measurement -- but just the other day I had trouble remembering how to spell "reason," so I it appears that I am starting to lose my marbles . I do know that the current saddle is 144mm. I did try a couple of different 154mm saddles before the Affinity came out and was not happy with them. And way way back when I tried an original Bontrager Inform in 134 and it was utter torture. I think the bike fit guys were still getting used to the butt-o-meter when we tried that experiment.

    One interesting thing I've noticed -- the Bontrager women's road bike saddles used to come in 134, 144 and 154. The new ones are 144, 154 and 164. I guess they don't have enough female customers with narrow sit bones, and probably have had a fair number of requests for a wider option that isn't big and cushy.

    So now I'm just trying to figure out when I can have the saddle put on my bike. Trying to guess which weekend day will have better weather for a test ride while juggling various other things including the haircut that I desperately need...

    - 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
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Do you never use a saddle with a cutout? I know they don't work for some people. FWIW, I have a Turbomatic you could borrow, just to try. Shrug. I've been meaning to sell it for 4 years. It's still on a shelf. But it has a cutout.

    Barring that, have you seen some of the Specialized mountainbike saddles? They have plenty of men's and women's in 143 or so. No cutouts, and they remind me of the Bontrager saddles you like. Specialized is the only brand where I can use a men's saddle. Other than Brooks, but those are so different they are not really worth mentioning. Also, I've read a lot of good things about the Specialized Power model. (It's not like the regular mountainbike saddles I was talking about). I can see clearly it wouldn't work for me, the shape is wrong. But perhaps it would be okay for you.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 12-01-2016 at 11:14 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    I've only ever tried one Specialized saddle because my LBS doesn't carry them, and the stores around here that do carry them are not very good at fitting a new saddle on a bike. And I'm never good at doing it myself. The one I tried was a Lithia and it wasn't comfortable. IIRC there was too much pressure on the edges of the cutout.

    I tried the Yatra today, on a 28-mile ride. In some ways it was better than the Affinity. The deeper divot on the Yatra -- not a full cut out but a deep indentation -- was more comfortable. My sit bones were very close to the edges of the Yatra but they were on the saddle. But I had chafing problems, especially on the right side. I have a bit of a chafing issue with the Affinity too, on the right side, but not this bad. So at the end of the ride I thought I would be returning it and ordering one of the last Affinities available. Before I put the bike in the car I took a few photos to post here in case anyone else was curious about the Yatra.

    On the way home I stopped to get a sandwich and I looked at the photos while I was eating. Oh hey, that saddle doesn't look straight on the bike. It's almost straight but not quite. And that little skew to the left might explain the chafing.

    The funny thing is that I always end up with a new saddle being skewed slightly to the left on this bike. You'd think I'd have learned to check that by now. Anyway. If the weather forecast for Wednesday holds, I will test it again then. It will be a shorter ride but better than nothing.

    And here are the photos:

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    Last edited by ny biker; 12-04-2016 at 04:25 PM.

    - 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    For comparison, here is the Affinity. The surface is flatter, less domed.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Side by side:

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    By the way the Yatra is also firmer than the Affinity.
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    Last edited by ny biker; 12-04-2016 at 04:44 PM.

    - 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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I've only ever tried one Specialized saddle because my LBS doesn't carry them, and the stores around here that do carry them are not very good at fitting a new saddle on a bike. And I'm never good at doing it myself. The one I tried was a Lithia and it wasn't comfortable. IIRC there was too much pressure on the edges of the cutout.

    I tried the Yatra today, on a 28-mile ride. In some ways it was better than the Affinity. The deeper divot on the Yatra -- not a full cut out but a deep indentation -- was more comfortable. My sit bones were very close to the edges of the Yatra but they were on the saddle. But I had chafing problems, especially on the right side. I have a bit of a chafing issue with the Affinity too, on the right side, but not this bad. So at the end of the ride I thought I would be returning it and ordering one of the last Affinities available. Before I put the bike in the car I took a few photos to post here in case anyone else was curious about the Yatra.

    On the way home I stopped to get a sandwich and I looked at the photos while I was eating. Oh hey, that saddle doesn't look straight on the bike. It's almost straight but not quite. And that little skew to the left might explain the chafing.

    The funny thing is that I always end up with a new saddle being skewed slightly to the left on this bike. You'd think I'd have learned to check that by now. Anyway. If the weather forecast for Wednesday holds, I will test it again then. It will be a shorter ride but better than nothing.

    And here are the photos:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sounds interesting! I have problems with chafing as well when I cycle - Its really killing me! I use lube to prevent this painful thing :-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,652
    Have you figured out your saddle, NY?

    I have been having chafing problems lately riding saddles that I used to love and worked fine for me (basically all the ones in my sig). I attribute this to some changes in my lady bits over time due to menopause. After some research, last night I decided to order a Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow, since it has a larger cutout than my other saddles, which I loved prior to going through menopause. I am hoping that the "bits" just hang into the cutout rather than getting rubbed by the edge of it, which is what I think is happening now. I considered trying a saddle with no cutout at all, but every time I've tried one of those in the past, I've gotten terrible urethral irritation and painful urination after longer rides, and that is not fun. So I've been riding a saddle with a cutout for years now.

    I have been using a combination of Doc's chamois cream and Lidocaine gel in the area that bothers me, but that only helps for about the first hour of a ride, so I have to reapply mid-ride, since my rides are typically 2.5+ hours. I used to be fine riding that kind of time without any butters, gels, etc. I would get saddles sores in the "taint" area occasionally, and while I haven't had one of those for a long time, I have burning up front, especially on the right side.

    Anyway, we shall see once it arrives (I mail ordered it from the UK since the price was much less, and free shipping to the US!) It's been a long time since I've tried a new saddle, so I am a bit nervous to change, but something has gotta give, and a new saddle is a lot less $$ than a recumbent bike (another solution I came up with).
    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
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,845
    After trying the two new Bontrager saddles (Ajna and Yatra), I gave up and ordered one of the last remaining Affinities available. I did a few rides with the Yatra and liked the cutout, but it was uncomfortable in other ways and I ended up with a saddle sore that took a while to go away. I tried the Ajna with the bike on the indoor trainer at the LBS and quickly decided it was no better than the Yatra. We concluded that the problem with both was the dome shape -- the flatter Affinity is a better shape for me. Part of me would like to look for something shaped like the Affinity but with a cutout, but a bigger part has too many other things to spend time and money on. And I've been okay with the Affinity for years now -- it's not perfect it's good enough. Now I'm deciding if I want to buy another one and save it for when this new one wears out.

    I vaguely recall trying a Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flo years ago, and it didn't work for me. But I bought it used and put it on the bike myself so the position was probably not quite right. I think Catrin liked the Diva Gel Flow? If it's the same size and shape as the Ldy Gel Flow, it sounds like it could be a good option for you. Good luck!

    - 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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,652
    I'm looking forward to receiving my Diva (not until mid-month) and trying it out. I really hope I don't have to go through a series of saddles, as that gets very expensive!

    The bike I've been riding the most often, my Trek, has a Bontrager Select Fit CRZ+ saddle, original to the bike, so it's a good 10 years old. When I first got the bike (used) in early 2013, the saddle was super comfy, but my body has changed since then, and perhaps the saddle has broken down some as well. I have the same issues on my SI Ldy Gel Flows on my other two bikes, both newer saddles than the Bontrager, though. They are bit harder but irritate the same place on my labia now. This is with shorts (Sugoi) that have always been very good for me.

    Glad you are settled with your Affinity, NY. Sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone. I remember a terrible experiment years ago when I decided to try a Terry Damselfly since my Butterfly was heavier and less racy. Most miserable experience ever! Like riding a two-by-four, not to mention giving me a honking saddlesore that took a cortisone injection to relieve. So, since then, I have been loathe to try different saddles. The Ldy Gel Flow is basically exactly the same shape/size/form as the Butterfly, only a little less pricey.
    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

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    The Diva has a much bigger cutout, and a lot of people have problems with their inner sitbones breaching the cutout, and becoming weightbearing. Which hurts (I lasted 40 miles on mine before I sent it back).

    Otherwise, it's a nice saddle. I can see the Diva working if someone has a lot of space between their inner sitbones.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 01-09-2017 at 11:04 AM.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    After trying the two new Bontrager saddles (Ajna and Yatra), I gave up and ordered one of the last remaining Affinities available. I did a few rides with the Yatra and liked the cutout, but it was uncomfortable in other ways and I ended up with a saddle sore that took a while to go away. I tried the Ajna with the bike on the indoor trainer at the LBS and quickly decided it was no better than the Yatra. We concluded that the problem with both was the dome shape -- the flatter Affinity is a better shape for me. Part of me would like to look for something shaped like the Affinity but with a cutout, but a bigger part has too many other things to spend time and money on. And I've been okay with the Affinity for years now -- it's not perfect it's good enough. Now I'm deciding if I want to buy another one and save it for when this new one wears out.

    I vaguely recall trying a Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flo years ago, and it didn't work for me. But I bought it used and put it on the bike myself so the position was probably not quite right. I think Catrin liked the Diva Gel Flow? If it's the same size and shape as the Ldy Gel Flow, it sounds like it could be a good option for you. Good luck!
    What you describe puts me in mind of the Specialized Riva. I've tried it, on a friend's bike. It's not squishy. Or it didn't used to be, anyway. Comes in both 143 and 155 mm. And it's cheap. Maybe worth trying.

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/co...ns-riva/117445
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,652
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    The Diva has a much bigger cutout, and a lot of people have problems with their inner sitbones breaching the cutout, and becoming weightbearing. Which hurts (I lasted 40 miles on mine before I sent it back).

    Otherwise, it's a nice saddle. I can see the Diva working if someone has a lot of space between their inner sitbones.
    Interesting! I have no idea as I've never sat on the azz-o-meter, but I've always done better on wider saddles, FWIW. I won't return it if it doesn't work out, since I'm purchasing from the UK, but I might try to sell it on Ebay if it's a complete no go. Fortunately, there are enough good reviews that I figure I have a 50/50 chance of liking it. Crossing fingers!
    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

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,652
    So, I finally got my SI Diva saddle, DH installed it, and great weather for a ride today to try it out. One ride is probably not enough to base my opinion on, but so far, so good. It felt good immediately, and a 34.5 mile ride didn't bother my lady bits or sit bones at all. Yippee! I think my post-menopausal lady bits really needed that wide cutout to avoid chafing. Chamois butter just wasn't enough. I'm glad I ordered a new saddle to try before new shorts, as my favorite Sugoi shorts felt fine today.

    So, two cautious thumbs up on the Diva!
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,465
    Quote Originally Posted by emily_in_nc View Post
    So, I finally got my SI Diva saddle, DH installed it, and great weather for a ride today to try it out. One ride is probably not enough to base my opinion on, but so far, so good. It felt good immediately, and a 34.5 mile ride didn't bother my lady bits or sit bones at all. Yippee! I think my post-menopausal lady bits really needed that wide cutout to avoid chafing. Chamois butter just wasn't enough. I'm glad I ordered a new saddle to try before new shorts, as my favorite Sugoi shorts felt fine today.

    So, two cautious thumbs up on the Diva!
    Great!

    This is one saddle where measuring your sits probably wouldn't give an accurate impression (pun intended?). Not on one of those gel thingies, anyway.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

 

 

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