Author Topic: newbie saddle question  (Read 1757 times)

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Offline jolobike

newbie saddle question
« on: June 21, 2013, 12:37:16 am »
I'm planning to buy a touring bike (either a Trek 520 or Surly LHT) and have a very basic newbie question. The only bike I've ever had is a 27-speed hybrid. It's got a pretty comfortable saddle and I never have worn padded bike shorts. Do I just need to plan that I'll always have to / need to wear cycling shorts with the tour bike as they all have the narrow "hard" saddles? The LBS has some narrow saddles with gel cushioning but do they still require padded shorts?

I intend to use the bike for general riding but do plan to build up my rides to 4-5 rides per week, including one long ride--40-50 miles. Thanks for any education you can offer about saddles, shorts, etc.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 08:03:11 am »
Everybody's different, and there's no area where differences are larger than with saddles and shorts.

What do you call a comfortable saddle? I prefer saddles that don't have gel cushioning. I want most of my weight on my sitz bones. The cushioning spreads the weight to areas that aren't good at absorbing it. Narrow saddles are good because they minimize chaffing. Padded shorts is matter of personal preference. Yesterday I rode more than 7 hours with compression underwear and a pair of athletic shorts. I also have padded shorts, but at the end of the day, I don't feel any difference when I wear the padding.

Offline Mark Manley

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 11:12:18 am »
Having toured in many countries I have found the best saddle for me and the most popular with the long distance travellers I have met is a Brooks, I prefer the Flyer which is sprung. They do take some time to break in and have found that of the two I own one has taken a lot longer than the other but both are now comfortable. 
I have tried padded shorts but found any extra comfort gained was offset by the effects of increased sweating and the problems that causes on a longer trip, I prefer looser fitting shorts or trousers.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 01:16:14 pm »
This might seem counter-intuitive, but the purpose of padded shorts is to aid in wicking moisture away from your private parts.  They are not supposed to provide mechanical isolation for your back side.  I wear them, and mostly use the spandex type, but I do have the mountain biker nylon ones too.  This is one of those personal decisions that you will just have to make on your own.  I have had good luck with budget 6 panel shorts, but no one seems to make those anymore.  8 panel shorts are not that much better, but they are more expensive.  Different vendors put the seam in slightly different spots, and the location of the seam winds up being  really important factor in your comfort.  Keeping you dry and not chafing is really important to your comfort.

As for saddles...

This too is one of those personal decisions that you will just have to make on your own.  I have leather saddles from Brooks on all 4 bicycles that I ride.  Leather will deform to mirror your shape, and can be very comfortable.  There is a break in cycle (they don't start out mirroring your shape), there are maintenance issues, and you need to keep it dry.  I have had good luck with Brooks, but there are some other choices now as well.  You might try contacting the folks at Wallingford Bicycle (www.wallbike.com) as they have a good selection and the best return policy.  If you are male and of a certain age, then a prostrate friendly cut out in the saddle will also be important.

Danno

Offline awbikes

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 10:29:06 am »
To the uninitiated, saddles may seem to be a small issue but one thing we will all agree on is your comfort and ability to stay in the saddle is paramount. As the above contributors have mentioned there are a host of factors that need to be considered in conjunction whith the fact that we all have different needs, fit and tolerance issues when it comes to our back sides. On a personal note I seem to be immune to most saddle problems while my wife is just the opposit. Again we are all different. Unless you are one of the lucky ones getting your saddle dialed in can be a hassle. It will take time, research and effort which will all pay off. Just remember your individual needs must be addressed as there is no such thing a a perfect saddle for everyone.

Offline jolobike

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 11:55:34 am »
Thanks for the input. It sounds like I'll just have to experiment and see how it goes. I know the stock saddle will need to be replaced but just wondering where to start. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions but in the mean time, I'll continue my saddle research.

Lori

Offline wbst31

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2013, 05:06:02 pm »
I tried the stock WTB saddle that came on my Surly Disk Trucker. I went to a Brooks Imperial and have never looked back. It's the best seat that I have ever ridden on.

William Becker
wbst31
Fort Myers, FL

 

Offline John Grossbohlin

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2013, 01:06:39 pm »
I put Brooks Flyer and Brooks Flyer Special saddles on our Trek 520s and Surly Long Haul Trucker. Those combined with Body Glide anti-chafe around the leg cuff and good padded road shorts haven't failed I nor my sons. The cost seems free compared to the physical grief saddle sores caused me on my 3,142 mile trip in '86...

Yes, the leather saddles do require some maintenance and rain covers but those are minor inconveniences. When I've encountered people on the road who were complaining about their Brooks it was obvious that they had not maintained the tension on the seat's leather... their seats were sagged so pressure was being exerted in places that it shouldn't have been.


Offline latifb

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2013, 03:14:59 pm »
Check out Selle Anatomica for a leather Brooks type saddle that has a high level of waterproofing built in and doesn't need much break in. I've got one on my road bike that's working out quite well. Haven't had a chance to try it on my Salsa Vaya yet. It has a stock cheap WTB/Salsa seat that is passable but haven't had it out for more than 50m at a time yet.

Offline johnwilldo

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2013, 05:15:31 pm »
The stock saddle on my new 2013 Surly Disc Trucker is quite comfortable and I have logged about 500 miles on it to date.  I have not had rides of over 50 miles yet, and I have a Brooks Flyer in storage waiting to be put on when I can get some spare time to work on the bike.  Saddles seem to be a very personal choice, but I have been happy with Terry Sport and Terry Fly saddles on my road bikes.  If newbie means that you have spent much time in the saddle, then almost ALL saddles will feel uncomfortable until you build up strength or tolerance.  The butt butter is always a good choice, but I would stay away from gel saddles.

Offline cycleguy55

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2013, 07:06:17 pm »
I'm planning to buy a touring bike (either a Trek 520 or Surly LHT) and have a very basic newbie question. The only bike I've ever had is a 27-speed hybrid. It's got a pretty comfortable saddle and I never have worn padded bike shorts.

You like your old saddle, so if you're getting rid of your hybrid why don't you just put that saddle on your touring bike? Alternatively, see if you can find one like it for your new bike.

I've struggled for some time to find a saddle that works for me on a consistent basis, so I just 'bit the bullet' and ordered a Brooks B17. I know it is going to take time to break it in, but if all the Brooks fans are correct the effort will be darn well worth it.

Offline johnwilldo

Re: newbie saddle question
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2013, 09:21:29 pm »
I finally got time to install my new Brooks Flyer saddle (A B-17 with coil springs).  I have only put on about seventy miles on three different outings.  I don't notice much difference from the stock saddle on the Disc Trucker except for a little more cushion on large bumps.  It really looks great with the black coils that match the black trim on the Trucker.  It is comfortable on the rides that I have taken, but none of the rides have been over 25 miles.  On any saddle that I have ridden in the past, once I get to around 35 to 40 miles my butt starts to get numb (not sore) and I need to get out of the saddle for a 10 or 15 minute break.  Yes, always use butt butter or whatever you want to call it.  I will have to see how it works as I build up the mileage.