Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: cburnett1981 on May 08, 2014, 12:04:27 am

 
Title: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: cburnett1981 on May 08, 2014, 12:04:27 am
Hello.

Any suggestion for a saddle that doesn't have to be Brooks?

Also, as this will be my first long tour, what are signs that the seat I have won't work? 

Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: dombrosk on May 08, 2014, 05:21:39 am
I've been very happy with Serfas RX saddles for over 10 years now.  The combination of the type of padding and the open split design have worked well for me.

In addition to touring I'm also a daily bike commuter, so my saddle gets a lot of wear.  I've been getting about 3 years of wear from the Serfas, after which the padding isn't quite as comfortable.

You mention that you're planning your first tour.  Happy riding!!!  Bike touring is a great activity that combines fitness and travel, and can be a (nearly) lifelong activity.

Before setting off, for peace of mind I'd suggest riding the length of your expected longest day on the new saddle.  For me, the Serfas involved zero break-in time and was immediately the right choice.  Having said that, one thing I've learned is that there's no real substitute for seat time when it comes to touring comfort.  Even commuting 10 miles each way every day, it takes a few 50 plus mile days to get my touring legs (and seat) happy.

I'm a big believer in supporting my local bike shop.  If your shop doesn't stock Serfas they may be able to order it in for you.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: Old Guy New Hobby on May 08, 2014, 07:45:46 am
Why change saddles for a tour? If the saddle you have is OK, just go with it. If it's not, you should have changed by now. I try to make my equipment changes after a tour. Then I have lots of time to shake things down.

Everybody's anatomy is different. There is no saddle that is good for everybody. For me, the most important point of the saddle is that you can put your weight on your sitz bones. Nature put them there to support your weight. http://www.nikkiyoga.com/where-are-my-sitz-bones/ (http://www.nikkiyoga.com/where-are-my-sitz-bones/)

The next most important thing is how you sit on the bike. Keep an active stance. Don't rest on your hands, but use your core to hold your body up. Transfer weight to your feet when you can. Move around and sit in different positions.

The last thing is to bring some Neosporin (or similar). I find that no matter how much I prepare for a tour, I tend to develop some chaffing in the first few days. A little cream can provide a lot of comfort.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: John Nelson on May 08, 2014, 10:21:35 am
In my experience, you can't really tell how well the saddle is working until after a month on tour. (If you can tell earlier than that, then you probably didn't use your saddle enough before the tour.) Your experiences training for a tour are useful, but the tour itself, with day after day of 60 miles or more, is much more demanding than your training will ever be.

My suggestion is to go with whatever saddle you have now if you have found it comfortable. If you start to develop problems, consider buying a new saddle en route. "Problems" can be anything from saddle sores to just a simple pain in the butt. On my first tour, I found the saddle getting progressively more uncomfortable after about two months on the road. I did finish the tour with that saddle, but found myself pedaling out of the saddle more and more frequently in the final weeks. I got a new saddle (a B-17) for the next tour, which was comfortable the whole way.

It's really hard to predict. Take all the standard precautions to avoid saddle sores, and then just be prepared to adjust as necessary.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: cburnett1981 on May 08, 2014, 10:30:45 am
Thanks everyone.  Very clear and helpful.   I have been riding longer and longer training trips for past few weeks,  with 60 miles this past Monday longest ye.t.   

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Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: cburnett1981 on May 08, 2014, 10:32:34 am
One major difference (at least I expect)  is for training I try to bike continously cor whole route.  On previous weekend tours I have taken multiple 15min plus breaks et

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Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: indyfabz on May 08, 2014, 10:41:02 am
Saddles are very personal. What works for one person may not work for another. With that said, I have only toured with a Terry Men's Liberator saddle. If you buy one from REI and don't like it, you can get a full refund within one year.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: paddleboy17 on May 08, 2014, 12:31:49 pm
Hello.

Any suggestion for a saddle that doesn't have to be Brooks?

Also, as this will be my first long tour, what are signs that the seat I have won't work?

Are you opposed to a Brooks saddle?

Are you saddle agnostic or are there specific things you need?

I just don't know enough about what you need to give you any advice...

Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: zzzz on May 08, 2014, 02:06:20 pm
Hi:

The guy who built my bike is one of the most respected frame builders in the country and what he told me about this is that comfort is determined by the saddle w/ the right shape for your anatomy much more so then the amount of padding. So, if your current saddle doesn't work, do not buy a squishier version of a saddle that is the same shape.

I'll also add these seat comfort related items:

Do you wear good riding shorts? Many tourer's I see wear a hybrid short, and who can blame them, Lycra is not for everyone. That said, a high quality pair of riding shorts is purpose built for the job of keeping you comfortable for hours at a time in the saddle. There is a variety out there, shorts with lots of padding to shorts w a minimum. I personally find shorts w lots of padding to feel like I'm wearing a diaper and so go in the other direction but you might be just the opposite.

I have found that my trouble on tour has been with my sit bones feeling bruised. I ride 20± hour (250-300 miles) a week in May - August and never have a hint of seat trouble. Then I leave on my trips in September where I up it to 40-50 hours of seat time a week and 5 days into the trip I feel a little bruising on the butt bones. The good news is that it goes away in 3 to 4 days.

Lastly, buy a bottle of New Skin to take with you. If you get a saddle sore it does a great job of protecting it and letting it heal in a place that a bandage is unlikely to stick.

Enjoy your trip.

pm
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: cburnett1981 on May 08, 2014, 09:49:52 pm
I am a daily bike commuter anx my bike lives in the wild.   From my reading Brooks need TLC.   That's not my style.   

I consider my shorts  (performance elite bibs -  new in February)  and they are great so far.   



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Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: TwoWheeledExplorer on May 09, 2014, 12:12:13 am
My favorite saddle has always been the WTB SST. Very comfortable. I have an original leather version on my MTB, but I think they make it in naugahide now.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: paddleboy17 on May 09, 2014, 11:06:25 am
I am a daily bike commuter anx my bike lives in the wild.   From my reading Brooks need TLC.   That's not my style.   

I consider my shorts  (performance elite bibs -  new in February)  and they are great so far.   



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I became a Brooks convert 12 years ago.  I think the TLC you speak of is overstated.  I treat my 4 Brooks saddles once a year with a leather dressing (Proofide), and try to keep the 4 bikes dry when it rains.  I do not see that as a lot of TLC.  I have one saddle that I adjusted the tensioner once.  Once among 4 saddles over 12 years is not a lot of TLC.

Others have said that a saddle of the right shape is important and they are right.  The problem with paddled foam and plastic saddles is that they break down.  The advantage of the leather saddle is that it distorts to match your unique shape.  So a good leather saddle gets better with age.  Once your leather saddle is broken in, there will be no sit bone issues.  Of course you still have to choose the right shape, and if you need a cut out for prostate relief, then you have to pick a saddle with a cut out.

There are a couple of manufacturers for leather saddles, and Wallingford Bikes (www.wallbike.com), carrys most of them, and has a generous return policy.  Most of my leather saddles have come from them.

Brooks has a new line of saddles based on a rubber-cotton composite.  They are supposed to be maintenance free, but that is all I know about them.

I have broken in 5 Brooks's black saddles.  Breaking in took 1 day for a Conquest,  2 B-17s, and a B-17 Imperial,  a couple of weeks for another B-17 Imperial, and It took all summer for a stubborn Team PRO saddle (I later sold the saddle to a collector for use in a display).  You results would probably be different.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: JDFlood on May 13, 2014, 11:10:45 am
ahh, ahh... other than Brooks... does not compute... I have no response for that. :-)
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: westrid_dad on May 23, 2014, 09:45:03 pm
I am a daily bike commuter anx my bike lives in the wild.   From my reading Brooks need TLC.   That's not my style.   



I just mounted my new Brooks Cambrium saddle on my Surly Ogre.  This doesn't require the standard "TLC" you refer to, nor break-in that traditional Brooks leather saddles do.

http://youtu.be/aCi0S9HW1iE

Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: e46rick on May 25, 2014, 11:15:08 pm
Coming from a road racing background, the weight and clunkyness of a Brooks saddle never appealed to me.  But I finally broke down and put one on my touring bike, and I'm glad I did.  While the Brooks doesn't necessarily feel overly "comfortable" when I first jump on the bike, it doesn't bother me at all after riding on it all day for multiple days.  That is worth something IMO. 

You didn't mention why you are opposed to a Brooks, but they are definitely worth a try if you haven't yet.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: staehpj1 on May 26, 2014, 05:11:03 am
In my experience, you can't really tell how well the saddle is working until after a month on tour. (If you can tell earlier than that, then you probably didn't use your saddle enough before the tour.) Your experiences training for a tour are useful, but the tour itself, with day after day of 60 miles or more, is much more demanding than your training will ever be.

Maybe I am just weird in this regard, but I can happily tour on most saddles except really very bad ones.  All the saddles that came with my bikes have been fine.  I never had one get worse after a month on tour.  On the other hand I have had a few saddles that felt bad for the first several hundred miles until my butt broke in to them.

To the OP, I suggest using what ever you currently ride on unless it isn't working.  If you need to change I like a normal road bike saddle rather than a special touring design.  The Prologo Kappa (model name corrected, I had it wrong when I posted) is what I put on the last bike I built up and it is pretty comfortable for me.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: HoolieWA on June 01, 2014, 12:53:50 pm
For me without a doubt is the Sella Anatomica Titanico.  I have tried at least 9 different saddles over the years.  Last September I did a short 200 mile tour using the Sella saddle for the first time.  Never once did I experience pain or discomfort. As well I did not use any sort of cream.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: paddleboy17 on June 02, 2014, 09:34:42 am
For me without a doubt is the Sella Anatomica Titanico.  I have tried at least 9 different saddles over the years.  Last September I did a short 200 mile tour using the Sella saddle for the first time.  Never once did I experience pain or discomfort. As well I did not use any sort of cream.

I tried a Titanico, and went back to a Brooks B-17.  I have a friend who cannot ride a Brooks long enough to break one in, and in does well on a Titanico.

Did you try a Brooks? 
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: HoolieWA on June 02, 2014, 11:59:59 am
I never did try a Brooks.  It would have been my next choice if the Titantico had not worked out.  There is one other saddle that I like but only for rides that are 70 miles or less and doesn't involve touring. It is a saddle made by Giant. It came with my Avail 1 road bike.  The road bike has since been sold and now that saddle is on my mountain bike.

Julie
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: misterflask on June 24, 2014, 12:19:50 pm
Since we're talking leather saddles;
I once crossed tracks with a european cyclist with a nice-looking leather saddle that used flat-head allen screws instead of rivets to fasten the leather to the frame.  Does this ring a bell with anyone?  I think name may have begun with a 'G'. 
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: tex232 on June 24, 2014, 03:57:24 pm
This one ?
http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/gilles-berthoud-saddles.html

I have had one for a couple of years.  Was incredibly hard and took quite some time to break in but I do like it

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Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: misterflask on June 24, 2014, 06:56:57 pm
That's it, Thanks.
Not an impulse buy, I see.
tnx agn
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: JDFlood on July 02, 2014, 08:08:41 pm
I had about six bikes and eight really expensive saddles, mostly Selle, and well over $100 per. But when I got to around 35 or 40 miles or more, my butt would really hurt. I tried split saddles, gel saddles, etc. Finally, got a Brooks. End of problem. For me they are comfortable from the first use, although granted they are much stiffer than later. Folks around worked loved me, just about everyone that rode a bike got a free $150 saddle from me. I have a titanium rail sparrow ... or swift or whatevery it is called for my 17lb titanium bike and B-17s on several, and a couple other models. But I'm sure never going back to anything else.
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: milestonerides on September 27, 2014, 07:05:19 pm
I've heard really good things about the Terry Liberator series saddle. 
Title: Re: Saddle Suggestion other than Brooks
Post by: bogiesan on September 27, 2014, 07:43:48 pm
Hope you all got this sorted out. I have ridden with folks on supported tours who hate their bikes which, of course, turns out to be a complaint about and inappropriately shaped or improperly positioned saddle.

I don't know how one shops for a saddle these days. The sales staff at one of the local shops are as confused as most of their customers. The experience of other riders is useless unless we can closely compare our anatomies. 
A quick googilian revealed no fewer than 15 saddles similar to Brooks, including three that are even more expensive and made of heavier, finer, thicker, and nicer leathers and that have larger copper nameplates held on with far cooler titanium bolts. REI lists 9 or more manufacturers and some 50 models of performance and cushioned bike saddles. The designs for men are clearly at opposite ends of physical reality. Support for the sits? Male-centric central void that, curiously, has arrived on female-specific saddles (news to me)? Long tongue? Narrow at the rear? Minimalist Italian elegance? Dual density luxury? 
http://www.rei.com/product/875586/fizik-arione-versus-x-kium-saddle-mens
http://www.rei.com/product/736826/serfas-lycra-dual-density-saddle-mens
http://www.rei.com/product/813902/serfas-rx-saddle-mens

One more reason I love my recumbent: My seat is 3" of open/closed cell foam sandwich and there's even a backrest.