Saddles - Is there much difference in comfort

by Tinternet_tim   May 9, 2013  

Hi, i've currently got a bike manufacturers own brand saddle on my road bike which came with the bike. Although it's quite comfy, but idoes tend to add pressure to a few points after a few hours in the saddle.

What are others opinions about different brands and designs. Is there really that much difference or is 1 similar to another once you get to a certain price and quality of bike?

I've seen lots rave about fizik, is the hype justified? Are there others that are as good or worth considering?

Last question.....would it be right or wrong to think the lighter you go the more uncomfortable it is going to be due to less padding or does the shape and profile compensate for this?

Thanks in advance for any opinions.

9 user comments

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As everyone will say, saddles are a very personal thing. Every's ass is different, so what might work for me, won't work for someone else. I've tried plenty of saddles through a LBS saddle rent/buy program (tried Specialized, Selle Italia, and Fizik saddles). I ended up with a Fizik Antares. I seem to find flatter saddles more comfy.

Then again, after a couple hours on any saddle, I get a bit sore. It gets better as I get more time in on my bike though.

Best to try a bunch of different saddles if you can. Or borrow a friends saddle for a few hours. I have friends who love their stock saddles.

posted by futurefunk [29 posts]
9th May 2013 - 22:01

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I think there are large differences, but your bum isn't my bum. I have a stock RSP race saddle that's great up to 40 miles, then makes me ache. The charge spoon chafes me where the stitching is. The Fizik Antares was like sitting on a bag of bolts (and the Arione- well I might as well save some money and just sit on the seatpost), but the wider Aliante makes my arse happy.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3420 posts]
9th May 2013 - 22:26

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Nice summary futurefunk, of the main 3 Fizik Saddles the Antares seems to be the least popular and yet its the mid shape. I find the Aliante unbearable others think it's like a sofa. I can't get out of the end of my road on a Selle Italia! Pro logo take some getting used to but get there in the end. The important thing is not who made the saddle, but that it supports your sit bones by being wide enough but doesn't rub by being too wide, but you are likely to get better results through changing the tilt of one saddle than changing brands, if it's applying pressure on the nose of the saddle try lifting the nose up, the converse of what you'd think but this will rock your pelvis back and force you on to your sit bones. Good luck

posted by rascal6000 [7 posts]
9th May 2013 - 23:40

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I've found the Specialized toupe to be very comfortable , however I have broken 3 of them within the space of 18 months. Specialized have been good and have replaced each one but I got fed up having to return to LBS and wait for replacement each time. I'm currently trying a selle italia max flow which is taking some getting used to. The most comfortable saddle I own is a cheap and cheerful giant branded thing which the LBS lent me while waiting for a replacement toupe. My irrational bike snob side is however telling me that this cannot be correct because it is cheap so cannot be good hence my search for a perfect saddle continues.

posted by bike_food [106 posts]
10th May 2013 - 6:39

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Quote:
..would it be right or wrong to think the lighter you go the more uncomfortable it is going to be due to less padding or does the shape and profile compensate for this?

It'd be wrong! Less padding is often more comfortable, if you're riding for any more than 15 minutes.

Look at it this way:

- humans have an endoskeleton - hard bones inside, soft squishy stuff on the outside.

- soft padded saddles are the same.

- the load is carried by the two skeletons - the human and the saddle.

- therefore you need to get hard interfacing with hard. e.g. sit bones with saddle frame.

- add any material between the two hard elements, and it must be compressed, to allow hard to meet with hard.

- now imagine you add twice as much padding (foam, gel, whatever) to the saddle.

- the amount of human soft tissue remains the same.

- but now you need all the soft stuff to compress MORE, for hard to interface with hard. Not just the foam padding, but the human soft stuff, too.

- by this theory, gel should be marginally better than foam, if it is able to flow inside the saddle - i.e. the padding deforms rather than compresses. The gel moves out of the way of the two skeletons.

- except, of course, that some gel might move medially relative to the sit bones - towards the middle of the saddle - thus filling out the space between your sit-bones, adding pressure just where you don't want it!

The solution is a firm saddle. Hard meets hard easily, and all the soft stuff isn't too squashed.

For me, the ideal saddle is the Rido. Others love the Fizik brand. It's a very personal thing.

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
10th May 2013 - 7:38

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Fizik and many of the other brands like Selle Italia, Specialized etc have a full range of test saddles - locate local shops to try out different ones and they'll let you take one out for a few weeks. Definitely worth a go - can't beat personal experience with saddles.

Lighter = more uncomfortable? Not necessarily. A fair bit is in the rails with carbon, titanium, or steel alloys with different weight savings. Shell too.

@oddbydefault

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posted by oddbydefault [100 posts]
10th May 2013 - 13:19

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Thanks guys for the info. Very informative as always. I was kinda hoping you would all recommend the same super comfy saddle that weighed next to nothing Smile.....not to be!
Think a trip to the lbs is in order to enquire about test saddles.
Thanks again

2014 Ride100 London Sportive
http://www.justgiving.com/Sponsor-Tim

posted by Tinternet_tim [85 posts]
10th May 2013 - 17:28

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Just swapped my Antares VS after a year, a ramping up of miles has caused me a world of pain. checked my sit bones on foil on a step and they're narrow for the saddle. Swapped to a Kurve Snake and its a lot better, like a hammock. Shame the rough tape on the rails has damaged two pairs of bibs. Worth starting by sit bone measuring and then seeing what size you most likely are for width. It's real trial and error though. Good luck.

posted by Spud [47 posts]
10th May 2013 - 18:46

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Just buy an Arione

Or a PX superlight

Sir Velo

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posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
10th May 2013 - 21:31

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