Kinder, Gentler Bike Saddle?

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    Jun 15, 2007 1:48 PM GMT
    After years of riding a mountain bike, I switched to a touring bike (Trek 520, http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike.php?bikeid=1432000&f=6). It's terrific--nimble, light, fun to ride. Only problem is saddle pain (in 30 minutes I go from in pain to numb). There are a bunch of alternative saddles on the market--anyone have experience/recommendations with kinder, gentler bike saddles?
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    Jun 15, 2007 6:58 PM GMT
    all of my bikes came with various sorts of padded saddles. None of them lasted very long. The replacements I bought weren't all that great either.

    Most recently, I bought one of those tiny narrow "anatomically correct" saddles with the groove in the middle, from specialized. You have to be fitted for those, so I went to the local overly-pretentious bike shop and paid too much money for one. It's not exactly comfortable, but I don't feel too bad after a ride. It's gone two seasons without many signs of wear.

    The "fitting" process is basically sitting on a gel pad and measuring the distance between the impressions left by your pelvic bones. Might save some money to do this at home, and order on line.
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    Jun 15, 2007 7:12 PM GMT
    Hey there, thanks for the response back, much appreciated! I'll check out the specialized seat you recommended. Have you ever seen/used:

    http://www.moonsaddle.com/index.html
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    Jun 15, 2007 8:36 PM GMT
    I've seen those "moon saddles" advertised, but I suspect they're not for serious riding. I think that you actually exert a considerable amount of control on the bike through forces you exert on the horn of the saddle with your thighs. Taking a fast corner might be pretty dicey with one of those.

    Of course, there could be other ways to do it.

    (I'm reminded of that south park episode where someone invents the motorized unicycles controlled through a stick in your mouth and another one inserted in your butt. Turns out they shouldn't have let Mr. Garrison design the controls...)
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    Jun 15, 2007 8:54 PM GMT
    I'm spitting up my coffee, that's so funny! Moon saddles, off the list!
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    Jun 15, 2007 9:22 PM GMT
    I solved my bike seat and wrist problems by replacing my mountain bike with a TerraTrike.
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    Jun 16, 2007 12:29 AM GMT
    I had a problem with the one that came with my medium range bike (about 600.00 US) univega mountain bike. I ended up getting a gel-padded seat for touring around. Also there is nothing wrong with keeping a few different kinds around depending on what kind of riding you are doing - they are easy enough to swap in and out.
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    Jun 17, 2007 12:29 PM GMT
    The cure for sore butt syndrome is to ride more. Period. Make that butt tough!
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    Jun 18, 2007 2:28 AM GMT
    Jeff, agreed! The sore's no longer a problem--it's the numb I worry about. :)
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Jun 18, 2007 5:00 AM GMT
    Bike saddles are very personal. I swear by the Specialized cutout saddles; I've put thousands of miles on my Avatar Gel.

    You only want a slight bit of gel padding if any, because while your sit bones can get used to the soreness over time, too much padding means it'll be squishing your soft tissue, which is where you run into problems (squeezing the perineum for hours is not a recipe for amazing sex, nor a high sperm count.)

    But I have friends who've tried cutout saddles and say it awakens nerves in them they didn't know they had, that it's excruciating to ride them. One of those friends swears by Fi'zi:k. I'm pretty sure he's riding an Arione K1 these days. But for me, just looking at the flat top on that thing makes my balls start to ache.

    Another friend swears that the Selle An-atomica saddles are the most comfortable things he's ever ridden.

    At any rate, I recommend regularly standing out of the saddle and doing a couple Kegels (i.e. contracting the perineal muscles, then releasing) to make sure the blood's flowing. If it hurts when you squeeze and release, you're probably pinching off some important arteries. :)