Seat Advice – HELP MY BUTT HURTS!
SO I just moved to the Outer Richmond in San Francisco, which is kind of on the edge of town. I’m riding minimum 12 miles a day; 20 miles a day is not unusual. My seat is starting to feel like riding a 2″x4″.
I have a San Marco Ischia and it’s not so great. Can you tourers and hardcore types recommend me some saddles that are a little more cushy? I’m not looking for crazy sofa seats here, but I still totally need to solve my butt problem =]
*P.S. I’m on a budget – if there are a couple good seats I’d prefer the cheaper one!
Maybe I am wrong, but somewhere i heard that you don’t necessarily want something squishy to be more comfy. Personally, I try to stand every so often when I pedal to give my butt and company a break. The more i ride without any kind of padded shorts, the less painful it is. I can do 42 miles apparently without horrible pain.
I can’t tell from your nom de plume, are you M or F?
One of my more comfortable saddles is a WTB, an SST, I think.
That Ischia looks like it has a pretty radical “shovel” shape, you may want something with a more rounded shape to it.
The Brooks leather is an unbeatable suggestion, but boy, in SF, I don’t think you’d have it a week. Plus $$. You could try the Velo Orange version, very nice, but still $, and if it didn’t solve your problem, sad.
I think MM is an XX. So the question arises, when we say butt, are we talking about the ischial tuberosities (the “sit bones”), the tender bits on the insides of the thighs, or, y’know, other stuff.
For the former, you *could* get a more padded seat, but that would only cause more problems than it solves. Just hang in there – this problem goes away on its own for reasons I don’t think anybody really understands.
For the second problem, your saddle might be too wide.
For the latter problem, your saddle might be too narrow, or a half-dozen other things including position. This is a tough one to diagnose over the Internet.
I don’t think I’d want to diagnose it any more proximately than over the internet. Nothing personal, just sayin.
get an old turbo saddle… you can probably find one for $20 and they are comfy, haven’t ever heard a complaint about one… heard lots of people recommend them though.
I’ve found the Specialized Toupe saddles to be very comfortable after they break in. I would not call them inexpensive, but like a good pair of shorts, I’ve found them to be a worthwhile investment. I’ve also heard good things about the other Specialized road saddles, which may be cheaper and just as comfortable. They also come in varying widths.
Terry Liberator, if your seat is at about the same height as your handlebars. One of Terry’s narrower saddles if it’s below (I use their Fly on my road bike). Skip the “gel” versions.
But as has been mentioned, it could be about positioning or a dozen other things. A good bike shop should be able to help you with this.
+1 old turbo saddle. Origin8 makes a copy of it called the Aero Classic.
Also curious what your handlebar setup is and what height it is at in relation to your saddle. I personally prefer flat and hard, although my recent move to albatross bars might have me in the wide, flat and hard brooks camp.
k – when I started I had an old road bike seat on an old mtb and both were miserable, it felt *exactly* like your description of sitting astride a 2×4 (I’m female). I swapped out this seat with a cushy super padded one, and no longer felt like my bike was impolitely abusing me, BUT… ok, to be blunt and honest, any ride that was more than about 20 miles I did enough nerve damage to lose contol of my bladder for about a day. Happened three times before I put it all together, really embarassing.
When I bought my shiny new bike, I was totally freaked out about the seat. I did not want to go riding around and living in a diaper. I read sheldon brown’s advice on seats, http://www.sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html and knew that fit was important. But when i tried out different bikes, only one was comfortable, it happened to come standard on the bike that I wanted (specialized sirrus). I still got measured and looked at all the different saddle options and figured I’d give the bike a whirl and go from there.
Never had to go from there, it’s fantastic – FOR ME. The seat hits my sits bones just right, no nerve damage, no saddle sores.
I’d start by reading sheldon brown’s saddle page, then go get measured – it’s less embarrassing than it sounds (you sit on a seat that has sand in it and shows the depressions your sits bones make when you sit, your “measurement” is the millimeters distance between the center of those depressions). But the measurement is only part of it – I rode bikes with exactly the right size seats – I couldn’t take it a block (despite various adjustments, never got comfortable – trek seats dont fit my seat, period). Aside from fit, there’s tilt (women tend to prefer it tilted one way, men the other apparently), and probably other adjustments that could turn an uncomfy seat into a decent fit for you.
I realize that’s not helpful. But your LBS should be able to help you sort through and find something that works for you, your bike, and your bum.
Awesome advice guys! EJWME that was actually pretty helpful.
P.P.S. I’m a dude, and I guess this is mostly “sit bones” discomfort. My saddle’s about 3-4″ above the level of my drop bars. I like my seat as level as possible, no tilt, maybe I’ll experiment…
If it’s just sit bones, I wouldn’t mess with your adjustment. That discomfort usually improves with time, but changing things could have other side-effects that you don’t want.
a little OT, so I’m curious, did you move from Pittsburgh mangmang or does our message board have a national reputation for being the place to go for bicycling info?
Hope this post helps your butt problem!
BROOKS. Pay the extra money (or even look for a used one – gently used that’s not broken in. A lot of ppl “give up” on them too soon and sell them).
B-17. I run one (unsprung) on my MTB, a Ti one (swift) on my race bike and a B17 (unsprung on my touring bike).
I have been cycling for about 25 years and have only been riding Brooks for the past 8 yrs and have NO CLUE why I didn’t get one sooner.
oh, I know why, because I was an impressionable youngster in the late 80’s whom was influenced by magazine ads/pro sponsorship that told me plastic “flite” saddles etc – were the way to go. WRONG!
also, brooks does make a women’s saddle with the middle cut out and as well a women’s saddle with a wider section across the back to accommodate the naturally wider hip bones of female anatomy.
did I mention brooks saddles as a good option?
oh yeah, additionally: once I brought my handle bar level (or even just an inch below) with the saddle height – my world changed dramatically. climbing is now easier both seated and particularly standing. i just finished the 400 mile CTC ride in 36 hrs and never had any arm, or neck pain the entire ride. i was riding regular drop bars and was riding “in the hooks” 80% of the ride.
I don’t really have anything constructive to offer here. I just love the thread title.
I thought this was going to be about edward’s hiking trip “adventures”.
gimpPAC, I’m a PGH’er. No doubt I’ll be back someday – at least that’s what Jerry Kraynek says.
check with your lbs to make sure your frame fits you and your bike is set up to provide you with the proper riding position relative to the type of bike you ride. then ride with some more experienced cyclists and try to be aware of how they position themselves on their bike as your ride progresses. then the next time your out riding pay attention your body’s signals and experiment with changing up your position until you find what’s right for you. this should help alleviate some of your butt pain.
**UPDATE ON MY BUTT SAGA**: This is def perineal pain, sit bones are ok. Flipped my handlebar stem such that it’s angled up now rather than down, didn’t help too much. Gonna get a seat with a cutout for my junk.
My husband I believe is in a similar boat – so any updates you can provide as you find/try seats would be great. I found this site: http://hobsonseats.com/new/ but don’t know anything about them other than what’s on their web site.
mang we are about the same size/build and have extremely similar rigs (the bikes you perverts)
I have had nothing but good times with the wtb speed V as an affordable crotch saving saddle.
I am going to get a brooks sooner than later though. I think the wtb saddle is around $40
SPAK, good looking out! P.S. I’m wearing your logo as a back patch.
Cheeky me, I have to butt in. I’ve an ancient (39 yr old) Brooks on my Tourer and saddle soaped it up after catching up on this thread. It’s great. Checked and indeed the saddle in the corner of my closet is a WTB Speed V, which is not bad, and certainly better then most. Still, I prefer a stock Quinterra Roos tri-dork saddle on my hardtail mtb over the Speed V. There is no accounting for that.
Recently encountered the Selle An-Atomica site which is likely way comfortable and of course pain-in-the-ass expensive. What’s notable is this video which at once appalled and engrossed me. In hindsight, while riding on the Brooks tonight, I realized its value. The “Butt Cam” shows how one’s derriere should be positioned on the saddle, and how the saddle should move. It’s priceless.
Be warned, however, once you view it you may never get the image out of your mind. I may never post again as it’s driving me to madness. So there is that value too.
Oh, and Selle An-Atomica will “upgrade” a Brooks, cutting their “patented slot” and slapping some laminate underneath. I’ve a keen blade and as long as I don’t sell the saddle, no patents would be violated. As for the laminate, well, it looks like the gluteus maximus to me…
Don’t need to though, as the broken in Brooks feels like it’s moving as the Selle An-Atomica does in the video. Guess I need to install a “Butt Cam” to be certain?
(If you do come across an old broken in Brooks on the cheap, bore holes in the bottom of the flaps and draw them together. This pushes the platform of the saddle up and reinvigorates the support.)
I lucked out and picked up a used WTB Laser off Craigslist for $10. Definitely a more comfortable saddle. It’s not overly padded or bulky, but by comparison it feels like sitting in a cushy office chair. It might be a bit wide for me but the length is good. Less/no perineal pain – the groove in the saddle is just deep enough so that I’m not always mashing my shit into my torso. I’ve been riding it for half a week, I’ll have to shake it out on a ride to Marin or something to see if it’s totally ‘perfect.’ +1 WTB.
I’d be interested in trying a Brooks, but they’re theft-meat out here – many people link a loop of bike chain around their seat rails and top tubes, just so their Brooks won’t get ripped off.
Fit notes: I tend to ride with a backpack, and I’m probably going to keep doing so, but this affects posture and is an extra 20lbs or so bearing down on your back. Ejwme, tell your husband not to wear a backpack!
Also, make sure his saddle is level or has the nose tipped slightly down.
funny, yesterday we were out on Montour trail and he was gonig to ride around with a backpack until I took all the stuff out and put it in my panniers – I’ll add this to the “reasons why” list – he might believe me on this one
I’ll see what he says about your seat and forward the butt cam
The New York Times science section just ran a story about Noseless Saddles.
Good luck doing any significant steering with noseless saddles. There’s a reason 100+ years later saddles still look more or less like they do.
Pay attention to how you steer the next time you ride no handed.
I got to the paragraph that starts “The biothesiometer is a device in which…” and just couldn’t stop giggling.
“While it sounds delightful, it’s actually not.”
I must be a twisted combination of sadistic and immature, but I still can’t stop giggling. That totally made my day, thanks Pseudacris! (Oh, yeah, and the information is good too)
I’m extremely skeptical about the noseless saddle too, particularly since the article never really mentioned proper bike fit or saddle position. Anyone on here have any experience riding one of these?
I’ve never tried one. Chris’ point about the steering is interesting!
I tried a couple of noseless.
This one is really well-made:
But the two forward spines dug into my legs so badly, I considerred walking the 2 miles home from work the first time I tried it to commute.
I got a very plain one like this…
…while I was on my DC trip. No problems steering, but then I did not do any flying down hills with it, either. I’m guessing that for difficult steering clamping thighs on the top tube would work, just as it would for high speed shimmy.
The problem I did have, and it think it would be a problem with any of them, is that either I would roll off the front and teh seat would bash my thighs, or I need the seat so low that pedalling was inefficient. WAY inefficient.
Anyone who has ridden with me knows I’m slow enough anyhow.
I have talked with a guy who usesthe “separate-pad-for-each-cheek” variety.
He seemed to be happy with it. I don’t know how much he rides, though.
For me, there is a clear difference in how well my “package” delivers when I do any rides over 40 miles or so.
I’ve just purchasesd a crank-forward bike I’m hoping will make this less of an issue. Perhaps I’m sliding towards the bent side.
I’ll bring the crank forward and perhaps a variety of saddles to the bike rodeo.
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