This, I’m assuming will be the final installment on my new competition road saddle contrasted with my old gel road saddle.
Being a noob, there are certain things that you can look at on a bike and take from the internet that just don’t make sense. We could definitely use manscaping the legs as a good example – at the ether’s request, one should immediately commence to shaving on purchasing a worthy road bike. Reality is a little more forgiving though. The saddle is the same way. You look at a gel saddle contrasted with a rigid competition saddle and the gel saddle should be the epitome of comfort according to common sense. Reality in this case is a little less forgiving. I went for a nice, very fast 16 mile ride today in some fairly windy conditions. As windy as it was, there’s no way I should have been able to average 20 mph but I did that easily – with energy to sprint up all of the major hills, previously unheard of for me at that pace.
First of all, the gel saddle that came on my bike is a very nice saddle. It’s real leather and very comfortable – if I happened to ride very upright and on the hoods or bars most of the time at a more leisurely pace. That’s not how I ride though. I wanted to be in the drops as much as possible into the wind and low on the hoods to maximize aerodynamics because I like to go fast. That simply wasn’t possible without a lot of pain and an impossible time breathing on the gel saddle. The best I could manage in the drops was maybe 3/4 of a mile before I’d have to move up to the hoods for a rest – and I thought it was me.
Today, on my new rigid road saddle, I was able ride the entire time into the wind in the drops – seven miles. Instead of times around 3:45 a mile, I was down around 3:15.
The strange thing – at least to me – is that the saddle is right on the comfort. I didn’t miss the gel a bit, in fact, on the hoods the only difference I noticed was that my right sit bone and hamstring don’t hurt. In the drops, though, the comfort increase was profound. I was able to get my hip angle right which allowed me to breathe easier. In addition, because I have the hip angle right, the width of the seat right (so I could sit in the right part of the saddle), I didn’t get sore or tire out quickly.
I didn’t miss the extra padding once. On the contrary, I’m glad it’s gone – go figure.