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An Experiment in Saddle Width: We Know Too Wide is Bad, But What About Too Narrow? I’m About to Find Out the Fun Way

At the end of autumn, 2012, I was fitted for a Specialized Romin 143 mm saddle.  I’ve got one on my Diverge and one on my Venge.  I rode with one on the tandem for quite some time as well, but switched to a Specialized Toupe Sport – 143 with the hope of a little more comfort as I’m on the saddle for miles on end on the tandem (the saddle that came on my Diverge – I love that saddle).  I’ve ridden 143-mm saddles forever, until I bought a Bontrager Montrose Pro Carbon for my 5200.  That saddle raised my eyebrows it’s so comfortable – and it’s a 138.  

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When I ride my Venge a lot, and I do ride it a lot, I can end up with a saddle sore on the right side of my inner thigh, just forward of the sit bone.  Some years I go without a saddle sore, others I seem to have one every few weeks.  There’s no rhyme or reason except that they’re painful when present.

That persisted until I started riding the Trek with the 138 Montrose more.  I don’t have the same problem on the Trek.  The Montrose 138-mm saddle doesn’t touch the same location because it’s not as wide.  

I got a fantastic deal on that saddle, too.  I paid, if memory serves, $120 for it – and they’re normally $220.  I went back to look at them the other day and they’ve got the same saddle in 128-mm but for only $80.  

I pulled the trigger on one after two days of contemplation and some research.  I want to see how I feel on that 128.  The 143 Romin is livable, as I’ve been riding one for the better part of eight years with a few saddle sores to show for it, but I know the 138 is vastly superior… so if 138 is better…

The theory, going from what I’ve read on forums, the more aggressive the position on the bike, the thinner the saddle should be.  When I was measured, all those years ago, I was sitting on a bench in a relaxed, upright, position.  My position on a road bike today is vastly different than that measurement posture.  They say, as the position gets more aggressive and the rider tilts forward, the sit bones narrow.  This aggressive position requires a narrow saddle and would explain some of my past difficulties.

Anyway, I’ll know this afternoon – and I’m fully prepared to, after a few rides, to have to package that bad boy back up and sell it to the shop or put it on eBay.  But I want to know, though.  I’ve gotta test it out.  It’ll be an easy 25+ miler this afternoon, followed by a full-immersion test tomorrow – I’ve got a hundie on the docket.  Hey, why go at it with half-measures?

On a side note, I’ve tried too wide as well.  The original saddle that came on the my 5200 was a 155 and it hurt a lot.  I ended up with severe hamstring pain for riding so much on that behemoth of a saddle.

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I dropped a little more than half-a-pound when I upgraded to the Romin.  I lost just shy of a quarter-pound more when I upgraded to the Montrose.

Now, where this gets really interesting is the bike that new saddle is going on… I’ve only got one Trek in the stable and that bike already has a Montrose on it.  The new Bontrager saddle is going on my Venge.  

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I know, gasps of awe and confusion, shock and chagrin… A Trek saddle on a fully customized, fully badass 1st Gen. Specialized Venge Comp upgraded to an S-Works?  Hey, when a comparable carbon Romin goes for $300 and I can get a lighter saddle I already know I love for $80… well, some of that craziness about mixing and matching brands goes right out the window.  The heinie shall be happy!

More next week.  I’ll either be smiling or limping.  Chuckle.

TNLR: Popped Edition (Too Hot In the Hot Tub! O-o-o-o-w-w-w!)

So I can’t call it the Tuesday Night Club Ride this summer because, technically, it’s not a club ride. Because C-19.

That didn’t stop a fair contingent from rolling out last night. It was under current guidelines, by a lot, but we’ve never hit 100 cyclists on the best Tuesday night (maybe 60 or 70?). I’d say we had 30 roll out in unfairly hot and windy conditions. 90° and sunny with a 15-20-mph wind out of the west.

I did the full 7-mile warm-up with Dave. Even at 15-mph into that wind sucked but was bearable. At 24, it was going to suck.

We rolled out together for the first couple of miles directly into the wind but fractured into two main groups with stragglers everywhere as soon as we hit the crosswind. We had five guys in an echelon followed by a line of ten on the edge of the road.

I was fine at that point, but with no real draft, I figured it was only a matter of time.

We had a decent pace heading south (crosswind) when two of the A guys took it from 20-mph to 25 and I lost my patience.  I had a pretty good idea what was going to happen when we hit the hills so rather than work on a resentment, I bailed.  I was also having saddle issues that exacerbated the heat of the evening.  I want so bad for that Selle Italia carbon saddle to work but I just can’t help knowing I’d be having a more enjoyable ride on my old Specialized Romin.  On the one hand, there are huge pluses with the Selle Italia – the oversize cutout is fantastic for keeping things happy after the ride.  During the ride, though, it’s awesome at first but as I get tired and put more of my weight on the saddle, “awesome” breaks down in a hurry.  Then I try to stand on the pedals to get the weight off my heinie and my feet start hurting…

With my saddle giving me fits, the ride back was a little on the miserable side.  I was well and truly popped.  I just put my head down and did my best to hammer it back to the car.

After moderating my attitude, I mentioned something to the guy who was up front about trying a little harder to maintain the pace.  He’s in a bit of a pickle.  He’s a true A rider, but he just can’t hack the heat.  He reacts differently than most to it in that he simply can’t acclimatize.  On the other hand, he gets up front every now and again and he jacks the pace up so we end up with a lot of see-sawing.

And the nice little cherry on top is that I was only a few minutes from popping anyway.

At least dinner was good.  Back at it for next week.

 

What Every Cyclist Needs to Know About Saddles; It’s Not the Padding, It’s the Contour of the Saddle

Cycling in the United States is on the rise.  From what I’ve been reading, we’re talking epic proportions, only this time the word “epic” is actually being used correctly.  This is a good thing, and I’m excited about it.

For those new, or contemplating getting into this most excellent sport, many think they know that the only reason enthusiasts ride around on those tiny saddles is because they don’t weigh much, so they’re willing to put up with the pain over a hundred miles at a time because they’re crazy.  Or something.  The cycling noob is certain that the answer is to just add more padding to make the ride more comfortable.

There’s not one part of that notion that’s correct.  It’s all wrong.

Yes, the saddles enthusiasts ride on are light, but they are anything but painful.  If those vastly over-padded monstrosities were really comfortable, we’d be riding on the lightest, smallest version of them.  Those tiny saddles are actually more comfortable that their bulbous brethren when covering big miles and long hours.

Those are the road saddles I have on my two road bikes.  Two different brands, but almost the exact contour.  The contour matches the rider’s flexibility and desired riding posture on the bike.  Bontrager/Trek has a very nice system for this, and their saddles, while not the lightest, are exceptionally comfortable.

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I am a Posture 2 guy.  Not quite a pro posture, because I’m almost 50 for God’s sake, but close enough for government work.

I’m a Specialized guy when I’m not on my Trek, though.  The original saddle that came on my Trek was too wide for my sit bones, so the local bike shop set me up with a Specialized Romin saddle, because they had one in stock and it matched my sit bones (143 mm) and my aggressive riding style.  From that day forward, all saddles I’ve ridden on have been compared to that saddle.  I have one on my Specialized Venge and one on my tandem.  I bought the Bontrager Montrose (above) because it matched the profile of my Romin.

Another company that does a good job of making different saddles for different riders is Fi’zi:k (don’t mind the silly spelling, they’re excellent saddles – I have several friends who swear by them):

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I don’t know about their flat and wide for the two more flexible postures, but I don’t ride their saddles so I can’t comment intelligently on their system.  I do have two flat Selle Italia saddles and I can’t ride on either of them, no matter how hard I try to dial them in… and one is the lightest saddle I’ve ever owned.  It’s retail price is $420 and it’s a full carbon fiber model (a friend gave it to me).  Therefore, if there were any truth to the notion that people like me would put up with pain to have a light saddle, guess what?  It’s simply not true.  You can bet I tried, though!

To wrap up the road saddles, comfort is all about fit (location on the bike – up/down/front/back) and contour.  Highly flexible people can handle a flat saddle.  I’m not one.  Also, as you can see in the photos above, I don’t ride on a lot of padding because it’s unnecessary once you know how to dial in the proper location.  For those who don’t know, the people at your local bike shop should be able to help, or check out some of my previous articles on subject on this page.

There are times when a little more padding can be helpful.  Gravel bikes and adventure bikes are a fantastic example.  I have two mountain bikes and a gravel bike and I’d choose the gravel bike over the mountain bikes any day of the week and twice on Sunday, and I love my mountain bikes!  For my gravel bike, because I’ll hit a bump on a dirt road fairly often, I like just a little more padding on that saddle:

Same contour, a little more padding.  And because I have the bike setup right, that saddle is excellent on all but the nastiest of roads.  Now, part of the comfort of the bike has to do with tire choice, but that’s for another post.

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My butt hurts just looking at that photo!  Now, let’s deal with those round, fluffy saddles for just a minute.  There’s no doubt, a big butt will require a bigger saddle, but that big fella above would take a mighty big heinie!  The large saddles tend to restrict blood flow where blood really needs to flow, and that’s why they hurt so much after an extended period in the saddle.  When a bulbous saddle hurts, a new cyclist naturally thinks more padding is necessary, so they go for one of those saddle covers, which cuts off more blood, thus making the ride even less comfortable.  Usually by this time, arms are thrown in the air and the bike starts collecting dust in the garage.  It’s not the bike that’s giving you fits, it’s that big saddle.  Unless you’re content on a cruiser (leisure bike), broom that big saddle and have a fitting performed at your local shop.  A few weeks of decent mileage later and you’re but will start feeling better.

Also, if you’re going to try those tiny saddles that we’re so fond of, click here to learn how to pick your shorts.  You’ll need a few pair of them.

Road Cycling and Saddle Height; Down to the Last Millimeter

I’ve been struggling, a happy struggle mind you, with the saddle on my Trek 5200. Specifically, the height of said saddle on said 5200.  The fore/aft location is darn-near set in stone, as I prefer my kneecap to line up with the pedal spindle per the normal setup of a road bike.

First, that Montrose Pro carbon saddle is one fine saddle and some the best money I’ve spent on that bike went to that saddle. It’s got the perfect blend of lightweight, flexibility, and padding for a long distance saddle. I can even wear my thinner chamois bibs for 70+ mile rides on it – bibs I once only wore for 25-35 mile rides on inferior saddles.

My biggest issue has been getting the height dialed in so my Trek feels like my Specialized, though.  So, second would be the disclaimer that I’m notoriously picky about saddle height. Obsessive isn’t really a good word, but it comes pretty close to reality.

When I picked the saddle up, I first set it just a touch too high (my measurement is exactly 36-3/8″). I lowered it once because my keister was hurting. Then I lowered it another bit because it still hurt my heinie and by that time, my back was hurting and starting to seize up on me every now and again.  The second lowering did the trick, and that’s where I left it for DALMAC. I rejoiced for the weekend because the saddle felt excellent, with only a minor flareup of baboon @$$.

It wasn’t until I got back and rode the Venge a few days, then took the Trek out once more, that I realized the saddle on the Trek was a little too low. It felt it at the time, but in reality, it wasn’t by much.  It just felt… off.  It felt like I wasn’t getting my full leg extension, that I was working just a little too hard.

Well, Saturday afternoon I raised the saddle up to test my theory, thinking maybe I lowered it too much the last time. I didn’t raise it much, maybe 1-1/2 to 2 millimeters:

With the heightened chance of rain on Sunday, I rode the Trek. At first he saddle height felt right, or better at least.  I was definitely getting full leg extension, and I felt a bit stronger.  40 miles in, I was antsy in the saddle and my back pain started in again.  I knew I’d raised it too much. There was too much pressure on the sit bones. On coming back, I split the difference and lowered it by about half… and nirvana!

I rode with my buddy, Chuck Monday night, picking my lightest pair of bibs, and I could tell instantly, I nailed it.  Finally.

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I almost can’t believe it, the infinitesimal amount I’m talking about, but I’m here to tell you, that millimeter made a difference (actual difference once I lowered the saddle is half the gap shown above between the seat post and the marker line).

So here’s what was messing me up; having the saddle high helps keep your butt up and your head down – it’s aerodynamic.  Having the saddle up also allows for a stronger pedal stroke.  Unfortunately, having the saddle too high also hurts like hell.

Does it help that I’ve got the Venge to contrast what I’m feeling on the 5200?

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*Does it or doesn’t it help to have a phenomenal race bike to contrast my other bikes against?  Look, this is going to be a matter of perspective.  It’s more a blessing than a curse as I see it.  Having the Venge to match the Trek to has made the Trek a significantly better bike.  I never could have gotten it to where it is, as fast as I did, without the Venge.  Mrs. Bgddy might disagree with that assessment as it pertains to cash, though.  Ouch.

The Bontrager Montrose Pro Carbon Fiber Saddle; A Pillowy Stroke of Genius

My friends, there once was a time I thought a lightweight race saddle was going to be a relatively hard saddle that had to be put up with, rather than enjoyed, over a long haul.

I had a beautiful Selle Italia 110 gram saddle on the Trek, then on the Venge, that was close to fantastic but it was in the realm of the hard saddle that had to be put up with when the mileage bounced over 50.  It was nice enough, and was a huge weight improvement over my 274 gram Specialized Romin saddle that goes on the Venge.  It was an even bigger advantage over the $25 mountain bike saddle I had on the Trek, though that mountain bike saddle was comfy.

The Selle Italia started out on the Trek at the beginning of the year, then went over to the Venge when I decided I wanted to get all weight weenie to see how light I could make it.  I loved it on the Trek, early in the season.  It wasn’t great on the Venge, though.  I just couldn’t get comfortable in it on the longer rides.  As I put more miles on my butt throughout the season, I became less and less fond of the saddle on the Venge so I switched it back to the Trek.  That magic I’d felt early in the season was gone.  With 4,000 miles on my hind end, what was once fairly wonderful became a bit like riding on barbed wire after a metric century.  The saddle had to go – I’m not paid to ride and I’m not putting up with an ultra light saddle just so I can say my Venge weighs 15-1/4 pounds instead of 15-1/2.  Better, it’s the difference between 18 and 18-1/2 pounds on the Trek.  Folks, 18 pounds is 18 pounds, and I need something I can be comfortable in on the long haul rides, because that’s what the Trek is for.

On a fluke I happened on a sale on the Bontrager/Trek website.  They had the Montrose Pro on overstock sale, $100 off.  I paid $120 for mine – a fantastic deal for a high-end saddle.

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The profile is almost a perfect match to the Specialized Romin on the Venge that I absolutely love.  A little less rise on the nose, but otherwise, a spot-on match.

After the storm, the clouds parted and the sun shone…

After a couple of test rides I took the saddle and my Trek up north on a road trip with two of my best cycling friends.  77 miles on day one, 67 on day two.  The saddle is my new favorite.  It’s a fantastic balance of bounce and padding – and my 5200 needs a little help in that regard.  It’s a pretty stiff ride for a carbon fiber frame and fork.

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There’s about 50 grams difference between the Montrose and that previously mentioned Selle Italia saddle, and it all went into padding in the perfect places, and no more than absolutely necessary.

I am not all that flexible (I’m no spring chicken) and I ride an aggressive setup, so having the right saddle, that allows my hips to rotate a little so I can get low enough, is a requirement.  That’s exactly what the Montrose’s profile does.

I’ve always wanted the 5200 to be just a little more comfortable than my Venge so I’d ride the Trek more… and I’ve always felt that was impossible.  The Specialized is fourteen years newer so the technological ride advances are huge.  Not only do they make today’s bikes light and aero, with a little manipulation of the lay-up, they can make today’s frames stiff where it’s needed for power transfer, but compliant where that’s needed for ride quality.  Not to mention, the Trek will only fit a 24mm tire while the Trek will easily fit a 26… more volume in the tire means a better ride.

The Trek has one thing going for it over the Venge; the Trek is just a touch more vertically compliant than my Venge.  Vertically compliant means I’m not quite as low-slung on the Trek.  Add the Montrose Pro to the mix, with 24mm wide tires, and what was once thought of as impossible is now a reality.   My 5200 is slightly more comfortable.

The Montrose Pro is a fantastic saddle and decently light at around 160 grams.  It’s an all-day saddle that, once properly set, keeps me comfortable for hours.  I am perfectly pleased with it and can’t recommend it highly enough.

Bontrager Takes the Complex Saddle Choice and Makes it Simple(r) with Performance Postures

Specialized does it through shop employees with measurements, angles and videos too numerous and complex to get into, they call it their Body Geometry fit (I had one, when I bought my Venge, and it was awesome).  Long before that wonderful day and after a few months on my new (to me) 1999 Trek 5200, I went to the local shop complaining of immense pain due to my saddle after a steady increase of miles.  Walter quickly measured my sit bones on a handy-dandy board with memory foam on it and handed me a Specialized Romin (143mm) saddle.  The old, original saddle was a 155 – no wonder it hurt. The 143mm Romin, with its marvelous contours, just happened to be the exact saddle for me. I even put a second Romin I own on our tandem.

Fi’zi:k does it with an app. Hold your smartphone at your chest and bend over as far as you can… they match you to the proper saddle of their three different types. Not bad, but I’m in between saddles according to the app (or at least I was last I checked). Doesn’t that just figure? I can measure twice in a row and get two different saddles. Fortunately, luck got me where I needed to be previously, anyway.

Bontrager seems to have simplified everything and explained it so anyone from a leisure cyclist to a road racing cyclist can easily see what will likely be the best saddle fit for their riding style. It’s not, after all, rocket science. It’s close, though, once they really start looking into the science and how a saddle will affect a cyclist. Behold, simplicity and the Performance Postures (or as they like to call it in technical terms, “InForm BioDynamic Designs”):

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To keep things moving, I’m a Posture 2. I ride an aggressively set up road bike (both of them):

Then they got into the contour of the saddle:

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And followed that with the profile:

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Without question, especially looking at my Venge up above and how much I love the Romin saddle, I’m a Posture 2 guy, and it makes sense now that this is all laid out above:

Now, will this way of looking at saddles tick everyone’s boxes and make them comfortable on a Bontrager saddle?  I would land somewhere between “doubtful” and “not a freaking chance” – saddle choice is too personal and complex.  That said, for me, it works and it makes sense.

Where this gets a little sticky is that saddle on my Trek, a Selle Italia.  It’s basically a flat saddle with a minute curve to it.  It’s a full carbon fiber saddle that weighs in at a miniscule 110 grams (Bontrager makes a 64 gram saddle, basically the weight of two plastic bottle cages, if you’re interested):

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Contrast that with the saddle on my Venge (or one like it) on the Right and a Bontrager Montrose on the Left:

My friends, I may ride low but I am not flexible.  I can barely touch my toes (though barely does count!).  That little bit of contour in the saddle helps me rotate my hips forward so I can ride comfortably in the drops and on the hoods.  I do have to make sure to bend my arms sufficiently when I ride with my hands on the bar top, though.  Sitting upright isn’t comfortable on a contoured saddle like the two above – at least not the way I set mine up, with a 3° drop from back to front (measured the full length of the saddle).

People can get sucked into the wrong saddle pretty easy.  Whether they’re in it for the weight, or just trying to get a cool-looking saddle…  Folks, some saddles just fit some butts better than others.  The more information you’re armed with, though, the better equipped you’ll be to help a knowledgeable person at a shop help you into the proper saddle… or try luck.  It did work for me.

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Cycling Sacrilege: Making the Heavy Bike Lighter and the Light Bike Heavier… On Purpose

Cycling sacrilege is right!  But let me go back a bit, to bring this home correctly.  You know me, I don’t do much half-assed…

Five months ago, a friend gave me a Selle Italia carbon saddle.  It’s ridiculously, outrageously light.  It also required a special saddle collar to fit on my Venge so I tried it on my Trek first, just to see what I thought until the proper collar I ordered for the Venge came in.  The saddle was magic on the Trek.  It was so perfect, I almost cancelled the collar and left the saddle on the Trek.  But I had to try it on the Venge.  I had to.  After all, an ultra-light saddle would perfectly round out that spectacular bike (it also took the bike from the high 15 pound range to the mid-15’s).

Well, a month(ish) into that experiment and I didn’t like the result.  Most of my problems are likely due to fit, but I’ve adjusted the saddles and I just can’t quite get to the bottom of the issue… if you know what I mean.  The saddle on my 5200 was spectacular.  On the Venge, it was a little closer to “meh”.

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Over the last month, as I’ve started ramping up the miles, I just couldn’t get the Selle Italia saddle to a position I liked as much as I had on the Trek.  I hemmed and hawed for at least two weeks about switching them back.  Then, with my second big tour of the year looming, I decided to switch them back – against every weight weenie fiber in my body.  Unfortunately, a flared up hip made the decision a little easier.  After changes are made, sometimes it takes a good bit of miles to really evaluate the change.  I really started feeling the pain last week, maybe two weeks ago, butt in hindsight only.  With two hundred mile days in a row looming, I had to change something before that sore hip became an actual injury.

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And just like that…

My first ride after having swapped saddles was a big one – go big or go home (or both in this case).  Typically, it’s a little stupid not adviseable to swap out a saddle and head out for a big mile ride, but if you’ve read this blog for very long, you know me; overconfident in my mechanical abilities, and often lucky enough to be right (or at least close enough for government work).

Last week, my Garmin died toward the end of a 65 mile ride so I had my buddy, Chuck add me in to his for Strava.  He finished that ride with 71 miles, though, so I had some penance miles to make up.  Well, I got four of those done on Tuesday night but I still had two left, so I decided to make them up checking my saddle position yesterday morning before our ride.  It felt great so I rolled with it.

Fourteen miles into the real ride and I knew I’d missed the mark, but just barely.  At our first stop, because I was smart enough to bring an Allen wrench with me, I lowered the saddle by a millimeter.  And there it stayed for the remaining 64 miles.  Amazingly, the saddle felt like butter – much better than it did on the Venge.  I have no idea what gives, but I really don’t care at this point.  My hip soreness even let up after 20 miles.

My 1999 Trek 5200 is now down to the low 18 pound range and My Venge is still technically a 15 pound bike – and both bikes are now wildly comfortable.  I made the light bike heavier and the heavier bike lighter…

Sometimes you have to go to any length for things to work out right in the universe – or buttiverse as it is in this case.  My heinie is happier… and I’ll stop there, before going over the line – or down the crack.  In this case, even though that badass (there I go again) Selle Italia saddle belongs on the race bike, it just doesn’t work.  No sense in trying to stick with it till I was injured.

And incidentally, with the Specialized Romin saddle back on the Venge, the good bike is vastly more comfortable as well.  I did two more penance miles on the Venge to make sure I’d gotten that one right as well.  I can live with an extra 110 grams (a quarter-pound) for a peppier posterior.

The Noob’s Guide to Cycling; The Specifics of Dialing a Saddle In by Feel (Rather than Numbers).

Numbers, contrary to popular mathematical belief, can lie when it comes to cycling and saddle position.  Numbers are a great start, but sooner or later you’re going to want to go by feel…  And I’ve never subscribed to the notion of “level it and forget it”.

When you’ve got some padding on a saddle, you have a little room for error in the setup when you’re riding 30-40 miles.

Take away most of that padding and jump that mileage up by double or even triple, you better have that saddle right or you’ll be hating life. And your bike. And your shorts. And your saddle.

Now, keep the mileage up and cut the padding in half again. One look at that saddle and you wonder if two pairs of shorts would work…

No two saddles are alike… unless they really are alike. Erm… I’ve got two Specialized Romin saddles, one on the Venge and one on the tandem. I set them both by numbers, then feel.  By chance, I had them set side by side one day in the bike room. A simple glance and I noticed they’re on exactly the same plane.  I set the saddles next to each other and stepped back for a closer look; same plane.

Over a hundred miles (or 50 on the tandem), the heinie don’t lie.

So, I thought I might take a moment to share with you, my friends, my unscientific method for dialing in a new saddle.

First, as the process goes, the less padding, the better – you get a lot more feedback.

I like to start on a trainer with a new saddle. I’ll be in the saddle most, if not all, of the time so it helps to feel what’s going on. For the new Selle, I matched the tilt from the old saddle after setting the fore/aft. Then I set the height (36-3/8″, to be exact). Then I climbed on with the intention of giving it 45 minutes.

I lasted five. Maybe. I could feel my hips rocking a little bit. Hips rocking means the saddle is too high. I don’t know how that was possible, though. 36-3/8″ should have been dead nu… Um, phrasing. I lowered it a millimeter.  The saddle could be a little farther back than the old saddle was, that would require the saddle to be a shade lower…

Another five minutes. I lowered it again. Just a millimeter. Another 20 minutes.

I could feel pressure from the nose of the saddle that kept me from wanting to ride in the drops. It wasn’t outrageously uncomfortable, just a little nag. I lowered the nose a quarter-turn on the front bolt.

And there the saddle stayed for more than a week.  I thought I was done.  The saddle felt okay, about as good as you’d expect from just one millimeter of padding (not much).

I’ve worn, over the last week, every pair of heavily padded bibs I own and took a few spins on medium padded bibs to make sure the saddle is where I want to it be.  Last night, I’m about ten minutes into my ride and something just wasn’t right.  The fore/aft position of the saddle was perfect, I’d already lowered the saddle a couple of millimeters so that wasn’t it… I could simply sense something was a little off, a little pressure where there shouldn’t be pressure in front of the sit bones.  This calls for a systematic “shotgun” approach.  I had a sneaky suspicion I just needed to lower the nose a pinch…  I backed out the rear mounting bolt an eighth of a turn and tightened the front bolt the same amount and climbed aboard.

And the angels sang.

Once the pressure was off… um, a very delicate area that doesn’t much like pressure, and the saddle felt like a $400+ saddle should feel like.  It’s still stiff, but I wasn’t thinking much about where my butt was on the saddle as I finished my ride, either.

This is why I love breaking a new saddle in on the trainer.  Outdoors there are too many distractions and variables.  Bumps, rough pavement, in the saddle, out of the saddle… up a hill, down a hill.  Accelerate, decelerate, headwind, tailwind, crosswind, traffic, pedestrians…  On a trainer, it’s just my butt and that saddle for 45 minutes.  I get a lot of good feedback when all I have to distract me is a movie I’ve already seen five times.

And that’s about the done of that.  I think.  Maybe.