Friday Group Ride #167

I will endeavor over the following paragraphs to make no butt jokes, employ no puerile double entendre, and avoid, at all costs, referencing parts of the human anatomy I have barred my young sons from mentioning at the dinner table. We have over recent weeks been discussing product preferences for such crucial gear as helmets and gloves, and you, our readers, have chimed in ringingly with your insight and experience. We are group-sourcing this cycling thing, and it goes better when we all participate. So thanks for your effort.

Now, of all the touch points on the bike, I will argue that the most important one is the saddle. I don’t believe I have ever heard of a person’s ride being ruined by an insufficiently ergonomic lever, an improperly rounded handlebar or a properly functioning pedal of any stripe. To be sure, those things, bars and levers and pedals, if broken or set up badly, can have a dramatically deleterious effect on your ride, but your saddle, even functioning as it was intended by the bespectacled engineers who first drew its curves onto a sheet of paper, can turn a century into an eon, an epoch, a shambling millennium of despair.

And our hind quarters (careful now) are also highly individualized and various. We cyclists run from the beanpole narrow to the Volkswagen wide, our sit bones two points on a line describing a continuum not easily charted in leather or synthetic, with manganese, Ti or carbon rails. The seemingly simple curves of our selves are also bisected and punctuated by sensitive equipment (I know, I know) whose function ought not be compromised by a spirited, two-wheeled jaunt with our friends.

On my own primary road bike I recently installed a Specialized Romin saddle, which I assumed I would hate (because I assume this about all new cycling products that enter my world), but in actual practice (as with many of the aforementioned products) I love it. I can ride it for 100+ miles and maintain a level of comfort that keeps me seated on climbs I might normally attack out of the saddle, merely to give my aft deck (ok, sorry) a break.

This week’s Group Ride asks the question: What saddles do you love and why? Do you subscribe to the cut out model? Do you prefer firm or soft? What is it about you that works with the saddle of your choice? Give us enough detail that like-sized/minded riders might draw some benefit from your hard won experience.

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  1. gustavo cinci

    har har har, robot. good one. i perch my derriere comfortably on a romin too. before the romin, the toupe was my favorite. before the toupe, ’twas the alias, before the alias, the turbomatic. it all happened about 10 years or so ago, when my nether-countries decided my erstwhile trusted companion of close to 15yrs was no longer viable. “Is this what people refer to about ill-fitting saddles? Is this how it feels?”, and so it was. I loved the turbomatic, btw. I had been riding turbos since I was 17 or so, and enacting the change was rife with trepidation. It took me no longer than 2 blocks on the new saddle (alias, circa 2003-2004) to realize this was it. I have not looked back, am turning the big FOUR-OH this year and the low countries feel in ways that it betray their age, so to speak. Swapping saddles had never so rewarding.

  2. Rod

    I fiddled with lots of saddles about 7 years ago. Found that flat surfaces agree with me better. No cutouts needed – but I can ride them ok. I can’t handle the “domed” saddles at all.

    I use an Arione and and Antares saddle, the latter for CX because it has no point at the back to punish you extra for a bad remount. A Tundra also works well for me.

    I also like saddles with varying widths/arrow shapes that allow easy sliding back and forth. That doesn’t work that well for a TT, though.

  3. Rodrigo

    Ah the joys of sitting for 5 hours in a row in a narrow, hard, small piece of plastic/carbon fiber with a very thin layer of almost no cushion and a lavish piece of (synthetic) leather…

    Seriously, I could not agree more that the saddle is the single most important component for making or ruining your ride. And the fit can ALWAYS be improved.

    I am relatively fit at 145lbs and have ridden bikes for my entire life, but when things started to get serious (and when I started to have the means to actually try out different kinds of saddle) my quest in search of the perfect saddle has greatly evolved.

    I started in mountain biking, and had always used relatively wide saddles until settling for a long time with Selle Italia’s Max TransAm Gel Flow, without actually trying new saddles for a while. And then when preparing for a 7 day MTB ultra-marathon, I discovered the Gobi XM. and what a difference the right saddle can make. After 7 days, and with a 15 hour stage at day 2, I can say that incredibly I NEVER had a saddle sore during that competition. After that, for long rides on the trainl Gobi XM that is. BUT (no pun intended) for shorter rides the Gobi is too much of an overkill, and I then switch to the Tundra, which is very very comfy for my style if you are not spending over 3 or 4 hours on the saddle.

    In the case of road riding, the search was a lot longer, as I switched from saddle to saddle including several attempts with Selle Italia and some with old Specialized BG models until I THOUGHT I had gotten it right with the Specialized Toupe Team. I thought that because it was by that time, despite the almost zero cushion, the most comfortable saddle I had used. But I was not doing super long rides by them, and as I progressed to increase the time on the saddle, the Toupe increasingly got umconfortable as well, and I had no option but to try to look for an alternative. Another round of trial and error and several saddles after, I arrived at my current choice, which continues to serve me extremely well even after 4 hours and over: the Fizik Arione, both in the regular as well as CX versions (one in each of my daily bikes, a Ti Ritchey Breakaway for traveling and a cervelo S5 as the main bike). It simply works.

    In this process, I got to an interesting realization, which is that I believed cutouts worked wonderfully until I got rid of them both on and off road. And now I would never go back to resting a cutout over another if you get what I mean (ops, did it again…).

  4. Jeff Cozad

    I’ve been using a Sella San Marco New Era. It’s an old saddle. When I first road one years ago, I liked it. I’ve learned over the years that once you find something you like, buy a few. They are now on four different of my bikes and I have a couple of spares.

  5. Paul

    Just switched from Alliante variants to Romin Pro with comfort and happiness. I wish Fizik would fully commit to anatomical saddles in the lighter configurations. I know that the Versus are available in braided rails now but I’d be happier with a real channel on carbon rails.

  6. Andrew

    I used the Selle “Indurain” model for a long time. Wish I had bought more of them when they were on closeout. Now I’ve got WTB rocket V on my road and commuting bikes and wtb voltron on my gravel racer. very comfy, both of them. light enough. nosing them up a tiny, tiny bit seems to work well for me.

    i’m married and have 3 kids. cutouts are irrelevant….

  7. Lewis Moon

    Antares VS. I was pretty skeptical about the whole “Snake, Chameleon, Bull(5#!+)” sales pitch, but it made sense after I switched from the Aliante, which I thought I would love, to the Antares, which I do. The Antares always tried to move me to one spot in the saddle. Hated that. I move all over the saddle when I ride.
    Another important issue is the chamois/saddle interface.

  8. Anthony

    San Marco Regal. My first racing bike 20+ years ago came with one and I’ve never had reason to choose anything else. Plus the rivets look cool.

  9. dvgmacdonald

    On the touring bike I’ve got a Selle Anatomica Titanico X that agrees with me nicely (the stock brooks was absolute torture). On the road bike I have a Selle SMP Lite 209. I require a cutout or a ride shorter than 30 minutes.

  10. Champs

    Change is the only thing that seems to matter.

    “First gradually, then suddenly” is how I’d describe both the ascent and decline of my comfort level with any saddle. After taking some time off, the cycle can repeat anew.

  11. Alan Cline

    Up until last week all of my bikes had the original Flites (circa ’96) on them. I’ve just swapped them right over to each new bike. Last week I finally succumbed to temptation and bought a Toupe in 143mm based on my fitter’s recommendation. The flites were measuring a skinny 115mm.

    I do like the flat surface but so far I’m not so sure it’s significantly more comfortable. I’ll give it a few months to be fair. We’ll see.

  12. Ransom

    Closest to okay I’ve found so far is a WTB saddle of uncertain model, alarmingly white and based on the embossing, originally made for some 29″ bike. It’s primary distinguishing feature is relative flatness when viewed from the rear. It does have a lower middle section, but not a full-fledged cutout.

    I *think* some of my historical discomfort has been from a too-wide section between my legs applying some pressure, and less-flat saddles can feel like they’re multiplying the pressure by my weight also causing a lateral force as it sits on the slopes of a curve…

    Just wish WTB would stop changing details, shapes, and names so fast; couldn’t get an exact duplicate for my ‘cross bike.

  13. christopheru

    On my Cross bike, which doubles as my all purpose long distance and road bike, I use a Specialized Ti-railed Avatar Expert. It is sized at 163mm. For what it is worth, which is not much, I am 185cm tall and about 84kg – does not matter as this has little bearing (har har har) on saddle size since that has to do with how far your seat bones are from each other).

    I highly recommend getting that measured since it makes the fit much better.

    This saddle is light, has very little padding, is cut away fairly dramatically, and is by far the most comfortable saddle I have ever used. Because it is so delightfully light, it does an admirable job of lowering the center of gravity on my bike and contributes to making it handle better than previous variations on the cross bike theme that I have owned (2005 Kona Jake the Snake upgraded to a 2013 model of the same bike).d

  14. harris

    Selle Anatomica on a road bike for longer rides (10,000+ miles), Antares on a cross setup. Like ’em both a lot.

  15. Jay Fromkin

    Rode a San Marco Regal for many years, but decided I needed more thigh clearance. Switched five years ago to a fizik Aliante, but recently started having some crotch soreness. Decided to try a Specialized, and did my first ride today with a Toupe. Perenium pain gone. Saddle felt odd for the first few miles, but felt pretty good overall. LBS tech gave me a bit more saddle height than I’ve been riding, giving me better fore-aft balance and more leg suppleness. Look forward to a few more rides before committing to the Toupe. LBS will swap out (assuming I don’t trash the saddle in the meantime). I’m light, at 144 lbs., so hopefully won’t have rail breakage problems some Clydesdales have reported on Bike Forum.

  16. armybikerider

    The original Selle Italia Flite. I first used one in 1993 and have had them on road bikes ever since. The one on my road bike right now has been recovered 3 times – currently in leather from a Mennonite horse saddle maker. No cut out thank you. I have a few NOS in reserve waiting for their time in the sun.

  17. Kurt

    I’ve recently fallen in love with the Gobi XM on my trail bike, but can’t figure out how to stay comfortable on long road rides. The original Flite was great, I hated the Toupe, and I now ride a San Marco Magma. It’s nice for about 2-3 hours, but after that something changes and my rainy starts hurting. What up with that? Any suggestions?

  18. Chris

    The first saddle I’d ever been truly content with was the Selle Italia Superflow 145, the one with the giant cutoff, thus resembling a toilet bowl. However, it recently developed a creak during training for the Rapha Gentlemen’s Race out east. I’d also been noticing a little more pain, usually on longer rides, and just chalked it up to 200+ miles weeks, that included a weekly century on Fridays.

    As I became increasingly afraid that the Selle would break somewhere in the middle of rural NJ/PA, thus causing my team a DNF, I swapped in a cheaper, more solid saddle of similar shape, the new Bontrager Paradigm RL.

    I rode it exactly twice in CA, and twice in PA, before riding 130 miles of paved/unpaved roads for 8+ hours of saddle time in the RGR a couple weeks ago. At the end of the day, my ass was probably the part of me that hurt the least.

    I think that Bontrager is finally onto something with this saddle line.

  19. Anthony F

    On my MTBs: Selle Italia Turbo, San Marco Titanio Bontrager, Selle Italia Flite

    On the road: Selle Italia Flite (original), Brooks Team Pro (comfy but heavy and don’t like its retro look), San Marco Squadra HDP ( not bad), San Marco Rever (caused numbness when going more than 170 miles), Prologo something (same), now riding a San Marco Aspide Triathlon ( I catch a lot of flak from co workers but I ride a lot more than they do and need the padded nose)

    On the track: Kashimax FG8P — a gorgeous saddle that’s hard and doesn’t compress on the banking.

  20. Peter lin

    I use specialized Riva saddle and love it. I’ve done several centuries and a double metric on it with total comfort. Even when my legs were shouting “stop it already”, my saddle area was perfectly happy. Now if only there was a way to keep one’s “parts” warm when NorthEast weather drops below 20F, that would be nice too.

  21. Wsquared

    I road San Marco Aspides for several years. Unfortunately, they had a habit of the shell breaking next to the rails where there’s a cut out. I like the San Marco Era & I still have one on one of my bikes. They’re relatively flat, which I prefer. The last couple of years, I’ve been riding a Fizik Antares. It’s a little bigger, which suits my butt, and also has only a slight curve, so I can move around and not be forced into one spot, and had just enough padding so I don’t feel like I’m riding on a bare plastic shell.

    I tried several Selle Italia Flite saddles over the years, including the original and a “gel,” but I always found them better for hammering nails than riding. Despite giving them time to break in, my butt always cried “uncle!” before I felt at all comfortable on them.

    For mountain biking, I have been using San Marco Titanio 200s for more than 20 years. I think I have four of them, including a Bontraeger variant which has the of the sides of the seat trimed down to facilitate movement. They have a little too much padding for the road, but are perfect for MTB, with a great combination of well tuned titanium rails and just the right amournt of flex in the shell to absorb shock without feeling sloppy. Provides surprisingly effective suspension on a hard tail.

  22. Mike Loftus

    You know…I would ride anything for 10+ years, adjusting accordingly. But 2 years ago I got a real bike fitting to include sit bone measurement. And lo and behold I was riding on saddles much to wide. I just assumed I was supposed to be “on the rivet” all the time. Now, me and my Specialized Toupe will never part. Yet another reason to get a good fit. Oh yeah, anyone know where I can stock up on them?

  23. Ev

    Selle Italia ldy sport…on all my bike except my TT, came w/a Terry buzz off that works. I think saddles are like running shoes, when you find a model you love, stock up, it will be re-vamped too soon and may not work as well….

  24. bigwagon

    Original Selle Italia Flite, now well worn and close to being in need of recovering or replacement. Can anyone comment on how closely the newer versions of the Flite conform to the ergos of the original version?

  25. DanL

    This series of gear questions confirms that I’m cheap and not picky, and that’s alright — one of my bikes came stock with a WTB Speed V and the others have since gravitated to that economical and somewhat plush model, works for me and my 145lb 1.5 – 3 hr efforts on road and trail.

    I’d like to try a Brooks so I’m pinning my hopes on the test-sweepstakes for their Cambium prototypes…. yup, cheap and not picky again.

  26. Tenderness

    I moved from one brand to another and then tried the Romin and found it very favorable. Then last year I tried Selle SMP Dynamic and Lite 109. While the Romin was good, the SMP’s are GREAT! Long rides on chip seal or 100+ mi on gravel — no problem. This is what a saddle should fit and feel like, supportive and comfortable. I only wish I’d found them 30 yrs ago I would have saved a lot of money. Anybody want to buy some lightly used saddles?

  27. michatsel

    on the road – Fizik Arione

    on the mtb – Fizik Tundra

    on the tt bike – Dash Stage 9 saddle. i love this saddle so much I’ve been testing it out lately on my road bike. i may just cast off my beloved Arione in favor of rigging a second bike with this uber-saddle.

  28. Peter Kelley

    I have a Romin 143 on my road, cross, and mtb. I’m a fan of the cut-out. I’d like to see a Romin with just a little more padding for my mtb. Not a lot more – just a little. I once tried a fizik arione and didn’t make it to the end of my street… When people ask about saddles, I tell them to find one that allows them to sit on their sit bones – and avoid the ‘straddling a peaked roof’ feel.

    Robot – hope you are well! I registered for D2R2 a few weeks back. Gonna ride the long course until lunch time. Then cruise back on green river road. Maybe next year I’ll ride the ‘after lunch’ long course!

  29. Brendan

    I use a Specialized Phenom on all my bikes – MTB and road. Yes it’s a little heavier since its intended to be MTB saddle, but I think it’s worth the tiny weight penalty to have the same man-machine interface on each bike so my butt is tough in the right places and the sensation is more or less the same when I ride.

    I have had a similar experience with Fizik as some of the other commenters above: I didn’t make it to the end of a test ride of my new road bike before deciding it had to come off. I think what I need is the flat surface of the Phenom.

  30. Hautacam

    in the 80’s: Selle Italia Turbo, Selle San Marco Rolls

    In the 90’s: Selle Italia Flite

    In the 21st Century; Selle San Marco Aspide (the first model) & a couple Flites (including my original one, re-covered twice, on its fourth or 5th MTB).

    A lot of people think the Aspide is an ass hatchet (great term — wish I’d thought of it!) but hey, it works for me.

    A hard narrow saddle seems to do the trick for me. I never have a sore butt. Lots of other sore hurting parts, but not my sit-bones.

  31. Tom in albany

    Selle Italia Flite since ’99. Actually had a brainfart and forgot to sinch down the bike on the trunk rack. dragged it on the saddle. could have cried. found another on the net – same one. I’m 5′-6″ and 130. Skinny arse. No padding. cutout doesn’t seem needed for me…

  32. bryand

    It’s been a full on Selle Italia dedication over the years. Turbo, Original Flite, and for the past 7 or 8 years exclusively SLR on my road, cross, and mountain bikes. I like the skinny, flat and firm profile and definitely no cutout.

  33. Larry T.

    SMP for me. Tried a whole lot of saddles about 5 years ago after some undercarriage work. Went through ’em based on price, cheapest first, which meant SMP was pretty much the last chance as I’d really not liked ANY of the others, whether from the Big S or their Asian producers, Italia, San Marco, etc. Ended up with the GLIDER model and can’t sit on anything else now. A big benefit of these is that you can really get down in the drops and roll your pelvis forward like the coaches used to tell us back-in-the-day. Liked SMP so much I convinced the importer/distributor Albabici to become an official supplier to CycleItalia. I know that’s bass-ackwards as the sponsorship game is for the sponsor to pay you to use their stuff when you normally probably wouldn’t, but we’re rather odd in that way.

  34. The_D

    Am presently vacillating between a Fizik Kurve Chameleon and a Specialized Romin Evo.

    The Chameleon is basically the Antares suspended on a mobius rail. Uses a new version of the old-style surface tension (eg., Brooks) to hold the seating surface taut over the rails. Had one for a year, ’til the seating surface shell cracked. Recently got another one.

    However, in the interim, have been trying the Romin again.

    The Romin Evo is sort of flatter and chunkier is shape than the standared Romin. Feels quite similar on the essential bits.

    I feel better “perched” on the Romin, but haven’t ridden long enough on it to know.

  35. Hobbanero

    I have a bucket full of saddles that worked for a while before my nether regions ultimately rejected them. SMP, WTB, Fizik, Bontrager, Selle Italia. Now they form a useful lending library for my friends.

    I too have found the most long term comfort on the Specialized Romin and its dirty brother the Phenom. In my case, it was the move to the 155 width that solved my saddle sores. The flat top suits my “geometry”, and the cutout and channel at the nose mostly avoid numbness.

    On the TT bike, though, I use an ISM Adamo. I cannot understand how people ride for more than 10 mins on a normal saddle in the TT position. The Adamo isn’t perfect, but it does give me the dual option of being aero and having more children. I am looking forward to trying the Specialized Sitero and maybe a Bontrager Hilo to see if I can dial in a bit more comfort.

  36. Josh

    I bought my first road bike in Jan, and it came with a Selle Italia SL Kit Carbonio Saddle in black. I have friends who swear by Fizik’s saddles, and I have been considering buying something in the Arione line (or snake if I got the Curve route). I want a white saddle instead of black, so I am doing this more for form than function. When I first took up cycling, the statement “if your arse hurts, ride more” kept me from complaining about seat fit. I also invested in rapha bibs, so I feel like the great chamois could maybe make a crappy saddle seem nice. Selle doesn’t sell my model in white, but they sell one that looks similar for the same price. If it isn’t broken, I don’t want to fix it, but I also don’t have enough experience to know whether I am currently riding something that is junk that I have just grown accustomed to riding.

  37. Walt S

    I have ridden tens of thousands of miles on the original Selle Italia Turbo from the early 80s. Then I succumbed to trying something more modern, a Selle San Marco Aspide, and later Aspide FX. I was so fond of the Aspide in all its incarnations that I bought 6 or 7 “extras”. Then something changed down below and they did not work anymore. I am currently riding a Selle Italia SLR.
    What seems apparent from everyone’s comments is that things change and what was once comfortable is not. I refuse to believe it has anything to with aging bodies and saddle/buttock interference.

  38. DanL

    As some might have noticed, Taylor Phinney (the Messiah?) is out of the Giro today with saddle sores, etc (ouch, but sorta timely for RKP like Ben King’s sore hands the other week). Not sure what he’s (not) riding now but from the looks of it he’s tried that funky Adamo for TT and a blacked-out Romin on the road bike.

    Hobbanero, you might check for some Phinney-Carpenter lineage yourself…

  39. Patrick O'Brien

    Terry Liberator for many years. My wife swears by them as well. I have them on all our bikes, road and mountain. 60 miles on the road or 20 on the trails, no reason to use the Monkey Butt powder!

  40. Kjetil Haaland

    For the last two seasons a Selle SMP Full Carbon. Rock hard carbon shell with springy carbon rails and the mother of all cutouts. If I’ve been off the bike for some time I can feel bone sore in the beginning of the first two rides, but that subsides and I forget all about the saddle.
    I had the Evolution model from the same brand before this one, but I never found a sweet spot on it.
    On my MTB still an almost 20 years old classic Selle Italia Flite, which puts a bit more pressyre om the perineum.
    As Larry T. suggests, the SMPs are something else.

  41. August Cole

    I think tradition has the edge, at least for tall guys. A respected shop in San Francisco once offered to let me buy a Fizik Aliante and if I didn’t like it they’d take it back at any time. Said they never had anyone return one. But I was feeling old school (and cheap) so went with a Turbomatic 4 at half the price that had steel rails. Seemed like the same thing. A couple years later I ended up springing for an Aliante. It’s even better than a Turbomatic. It’s a seat you forget about. Sometimes I wish it had a flatter profile to sit further back on climbs, but that’s a small issue. The Turbo 4 endures, keeping my old alu Redline cyclocross bike classy. I think the wide-tire movement has an analog in the saddle department. Back to the future.

  42. Josh

    Just went to my local shop and picked up their demo Fizik Arione versus saddle (they didn’t have a normal arione or a arione CX to demo). If I like this, I am hoping I would like the Arione CX or Arione, and that the groove (the “VS” part of the name) doesn’t affect my opinion enough to make a difference when I decide.

  43. Shawn

    Turbo. I’ve strayed from time to time, but there’s nothing like he original Turbo. Been riding the same one since ’89. I’ve had an upholstery shop re-leather it twice!

  44. LesB

    When I talk to non-cyclists about my sport and its hardware, it is the SADDLE, not the Lycra that they have angst about, using words like “masochistic”.

    The LBS has an electronic sensor pad that one sits on, and it displays one’s sitting pressure pattern on the big-screen. Rather amusing to see that part of my anatomy advertised on a bright billboard.

    So this takes some guesswork out of selecting the optimum saddle form. The resultant saddle for me is new and I’m still getting accustomed. The Selle Italia Gel Flo seems good so far.

  45. Ron S

    Turbo Turbo Turbo on my commuter, fancy road bike (25 yrs old this May) and tandem. I have tried a multitude of saddles and with, or because of, so many miles on a Turbomatic I can’t get comfortable on anything else. There are certain anatomical anonmolies, shall I say, that have made the Turbo the only saddle that barely works for me. I began buying up spares on e-bay a few years ago and with four in reserve, I think I’m set for life. The comment about having them recovered is a great idea. Now I really am set for life. :-0

  46. Andrew Joseph

    tried all sorts on my mtb, as long as it didn’t have seams. fizik gobi was very comfortable but broke after 8 months… twice!

    selle italia flite was comfortable for 6 months, tried spesh and no name’s, until trying a brooks b17 narrow. this made me realise what a saddle should be.

    put the old mtb b17 on my first road bike after a week on thw boardman saddle.

    unfortunately, the b17’s died so i tried a brooks swift, this made me realise what ….

    the cost of the swift made me buy a spa nidd for them mtb, this saddle is a similar shape but much firmer than the swift, only now starting to get as comfortable after 1000+ km. however it is still much more comfortable than any other non leather hammock saddle i’ve tried. seems i don’t get on with padding, preferring to sit ‘in’ the saddle so i have some support when putting out more power.

  47. Greg

    I’m rolling with a Selle San Marco Zoncolan saddle for over two years now. It has a nice flat back section.

  48. thomas

    believe it or not, the selle italia slr fits my backside. Before that it was the Flite. That covers what, 20+ yrs right? Priot to that is was probably some flavor of avocet followed by a turbo or whatever came stock on a miyata 912.

  49. David

    Years ago I rode a San Marco Concor. I liked the little upswing at the rear that gave me something to push against on the climbs, but the numbness issues after a long ride eventually led me on a search for something different. I used a Selle Italia SLK for a while, and a few years ago stumbled on to the SLR Flow Kit Carbonio. The first time I tried it (bought it used for a fraction of the original cost) I knew I had found my match- the hackneyed phrase “disappeared beneath me” was actually true. There’s almost no padding, but the shape is just right, and that’s what really counts. I’m not really tempted to try anything else because this works well. I just hope they don’t change it or discontinue it right when mine wears out and I need a replacement!

  50. Bruce

    San Marco Regale team edition. Very Firm, leather top, arm chair comfort, just works. Funny thing, I have gotten on pretty well with Fizik Ariones in the past, but the San Marco just seems to hold up better over time. I passed one down to my teammate, since it had some good wins in it. You can only pass them down if they have wins in them, otherwise you have to sale them.


  51. Dave O

    After pissing away literally hundreds of dollars on saddles that were supposed to coddle and support me I found a Specialized gel saddle with the “groove” that suits me just fine. I would urge others not to make my mistake and buy saddles based on reviews or on the web, even with exchange policies sometimes 30 days is not enough to discover the saddle that feels fine for a 30 mile ride leaves you bent, broken and bleeding at 75 miles. Go to your local store, get fitted with one of those gel seats that measures your sit bones and go from there. In the long run its cheaper than trial and error.

  52. Winky

    Only SLRs for me. I’ve used them for years. Currently a Kit Carbonio. No cut-out. It may be that my shape has adapted to the saddles over the years!

    My tourer/winter commuter has a soft Fizik. Feels a bit like a hammock. Very disconcerting. Unlike AJ, I hate that feeling. I actually polish my saddle when I polish my bike so I slide a bit. I don’t like much friction or for it to “contain” me.

    I have never been tempted by a Brooks. I note AJ wore out a B17. I thought they were more durable than that. Isn’t that how they are marketed?

  53. Mark Young

    I have used a number of saddles (most recently a Specilialized Romin Pro). I usually rode what came on the bike when I bought it and had no problems.

    I bought two Brooks Pro saddles back in the 80’s after reading about how they molded to your body after a few hundred miles (plus they looked really cool!) I used them for years and took them off only after I did not ride for a few years and did not want to go through the “break in period”.

  54. Ken Lawson

    Thirty years ago I bought a Brooks Professional and did not ruin it by softening it too much with leather dressing as I had its predecessor. It was very comfortable right from the start but eventually shaped itself to my posterior too. I have never needed to touch the tensioning nut and the central ridge is as firm as ever, but the leather has sunk on both sides leaving the copper rivets standing rather proud. At the time I never thought of the weight, because the first synthetic saddles had only just appeared and Brooks were simply what most people bought. Recently, of course, I have become aware that much lighter saddles are available. I started off with a Charge Scoop which is extremely comfortable on rough ground when on a MTB although I think it arguably has rather too much give in it. Whatever, I abandoned it when it developed a squeak I could not correct. Then I came across the leather Spa Nidd range, which are essentially copies of the Brooks B17. However, unlike many copies they seem at least as good as the original and arguably better. I went for the titanium-railed version at £75. It is about 6ozs heavier than the Scoop but 6ozs lighter than my Brooks Pro with steel rails. On delivery it is as hard as a piece of wood. The curious thing is that it is also supremely comfortable, just as the new Pro was. No doubt the leather will mould itself to my shape, as the Pro did, but I am not in any hurry for that to happen. Obviously posteriors differ, but the idea that all leather saddles inevitably require an agonizing breaking-in period before they become comfortable has in my case proved simply untrue, twice; it may be true for others. I am not young and have little doubt that the Nidd will outlive me. If you are really concerned about weight you will not go for the Nidd, but otherwise might consider it. If you do, give it a little dressing to begin with and then leave it alone for a decade or two.

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