I am a bike commuter and use my commuter bike on the trainer. I found the chamois shredding riding style of Sufferfest training was not compatible with my saddle. These training sessions in the old saddle made for numbness and sore sit bones. I switched to an Ergon model with a more significant cutout and solved the numbness. However, no matter how much I adjusted the angle/my posture, I could not find a position that didn’t have some pain that by the 30min mark was basically always on my mind.
I’m writing this because during my searches online for a solution, it felt like half of what I found was saying to keep trying new saddles and the other half led me to think I just needed to get used to it. I was very close to spending another week with a “just toughen up” and “break it in” attitude and thought my rear disserved one more attempt at a better fitting saddle.
Result = Pure joy
Conclusion: If you are new and not from a road biking/competitive background (like me) and are thinking you just need to toughen up down there…seriously consider a new saddle for Sufferfest training, it’s just different. If you’re here, you know it’s different, but for my mileage, it’s the kind of different that may require an equipment change, ymmv.
My apologies if this is a redundant topic that comes up a lot, but in my lurking of the forum to date I hadn’t seen it recently and figured if it saved one other persons hind parts it was worth it! And I am just stoked that the suffering is now strictly reserved for my muscles and no longer shared with my bones.
@_dave I am curious what saddle you finally settled on.
Settled on a Brooks C17 carved.
My assumption on why this worked best:
I found my sit bones felt like they were sort of bottoming out saddles with a soft bit stretched over a hard shell. It seemed counter intuitive with no real padding, but the basic C17 was recommended to me. I liked it, but I couldn’t do enough short periods out of the saddle on the trainer to prevent numbness while hitting cadence/power targets. For my body it seems the Carved C17 provides just enough flex to keep my sitbones happy without feeling like I’m on a sitting on a couch and the cutout is sufficient for preventing numbness.
Nice. I’ve heard great things about them but have yet to own a Brooks. I’ve always worried about the “break in” period.
Hey @_dave, please also consider a bike fit. It’s often not the saddle but instead how you are sitting on your bike. A good bike fit is worth far more than any bike upgrade in my book.
Yeah, I worried about the same but was assured that the Cambium line didn’t require the typical Brooks break in. Lo and behold, they didn’t for me. I’d call it more of a “warm up” period. Feeling the rubber before my ride it was quite stiff, but by the end of a typical Suf warm up it softens up as body heat transfers. By some voodoo (at least for me) it sort of hits a sweet spot where it doesn’t get any further “suppleness” and holds at just the right amount once I get going. I’m stoked on it. Time will tell if the cold late winter/early spring temperatures of the pain cave are part of the recipe, but it’s working now so I’m happy!
I will give heed to that advice. The adjustments mentioned during my trial and error were from school of YouTube bike fit tips…so while I feel like I followed some logic in my moves on the search for comfort, I’m probably due for one. I’d imagine there’s other things in my setup that would come out of a fit with the same “Eureka” feeling.
Out of curiosity, do you have any big “ah-ha’s!” that came out of your first bike fit?
@_dave, I did a bike fit for my tt bike and road bike and I must say, best money spent on biking. For the road bike stem was to long and the cockpit to wide. It really changed the stress on my back and shoulders.
Would really advise anybody to go and have a fit
Similarly when I did my first fit (for a bike I’d had for 9 years already but wasnt really pushing much milegae on it previously) I went from back pain whenever I went over 40k on a ride to no pain whatssover, shoulders remained relaxed, less fatigue at the end of a comparable ride and just found the whole experience more enjoyable. I was no longer fighting with the bike. the big 'ahha; was that perviously it was a bike I owned, after the fit it was my bike.
Definitely $UF well spent.
I had the b17. It was too wide and rubbed my thighs to pieces. I ride a woman’s saddle now, wide at the back, narrows sharply little bit of padding and plenty of relief for undercarriage
Saddles are such a personal thing, but I really like the relatively wide, short nose variety that are currently very popular. Last year I went from a more traditional Fizik Aliante to the latest Fizik Argo Tempo and haven’t thought about my backside ever since - even after a few 5+ hour Zwift sessions and all-day outdoor rides.
I have an Ergon SM Pro on my mtb which is quite comfy too. But I rarely ride for more than an hour or two on this bike and stand up a lot more often.
@_dave funny! I was really excited about the Brooks, tried to replace my Ergon Pro w. both the C13 Carbon and/or C15, neither really worked. Fascinating idea with the slung rubber, but I found the hammock effect to be really pronounced, and ended up returning to my Ergon…and I got used to it.
Seriously, for me it was just a matter of getting back into riding, dropping some weight, improving my posture on the bike, and rediscovering my pedal stroke, and all of those issues went away.
All of that said, I think you’re totally right - don’t settle if there’s a problem, try other saddles. That is the answer, just in my case it was to circle back and re-try the one I started on!
@Glen.Coutts , having put some miles on a couple models, I would submit there’s little to no break-in period on the Cambrium series. They’re VERY different from the old-school Brooks (which are still awesome, tbh).
Yeh I realized after the fact the the Cambrium uses rubber so that would indeed be different. Thanks!
Everything! The biggest ah ha, though, was my right knee not hurting after a certain amount of time riding.
Yeah @Cody.Moore @_dave @froekel, I feel like I’m going to need to find a place to get a good fitting done. I’ve been adjusting all winter due to my (normal) inseam combined with a squat torso. Had to run my saddle all the way back to get my leg positioning right over the pedals, but now my reach to the bars is enormous. I feel like I would benefit from a shorter stem, but mine is already only 80mm, so I’m thinking of just having a pro sort me out.
Good advice all around.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that 80 mm is already at the minimum limit, presuming this is a road bike. So I think most shops/fitters would probably say your frame is a bit too big if you are stretching to reach the bars with this stem with your optimum saddle position.
Good news is that you can justify a new bike!
@alchurch One thing that was recommended is to get a bike fit. Go to a shop that will measure your sit bone width. Mine is wider than most males and thus I had to go to a Specialized Women’s Power saddle with Mimic for the indoor bike. Much better fit and I feel that I’m hitting all four points (yes there are two points of contact on each side). Also, don’t be afraid to ask the shop for a week to try on a saddle. Barring any scuffing, they shouldn’t have any issues. Fi’zi:k has test saddles you should be able to use as well. Nobody should be afraid of using a women’s saddle either. Oh, about the fit, Retüel has a measuring device that you sit on and it locates your sit bones relative to your sacrum. I’m unbalanced, but the recommendation was to go with the longer side.
No, I’m just proportionally a circus freak. My frame is really well sized for…my lower half. I’m like a centaur with no reach. I’m on a 54cm, anything smaller and my positioning would be a hot mess for pedal stroke and cadence.
The new idea has merit, however. Will have to work on my salesmanship…
My saddle was chosen after a pressure mapping