Yet another saddle shape post

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Grarea
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Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Grarea » 9 Feb 2017, 12:41pm

Sorry to be that guy, I am just struggling a bit.

I am 47 and just trying to cycle a bit. I want to be able to do a bunch of miles again.

I have been really struggling with pains.
All the pains that I talk about have become so bad in less than two miles that I am just wanting to get off.
I have managed a couple of hundred miles now going between 3 and 10 miles at a time.
I could do more but the pain is the stopper.

I solved my hand pain. (long story, but got a different frame)
I have been working on saddle position and shape.
I have fixed my numb legs.
Then I have fixed my numb feet. (turns out not everyone's feet go numb in the first two miles.)

I have tried a few different saddles.
I think that what I want is a very T shaped saddle.
I also think my saddle is a bit narrow.
I am struggling to work things out.
I have had a look at various saddles in shops but they don't seem very T shaped.
So, looking online, very few do a profile shot do they?

So I am thinking size and shape.

First, size so I can compare what I have with what I can see please?

I see that there is generally three sizes.
Is there a standard for sizes? As in are the measurements the maximum width of the saddle or the 'sittable' bit?
Or does it vary somewhat?

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Gattonero
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Gattonero » 9 Feb 2017, 2:01pm

I don't want to sound rude, but have you seen a doctor?
If you get proper "pain" so suddenly, better you get a full checkup, even if is just for peace of mind.

Then find a shop that has a saddle "test-program", usually it works that you get billed for the test saddle you get on the bike, then get a full refund once you bring it back. All the shops that would do this, will let you try as many test saddles you want.

Personally, I've found the Brooks Cambium very good, but that the shape of my bum 8)
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

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Mick F
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Mick F » 9 Feb 2017, 2:15pm

Have you cycled much in the past?
Are you getting back to it?
I take it that you are a novice by your questions.

I've cycled all my life, and I reckon I could be comfortable with just about any saddle. Present one is a Brooks Professional. Hard as nails and quite slim. I could ride all day with it.

However, one thing that some folk have difficulty with, is actually "riding" a bike. Many people think that you sit ON the saddle, steer with the hands and arms, and turn the pedals with legs and feet. Sort of a triple technique.
What you should be doing, is being in harmony with the machine. Don't sit ON the saddle, use it to hold your bum whilst you ride. Take some of the weight off the bum with the legs and arms.

But, if you are seriously hurting, a visit to the doc wouldn't go amiss.
Mick F. Cornwall

Grarea
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Grarea » 9 Feb 2017, 3:57pm

Cheers for the replies.
I have cycled quite a lot in the past on and off.
But kind of stopped about 15 years ago.
Only using the bike for trips to the shops since then.

I always just kind of dealt with pain in the past.
Also, I always preferred to be off road and there is a lot more moving on and off the saddle.
I also didn't realise stuff. As in i didn't know other people didn't get numb legs.
I just cycled.

So, starting this time, I started with the hand pain.
It was a bit of a combination of my own geometry ending up with too much weight on my hands and all of the bar contact being on the outside bone of my wrist.
So, shifted my weight further back and that made my hands lighter, raised the bars (short arms) Tick.

Saddle wise, the numb legs and feet was fixed by a narrower saddle.
Also my position on the bike eased it by getting a shallower seat tube angle etc.
What I have now realised is that it is down to the shape of the saddle.
I have quite big legs and they push me forward on a more pear shaped saddle. This had my sit bones wedged on a narrow part of the saddle.
That was cutting off the blood supply. (Or a nerve or something)
(I always used to enjoy standing up on the saddle and you could feel the blood returning)

So, with a narrower saddle, although it fixed the numbness, it has my sit bones kind of wedged on the saddle i think.
I have a Brooks champion narrow B17. Best I have found so far.
If I tilt it back, I can get the sit bone pain away somewhat but then I get pain from forcing the backs of my thigh into the 'skirt '
of the saddle. (Although there is no give there as it is against the clamp)
I am thinking that I am then more on the wider part of the saddle. Hence improved sit bone pain.
But I still think that I am on too narrow a saddle.

Hence thinking I need a T shaped saddle.

Grarea
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Grarea » 9 Feb 2017, 4:09pm

I have measured my sit bones with the corrugated cardboard method.
I used two bits of corrugated carboard and ran a pastel over it to show the indents.

They show:
115mm centres.
70mm as a minimum and about 150mm as the outside.

I have read that you should get two cm wider than sit bone width, but it seems that different people measure sit bone width differently.

If I give an example, I think that these type of saddles might suit:
Kontact anatomical for example and then maybe ergon SMR3.
I was going to ask if anyone else had suggestions for more T shaped saddles.

But then when you see the Ergon figures, it seems to suggest the outside of the sit bones for example.
https://www.mtb-mag.com/wp-content/uplo ... .07-PM.png

Hence I was wondering if measurements are standardised or vary a bit from place to place.

When I have looked in the bike shops they don't seem to have anything as T shaped.
I am also on a low budget so although they might allow you to keep trying saddles, if they don't have one that suits.......
I prefer to try second hand ones where possible a I can then sell them on if they don't suit.
I have tried quite a few in the past.

Grarea
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Grarea » 9 Feb 2017, 4:35pm

Mick F wrote:I've cycled all my life, and I reckon I could be comfortable with just about any saddle. Present one is a Brooks Professional. Hard as nails and quite slim. I could ride all day with it.

However, one thing that some folk have difficulty with, is actually "riding" a bike. Many people think that you sit ON the saddle, steer with the hands and arms, and turn the pedals with legs and feet. Sort of a triple technique.
What you should be doing, is being in harmony with the machine. Don't sit ON the saddle, use it to hold your bum whilst you ride. Take some of the weight off the bum with the legs and arms.

But, if you are seriously hurting, a visit to the doc wouldn't go amiss.


Yes, from what I have read, things are made to fit the 'majority'.
And why wouldn't you, as a manufacturer, do that, I don't blame them.
So, with many things, if you fit that one, you will often fit most of them. They are made for the average.
Conversely, if you are outside of that percentage, it is very difficult to find something that works.


I agree with you with being in harmony with the bike.
It is hard to explain isn't it?
In the past I remember riding my road bike and spending the vast majority of my time trying to steer with my fingertips.
It is only now that I am looking into it (thanks to the internet) do I realise that my arms are short. I didn't even know to consider it a thing.
I have quite enjoyed looking into it actually.
What I have discovered is to look at your personal geometry. It turns out I have short legs, but long femur and short arms.
So, I would like a shallow seat angle (like they used to be in the olden days) but with a shorter top tube and/or higher bars.

Again, when you look at 99% of today's bikes, they are all made to fit the same body ratio of person. So most people fit most bikes.
Like I say, it has been fun looking into it and I am getting there.
I am absolutely busting to spend time on the bike.

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Mick F
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Mick F » 9 Feb 2017, 5:06pm

Well ........... it seems you know more about things than I do. :D

I'm sure my bum is harder and tougher than a non-cyclist's, and even if you found someone with exactly the same physical size and shape as me who wasn't a cyclist, they'd find my saddle excruciating.

Could it be that you need more time?
Mick F. Cornwall

Grarea
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Grarea » 9 Feb 2017, 5:49pm

Mick F wrote:Well ........... it seems you know more about things than I do. :D

I'm sure my bum is harder and tougher than a non-cyclist's, and even if you found someone with exactly the same physical size and shape as me who wasn't a cyclist, they'd find my saddle excruciating.

Could it be that you need more time?


:)
The only reason I know this stuff is because it appears that I don't fit things as they are made now, so I have been forced into looking into things.
Again, thank goodness for the internet. I am pretty pleased with my seat tube angle now.
(I think it is the same as my old road frame from 20-30 years ago it turns out)

I completely agree that you toughen up, that is absolutely right.
Or, to coin a phrase I keep seeing 'HTFU'.
I am aware that I have a soft bottee and need to get used to it again.
Plus I am a bit older and I think the pain is less bearable.

Trouble that I am having is that I am in pain after a mile and then struggling on after that. So I then jiggle about and stand up a lot.
I have tried all sorts of angles and thought about it and adjusted and tried etc etc
If I do much more I am so bruised that I need a few days off before i can face even sitting on it again.
Which is why I have made sure I do a hundred miles or so in the last couple of months. Plus I was cycling half a mile to a mile a couple of times a week for a year before that. It has not improved one bit in that time. Also, given that I can choose where the pain is (sit bones or bruised back of legs) I am fairly confident it is saddle shape.
(Also that I have too narrow a saddle. But I have got myself there because narrower saddles tend to have narrower noses)

I think (I hope) that my theory is right and I can find a saddle to try.
I am trying to minimise how many I try. (cost) which is why I am trying to find how they work it.
There aren't very many that are that shape. I haven't found any locally.
I didn't realise it would be this difficult.

It is quite funny, I look at saddles and wonder how on earth people manage.
It has also made me realise why some people just don't like cycling.

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531colin
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby 531colin » 9 Feb 2017, 7:47pm

Go here http://wheel-easy.org.uk/ride-calendar.html, click "bike set up" in the yellow box for my basic guide. (It seems you are getting there on your own, you would be amazed at how many people think setting the saddle forward will take weight off their hands.)

For saddles, see if you can get a ride on a "RIDO"......

Image

http://www.rido-cyclesaddles.com/sensational-new-r2-c100064.html

Samuel D
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Samuel D » 9 Feb 2017, 8:59pm

I like the way your fitting guide is now a PDF, 531colin (it used to be a Word doc, if I remember correctly). Should be linkable now (I’ve just tried), since most browsers can display PDFs.

Grarea: I am no expert but experienced some of your difficulties getting comfortable on a bicycle ‘the second time around’, even though I’m younger than you.

I’m now using the Brooks Cambium C17 that Gattonero mentioned above.

I think you should aim at having ‘only’ sit-bone pain. This is probably curable with practice, unlike other types of pain that indicate something wrong. But don’t underestimate how long it takes for sit-bones to toughen up. In my case, it took several months of slowly increasing distances (sometimes being unable to ride for days in between because my sit-bones felt so bruised). Some people told me it would only take two weeks. Ha!

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foxyrider
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby foxyrider » 9 Feb 2017, 10:12pm

I can fix your problem at the drop of a hat but it won't solve anything ie it won't get to the root cause.

Find somewhere selling Selle Italia Sport Tourer gel saddles - the range are a fix for pretty much all saddle issues. But, I must stress, they won't get to the bottom of your issues, you might not be too bothered though if it allows you to ride.

I've ridden a wide variety of saddles over the years, I prefer a narrower, lightly padded saddle but as you've discovered they aren't all made equal. There are some saddles I couldn't even sit on the bike in the shop and others that I can be comfortable on for 12/13 hours without issue. My current favourite is a solid carbon base with a leather cover, essentially no padding but with Ti rails that soak up road buzz nicely - looks excruciating but not for me however £200 is a lot for a saddle.

Remember though that a narrow nose doesn't always mean a narrow seat area and vis a vis. You could also try some of the ladies saddles - generally they are shorter and a little wider at the base of the neck.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

Threevok
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby Threevok » 9 Feb 2017, 10:30pm

I had "sit bone" pain for a while, when getting back into cycling after many years.

I also had the numbness of legs and sciatica - including a very bad sensation of a cold left foot, despite it being not.

I found the Selle SMP saddle excellent for alleviating this.

I no longer have it so I can't give you the measurements but here it is

Image

I am liking that one 531colin posted though

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531colin
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby 531colin » 10 Feb 2017, 9:30am

If the saddle is in the wrong place, no saddle will ever be comfortable.
The fashion these days is steep seat tube angle and high saddle, so you have to point your toes to reach the pedal at the bottom. This means that you can't pedal smoothly through the bottom of the pedal stroke while on a rough road (track) while taking your weight on your feet to save giving your bum a battering.
Get the saddle height right, and get yourself balanced between weight on the bars, saddle, and pedals, so that you can distribute your weight as you ride over bumps, and it gets comfortable.

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foxyrider
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Re: Yet another saddle shape post

Postby foxyrider » 10 Feb 2017, 9:57am

531colin wrote:If the saddle is in the wrong place, no saddle will ever be comfortable.
The fashion these days is steep seat tube angle and high saddle, so you have to point your toes to reach the pedal at the bottom. This means that you can't pedal smoothly through the bottom of the pedal stroke while on a rough road (track) while taking your weight on your feet to save giving your bum a battering.
Get the saddle height right, and get yourself balanced between weight on the bars, saddle, and pedals, so that you can distribute your weight as you ride over bumps, and it gets comfortable.


It's not fashion, it's poor set up by inexperienced riders! It certainly doesn't take much to get it wrong which will result in a bad sit position, maybe rolling of the hips and certainly discomfort.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!