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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bike setup: ’07 Specialized Roubaix, Specialized Avatar Gel, 143 mm saddle (Saddle level)
Shorts: Garneau Ergo Sensor 2s (great, but not the best)
Yes: the bike fits otherwise, I stand up occasionaly

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Hey folks!

About 1000k on my first road bike so far, doing great. My only discomfort so far has been from the saddle area. I feel like there is too much pressure on the “perineum” area, and it starts to become noticeable after about 2.5 hours of riding.

I think the issue stems from weird body shape, exaggerated lordosis. Note the yellow line, which simply indicates that the saddle is overall level, but there is a dip in it’s middle.

Have a look at the torso on the left. Because the lower back is slightly swayed, more weight is shifted to the front of the saddle. Hence the perineum discomfort. (This is what I've deduced based on feeling and common sense. Perhaps I'm wrong?)

I have been working extremely hard in the past months to correct this and attain perfect posture. I’m making progress, but this is the kind of a thing that will not change quickly. On the bike, I make a conscious effort to always “rotate” my pelvis to the normal position. Again, this will only be fully possible once my lower back resumes a normal curvature.

Note: Obviously, I don’t sit up bolt upright on my bike. It was just easier to prepare the diagram this way.

My plan

1) I can (and have) play around with the tilt of the saddle. But which way? Tilting it back will raise the front even higher. Tilting it forward on the other hand will make the front lower, but will make me slightly prone to sliding forward on the saddle, once again putting pressure in the undesired spot.

2) get a saddle without a dip in the middle, such as the Fizik Arione.

Any insight?
 

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this is pure speculation, but...

My first thought was "Tilt," but you've apparently already done that. Saddle preference is a really individual thing even among "normal" riders. I have a friend who's almost exactly my size and weight, same sleeve length and inseam, we can wear each other's clothes except his waist is about an inch smaller than mine. He won't ride anything but a Specialized Body Geometry saddle (the early cut-out model), while I had one and hated it so much I gave it away. I have Brooks B-17s on both road bikes, and he can't see how I can tolerate them.
Find a good bike shop and explain your problem (this is one reason you want to support your Local Bike Shop by not ordering absolutely everything off the Net, so they're there for stuff like this). Tell them you want to try some saddles and if they can find one that works, you'll buy it. Many shops will allow you to test ride. But if they do, you owe them--no more buying tubes from Nashbar to save 40 cents.
 

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I would....

Tilt nose up. With the nose high, it forces your hips to roll counterclockwise if looking at the diagram from the right side. This in turn puts your weight on the sit bones where it belongs. If you really want to get precise with the saddle tilt position, having an MTB micro/2 bolt adjust post helps.
 

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I find the saddles with cutouts much more comfortable. I'm riding a rock hard Specialized Alias 143 at the moment. Perfectly comfortable on rides. Never very comfortable, but never uncomfortable, either. I've had a couple of the Fizik saddles. Wonderful out to about 50 miles, then the grind starts. I figure I have a cutout style crotch! Hasn't always been this way. Had an incident with my large coonhound that led to testicle trouble (the tail tip can reach mach 4 apparently) and my saddles never worked right after that.

And you do have to ride them, or at least sit on them.

Another key aspect is the overall fit. If your position isn't good you won't be comfortable on anything.
 

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While I agree with the micro-adjustable seatpost, I don't think that tilting the saddle back is going to help you.

I think you're on the right track in looking for a saddle that has more of a 'dip' in the middle. I find that the Specialized Toupe saddle, while it doesn't have much of a 'dip' when you're looking at it, has more give in the middle, which results in the same effect- more weight on the sit bones, less on the perineum. The cut-out also helps reduce pressure on that area, but it's mostly the shape.

Shorts padding can also affect the weight distribution. Some shorts like Pearl Izumi's upper end shorts, have thicker padding in the sit bone area. For me, the combination of the PI shorts and Toupe is almost too much weight on the sit bones, but something like that might work out well for you.

BTW when I see Fizik saddles on bikes they're not usually pointed down like your illustration, they're level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ericm,

You are right. To compare the saddles, I need to look at their side profiles while they are all level. Please see attached image.

I am curious as to whether a bigger dip in the middle will make a positive or a bigger difference. It seems like the pressure comes from the grey area, where the saddle starts pointing back up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Now I'm perplexed. I realized that I used a Fizik saddle of a different color scheme in the 3 way comparison. So I checked out the Fizik arione in Black. Voila.. totally different side profile.
 

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You must give Selle Anatomica a try. I've ridden the Fizik Arione and Aliante as well as Selle Italia Flite, and none of them comes close to the comfort of Selle Anatomica. At first blush it resembles the Brooks (the developer used Brooks as the starting blueprint) but it is WAY better than the Brooks because they use a tension adjustable leather suspension that the Brooks does not have. People who have owned Brooks send their saddle into Selle Anatomica for an upgrade. My only wish is they make it out of Ti (for some weight savings), but because it's on my trainer and commuter, the weight isn't noticeable. The weight is a little lighter than a standard B17. Team Estrogen has a satisfaction guarantee (just make sure you use electrical tape to protect it from the clamp) if you don't like it.

Direct from the manufacturer, if you want custom colors:
http://www.mcmwin.com/saddle shop new.htm

Or if you want easy return policy:
http://www.teamestrogen.com/categories.asp?catID=24
 

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I would suggest trying different saddles, although Specialized saddles are designed to put the majority of the pressure on the sit bones. I have switched to an Arione and have noticed more pressure to the perineum (though not uncomfortable). Everyone fits a saddle different, so there is no "best" saddle. Another point, some saddles definitely take some time to break in.

Another suggestion: it may not be the saddle, but lack of flexibility in your back. I would try stretching out your back and get to the point where your hips can be more vertical while crouched over the bars. It will take some time, but I think this should help the problem. Yoga works wonders.
 

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Take a look at the SMP saddles. You can't tell it from the pictures, but these things have "dimples" in the rear of the saddle that allow your sit bones to fit comfortably and let everything line up right. They offer several different models that have various fits to allow for the perfect fit. I don't know how you would determine which model to try first- lucky for me the first one I sat on was perfect.

 

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Upgrade a Brooks Titaniuim

scwolf said:
My only wish is they make it out of Ti (for some weight savings)

You could just have a Brooks Ti saddle upgraded. I wonder if they will do a Swallow or Swift Ti?
 

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Interesting, I'm currently riding a Specialized BG Alias 143 and rode it yesterday a.m. for 20 miles and then was at the LBS and there was a customer Cinelli with an Airone on it so I hoped on (didn't ride) just to see what it felt like but instantly felt pressure in the area that you are refering to. I'm not sure if it was set level like my Alias or not but may not be the answer your looking for. My problem is my skinny ass (no meat) but relatively wide sit bones which get sore after 20 miles which was my interest in the flex wing design of the Airone.

I'm lucky in that our LBS has a 30 day exchange on saddles:)
 

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Read Bicycling mag promoting the Selle San Marco Arami in the SIZE system. I picked up one at the 235 level of stiffness, which is what SM recommended on their site. Replaced by Alias 143 with it. Much better. Isn't exactly comfortable, but stays the same in comfort for as long as I can ride. And my nuts don't get beat up. Just another success story from someone needing a narrow, no-pressure front.
 

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First off........

1.) get a flat saddle.
2.) Get a wider flatter saddle across the sit area. The more rounded it is, and the wider your sit bones, the more the saddle will come up between your sit bones and give you the discomfort you describe.
3.) Sit further back on the saddle. Most people ride too far forward, where most saddles are designed to be sat on the back of the saddles.

Len
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Len J said:
First off........

1.) get a flat saddle.
2.) Get a wider flatter saddle across the sit area. The more rounded it is, and the wider your sit bones, the more the saddle will come up between your sit bones and give you the discomfort you describe.
3.) Sit further back on the saddle. Most people ride too far forward, where most saddles are designed to be sat on the back of the saddles.

Len
This is about in line with my current thinking. What are some flat saddles out there?
 

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As others have said, choosing a saddle is pretty difficult because everyone's anatomy is pretty unique. Recently I've had a couple of different Specialized BG saddles, an Avatar gel, and- can't think of the name, but it's the sportiest saddle in Specialized's comfort line. On long rides the Avatar hurt my sit bones, the other my crotch. (I also have a Fox saddle on my mountain bike that's a little of both.) I recently switched to a Terry Fly gel- thought I'd give it a try because the Avatar with a Terry cover wasn't bad. In any case the Fly is a fairly flat saddle with a nice wide cutout. I've gone on a couple of longer rides without trouble. My only small complaint is a bit of thigh rub. It's not wider than the others at the nose, but it isn't rounded underneath.
 
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