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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
At 58, I'm training for my first Century ride late this summer; everytime I go over 40 non-stop miles, I pay for it; my ride is Roubaix Expert that came with a Specialized toupe, switched to their Alias, bought a softer Bontrager, and now I'm looking at the SMP Pro or Strike Plus, or Strike Extra or your recommendation. The bike is great, the saddle is not for me. If you have experience in a saddle that provides the necessary comfort for really long rides, and has some performance as well, I'd appreciate hearing from you. If I do not find a saddle that works, my Century goal will be that much more challenging.

Bike well.
 

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Some people hate them, but Brooks saddles work best for me for long rides (century, double century, plus). YMMV. My current favorite is the Team Pro, but many people like the B-17. (The Team Pro was harder to break-in than my other Brooks saddle - a Swift).
 

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I've done 230km nonstop on a fizik arione in relative comfort, 160km are definitely comfortable, its just a matter of finding what works for your derriere. What also makes a difference is bike fit, if you're sitting more upright, there is a lot of weight on your rear end which makes things more difficult for me. ymmv etc
 

· monkey with flamethrower
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Saddles are a very personal item, what works for you won't work for me even if we are nearly identical in shape. It is not uncommon to try many many different saddles to find one that you like. So what works for Joe Forums user might not work for you.
Or you could just get a Brooks as the leather will conform to your ass and over time become amazingly comfortable.
 

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+1 on the shorts/bibs. Some sort of cream to stop chafing helps too.

Re the saddle: The best thing to do is to build a good relationship with your LBS and see if they'll let you try saddles and return them if you don't like them; if they're really wrong this will be immediately apparent!

Otherwise look on ebay and "recycle" the ones you don't get on with. I'm still looking after 30 years and will likely try SMP next if I can force myself to pay the hideous price. FWIW, I'm one of the Brooks haters, and find that for me the best thing is a saddle with a firm base and padding, a cutout, and *the right shape*. The problem for me is finding them all in the same seat.
 

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Ideally you want to test them to determine the padding level but the rule of thumb that I have been given with Selle SMP saddles is that the bigger/wider is your *butt* the more padding you may find more comfortable. So for skinny/narrow butt - try Composit or Evolution - for wider/larger butt - start with more padding. But it is only a general rule!

And correct positioning Selle SMP is critical for comfort. Search the forums for "Selle SMP" and read the positioning tips. Get it wrong and it wont be comfortable. This applies to all saddles but even more so for Selle SMP and Aliante which only have 1 sweet spot.

Fizik Arione and Aliante are also good (I have all of them!) but they dont relieve the pressure in those delicate private areas. So I prefer Selle SMP, overall. Selle SMP is not a perfect saddle but it is better than 5-6 different saddles (Spec Alias, Bontrager, S/I Flite Gelflow, Gobi, Arione, Aliante, and now Selle SMP) that I have owned, in last 5 years.

I recently read that Prologo TR (?) has become popular in pro-peloton ranks this year. It looks a bit like a cross between Arione and Aliante. I think Team CSC are using it.
 

· trying to HTFU...
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if you're training for a century, you may wish to also consider getting
a pro-fitting. if the bike is too small for you(or too short a stem/bar
combo), you may be forced to sit more than you would ordinarily be,
putting much more weight in one place. shorts/bibs are also an important
factor as mentioned earlier. a good chamois can really make a big difference.
(side note: the RAAM folks can sometimes be seen wearing two(2)
pairs of shorts, with the second pair reversed on the outside. while
entirely too goofy to look at, it's a proven trick when you gotta ride
coast to coast in a week...clearly, it works.)

i've got an SMP Evo(from a fellow forum-ite, Thanks!) and it seems to work
pretty well for me. prior to this i had a Selle Italia Flite TT and Flite Ti
classic, both on the narrow side. i made the switch on orders from
my GP and accupuncturist/chiro - for a while, i was beginning to get
BPH, likely due to the increased mileage i've been putting in over the
past year. with the Evo, I don't have any pain, numbness or 'leakage'.
it took about a weeks worth of solid riding to get used to the new
contact points, but now i don't even notice it.

as a triathlete i spend a lot of time on the nose, but when i hit the hills
(hill repeats) i can be all over the saddle, front, middle, back and it
works well for me everywhere. the ones with the most padding are the
avant, plus, and pro, the glider, stratos and Evolution are what they call
"custom" which in Italian, means "less padding". of course, they also
make models with NO padding. ;-)

another interesting one to try might be the thoork if you can find one:

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=11022&category=155

and while researching the SMPs, i was curious about Selle Italias
split-lobe designs as well, but never got a chance to try one out:

http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking/p/COMPSASI/SA5191

and don't forget about MTB saddles, they can be very, very comfortable
if you don't mind the weight or looks.

bikeman and universal have tons of saddles to look at and research, so
best of luck - finding just the right saddle is a drag. and they're all too
expensive IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My LBS, which does not carry options other than Spec, suggested I even give the Jett a shot, so they switched me from the Alias to that and will ride tomorrow, at least they are willing to swap what they have. One consistent thought that the shop folks said is that a softer (more padded) saddle is not going to be comfortable training for and doing those distances and that other issues will emerge, in essence saying stick with performance based saddles. Yesterday I started looking again at really good shorts/bibs. Everyone has offered some good suggestions, and I hope a solution emerges so can I attain my long distance goal. I have not seen an SMP other than in photos, and have not looked at Brooks or Fizik.... and believe that all that med research on so called body geometry has merit so have focused on saddles that accommodate that.... would like to hear if you think that is not a good idea.

Ride well and often.
 

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I rode a Selle Strike Trk for a while (essentially a less expensive, wider version of the ones the OP mentioned, but the same basic shape as the Strike SMP line). I have numbness issues, and this is probably the best synthetic saddle I've tried (with the possible exception of a Serfas Rx), but it wasn't perfect. Because of the wide split, your sit bones are essentially supported on little "islands" of padding, with not a lot of weight distributed anywhere else. For some peoples' anatomies this is probably just the ticket, but for me after a few hours it would start to feel a little like I was sitting on a couple of baseballs. It wasn't horribly painful or anything, just a little uncomfortable. I've since gone back to the Brooks B17, which also isn't perfectly comfortable for me on long rides, but has been the best so far.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My LBS, which does not carry options other than Spec, suggested I even give the Jett a shot, so they switched me from the Alias to that and will ride tomorrow, at least they are willing to swap what they have. One consistent thought that the shop folks said is that a softer (more padded) saddle is not going to be comfortable training for and doing those distances and that other issues will emerge, in essence saying stick with performance based saddles. Yesterday I started looking again at really good shorts/bibs. Everyone has offered some good suggestions, and I hope a solution emerges so can I attain my long distance goal. I have not seen an SMP other than in photos, and have not looked at Brooks or Fizik.... and believe that all that med research on so called body geometry has merit so have focused on saddles that accommodate that.... would like to hear if you think that is not a good idea.

Ride well and often.
 
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