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Since I started cycling on the road, I have heard, get padding in your shorts not your seat. I have read that ultimately it's more comfortable. I have been a good student and always bought expensive, hard saddles. Last year I started riding longer rides 100-200 miles. When done I has a sore back side, but so does everyone. Well this year I tried a saddle with a small amount of padding and I'm less sore after distance. Why does everyone warn against this? Is it more against the big 3" padded seats that are the problem? I know I'm staying where I'm at but please explain the theory?
 

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I'm not sure what you're talking about. Most saddles on the market and used by serious riders have a bit of padding and I've never heard anyone warn against them.

But yeah if you were to hear someone who knew what they were talking about warning against padding they'd be talking about those pillow like saddles. It's not the padding per se but the size of it and the restricting of free movement it creates.
 

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I think the caveat is that what you're hearing is likely referring to "if you want MORE padding (than you already have), accomplish that by finding shorts with a bit more padding, not a saddle..."

I've never heard anyone advise avoiding saddles with padding, but the extremes at both ends of the spectrum -- either too little padding or too much -- are likely to be problematic.
 

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Never heard "get paddding in your shorts, not in your seat." Regardless, it's bad advice. The "padding" in shorts primarily serves to prevent moisture- and friction-related problems, not as a shock absorber.

As said, perhaps this is about those pillow-saddles. The padding in these things often bunches up and crams itself into spaces you'd rather not have anything go into. These type of saddles often cause the very problems they are said to prevent.
 

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I think is not about the padding, but about the gel saddles.

the thing is, IMHO if you ride a lightly padded racing saddle, you have to learn how to seat properly on it otherwise you could get numb and other assorted problems.

the big gel saddles feel comfy and then people rely on the and don't learn how to seat right on it.

That and also the fact that gel slowly yields to your weight and you end sitting wrong on a hard saddle after some miles.

it is a bad crutch.
 

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I don't rightly know what is the correct answer here. Like so many things, it might just come down to what works for you. If adding a saddle with a little more padding helped you, than you have found the answer . . . for you. Perhaps others might not get the benefit. I do remember a bike I had quite a few years ago that I had a classic Brooks saddle on. It was as hard as a board, and weeks of having a sore rear end was a testimonial to it. But as time went on, the saddle started to break in and it ended up being very comfortable. And that was in the days before gel padding. Now I'm older and have a much softer and more sensitive posterior, I'm too chicken to try another Brooks saddle. I'm just not too keen on going through that pain barrier again.
 

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Last year I started riding longer rides 100-200 miles. When done I has a sore back side, but so does everyone
That part is just not true.

If you find a saddle that really works for you,

and you adjust it right,

and you put in enough time on the bike and work up to distances gradually so you you get toughened up in the right places,

then you should not have a sore butt at the end of a long ride. Lots of things will be tired, but your butt should not hurt.

The saddle that works best for you may indeed have a bit of padding, as many saddles do. The warning against padding, as others have noted, refers to overly-padded saddles that interfere with motion, cause chafing, and squish up into unwanted areas thereby causing pressure in bad spots.
 

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They do sell those super soft saddles but they would not fit my new bike. They are also very heavy compared to the racing style saddles sold on road bikes. For years I rode with plain Surf Runner shorts. They have zero padding and were intended for swimming and running. My saddle was so soft and wide that I never had any soreness whatsoever. I think what is going on is the bike designers are going for the least amount of weight and compromising comfort. I may be the only one who would ride in those shorts with no padding but it worked for me.

My long shorts I now ride with have minimal padding and I have a racing Gel Seat but it is not nearly as comfortable a ride as I used to have.
 

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Ultimately you just have to find out what works for you. I discovered it wasn't how much padding my saddle or shorts had, but that I had the right width saddle. I ridden ones that were too narrow and always suffered, no matter how much padding I had. Then I got a wider, though firmer, saddle and all the pain went away. Amazing. Once you do find something that works, stick with it and don't experiment. I learned my lesson.
 

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At 200 miles your a** is going to hurt no matter what you do.

What's the reason for long rides like that. Even the big pro races are no more than 160 miles and we don't have any races in my area that go past 105 miles.
 

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A saddle that fits your ass is what matters.

Before I found one, I thought all saddles were awful, couldn't ride more than 40 miles without sharp pains, etc. Tried padding, cutouts, different shorts, you name it.

I tried an un-padded brooks, and the pain went away. It wasn't the padding, it was the width of the saddle. I'm a big guy. Apparently I need a saddle that's between 145-170 wide. Narrow little saddles were like ass hatchets, pushing whatever shorts I was wearing right into my taint, putting pressure where I had no bones, etc.

I ditched the brooks (too fussy) and went with a sele san marco regal. It fits great and after 50 -60 miles I feel fine.

My advice to you- find a shop that will let you test ride saddles. Start wider than you've ever gone (hell, start on a brooks b-17) and work your way down until you find one that's right for you.
 

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heathb said:
At 200 miles your a** is going to hurt no matter what you do.

What's the reason for long rides like that. Even the big pro races are no more than 160 miles and we don't have any races in my area that go past 105 miles.
Organized rides of ultra-marathon distance are an old tradition in cycling. Google "brevet" or "randonee." And again, a proper seat that a well-trained rider has gotten used to will not cause pain.

The most famous brevet, Paris–Brest–Paris, is the oldest organized event in cycling (started in 1891). It's run every four years, and covers about 1200 kilometers (almost 750 miles).
 

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heathb said:
At 200 miles your a** is going to hurt no matter what you do.

What's the reason for long rides like that. Even the big pro races are no more than 160 miles and we don't have any races in my area that go past 105 miles.
Some people might ask you what's the point of riding at all when you could drive?

Different strokes, sir.
 

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Lotophage said:
My advice to you- find a shop that will let you test ride saddles. Start wider than you've ever gone (hell, start on a brooks b-17) and work your way down until you find one that's right for you.
I'd like to know a bike shop that will permit this, haven't found one yet. Some shops will permit test rides but almost all the road bikes have similar racing saddles. I purchased a Gel saddle and it is ok but far from a good fit for me. I did not know the width is important, I thought it was the cushioning. My old saddle which felt great was very wide and cushioned, perhaps it was the proper width why it was so comfortable.
 

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Sisophous said:
I'd like to know a bike shop that will permit this, haven't found one yet. Some shops will permit test rides but almost all the road bikes have similar racing saddles. I purchased a Gel saddle and it is ok but far from a good fit for me. I did not know the width is important, I thought it was the cushioning. My old saddle which felt great was very wide and cushioned, perhaps it was the proper width why it was so comfortable.
As far as I can tell in my test group of one, width is the most important thing.

Again, unpadded brooks saddle, hard as freaking wood should be horribly uncomfortable. For me, it was not.
 

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Sisophous said:
I'd like to know a bike shop that will permit this, haven't found one yet. Some shops will permit test rides
they're out there. you might find luck asking about demo programs, or just asking, what happens if I ride this thing and the first 50 miles are fine, but the next 50 suck? some shops will work to get you onto a seat that is right for you, as long as you aren't just returning it, but swapping it for a different one from them, and you aren't putting too many miles or hours on them before switching. kind of like an extended test ride. won't hurt to ask.
 

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my personal preference it be able slide across the seat rather than stick to it. That, for sure causes chaffing. several of my well broken in Brooks saddles are comfortable enough to ride 30 or more miles with no chamois at all. When it comes to saddles, there is NO right or wrong. There is comfortable and uncomfortable....and one persons dream saddle is the next guys a$$ hatchet !!!!!!
 

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Regarding the potential return of saddles, I recently had a bike fit for my Tri/TT bike and wanted to switch off of my super cushy profile designs saddle. The bike fitter actually gave me the advice of picking up a saddle, covering the rails with electric tape and putting it on for at least a few rides (he said at least a hundred miles, if not two). If it's not working out in that time frame, pull the tape and bring it back in - as long as you've kept it relatively clean it should show pretty much no sign of wear.
Unfortunately, didn't get to test the theory as the new saddle is working out great, but this reminds me I need to go pull the electric tape off.
 

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Try one of those big gel saddles with springs on the back. They should be comfy and allow you eliminate padded shorts correct? Not for 100 mile ride.
My guess is that the thinking is that the less contact your butt has with the saddle the more comfortable it will be as there is less surface area rubbing or being pressed upon. Then the design tries to make what contacts the saddle as comfortable as possible, and putting the padding in the shorts allows the padding to conform to your body. If there is a lot of padding on the saddle you are still constrained by the shape of the saddle and it won't fit you anatomically like a pad placed in your shorts will. Add to that that a larger saddle where you actually place your sit bones on it would get uncomfortable after a while from the surface area and the pressure on your bones. Methinks bicyclists typically having larger more powerful legs, would feel much more chaffing if a saddle made the legs spread out more to reach the pedals on the way down, hence the narrowness.

Of course this is all what I'd guess, and maybe it's all wrong.
 

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nOOky said:
Try one of those big gel saddles with springs on the back. They should be comfy and allow you eliminate padded shorts correct?

Of course this is all what I'd guess, and maybe it's all wrong.
It does not fit my bike. I had one of these and it was a great ride. It will not fit on my Trek. It is much heavier than a racing saddle but the ride was great and as I mentioned earlier on this thread, I wore jogging shorts/swimming attire that had no padding.
 
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