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Calm like a Bomb..
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So I have been riding a specialized toupe for about a year now and its starting to get uncomfortable. I notice the center is now allot more flexible then its ever been, is this normal wear or is this a sign of a worn saddle that needs t be replaced
 

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Saddle failure

stunzeed said:
So I have been riding a specialized toupe for about a year now and its starting to get uncomfortable. I notice the center is now allot more flexible then its ever been, is this normal wear or is this a sign of a worn saddle that needs t be replaced
A modern bicycle saddle (not leather) is either as stiff as it ever was, or is failing. You should be able to look under the saddle and see if the plastic shell is still in good shape. If it is, then the saddle is not "a lot more flexible" but rather you are perceiving it to be. You can get some foam compression, but the plastic shell will not soften with use. Any tears, cracks, or stretching of the plastic will be obvious.
 

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Growing Older, Not Up
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Toupe's are based on flex so I don't necessarily believe they fit Kerry's cut-n-paste answer. Definitely check for cracks as he says to do but every saddle breaks in over time.

My toupe is a little over two years old and I noticed the break down last year. I think it may be more noticeable on the Toupe because of the minimal padding. Easiest way to tell is to compare your saddle to a new one in the store.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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crumjack said:
Toupe's are based on flex so I don't necessarily believe they fit Kerry's cut-n-paste answer. Definitely check for cracks as he says to do but every saddle breaks in over time.

My toupe is a little over two years old and I noticed the break down last year. I think it may be more noticeable on the Toupe because of the minimal padding. Easiest way to tell is to compare your saddle to a new one in the store.
Saying Toupe's are based on flex is an oversimplification, ignoring all other design elements. Kerry's response is correct - check the underside of the saddle (plastic shell). And as you stated (paraphrasing) the Toupe has minimal padding, so what's to break down?

FWIW, my Toupe is one year old and looks and feels like new.
 

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Carefully examine if the shell is cracked. I put 14,000 miles on my Toupe, and then noticed it had become way too flexible. The shell had cracked. FWIW, my Specialized dealer replaced it for free since the shell cracking shouldn't be considered normal 'wear and tear.' This isn't an uncommon occurrence with Toupe's; my dealer had seen it before. Of course, YMMV.
 

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PJ352 said:
Saying Toupe's are based on flex is an oversimplification, ignoring all other design elements. Kerry's response is correct - check the underside of the saddle (plastic shell). And as you stated (paraphrasing) the Toupe has minimal padding, so what's to break down?

FWIW, my Toupe is one year old and looks and feels like new.
I agree that it should be checked for cracks. What I am saying is I disagree with the assumption that breakdown, sagging, whatever you want to call it always means a broken shell.
 

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crumjack said:
I agree that it should be checked for cracks. What I am saying is I disagree with the assumption that breakdown, sagging, whatever you want to call it always means a broken shell.
Points taken, but considering the entire assembly is made up of rails, a plastic shell, minimal padding and a cover, there's little to break down or sag. The rails could separate from the shell, but that would also be a failure of the shell. I suppose the rails themselves could fail, but that's highly unlikely and I would guess, obvious.
 

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I had to replace mine a month or so back as it cracked from the back.
 

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Understanding plastics

crumjack said:
I disagree with the assumption that breakdown, sagging, whatever you want to call it always means a broken shell.
You need to understand the behavior of the plastics used for bike saddles. Just like in downhill ski boots and hockey skates, these plastics do not, in any way, soften with use. Therefore, there cannot be a change in the flex of the saddle without a change in the physical structure of the saddle. This means cracks, stretched plastic, separation from the rails, etc. The plastic itself WILL NOT SOFTEN. You can disagree all you wish, but the materials properties of the plastics are well understood.
 

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Kerry Irons said:
You need to understand the behavior of the plastics used for bike saddles. Just like in downhill ski boots and hockey skates, these plastics do not, in any way, soften with use. Therefore, there cannot be a change in the flex of the saddle without a change in the physical structure of the saddle. This means cracks, stretched plastic, separation from the rails, etc. The plastic itself WILL NOT SOFTEN. You can disagree all you wish, but the materials properties of the plastics are well understood.
I was just speaking from personal experience. I have a saddle (Toupe actually) that has changed shape but is not cracked. "Stretched" perhaps, but does stretched meet the qualification from broken?
 

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Stretching and breaking

crumjack said:
I was just speaking from personal experience. I have a saddle (Toupe actually) that has changed shape but is not cracked. "Stretched" perhaps, but does stretched meet the qualification from broken?
If you want to define "broken" only as an actual separation of parts, OK, but if you think about how a plastic might experience ductile failure (like when you pull hard on one of those "six-pack" retaining rings) it does not have to separate in order to fail. If your saddle has changed shape beyond foam compression, then the plastic has experienced ductile failure. I consider that to be a broken saddle.
 

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crumjack said:
I was just speaking from personal experience. I have a saddle (Toupe actually) that has changed shape but is not cracked. "Stretched" perhaps, but does stretched meet the qualification from broken?
IMO it would be worth your while to take the saddle to your Specialized dealer for a warranty claim. Dr. John (posted previously) has some additional posts in the Spec forum covering this topic, but suffice to say you have a good chance of getting that saddle replaced. JMO.
 

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IMO it would be worth your while to take the saddle to your Specialized dealer for a warranty claim. Dr. John (posted previously) has some additional posts in the Spec forum covering this topic, but suffice to say you have a good chance of getting that saddle replaced. JMO.
For me it was easy, since it was obviously cracked all the way through. The only thing holding it together was the adhesive on the cover. :eek6: And I probably road a couple thousand miles like that. :D
 
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